Three hundred and fifty Catholic faithful from Senegal were on pilgrimage from August 24 to September 13, 2022 in the Holy Land, in Rome and then in Lourdes. Organized by the National Interdiocesan Committee for Catholic Pilgrimages (Cinpec), this international pilgrimage to the holy places of Christianity was “a great moment of formation lived in synodality”, said Monsignor Paul Abel Mamba in an interview with Vatican News.
Francoise Niamien – Vatican City
It is at the feet of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, in France, that ended, Tuesday, September 13, the Senegalese international pilgrimage. He resumed his spiritual journey after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Pilgrims of synodality, artisans of communion, participation and mission” was the theme of the 2022 edition, called the pilgrimage of synodality. It took place in 3 major stages: Jerusalem, Rome and Lourdes, with the participation of 350 pilgrims, priests, men and women religious and laity.
Formation in the spirit of synodality
“We lived a beautiful atmosphere of pilgrimage in synodality”, rejoiced Bishop Paul Abel Mamba, Bishop of Tambacounda and President of the National Interdiocesan Committee for Catholic Pilgrimages in Senegal.
For Bishop Mamba, choice of theme “is a call for the commitment of every Senegalese Catholic to give his part in the life of the universal Church, from the base to the top as the Holy Father, Pope Francis wishes”. Through this theme, it was a question of instilling in the pilgrims a spirit of synodality in the mission of the Church in Senegal, he added.
In a country with 94% Muslims and 5% Christians, mainly Catholics, the accompanying bishop called on Senegalese Catholics “to truly assume their responsibilities as missionaries and evangelizers“.
Christological, ecclesial and Marian aspects
The three weeks of spiritual renewal took place around three aspects: Christological, ecclesial and Marian. The city of Jerusalem in the Holy Land constituted the first great stage, centered on the person of Christ who is “the basis of our faith”underlined the bishop of Tambacounda. “To better immerse ourselves in the Christological aspect of this pilgrimage, we have gone through all the stages that marked the life of Christ before his death and resurrection”, he indicated.
As for the ecclesial aspect, it was experienced during the second major stage of this spiritual renewal, in Rome, the eternal city, noted Bishop Mamba. “This stage taught us our belonging to the universal Church in which the Pope is the link between the particular Churches of which we are part.“, he specifies. The Roman stage was marked in particular by a thanksgiving mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday, September 6, and participation in the general audience the next day, in Saint Peter’s Square.
During the Mass of Thanksgiving, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, focused in his homily on the ministry entrusted by Jesus to Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. A ministry at the service of Christ himself and his Church, he stressed. Cardinal Sarah therefore urged Senegalese pilgrims to take their part in the Church’s mission of evangelization in communion with Pope Francis, the successor of Peter.
The city of Lourdes in France constituted the third major stage, centered on Marian spirituality.
National Interdiocesan Committee for Catholic Pilgrimages
The National Interdiocesan Committee for Catholic Pilgrimages (CINPEC) was brought to the baptismal font in 1964, on the initiative of the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Dakar, which includes the dioceses of Dakar, Ziguinchor, Thiès, Saint-Louis, Kaolack, Tambacounda and Kolda, and in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Its objective is to respond to a concern that is both pastoral and ecclesial, that of enabling Senegalese Christians to experience personally and in community the presence of God, particularly in the Holy Land, in Rome or in certain places steeped in history. of Christianity.