Rome, Monday, March 5, 2012
The Provincials and Delegates of English Speaking Africa and Mozambique (APDESAM), gathered in Nairobi from the 27 February until the 4th of March, have written a letter to the confreres of Eritrea as sign of solidarity. We are publishing this letter below.


The Lord said: I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians (Ex. 3:7-8)

Dear confreres of Eritrea,

Gather in Nairobi for the annual meeting of APDESAM and listening to the reports about the political and social situation of the countries where we are called to carry out our missionary service, we were struck in a special way by the situation of Eritrea. The cry of the people of Eritrea and of our confreres in this situation of suffering was brought to us by the delegate who challenged us to do something in order to help you in this moment of darkness and deprived of hope for a better future.

We tried to understand your situation although we are very much aware that we can do little to find concrete answers to your cry. We turned to God in prayer and we decided to write this letter to you, conscious that it will bring little relief to all of you. However, following the example of Comboni who looked into the situation of Africa in the light of faith, we are fully convinced that suffering and death will bring new life and resurrection to all of you and to your people. Our short history as Comboni Missionaries shows us also that in the end, after terrible moments of suffering and death, a new era of peace and life in abundance will take place. Life and resurrection will prevail over death and defeat; love will overcome hatred and contempt.

In this moment you are called to feel in your flesh the paschal mystery in its face of defeat, weakness, abandonment and loneliness. We invite you to be together, to keep strong the sense of belonging to a larger family which lives this moment in deep solidarity with you. In similar situations what counts more is not the much you can do or achieve, but simply being present and making common cause with the people of Eritrea.

Fully convinced of the power of prayer, we turn to God, joining your plea for help with the certitude that God is at hand and he is suffering and struggling with you, looking forward to the ending of this terrible situation.

May the intercession of St. Daniel Comboni who gave his life for the regeneration of Africa bring you consolation and hope and an end to your suffering.

We keep you in our friendship and prayer.

The members of the APDESAM