The Archbishop of Liverpool, Patrick Kelly has welcomed bishops from across Europe and Africa to Liverpool for a conference on migration.
The four cardinals, seven archbishops and sixteen bishops have gathered in Liverpool for a five-day international conference on migration which aims to promote understanding and co-operation between the Church in Africa and Europe.
During their stay in Liverpool, the church leaders will spend time with asylum seekers and people who have recently settled in the city. Archbishop Kelly said that it was particularly fitting that the conference was taking place in Liverpool because of the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. “Our story has had its dark days, so this is a significant movement which allows us to take hold of our history in humility and truth to go forward and find new ways of reconciliation,” said the Archbishop.
The Archbishop of Ghana, Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle of Accra said that the conference was a way of highlighting that Africa has a great deal to offer to the world. “All attention is fixed on Africa,” he said. “Economically a lot of investment has come into Africa, intellectually the African brain is yet to be capped (but with) football and music we are there”. He added that now was the time to “wake up to what the wealth of migration can be”.
The Most Reverend John Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria who preached the homily at Evening Prayer last night in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, broadcast live by the BBC said that: “We live in a world characterised by many international summits and high level meetings of world leaders. Our gathering here in Liverpool of Catholic Bishops from Europe and Africa may seem like one more of such meetings, full of words and little action. The topic of our concern, migration and human mobility, has been the subject of many international meetings. If we are ready to commit our meagre resources to yet another meeting, it is because we believe that the Church, in both Europe and Africa, has a valid and valuable contribution to make.”
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said the Church was in a unique position to develop solutions. ”What can we bring as Church? Let’s look to the Credo: ‘I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’. If we follow this approach, I believe we can find some ways forward.”