Demographically speaking, Africa is the continent of the future. Here will be decided which religion will dominate the world. For in the next 40 years the population of Africa is predicted to double.

The number of Christians will also double (according to the demographers’ calculations), however, the Muslims will increase by 170%. Of course, all these are merely human estimations. But what is undoubtedly true is the fact that the pagan peoples of the continent are also yearning for God, the creator of all life.

This is where the Church can point the way – with visible signs. A year ago, when Father Bruno Ateba was appointed as Bishop of the diocese of Maroua-Mokolo in Cameroon, a Muslim friend said to him, ‘We have many large mosques to pray in, but you Catholics do not even have a cathedral in your diocese.’

His words struck home, and they set Bishop Bruno thinking. He thought immediately of the 75,000 Catholics in his diocese, and also of the 300,000 or so others, who are well disposed and willing to embrace Christianity, but they need to see a visible sign that will point them to Heaven. Ever since then everywhere he has gone he has begged for support to build this sign. The Catholics of his diocese have already done a great deal themselves to raise funds, and have begun to build. Now they are halfway there, but they still need funds in order to complete the basic structure.

The diocese lies right on the frontier with Nigeria, and the threat from the Islamic extremists is hampering the missionary work. The people need a visible sign to show that God is there. Your solidarity and generosity will help them to see this sign of love, not just in bricks and mortar, but in your kind hearts.

This article can be found in Mirror 0515.