Source: Vatican News
East African Catholic Bishops began their plenary assembly in Tanzania last Sunday with an open-air Mass at a stadium in Dar es Salaam and prepared to draw attention to the environment and integral human development .
This was the 20th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA). The main celebrant of the Mass, which was attended by thousands of Catholics, was Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop Emeritus of Nairobi, Kenya, and the homily was delivered by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for evangelization and representative of Pope Francis. at the event.
Then, the meeting took place from July 10 to 18 at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center on the theme “Environmental impact on integral human development”.
According to AMECEA President, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Solwezi in Zambia, the Assembly needed to focus on the central message of Pope Francis’ historic encyclical, Laudato Si’. “This is an urgent challenge for the world and the region as environmental degradation and its impact threatens the very existence of humanity whom Jesus came to save,” the Zambian Bishop said.
Four successive seasons of poor rains and drought have left more than 18 million people desperately short of food in East Africa. Local conflicts, combined with soaring food prices caused by the invasion of Ukraine, further aggravate the situation. Churches are tackling the humanitarian situation and supporting communities with emergency food relief, while encouraging tree planting and training farmers in new techniques so they can adapt to changing weather conditions .
The President of AMECEA commended the Bishops of Tanzania and the Catholic laity for preparing resources for the plenary. Bishop Kasonde further expressed his gratitude to God that the plenary finally took place following the Covid-19 pandemic.
AMECEA is a regional institution of the Catholic Bishops of East Africa with nine member countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, l Uganda and Zambia. Its Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General, is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Djibouti and Somalia are affiliate members.