Include Disaster Management in Formation of Priests, Caritas Africa Official Says

Logo of Caritas Africa. Credit: Caritas Africa

The formation of Priests has to include ways of managing, preventing and recovering from disasters when they strike, the Catholic Priest at the helm of Caritas Africa Advocacy Committee has said. 

Fr. McDonald Nah said it is important for Priests at all levels to be equipped on disaster management because times have changed from when they would only offer spiritual help.  

Fr. Nah added that their knowledge in managing calamities is important as the people of God turn to Priests when catastrophes occur. 

“Our pastoral formation has to put into consideration disaster prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation. All of us, even those in seminary formation have to understand that this is a different world we are coming in,” Fr. Nah who is the national Director of Caritas, Justice and Peace in Liberia said in a Thursday, November 18 interview. 

He explained that Priestly duties have gone beyond "celebrating Mass and going home".


"Gone are the years when it was none of our business. Now, we have to go beyond having retreats and understand the things that happen within our communities and within our countries,” Fr. Nah said, and added that Priests do not need to wait for episcopal statements before acting. 

The member of the Clergy of Liberia’s Monrovia Archdiocese also urged Catholic Priest colleagues across Africa to be proactive in community issues. 

"We need to be part of everything within a community. When communities are having meetings, you have to go there to ask questions and give advice," Fr. Nah said, and insisted on the need for Priests to understand policies before criticizing people's actions. 

In the November 18 interview, the Caritas Africa official also called on Priests to pay particular attention to the youth. 

“The young people are looking up to us. In the past, we told them to go to school, study hard and get good jobs but they are done with school and there are no jobs,” he said, adding that Priests need to reflect on how to communicate with the youth and understand the policies and politics that affect them. 

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Fr. Nah was speaking to ACI Africa after a meeting for Caritas members in the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA). 

He explained why Caritas in particular and the Catholic Church in general need to embrace the media in activities.  

The Catholic Priest noted that contrary to previous generations, which did not need to see what the Church is doing, the current one needs proof of projects before participating in development activities. 

"The generation we have wants to see to believe. This time around it is not the generation that used to come without asking. This one wants you to go to depths. They want to sit in a hall and you come and present what you have done. We have to give them the platform and they will contribute," Fr. Nah said.