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At Start of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Priest Urges Defense of Human Dignity

Credit: World Council of Churches (WCC)

A Catholic Priest at the helm of the International Ecumenical Movement-Kenya Chapter (IEM-K) has, in his message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), called on all followers of Christ to unite in the defense of human dignity and the freedom of worship. 

Fr. Innocent Maganya who was reflecting on the theme of this year’s celebration, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship Him”, calls on Christians to be in communion with believers in the Eastern part of the world who face persecution. 

“The meditation for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites all of us, in unison, to rise up and stand for the dignity of each and every person and respect for human rights and freedom of worship all over the world,” says IEM-K Chairman in a statement obtained by ACI Africa Tuesday, January 18. 

The member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (MAfr.) says there have been many instances where people lack solidarity in addressing pertinent issues that promote human dignity. 

"There is a lack of solidarity in effectively addressing some of the critical issues that are affecting our world today, in particular the issue of peace in the Middle East," says Fr. Maganya. 

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He adds that in Middle East nations, thousands of people are refugees and migrants are fleeing insecurity.

The native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) adds in reference to countries of the Middle East, "Thousands of Christians have fled the region for fear of persecution." 

The Nairobi-based Catholic Priest further notes, “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how humanity can be so selfish."

"We have experienced the gap between the rich nations and poor nations get wider. The self-interest of powerful nations and corruption have deprived many of the needed vaccines to protect lives," Fr. Maganya says. 

Amid the challenges, the member of MAfr. who serves as the Director of the Institute of Inter-Religious Dialogue and Islamic Studies (IRDIS) at Tangaza University College says it is time for Christians to unite in Christ "as we strive to be the light that shines in the deepest darkness of our world today.”

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“Let us commit ourselves to truth and justice, peace and reconciliation of all the children of God scattered throughout the world,” he says.

Quoting the Book of prophet Isaiah, Fr. Maganya calls on Christians to be vocal about injustices in society saying, "For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch." 

"The Magi from the East are a symbol of unity of all nations as desired by God. The star in the sky is a symbol of hope. We too, like the Magi, are called to follow the star of hope that brings humanity to Jesus, the Prince of Peace," Fr. Maganya says in reference to the 2022 theme of the WPCU. 

He continues, "This is a common mission that our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted to His Church."

WPCU is traditionally observed annually from January 18 to 25. 

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The theme for 2022 was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches, in conjunction with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 

In his statement, Fr. Maganya says the 2022 WPCU is a “golden opportunity given to us to show that the Church of Christ is One and that together, we are invited to shine and witness to the world that Jesus is King of Peace."