Encyclical Letter on Care for Creation “has caused great excitement”: AMECEA Leadership

Bishop Charles Kasonde. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on the “care for our common home”, Laudato Si', has had a “great” impact in the Eastern Africa region, the Chairman of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has said. 

In his keynote speech at the opening of 20th Plenary Assembly of AMECEA on Monday, July 11, Bishop Charles Kasonde said that the May 2015 Encyclical Letter that calls for collective action for conserve creation amid acts of irresponsibility “has caused great excitement in the region, not only among Catholics but also among people affiliated to other churches and faiths and our respective governments."

Bishop Kasonde who was addressing AMECEA delegates meeting to reflect on the care for the environment in the Eastern Africa region under the theme, “Environmental Impact on Integral Human Development” said the Laudato Si’ excitement is because the Encyclical Letter "raises issues which even the ordinary members of the society can relate with". 

"Our experiences of the effects of climate change such as extreme seasons of droughts, cyclones, raising of water levels and floods, to mention but a few, are making everyone to wonder why these things are happening," The Bishop of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese told delegates who were gathered at Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

He said Bishops in the AMECEA region have made commendable efforts in creating awareness about the need to care for the environment, adding that the task of changing people's attitudes towards natural resources is tasking.  


"I am also aware that this task can be frustrating because it is not that easy to change people’s attitude towards these natural resources, especially if it has to do with changing their lifestyle," the Zambian Bishop said.

He added, "It should not come as a surprise that we are facing some challenges precisely because care for Mother Earth is a subject that touches on people’s livelihood but also the social and economic agenda of our developing countries." 

"As such, the topic can become contentious at the local but also international," Bishop Kasonde told delegates drawn from the nine AMECEA countries that include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

He urged the delegates of the 20th AMECEA Plenary Assembly who include more than 100 Catholic Bishops to, during the nine-day gathering, "allow each other to freely express oneself by listening to one another with an open mind". 

"We also need to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow her to inspire our hearts and minds," the Chairman of AMECEA said July 11, the second day of the Plenary Assembly, and added, "Let us allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to let go of any possible resistance so that we may embrace the journey of conversion to which Pope Francis has called us to."

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Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.