Vatican Cardinal Visiting Africa Invites Consecrated Persons to Renewed “missionary zeal”

Michael Cardinal Czerny during his January 17-20 pastoral trip in Benin.. Credit: Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD)

Michael Cardinal Czerny, who is the helm of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) has invited the Consecrated in Africa to rekindle their zeal for evangelization as the Church marks the annual World Day for Consecrated Life.

Cardinal Czerny made the invitation in an interview with ACI Africa ahead of his eight-day pastoral visit to South Sudan, which he was to start on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and World Day for Consecrated Life since it was established in 1997.

“I can only wish all the Consecrated people in Africa a very blessed Feast of the Presentation in the Temple, which is the annual memorial or remembrance of Religious Life,” the Vatican-based Cardinal said during the Wednesday, January 31 interview.

The Czechian-born member of the Society of Jesus (SJ/Jesuits) invited “all religious to renew our missionary zeal.”

He cautioned against lethargy and listlessness in missionary work, saying that it is “not to be best satisfied with where we are or what we have or what we have already done, but to seek new mission frontiers, new places, which urgently need the gospel to be preached.”


In the January 31 interview, Cardinal Czerny provided details of his pastoral trip to South Sudan, which he said was to include Holy Eucharist to mark the first anniversary of the first-ever Papal visit to the East-Central African nation, to be celebrated at St. Theresa’s Cathedral of Juba Archdiocese, the venue of Pope Francis’ 4 February 2023 meeting with members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and Seminarians.

The Cardinal told ACI Africa that he was also scheduled to visit South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese, where he would travel to Renk, a Sudan-South Sudan “outreach point” for those fleeing violence in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum. There, he is scheduled to “bless a boat”, which Caritas South Sudan is to use to transport migrants and refugees en route to Malakal along River Nile.

On February 8, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, he is scheduled to preside over Holy Mass at a Malakal Catholic Church dedicated in honor of the Sudanese-born saint, who is the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Ordaining three Deacons and leading the people of God at St. Josephine Bakhita Church in Malakal in marking the tenth annual World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking, whose theme is, “Journeying in Dignity. Listen. Dream. Act” are additional activities slated for February 8, the Cardinal’s last full day in South Sudan.

In the January 31 interview, the Prefect of the DPIHD sought the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita in the fight against human trafficking, and other forms of slavery in the world. 

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“We pray for her intercession also, especially because we all need to be encouraged and oriented in our struggle against human trafficking and contemporary slavery,” the 77-year-old Cardinal, who founded and directed the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) said.

He added in reference to the vice of human trafficking, “Everybody needs to help with that very important issue.”

The Catholic Church leader, who was Ordained Bishop on 4 October 2019 and elevated to Cardinal the following day went on to implore for resolution of violent conflicts in various parts of the globe, saying, “At this moment in the world, peace is practically everyone's priority.”

“Let's not give up our efforts to be both creative and courageous in bringing to the world the peace, which our Lord brought us, and which is our mission to share and to spread,” Cardinal Czerny told ACI Africa during the January 31 interview.

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