Shifting from “human-centric to ecological-centric mission”: African Priest’s Reflection

Fr. Donald Zagore, SMA

At a time when the message on the care of creation seems predominant in Pope Francis' recent addresses, including his latest visit to Africa, an African missionary priest is proposing a shift from missions focused on human beings to missions that are inclusive of creation.

“We should not limit oneself to missionary activity that is solely human-centric, but also and above all to open oneself to ecological-centric missionary activity,” Fr. Donald Zagore, SMA proposed in a reflection sent to ACI Africa.

“The Good News of Salvation appears to be exclusively reserved for man,” he said and continued, “Today, a change of paradigm in the understanding of the theology of mission would be necessary for a fundamental renewal of the missionary activity.”

In light of this realization, the Society of African Missions cleric is of the opinion that while salvation for man is necessary, going forward “the reality of salvation in Jesus Christ will be grasped in a broader dynamic that encompasses all creation.” 

“Salvation is for man and also for all creation. It is not only man who must be saved, but the whole creation longs for salvation,” Fr. Zagore said and continued, “As St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans, it is all creation that groans, in hope, waiting for salvation.”


Consequently, the Ivorian priest who considers this proposed shift of focus in missions “fundamental and decisive for missionary activity” affirmed that evangelisation is incomplete unless targeted at human beings and creation.

“To preach the Good News of salvation to man is to do missionary work in half, for the good news of salvation is to be preached to man and to creation,” he stated.

In order to effect this approach in missionary work, the cleric who is based in Togo calls for an all-inclusive training of mission agents.

“The training of future mission agents must take into account this dynamic in order to form missionaries capable of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation to both man and the whole of creation,” he concluded.

The theme of care for creation dominated Pope Francis fourth pastoral trip to Africa in September when he visited the Southern Africa countries of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.

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