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Look into Future with Hope, Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa to South Sudan, Ethiopia

Fr. Anthony Makunde, Secretary General AMECEA, Credit: courtesy Photo

The leadership of Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has urged the people of God in South Sudan and Ethiopia experiencing conflicts and unrests to “look to the future with hope”.

In his opening remarks at an ongoing workshop organized by AMECEA's Department for Promotion of Integral Human Development (PIHD), AMECEA Secretary General used the analogy of the body of Christ to explain the solidarity of the Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa with the people of God in the two troubled countries.

“My brothers and Sisters from South Sudan and Ethiopia… we need to look into the future with hope. We need to look into the future determined that the Lord is with us. We need to look into the future so that we are able to change the current situation,” Fr. Anthony Makunde said Tuesday, November 30.

Fr. Makunde added, “Nobody else is going to change the situation in Ethiopia or South Sudan for us, we are the ones to do it.”

The Secretary General of Nairobi-based association said that the body of Christ is united and that if one part suffers, the rest of the body suffers with it and that if one part rejoices, the other parts of the body rejoice with it.

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“South Sudan is suffering; I don’t see any reason for Kenya, Tanzania, or Zambia to jump with joy. Ethiopia is suffering; I don’t see any reason, Eritrea, Kenya, or Uganda will be jumping with joy. If one part suffers, the other parts suffer with it,” he said.

Fr. Makunde added, “My brothers and sisters you may not be able to visit Tigray or Juba but even when you are chatting in your WhatsApp messages or emails, let's maintain the spirit of solidarity with those who are undergoing hardships.”

The three-day workshop taking place at Roussel House, home of Donum Dei missionaries in Nairobi has been organized to discuss the role of faith actors in peace building in the countries of AMECEA, with a particular focus on Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.

There is need for conversion of hearts towards embracing peace through a process that needs to start from politicians down to the ordinary citizen in the rural area of the affected nations, the Tanzanian-born Priest told the 19 participants drawn from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

He went on to highlight the role that AMECEA has played in response to the conflicts in Ethiopia and South Sudan, which he said involved a call for prayer, solidarity with people in the countries affected by conflicts and also appeal for humanitarian help.

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“Bishops in AMECEA have called for special prayers; we remember in 2020 the president of AMECEA appealed to all the Bishops to set a special day…to pray for the conversion of our hearts,” Fr. Makunde said.

Making reference to the Catholic Nuns who were killed in August in South Sudan, he posed, “Do you think the sisters were shot by pagans? Most probably they may be their fellow Catholics.”

Reiterating the AMECEA Bishops’ appeal for prayer towards conversion of hearts and mentality, Fr. Makunde refuted claims that attribute killings to tribal, regional and political affiliations.

“Let us go back to God and pray for the change of mentality, to pray for the conversion. Unless we agree that the other is your brother or sister, we will continue to kill each other on a daily basis,” he said.

Fr. Makunde also reiterated the call by Catholic Bishops in AMECEA for humanitarian assistance to the people of God in countries experiencing violent conflict.

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