In his December 1 statement, the member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) Conventual said, “In the light of the pastoral theme I have announced, it will be crucial to listen with particular interest and attention to the voices of the elderly; they constitute the indispensable depository of the traditional and religious wisdom of our society.”
The Catholic Bishop has drawn the theme of the year for the elderly from the book of Exodus, which he says seeks to incorporate the spirit of inspiration and orientation to the pastoral activities within his Episcopal See.
“I therefore declare the year of the elderly with the divine command to ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land” as the pastoral theme that will provide inspiration and orientation to all pastoral programs and initiatives throughout the Diocese beginning 1 January 2022 through to the celebration of the solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2022,” Bishop Chisanga says.
Parishes and Diocesan institutions are also tasked with the responsibility of launching the pastoral theme in January 2022.
During the launch of the theme, Parishes and the Diocesan institutions are called upon to outline the “specific pastoral programs and initiatives, especially of inclusion of the elderly in the life and mission of their respective circumscriptions, and recognition of their contribution.”
Other factors to be considered during the launch include advocacy for the welfare of the most vulnerable and neglected as well as safeguarding those who are victims of superstitious beliefs in families and society.
Bishop Chisanga calls for inclusion of a variety of activities during the year of the elderly, including concrete actions from small Christian Communities (SCCs), lay movements, general sensitization, prayers, songs, reflections and radio programs.
The Zambian Bishop acknowledged the rich heritage of the Diocese and urged the faithful to proceed on the same path.
“Let us continue on this same path of journeying together in the spirit of Synodality and, in the light of this year’s theme, ‘Embracing the elderly with Christ's love,” the Local Ordinary of Mansa Diocese said.
He further said that the spirit of journeying together should not just be applied in the Synod process but should also apply in the context of COVID-19 where he said the elderly are among the vulnerable.