Encourage Catholics to “give more” During Lent: Bishops in Southern Africa Tell Priests

Bishop Duncan Theodore Tsoke, delivering the Lenten message of Bishops in Southern Africa. Credit: SACBC

Catholic Bishops in Eswatini, Botswana, and South Africa are calling on Priests in the three Southern African nations to encourage the people of God under their pastoral care to “give more freely” to the Bishops Lenten Appeal (BLA) initiative. 

In a statement issued on Ash Wednesday, March 2, members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) say the Church has faced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our prayer today is that our local Clergy will encourage the faithful to give more freely to the Bishops Lenten Appeal (BLA)," SACBC members say. 

They add, “We ask the faithful to give generously and open heartedly. You give through the regular Sunday collections.”

The Catholic Bishops say COVID-19 led to lower collections, limiting the Church’s ability to reach out to many people who needed help. 


"Our offices in the Bishops’ conference also had to cut down on staff. Because of these lower collections we could not support the Church as we wish to," they say in the statement signed by BLA Liaison person and National Director, Bishop Duncan Theodore Tsoke and Br. Ashley Tillek, respectively. 

In the March 2 statement, SACBC members also urge Christians to "support the poor and the needy and the works of the Church during this period of the Church."

"Please my brothers and sister open your heart; it is only during Lent that the Church won’t be asking for any other special collections," members of the three-nation Catholic Bishops’ conference say. 

They further urge Christians to pray and fast during the Lenten Season.  

"Let us in a special way pray for our local church as we return to normal after the pandemic," SACBC members say, and add that Christians should also pray for the greater Church "especially the people in the Ukraine and Russia, to allow the spirit of peace to come down upon them." 

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Addressing the importance of fasting during lent, the Catholic Bishops say, "This gives way in our lives to let go of those things that complicate our lives." 

They further call on Christians to heed to Pope Francis' Lenten message

In his message, the Holy Father calls upon the people of God to put down smartphones and do good for others physically. 

"Let us listen to what our Holy Father says we need to do this season, and that is to renew ourselves and our communities. This will help us to understand the Paschal Mystery as we are preparing for the Resurrection of the risen Lord," SACBC members say in their March 2 statement.

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.