, 01 March, 2020 / 8:00 PM
The need to pull together for lasting peace in Mauritius is a key emphasis of Maurice Cardinal Piat, the Bishop of Port-Louis Diocese in his message for the Lenten period in the Indian Ocean Island nation.
It is possible to work towards a lasting peace, but each one must contribute his stone to the edifice, because “it is together that peace will be lasting," Cardinal Piat underlined in his 52-page Pastoral Letter, which he unveiled Tuesday, February 25.
“The Lenten season is an ideal time to study in depth these evils that plague society in order to better heal them,” the Cardinal states.
The member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) appeals for an end to the various forms of violence that seem to be on the increase in the Mauritian society “particularly due to the continuing drug trafficking, joblessness of youths, over-indebtedness and precarious housing.”
Other forms of violence highlighted in the Pastoral Letter include “the hidden forms of the ultra-liberal economic system, the functioning of our democracy, social and family violence, and the underground forms of violence that gnaw away at the education system.”
Addressing journalists at the unveiling of the Pastoral Letter, the 78-year-old Mauritius Cardinal highlighted over-consumption, environmental deterioration and social inequalities as other challenges that seem to bedevil the people of God in Mauritius.
“We live in a system where we are pushed to consume too much. Also, there is the factor of inequality, the rich get richer. We were told about the Marshall Plan, but for 40 years we still can't make up for that inequality,” Cardinal Piat told journalists February 25.
He added, “The world economy is slowing down, our country is very indebted, some experts even speak of a possible devaluation of the rupee. The elections have been vigorously contested, violence in families and the scourge of drugs.”
“The Church is not there to give lessons to anyone. However, I believe that our country is capable of peace,” Cardinal Piat noted, making reference to the theme of his Pastoral Letter, "Together let us build a lasting peace.”
“It is together that a lasting peace can be built. And everyone has a role to play: the authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations,” Cardinal Piat said.
He recalled some of the major events that made last year memorable saying, "We had the Island Games, the Pope's visit, the increase in the old-age pension and the arrival of the express train."
He regretted the challenges Mauritius is currently facing and highlighted election contestation, devaluation of the rupee and the country's debt.
The Cardinal also spoke of the closure of factories, drug-related problems and road accidents.
Plans are underway to have the 52-page Pastoral Letter availed to Christians over the weekend. It will be sold in bookshops and supermarkets and the CD version of the document made available in the various parishes of the Island nation on sale.
Mauritians are expected to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Monument of Mary Queen of Peace in the capital, Port Louis, with a pilgrimage slated to take place on August 15.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa