East African Catholic Bishops begin their plenary assembly with an outdoor Mass in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and prepare to draw attention to the environment and integral human development.
By Angella Rwezaula – Dar es Salaam
The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMACEA) began its 20th Plenary Assembly with an outdoor Mass on Sunday July 10 at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The main celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop Emeritus of Nairobi, Kenya, and the homily was delivered by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization and representative of the Holy Father during of the event.
Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, is also present at the meeting, which takes place from July 10 to 18 at the Julius Nyerere International Congress Center.
The Plenary Assembly is held under the theme “Environmental impact on integral human development”.
AMECEA and Laudato if’
According to AMECEA President, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Solwezi, Zambia, the 20th Plenary Assembly of AMECEA will focus on the central message of Pope Francis’ historic encyclical, Laudato si’.
“This is an urgent challenge (for the world and the region) as environmental degradation and its impact threatens the very existence of humanity whom Jesus came to save,” the Zambian Bishop said.
The AMECEA President commended the Bishops of Tanzania (TEC) and the Catholics of Tanzania for bringing together resources for the preparations for the plenary.
“We are very grateful to the Tanzanian Bishops’ Conference for hosting our special co-vocation to renew our strength to continue proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, so thank you very much for the hospitality of all our brothers and sisters here in Tanzania,” Bishop Kasonde said.
Addressing the thousands of devotees who attended the opening Mass held at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, the AMECEA President appealed to delegates for active participation.
“Let us make this 20th Plenary Assembly of AMECEA a special ecclesial moment for the Church in East Africa. It is my prayer that, guided by the spirit of pastoral solidarity, each of us will play our part in making this gathering a successful convocation.
Bishop Kasonde further expressed his gratitude to God that the plenary finally took off following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As I entered this stadium today, I felt blessed, strengthened and encouraged by your faith and enthusiasm at this opening Mass of the 20th Plenary Assembly of AMECEA. It is a miracle indeed that we can physically gather in this stadium after two years of confinement linked to Covid-19 which shook the whole world, ”he said.
The Plenary was officially opened under the theme “Environmental impact on integral human development”.
AMECEA: the association
The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) is a regional institution of Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa with nine member countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Its Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General, is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Djibouti and Somalia are affiliate members.
Since its inception in 1961, AMECEA’s distinctive contribution to Church solidarity in the region has been the establishment and strengthening of participation, pastoral solidarity and collaboration rooted in small Christian communities.