The Bishop Chairman of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Charles Kasonde, has congratulated and commended the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA) for bringing energised positivity and cohesion to the mission of Christ.
Sr. Helen Kasaka, LSMI – Nairobi.
The appreciation and commendation by AMECEA was made at the “synod on synodality” second meeting between Bishops representing the AMECEA regions and the ACWECA religious women leadership team.
Africa is a sleeping giant
“We cherish these bonds of relationships, but in so doing, we realised that the associations under ACWECA, the mother of religious women organisations, bring a lot of positivity and cohesion to the mission of Christ, and this has to be commended. To our sisters, we say congratulations!” said Bishop of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese, Charles Kasonde. He was speaking in his capacity as AMECEA Bishop President.
The meeting took place at the Donum Dei Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speaking about how AMECEA and ACWECA could contribute to the greater vision of the African continent, Bishop Kasonde spoke of the need to challenge African politicians and presdients under the African Union (AU) to look at ways and means of strengthening their bonds of relationship as political leaders. This would enable Africa’s politicians to contribute to the governance of Africa in a manner that helps the emancipation of Africa.
The Bishop said that Africa is a sleeping giant endowed by the grace of God with various gifts, ranging from good climate, mineral wealth, and resources that can clearly develop Africa and emancipate it by empowering its poor populations.
[ Photo Embed: A selection of some of Africa’s flags]
Encouraging Africa’s political leaders
“We are a very rich people but poor at the same time. We sleep on minerals, eat on top of minerals, and suffer on top of the wealth God has given us,” the Bishop pointed out.
Bishop Kasonde said that some areas in Africa are war-torn, where there is great suffering of people who are internally and externally displaced by the violent conflicts. Some of these wars are unceasing, killing innocent brothers and sisters and destroying property. This is a lost moment for Africa, which cannot be recovered, he observed.
“If only our leaders at that political level would come together … and clearly look at the importance of Africa and the use of the gifts that God has given us, with fairness, justice, and equity in the extraction of our resources and the maintenance of the peace with which we are enrolled by our Lord, Africa can change in five days,” The Bishop said.
The battle for a better Africa is not lost
Bishop Kasonde said that religious leaders, priests, religious men, and women could contribute in various ways to the governance of the continent. “We should not belittle our contribution to the development of Africa. We need to accompany our political leaders and encourage them to act fairly and with sincerity of heart as they govern over the people of Africa,” he added.
The Zambian prelate further observed that Africans desire to live in a continent that erases artificial borders created by the colonisers. They wish to be identified as one people of Africa. The resulting intra-trade would enhance Africa’s economies as a whole.
The AMECEA President believes that the battle is not lost. There is a need, though, for commitment to what Africans want to achieve and develop. The continent can still improve its prospects for peace and ensure that the joy and peace that the Lord has given to Africans continue to sustain the environment and add to the desire for a clean environment. Africa can do better than it is doing now. The hope is still intact; people have faith in those political leaders of goodwill striving to make positive contributions to the development of Africa.
Accompanying Africa’s younger generation
Bishop Kasonde further spoke of the Church’s call for continuous accompaniment to Africa’s younger generation – “our children and young adults,” he said.
He appreciated the spirit of synodality prevailing in the AMECEA region. He commended the region for the unique interaction between women religious leaders and the Bishops of AMECEA. Bishop Kasonde said it was the wish of the AEMCEA Bishops that the bond created so far be strengthened.
“May God continue to bless our efforts, and may He continue to enrich this relationship between AMECEA and ACWECA,” he prayed.
Appreciation to the Bishops of AMECEA
For her part, the President of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa (ACWECA), Sr. Rosalia Sakayombo, a Zambian Holy Spirit nun, said that as leaders of religious women, they had come to the meeting bearing in mind the synodal discussions at the just-ended Synod on Synodality meeting, in Rome and still going on in local communities and dioceses.
She said the women religious leaders of the region had come to the ACWECA – AMECEA second meeting with open minds and in a spirit of collaboration.
“We would also like to mention that, as ACWECA, we are happy with what has happened from the last time that we met. We are having remarkable collaboration that has continued to happen between AMECEA and ACWECA at different levels,” she said.
Sr Sakayombo further urged continued evaluation of the growing partnership between the Bishops and the religious women of the region.
“We hope that as we gather here, we shall go back from the first time we met to the current time. How has the spirit moved all of us, what has happened from what we called ourselves to be previously and appreciate the progress made,” she stressed.
The AWECA 2024 Golden Jubilee
Sr Sakayombo officially informed the Bishops that the upcoming ACWECA 19th Plenary Assembly had been convened.
The Plenary Assembly will be held in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, from 18 to 25 August 2024. It would be marked as a milestone celebration of ACWECA’s 50 years,” said Sr Sakayombo.
She invited religious sisters of the region, to prepare members for the event. “Let us put our national conferences and association in the mood for prayer and intensive preparations for this great event in our region,” said the ACWECA President.
The ACWECA region comprises 10 countries: Sudan, South Sudan, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eretria, and Zambia. Zimbabwe is an affiliate member.