The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has encouraged Zambians to seek and find God in this time of the Coronavirus crisis.In a statement the ZCCB has released after their plenary session in Lusaka, the Catholic bishops say God in His mercy has intervened before in such occasions as these, adding that he will intervene again.“We draw your attention to the story of Jesus calming the storm recounted in the Gospel of Saint Mark (Chapter 4, verses 35 to 41). When the boat in which Jesus and his disciples were in was rocked by the storm and it was about to sink, the disciples exclaimed, ‘Master, don’t you care that we are about to die?’ Jesus commanded the storm to stop and calmed the anxiety of the disciples,” read the ZCCB statement, which is signed by President of the Conference, Bishop George Lungu.Bishop Lungu has since cautioned people not to put the Lord their God to the test by asking him to stop the Covid-19 pandemic if they do not care about preventive measures.Calling the people to action, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that this is time for all Zambians to come together and renew the fight against this common enemy, which is the Coronavirus epidemic.Bishop Lungu said this will be achieved by citizens seriously adhering to the measures put in place to prevent the further spread of Covid-19, adding that people should minimize travelling from one place, unless it is absolutely necessary.The Catholic Bishops also call on government and all relevant institutions to prioritize timely provision of all necessary supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), to health facilities across the nation in order to guarantee the safety of all frontline workers in their fight against Coronavirus and its devastating effects.Bishop Lungu further noted that just as the Catholic Church in Zambia has suspended pastoral engagements in the dioceses, the Bishops reciprocally call on others to suspend activities that have the potential to fuel the spread of the coronavirus.#
KENYA: “I Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork,” Outgoing Provincial of Jesuits in Eastern Africa Province
Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Days after the congregation of The Society of Jesus (SJ) announced the new Provincial for the region of the Eastern Africa Province to be Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, the outgoing Provincial Fr. Joseph Oduor Afulo has emphasized on collaboration and teamwork as key elements in leadership.
Speaking to AMECEA Online about his experience in leadership, Fr. Afulo who has been the Major Superior of the Jesuits in Eastern Africa Province for six years said, “What I encourage is collaboration and teamwork, this is very essential.”
“I have had very good companions working with me in the Curia and also those whom I have been having as consultants. It is necessary to have good collaboration with other Jesuits provinces, to work closely with other Jesuit Superiors in different parts of the world and also to collaborate with other Religious congregations,” he underscored.
The Kenyan-born cleric whose initial plans included encouragement of collaboration with other Religious and lay people, adventuring into new areas of apostolate, promoting education of young members of the Society, strengthening community living and vocation promotion and ensuring continuity in the mission of the Society of Jesuits among others, has confirmed some of the achievements realized during his reign.
“We have had expansion of the Jesuits presence in Eastern Africa, improved vocations of young men joining the Society from different countries, more collaboration with the Local Church and other Religious congregations and also continued discernment on possibilities of serving people in different ways,” Fr. Afulo who has been at the helm of six countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan) disclosed.
He continued, “Currently we are working with the Franciscan Sisters of St. Anna in Tanzania, Evangelizing Sisters of Mary in Wau Diocese, South Sudan, Association of Religious Superiors in South Sudan and we have Nazareth Sisters of the Annunciation working with us in Gulu, Nothern Uganda and in Kenya at Mwangaza.”
“That aspect of collaborating with other Religious especially the Religious women is important because Religious women bring in a dimension of richness within our apostolates, which needs to be encouraged,” Fr. Afulo who had served as the principal of Hekima University College expounded in reference to the significance of working together.
Responding to the aspect of challenges in leadership, the outgoing Major Superior noted the “Security risks especially in South Sudan, distractions experienced by young men who are discerning their vocation, and the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic that has greatly affected the economy and the general cost of living and of running apostolates”.
To counteract the distraction aspect of those who feel called to serve in the Church, Fr. Afulo said, “For vocations, it needs to go beyond vocation promotion. The young men have to be encouraged, they have to be accompanied, and then good assessment of vocations is required so as to have reliable people for the future mission of the Society and of the Church.”
The incoming Major Superior Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, a Ugandan who was appointed by the Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa on Tuesday, July 14, will begin his ministry on Thursday, December 3, the day of St. Francis Xavier, Co-founder of the SJ.
In his letter addressed to the Jesuits, Fr. Afulo requested his companions to applaud his successor who is currently the Vice Chancellor of Arrupe Jesuit University in Harare Zimbabwe for his acceptance to lead the province.
“Through his decree of July 14, 2020, Father Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus has appointed Very Rev. Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, SJ as the next Provincial of Eastern Africa. I have communicated the appointment to Fr. Kiyimba. Let us congratulate him for accepting to take up this important mission in the Society of Jesus,” the letter reads in part.
Fr. Afulo who awaits to be given a new mission, an exercise which is done by the Provincial or General Superior has asked the Jesuits to pray for the new Provincial for God’s guidance in his ministry.
“Let us thank the Lord for Fr. Kizito Kiyimba as he takes up this new mission. We pray that the Lord may grant him the graces to lead us in wisdom and charity,” Fr. Afulo who has been 20 years a priest in the SJ congregation appealed to his companions.