CISA NEWS REPORT:
NAIROBI, June 29, 2012 (CISA) -Jesuits from over 15 African countries gathered in Nairobi from June 24 to 28 for a seminar to discuss matters relating to the Jesuit Social Apostolate in Africa and how they could develop self-reliance in order to meet the demands of their mission.
The meeting was organized by the Jesuits of the Social Network and Coordination of the Social Apostolate, two services of the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM)
In his opening speech, Fr Michael Lewis, President of JESAM, reflected on the Social Apostolate model for contemporary Africa, a continent in rapid economic growth that is facing many challenges, including food insecurity, poor governance and lack of self-sufficiency.
“There are four practical problems that the Social Apostolate will have to face in the future: financial sustainability of the social apostolic societies, neglect of the youth for social apostolate, inclusion of lay people and strengthening the commitment of the Jesuits in the promotion of justice,” said Fr Lewis.
In his speech Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, Provincial Superior of Eastern Africa, said that the Church and the Society of Jesus in Africa must be an active conscience of society, engaging in the formation of leaders.
“There should be a collaboration with other religions and with civil society in promoting democracy, the rule of law, the common good, human rights, as well as social justice in Africa” added Fr Orobator.
According to Fr Russel Pollitt, a parish priest from Johannesburg, running the organization on itself is indeed a challenge. “As demographics change and poverty increases, parish finances become an issue. Rising costs of food and fuel also means people are struggling more”, he said.
To face this challenge, Fr Russel has taken some measures to make the organization self-reliant, such as appealing to parishioners, carefully budgeting and planning and monitoring.
“I intend to help people to realize what we can do for them and seek to become more self sufficient,” he said.
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