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Laudato Si’ Center Comboni Uganda, in collaboration with the Catholic Workers Movement of Mbuya Parish hosted a symposium on September 30th, 2023 to celebrate the African understanding of nature, inspired by the Laudato Si’ document. The event marked the closure of the Season of Creation 2023, a period of reflection and action that runs from September 1st to October 4th each year.

The symposium which brought together intellectuals, professionals and community leaders commenced with Holy Mass presided over by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Filipe Giuseppe, Bishop Emeritus of Kotido Diocese.The Eucharistic celebration was a spiritual call to action, emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship. It was animated by St. Kizito Choir of St. Paul Catholic Sub-Parish in Banda, Kyambogo University. Bishop Filipe urged all participants to embrace love for their neighbours, God and the environment as their collective responsibility.

Rev. Fr. Dr. Edward Kanyike Mayanka the Rector of the Philosophical Center in Jinja, delivered a thought-provoking discourse on the African understanding of nature. He highlighted key themes, including nature in African mythology, nature as a mediator and nature as a partner. Fr. Dr. Kanyike stressed the importance of seeing the universe as interconnected and interdependent. His teachings emphasized the need for humanity to treat nature with the same respect and care as we expect for ourselves.

On the other hand, Mr. Paul Mugabe, the Mayor of Nakawa division, passionately urged participants to take concrete steps towards environmental conservation. He emphasized the dire consequences of neglecting nature, including floods and landslides. His message was clear: it’s high time we take responsibility for our environment through actions like tree planting and proper waste disposal.
Mr. Fred Lali, an Environmental consultant, shared a sobering assessment of the country’s environmental standing, identifying its causes and proposing solutions. His call for Africans to embrace environmental policies aimed at conservation resonated deeply with the audience.

There was advocacy for collaboration by Rev. Fr. Nicholas Onyait, and the Director of the John Paul II Justice and Peace Center.
Conclusively, the provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Uganda, Rev. Fr. Anthony Kibira Kimbowa expressed gratitude to all participants closed the event with a heartfelt prayer, underscoring the significance of the day.

The launch of a song dedicated to environmental protection by Rev. Fr. John Bosco Mubangizi contributed to the event’s spirit. The event marked the closure of the Season of Creation 2023, a period of reflection and action that runs from September 1st to October 4th each year.

By Bro. Cosmas Ochan Okech MCCJ

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