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The program 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. The St. Kizito Choir of St. Paul Catholic Sub-Parish in Banda, Kyambogo University, added a melodious touch to the proceedings, making the event more resonant.

Rev. Fr. Dr. Edward Kanyike Mayanja, 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.

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.

Rev. Fr. John Bosco Mubangizi contributed to the event’s spirit with the launch of a song dedicated to environmental protection. His musical endeavour added a creative and inspiring dimension to the symposium.

Environmental consultant, Mr. Fred Lali 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.

The Director of the John Paul II Justice and Peace Center introduced the center and its mission, advocating for collaboration with Laudato Si’ to further their shared objectives. Recognizing the overlap in their work, this partnership promises to amplify their impact.

The symposium emphasized the importance of collaboration among various Christian movements. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Onyait encouraged unity among these groups to achieve more significant successes in environmental conservation.

Bishop Filipe, the guest of honour, emphasized the importance of obeying God’s commandments, especially those related to environmental stewardship. He urged all participants to embrace love for their neighbors, God and the environment as their collective responsibility.

The provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Uganda, Rev. Fr. Anthony Kibira Kimbowa expressed gratitude to all participants and introduced the Board of Governors of the Laudato Si Center Comboni Uganda. He closed the event with a heartfelt prayer, underscoring the significance of the day.

The symposium concluded with a blessing from the esteemed Rt. Rev. Filipe Giusseppe, Bishop Emeritus of Kotido Diocese, serving as a poignant reminder of the spiritual underpinning of the gathering. It brought together intellectuals, professionals and community leaders to share insights

and solutions for a sustainable future.

Bro. Cosmas Ochan Okech MCCJ.

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