Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
Kenya’s Catholic Bishops meeting recently at Donum Dei Sisters Centre in Karen, Nairobi, have appealed to the country’s Catholic faithful to donate food to regions affected by severe drought.
An appeal to parishes for donations
“The current drought situation affecting nearly all counties in the arid and semi-arid regions of the country is a matter of great concern. It calls for urgent and decisive action from all of us. As your shepherds, we appeal to all the faithful within the parishes and all people of goodwill to express solidarity with our affected brothers and sisters by donating food and giving other forms of assistance, for example, facilitating transportation. Through our dioceses, ways and means should be found to make sure that such donations reach those affected by drought. No Kenyan should die of famine,” the Bishops said in a Pastoral Letter released Thursday.
It cannot be politics and business as usual
The Bishops fault authorities for what they termed a very slow response to the drought situation. They have appealed to the Kenyan Government to respond in a swift and coordinated manner and come to the aid of affected populations to lessen suffering and avert a humanitarian crisis.
The Bishops continued, “It is unfortunate that 58 years after independence, we are unable to come up with permanent solutions to the perennial droughts that affect the country every few years. As a country, we must wean ourselves from the obsession with politics and sensationalism at the expense of other important issues of national concern. It cannot be business as usual when Kenyans continue to starve and even die from droughts which can easily be managed through the establishment of sound mitigation structures,” emphasised the Archbishop of Mombasa and Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Martin Kivuva Musonde. He released the letter to the media.
Droughts are a result of climate change
The Kenyan Bishops also addressed themselves to issues of the environment.
“It is becoming clear that the frequent droughts that we are experiencing in many parts of our country are as a result of global climate change and environmental degradation. Here in Kenya, it seems our model of development has led to a culture of degradation of our environment and the depletion of our natural resources,” reads the Bishops Letter. The Bishops want to see more robust programmes aimed at creating a safe environment for every human person.
We can reduce future climate effects if we act now
In light of Pope Francis’ environmental push, the Bishops in Kenya say they have, in place, a national tree-planting project.
“We are pleased to note that the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has embarked on a similar campaign. As a Church, we have joined this campaign in partnership with the Government,” Archbishop Musonde told the media.
He added, “If we all act to conserve the environment, the current effects of climate change that we are witnessing today in the form of perennial droughts, floods, food insecurity, water-borne diseases and respiratory infections will be reduced to manageable levels.”
The Pastoral Letter of the Bishops also highlighted a new liturgical missal, “Misale Ya Kiroma.” The missal will go into use nationwide on the First Sunday of Advent