AMECEA child protection workshop AMECEA child protection workshop 

AMECEA region commended for commitment to Safeguarding initiatives

At a conference that brought together a section of Bishops from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region and other clerics dealing with protection of minors in dioceses, a senior Vatican official has appreciated the efforts of the region in its commitment to safeguarding children, minors and the vulnerable.

Sr Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA – Nairobi.

The Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Bishop Luis Manuel Ali, who began his mandate this year in mid-March, acknowledged in his address to the AMECEA participants that Small Christian Communities (SCCs) are becoming an important pillar for the AMECEA region in promoting safeguarding issues.

“I am very encouraged that as Bishops you are already doing a lot of work in safeguarding and child protection in your countries…. I understand most of your Episcopal Conferences are doing a lot in training personnel working with children in your institutions. This is a clear indication of your commitment in integrating safeguarding into your evangelization work,” Bishop Herrera who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Bogotá in Colombia said. He made his intervention in a virtual address to delegates meeting physically at Donum Dei, Roussel House in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya.

Families are the foundation for child protection

Bishop Herrera added that it is “commendable that all AMECEA member Episcopal Conferences have safeguarding offices and that plans are underway to review the policies that are aligned with Vos Estis Lux Mundi (An apostolic letter that established new procedural norms to combat sexual abuse and ensure that Bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions) and other relevant church documents.

According to the Vatican official, “The visionary leadership in the AMECEA region supported by the church’s structure from the Small Christian Communities to the Conference level, is strategic as families are the foundation for child protection.”

The Memorare Initiative

As a Commission that was established within the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop Herrera said it is committed to collaborating with the regions in the commendable work through locally-led initiatives and to partner through the Memorare Initiative, (A move that aims to assist and collaborate with local Churches worldwide in training and strengthening the prevention and safeguarding capacities for children and vulnerable adults.)

Since the Church in Africa is blessed with a rapidly growing number of committed faithful, a high percentage of whom are children and youth, and also blessed with increased vocations the Prelate said, “Your participation in this workshop, as shepherds and leaders, is a crucial step in our mission to ensure the safeguarding of these children and youth as well as vulnerable adults,” Bishop Herrera said.

He added that the active involvement at the local churches of the AMECEA region, is a sign of commitment, and a testament to the Bishops’ invaluable role “in providing tangible structures to prevent abuse and provide healing to those who experience it. For this I commend you!”

Solidarity with countries in AMECEA

The Colombian Bishop also expressed solidarity and closeness with the Episcopal Conferences in the region following challenges faced by various countries including natural disasters, political violence and conflicts. “We pray that by accompanying you in your safeguarding ministry, the Church will bear unwavering witness to the salvific and unifying love of the Risen Christ—who is King,” he said.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is mandated by the Holy Father to accompany the local churches in the development and realisation of their safeguarding guidelines, to oversee, build capacity and accompany the conferences and dioceses in the full implementation of Vos estis lux mundi (VELM) and to produce an annual report as a tool for accountability and transparency in tracking the Church’s progress in safeguarding.


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09 July 2024, 17:00