April 26, 2015

KENYA: Mother Earth Network, KFS Plant Trees to Mark International Day of Forests


NAIROBI MARCH 24, 2015(CISA)-The Franciscans Mother Earth Network and Kenya Forest Service- a government organization mandated to take care of forests in Kenya in collaboration with other stakeholders came together to plant trees on March 21 to mark the international Day of Forests.

Speaking during the celebrations at Ngong Forest Primary School, Fr Herman Borg, Chairman Mother Earth Network urged the participants to take forest conservation issues more serious.

“We should all actively participate in tree planting to promote sustainable development of our country, trees will give us good climate, quality air, good harvest and improved economic development,” said Fr Borg.

He lauded the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) for their efforts in conservation of nature saying it had helped save forests from depletion.

Speaking during the same event, Prof Karanja Njoroge, chairman, Friends of Karura called upon the government to promote forest education to the young generations noting that it would encourage involvement of students and young people in forest conservation.

Prof Njoroge further called for good forest governance, saying it was a key determinant for sustainable development in the forestry sector.

“The future of the coming generation is much being determined on how the current generation conserves our forest resources,” said Prof Karanja.

Twenty ceremonious trees mainly, prunus africanas, Warburgia Ugandensis, Makamia Lutea, Podocarpus, Croton Megalocapus, Elgon tick, Vitex keniensis, Juniperus Procera, Newtonian buchananii, Telea Nubilis were planted.

The species were considered to be very important due to their ecosystem provision of medicine, fuel wood, timber and mitigation of climate change through carbon sequestration.

The tree planting will be followed by massive planting of over one thousand tree seedlings once the rains set in April.


Religious Education an Integral Part of Our Value System, says Bishop


NAIROBI, MARCH 24, 2015(CISA) – Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba Chairman, Kenya Conference of  Catholic Bishops – Commission for Education and Religious Education has said that religious education is an integral part of our value system and must continue to be taught in our schools.

In a press statement sent to CISA on March 23, Bishop Muhatia said suggestions made on a national TV by one, Harrison Mumia, who purports to be an atheist, that Religious Education ought to be abolished are “ludicrous, absurd,  ill-thought and in bad taste.”

“The suggestions… wrongly deliberately downplays the important role that religious education plays in moulding the values of our society,” said Bishop Muhatia adding the Constitution of Kenya grants all Kenyans freedom of conscience and belief as well as the right to practice their faith and teach it.

“It is totally unacceptable for a few individuals to purport to influence curtailing the same rights and freedoms by recommending the scrapping of religious education from our school curriculum,” said the prelate.

According to Bishop Muhatia, for the Catholic Church, faith and holistic quality education are inseparable and religious education plays an integral and critical role in preparing learners for adult life, employment and life-long learning while encouraging them to develop their sense of identity and belonging.

“It is our considered view that there can be no quality formation of children to become responsible citizens if their education is not anchored on their religious faith,” he said adding. “Withdrawing religious education from our school curriculum is tantamount to rejection of the supremacy and importance of God in the lives of young people and the society.”

The bishop further warned that a society that turns away from God is doomed and that “we must continue to teach religious education and religious instructions in all our schools.”


KENYA: Catholic Diocese of Kakamega gets New Bishop


KAKAMEGA, MARCH 13, 2015(CISA) – Bishop Joseph Obanyi was on Saturday March 7 ordained for the Catholic diocese of Kakamega.

The colourful ceremony was presided over by the outgoing bishop of Kakamega, Philip Sulumeti and attended by thousands of faithful at Bukhungu stadium.

“I am retiring in Kakamega. From today I will refer to you as my father and promise to respect and be obedient to you,” Bishop Sulumeti 77 told the incoming bishop.

Bishop Sulumeti urged his successor to learn the Luhya language to make it easy for him to communicate with his flock.

“….Dear brother Joseph Obanyi learn the local language, Luhya so that you can smell the smell of your sheep…attend to the flock in which the Holy Spirit appoints you as an overseer of the church of God in the name of the father whose image you personify in the church,” said the outgoing bishop.

The Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles Balvo and John Cardinal Njue, 25 catholic bishops and over 100 priests and nuns attended the ceremony.

The occasion was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Senator Dr Bonny Khalwale among other host of local religious and political leaders.



MALAWI: Bishops Deliver Aid to Flood Victims


THYOLO, MARCH 13, 2015(CISA) – Malawi bishops are making solidarity visits to flood-hit areas to deliver aid items to those affected.

The floods which occurred in January have displaced more than 230,000 from their homes mostly in the country’s southern and central regions.

During the visits representatives from each of Malawi’s eight dioceses delivered money, clothes, food, and non-food items valued at 1 billion Malawian kwachas, or $2.2 million. The aid was collected from Catholic parishes and institutions across the country reported CNA.

“We commend the oneness and unity in joy and tribulation which the Catholic Church in Malawi has shown, and we continue to ask well-wishers to keep contributing towards this noble cause,” Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre said on March 10 during an event held in the Thyolo district.

“The demand for relief items in the affected 15 districts is still huge,” he added at the visit to displaced persons living in shelter camps in the area.

According to Archbishop Msusa, the Malawi bishops had designated February 8 “as a special Sunday for the collections of relief items to support thousands of our brothers and sisters affected by the floods,” adding. “We dedicated all the collections for the AMECEA thanksgiving Mass January 31 towards the support of the flood victims.”

Fr Emmanuel Chimombo, acting secretary general for the Malawi bishops’ conference appealed to the Catholic faithful in leadership positions to “live to their Christian values by advocating for the poor, as well as resilient building policies so that events like these disasters do not always catch Malawians off guard.”

The UN estimates that the two weeks of heavy rain in January claimed more than 275 lives and displaced more than 230,000 persons from their homes in 15 of Malawi’s 28 districts. The flooding washed away more than About 64,000 hectares (158,147 acres) of farmland in the country where agriculture accounts for 30 percent of GDP.

On January 24 Pope Francis sent a message of solidarity to the country, assuring Malawians of “his prayers for the victims, their families and all affected by this catastrophe.”



KENYA: Church Launches Catholic Education Institutions Association


NAIROBI, MARCH 13, 2015(CISA) –The Catholic Church in Kenya has today launched the Catholic Private Education Institutions Association (CaPEIA) that is aimed at bringing all Catholic private institutions together.

“We as Catholics want to pool our resources, bring together our institutions so that with unity we can better promote the mission, vision of the Catholic Church in this country especially in the area of education,” said Bishop Maurice Makumba, chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious education.

He was speaking at the end of the Catholic Private Educational Institutions Director and Head teachers Conference held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa held March 10- 13.

The prelate urged the directors, principals and the head teachers of Catholic private intuitions to follow the guidelines written in the association’s constitution.

“You are the nerve centre of the formation of children in the society today, so we are relying on you in the right formation for children…let us be men and women who will make a difference in the education system in the country.” Bishop Makumba added.

The association (CaPEIA) was formed because the Catholic Private educational institutions have a different mission with that of the Kenya Private School Association.

The vice chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Philip Anyolo urged the delegates at the conference to have a unique approach to challenges facing the education system in Kenya.

“We want the education level to be advanced in the country therefore we come here in the conference to find ways we can bring together the heads of the education to find ways we can improve to educate nation and the church.”

“This conference is being held at the time of lent; this helps in reflection of our previous performance,” added Bishop Anyolo.

Bishop Makumba supported the government’s decision to abolish ranking of the schools in the education system abolishing of school ranking in Kenya.

“Ranking of schools has become a source of making money and corruption and is no longer a tool which is used to help our education system and help children,” said the bishop.