By Odiwuor Opiyo
OUAGADOUGOU, JUNE 7, 2022 (CISA) – “We appeal to the Governments and Humanitarian Organizations to do everything possible to ensure that no one dies from lack of basic food,” urged Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in his Pentecost Message dated June 5.
The Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, encouraged, “the development of effective policies and programs that value local food production and combat food waste; protect agricultural land and ensure its access to the peasant population. Because the solution to hunger will not be achieved through food aid only.”
“Food aid should be seen as a temporary solution and with the purpose of allowing a given population to survive in a crisis situation,” he said.
Cardinal Ouédraogo observed that this year is marked by an unprecedented scale of hunger owing to factors including the COVID 19 pandemic and its aftermath, climate change, prolonged wars and particularly the war in Ukraine.
While referring to the Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2022, Cardinal Ouédraogo declared that about 193 million people are severely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance in 53 countries, the majority of which are in Africa.
The cardinal cited the Second Vatican Council noting that God destined the earth for equal use by all men and women in it and not particularly for the haves at the expense of the have-nots.
“This calls for respect for social justice and the practice of solidarity, which prevents the monopolization of financial means by the richest, and promotes the inclusion of every man and woman in the society, as well as their fundamental dignity,” he said.
“Therefore, we, the disciples of Jesus today, are invited to break the logic of the selfish hoarding of goods and learn to share with others. Indeed, goods are a gift from God for all people and they belong to everyone,” Cardinal Ouédraogo maintained adding, “By sharing our bread with those who are hungry, we witness to God’s will to satisfy the “hunger” of the world and we allow God to meet the needy through our gestures of sharing and generosity. Generosity, sharing and solidarity do not impoverish but are generators of life, and life in abundance.”
Cardinal Ouédraogo proclaimed Pentecost as a feast of ecclesial renewal and commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ as much as it is a Feast of Peace and the birth of the Universal Church.