KENYA: Lodwar Diocese Holds 6th Annual Cross Border Peace Conference, Calls for Disarmament

LODWAR, MAY 14, 2019 (CISA)- Bishop Dominic Kimengich of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar has called on the Church to play a spiritual role in peaceful disarmament in order to promote peace in the region.

“We will not succeed in disarming anyone by forcefully taking away the gun, if the heart and mind are not disarmed. It is only a question of time to get another gun, and another,” he said.

The prelate was speaking May 14 at the opening of the 6th Inter-diocesan Conference on Cross Border Peace and Evangelization held at St. Teresa Pastoral Centre in Lodwar from May 14.

Bishop Kimengich emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Church to disarm people’s minds and hearts.

“I want to start by talking about ourselves as the Catholic Church. Why is there a need to address issues of weapons and disarmament? I believe we need to go back to our prophetic role as the Church. We need to go to our offices and parishes. We need to put the word of God into action. It is our responsibility to preach the word of God: You shall not kill,” he said.

“The use of guns and weapons is often linked to the people’s insecurities, to fears and desperation, to the absence of and lack of alternatives. We need to continue preaching for people to love one another with their human hearts,” he added.

He noted that when the people are convinced to love and trust one another, only then will they put the weapons down.

“It is our duty to form the conscience of men and women to be reconciled in justice and peace,” he mused.

Pastoralist communities in Lodwar and neighboring areas have for a while lived in chronic hostility, owing to the culture of cattle rustling which often leads to death of members of the communities in continuous retaliatory attacks.

The Opening of the conference was graced by Bishop Virgilio Pante of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal, who is also chairman of the Commission for refugees, migrants and Sea Farers an arm of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and various clergy from neighboring Dioceses of Kitale, Nakuru,Maralal and  Marsabit ,in Kenya ,Moroto and Kotido in Uganda, and Jimma-Bonga in Ethiopia.

The Conference organized by Pacem in Terris -Cross Border Peace Department will run for a week.