Justice and Peace Personnel in Ethiopia Encouraged to be Christ-centered
CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Addis Ababa || 11 May 2017
The diocesan coordinators of Justice and Peace department in Ethiopia have been encouraged to put Jesus Christ at the center of all their activities and to “constantly search for courage and wisdom through the light of Christ.”
The Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (ECS), Father Hagos Hayish made the encouragement in Addis Ababa Thursday, May 11 at the workshop organized by the Justice and Peace department of ECS.
In its efforts for a continued success in finalizing a five-year strategic plan with financial support of Miserior, the department organized a validation workshop in Addis Ababa for diocesan Justice and Peace Coordinators and other stakeholders on May 11, 2017.
Speaking at the workshop, ECS Secretary General, Fr. Hagos Hayish, called on the coordinators as agents in the Catholic Church’s ministry of peace and reconciliation to reflect more on the words of our Lord in the Gospel of Mark (4: 30 – 34), emphasizing that we sow in the hearts of the people will have an effect on the long term outcome of our work. He added that working in peace building strictly requires putting Christ at the center.
“Working as agents of Peace and Reconciliation in the Church we must constantly search for courage and wisdom through the light of Christ, we need to pray and strengthen our own faith. It is only this way we can be strong enough to resist being shattered by the winds of the time in our lives. Through the wisdom God grants us, we can recognize the realities of our times and serve the people accordingly. This is what distinguishes us from other social workers,” said Fr. Hagos.
The department of Justice and Peace at ECS has been an active agent of peace and reconciliation throughout the country, working through Catholic diocesan offices for the last 22 years.
The department’s active involvement with the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia in peace building is also one of its commendable achievements.
The Secretary General also stressed on the importance of accountability saying, “we need to learn how to become accountable to those at the bottom of the ladder like Our Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples to be accountable to (the) least powerful.”
Fr. Hagos also noted that people working in peace building, reconciliation and justice must constantly update themselves with Church policies and civil laws in the country so that they can provide services to the people from an informed perspective.
He reminded the justice and peace Coordinators that they are expected to influence and advise Catholic Church decision makers and asked that the Strategic Plan consider a line of communication and advocacy with the Church hierarchy.
The participants of the workshop stressed the value of taking into consideration gender sensitivity, the current challenges of the youth such as moral degradation and other needs of the people that can be seen by reading the signs of the time.
The validation workshop is being followed by a two-day training on Catholic Social Teachings and Peace Building for the diocesan Justice and Peace Coordinators and ECS staff.