An Historical Meeting of Dominican Family Justice and Peace Promoters in Africa

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Promoters of Justice and Peace in Africa
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From 21 to 27 October 2013, Seventeen (17) Promoters of Justice and Peace from Inter-Africa of the Order of Preachers (IAOP): 7 brothers, 6 sisters of Dominican Sisters Africa (DSA), and 4 lay Dominicans represented all regions of Africa gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, to develop a strategic plan for Dominicans to become a stronger force for justice and peace in Africa. It was an historic event, as it was the first time that all branches of the Dominican family have come together in such a meeting to develop a common vision of how to address justice and peace in our different entities. The participants were delighted with the presence of Sr. Celestina Veloso Freitas, O.P., the International Coordinator of Justice and Peace for Dominican Sisters International (DSI), and Fr. Carlos Rodriguez Linera, O.P., General Promoter for Justice and Peace, who are both based at Santa Sabina in Rome. Friar Neil Mitchell, OP., gives us an account of this meeting.

«In the opening presentation, Fr. Mike Deeb, O.P., Councillors of IAOP for Justice and Peace and the Dominican Family, explained the “See, Judge, Act” and “Pastoral Circle” as effective methods of evangelisation which enable the church to put its energy into transforming humanity. All the entities and all the branches of the Dominican family in Africa then presented reports detailing where they are at in justice and peace work and elaborating the issues they face. The participants noticed that throughout Africa they all face the same kind of problems: poverty, inequality, unemployment, war, violence, oppression, corruption, environmental destruction, sexual abuse, etc. One of the days of the meeting was devoted to an outing which exposed participants to some South African realities.

Fr. Emmanuel Ntakarutimana, O.P., Promoter of Justice and Peace for the friars’ Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi, and President of the National Independent Human Rights Commission of Burundi delivered a presentation on the challenges of justice and peace work in Africa.  He described the problem of the world’s moral deficit. In reminding us of the five frontiers of evangelization for the Order, defined by the General Chapter of Avila (1986) (those facing death, those who are dehumanised, those of other Christian denominations, other faiths and secular ideologies), Fr. Emmanuel called on us to pool our expertise with so many others and so many institutions who are all working to lift the veil of trauma which covers Africa and incapacitates people from developing themselves.

 

Fr. Carlos, spoke about the work of the Dominican delegation to the United Nations which seeks to influence, in the way of the Gospel, the public policies which states make, so that these are made in accordance with the common good. Fr. Carlos commended also the “Salamanca process” as a way of reconnecting our Dominican institutions with reality.

The final sessions of the meeting were devoted to identification of the key areas confronting us in Africa, and to the development of strategies which will enable us to become a greater force for justice and peace. The promoters committed themselves to holding, before the end of 2014, regional training sessions to build these capacities in our promoters.» Congratulations!                                                                               

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Fr. Gabriel Samba, op

(25 novembre 2013)