By Jonas Nduwimana
GCCM Burundi Coordinator
As part of the celebration of the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, GCCM Burundi, in partnership with the Caritas Burundi network and the Province of Anglican Church of Burundi, organized on 19 May a roundtable of Catholic and Anglican bishops under the theme: “The role of religious leadership in the response to the climate crisis in Burundi”.
The objective of this activity was to seek the endorsement of ecclesiastical authority to promote and disseminate the message of the eEncyclical Laudato Si’ and the culture of ecological justice in the grassroots communities through the parishes”.
The participants discussed the climate emergency and the ethical and spiritual dimensions of the ecological conversion proposed by Pope Francis.
They welcomed this ecumenical initiative for joint actions to care for the integrity of creation. They also invited Catholic and Anglican parishes and Christian communities to become model actors of community development by organizing concrete actions for caring for creation.
In his welcoming remarks, the President of Caritas Burundi and Catholic Bishop of Ngozi, H.E Mgr Georges Bizimana, recalled that the Earth, our common home, is being degraded by humans who should protect it.
In his speech, Mr. Berchmans Hatungimana, the representative of the Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock was pleased that the Catholic and Anglican church authorities are joining the efforts of the Burundi government to find solutions to the ecological crisis.He also acknowledged the role of religious denominations and the moral authority they embody are valuable assets in bringing about changes in people’s attitudes and behavior.
During a presentation titled,”Climate change, a threat to all humanity: what prospects for Burundi?”. Dr. Simon Bisore, Academic Director at the Secondary Normal School, showed the causes of the climate crisis and its consequences, while at the same time pointing out the local strategies to fix the crisis.
The Archbishop of Gitega, His Excellency Monsignor Simon Ntamwana, spoke on the role of religious leadership in the response to the current ecological crisis. He called on all of us to save our common home, which is degrading before our very eyes and will not be healed on its own.
For his part, His Excellency Bishop Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church, demonstrated that God entrusted humans with the mission of taking good care of other creatures. Therefore, he shared that nature is a gift and not something due to us due and that humans should not exploit it as they wish.