The Justice and Peace Department of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat on Thursday 11 May held a validation workshop for Diocesan Coordinators in Addis Ababa, as it wraps-up a five-year strategic plan with financial support from the Church agency Miserior. Speaking at the workshop, Fr. Hagos Hayish, Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat called on those working to promote peace and reconciliation to put Christ at the centre of their lives and their activities.
Below is a report by Makeda Yohannes
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Justice and Peace Department in its history of 22 years has been an active agent of peace and reconciliation throughout the country working through the Diocesan offices. The department’s active involvement with the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia in peace building is also one of its commendable achievements.
The department is its efforts for a continued success is finalizing a 5 years strategic plan with the financial support of Miserior and organized a validation work shop in Addis Ababa for Diocesan Justice and Peace Coordinator and other stakeholders on May 11, 2017.
Speaking at the workshop Fr. Hagos Hayish, C.M., ECS Secretary General, called on the coordinators as agents in the Catholic Church’s Ministry of peace and reconciliation to reflect more on the words on our Lord on the Gospel of Mark (4: 30 – 34) what 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, C.M.
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 thought His disciples to be accountable to those least powerful.”
Fr. Hagos, C.M, 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 learned services to the people. He reminded that the Justice and Peace Coordinators that they are expected to influence and advise Catholic Church decision makers and asked that the Strategic Plan must consider a line of communication and advocacy with Church Hierarchy.
The participants of the workshop stressed on the importance of considering 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 followed by a 2 days training on Catholic Social Teachings and Peace Building to the Diocesan Justice and Peace Coordinators and ECS staff.