Below is the message from Archbishop Peter Wells (Apostolic Nuncio to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) to bishop Frank Nubuasah (IMBISA president) as the bishops members of IMBISA are gathered at Maseru (Lesotho) for the 11th plenary assembly.
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Please thank IMBISA for the kind invitation to participate in the Plenary Assembly. I would very much like to be present, but unfortunately I am already committed for these dates.
The them that has been chosen is one that is very much felt by Pope Francis. In the Encyclical Laudato Si' the Holy Father makes it clear that caring for our common home is a fundamental dimension of Christian spirituality and he asks believers, and indeed all people of good will to commit themselves to practical forms of action stemming from what he calls an "ecological conversion".
The Pope says that the participation of local communities at the grassroots level is an essential part of the global strategy to develop effective programs to combat pollution and environmental degradation:
"... local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instill a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land." (LS n.179)
"Because the enforcement of laws is at times inadequate due to corruption, public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls." (LS n.180)
I would encourage you, therefore, to wholeheartedly promote what the Holy Father has termed an "ecological spirituality" among all the faithful, and in particular among lay individuals, groups and associations.
I assure you of my prayers and blessing for your Plenary Assembly.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Peter Wells