Since the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si’, the encyclical on care or our common home of Pope Francis, the Pope has launched a Laudato Si’ week, which at the end of it, he proclaimed a special Year Laudato Si’ and declared a next Laudato Si’ week to take place from 16-25 May 2021. The last one coincided with the sixth anniversary of this encyclical.
Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic which is hitting the world and with consideration of the precaution measures against COVID-19 in Rwanda, CYNESA Rwanda celebrated the Laudato Si’ week 2021 by mainly doing awareness where Country Director, Benoit Musabyimana and Father Pascal Tuyisenge, Rector of Minor Seminary of Saint Vincent Ndera, took part in a radio program on Radio Maria Rwanda. They spoke about Laudato Si’ and which actions the youth and other Christians can do in order to live Laudato Si in their daily life.
It was realized that many Rwandan youth are still not aware of the encyclical letter Laudato Si, but that they are aware of the environmental degradation and their impacts such as climate change, death, migration, drought and erosion, etc. that is taking over. Few of the youth know that Laudato Si’ is an invitation from the Pope, about how to take care of the environment. “We advocate and make awareness of Laudato Si’ to youth, we do actions to take care of the environment, where we involve youth in different parishes and we are hoping many youth will be reached and that they will take actions in making the planet better than how they found it” said Benoit Musabyimana the Country Director.
“Pope Francis’ wish is for people to know the relationship between people, environment and God, because everything that is on the earth has its own importance. People need to take the road to change; destroying the environment is destroying self” said Fr. Pascal Tuyisenge, adding that, “taking action by caring for the environment is helping God in creation”.
In 2020, Laudato Si week took place in the difficult times of Covid-19. Just like this year, CYNESA Rwanda took part in a Radio Maria program. The radio show reached many young people and other Christians in different dioceses across Rwanda. So far, CYNESA Rwanda has carried out various activities, including the Laudato Si’ workshops with different youth from different parishes and universities in the Archdiocese of Kigali.
For Laudato Si’ week 2021, a continuous awareness using social media and radio programs has been sustained. Speakers on the radio shows stated that Christians shall be the first to take action for caring of our common home and the biggest consequences of inaction are faced by the most vulnerable in our society. Partnerships with civil societies are still needed, and the government of Rwanda is collaborating and taking actions to protect the environment. They request young people to read and live by the messages which the Catholic Church is putting out to advocate for our common home. A translated version of the encyclical Laudato Si’ in Kinyarwanda, is available in different parish bookshops. Christians, including youth are invited to read it, and put into actions the message of Laudato Si’.
Ntivuguruzwa N. Olive,
CYNESA Rwanda Finance Manager.