Receiving visitors is always a blessing. For the CYNESA Secretariat, our blessing came through Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, who on February 19th, spent an entire afternoon at our Nairobi office. Fr. Katongole, a Ugandan priest who currently serves as an Associate Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, in the United States. His research focuses on the politics and violence in Africa, the theology of reconciliation, and Catholicism in the global South. Present at the meeting were CYNESA Programs Manager, David Munene, Board Member Hellen Mugo, Volunteer Intern Abner Wachira and Executive Director Allen Ottaro.
Fr. Katongole shared that he has been following CYNESA’s progress, and the network listed in his examples of organizations and movements that are taking action in implementing the encyclical Laudato Si’. The meeting provided a wonderful opportunity to trace CYNESA’s history and journey over the last 5 years, successes, challenges and lessons learned, but also future hopes and plans. Fr. Katongole is himself no stranger to ecology and youth work. In the year 2012, which incidentally, is the same year that CYNESA was founded, Fr. Katongole, in conjunction with two other priests, formed the Bethany Land Institute. “Our desire is to get young people to listen to the land”, explained Fr. Katongole,stressing the institute’s focus on “form especially the poor and excluded in Africa, in the practices, lifestyle and spirituality of sustainable land care, food production, and economic expertise in rural Africa.”
During the conversations, the CYNESA team disclosed their imminent plans to set up a chapter in Uganda, as the Ugandan priest had found it peculiar that despite having a presence as far as Zimbabwe and South Africa, CYNESA was yet to spread her wings to the pearl of Africa.
CYNESA looks forward to working closely with the Bethany Land Institute, and thanks to Fr. Katongole for taking time to visit!
Founder & Executive Director, CYNESA