The Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) welcomes the pastoral letter by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue released on August 1, 2015 and written on the occasion of the Archdiocese of Nairobi’s Family Day.
The Family Day that took place at the St. Mary’s Mùthangari grounds on Saturday August 8, 2015, brought together all the deaneries in the Archdiocese with thousands of faithful attending the event.
Drawing the theme of the day from Gen 1:31, “God saw that everything He had made, and behold it was very good”, Cardinal Njue addressed the pastoral letter “to all Christians and people of goodwill in the Archdiocese of Nairobi” (Cardinal Njue PL 2015, p.1). This address resembles that of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, which is “addressed to all people of good will” (Laudato Si para 63). After the preamble of the pastoral letter, Cardinal Njue referred to the goodness of God’s creation in relation to the goodness characterizing our homes. He relates this goodness to Pope Francis’ citation of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in Laudato Si (para 65), which reminds all people that everyone “is the result of a thought of God…willed…loved…necessary.”
In the third section of the pastoral letter titled “Laudato Si and “sister” earth”, Cardinal Njue shares a summarised reflection of Pope Francis’ encyclical. The summary in the pastoral letter highlights selected insights and teachings of the Holy Father that exhibit clear relevance “for us living in Nairobi and its environs” (Cardinal Njue PL 2015, p.5). With reference to Laudato Si, Cardinal Njue urges all Christians to exercise responsible stewardship in taking care of the environment around us. The Cardinal notes that the Nairobi areas mainly inhabited by the poor are unhealthy, yet we are responsible for the earth and the life of the flora and fauna even as we are for our human life.
The fourth section of the pastoral letter refers to the family as a home for ecological education. Citing his consistent advocacy for respect of the family institution, Cardinal Njue calls on all Catholics to stay alert and to listen and obey God’s word as well as the Church teachings to ensure that we all shun modern ideologies that work contrary to family life and our children. Before the conclusion of the pastoral letter, Cardinal Njue addressed the priests, religious and consecrated persons, children in the Pontifical Missionary Childhood (PMC), young people, Catholic women, and Catholic men individually and with reference to various occasions that he had spent with each of these sections of the Catholic congregation.
By David N. Munene