The Bishops of Southern Africa met in Maputo Mozambique from the 13th-17th November 2019 for their 12th Plenary Assembly. More than sixty Bishops from Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa and Zimbabwe enjoyed the hospitality of the Franciscan Sisters at the Mumemo Pastoral Centre. Gracing the occasion as well were the Apostolic Nuncio to Mozambique Archbishop Piergiorgio Bertoldi, funding partners from CAFOD, CRS, USCCB and Fr. Ikenna Ikechi, S.J from the Holy See Section on Migrants and Refugees. During the Plenary there was a one and a half day workshop which was facilitated by Mr Mike Greeff: Director of The Marist Schools Council assisted by Br Fortune Chakasara FMS and Mantopi Lebofa, a prominent activist of the environment from the mountainous country of Lesotho.
Guided by the 2019-2023 theme “Reinforcing communion in IMBISA for effective collegiality to respond better to the protection of children and vulnerable persons, as well as the earth, our common home“, the workshop was divided into three sessions as follows:
- the rights of children and the vulnerable,
- a case study on Laudato Si implementation and
- the consolidated leadership plan.
Each session was followed by contributions from participants. On protection of children and the vulnerable there was a town hall sharing exercise where participants gave their opinions on various topics that were displayed. The Bishops had an opportunity to write tweets after the presentation on how Laudato Sì was being implemented in their Episcopal Conferences given that the previous Plenary Assembly was on Laudato Sì. Group discussions were then used to review the consolidated leadership plan.
On IMBISA business, Bishop Lucio Muandula the President of IMBISA presented his report covering IMBISA activities and initiatives since the Lesotho Plenary Assembly, followed by the IMBISA Directors’ report and finally the financial report. Fr. Ikenna also gave a presentation on human trafficking. Hence, this report will give an account of what transpired during the IMBISA 12th Plenary Assembly with the last part focusing on Elections that were held to elect the IMBISA President, Vice-President and the Secretary General.
A colourful national Mass was held to officially close the 12th Plenary Assembly at Pavihao do Estrela Vermelha. In attendance also, was the President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi who gave an address at the end of the Mass.