Insights from the IMBISA Justice & Peace meeting

From 5 to 8 May 2024, sparks of change ignited as delegates from the Episcopal Commissions for Justice and Peace and Parliamentary Liaison Offices of IMBISA member countries gathered at the Padre Pio Retreat Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. With  20 participants, this pivotal meeting became a beacon of hope, fostering deep reflection and dynamic discourse on critical regional challenges..

At the outset, Bishop António Juliasse Sandramo, Bishop of the Mozambican Diocese of Pemba and member of IMBISA’s Standing Committee, set the tone by highlighting the upcoming 50th anniversary of IMBISA’s foundation. This milestone prompted a collective prayer for the mission’s continued impact, honouring the noble intentions of its founders.

Reflecting on the evolving landscape, participants engaged in rigorous discourse on various themes, ranging from Church-state relations to what is changing around us to digital democracy and youth empowerment. These discussions were interspersed with first-hand accounts of regional realities, enriching the dialogue and shedding light on shared challenges.

Key concerns emerged from these exchanges, including issues of poverty, corruption, migration, and the encroachment of extremist ideologies. Participants underscored the imperative for the Church to advocate for social justice while upholding its prophetic truth and spiritual identity.

In light of these deliberations, several recommendations were put forth:

  • The need to develop an advocacy strategy capable of bringing about social change.
    • Educate those involved in justice and peace about new challenges.
    • Work together better using new technology to connect justice and peace efforts across IMBISA region.
    • Expand catholic liaison offices to help advocate for laws that affect people’s lives.
    • With the rise of digital technology, ensure everyone can access essential services fairly.
    • Listen to and involve young people in training programs that empower them, especially in their active participation in electoral processes.
    • Governments and others should consider the impact of the spread of Islam, especially through manipulative tactics that could harm the region.

In conclusion, the meeting not only deepened understanding but also incited action towards a more just and peaceful society. As the region navigates complex challenges, the commitment to advocacy, collaboration, and spiritual grounding remains paramount in shaping a brighter future for all.

Compiled by participants of the meeting on 8 May 2024