The Holy See
back up

 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 102, December 2006






“They will know you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35)


Dear Catholic Christians and all people of good will in the Great Lakes Region,
We, the Archbishops and Bishops attending the Great Lakes Regional Summit in Nairobi on the 14th and 15th December 2006 wish to express our appreciation to the Heads of States and Governments, of the Great Lakes Region for their initiative to come together to reflect and discuss matters of common good for the Great Lakes Region.

The presence of the representative of the Holy See and the message of the Holy Father are very clear signs of how close the Great Lakes Region is to the heart of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.
“We further deeply appreciate the other countries, friends of the Great Lakes Region. We pray that they will continue supporting the initiative for the benefit of our people.

Inspired by the spirit of this message, it is our most considered opinion that our region requires lasting peace, security, political stability and sustainable development. As we know our region has had its share of problems including political instability in some areas, violence as a result of negative ethnicity, poverty and many others.

Due to violence leading to loss of human lives some of our people have been left divided and without hope. Therefore, this initiative of our Heads of State and Government offers a chance to initiate the process of healing, which the Church fully endorses and commits itself to promote leading our people to forgive and reconcile with one another in the interest of peaceful co-existence now and in the future.

We call upon all those concerned to ensure equitable distribution of resources at the national and regional levels. We challenge ourselves to be pro-active so that we can be able to foresee and forestall explosive negative situations. This way we shall save our region from exhaustive wars and other negative experiences.

We urge our political leaders to nurture a culture of tolerance, patience and forgiveness. We urge them to be sensitive to the plight of the majority of people when their differences of opinion plunge different countries into political instability. While we pray for them, we again urge prudence and wise discretion.

We urge our lay people to take up the challenge of their calling and mission. This is to be the salt of the earth. They are to take up their rightful roles in the society including the political and administrative offices.

As the summit comes to an end, we encourage our Heads of States and Government to ensure the implementation of the Pact to the detail. This will ensure that the gains from several summits are not in vain.

Finally we send all of you greetings, peace and best wishes of a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year 2007.


Nairobi, 15 December 2006 


Archbishop Paul Bakyenga

Chairman, AMECEA 


Archbishop John Njue

Chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference 


Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo

Chairman, Episcopal Conference of Congo 


Bishop Jude Thaddeaus Ruwa’ichi

Chairman, Tanzania Episcopal Conference 


Bishop Fredrick Drandua

Vice Chairman, Uganda Episcopal Conference 


Bishop Jean Ntagwarara

Chairman, Burundi Episcopal Conference