The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Lesotho Catholic Bishops Conference (LCBC) held on 12 May 2022 a one-day training workshop for Religious Congregations aimed at those responsible for Justice and Peace in their respective congregations. The workshop was intended to sensitize religious men and women on Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees in the light of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti as a way to enhance the service of advocacy for Basotho nationals, informing them of their rights before crossing the borders into South Africa or beyond and giving them pastoral care and guidance to prevent danger or illegal crossing of borders, as well on care and guidance for refugees in Lesotho.
The topics discussed included the overview of the Papal Encyclical Fratelli Tutti and migration in the context of Lesotho. The discussions included issues such as trafficking in persons and internally displaced people and how the Church in Lesotho should respond to this ministry.
At the end of the information sessions, participants recommended that
- The Church should have a clear plan of awareness raising on migrants and refugees, which would be implemented in all dioceses, parishes, Roman Catholic schools and all religious congregations across the country.
- Community sensitization should be done following the synod’s way as everyone’s views are important.
- Radio awareness on Radio Maria and other local radio stations should be done regularly.
- Community Justice and Peace groups should work hand in hand with Religious Congregations Justice and Peace groups.
- Continuous dialogues for men, women, and children at the community level should be facilitated as well as introducing the Catholic Social Teaching for children through Catechism.
- A home for victims of trafficking or stranded migrants be provided for by the Church but such a home should always have security. Since a home for refugees is already there in the country, more help to such persons can be done in the form of food parcels, clothing, education, especially for children, and training on income generating activities.
- A committee will be elected from religious congregations that will work with CCJP on migrants and refugees’ issues.
Mr Booi Mohapi
CCJP – LCBC