Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father Peter Henriot’
Serving in Zambia on sabbatical in 1989 had a life-changing affect on Jesuit Father Peter Henriot. “Working in a village development project with local people and doing simple tasks did almost more for my education than all the other learning I gathered while studying and working in the United States. And at the end of that year, the people there gave me the best gift – the desire to stay.”
And for the next 21 years that’s exactly what Fr. Henriot was able to do, having joined the Zambia-Malawi Province (transferring from the Oregon Province) while working with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia after having spent the previous 16 years with Center of Concern in Washington, D.C. And, then in 2010, he was assigned to another purpose – to help establish Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Malawi.
Although it is a country rich in natural resources, Malawi, whose nickname is “The Warm Heart of Africa,” continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of human development. It ranks a somber 153 out of 169 on the United Nations Human Development Index, which is largely caused by lack of educational opportunities for its youth.
“There simply is no future for Malawi without better education for the young people,” Henriot states.
U.S.-born Jesuit Father Peter Henriot, who has served for 20 years in Zambia, said the country must not permit its 2011 elections to be marred by political violence, as happened in other African countries.
Fr. Henriot, outgoing director of the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, said Zambians must ensure that their general elections are held freely and transparently, which includes ensuring fairness in the period leading up to the election.
“That means the media should cover all political parties,” said Henriot, who recently returned to the U.S. and is scheduled to go to Malawi later this year. “Secondly, those civic authorities, the police and election officials must also treat all parties equally.”
Henriot dismissed the notion by some people that the Catholic Church was too involved in political matters.
“Politics is life. Jesus was a strong politician, too, because he talked life. What is wrong is to be partisan,” he said.
More of Henriot’s thoughts on the subject are available from Catholic News Service.