Hello friends. It has been an eventful fall, and I am happy to share an update on how I have spent the first half of my sabbatical.

September: In early September, I participated in a weeklong spiritual retreat at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota, USA. It was a time of rest, reflection, and renewal, surrounded by a beautiful campus full of trees, lakes, and nature. Later that month, I traveled to Seymour, Missouri to visit Ray Archuleta, a soil health and regenerative agriculture expert, who was featured in Kiss the Ground, a 2020 award-winning documentary on regenerative farming and carbon sequestration. He has agreed to come visit and spend time at BLI (Feb 2023), working with our management and staff team on issues of various aspects of integral ecology and regenerative agriculture.

October: In October, I traveled to Rome for the On Forests and Livelihoods (FLARE) conference where I reflected on the lessons I continue to learn from BLI’s Lazarus Forest program of reforestation and conservation. While in Rome, I was able to spend a beautiful evening with a group of Uganda priests currently studying or living in Rome. Upon my return to the U.S., I held my official book launch for Who are My People? at Notre Dame. The book explores what it means to be both African and Christian, especially in the context of outbreaks of violence across the continent.

November: In November, we held an in-person board meeting for the BLI USA Board Members at Notre Dame. We celebrated the wonderful year BLI has had and discussed and planned for the future. Later in the month, I took a long overdue trip to North Carolina to visit friends at Duke and Wake Forest, and in Cary, Edenton, and Hempstead. My old classmate Joseph Ntuwa is the pastor of All Saints Church in Hempstead, and he invited me to preside and preach there. You can stream the service here (homily begins at minute 22).

December: In early December, I was published in Plough Quarterly. My article, Reviving the Village, discusses BLI’s part in an emerging future for Africa – a new future liberated from ethnic and ecological violence. Crossing back over the Atlantic (to Rome) for a meeting with Pax Christi on Pope Francis, Nonviolence, and the Fullness of Pacem in Terris. (You can read a blog on the conference here.) From Rome back to Uganda for an extended amount of time – part of my sabbatical research on Sowing Hope.

I am grateful for all the gifts of this past year. I wish you all a Blessed Advent, Merry Christmas, and great end of the year.

Father Emmanuel


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