Hello and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and peaceful end to 2023. As we enter the new year, I am wishing everyone a prosperous 2024 that is filled with many gifts and moments of joy.

I want to share with you all a few highlights from the final months of 2023:

In October, I was able to travel to BLI with Engineering Ministries International and soil expert Ray Archuleta to map out the BLI campus and plan for our continued growth. I was also able to spend a few days in Rwanda to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Maison Shalom. Spending time with Maggy and witnessing the inauguration of a brand-new school Ecole Sainte Anne de Kigali and the Centre Ubuntu at the Oasis of Peace confirmed once again, the ongoing invention of love that is the story of Maison Shalom.

Back in the  United States, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at Park Place Church in Anderson, IN, where I facilitated a workshop on mission and reconciliation, and preached at their Sunday worship. You can watch the service below. My homily begins around 38 minutes.

I also had the opportunity to speak with the National Catholic Reporter about Pope Francis’s Laudate Deum, which he released in October. You can read the article, which includes my comments and thoughts, here.

Finally, I ended the year back in Uganda, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day with family as well as recognizing the 5th anniversary of Mom’s passing. I am here for another two weeks, working with BLI management and staff on various projects: participating in the management review and planning retreat; engaging in staff retreats; and meeting the second cohort of Caretaker trainees as they prepare to depart from BLI to start their own independent ventures. Each trainee has prepared and presented a business plan for their independent integral ecology farm, and we are working with them to finalize these plans and secure funding. As they depart, we will soon welcome Cohort 4 in February, which is expected to be our largest cohort to date. Construction on new dormitories is underway to accommodate this increased enrollment. I am also working with the BLI team on to produce our next 5-year strategic plan. We will continue to work on this plan over the next six months.

Additionally, just this week, we welcomed Jordan Rydman, with a team who will be spending 6 months at BLI as a research intern. A social science researcher with an MA in environmental sustainability (Freiburg, Germany), Jordan’s internship is made possible through BLI partnership with the Oxford based Laudato Si Research Institute. Among other expectations, Jordan will be helping to set up a research desk at BLI. 

I thank you all for your friendship over the past year and wish you a blessed 2024.

Father Emmanuel


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