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Catholic Church in Liberia Seeking Assistance after Fire Destroys Bishops’ Secretariat

The building housing the Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL) ravaged by fire on 19 October 2021. Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

Assistance is being sought to reconstruct the building housing the Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL), which was destroyed by an inferno earlier this week. 

In an interview with ACI Africa Friday, October 22, CABICOL Secretary General, Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene, says the Secretariat was completely destroyed by the Tuesday, October 19 inferno. 

“The people of goodwill and the international community should keep us in prayers and help in the subsequent rebuilding process, which we will embark on soonest,” Fr. Nimene said.

The Liberian Priest recounted the incident that “burned to ashes” the edifice, which houses the offices of the CABICOL’s Secretary General and the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). 

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

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“On the 19th of October 2021, at about 10:30 a.m., fire erupted at the National Catholic Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL). The fire was spotted in the attic of the bedroom of the Secretary General,” Fr. Nimene said.

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

He added, “We were all at work in our various offices when this unfortunate incident occurred. The office staff and neighbors tried to help contain it but to no avail.”

“Everything was burned to ashes. Nothing was saved. All the documents (files, reports, etc) were destroyed,” the Catholic Priest told ACI Africa October 22. 

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

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The Secretary General whose living quarters were in the Secretariat added that he lost “all personal belongings” in the October 19 inferno.

“I am currently displaced; seeking refuge with the St. John of God’s Brothers at the Catholic Hospital and sharing office space with Caritas Liberia,” Fr. Nimene said. 

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

In the interview, Fr. Nimene said the Liberian National Fire Service (LNFS) carried out preliminary investigations to determine the cause of the fire and that the report is yet to be provided. 

He estimated the damages to “thousands of USD.”

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Following the incident, Fr. Nimene said, “The Apostolic Nuncio paid a courtesy visit to the site.” 

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

“The Archbishop Emeritus Most Rev. Lewis Zeigler and the Diocesan Administrator Very Rev. Dr. Gabriel Blamoh Jubwe all came to the site to ascertain the damage caused and sympathize with the staff of the National Catholic Secretariat,” he added.

Credit: Fr. Dennis Cephas Nimene

CABICOL leadership also received calls from the Catholic Bishops of “Borwah and Karnley expressing their closeness,” Fr. Nimene told ACI Africa during the October 22 interview.

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