Launched Virtual Pilgrimage in West Africa to Showcase Testimonies of “justice issues”

A poster announcing the virtual pilgrimage of members of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA). Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The online pilgrimage, which members of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) launched is expected to feature people’s “contributions to the struggle for justice”, the Catholic Church leaders have said in a statement. 

In the statement issued October 28, Catholic Bishops in West Africa say the online prayer initiative “consists of the Churches showcasing their contributions to the struggle for justice through uploading of video clips and voice messages to the RECOWA Facebook page as we move virtually round the region, from one country to another speaking about justice issues, in the spirit of prayer.”

“We hope to provide a platform for the voices of our people to be amplified and to be heard by government officials and policy makers at different levels in Africa and internationally; as well as to sensitize and inspire the general populace for action in favor of justice,” they add.

The online pilgrimage is also “designed to help our Church in West Africa to listen more to the cry of the poor and marginalized communities in their plight and struggles, as we demonstrate our solidarity with them,” the Catholic Bishops further say.

In the message delivered by RECOWA President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, the Catholic Bishops in West Africa indicate that the pilgrimage is expected to “to draw attention to a number of international events that would impact on the life of our people.”


Some of the events they highlight include the negotiation for the UN Binding Treaty against cooperate impunity, and the Conference of Parties on Climate Summit (COP 26) taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.

“The caravan of the civil society struggle will pass through identified West African States from 20th November to 11th December, 2021,” RECOWA members say.

The online pilgrimage is expected to run from October to April 2022, culminating in the 4th plenary Assembly of RECOWA, scheduled from 2-9 May 2022 in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese.

In their collective message, members of the regional conference comprising 154 Episcopal Sees spread across 11 conferences in 16 countries of Anglophone and Francophone Africa outline what is expected of the people of God during the pilgrimage.

They call on the people of God to upload, on the Facebook page of RECOWA, “Interviews of communities (men, women and young people) impacted negatively by resource grabbing and corporate impunity to which our Bishops have raised concerns in their pastoral statement of 16th February, 2020.” 

More in Africa

Participants in the pilgrimage are also expected to share “stories of successful local initiatives to promote agroecology and care of the environment, afforestation and stories of how your local parishes and communities are welcoming, hosting and supporting the caravan event as it passes through your local areas.”

The Catholic Bishops in West Africa also encourage pilgrims to share “stories of how social injustice and environmental crises have affected the life of youths, women and children in your society.” 

“Laudato Si’ events in your Parishes and Dioceses or any other activities that are related to the theme of land justice (securing land rights), agroecology, and awareness of environmental crisis, while at the same time, showing your effort in challenging worsening corporate capture and impunity that have led to resource grabs (land, water and seeds)” are also to be shared.

Members of RECOWA instruct “the National and Diocesan Justice and Peace Commissions to redouble their efforts and innovations in the assistance, protection and care of victims of the harmful effects of the land grabbing and expropriation.”

“By this online pilgrimage we wish to concretely demonstrate to our people that we are committed to the cause of justice,” the Church leaders say.


They make a “passionate appeal” to members of the international community to “hear the cry of the poor and harken to their plea for justice and dignified existence.”

“We do so, on behalf of our voiceless people whose rights are being trampled upon, whose lands are grabbed, whose waters are polluted, whose forest and environments are destroyed in the name of development that is not integral and does not advance the human well-being of the population but rather boost the financial profits of the powerful and rich Corporations,” RECOWA members say in their October 28 message.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.