, 19 April, 2020 / 6:47 PM
The President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Phillip Cardinal Ouédraogo, who has recovered from COVID-19 after days of care at a hospital in his country, Burkina Faso, is observing “a period of rest” outside his official residence.
The Cardinal tested positive for COVID-19 last month and has been receiving care at the International Polyclinic in his county’s capital, Ouagadougou where he is the Archbishop.
“Cardinal Ouédraogo is doing better now. He had left the Les Genêts clinic at the beginning of his treatment and was transferred to the International Polyclinic of Ouagadougou,” the Communication officer for the Bishops' Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger (CEBN), Fr. Paul Dah told ACI Africa Saturday, April 18.
He added in reference to the Burkabe Cardinal, “With a reassuring state of health, he was discharged on April 5, and is convalescing outside the Archbishop’s House.”
According to Fr. Dah, doctors advised the Cardinal to “take some time off to rest before resuming with his pastoral activities.”
The Archbishop’s House has been disinfected with activities expected to resume in the days ahead, Fr. Dah told ACI Africa.
The news of the hospitalization of Cardinal Ouédraogo who is at the helm of SECAM, the forum that brings together the Catholic Bishops in Africa and Madagascar, was received with shock across the continent.
In various solidarity messages, Catholic Church leaders known to the Cardinal made known their prayerful and quick-recovery wishes, with Bishop Sithembele Sipuka, the 1st Vice President of SECAM, reassuring the Cardinal of other African Bishops’ closeness.
“We have informed all the Standing Committee Members and entrusted you to their prayers” Bishop Sipuka stated in his April 1 message availed to ACI Africa, adding in reference to COVID-19, “as this disease is now a global phenomenon, we include in our prayers the whole world for a quick arrest of the spread and for a cure to be found.”
In his Easter message, the 75-year-old Cardinal has expressed his gratitude to all who prayed for him and thanked God for his recovery from COVID-19.
“In this year 2020, the universal Church celebrated Easter in the context of the coronavirus pandemic; your Pastor was affected, and after a stay in the hospital, thank God, as you can see for yourself, everything is now in order,” Cardinal Ouédraogo wrote in his Easter Message dated April 8.
“I must observe a period of rest and remain in convalescence for a few more days before joining you,” the Burkinabe Prelate added.
He went on to renewed calls for solidarity in the care for patients diagnosed with the virus saying, “I would like, from the bottom of my heart as a Pastor, to launch a great cry for a profound impulse of solidarity at the local, regional and international level for those sick of COVID-19.”
“There is an urgent need for adequate means to save the many human lives affected,” he added.
The Burkinabe Cardinal underscored the importance of collective initiatives in the fight against the virus that has infected at least 1.43 million people across the globe saying, “One finger does not pick up flour, teaches an African Proverb. Let us therefore unite to drive this dreadful scourge with its unfortunate consequences out of our country and out of the world.”
He entrusted his trying moments and prayers to “all our brothers and sisters who have been swept away by this pandemic. I entrust them to the Lord, the conqueror of death. I offer my sincere condolences and entrust them to the maternal consolation of the Virgin Mary.”
The Burkinabe Prelate also prayed “for all people sick with COVID-19 or affected by other ailments, for an end to all the killings perpetrated by the forces of evil, for caregivers who work selflessly and professionally to save lives and wipe out disease and reconciliation, justice and peace in Burkina Faso.”
The West African nation has recorded 546 cases of the COVIDe-19; 294 have recovered and 35 have succumbed to the virus.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa