, 14 September, 2020 / 11:07 PM
The Priest in charge of a parish in Gabon’s Libreville Archdiocese has described the September 12 desecration of the Church in which the man involved made away with the monstrance and the lunette as being “stabbed in the heart.”
“Our Parish has just been stabbed in the heart. It is very serious and we have been hit really hard,” the Parish of Les Rois Mages, Akebe Ville in the Archdiocese of Libreville, Fr. Benedict Dieme says in his Sunday, September 13 statement obtained by ACI Africa.
In the message, the Fr. Benedict who is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) narrates the desecration incident saying, “An unidentified young man, drunk or drugged, infiltrated the grotto and broke in two the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Worst still, he took the monstrance and the lunette of the Body of Christ in his bag.”
“All this happened in the presence of a lady and some Christians who were praying and who observed the incident without reporting to us,” Fr. Benedict says and adds, “One of the Church wardens asked the young man to leave the place, without knowing what he had in his bag.”
In the statement, the Parish Priest further reiterates, “It is very serious and we have been hit really hard. We, the priests and nuns of the Parish are outraged and sad, but we are holding on.”
“Why, and who sent this criminal to vandalize our sanctuary? What do we do in this time of the pandemic?” he queries.
Following the episode, the leadership of Gabon’s Ministry of Interior instructed, in a Sunday, September 13 press release, security agencies in the West African country to investigate the matter.
“The Minister of the Interior and guarantor of public security condemns this isolated act in the strongest possible terms and reassures the Clergy and all Gabonese that light will be shed on this act of vandalism,” says the leadership of the Ministry.
The incident has drawn reactions on social media with some sharing their sentiments in Facebook posts.
“They do not attack men, but God. If they do not convert, they will suffer the wrath of God. Let us unite in prayer for the conversion of these desecrators,” Hyacinth Foe Nga posted.
“How will we describe such an abominable actor??? Only God will know how to build us. Let's pray,” posted Claude Prosper Ketevi Pattey.
Samuella Mintsa posted, “Let us beg God's mercy over Gabon and all those who participated in this hateful act, but it's a shame.”
As a way forward, Fr. Benedict says in his September 13 statement, “Dear people of God, dear parishioners, let us go down on our knees together and pray for the reparation of this serious fault.”
“Our Parish needs purification,” the Spiritan Cleric says.
In Malawi, the Chapel at the convent of Poverelle Sisters (PS) in Mangochi Diocese was desecrated, Sunday, August 30. The desecrators made away with the Blessed Sacrament and consecrated hosts in the ciborium.
In April, the oldest Cathedral in South Africa, Our Lady of the Flight into Egypt in the Archdiocese of Cape Town was desecrated. In the same month, St. Mary’s Modeco Parish in Tanzania’s Morogoro Diocese had to be temporarily closed following an incident of desecration in the early hours of April 27.
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