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Burkina Faso’s Newly Inaugurated Museum Sign of “encounter between Church, local cultures”

Entrance to the Bishop Joanny Thévenoud Museum inaugurated Saturday, October 10 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The museum of Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou Archdiocese that was officially inaugurated over the weekend has been described as a credible illustration of the encounter between the Church and local cultures.

The Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Phillip Cardinal Ouédraogo who presided over the Saturday, October 10 event also said the initiative is an important instrument for the people of God to trace the history of the Church in the West African nation.

“This museum is a memory of the past of the Church in Ouagadougou and its heritage. It perfectly illustrates the encounter between the Church and local cultures,” Cardinal Ouédraogo said.

The Cardinal added during the ceremony, “The inauguration of this diocesan museum constitutes our firm commitment to reconstruct the history of the Church and our modest contribution to the development of our nation.”

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“We want to make this museum the cradle of the history of our Church, a place where visitors will be able to know the history of our church from 1901 to 2020,” the Burkinabé Cardinal said during the event held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral premises in Ouagadougou, where the museum is located.

Named after the first Local Ordinary of Ouagadougou, Bishop Joanny Thévenoud, the museum is expected to provide a collection of information and material about faith testimonies of religious men and women, texts of scientific, cultural, ethnographic and artistic importance for the Christian community in general and for the Catholics in particular.

In his address during the October 10 event, Cardinal Ouedraogo who doubles as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said that the museum is expected to be a point of reference for Catholics and non-Catholics in Burkina Faso.

“We have members from other religious denominations who are here today and even Muslims,” the Cardinal said and continued, “This shows that our museum will not only benefit Catholics but also all our brothers and sisters from other religious denominations.”

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The 75-year-old Cardinal further said, “This museum will strengthen our unity and our continuous quest for peace and stability in Burkina Faso.”

Speaking at the same event, the Coordinator of the museum, Fr. Modeste Tapsoba noted that the inauguration of the initiative is “the outcome of four years of research, collection of objects and documents, and consultation on the history of the Church in Burkina Faso.”

On his part, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Culture, Abdoul Karim Sango welcomed the initiative saying it falls in line with efforts made by the Church “to preserve our cultural and artistic heritage.”

“The Catholic Museum of Ouagadougou is the first from a religious community in our country, and even in the sub-region. This is to be noted and congratulated,” Minister Abdoul said.

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He added making reference to the museum, “The impact it can have on Ouagadougou and even Burkina Faso is much wider than the simple creation of a brand-new space designed to present an art collection.”

At the museum, visitors will have the opportunity to see artefacts, iconographic objects and books on the history of the Church in Burkina.

Collections related to the birth of Christianity in Burkina Faso, those illustrating the encounter between Catholicism and local cultures, as well as photographs of religious buildings and personalities who have marked the life of the Church have been displayed in the museum.

The museum has also exhibited musical instruments, the first transcriptions in local languages, documents on local customs and traditions written by not only missionaries but also natives of the West African country.

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