Church in Ivory Coast to Spearhead “integral human development” Initiatives This Year

A poster announcing the closing Mass of the 125 years of Evangelization in Ivory Coast slated for January 24.
Credit: Radio Espoir Côte d'Ivoire.

The Catholic Church in Ivory Coast has planned to spearhead initiatives that foster integral human development in view of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 among the people of God in the West African nation, the Secretary-General of the Bishops’ conference has said.

“We intend to pursue the objectives of our five-year strategic plan, namely, to reconcile man with God, with others and to contribute to making the Church an important actor in integral human development,” the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI), Fr. Emmanuel Wohi Nin has been quoted as saying in an interview.

In the Tuesday, January 12 interview, with Ivory Coast’s National Catholic Radio, Fr. Nin describes the year 2020 as “challenging” as a result of the coronavirus, adding, “The Church wants to help the Christians to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We expect to make the mid-term evaluation at the end of the pastoral year 2020-2021, but we will certainly focus on the citizen engagement of the Christian in connection with the Gospel and the Faith,” the Ivorian Cleric further says.

Reflecting on the climax of the 125 years of Evangelization in the country that began three years ago, Fr. Nin says, “A jubilee is the feast of God's presence, a moment of thanksgiving, commitment and fidelity to the Gospel.”

“The proclamation of the Gospel must rediscover the ardor of the beginnings of the evangelization of the African continent, attributed to the evangelist Mark, followed by an innumerable crowd of saints, martyrs, confessors and virgins,” the CECCI Secretary General says.

He goes on to acknowledge with appreciation the service rendered by missionaries over the years in his country saying, “With gratitude, we must learn from the enthusiasm of many missionaries who, for many centuries, sacrificed their lives to bring the Good News to their African brothers and sisters.”

“In giving thanks and remembering, we must commit ourselves to the next one: the celebration of 150 years of evangelization,” Fr. Nin says and adds, “It is absolutely necessary to make up for the delay in the formation and capacity building of pastoral agents, consecrated and lay.”

For him, “The Jubilee enables us to grasp life with all its intensity, taking on the one hand the immense missionary work of the pioneers of evangelization in Ivory Coast and on the other hand the responsibility that everyone bears for the pursuit and deepening of this work.”

The Holy Mass marking the close of the three-year jubilee celebration will be conducted alongside that of the climax of the 117th Plenary Assembly of CECCI.

The event is scheduled to take place on January 24 at the Cathedral of Saint Esprit in Mockeyville, in the Diocese of Grand-Bassam.

The conclusion of the celebrations will be marked by a day of prayer, adoration and intercession, a concert of songs of praise and adoration, Eucharistic celebration to be held in all Parishes on Sunday, January 17 and a triduum of prayer from January 19 - 21.

“Pope Francis dedicated this new year to Saint Joseph. May the good master of the house, St. Joseph, who personally knows what it means to reflect, in an attitude of solicitude and hope, protect and accompany the Church on Ivorian soil in her mission at the service of mankind,” Fr. Nin says in the January 12 interview.

The Ivorian Cleric seeks the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary saying, may the “Mother of the Word of God and Our Lady of Peace, continue to accompany pastors and faithful in 2021 through her intercession and her invitations to do whatever her Son tells us.”


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