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“Gabon needs Lenten prayers to overcome all trials”: Bishop in Message for Lent

Bishop Eusebius Chinekezi Ogbonna Managwu of Gabon’s Port-Gentil Diocese

A Bishop in Gabon has, in his message for Lent 2021, urged the people of God in the Central African nation to turn to God in prayer for the “eradication” of COVID-19 during the Lenten Season.

In his message issued Wednesday, February 17, Bishop Eusebius Chinekezi Ogbonna Managwu of Gabon’s Port-Gentil Diocese says, “Gabon needs your Lenten prayers in order to overcome all the trials she is experiencing at the moment and those to come.”

Making reference to COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Managwu asks the Gabonese to “pray for its eradication, or at least pray that it no longer poisons our lives.” 

On February 10, the government of Gabon announced an international call for tenders for the recruitment of an international audit firm to examine the financial accounts of the COVID-19 emergency response fund, Gabonreview reported.

Officials of Gabon’s Ministry of the Economy and Recovery said the audit is intended to clarify to the public how the funds allocated for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic have been used.

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The Central African nation has recorded at least 12,865 cases of the pandemic including 75 deaths and 11,750 recoveries.

In his February 17 message for Lent obtained by ACI Africa, Bishop Managwu says, “Gabon needs your spiritual support in order to implore and receive divine graces for the conversion and salvation of its people.”

Reflecting on the Readings for Ash Wednesday, he says, “As the prophet Joel suggests in the first reading of this first day of Lent, let us all return to God, with all our hearts, in fasting, in tears, in mourning.”

“Let us return to the Lord, our God, with Gabon and all its inhabitants, in order to be sincerely reconciled among ourselves and with God, our Creator, who at the right moment listens to us and, on the day of salvation, gives us his help,” the 61-year-old Gabonese Bishop says.

Making reference to the Gospel reading, Bishop Managwu goes on to say, “Only God can grant us true conversion and free us from our religious hypocrisies, social inequalities, falsehood, scorn and illicit wealth.”

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The Local Ordinary of Port-Gentil who doubles as Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity, Family Life and Youth of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon (CEG) further invites the people of God in the country to “renounce the desire for revenge and seek conversion, so that we may love our neighbor as God wills.”

“Let us not dominate our brothers and sisters, who are already living in precarious conditions. Let us vote for laws to help them. And God will bless our country,” he says, addressing himself to the political class in the Central African nation.

The Bishop who has been at the helm of Port-Gentil Diocese since 2016 urges deliberate efforts to involve God in daily experiences during Lent “in order to take measures that are in accordance with His will, for the good of His people.”

“I wish you a good and fruitful Lenten Season under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Managwu says in his February 17 message for this year’s Lent.