Nonetheless, the Bishop says, “these attacks have diminished in number and are causing fewer deaths. So, it could be said that the security situation has improved, although it is still impossible to travel in certain areas, which remain dangerous owing to the presence or operations of the terrorist groups.”
Amid the crisis, the Diocese continues “to function and guarantee a Catholic presence in the Sahel, albeit in a smaller area and with difficulty,” the Burkinabé Bishop says in the February 24 interview report by the Pontifical Foundation, which envisions a world in which Christianity can thrive everywhere.
“Our Priests organize the Masses, catechesis, the sacraments and the pastoral meetings on a daily basis,” he says and notes that Religious Sisters, with the exception of members of two communities that have been closed due to the insecurity, continue to take care of other facilities of the Diocese such as schools, orphanage, health centers and guest houses.
The Catholic Nuns also help with the pastoral activities such as “catechesis, liturgy, supporting the Catholic Action movements and the spiritual groups and associations,” the Bishop who has been at the helm of the two-nation Episcopal Conference since 2019 says.
On their part, catechists in the “still functioning parishes” have devoted “themselves to catechesis in the local languages, to the liturgy and above all to animating the basic Christian communities to which they belong,” the Bishop adds.
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On the situation in neighboring country of Niger, which is also affected by the crisis and whose Bishops are members of CEBN, Bishop Dabiré says he has “very little news from there” though “attacks have continued there as well, often with high numbers of deaths.”
Just like in Burkina Faso, a combination of the insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic has also slowed pastoral activities in Niger, a situation the CEBN President says has prevented two Bishops from the country from participating in episcopal assemblies since February 2020.
The crisis notwithstanding, “our hope will not be disappointed,” Bishop Dabiré says in the February 24 ACN interview report, making reference to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.