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Renovation of Burkina Faso’s 2nd Oldest Cathedral “pride of Catholic community”: Cardinal

Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Burkina Faso’s Bobo-Dioulasso Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The just completed renovation of Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral of Burkina Faso’s Bobo-Dioulasso Archdiocese is a source of “pride” for the Catholic community in the West African nation, the Cardinal who presided over the inauguration of the renovated Cathedral has said.

“We give thanks, gratitude and appreciation to God for the means he has given us to renovate this cathedral, which is the pride of the entire Catholic community,” the Archbishop of Mali’s Bamako Archdiocese, Jean Cardinal Zerbo said during the Sunday, May 16 event.

The Malian Cardinal hailed the “efforts of the faithful who have made it possible for this place to be restored” and expressed the hope that the inauguration of the renovated Cathedral would also be “the renewal of the faith of the Catholic faithful in Christ.”

Known to be the second oldest church building in Burkina Faso, Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral is listed as a touristic site in the West African nation. It was consecrated and opened to the public in 1960. With the passage of time, the structure weakened, posing a threat to worshippers and local residents.

While the initiative to renovate the 61-year-old Cathedral started in 2016 with fundraising, the actual renovation began in July 2020.

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In his message during Holy Mass May 16, Cardinal Zerbo acknowledged with appreciation the efforts spearheaded by the Local Ordinary of Bobo-Dioulasso Archdiocese saying, “We thank Archbishop Paul Ouédraogo who has invested a lot in making this project a reality.”

The roof of the Cathedral, interior coatings, electrical installations, the sound system, as well as the annex rooms, including the sacristy and the storeroom were some of the focus areas during the renovation project. Commercial shops are also being put up around the Cathedral as part of the initiative.

To realize the entire renovation initiative estimated to cost some 1 billion FCFA (US$1.85million), the leadership of Bobo-Dioulasso Archdiocese partnered with the Burkinabe government, traditional and religious authorities and the Catholic faithful of the town of Sya. A bank loan was also secured.

Addressing the congregation at inauguration of the renovated Cathedral, Archbishop Ouédraogo expressed his appreciation for the successful completion of the first phase of the initiative.

“This is a great day for the diocesan family of Bobo-Dioulasso, because we have been nurturing this project for a long time and we have been praying. Thank God, with the generosity of some Christians and people of goodwill and the strategies for mobilizing funds, we have a renovated house of God. We are happy with this jewel,” Archbishop Ouédraogo said.

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He went on to call for “the generosity of the faithful to mobilize funds” for the remaining part of the project.

“It's true that the rent from the shops will contribute in large part to paying off the bank's loan,” the Burkinabé Archbishop said, and continued, “But if we mobilize more, we will shorten the payment period.”

The Apostolic Nuncio in Burkina Faso and Niger, Archbishop Michael Francis Crotty, Catholic Bishops, hundreds of Catholic Priests and thousands of Christian faithful joined together with Government officials, led by the country’s President, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré attended the May 16 event.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of event, President Kaboré said the renovation of the Cathedral has given “a new image to the God’s house.”

“It is a great event and an opportunity to thank God for having helped not only the Church of Bobo-Dioulasso, but all those who participate in doing this useful work of rebuilding the house of the Lord,” the Burkinabe President said.

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Taking part in the inauguration of the renovated Cathedral, he added, “was also an opportunity for me to thank all those who contributed to this achievement.”

“We must unite our efforts to continue with the second part of the project and my wish is that the charity of all will allow the completion of all the works of this cathedral,” President Kaboré who has been at the helm of Burkina Faso since 2015 further said.