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Catholic Bishops in Togo Call for Hope amid Citizens’ Difficulty “to meet basic needs”

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET)/ Credit: Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET)

Catholic Bishops in Togo have, in a collective statement, encouraged the faithful in the West African nation to “remain hopeful” amid suffering characterized with difficulty, on the part of ordinary citizens, “to meet their basic needs.”

In the statement issued Friday, June 18 following their 127th Ordinary Plenary Session, members of the Episcopal Conference of Togo (CET) say, “As a result of poverty, our people are suffering, many citizens find it very difficult to meet their basic needs.”

“We invite you to remain hopeful in the face of these challenges and to commit yourselves more to a process of effective conversion of hearts, with a view to transforming social realities,” Catholic Bishops in Togo say.

The Catholic Church leaders acknowledge efforts made to support citizens and urge “every citizen, especially those who govern us, to redouble their efforts to combat the misery aggravated by the Coronavirus pandemic, the high cost of living, corruption and fraud, and to guarantee the security, freedom and fundamental rights of fellow citizens.”

“It is important to look carefully at the situations that concern citizens in order to provide appropriate solutions,” they say in their collective statement signed by CET Secretary General, Fr. Émile Segbedji.

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The Bishops further note that whatever the challenges the country is experiencing, “the Church cannot neglect the mission received from her Founder, that of constantly calling her sons and daughters as well as all the populations to a change of heart, mentality and attitude, in order to build together a more humane society where wealth is shared by all in justice and peace.”

“We urge the lay faithful to assume their daily duties with courage and greater responsibility,” CET members say in their June 18 statement.

The June 15-18 Plenary Assembly examined issues relating to Seminaries and other houses of formation for future Priests, the National Directorate of Catholic Education, the pastoral care of the family, the planned international Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, the upcoming publication of the Pastoral Guide for the Ministry and Life of Priests in Togo, and the functioning of the various Episcopal Commissions. 

In their June 18 statement, Catholic Bishops in Togo express gratitude to God for “the good progress of the academic year in all houses of formation, despite the health crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”

“We thank the people of good will who support the formation of the seminarians and exhort the People of God to carry in their daily prayers the formators, as well as the candidates to the Priesthood, so that the future pastors of the Church are well prepared for their mission,” CET members say.

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During the Assembly, Catholic Bishops in Togo welcomed the new Apostolic Nuncio in Benin and Togo, Archbishop Mark Gerard Miles, whom Pope Francis appointed in February 2021.

CET members implored the abundance of divine graces toward the representative of the Holy Father in the two West African countries, particularly for a fruitful apostolic ministry at the service of the people of God.

Addressing the Catholic Bishops in Togo, Archbishop Miles encouraged them “to remain steadfast in the accomplishment of their delicate mission of shepherding the people of God under their care.”

The Papal representative expressed “confidence in a fruitful collaboration with Bishops in view of building the Church in Togo, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

In their June 18 collective statement, CET members “express sincere gratitude to the faithful who have accompanied us with fervent prayers during these days of encounter with the Lord, of reflection and exchange on the life of the Church and the Country.”

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“May you remain firm in your faith and trust in God’s abundant goodness for he will never abandon his people,” they implore.