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At Congo Episcopal Conference Golden Jubilee, Catholic Bishops Outline Strides, Prospects

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Congo-Brazzaville (CEC). Credit: Courtesy Photo

At the anniversary marking 50 years since the creation of the Episcopal Conference of Congo-Brazzaville (CEC), Catholic Bishops in the Central African nation have outlined gains and prospects for the Church.

In their Tuesday, October 19 message at the end of their 50th Plenary Assembly, CEC members give thanks to God “for the 50 years of our existence and for having accompanied our steps and supported our ministry as Bishops and Pastors, gathered in the Episcopal Conference, in a true spirit of fraternity, communion and collegiality.”

In marking the Golden Jubilee of CEC, the Catholic Bishops say, “we salute with gratitude the memory of our predecessors, our elders in the faith, who, under the impulse of the missionary renewal desired by the Second Vatican Council, decided to meet for the first time in Plenary Assembly, in Brazzaville, from 8 to 11 February 1971.”

“In fifty years, in spite of the change of persons and periods, our thought has remained constant and dynamic, always in the logic of continuity, in communion with the magisterium of the universal Church and in harmony with the Holy Tradition of the Church,” CEC members further say. 

They recall their Episcopal ministry saying, “Being together, we relive in our daily lives the missionary mandate entrusted to the Apostles and therefore to every baptized person that we are, but more particularly to us, your Bishops and Fathers, who have received in a very special way the mission to teach, sanctify and govern.”

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In their October 19 message titled, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” the Catholic Church leaders in Congo Brazzaville highlight some of their successes as well as prospects for the people of God in the Central African nation over the last five decades.

“In fifty years, we have published several messages and declarations which touch all the domains: education, vocation, the priest, the family, youth, the laity, formation, society, peace, dialogue, forgiveness, politics, the social question,” CEC members say.

In the last five decades, they note, Catholic Bishops in Congo Brazzaville, “on various occasions and at various times, have done nothing but announce the Gospel through their messages, declarations and other statements.”

“In fact, all our teaching is based on a single concern: that of leading you towards God, on the path of salvation, as the conciliar decree on missionary activity in the world Ad gentes says: ‘Sent by God to the nations to be the universal sacrament of salvation, the Church, in virtue of the intimate demands of her own catholicity and in obedience to the commandment of her founder,’” they add.

Referencing their pastoral letters over the last five decades, CEC members invite the people of God in the Congo not only to “read and reread them but also to meditate on them personally, in groups or in the apostolic movements and to put them into practice.”

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They further invite the faithful to “value, promote, protect and defend the family and its values.”

“It is therefore an appropriate time for us, in this Jubilee Year, to ask ourselves about the quality of education in the family,” Catholic Bishops in Congo Brazzaville appeal in their message following their October 11-17 Plenary Assembly.

They implore, “May Christian families become more and more ‘domestic churches’, places of prayer, education and formation.”

Addressing themselves to politicians in the country, CEC members say, “We encourage you to do more, thinking of the well-being of the people in your charge. The people judge you by what you do for them.”