, 28 November, 2019 / 2:35 AM
In line with the recommendations of Pope Benedict XVI's Post-synodal Exhortation Africae Munus in which he called on the Church in Africa to organize a day of prayer for reconciliation, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI) is organizing an eight-day prayer event in all the dioceses of the country to pray for peace and reconciliation in the West African nation, beginning Advent Sunday, December 1.
"During these eight days of prayer, we are invited to become aware of the need for reconciliation among Christians in order to work for the common good of the people of Ivory Coast, and to be seeds of unity and peace for the men and women of our time,” the Secretary General of CECCI Fr Emmanuel Wohi Nin has been quoted as announcing in a message posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Abidjan in Ivory Coast.
Rather than setting aside a single day for reconciliation as suggested by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Africae Munus, Fr. Nin has justified the extension of the event in his country to eight days by referencing “the particular context of Ivory Coast, whose political atmosphere is worrying.”
"Pope Benedict XVI had encouraged African bishops to work for reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa,” the Ivorian cleric has recalled and explained in reference to the application of this recommendation to his country, “It was therefore one of the activities of this process that was the responsibility of the bishops, to organize every week a day of reconciliation.”
According to the Secretary General of CECCI, “The Bishops want to continue to form consciences, especially with the teaching of the Church's social doctrine on questions of justice, peace, elections, transparency and of course a pastoral letter could appear by January 2020.”
The spiritual exercise will include events such as daily readings and meditations of biblical texts, actions in favor of reconciliation, and celebrations of the Holy Eucharistic.
The theme of reconciliation in Ivory Coast has preoccupied the Church leaders in recent times, occasioned by increasing tension as the West African country prepares for presidential elections.
On November 15, while observing the National Day of Peace, Archbishop of Abidjan, Jean Pierre Cardinal Kutwa, invited the Ivorian people to drive out any resentment recalling, "The 2010 crisis and its consequences can be a bad memory for everyone, if we desire it with all our hearts with God's blessing."
“Sons and daughters of Ivory Coast, let us listen to the Lord say to each of us: my child, do not let yourself be carried away by the desire for revenge; do not answer evil with evil, because then you would become like your aggressors,” the Ivorian Cardinal told his compatriots on their National Day of Peace, a national holiday observed annually on November 15 in view of promoting peace and reconciliation in the country.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa