RECOWA comprises 16 West African countries which include Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinee, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinee Bissau, and Togo.
The May 2-9 fourth RECOWA Plenary Assembly has been held under the theme, “Fratelli Tutti: Path to building human fraternity and sustainable peace in West Africa.”
Delegates of the Plenary Assembly deliberated on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on human fraternity, and social friendship, Fratelli Tutti, and challenges facing the African Subregion in view of strategizing for “sustainable peace”.
In their May 8 collective message, RECOWA members highlight some of the obstacles to human fraternity and peace in their African subregion.
They say they “are saddened to note, that after a period of relative peace, democratic governance and political development, we are now experiencing a return in the sub-region of political instability, military governance and increase in human conflict, wars and mass suffering inflicted on our people which threaten the very foundations of our common brotherhood as God’s children.”
“We have watched with pain as the peace of our communities and entire peoples have been placed at risk by human greed and corruption, bad governance, ethnocentrism, etc.,” Catholic Bishops in West Africa bemoan.
They continue, “We have also observed the wanton destruction of the beautiful treasures of creation, namely land, water-bodies, mineral wealth etc., that God entrusted to us for the common good and also for posterity in our sub-region.”
RECOWA members say that the “theme of our Assembly is indeed an urgent call”, and add, “In all of these unhappy consequences, namely the ravages of the COVID-19 global pandemic, man’s inhumanity to his fellow man in our socio-political development, and the continued destruction of the natural ecology, we, the Bishops have not just stood by.”
“We have responded, first by prayer to God asking for forgiveness for our sins and sinful behaviors, calling for conversion of heart and educating to peace, brotherliness and greater respect and co-responsibility for one another in fraternity and social friendship and for the earth our common home,” Catholic Church leaders in West Africa say.
They further say, “We have not stopped calling attention to our grave duty to be one another’s keepers, and faithful stewards of the common good.”