Plenary of Catholic Bishops in West Africa “great force of solidarity”: Religious Brother

Br. Teo Grageda. Credit: ACI Africa

The coming together of Catholic Bishops under the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) for their fourth Plenary Assembly was a “great force of solidarity” and a move towards togetherness, a Religious Brother has said. 

In a Sunday, May 8 interview with ACI Africa, Br. Teo Grageda cautioned against negative ethnicity, and challenged Catholic Church leaders to work “for the common good of the society”.

“The union of all these Conferences of Bishops of different countries in West Africa is creating a great force of solidarity,” Br. Grageda who represented the International Missionary Benefit society (IMS) during the May 2-9 Plenary Assembly of RECOWA said.

The member of the Marist Brothers added, “As a hierarchy for the Church, the Bishops need to look for the common good of the society, in a way that they cannot be guided by the passion that comes with ethnicity.”

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.


During the fourth RECOWA Plenary Assembly that took place in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, delegates deliberated on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on human fraternity, and social friendship, Fratelli Tutti, and challenges facing the region in view of strategizing for “sustainable peace”.

The Plenary Assembly concluded on May 8 with a commitment to a new vision of fraternity in the West African sub region amid a wide range of challenges.

In the interview with ACI Africa on May 8, Br. Grageda who coordinates the East African section of the IMS, the ecumenical entity that partners with Major Superiors and Bishops in the healthcare of members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, Seminarians, and members of associations of the Laity spoke about the presence of IMS at the RECOWA Plenary Assembly. 

The participation of IMS representative in the meeting of Catholic Bishops in West Africa gives a practical example of solidarity among the people of God, the Kenya-based IMS official told ACI Africa May 8. 

He said that his role at the Plenary Assembly was to create awareness of IMS among the English-speaking countries in the Western Africa region, including Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia.

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These English-speaking West African countries, Br. Grageda said, “may not know much about what IMS is offering to them, while for the Francophone speaking countries, there is a section which has offices in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; they are already using the services of IMS.”

“This RECOWA meeting was like an eye opener that IMS also exists in English speaking countries,” he said about the international healthcare association that is incorporated under Swiss law.

Br. Grageda said that the principle of IMS is solidarity among the church members to work together in order to help one another.

The official of the healthcare entity that operates in partnership with Conferences of Major Superiors, Bishops’ Conferences, and leaders of other Christian churches said that the solidarity in the church enables members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity to put together all the resources available for the wellbeing of everyone especially as far as medical services are concerned.

“IMS is not an insurance company; it is a mutual aid organization whose support comes from the members themselves,” the Mexican-born Marist Brother told ACI Africa May 8, adding that it is the congregation that “strengthens the power of the church.”


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.