Bishops in Benin Call for Prayers for Deadly Fire Victims on Feast of Archangels

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Benin (CEB). Credit: Presidency of Benin

Catholic Bishops in Benin have expressed their solidarity with families of over 35 people who died in a September 23 fire incident at a shop in the southeastern part of the country, announcing a day of prayer in memory of those who died in the inferno.

In a statement issued Wednesday, September 28, members of the Episcopal Conference of Benin (CEB) called upon the people of God in the country to remember the fire victims on the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels, celebrated on September 29.

 “Deeply saddened by the tragic fire in Sèmè Kraké on Saturday, September 23, 2023, the Benin Episcopal Conference expresses its deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the bereaved families and the entire Beninese people,” the Bishops said.  

They Bishops also wished the injured “a speedy recovery, in the hope that they will receive the best medical care and find the strength they need to overcome this difficult ordeal.”

The Catholic Bishops in Benin have urged “all the faithful and people of good will to offer their assistance of various kinds in this difficult context, and above all to offer their fervent prayers for the intentions of the victims and their families.”


To this end, CEB members request that “a Mass be celebrated in all parishes in Benin on Friday, September 29 2023, on the feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, for the eternal repose of the victims and the prompt recovery of the injured.”

“May God, Father of mercies, bring comfort and consolation to those who suffer, and may He protect Benin,” they implore.

At least 35 people were killed in Seme-Podji municipality, near the border with Nigeria after a fire broke out at a shop where gasoline was being unloaded, Reuters reported September 24.

On Tuesday, September 26, Pope Francis expressed his spiritual closeness with victims of the fire incident.

In a telegram message on behalf of the Holy Father, the Vatican Secretary of State addressed Bishop Aristide Gonsallo of Porto Novo Diocese.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.