The resumption of the celebration of Holy Mass in public in the West African nations of Burkina Faso and Niger is expected on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Thursday, May 21, the Bishops in the two-nation Conference announced over the weekend.
A Bishop in Niger, reflecting on the post-COVID-19 era, has said that while some Christians will come out of the pandemic stronger than before, there are those whose faith will have deteriorated as a result of the lockdown imposed on the churches in the West African country since March.
The Apostolic Nuncio in Burkina Faso, Archbishop Michael Francis Crotty will extend his representative role to cover the landlocked West African country of Niger, officials at the Vatican announced.
With 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths recorded in Niger, a Society of African Missions (SMA) Priest ministering in the country has confirmed the fears of many critics of African countries that the global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of at least 37,780 people globally, will only worsen an already fragile health system in the landlocked west African nation.
The Archbishop emeritus of Burkina Faso’s Koupela Archdiocese, Séraphin François Rouamba has tested positive for COVID-19, the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger (CEBN) has confirmed in a March 25 statement.
As the crisis in the Sahel region deepens, with reports of recurrent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Chad, the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has told ACI Africa that interreligious dialogue is quite significant in resolving the conflict and called on the West to stop arms trade on the continent.
Days after the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari ordered airstrikes on Boko Haram insurgents and other criminals orchestrating attacks, kidnappings and murders in Africa’s most populous nation, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja has questioned the jihadists’ actions of “killing in the name of God” and called on the Nigerian government to adopt the approach of taking “war to the criminals.”
Some days after France and five Sahel nations in Western Africa met and agreed early this week to advance their military cooperation in the fight against jihadist insurgency destabilizing the countries of the region, a West African-based official of the humanitarian arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has underscored the need for stakeholders “to address the root causes of the conflict” even as military interventions are being considered.
Extremist attacks have risen dramatically in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, from 180 incidents in 2017 to more than 800 violent attacks in 2019, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Gabriel Sayaogo, who has been the Local Ordinary of Burkina Faso’s Manga diocese, the new Archbishop of Koupéla, an Archdiocese in the Eastern region of the West African country where Archbishop Séraphin François Rouamba has been the Shepherd.
The Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) under the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger has taken the firm commitment of defending the rights of the poor and oppressed by promoting unity and solidarity amongst the population against the backdrop of increased cases of terrorist attacks targeting Christians including those gathered for worship.
The whereabouts of the missionary priest, Fr. Luigi Maccalli, who was abducted exactly one year ago (September 17, 2018) in the landlocked West African country of Niger remain unknown.
Catholic Relief Services is warning of increasing violence and displacement in the Sahel— the vast area of western and north-central Africa stretching from Senegal to Sudan.