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Ivory Coast: Christ is with us despite the challenges of the continent.

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The Catholic Bishops of Côte d’Ivoire meet in the Archdiocese of Abidjan for their ordinary plenary assembly.

Marcel Ariston Blé – Abidjan) and Christian Kombe, SJ – Vatican City.

The plenary assembly of Ivorian bishops officially began on Tuesday, May 17 with a solemn mass in the parish of Saint Marcel d’Akouai Santai. It was preceded by an opening ceremony in the auditorium of the minor seminary of Bingerville. The Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Jean-Jacques Koffi Oi Koffi of the diocese of San Pedro-en-Côte d’Ivoire. He is also vice-president of the Conference. Various Catholic priests, religious and lay faithful attended the opening mass. Many have braved the traffic jams of Abidjan to commune and pray with their bishops.

Do not be afraid

The homilist, Bishop Alexis Touably Youlo of the Diocese of Agboville and Apostolic Administrator of Yamoussoukro, spoke about the complex social and economic challenges that the country and the African continent are going through. He encouraged those gathered not to lose hope.

“Do not be afraid,” Bishop Youlo said. He continues: “But then a question arises and imposes itself on us: how not to be afraid today when suffering becomes the daily lot of many? How not to be afraid when our Africa is in turmoil, the storm of repeated crises, interethnic conflicts, the storm of misery in all its forms? How not to be afraid when for many young people, the future seems uncertain? he wondered.

Bishop Youlo, the newly elected president of RECOWA (an association of West African bishops), nevertheless assured that even in the face of these worrying situations, Africans must keep in mind that “Christ is at our sides. The Lord helps us to face these trials,” reassured the prelate.

“It is this message of encouragement that we, your Bishops, united and gathered around our dean, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, come to communicate to you this evening. And this is our ministry, our mission: to strengthen you in the faith,” Bishop Touabli Youlo said.

Bring the Good News to the world

The Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire, Archbishop Paolo Borgia, was delighted that the Episcopal Conference took place shortly after the visit of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See and after the episcopal ordination of Bishop Jean -Sylvain Mambe Emien. The latter is the first apostolic nuncio of Ivorian origin. He was assigned to Mali.

Bishop Borgia added that the ordination of Bishop Emien testified to the greater maturity of the Ivorian Church which “thus opens up to the universal Church in a unique mission to bring Christ to the world”, he said. declared.

This mission of evangelization must be the work of all the baptized, he further affirmed. Each must participate in this mission according to his own vocation. The Nuncio stressed that this must be done according to the gifts received from the Spirit.

Collegiality

The opening ceremony of the plenary assembly was also an opportunity for the Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire to emphasize the collegial dimension of the episcopal mission.

“Conferences are the place of cooperation between bishops for the common good of the Churches entrusted to them in the service of the mission,” the papal representative said.

During their meeting, the Bishops will hear the reports of the various apostolates and commissions in order to take resolutions for the revitalization of the institutions and the Church in Côte d’Ivoire.