By Fr Boniface Ochieng IMC
KATIOLA, FEBRUARY 2, 2024 (CISA) – The 124th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Côte d’Ivoire (CECC) has been held from January 22 to 28, 2024, in the Catholic Diocese of Katiola, despite the continental football extravaganza currently taking place in the country.
The annual plenary, which takes place in January, served as the first plenary meeting attended by Archbishop Mauricio Rueda Beltz, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast who was appointed by Pope Francis on June 16, 2023.
The Catholic bishops called for civic responsibility and ethical leadership in the Church and the political realm, while highlighting the selfishness of some leaders who advance their interests at the mercy of the common good of the people. In their message, they appealed to the leaders to work toward the interests and development of the people.
The bishops observed and were satisfied with the impact of the social responsibility of the Church in Ivorian society and also commended the efforts of the faithful in the gradual growth from a dependent church to a self-sustaining church.
“The Church’s contribution in the construction and development of this country needs not to be illustrated. The church has played and continues to play a very important role in the promotion of human dignity and a constant call for the transformation of the Ivorian society,” stated Rt Rev Marcellin Yao Kouadio, the CECC Chairman and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Daloa.
In the final communique, the bishops reminded the clergy, faithful and the Ivorian people to keep the dates of two significant events to be commemorated in the year: the 90th Anniversary of the Ordination of Fr René Kouassi, the first Ivorian priest and the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the founding of CECC.
Fr Kouassi was ordained on May 1, 1934, at the Immaculate Conception Dabou parish. In respect to his anniversary celebrations, the bishops have urged all Ivorian priests to undertake a national pilgrimage to Ably (Yamoussoukro Diocese), the native village of the pioneer priest. The spiritual exercise will be held in May and consequently, a Spiritual and Sabbatical centre will be constructed in his honour.
In the spirit of Synodality and walking together, the CECC appealed to the faithful to assume their prophetic mission by virtue of their baptism and help the clergy in all aspects of human development within the Church in Ivory Coast.