Archive for August, 2015

Communique issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province held at the Jubilee Conference Centre, Oke-Ado, Ibadan, from August 17-18, 2015.

August 24, 2015

Theme: Choose Today Whom You Will Serve


Preamble and Thanksgiving

We, members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising of Ibadan Archdiocese, Ondo, Ilorin, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses thank God for His blessings over us, our Dioceses and our country, Nigeria, since we last met in January 2015. We thank God for bringing our country and peoples through the national elections during the year and we appreciate God’s goodness for the hope and vigour which the outcome therefrom has restored in our nation. We pray that our hopes and aspirations for a greater Nigeria where peace, truth and justice thrive may be realized in the current administration. Having prayerfully deliberated here on matters of concern to our Church and our nation, we issue the following Communique:

  1. The ongoing Year for the Consecrated Life

We congratulate all Consecrated Persons again on the celebration of the ongoing Year for the Consecrated Life which will end on 2nd February, 2016. As a theme, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked all Consecrated Persons to “Wake up the World”. In the opening paragraph of his Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consacrata, St. John Paul II also wrote: “By the profession of the evangelical counsels the characteristic features of Jesus — the chaste, poor and obedient one — are made constantly ‘visible’ in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it awaits its full realization in heaven”. We urge our Consecrated people to diligently work towards the realization of these deep and pertinent words of the Popes. In doing this, our entire Province and the world will be pervaded with the rich fragrance of God’s love and mercy.

  1. The Pro-Life and Family Life Conference

We express gratitude to God and to all who contributed to the success of the Ibadan Provincial International Pro-Life and Family Life Conference held in April 2015 at the Pope John Paul II Centre, Seat of Wisdom Chaplaincy, University of Ibadan. The echoes of the conference have continued to reverberate in our Parishes and even beyond Nigeria. We enjoin all the Delegates, Institutions and Dioceses to continue to infuse the grassroots and the general public with the life-enhancing fruits of the exercise. We must continue to bear courageous witness to the love of God for humanity by sending his only Son that all might be saved. We commit ourselves to hosting more of such conferences to positively animate and energise our Church and society in order to safeguard them from anti-life ideologies and activities.

  1. The Recent National World Youth Day

We congratulate our young people on the recent National World Youth Day Celebration with the theme, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy”, held in the Archdiocese of Benin City. We thank the Archbishop and the Archdiocese for hosting thousands of our young people in such a commendable manner. We urge our youth to positively respond to the theme of the eminent gathering. Too often, young people today are accused of violence, delinquency and sundry misdemeanour. We challenge our Catholic youth to spearhead the effort to change that impression, especially with the wave of the renewed hope in Nigeria. We ask them to strive to become credible agents of change and apostles of God’s mercy to families, to our country and to the world. This must be done through a positive engagement with modern media and a deliberate commitment to good morals and behaviours. We ask them to remember in all their dealings that honesty remains the best policy and a hallmark of faith and Christianity.

  1. The Synod on the Family

As the Universal Church draws closer to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, we urge our people to continue to pray fervently for the successful outcome of the event. We call on all the Delegates to the Synod to courageously bear witness to the plan of God for humanity in creating man and woman and the family relationship. In the face of strong opposition, the world today will greatly benefit from the confirmation of the understanding of marriage as a union of a man, woman and by God’s grace, children. We restate our unmitigated belief in the sanctity of Human Life and Family Life. We emphasize that it is the duty of civil authorities to ensure that all human life is protected from conception to natural end. Society must do everything possible to facilitate the growth of family living as a way of promoting responsible parenthood, good upbringing of children and reducing juvenile delinquency.

  1. Governance and the Desire for a new Nigeria

We note the renewed hope for a new Nigeria generated in our country since the last general elections. We thank Almighty God for the relatively limited violence and bloodshed during the exercise. We call on our compatriots to cooperate with the current administration to bring sanity back into our country by showing common determination to reject corruption, nepotism, favouritism and to enthrone in our country a regime of justice and equity, where merits are respected and the rule of law exalted.


Nigeria has been recognised as one of the most religious countries in the world. Yet our prayers can only truly be answered if we do the will of God as He has commanded. We therefore say to all our compatriots in the words of Joshua the son of Nun: “….Choose today whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in Mesopotamia….as for me and my household, I will serve Yahweh (Joshua 24:15).


Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin                       Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye

Archbishop of Ibadan                                               Bishop of Ekiti

President                                                                   Secretary.


African Youth to Combat New Forms of Slavery and Colonialisation

August 24, 2015

The youth in Africa have been called upon to  combat the new forms of slavery and colonialisation on the continent. This appeal was made by the President of the Episcopal Conference of the the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bishop Nicola Djomo, at the opening ceremony of a meetng of Pan-African  Catholic Youth and Children that is being held in Kinshasa, DRC  from August 21-25, 2 015.

The Youth in Africa, he said, should not allow false trappings of wealth lure them to move out of their countries in search of non-existent jobs in Europe and America. ” Be vigilant of the deceptions of the new forms  of the destruction of the culture of life, moral, and spiritual values. Use your talents and other resources to renew and transform our continent and for the promotion of lasting  justice, peace, and reconciliation in Africa. You are a treasure for Africa. The Church relies on you, your continent needs you ” Bishop Djomo emphasised. He further urged the youth to study and understand the  Social Teaching of the Church to enable them be of more service to the Chuch in Africa and their various countries.

The  about 120 participants representing a number of countries in Africa participating in three-day meeting taking place at the  Catholic Centre of Nganda in Kinshasa were welcomed by an  Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Bishop Jean-Poierre Kwambamba. The meeting has been organised by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in collaboration with the Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO).

In a message presented on behalf of the Secretary General of SECAM, Rev. Fr. Fr. Komakoma, the Director of Communcations of SECAM outlined the objectives of the meeting

a. as part of preparation towards engaging the youth of Africa in the promotion of Justice, Peace, Good Governance and Reconciliation at the National, Regional and Continental levels; involving the  youth in the celebration of the  African Year of Reconciliation (from July 29, 2015 to July 29, 2016);

b. to institute a Pan-African Organisation for bringing together at the continentl level Catholic Action Movements for the Youth and Children, and

c. To consider the possiblity of hosting, in the near future, a World Youth Day in Africa.

He pointed out that  SECAM is giving priority attention to the youth who form about 70 per cent of the population of Africa. ” The youth are therefore the most important sector of the African population on whom the Church ought to count on, as a pririoty , in the scope of Chuch’s evangelisation’s efforts such as the promotion of justice, peace, reconciliation,   and socio-economic development of our continent.” he added.

Later in the day Fr. Komakoma in addressing the participants urged them to take charge of their own pastrol engagements with the  guidance of their Chaplains.

Some of the topics that are being treated at the meeting are:

i. The Politcal, Economic and Socio-cultural Context of Africa Today;

ii. Opportunities for the Youth in  the Society and in the Church- The Role of the Church in Africa Today;

iii. The Social Doctrine of the Church within an African Context with particular reference to Theology;

iv. Leadership- Role of the  African Woman;

v. Role of the Youth in the Church Today: A challenge for the youth in the Continental Year of Reconciliation.

There will be Workshops for coming up with concrete Regional and Continental programmes and projects for the year of Reconciliation and other issues discussed during the  five-day meeting.

In another development, the particiapnts  had the opportunity of participating in a  seven-thousand strong Youth Convention of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa that was addressed by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of Kinshasa.  The Cardinal’s public Catechesis was on the theme: Fraternity, Dialogue, Justice and Reconciliation  in reference to Ephesians 2: 12-19 He also answered questions by the youth. The issues raised included that of politics, Church-State relations, economic, social and cultural challenges that are confronting them-the youth.

The Meeting on theme: “EDUCATION FOR THE CULTURE OF PEACE AND RECONCILIATION” was coordinated by Rev. Fr. Leonard Sentedi, Secretary General of CENCO and  the Secretary General of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Centra Africa, Rev. Fr. M. Edouard Mombili.

Apart from the host Country-DRC, Egypt has the largest number of participants

Prepared by Benedict Assorow

Director of Communications, SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar)

La Jeunesse Africaine Lutte Contre les Nouvelles Formes d’Esclavage et de Colonisation

August 24, 2015

La jeunesse africaine a été invitée à lutter contre les nouvelles formes d’esclavage et de colonisation prévalant sur le continent. Cette invitation a été lancée par le Président de la Conférence Épiscopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO), Monseigneur Nicolas Djomo, lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture d’une réunion de la Jeunesse Catholique Panafricaine qui s’est tenue à Kinshasa, en RDC,  du 21 au 25 août 2015.

Les jeunes africains, a-t-il dit, ne doivent pas se laisser leurrer par les pièges de quitter leurs pays en quête d’emplois non-existants en Europe et en Amérique. “Prenez garde aux  tromperies de nouvelles formes de destruction de la culture de la vie, des valeurs morales et spirituelles. Utilisez vos talents et les autres ressources à votre disposition pour renouveler et de transformer notre continent et pour la promotion d’une justice, une paix et une réconciliation durables en Afrique.  Vous êtes le trésor de l’Afrique. L’Église compte sur vous, votre continent a besoin de vous”, a insisté Monseigneur Djomo.   Par ailleurs, il en a appelé à la jeunesse d’étudier et de comprendre l’enseignement social de l’Église pour permettre aux jeunes de mieux être au service de l’Église africaine et aux services de leurs pays respectifs.

Environ 120 participants représentant un certain nombre de pays africains ont pris part à ces assises de trois jours au Centre Catholique Nganda. Ils ont été accueillis par un Évêque Auxiliaire  de l’Archidiocèse de Kinshasa, Monseigneur Jean-Pierre Kwambamba. La réunion a été organisée par le Symposium de la Conférence Épiscopale de l’Afrique et du Madagascar (SCEAM) en collaboration avec la CENCO.

Dans un message lu au nom du Secrétaire Général du SCEAM, le Révérend Frère Komakoma, Directeur des Communications du SCEAM, a présenté les objectifs de la reunion:

a. dans le cadre de la préparation vers l’engagement de la jeunesse africaine à la promotion de la justice, la paix, la bonne gouvernance et la réconciliation au niveau national, régional et continental; impliquer la jeunesse pour la célébration de l’Année Africaine de la Réconciliation (du 29 juillet 2015 au 29 juillet 2016);

b. instituer une Organisation Panafricaine qui rassemble au niveau continental les Mouvements Catholiques d’Action pour les Jeunes et les Enfants; et

c. envisager la possibilité d’organiser, dans un futur proche, une Journée Mondiale de la Jeunesse africaine.

Il a indiqué que le SCEAM accorde une attention prioritaire aux jeunes qui constituent environ 70% de la population africaine. “Les jeunes constituent par conséquent la tranche la plus importante de la population sur laquelle l’Église doit compter, de manière prioritaire, dans le cadre des efforts d’évangélisation de l’Église, tels que la promotion de la justice, la paix, la réconciliation, et le développement de notre continent” a-t-il ajouté.

Plus tard dans la journée, le Frère Komakoma s’est adressé aux participants et leur a demandé de s’approprier leurs engagements pastoraux, ce, sous la supervision des aumôniers des jeunes.

Au nombre des questions en discussion pendant la réunion se trouvent:

i. le contexte politique, économique et socioculturel de l’Afrique aujourd’hui;

ii. opportunités pour les jeunes dans la société et l’église – Rôle de l’église en Afrique aujourd’hui;

iii. La doctrine sociale de l’église dans le contexte africain, aperçu théologique;

iv. Leadership – Rôle de la femme africaine;

v. Rôle de la jeunesse dans l’Église aujourd’hui: Un défi pour les jeunes dans l’année de la réconciliation

Des ateliers seront organisés pour la formulation des programmes et projets concrets au niveau régional et continental pour l’année de la réconciliation ainsi que pour les autres questions discutées lors de la réunion de cinq jours.

En outre, les participants ont pu prendre part à une convention regroupant sept mille jeunes de l’Archidiocèse de Kinshasa à laquelle s’est adressé le Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo de Kinshasa.   Le message du Cardinal était axé sur le thème suivant: « Fraternité, Dialogue, Justice Et Réconciliation » en exploitant le texte d’Ephésiens 2: 12-19. Il a également répondu aux questions des jeunes. Les préoccupations soulevées touchaient sur la politique, sur les relations entre l’église et l’état, sur les défis économiques, sociaux et culturels auxquels font face les jeunes.

La réunion sous le thème : « L’EDUCATION POUR LA CULTURE DE LA PAIX ET DE LA RECONCILIATION » a été coordonnée par le Révérend Frère Léonard Sentedi, Secrétaire Général de la CENCO, et par le Secrétaire Général de la Conférence Épiscopale Régionale de l’Afrique Centrale, le Révérend M. Edouard Mombili.

Hormis la RDC, pays organisateur, l’Égypte avait le plus grand nombre de participants.

Préparé par Benedict Assorow

Directeur de Communications du SCEAM (Symposium des Conférences Episcopales d’Afrique et de Madagascar)