(File) Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara with the Bishops. (File) Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara with the Bishops.  (AFP or licensors)

Côte d’Ivoire: The Church as mother and educator at the service of integral human development.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Côte d’Ivoire is meeting from 25 to 30 January 2022, at the Emmaus Centre in the Archdiocese of Gagnoa, for its 120th Plenary Assembly on the theme, “Catechesis and Education in Côte d’Ivoire at the service of integral human development.”

Françoise Niamien – Vatican City with Marcel Ariston Blé - Côte d'Ivoire.

The opening ceremony of the Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Côte d’Ivoire on Tuesday 25 January was attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Paola Borgia, many political, administrative and military figures and traditional leaders in the Archdiocese of Gagnoa.

Gagnoa is a city in the south-central of Côte d’Ivoire. It is the seat of both Gôh-Djiboua District and Gôh Region.

The Word of God favours human development

Stressing the relevance of the theme of education in the service of human development, the Prefect of the Region of Gôh and the Department of Gagnoa expressed sincere satisfaction that the Bishops were discussing the subject.

“The relevance of the theme of your meeting, which is part of your pastoral responsibilities, fits in very well with the actions of the government in the field of education. Here we clearly see indicated that the Word of God associated with education, promotes the harmonious development of humankind,” said Lancina Fofana to the Bishops.

Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on education

At the opening of the meeting, Archbishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo of Korhogo, President of the Ivory Coast Bishops’ Conference (CECCI), spoke about the plenary’s central theme. By choosing to focus their reflections on education today, the Bishops wish to “help envisage the future by questioning the present in realistic terms.” In this sense, “education is not just one means among many,” but rather “the essential means”. For Bishop Bessi Dogbo, through a well-thought-out, planned and organised education system, “a beautiful future for humanity “built on a solid foundation and sure values can be enhanced.”

It was also announced that the Bishops were preparing a Pastoral Letter on education precisely because they are aware of the importance of education in Ivorian society.

Reorganising Catechesis in the dioceses

The President of CECCI further explained that the Bishops’ attention would also be focused on Catechesis during this Plenary Assembly.

“It will be a question of seeing how to better organise Catechesis and to enable it to participate in education for a better service to all, the Church and society,” said Archbishop Dogbo.

Pope Francis’ closeness to the people of Côte d'Ivoire

The Apostolic Nuncio expressed the closeness of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the Bishops and people of Côte d’Ivoire.

“Pope Francis invites you in your reflection on education to place solidarity and openness to others at the centre of the human person. To this end,” continued Archbishop Borgia, “the Church, in her role as mother and educator, must, through daily and patient work, promote the broad inclusion of all, going beyond her walls to extend with the transforming power of the Gospel to the whole of society, promoting encounter, peace and reconciliation. The Holy Father encourages you to be ardent witnesses of the Risen Christ in your mission. Pay particular attention to young people, those in difficult situations and offer everyone a taste of God the Father, the joy of his creative presence in the world,” said the Apostolic Nuncio.

The 120th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops in Côte d’Ivoire will continue till 30 January. A final Thanksgiving Mass is planned on the same Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Anne in Gagnoa.

27 January 2022, 17:15