File photo of some members of the Charismatic renewal. File photo of some members of the Charismatic renewal. 

Ivory Coast: the role of new communities in evangelisation.

The Institut de Théologie de la Compagnie de Jésus, Abidjan is organising from 28 to 30 April 2023 an international conference on ecclesial communities and apostolic associations in Côte d'Ivoire and Africa. The aim is to increase the understanding of these initiatives within the Church’s evangelising mission.

Françoise Niamien - Vatican City.

For three days, priests, the faithful, theologians, academics, leaders and members of “new” ecclesial communities, apostolic associations, Catholic social media networks in West Africa will participate in an international conference on new communities organised by West Africa’s ITCJ from 28 to 30 April on the theme: “New communities as a theological place.”

The focus of the conference is to create a space for reflection and dialogue between the different components of the Church and to accompany the two hundred or so local communities to better contribute to the mission of evangelisation.

New communities on social networks

Focusing on the case of Côte d’Ivoire, Father Jean Messengué, director of the research department and president of the scientific committee of ITCJ, explained that the Ivorian Episcopal Conference perceives “the new communities as a gift from God. As a result, these communities have been recognised by adopting internal statutes and creating an episcopal commission in charge of new communities chaired by Bishop Gbaya Boniface Ziri of the Diocese of Abengourou.

“The New Communities are very much alive in Côte d’Ivoire. They strongly mark the life of the Church and massively attract big followings among the faithful,” said Father Messengué. He added, “Today, these new communities are not only to be found in parishes as their places of prayer, but they are heavily present on social networks that have also become places of prayer and evangelisation,” he said.

He believes this international conference in West Africa will make it possible to give an account of the contribution of new communities in a Church aspiring to be Church-family, missionary and synodal. Furthermore, this meeting of reflection, exchange and sharing will allow a better understanding of the language and practices of these new communities.

Accompanying apostolic associations

As the Ivorian Bishops have demonstrated, these new communities should be accompaniment and need not be seen as a threat. The Jesuit priest-director believes that this week’s ITCJ conference is one way of learning what more can be and needs to be done with the communities.

In addition, this international meeting will promote the development of valuable theological knowledge for the growth of these new yet fragile communities of the Church of which they are bona fide members.


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27 April 2023, 12:31