Bishops of Guinea with Pope Francis on Friday Bishops of Guinea with Pope Francis on Friday  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

Guinea: Pope invites Bishops to advance peace, dialogue and co-existence

At the end of their “ad limina” visit to the Vatican, Guinea’s Catholic Bishops have told Vatican News that their discussion with the Holy Father were wide-ranging but touched mostly on the situation of the Church in this country, where 88% of the population is Muslim, pastoral issues, as well as relations between Church and State.

Françoise Niamien - Vatican City.

Pope Francis met with members of the Episcopal Conference of Guinea-Conakry at the Vatican as they concluded their “ad Limina Apostolorum” visit on Friday, 21 June 2024.

Visits to the Roman Curia offices

During their discussion with the Holy Father, Pope Francis encouraged the Bishops to continue with the spirit of collaboration, so that relations between Muslims and Christians can grow. He urged them to foster “a beautiful spirit of conviviality” between Christians and Muslims. This is according to Bishop Raphael Balla Guilavogui, of N’Zerekore Diocese and President of the Guinean Bishops’ Conference.

During their ad limina visit, from 17 to 21 June, the Episcopal Conference of Guinea met with various dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

“We were delighted to make this visit, which enabled us to visit several dicasteries. For most of us, these meetings were opportunities for discovery and a real sign of communion with Rome. Our previous ad limina visit dates back to 2014. At that time, we were just three Bishops, but today, our Episcopal Conference has 6 bishops and 5 dioceses,” Bishop Guilavogui told Vatican News.

Cordial relations with Muslims

Elaborating further on the discussions with Pope Francis, Bishop Guilavogui said the meeting with the Holy Father was touching.

“With the Holy Father, the visit was very moving for all of us. The exchanges took place in a very fraternal atmosphere. We discussed a number of points, including the situation of the Church in Guinea, inter-religious dialogue, particularly with Muslims, Islam being the majority religion in the country, and the relationship between Bishops and priests and the people of God,” he said.

He added, “As far as relations between the Catholic Church and Islam are concerned, we can say that our relations are very good because we don’t have a “radical Islam” in Guinea. We even have the example of certain Bishops who come from mixed families, i.e., who have many Muslim relatives. Also, because Muslims in Guinea work together with us for the good of our different populations. Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly (the Archbishop of Conakry) and the Grand Imam of the capital’s mosque in Conakry, have always been references for the Guinean State in terms of mediation with political parties and trade unions,” said the Guinean prelate.

Be close to your priests

Concerning relations between Church and State, Bishop Guilavogui said the Pontiff “encouraged us to work towards a good relationship with the State, to always foster peaceful cohabitation, that advances the Gospel in a peaceful atmosphere.

“Lastly, the Holy Father advised us to be very close to our priests because priests need to feel that their Bishop is close to them and to assist and reassure the priests in their ministry so that they can carry out their mission effectively.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

23 June 2024, 13:19