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Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (2020) Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (2020) 

West-African bishops hold annual session

The Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau hold their annual meeting, centering their discussions on several issues, including the Church’s synodal process and the socio-political life of the four countries.

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ

The recently-concluded annual session of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau was held from 8-14 November, in the diocese of Santiago, in Praia, Cape Verde.

Themed “The mission of the Bishop in the synodal journey,” the meeting began with a recollection during which the bishops entrusted to God their mission as pastors in a Church called to live synodality and communion among its members.

The official opening of the Session was presided over by the president of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Arlindo Gomes Furtado on 11 November, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Michael Banach, who was accompanied by his secretary, Fr. Micael Carlos Andrejzwski.

Meeting agenda

During the meeting with the Bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio reiterated Pope Francis’ greetings to them, and went on to share some reflections on some current issues in the Church, especially as she continues in the two-year synodal process officially launched by the Holy Father in October.

In the course of their work, the Bishops drafted their customary exhortation addressed to the faithful for Lent 2022 themed “You are all brothers and sisters.” With this theme, the Bishops aim to reaffirm their commitment to contribute to the consolidation of fraternal relations between people following Our Lord who died and rose to reconcile all people with God and with one another, and in light of the teachings of Pope Francis in his latest Encyclical Fratelli tutti on Fraternity and Social Friendship.

The Bishops welcomed a communication on the development and updating of some particular norms aimed at harmonizing certain religious and administrative procedures and practices at the diocesan levels of the four countries that make up the Episcopal Conference.

They went on to discuss the social and political life of their various countries, especially in these times when democracy is being put to the test. In particular, they commended the people of Cape Verde for the recently concluded presidential elections which took place on 17 October.

The Bishops also paid tribute to the memory of Bishop Pedro Carlos Zilli of Bafatá who died on 31 March, and prayed for the current diocesan administrator, Fr. Lúcio Brentegani. They then joined in thanksgiving for the recently appointed bishop Paul Abel Mamba of Ziguinchor.

Courtesy visit

The annual session was punctuated with a courtesy visit to the newly-elected President of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves, during which the bishops prayed for him, his family and the country.

The members of the Episcopal Conference also met with the steering committee for the University Unit of Zinguinchor (UUZ) of the Catholic University of West Africa (UCAO), and welcomed the encouraging prospects regarding the opening of the University unit.

The bishops conclude their session with a word of gratitude to the government, administrative and military authorities of Cape Verde for their hospitality during their meetings and implore God’s blessings for the four countries that make up the episcopal conference.

16 November 2021, 11:27