Archbishop of Freetown hails steady growth of Catholic Church in Sierra Leone


“We had 29 parishes when I was Archbishop of Freetown and Bo. But when we separated, we left 19 parishes including the entire Southern Province in Bo. The 10 parishes we had have since grown and earlier this year we raised seven communities to quasi-parishes. Soon we will have seven new parishes,” he said, adding that the Archdiocese also has two new chaplaincies as the number of Catholics continues to grow in Freetown.

In the interview with ACI Africa, the Archbishop spoke broadly on various issues including the exceptional religious cohesion in Sierra Leone amid growing religious extremism in a number of other West African countries. .

The head of the Sierra Leonean Catholic Church who began his episcopal ministry in March 2008 as Archbishop of Freetown and Bo also recounted his experience of the country’s worst civil war and the role the Church played in end the fighting that had been going on for 11 years, causing a lot of havoc in the country. He also spoke extensively about the role of the Church in the country’s upcoming elections.

Regarding inter-religious coexistence in Sierra Leone, Bishop Tamba, who is also president of the Sierra Leone Interfaith Council (IRCSL) said: “We live very peacefully; Christians and Muslims and other religions. All we do is work together to find ways to develop Sierra Leone and make it a better place for all.

The Sierra Leonean government estimates that 77% of the population is Muslim and 21.9% Christian.

“Many people routinely mix Christian and Islamic practices with animism in their private and public worship,” the Sierra Leone International Religious Freedom Report 2019 states in part, adding that other religious groups that together constitute less 5% of the population includes Baha’is. , Hindus, Jews, atheists and practitioners of voodoo and witchcraft.

In the interview with ACI Africa at his office in Freetown, Bishop Tamba shared his experience of the civil war that began in 1991 as he left for Rome to pursue a bachelor’s degree and later a doctorate in dogmatic theology at the university. Pontifical Gregorian University.

It was from Rome that he received the news of the death of his grandmother whom the rebels shot in her bed while she slept.

“My grandmother was killed alongside 39 other people and she was never given a proper burial,” he told ACI Africa during the November 7 interview, adding that he was returned to Sierra Leone in 1996 at the height of the civil war.

“It was bad,” he said, remembering the war, and he added, “I remember there was a day when we were hiding in the bushes when the rebels came and took my computer. It was a Toshiba Satellite series and there was a thesis I had been working on. That day, I lost an opportunity to publish a book that I had wanted to call ‘Theology of Enculturation’. The book would have answered all the questions I asked myself during my theology studies.


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