Worried about the rising rate of insecurity, hunger and other social vices affecting the West African region, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) is set to host the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) which brings together other West African Catholic Bishops together to discuss how to help governments combat the threat to the existence of the region.
Reverend Father Zacharia Samjumi, Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), revealed this in a statement signed by CBCN Chairman, Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, which he read out to the media in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that “The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Nigeria (CBCN) should welcome its counterparts from across the West African region under the aegis of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA ), in Abuja from Monday May 2 to Monday May 9, 2022.
The theme of the conference is “Fratelli Tutti: path towards building human fraternity and lasting peace in West Africa”. Which is in line with Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, published in 2020.
He said: “Importantly, the General Assembly of RECOWA will pay attention to our common humanity – Fratelli Tutti. This is an effort to go beyond geographical and linguistic differences to appreciate the issues who speak to us the most, given that we are all brothers and sisters.
“It means that we are all connected as human beings, not only in our aspirations to actualize our universal values, but also in our struggles, our headaches and our fears. The call to our common humanity is to accept the reality that all human beings need each other, in order to live fully human”.
The clergy further said that, driven by the awareness of common humanity, “RECOWA plenaries discuss particular issues that affect the lives of millions of people in West Africa and explore how best to “Church can help governments to improve the living conditions of the people. RECOWA has various bodies that deal with issues of inter-religious dialogue, security, good governance, justice and peace.”
He said that RECOWA was established with the main purpose of strengthening the mission of the Church in the region; maintaining and fostering relations between the constituent Episcopal Conferences.
“Furthermore, as RECOWA, the Church has been able to raise concerns and work together on issues of justice and peace. From Senegal to Nigeria, RECOWA has been a strong voice against land grabbing, child trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism, placing the issue of climate change on the competing list to combat desertification and many more . It is expected that these issues will still be part of the agenda of the 2022 plenary, which is expected to bring together more than 150 bishops.
“With this new arrangement which transcends the language barriers imposed by English, French and Portuguese, the Catholic Church is asserting itself as an organ of integration for West Africa,” he said. added.