We, Bishops or the RECOWA-CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West AfricaLes Conférences Episcopales Réunies de l’Afrique de l’Ouest), are happy to hold our third plenary assembly in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from May 13th to May 20th 2019, on the following theme: The new evangelization and the promotion of integral human development in the Church family of God in West Africa. At the end of our works, discussions and prayers, we take resolutions and make recommendations as follows:
1. The life of RECOWA-CERAO
We are delighted in the process that brought about the creation of RECOWA-CERAO. We make the commitment to capitalize the rich experience and gains of AECAWA (Association of Episcopal Conference of Anglophone West Africa) and of CERAO (Conférence Épiscopale Régionale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) to the profit of our new institution. We have shared our enthusiasm for its smooth running as we debated on the revision of its statutes. We make the commitment to support those who are appointed to conduct our organization. In the same way, we express our firm will to financially contribute to its running.
2. Collaboration with ECOWAS
We take the stretched hand of the president of the ECOWAS commission, his excellency Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, at the opening ceremony, to collaborate with RECOWA-CERAO in view of the event of a durable development in the region. We make the commitment to continue making efforts to reinforce our collaboration with it through the creation of a permanent concertation framework.
3. Youth, faith and migration
We reaffirm our commitment in the pastoral of the youth that constitute the biggest part of our church family of God. We are conscious of their desire of happiness that leads many of them to migration and to the dramatical consequences of that plague. We commit our church, pastors and community, to be on the side of the youth, as we lend them an attentive hearing, as we encourage all the initiatives that keep the youth in their land and contribute to their wellbeing, and as we promote their technical and professional training.
In the same way, we require from the governments to invest really in the youth with programs for the youth in priority and protect them against ideologies that draw them to terrorist and criminal networks.
4. The laity
Itis with a great joy that we received the lay through the leader of the regional laity council of West Africa (CRLAO). We invite them to get more into the world of politics and economy, having as reference the social teaching of the Church. We make the commitment to accompany them and support them in creating their structures in our countries. Furthermore, we require that the Christian families be places of evangelization and of Christian education.
5. The States
In face of notice of the political bustles, especially during elections, and after the initiatives taken by the outgoing bureau of the RECOWA-CERAO, we call on our political leaders to good governance, especially to the respect of the constitution and of the common good, and to provide for political dialogue and integral and fair human development of the peoples.
6. The priests
We express our deep gratitude to the priests for their generosity in discharging their missionary work. We exhort them to always bear witness to a life given to Christ, in the humble service of his people. We also call them to make themselves available for the missionary work for the evangelization of our Region.
7. Consecrated life
We congratulate ourselves of the vitality of consecrated life in our Church family of God and we appreciate its precious contribution to mission. We express our profound gratitude to all the consecrated people for their prophetic witness. We encourage them and we call for communion with the church family of God in our dioceses. We make the commitment of a better accompaniment of consecrated life and the judicious discernment of the many charisms.
8. Message of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the peoples
Welcoming the message of His Excellency Bishop Protase Rugambwa, representing the Congregation for the Evangelization of the peoples, we make the commitment to take up the various challenges of the New Evangelization in Africa that he has mentioned, especially the economic, religious and pastoral challenges.
9. Workshop with Peter Cardinal TURKSON and his collaborators
Itis with great interest that we gathered clarifications and exhortations of Peter Cardinal TURKSON, prefect of the dicastery for integral human development, and his collaborators. We are convinced of the necessity to work to the financial and material handling of our churches, to put an end to the mentality of dependence. All the bishops make the commitment to take initiatives in that sense and to create conditions favoring youth employment in particular. We affirm our availability to work with partners concerned with social entrepreneurship and of social impact investment. We also make the commitment to invest in the formation of necessary human resources in order to attain efficient results.
At last, we congratulate the Christian entrepreneurs and investors and we encourage them to continue their efforts in view of the promotion of enterprises with social impact and to the benefit of the youth in particular.
Ouagadougou, May 18h, 2019.