We, the Bishops of RECOWA / CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa / Conferences Episcoples Reuniies de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) are pleased to hold our third Plenary Assembly in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from the 13th to the 20th of May 2019, on the theme : The New Evangelization and Integral human Development in the Church, Family of God in West Africa. At the end of our works, exchanges and prayers, we have taken these resolutions and made the following recommendations :
1- RECOWA / CERAO
We are pleased with the process that has led to the creation of RECOWA / CERAO. We are committed to capitalizing on the rich experiences and achievements of AECAWA (Association of Episcopal Conferenceof Anglophone West Africa) and CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa) in favor of our new institution. We have shared our enthusiasm for the smooth running of this body through the debates aimed at the revision of its statutes. We are committed to supporting those in charge of leading our organization. In the same way, we express our firm resolution to contribute financially to its assumption of responsibility.
2- Collaboration with ECOWAS
We joyfully accept the extended friendly hand of the President of ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Mr. Jean Claude Kassi BROU, during the opening ceremony, to collaborate with RECOWA / CERAO for the pro motion of sustainable human development in the region. We commit ourselves to continued efforts to strengthen our links with ECOWAS, by setting up a permanent consultative framework.
3- Youth, faith and migration
We reaffirm our commitment to the youth ministry which is the biggest advantage of our Church, Family of God. We are aware of their desire for happiness that drives many of them into migration and the tragedies that this scourge entails. We urge our Church, pastors and communities to be on the side of the youth, by listening to them, by encouraging all the initiatives that situate the young people in their land and to find their fulfillment, by promoting their vocational and technical training.
In the same vein, we call on governments to undertake genuine investments in the youth with youth- friendly programs and to protect them from ideologies that draw them into terrorist and criminal networks.
It is with joy that we welcomed the laity through their leaders of the Regional Council for West Africa (CRLAO). We urge them to invest more in politics and economics, building on the Church’s Social Doctrine. We are committed to accompany and support in the implementation of their structures in our respective countries. In addition, we ask Christian families to become places of evangelization and education on Christian and African values.
5- The states
We express our gratitude to our political leaders for their efforts to lead our people in peace, unity and reconciliation. Faced with the reality of political turmoil especially during elections, and following the initiatives taken by the outgoing RECOWA/ CERAO officials, we invite them to strengthen good governance, in particular, to respect the constitutions and the common good, to promote political dialogue and the integral and equitable development of people.
6 Consecrated Life
We rejoice in the vitality of the consecrated life in our Church, Family of God and we appreciate its precious contribution to the mission. We express our deep gratitude to all consecrated persons for their prophetic witness. We encourage them and we call for communion with the Church, Family of God in our dioceses. We commit ourselves to a better companionship of the Consecrated Life and the judicious discernment of many charisms.
7- Message from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Welcoming the message of His Excellency Most Reverend Protase RUGAMBWA representing the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, we commit ourselves to take up the various challenges of the new evangelization in Africa which he underlined, especially the economic, religious and pastoral challenges.
8- Workshop with Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal TURKSON and his collaborators
It is with great interest that we welcome clarifications and exhortations of Cardinal TURKSON, Prefect of the Decastry for the service of Integral Human development and his Collaborator. We are convinced of the need to work on the financial and material autonomy of our Churches, to put an end to the mentality of dependency. All the Bishops commit themselves to take initiatives in this direction and to create the conditions favoring the employment of young people in particular. We affirm our willingness to work with partners driven by the concern for social entrepreneurship and social impact investment. We are equally committed to achieve an efficient result, to invest in formation of the necessary human resources.
Finally, we congratulate Christian entrepreneurs and investors and encourage them to continue their efforts to promote social impact enterprises, particularly for the benefit of young people.
Ouagadougou, May 18, 2019