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||23 Jun 2005, 06:47:07 AM
"We offer words of comfort to all. May Mary Queen of Peace protect
the destiny of our country": Catholic Bishops address the nation
Lome (Fides Service)- "The unprecedented and difficult situation before
and during presidential elections on 24 April may have discouraged many.
But to give way to discouragement would only make things worse. Help can
only come from God who made heaven and earth. But for God's help to be
effective our co-operation is indispensable". This statement was part of a
message of comfort which the Catholic Bishops of Togo addressed to the
"sons and daughters in Christ, dear compatriots and all men and women of
good will" and in which they offer encouragement to the country in a
situation of total uncertainty following the death of President Gnassingbé
Eyadéma and the outcome of presidential elections on 24 April which gave
victory to his son, rejected by the Opposition.
"In this situation we are all called to make a serious examination of
conscience with the light of the Holy Spirit" the Bishop said. "Have we
done our best to make peace and justice the foundations of our society?
Have we done anything we should have avoided? Have we failed to do our
duty? These questions and respective answers should help us to change our
The Bishops made a special mention of the many Togolese forced to flee
the country to escape violence. "In the present situation it is urgent to
consider the plight of our brothers and sisters who for various reasons
left their homes and now live in precarious conditions in other parts of
Togo or in other countries. For Togo and its political leaders they
represent a problem which requires a speedy solution. These people must be
reassured and guaranteed a return without risk and without fear".
"Many citizens have lost their lives: we entrust them to the mercy and
goodness of God" the Bishops said. "Many have been wounded or mutilated.
Many have lost everything they had. To all who suffer in body or in spirit
we offer a message of comfort". "However we cannot fail to mention the
many Togolese working with all their heart to promote lasting peace and
justice in Togo. We offer them our encouragement; may God bless and reward
their efforts" the Bishops said concluding the message with a prayer to
the Blessed Virgin Mary "Comforter of the afflicted and Queen of Peace".
"We ask her to pray with and for us. May she protect the destiny of our
nation. May she obtain for all the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit!"
(Agenzia Fides 22/6/2005 righe 44 parole 453)
The Church in Togo wants to make the nation's difficult situation known to
public opinion, it calls for help for the people in danger of losing
courage: final Message issued after Meeting between Italian missionaries
and local Church in Togo
Lome (Fides Service) - "The Church in Togo would like to make a gift to
the Church in Italy of its festive liturgy, the vitality of its
communities which strive to become self supporting, the valorisation of
the laity, the ability to be patient in a situation of unemployment,
poverty, disease . placing all hope in God the Father who never abandons
his children. The Church in Togo asks for even more than a gesture of
solidarity: for public opinion to be made aware of the situation of
impasse Togo is living; help for local communities to build enough
churches; help to enable the local Church to use the media as a channel of
expression to counter the situation of misinformation, the lure of
alienating philosophic movements and the mirage of technological progress
which corrodes traditional values".
This is part of a final message drafted by participants at a meeting
promoted jointly by the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Togo and Italy
and held 6-9 June at Leo XIII Spirituality Centre at Agoenyive (Lome), run
by the Canossian Sisters Daughters of Charity. The meeting is the latest
in a series organised by the Italian Bishops' Office for Missionary
Co-operation with various local Churches in recent years in Albania,
Lebanon, Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Senegal, Kenya, Guinea Bissau,
D. Congo, and Peru. At the Togo meeting, attended by 34 Italian
missionaries working in the country, gratitude was expressed to what has
been done to help Togolese priests and religious study in Italy and those
who have been welcomed by Institutes founded in Italy.
As the message recalls during the meeting a priest who teaches at the
major seminary and the Archbishop of the capital Mgr Philippe Fanoko
Kpodzro "helped the participants to appreciate the present situation in
Togo" following death of president Gnassingbe Eyadema 5 February 2005
after 38 years of power. And the ensuing tension when awaited change did
not come and 850 people were killed and 30,000 fled their homes. Now the
political situation has stalled, with regard to its economy the country
appears to be at the mercy of everyone and everything, life expectancy is
no more than 47/48 years, roads are practically non existent and
communications are tools of propaganda and misinformation, public order is
in the hands of the army.
This difficult situation commits the Church to encourage "the hope of
the people close to discouragement and desperation". The young Church in
Togo (first mass celebrated by Divine Word missionaries on the beach in 28
August1892), today has 7 dioceses, more than 400 local priests, numerous
local men and women religious as well as no small number of foreign
missionaries. The participants at the meeting stressed the need to strive
for more inculturated evangelisation "to work for the common good, defend
the freedom of the poor and promote the truth, peace and justice. Poverty
and the present time of anxiety should help to strengthen the religious
and spiritual life of individuals and communities, make prayer more
intense and the clergy closer to the people." Missionaries are asked to
continue their efforts to help the local Church grow and to engage in
dialogue with traditional African Religions and with Islam.
(Agenzia Fides 22/6/2005 - Righe 41; Parole 576)