Support the Formation of Young Priests in Ivory Coast
Project Code: 116-04-79
In the last 10 years, Ivory Coast has cropped up quite frequently in the news. This West African country, in which for many years some 60 different ethnic groups managed to live together peaceably, was the site of a bloody civil war from 2002 to 2007. At times, Ivory Coast is still shaken by violent conflicts, and the country remains divided between a rebel-controlled North and a government-controlled South.
The Diocese of Katiola lies within the area under rebel control and was severely affected by the fighting. Following the war, the rebuilding of Church life is proceeding only slowly and with much difficulty. The poverty is extreme and growing still worse, and the scars of the war are still far from healed. Thankfully, there is also good news. Most of the 40 or so priests in the diocese are young and some 80% of them have not yet celebrated the 15th anniversary of their ordination; most are aged under 40 years.
Within the Diocese of Katiola, the Catholic Church is also young, celebrating its hundredth anniversary only four years ago. The 21 parishes of the diocese are scattered over an area of almost 13,000 square miles and in many cases are far apart from one another. And Catholics account for only 11% of the total population here.
Bishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo would like the priests of his diocese not only to have a solid basic formation but also to receive continuing ongoing formation so that they can effectively tackle the many challenges facing the Church here in Katiola. He is therefore planning to have the young priests meet together three times a year to receive further training. The proposed program includes a range of different topics, such as teaching the young priests how a parish can stand financially on its own two feet. At the same time, the idea is for the priests to exchange ideas and experiences and to deepen their vocation.
ACN fully supports this program, which will involve 31 young priests, and has promised a contribution of $7,700. That works out at just $410 per priest for three meetings, a small sum indeed and yet a vital investment in the future of this diocese, which is only slowly recovering from the Civil War. Will you give to support the formation of these young priests in Ivory Coast? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.