Libreville (Agenzia Fides) - "The Holy Father's appeal for Gabon was greeted with great joy by the people", says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Euzébius Chinekezy Ogbonna Managwu, Bishop of Port Gentil, who is in Rome for the Study Seminar for the recently appointed Bishops in mission territories organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (see Fides 02/09/2016).
"I received several calls from enthusiastic people from Gabon for Pope Francis’ appeal. They say "the Pope prays for us, we do not feel abandoned". It is a great encouragement for all of us to continue to pray for our Country and not to lose hope for a better future", said the Bishop.
After the Angelus on Sunday, September 11, Pope Francis said: "Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to ask a special prayer for Gabon, a country in central Africa which is going through a time of severe political crisis. I entrust to the Lord the victims of the clashes and their families. I join the Bishops of the first African Country to invite the parties to reject all violence and to always aim for the common good. I encourage everyone, particularly Catholics, to be builders of peace within the law, in dialogue and fraternity".
After the message of September 2 signed by Exc. Mgr. Basile Mve Engone, Archbishop of Libreville (see Fides 06/09/2016), on September 10 the Bishops launched a new appeal for calm and prayer, but at the same time call on all political leaders to "do everything possible so that the election results are respected by all. This will prevent the outbreak of violence with loss of life and destruction of public and private goods".
"At the moment the situation is calm but one lives in tension waiting for the Constitutional Court's decision on the confirmation of the victory of outgoing President Ali Bongo Ondimba on opponent Jean Ping in the elections of 27 August", says to Fides Mgr. Managwu.
At an economic level Gabon, one of the major African oil producers, suffers the consequences of the sharp drop in crude oil prices.
"My diocese, Port Gentil, is the economic capital of the Country", said Mgr. Managwu. "Yet much of the population lives below the poverty line. The State is making cuts in public administration due to the reduction of oil revenues. I say to young people: go back to farming, at least we will have something to eat. In fact, Gabon has so much abandoned fertile land. We have to learn to become self-sufficient in food production", the Bishop concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/09/2016)