Cotonou (Agenzia Fides) - "We met in the cathedral to celebrate, at the invitation of the Archbishop with other religious confessions, namely Muslims, Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, Methodists and the traditional religions of our country, peace, justice and sharing", said Father Augustin Ismaëlou Sidi, in presenting the inter-religious meeting held on the evening of April 6 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mercy in Cotonou. The participants gathered around His Exc. Monsignor Roger Houngbédji, Archbishop of Cotonou. The event entitled "Evening fasting and sharing" saw participants praying for Benin and shared their views on the issues of justice, peace and solidarity.
Monsignor Roger, at the opening of this initiative, said: "My priorities are to work for inclusive and transversal fraternal communion, not only within the Catholic Church, but also with the brothers and sisters of other religions in our country. (...) The goal is to unify our common beliefs, our actions and our opinions in favor of the critical and responsible promotion of our culture and our cultural values on the one hand, and of a civic and responsible commitment in favor of a better social cohesion, on the other hand".
During the celebration, the leaders of the various religious institutions expressed prayers in favor of peace in Benin, where disturbing signs of the emergence of jihadist terrorism have recently emerged. Msgr. Houngbédji took the opportunity to encourage initiatives within Islam aimed at preventing religious extremism from inflaming the country: "May God bless and support everything you put in place, individually and collectively, to resist the insidious solicitations that come from the outside and to the assault of an invasive fanaticism, which unfortunately brings the specter of terrorism and its corollaries to our continent and region".
The interreligious meeting took place in the context of the surge in the prices of basic foodstuffs in the country, where there is concern above all for the situation of the poorest. And this undoubtedly pushed everyone, from religious leaders, starting from the Bishop to the faithful, to a special charitable collection. (E.G./L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/4/2022)