AFRICA/NIGER - "We have joy in our hearts despite the violence" write the catechists from the Niger-Burkina Faso border area

Wednesday, 22 March 2023 persecutions   evangelization  

Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "We have come to tell you that we have joy in our hearts despite the prevailing security situation in the area; we always have faith in Jesus Christ", write the catechists from Makalondi, Bomoanga, Kankani and Torodi, areas between Niger and Burkina Faso that have been hard hit by attacks by jihadist groups.
"We have relatives arrested, killed or kidnapped during moments of prayer, but Jesus gives us words that comfort us", continues the message sent to Fides. "We live with fear in our stomachs, but we move forward together with Christ who gives us his word that consoles us every day. Despite the situation, our faith is increasing, our churches are full every Sunday for prayer.
Whatever the situation, we always continue to pray in the chapel as in families according to the realities of each environment.
We continue to announce the good news, with the faith that Jesus himself left us without getting discouraged despite the situation we live in every day".
In the last two days alone, five women, one man and five army volunteers were killed in a series of attacks in eastern Burkina Faso. The women died on March 20, when the body of a man killed the previous day and stuffed with explosives exploded in the central-eastern part of the country, where jihadist raids are frequent.
Despite the level of perfidy shown by the above episode, the authors of the message emphasize that it is possible to live the beatitudes in a context of suffering, by adapting the Gospel message to their situation.
“We have the joy of listening to the word of God every day, which gives us advice on how to overcome the security situation in our different environments. We have the joy of being Christians whom Jesus himself has prepared to be ready for all situations that happen to us in his name, he is with us throughout our lives.
All those who have left their villages because of insecurity affirm their contentment to be driven out for nothing.
Blessed are all those who live in areas where peace is totally absent, and who cannot bring the good news to the poor.
Blessed are all those who are isolated due to insecurity in the area and have no more food and no acceptable situation.
Blessed are those whose priest has been removed and who continue to pray.
Blessed are those who no longer have means of transport, nor the network to communicate but who continue to announce the good news.
It is a "Gospel" that comes to us from the border areas between Niger and Faso, where the Gourmanché people experience the test of faith. It is written by catechists/animators on the "sand" of our Sahel. It is intended, in this time which prepares us for Easter, for Christians elsewhere, for all of us! It is good news that brings and shares the flavor of the beatitudes", Father Mauro Armanino, missionary of the Society of African Missions, who works in Niamey, told Fides. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/3/2023)