After 7 years of vacancy in the episcopal headquarters of the diocese of Bondoukou in eastern Côte d’Ivoire, a new bishop was appointed in the person of Most Reverend Bruno Essoh Yédoh, who was consecrated on Saturday 28 September 2019 at the Ali Timité stadium in Bondoukou.
By Françoise Niamien with (Marcel Ariston Blè) Vatican City
(Translation – CCO NEWS)
A moment of joy and thanksgiving to God, the episcopal ordination mass of the new Bishop of Bondoukou, Bishop Bruno Essoh Yédoh, appointed on 28 June 2019 by His Holiness Pope Francis, brought together a large part of the Ivorian episcopate, bishops from neighbouring countries, many priests, religious and thousands of Catholic faithful.
The event, which was expected from all Bondoukou diocesans after the death on May 6, 2012 of Bishop Félix Kouadio, was also attended by administrative and customary political figures, as well as leaders of other religious denominations in the Zanzan Region.
Seven years of maturation
In his homily, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan and principal consecrator of this episcopal ordination mass, referring to the 7 years of waiting and vacancy of the episcopal headquarters, addressed the people of Bondoukou saying to them: “Our God could not abandon you, the Lord could not disappoint the prayer of our lips, he who satisfied at his time the desire of our hearts”.
For Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, “these 7 years of long waiting were those of the necessary maturation as the Lord does for all those who are dear to his heart.” Among other things, the Cardinal asked the Bondoukou faithful to walk together with their new bishop and his presbytery in a spirit of fraternal correction.
Involvement of the clergy “without miscalculation” in the mission of the bishop
Continuing his homily, the Archbishop of Abidjan urged the clergy of Bondoukou to be good and precious collaborators for the glory of God for their new bishop. “The ministry of your bishop will only be able to give all its fullness if you also accept the role and mission that is yours, without false calculations,” he insisted. “The Spirit of the Lord who rests on you does not allow you to sow doubt in the minds of your faithful through attitudes of mistrust towards the authority that embodies it,” he warned them.
The bishop as a witness of the Gospel
To the new bishop, Cardinal Kutwa recommended that the requirements of his mission as pastor of the diocese of Bondoukou be respected: “Your mission, to be carried out successfully, requires that you live up to the expectations of the living forces of your diocese and of all its people”. Also, the Archbishop of Abidjan said, “You must keep in mind that our mission is to be, for the world, a witness of the closeness of God and the Gospel of salvation. »
Seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice
In his speech inaugurating his episcopal ministry, Bishop Bruno Essoh Yédoh praised the “vitality of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue” in Bondoukou, the city of a thousand mosques, promising to build bridges of friendship and fraternity with other religious faiths in the wake of his predecessors.
“Seeking first of all the Kingdom of God and its justice” is Bishop Yédoh’s motto by which he invited his diocesan brothers and sisters to a common journey through pastoral innovation in a spirit of communion and openness. “We will therefore sit together and discuss to propose and give ways to build our diocesan family and make our diocese a haven of fraternity and peace,” he promised.
On Sunday, September 29, the new bishop presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in thanksgiving to God in the Cathedral of St. Odile, before laying wreaths on the tombs of his predecessors: Most Reverend Alexandre Kouassi, first bishop from 1987 to 1994, and Most Reverend Félix Kouadio from 1996 to 2012.