The value of togetherness has been acknowledged as the clergy in the West African country of Togo gathered in a six-day General Assembly to celebrate 50 years since their association, the Fraternity of Diocesan Priest in Togo (FPDT), was established.
“It has been 50 years since our elder brothers in the priesthood, driven by the spirit of unity and fraternity, laid the solid foundations of our fraternity,” the President of the Episcopal Conference of Togo, Bishop Benoît Alowonou told participants at the opening ceremony of the Golden Jubilee celebration, Monday, January 6.
“Since this happy initiative, the Fraternity of Diocesan Priests of Togo has gone through happy and difficult times,” Bishop Alowonou said at Saint John Paul II Major Seminary in Togo’s capital, Lome, the venue of the Golden Jubilee celebration whose theme is,“Achievements and Challenges of the FPDT, 50 Years After.”
However, the 70-year-old Togolese Prelate noted, “the most important thing is that after fifty years of progress, the language of fraternity still gathers the diocesan priests in an annual assembly to pray together and to hand over the hand of the Lord.”
Founded in 1970, FPDT brings together more than 400 priests from the seven dioceses of the West African country in a General Assembly every year.
“The fraternity of Priests is not only a gathering, it is our vocation as priests (and) ministers of sacraments,” the Local Ordinary of Togo’s Kpalimé diocese said, further describing the annual encounters as “an instrument of work and evangelization.”
FPDT seeks to respond to the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council, reminding the clergy of the need to be intimately bound together in sacramental fraternity by virtue of their ordination to the priesthood. In this regard, no priest is able to carry out his mission in isolation; one cannot do without joining forces with fellow priests.
Members of FPDT are priests from any one of seven Catholic Dioceses in Togo, Diocesan priests serving in Togo who hail from the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) as well as Fidéi Donum priests working in Togo who wish to join the 50-year-old association.