Abidjan, Ivory Coast. From March 6 – 18th, 2013 an encounter was held in Abidjan for the Claretians who work in the Ivory Coast. The encounter was held on the occasion of the canonical visit by Fr. Krzsztof Gierat, CMF, Provincial of Poland, to the communities of this country.
As well as fraternal animation, the meeting aimed to discern some of the current issues of this mission.
The Claretians have worked in the Ivory Coast since 1990. Currently six Polish and seven native Claretians exercise their ministry here. Among them, three study theology in Abidjan and one at the ITVR in Madrid, Spain. At the Seminary there are fourteen students and two candidates from the Ivory Coast. The Claretians staff four parishes: two in Bouafle, one in Abidjan, and one in Soubre. Attached to these parish centers are numerous villages and chapels.
The Ivory Coast, after years of political tensions and conflicts, is now a stable country which is known for the impoverishment of its people. The Catholic missions are often attacked. On the other hand, especially in the south of the country, Christianity is developing and strengthening the newly baptized Christians, as well as providing new priestly and religious vocations. At the same time, although slowly, a development of their ecclesial structures is taking place.
The greater part of the population of this country is Muslim; in addition there are numerous sects and followers of natural religions.