Cardinal Michael Czerny visits Benin

Cardinal Michael Czerny visits Benin

The Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), Cardinal Michael Czerny, is visiting Benin on January 17-20, 2024.  

Upon his arrival, Cardinal Czerny was received by the Apostolic Nuncio in Benin, Archbishop Mark Miles, and by the Bishops of the country. At that time, the Prefect encouraged his hearers to commit to the work that we are called to, as expressed in Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’, saying: "I hope that the members of the church, in fact all people, will be strengthened in this vocation which we share, towards each of us, especially for the poorest, and also for future generations, and all of those for whom we have a great responsibility."

He added, "I am interested in knowing what the specific challenges here are; the environmental concerns, but in terms of social justice, because the poor are the first victims of the ecological disaster that we are living through and that we have caused." 



On January 18, he visited the nonprofit health center, Saint Jean, in Cotonou where he met with the staff who provide many needed medical services for the people. 

In addition, Cardinal Czerny met separately with the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Togo and the bishops of Benin to discuss the challenges facing each local church.  

On January 19, the Prefect took part in a meeting with the Episcopal Social Commissions and religious congregations working locally in the social field.

Cardinal Czerny then presided over a mass in Cotonou's Saint-Michel church, broadcast live on Radio Immaculée Conception.  

In his homily, commenting on Jesus' call to the apostles in the Gospel, the Cardinal recalled that "through Jesus, God wanted to have collaborators, He made us human beings, His collaborators" and added that "if God has trusted us by establishing us as His collaborators, the collaborators of His mission, we also receive the mission to live in trust with one another".  

"The Synod on Synodality invites us to walk together, to journey together, to live in communion, in common participation in Christ's mission, in common discernment that enables us to find and welcome God's will," he explained.      

In this respect, Cardinal Czerny emphasized that "like the first communities, we are gathered by Christ to announce the Good News not only by word but also by witness", and concluded: "May our faith make our church in Benin grow, enabling us to be true witnesses to the Good News of the coming of God's reign, which takes into account the poor and excluded of our society. May our faith be a leaven of peace, love and justice".  

Finally, on January 20, he participated in a round table on Ecology, with the participation of technical and financial partners, diplomats, bishops, priests, religious men and women.

The event focused on the "Green Church" program (Église Verte) which promotes different initiatives in favor of "ecological conversion" and, in general, of a responsible attitude towards the environment, based on Pope Francis' calls for the care of the common home, contained in the encyclical Laudato Si', and the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum which encourage concrete steps towards ecological conversion.

In June 2023, Cardinal Michael Czerny visited Congo Brazzaville as papal representative on the occasion of the celebration of the 140th anniversary of the evangelization of this African country.


15 January 2024