COVID-19: cardinal offers up his illness for peace in Burkina Faso

A CALL TO PRAYER for all sick people and “for reconciliation, justice and peace in Burkina Faso”—this is the heart of the message of a letter sent to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) by Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, archbishop of Ouagadougou, the country’s capital after he tested positive for COVID-19.

“Beloved brothers and sisters, on the morning of Monday March 30, 2020, I received the positive result of my test, done 48 hours earlier. I thus joined the countless crowds of patients confined all over the world for care. It doesn’t just happen to others!” writes Cardinal Ouedraogo.

Cardinal Ouédraogo

In this letter addressed to his “Christian and non-Christian friends” he says that he is receiving “good care,” thanks his closest collaborators, the nursing staff around him, and all those who support him, whether “by a phone call” or “by praying for him.”

He appeals for solidarity: “Also, I would like, from the depth of my heart as a pastor, to call out for a profound outpouring of solidarity at the local, regional and international levels for COVID-19 patients. There is an urgent need for adequate means to save the many lives affected! ‘One single finger does not scoop up flour,’ as African wisdom teaches us. Let us therefore unite to drive this dreadful disease, with its unfortunate consequences, out of our country and out of the world.”

In his country affected by an unprecedented wave of terrorism, Cardinal Ouedraogo says he “willingly offers this time of trial” and his “daily prayer: for every person afflicted by the virus; for an end to the killing of innocent people by the forces of evil; for reconciliation, justice and peace in Burkina Faso.”

For almost five years now, Christians in the north of the country in particular have been the target of jihadist terrorist attacks. In February, a delegation from ACN went to assess the difficult situation of Christians in the north of the country and reiterated the solidarity of the universal Church.

According to ACN sources, almost 1 million people in Burkina Faso are internally displaced because of the violence; since 2019, more than 1,000 people—both Christians and Muslims—have been killed in terrorist assaults.

—Mario Bard