posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com
Thousands of invitees, Christian faithful as well as President Paul Biya’s representative, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, Minister of External Relations were yesterday December 7, 2011 in the Provincial Headquarters of Wele Nsas, Mongomo which hosts Akoakam village, the birth place of the President Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
They were living witnesses to the consecration of an ultra-modern structure, christened the Immaculate Conception Basilica which has a capacity of 8, 000 people and has been implanted on a surface area of 2,000 square meters. The Basilica is placed under the divine protection of the Holy Virgin Mary, patron Saint of Equatorial Guinea.
Yesterday’s ceremony was chaired by his Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze, representative of Pope Bernedict XVI. Also present at the occasion were; five Cardinals, about 45 Bishops, some 300 priests from the CEMAC sub-region.
President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was accompanied by his wife Constancia Mangue de Obiang, the President of the Republic of Central Africa, François Bozzizé, the wife of the President of Congo Brazzaville, Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, former President of Soa Tome and Principe, Fradique de Menezes, the representative of President Paul Biya, External Relations Minister, Henri Eyebe Ayissi who was accompanied by the Ambassador of Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea, Mpuele Mballa Lazare and his wife.
Before the handing over of the Keys of the Basilica to the Pope’s representative, the head of the Italian company, Moquinen Venture that constructed the Basilica presented its characteristics to the public.
On his part, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo made a moving speech in which he traced the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church in his country. He noted that the country which has a majority of Roman Catholic Christians has survived several difficult moments since independence thanks to divine intervention.
He appreciated the support given him by the Holy See in the construction of such a fantastic structure that has cost Equatorial Guinea an estimated sum of FCFA 9 billion. He invited Pope Bernedict XVI to visit Equatorial Guinea.
The consecration Mass that concluded yesterday’s ceremony was preceded by the cutting of the symbolic ribbon by the Pope’s representative accompanied by President Obiang Nguema and his august guests.
A year earlier on December 9, 2005, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema presented the plan of the Basilica to The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI following a State visit to Rome.
The presentation of the plan in Rome took place in the presence of Mgr Alfred Maria Oburu, former Bishop of Ebebiyin seat of the diocese that covers Mongomo Province.
The event is expected to end today with the Christian feast of the Immaculate Conception that is in honour of the Holy Virgin Mary, patron Saint of Equatorial Guinea.