Missionaries of Africa
Fr. Richard K. Baawobr 1st Assistant General
Initial Formation Phase 4
Small Formation Group
Salongo Kinshasa, D.R.Congo
2 years ago the SFG of Kin
Two years ago, the Province of Afrique Centrale opened the doors of the Kinshasa (Salongo) Procure to welcome 7 candidates of the Small Formation Group (SFG), due to begin their theological formation. The Procure had recently been equipped with 8 extra rooms by the Simba Ngai Group (Lingala for 'Hold me'), and supervised by Italo IOTTI.
Michel TREMBLAIS, in charge of their formation, arrived before them. On the spot, he was helped by Santiago RODRIGUEZ, superior of the community and Bruno CHUPIN, the procurator. Obliged to leave Congo earlier than planned, Bruno was quite quickly replaced by Jean Bosco MASABA and still later by Luciano FUCHS. The house continues to fulfil its function as a Procure with the difference that this time, instead of finding only 3 or 4 confreres, there are now 11, from just about everywhere.
In the first year (2006-2007), the candidates took courses at the Saint Eugène de Mazenod Scholasticate (Oblates of Mary Immaculate). They therefore had to brave the Kinshasa traffic every morning and evening with all sorts of vehicles in uncontrolled flow, for at least an hour going and the same for the return. It was understood that this situation would be temporary.
Indeed, we were waiting on the opening of a consortium at a location nearer the Procure. It is now a reality.
Since September 2007, candidates attend the Saint Augustine University of Kinshasa, 18 Rue de Limete (http://www.usakin.org). This is nearer and has a Faculty of Theology. The consortium as such (Philosophy and Theology) comprises 20 fully participating partner institutes, 7 partner institutes with partial participation and 13 yet-to-be partnered institutes. At the outset, we formed part of the third category, but from the next academic intake, we will become a fully participating partner institute.
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The Saint Augustine Philosophy facility had been in existence since the 15 October 1981 and formed part of what was called the Kinshasa Higher Institute of Theology and Philosophy, (ISTP-Kinshasa). It obtained affiliation to the Pontifical Urbanianum University, Rome, on the 20 November 1991. Having become a University this year, the students will receive its graduate diploma (3 years), and Licentiate (5 years), directly from the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ministry of Higher and University Education.
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At the start up of the SMG, one of the fears of some people was that there would be less renewal in the SFG than in the large Formation communities. The 3-year experience of the Nairobi SFG and the 2 years at Jerusalem and Kinshasa demonstrate that this is not at all the case. Since the creation of each of these communities, there have always been new members joining the community, either as candidates or staff members.
Sébastien N., Camille, Théobald, Denis, Guy Sawadogo, Sébastien K., Daniel, Alex
In September 2008, at Kinshasa, Gaetano CAZZOLA replaced Michel TREMBLAIS as head of the SFG, whereas Guy SAWADOGO enhanced the sensitivity of the group to interreligious dialogue issues when he arrived from the Maghreb. Unless we go around with our eyes closed, the arrival or departure of someone means the community is not the same. It is up to us to realise this! The arrival of our confrere
Odon KIPILI in the Kinshasa SFG for biblical studies at the Faculties of Theology will also be another enhancement for all the members of the SFG and for all those who will benefit from the services of the PAC Procure, when the occasion arises.
The journey has only just begun! Let us gather our strengths to march with our brothers in Kinshasa and elsewhere in Formation, whether they are in large or small Formation communities. Everyone is compelled by the forward thrust of the Spirit of Jesus, the Missionary of the Father!
Text & Photos Richard K. BAAWOBR
September 2006 : l'ouverture du centre
Photos March 2007
3 -06- 2007 Ministère de l' Acolytat