Missionaries of Africa
Province Europe. Poland
Missionary camp in Poland,
24-28 August 2011
From 24th to 28th August, the Missionaries of Africa of Lublin organised a missionary camp for young men in the Bieszczady. The Bieszczady is a splendid mountain and forest area in the south of Poland, bordering Slovakia and Ukraine. This is the third consecutive year for us to organise this missionary camp.
There were 9 participants, of whom two, (Jarek Kulesza and Pawel Debosz), are new candidates in our Formation House this year. Darek Zelinski, who prepared the camp, was unable to attend at due to an urgent health problem. It was left to Bogus Zero, our confrere working in Burundi, currently on home leave, and Otto Katto to run the camp.
Also present was Tomek, doing his apostolic practice period with us and on leave before pursuing his theological studies in South Africa.
This camp was focused on Africa today and the impact of the Missionaries of Africa there. It was also a call for awareness that the importance of missionaries from Europe and Poland in particular, with its rich religious heritage is vital not only for the survival of our Society but for the Church in Africa. The young men present appreciated the personal testimonies of the missionaries present at the camp.
One of the main events of this camp was climbing to the summit of the Bieszchady Mountains (Tarnice). Blessed Pope John Paul II used to go there from time to time. In fact, at the summit, there is a huge cross dedicated to his memory.
So, our mountain-climbing was in a way a pilgrimage up to the summit, with moments of rest to pray, to ponder on the message of Pope Benedict to the youth at Madrid as well as to admire the wonders of nature in these mountains and forests.
We were also invited to the Parish of Trepczy, where we gave a presentation of our missionary work (Burundi) accompanied by songs and dances from Africa. The Eucharist in which the youth participated actively with African songs was highly appreciated by the parishioners.
Visits to the ecumenical centre, old churches, and the museum were also made. It was also interesting to visit the border guards.
In the evaluation of the camp, the young people voted unanimously for us to organise a missionary camp in Bieszczady next year. Indeed, there was a warm atmosphere among us thanks to the small number of participants, which made it easy for contact and sharing.
The presence of our two new candidates was an encouragement to the other young people present, demonstrating that it is possible and vital for young Poles to serve God in Africa as missionaries.
We are very grateful to Bogus, his parents (who helped with the cooking), Tomek and Pani Kasia (the guide), for their generosity and help.
Otto Katto M.Afr.
See also last year