Provincials and Sections Superiors meet with the General Council, 2023

Meeting of Provincials and Sections Superiors with the General Council

In the photo, from left to right: (Sitting) ArsèneKapya (PAC), Réal Doucet (AMS), Stanley Lubungo (SG), Francis Bomansaan (AG), AnselmeTarpaga (AG), (Standing) Didier Sawadogo (PAO), Jean-Marie Amalebondra (MGH), Jos Van Boxel (PEP), John Itaru (TG), Leo Laurence Joseph Maria (AG), Dennis Pam (GHN), André Simonart (SG), Christian Mulenga (SAP), Haile Gazena (EPO), Pawel Hulecki (AG), (At a distance) Jaya BordhanMrutyun (SOA), and Oswald Mallya (EAP).

From October 4th  to 11th , 2023, the Provincials and Sections Superiors met with the General Council. This meeting aimed to introduce the various leaders to their task of animating the confreres and administering the multiple circumscriptions. It was an initiation to the dynamics of leadership in the Society, with some emphasis on the representative role not only of the Superior General but of the whole Society.

Provincials and Section Superiors were introduced to the exercise of authority in the Society through familiarisation with official documents such as the Constitutions and Laws, the various Vademecum and the decisions of the General Chapter and their advancement.

They also met the various sections at the service of the Generalate, such as the Secretariat for Initial Formation, the JPIC-RD Coordination, the Coordination for the Integrity in Ministry and the Media team. It was also a time to listen to news from our Provinces and Sections and to get to know each other better for more effective collaboration in the future.

Eight of the 10 participants were on site, and two followed the program from a distance.

Here’s what participants have said about the meeting:

 The meeting brought to me an awareness of my responsibilities as a provincial. The first awareness is that as a Provincial, I am an overseer not only of human and material resources in the Province but also of how these resources are to be handled and dispensed. The meeting also brought to my awareness the mission of our Society, especially in the areas of JPIC/ED. In the meetings, Ioften felt that the responsibilities were far too much for one person! I was somehow overwhelmed, and I wondered how one person (one man) couldhandle all these! The meeting once again brought to my awareness my limitations as a person and the need to seek God’s help and guidance in this ministry. Lastly, I hope and pray that “the grace of the office may transform me”.

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to the members of the General Council for your availability and sharing. The sharing from the various Provinces and Sections is highly appreciated. These sharing highlight the diverse nature of our missionary endeavours, joys and challenges. Thank you for listening to us and enabling us to be aware of the responsibilities and challenges of leadership. 

The meeting aimed to introduce the office bearers to the offices of the leaders for better administration in view of good service to the confreres and the Society at large. The meeting also equally drew to my attention how we could work and collaborate with each other as we are at the service of the Society. I personally appreciated the contributions and sharing of different views in the meeting, which enriched me. It was an opportunity for me to get to know others.

The meeting with the General Council was an opportunity for us to learn and deepen our knowledge of our Society, particularly about the exercise of the service of authority. It was interesting to come face to face with the documents (Vademecum and others). These documents are tools not only for the governance service in our provinces or sections but also instruments of meditation and prayer for this mission that we share with Christ in the Church, for the confreres in our jurisdictions and for the Society as a whole. Also, the application of these directives must always be lived out with the greatest love for the mission and for our confreres, for whom I am called to be an example in living and sharing our charism: isn’t that the best way to govern?

The meeting of the General Council with the Provincials was a very beautiful and fruitful experience. First of all, it was a good introduction to the mission of governing. Secondly, by the opportunity it has given us to meet, to get to know each other better, to learn from each other and to feel invested with the same mission in the service of our confreres. The different topics discussed corresponded to real needs on the ground, and they were very well prepared.

I very much appreciated the meetings with the various coordinators and the articulation between the formation on governance and the updating of the Chapter’s orientations to keep us focused on the prophetic mission.

About our meeting in Rome, I prefer to use the term ‘encounter’. For me, this was the most important part of our few days spent together: to create links, to learn to know each other and to develop an ‘esprit de corps’. It is so important to remind ourselves that we are at the service of the whole Society, not only of the confreres living in our own Province or Section. I was happy to listen to each one of the General Council members and to those in charge of the various services. Most of them are newcomers, and to hear them talking to us in the way they did confirms my convictions that our Society keeps alive the charism we received from our founder. Let us continue praying for one another!

The meeting was very helpful and encouraging for a variety of reasons. The fact of meeting face to face for several days allowed us to get to know each other, both among Provincials, Section Superiors, and the members of the General Council. Bonding is very important. The themes that were presented were very well prepared and gave us some deeper insights into what is expected from us. Thanks to each of the presenters, including the confreres in charge of various responsibilities at the Generalate (JPIC-ED, safeguarding, media, finances, etc.). We had a chance to discuss, ask questions, and give our contributions.

The welcoming atmosphere in the Generalate made us feel at home, and the interaction with other members of the community and other visitors was pleasant and interesting. I thank the General Council for inviting us to that meeting, which, for me, was more of a formation session on leadership in our Society. It was an eye-opener on the importance of administration in our system of governance.The importance of being congruent with the documents of the Society and knowing where to find explanations to many of our questions. It was clear that we don’t take enough time to read and digest our working instruments: The Constitutions and Laws, Vade mecum of Government for Provincials, Statutes of the Provinces, etc. and working towards the realisation of the decisions of the last General Chapter.

The importance of working as a team among ourselves and the easy flow of information. The meeting at that level of leadership in the Society is an important opportunity to rob shoulders among ourselves. The meeting was, for me, a real sign of unity and communion of the confreres committed to serve our Society of the Missionaries of Africa in leadership and administrative services.

The meeting was marked by an air of profound fraternity. Each Provincial/Section Superior was free to air out the challenges and triumphs experienced within his respective province/section of mission. The General Council’s willingness to listen and sympathise with these experiences made a strong impression to me of their openness to dialogue and collaboration.

One striking aspect was the overwhelming sense of listening that prevailed in the conference room. Despite differences in cultural, political and economic backgrounds of our respective provinces/sections, the Provincials/Section Superiors found some common ground in their shared mission in which everyone is deeply engaged.

What truly touched me during this meeting was the desire for unity. Despite the challenges and differences, a global network remained dedicated to the service of the mission. The expression “if it means to sink together, let us sink together” was not just a mare expression but of great impact and invitation for transformation of the attitude towards our Society as a vessel on which we are all on board.

This meeting was a profound and inspirational gathering. The shared dedication and combined efforts, with the unbreakable spirit of unity, left me with a renewed sense of purpose as we continue our missionary journey in different countries around the world.

I appreciate the initiative taken by the General Council in organising this introductory meeting. I appreciate the fraternal and relaxed atmosphere that reigned during the meetings. The topics covered were rich and interesting. This meeting made me more aware of the weight of responsibility on the Provincial when it comes to the governance of a Province and decisions to be taken. This responsibility requires a good dose of discernment and prayer before making important decisions. We wish a lot of inner strength to our confreres who are at the service of Provinces and Sections. Let’s not forget to pray for them!

Collected by Pawel Hulecki, (M.Afr) General Assistan

Visit from Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero

Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero visit to the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome

On Tuesday, 24th October, around midday, we had a visit from Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero, Archbishop of Rabat in Morocco.

Cardinal Cristobal is currently in Rome, participating in the third phase of the synod, where the bishops and other invited participants work together to discern and build the next phase of the synodal journey of the Church. The visit was friendly and fraternal.

Firstly, the cardinal shared with the General Council about the presence of the Missionaries of Africa in Morocco. In September 2022, we opened a new community in Rabat with two confreres: Albert Kondemodre from Burkina Faso and Oscar Garcia Padilla from Mexico. A third confrere, Modeste Cubaka Tebuka from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has joined the team. The cardinal expressed his gratitude for the new community and the involvement of the confreres in the life of the diocese: Albert helps out in the cathedral parish and is coordinator of the prison ministry, Oscar is director of Caritas in Morocco while Modeste is learning literary Arabic on the spot.

Secondly, the cardinal shared the realities of the Church in Morocco and some thoughts about the Synod in Rome with us. We are very grateful to cardinal Cristobal for his visit to our Generalate and his paternal care of our confreres in Morocco. We wish the cardinal much inner strength in his mission on Moroccan soil.

May Our Lady of Morocco, Our Lady of the Way, walk with us together to reach the Father’s house.

Pawel Hulecki (M.Afr) General Assistant

World Mission Day 2023


Photo credit: MAFA collection, Publisher : Éditions d’Emmanuel

Today we celebrate the 97th World Mission Day. It is the day when the Church throughout the world encourages its faithful to become more involved in the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and material support for missionaries. It is also an occasion to open ourselves up even more so that we are ready to live our Christian vocation, to contribute to the establishment of the Kingdom of God wherever the Lord sends us as missionaries. Pope Francis in his message, invites us to “renew our zeal for evangelization in today’s world”. There are places in our world where Christ is not yet known or has already been forgotten, and yet He alone “is the living Word, who can enflame, enlighten and transform the heart”, as the Pope reminds us.

On this day, we want to express our gratitude to all the individuals who have been supporting us in our missionary work in Africa through their prayers and material contributions, so that through our missionary charism, we can witness to the Good News in the African world. May the Lord, who is with us all, accompany us on our missionary journey.

Let’s take a moment to read Pope Francis’ message for this day.

Pawel Hulecki (M.Afr) General Assistant



To mark the beginning of the Synod on Synodality Assembly on the 4th of October 2023, the Vatican organised several activities in Rome. On the 30th of September 2023, there were over twenty (20) workshops organised in different places in Rome on different topics and an Ecumenical Prayer Virgil at Saint Peter’s Square.

These workshops brought together young people from all over the world. I participated in the Workshop held at the Trinità dei Monti, which had mission as its theme. It was a great pleasure to be welcomed by some members of the Coordinating Team of the Together Gathering of God’s People group. In the introduction given at the beginning of the Workshop, Mission was defined in general terms before delving into what it entails, especially for young people today.

Rev. Elijah M. BROWN, the General Secretary and CEO of Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and myself were invited to share our experiences in Mission. I found this to be a very good initiative because it was really an ecumenical encounter in which we shared our life not only as Missionaries but also as Christians looking forward to participating more in God’s Mission. It was a good witness of God’s love and being open to one another as we shared our missionary experiences. For sure, it was a deep and enriching experience.

I consider this an excellent platform to share with young people from various countries and cultures who wish to serve God in multiple ways. Many of them expressed the desire to offer themselves as Missionary Volunteers in their particular churches despite the doubts and fears that they experience continuously. For some, it was the right occasion to share their opinions so that together, we can search for better solutions to respond to God’s Mission and the challenges it presents in our present World.

Some questions that were asked during the Workshop

As a young Catholic Missionary Priest, I lived this great moment of sharing and encounter with other Christians with a positive attitude and much hope for the future. For example, It was so encouraging to hear various questions that were asked during the Workshop. Here are some selected questions which I paraphrased:

“How can we respond to the message of the so called “prosperity gospel”?

“Why is it that often we notice that the churches are empty, and yet some World Youth Gatherings such as the WYD many young people attend? How do we explain this?”

“Sometimes I feel that I’m so young and unexperienced and somehow limited in the field of Mission. What advise would you give me about this?”

“In my Country Egypt, I experience rejection. How can I face it as a Christian?”

“Social Media is attracting a lot of young people, as Missionaries, how do we approach this challenging reality?”

“How can I develop a personal relationship with God?”

“What are some ways to deal with “seasons of dryness” in one’s life of prayer?”

“How can we manage to be “radical christians” and at the same time deal with accessibility?”

“What would you say about Mission and Conversion?”

We tried to respond together to the above questions based on our experiences. For instance, in my case it was important to respond according to my missionary experience, and explain more on the official teaching of the Church on certain topics. It is important to note that questions such as these are so helpful as we continue participating in God’s Mission. They play an essential role as an “eye-opener” so as to help us discover the new horizons of Mission and how to be ready to read and interpret the “signs of time” in our World full of challenges today. They give us more energy to move on with God’s Mission and to be attentive to what young people are going through in our World today. In short, it was a wonderful and extraordinary experience for me as a Young Catholic Missionary Priest.

Some ways to overcome difficulties and challenges in Mission today

Looking at today’s context in which a good number of difficulties and challenges affect the Mission either directly or indirectly, it is essential to respond contextually and be able to analyse and evaluate the situation. For instance, some of these difficulties and challenges are associated with religious pluralism, religious indifference, insecurity, the multiple ways of understanding and living the Christian faith inside Christianism, etc. Hence, what is vital in this case is to cultivate the passion and love for God’s Mission. Always remember that it is “God’s Mission” and not our mission in the first place. As Pope John Paul II states: “The internal and external difficulties must not discourage us. What matters is, like in every aspect of Christian life, is the faithfulness that comes, that is from the certainty that we are not the Protagonists of the Mission, but Jesus Christ and His Spirit” (RM 36). This encourages us to face today’s reality with confidence and hope that God accompanies us as we continue serving Him. In addition, Pope Francis, at the Ecumenical Virgil Prayer that was held on the 30th of September 2023, invited us to learn to be silent in prayer so that we could let the Holy Spirit speak to us and guide us in accomplishing God’s Mission.

Fr. Humphrey MUKUKA, M.Afr.

Paul LeBlanc R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Réal Doucet, Provincial of the Americas,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Paul LeBlanc

on Thursday, 12th October 2023 in Sherbrooke (Canada)
at the age of 92 years, of which 66 years of missionary life
in the United States of America, in Tanzania, in Italy and in canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Paul LeBlanc’s death


Season of Creation / September 2023

Via Aurelia Pilgrims Celebrate the Season of Creation 2023

On 9 September 2023, members of the Via Aurelia Pilgrims in Rome, from near and far, as well as neighbors, friends, and visitors, gathered at the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa to celebrate the Season of Creation. Among participants were also Major Superiors of different religious institutes, members of JPIC Roma – Commission USG-UISG and JPIC Promotors working in Rome. As pilgrims, we were united with the universal Church, to pray and raise awareness about the need of justice, peace, and the care of our common home. Furthermore, it was a time to ask for the grace of repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and true ecological conversion.

Around 05:00 pm., the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa cordially welcomed the pilgrims. We were about 75 religious men and women. To be closer to nature, we chose to pray in the garden. It was a time for us to treasure and live the value of care imbedded in the Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ (LS). Why praying for the whole of creation? “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another” (LS, 42). Therefore, it becomes an imperative to care for our neighbor and planet.

Caring for the whole of creation does not exclude the question of peace and social fairness. They are the two sides of the same coin. That is why we took time to listen and meditate upon the following words of the prophet Amos: I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want (cf. Amos 5:21-24).

We were very happy to have been able to come together to pray for peace and fairness among people. We offered our spiritual contribution to the care of our common home, as Pope Francis calls us to do. It is important to note that last year, around the same time, the Via Aurelia Pilgrims prayed together for ecological conversion.

It is worth adding that the theme for 2023 Season of Creation is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”. Through prayer, meditation, and fraternal sharing, we resolutely chose to be active tributaries that build up a mighty river of fairness (cf. Amos 5:24). Such a resolute attitude entails ‘journeying together’ as family of believers. Are you ready to join our synodal journey?

By P. Harelimana

Jozef Pauwels R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Yvo Wellens, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Belgium,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Jozef Pauwels

on Friday 7th July 2023 in Varsenare (Belgium)
at the age of 89 years, of which 65 years of missionary life
in Italy, Congo DR, Burkina Faso and Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Jozef Pauwels’ death


Jacques Vanderhaeghe R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Emmanuel Lengaigne, Provincial Delegate of the sector of France,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Jacques Vanderhaeghe

on Wednesday, 07th June 2023 in Billère (France)
at the age of 101 years, of which 71 years of missionary life
in Tanzania and France.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Jacques Vanderhaeghe’s death


Uganda Martyrs’ Day 2023

In communion with the Universal Church

Uganda Martyrs' Day

In communion with the Universal Church, we honour today 22 Ugandan martyrs, the first of sub-Saharan Africa. When one is familiar with the beginnings of the Church, especially around the areas that are very near to us, one perceives certain similarities between the persecution of the Uganda Martyrs and that of those of Ancient Rome. Most of the men killed at and on the way to Namugongo had been baptized for only a short time. Their story reminds us of what we can call the paradoxical reality of Christian life or what can be a bitter side of the Gospel truth boldly announced by Saint Paul and all those who had the experience of Jesus and felt compelled to announce him: “All who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”! And as Saint Luke puts it, “whoever loses his life for my sake will save it”! This is far away from the prosperity-gospel that seduces many of us.

Our adhesion to Jesus, our adhesion to the Christian faith that is celebrated in baptism calls us to new life. It calls for some death to something in us but more importantly, it calls to a birth that asks of us to walk daily in the newness of life in Christ. We are invited to position ourselves in the world in the “eschatological dimension” where we examine everything we feel, everything we think, everything we hear and do, from a new perspective that takes our present life, marked by the resurrection of Christ ever more seriously. This type of life becomes necessarily a witness, a witness that can prove to be disturbing. This is where we are called to be steadfast and to persevere. That is the life Jesus lived in a world unfriendly to God. This is what is asked of Jesus’ followers.

They say there are around three million people flocking to Namugongo! To do what? Only to sympathise with men who were brutally burnt to death more than a century ago? What is it that draws people to Namugongo? The same should be said about Jesus, what is so attractive for more than two and half billion people in the World about a man who was crucified and died on a cross? And what is the beauty about the 19 martyrs of Algeria among whom there are four of our own? The underlying truth about all of them is the passion for God. The passion for God our Creator and our relation to him that invites us live in his ways as revealed by the Word and by Jesus himself.

The feast of today also makes us think about those through whom the Good news reached the Martyrs, our confreres who first announce the Good News in Uganda and the boldness with which they must have announced the new life in Christ. May the commemoration of the Uganda Martyrs revive in us that passion for God that put us on the way to discipleship.

Stanley LUBUNGO,
Superior General