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

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


Roma Cura Roma 2023

Missionaries of Africa Join “Roma Cura Roma” Initiative

On 6 May 2023, Rome municipal authority organized a clean-up of the city of Rome. Among the 323 associations registered were the Missionaries of Africa, residing in the Generalate, Rome (cf. Roma Cura Roma – Missionari d’Africa – Padri Bianchi).

At 9:30 am., we gathered in front of our Generalate. Once the tools needed were ready, we moved to start the work. 13 members of the Generalate volunteered for the clean-up activity.

Some pedestrians were surprised to see us cutting the grass, collecting trash, scrubbing, sweeping the street, unblocking gutters, etc. Others were also amazed. They asked us if we had been hired by the municipal authorities. It was time to explain to them that we were doing the work on voluntary basis. “So, you are priests?”, some asked. They were grateful and encouraged us to continue.

For more than two hours we cleaned the street leading to Valle Aurelia metro station. At the end, we collected bags filled with plastics, glass bottles, plants, dry leaves, etc. Everything that was compostable, we brought it to the compost in our garden.

As we were getting ready to come back to the house, we spoke on phone with one of the organizers from the municipality. He thanked us for our generosity and the work well done. We were very happy to have been able to contribute to the beauty of the city of Rome. We offered our small contribution to the care of our common home, as Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ calls us to do. It is worth noting that last year, around the same time, the Via Aurelia Pilgrims carried out the same initiative.

Roma Cura Roma (“Rome takes care of Rome”) is a day dedicated to the collective care of streets, squares, parks, and green areas in all the municipalities. According to Rome Today, an online newspaper, “There were 432 collective care interventions in the city. Over 15,000 citizens involved for a total of 323 associations.”

P. Harelimana

News from our confreres in Khartoum

News from our confreres in Khartoum, April 2023

Message from the Provincial of EAP

Friday, 28th April 2023, at 17 hours in Nairobi.

We thank God that our confreres of Khartoum are out of Sudan. Clement Kpatcha was already in Nairobi for the provincial council meeting. Egide Mbonigena and Audace Niyibigira are in Egypt where the embassy is organizing their repatriation to Rwanda. Emmanuel Tredou arrived in Renk in South Sudan, and he hopes to continue to Juba when he gets the opportunity. We continue to pray for peace in Sudan.


Official communication 02/04/23

Official communication

Father Stanley LUBUNGO, Superior General,
after consultation of the confreres concerned
and individual dialogue with the confreres chosen,
has with the consent of his Council appointed

Father Ferdinand VAN CAMPEN Provincial Assistant of the Province of Europe,

Father Oswald MALLYA Provincial Superior of the Province of Eastern Africa,

Father Dennis PAM Provincial Superior of the Province of Ghana-Nigeria and

Father Arsène KAPYA Provincial Superior of the Province of Central Africa,

for a first mandate starting on 1st July 2023 and ending on 30th June 2026.

Rome, 31st March 2023.
André-Léon SIMONART,
Secretary General.

Way of the cross 2023

Via Aurelia pilgrims’ way of the cross

a journey of prayer and communion

To respect their Lenten observances, religious members of Via Aurelia Pilgrims in Rome, from near and far, as well as neighbours, friends, and visitors, joined in the way of the Cross. Among them were the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (the convener), the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Apparition, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Marist Sisters, the Missionaries of Africa, etc. As pilgrims, we were united with the universal Church on a journey of prayer and communion.

Seven stations guided our prayer and meditation. Our reflections were derived from well-chosen biblical passages and Laudato Si’ §§ 2, 66, 99, 100 and 205. They focused on creation, incarnation, the cry of the Earth, Golgotha and a return to the Father. We also asked our Mother Mary to intercede for us as we recited a decade of rosary. It was not only prayer and communion; it was also a time to contemplate the beauty of nature – trees, flowers, singing birds, sunshine – which reminded us of our responsibility to care for the Earth.

Furthermore, the host community offered snacks and drinks to the pilgrims. It was an opportunity to journey together, be in communion, nourish our faith, foster ecological conversion, and live synodal journey towards Easter.

Prosper HARELIMANA, M. Afr.

For victims of abuse: Pope Francis

In response to cases of abuse, especially to those committed by members of the Church, it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but it is not enough. Asking for forgiveness is good for the victims, but they are the ones who have to be “at the center” of everything. Their pain and their psychological wounds can begin to heal if they find answers —if there are concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again. The Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind. Nor when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions. The Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families. The Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected. Let us pray for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.