Former director of PISAI at the head of the interreligious dialogue

Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot succeeds the late Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who died in July 2018, as the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He has been serving as Secretary of the Vatican dicastery.

Combonian missionary, expert on Islam

Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot was born in Seville on 17 June 1952. A Combonian Missionary of the Heart of Jesus, he was ordained priest on 20 September 1980.

He was a missionary in Egypt and Sudan until 2002. He obtained a degree in Arabic and Islamic studies at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) in Rome in 1982, and a doctorate in dogmatic theology at the University of Granada in 2000.

From 1989 he was professor of Islamology, first in Khartoum, then in Cairo. Later he taught at PISAI, where he held the office of Dean until 2012. He has presided over various meetings of inter-religious dialogue.

Chosen by Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

On 30 June 2012, Benedict XVI appointed him Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Appointed by Pope Francis as titular bishop of Luperciana, he was consecrated a Bishop in March 2016.

In addition to his native Spanish, he knows Arabic, English, French and Italian.

25th May 2019

M.Afr. Workshop ‘Ecumenical Dialogue: a call for a prophetic commitment’ (Part 1)

From 28th March to 4th April, a workshop on Ecumenical Dialogue was organised in Rome by Andreas Göpfert, coordinator of JPIC-ED. The participants to the workshop were:

    • Richard Nnyombi, JPIC-ED coordinator for the sector Uganda (EAP)
    • Frans Bouwen, JPIC-ED coordinator for the sector Jerusalem (EPO)
    • Paul Relly, JPIC-ED for the sector Ethiopia (EPO)
    • Babaine Venerato, Provincial delegate for the sector Zambia (SAP)
    • Bernhard Udelhoven, from Fenza (SAP)
    • Maria Joseph Leo Laurence, in formation at St. Anselme (Rome)
    • Ignatius Anipu, assistant in charge of ED (Generalate Rome)
    • Martin Grenier, assistant in charge of JPIC (Generalate Rome)
    • Andreas Göpfert, coordinator of JPIC-ED


After the introductory prayer led by Martin Grenier (assistant general in charge of JPIC), the first day of our workshop was officially opened by Ignatius Anipu (assistant general in charge of Encounter and Dialogue – Ecumenism). In his opening speech, Ignatius invited the participants and all the missionaries of Africa to be active actors of ecumenism in their missionary activities. Linking the present workshop to the 150 years of the foundation of the society, Ignatius pointed out the fact that ecumenism has always been part of our charism since the lifetime of our founder Lavigerie.


Andreas Göpfert, coordinator of JPIC-ED, presented the timetable of the session and the methodology which is based on SEE, JUDGE and ACT. He explained the workshop objective ‘Undertake a process which aims to deepen our ecumenical orientation and to integrate it into our missionary commitments for the care for our common home, peace, and social cohesion’. He insisted on the interconnectedness of all those topics.

“SEE”: Ecumenical commitment of M.Afr – past and present

Frans Bouwen started off a series of presentations regarding the M.Afr and its ecumenical commitment past and present with his talk on St. Anne’s in Jerusalem as the first concrete M.Afr. commitment to ecumenism. This presentation helped the participants situate themselves into the historical context of Cardinal Lavigerie and the ecumenical activities of the Society in the Middle East and with the Eastern Churches.


A second presentation, given by Richard Nnyombi, focused on the evangelization of Uganda and helped the participants see that the first confreres who arrived in central Africa did so in a context of inter-religious dialogue and competition among different Christian churches. Despite conflicts which took place between Catholics and Protestants, there have been as well fruitful examples of collaboration as well as the poignant example of ‘ecumenism of blood’ as both Catholics and Anglicans martyrs were united in suffering for their faith in Christ.


Ignatius Anipu offered the participants an overview of how the most recent General Chapters of the M.Afr. treated the subject of ecumenism. All were interested to learn that much more has been said about our M.Afr. commitment to ecumenism in the chapters than we previously thought. This gave rise to the question: do we take the content of our chapters seriously?


Andreas Göpfert, JPIC-ED Coordinator of the Society, provided a summary of the ecumenical activities in which our confreres are involved throughout the world. He urged us all to consider how we can integrate an ecumenical dimension into each one of our M.Afr. apostolates.

Building intercultural communities

From February 10 to 16, 2019, Father Freddy Kyombo Senga and Sister Zawadi Barungu led a workshop on interculturality in Rabat, Morocco. Here is their report.

The participants in the session around the Archbishop of Rabat, Mgr Cristobal Lopez.

During five days we collaborated in turn and in an interdependent way to give conferences and organize exchanges for a group of 11 consecrated missionaries of different nationalities and apostolic religious communities, coming from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

We realize once again how much this theme INTERCULTURALITY really responds to the need of consecrated life today, we have become aware once again of the specificity of our common Charism as a Lavigerie family, its contribution to the formation of members of the local Church and to its integral development…

Here is a small collection of the evaluation of the participants:

“I now understand where my suffering comes from… I feel healed from my wound”

” Can you come if we invite you to Mauritius to meet the consecrated persons of my country of origin? “

“You have given us keys to move forward in our lives as consecrated persons, but we still have a lot to do”

” The animators were motivated and up to the task… the conferences were rich, well detailed, very explicit and concrete, challenging and close to the concrete reality of our lives as human persons, but also as consecrated.”

Through the evaluations we note that participants need theoretical input to understand the subject but also have a great need to share their own experiences of living and/or conflict in the intercultural life of the Church or communities.

They will soon need to be given a little more time for personal or group integration, and accompanied by a survey.

The Archbishop of Rabat, Mgr Cristobal LOPEZ ROMERO, came to visit us several times, he appreciated the initiative to train consecrated persons in intercultural life, a necessary tool for our witness as a Church in the Maghreb and elsewhere.

Bishop Cristobal, in his office, giving an explanation of his coat of arms to the participants of the session.

The office of the Major Superiors of the Maghreb organized this workshop very well and took charge of our stay through Sister Mary DONLON (Irish), provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who accompanied us in the successful realization of this project.

From left to right Sister Mary Donlon, Bishop Cristobal, Father Freddy and Sister Zawadi.

We feel through the participants’ impressions, “that the harvest is great…”

We are preparing for the next workshop in Tunisia with more details taking into account this very encouraging experience.

We are happy to have been able to carry out this project of our Lavigerie family and thus respond to the Church’s calls.


And below, a short film of the interview of Bishop Cristobal Lopez Romero, Bishop of Rabat, with Father Freddy.

Jérusalem – Semaine de l’Unité des Chrétiens

Regard œcuménique sur l’année 2018 avant la semaine de prière pour l’Unité

JERUSALEM – Le mercredi 16 janvier 2019, l’Ecole Biblique et Archéologique de Jérusalem a accueilli la traditionnelle conférence que donne le Père Frans Bouwen, M.Afr., avant la Semaine de prière pour l’Unité. Le père blanc, spécialiste des Églises orientales et du dialogue avec les Églises chrétiennes d’Orient a présenté l’actualité œcuménique de l’année 2018 aux fidèles et religieux de Jérusalem qui se retrouveront à partir de samedi pour vivre un temps de communion à travers des célébrations quotidiennes.

La semaine de l’unité est un événement de grande importance à Jérusalem, la présence des différentes Eglises chrétiennes a encouragé celles-ci à s’accueillir les unes les autres chaque jour pour partager un temps de prière. Ces célébrations attirent de nombreux fidèles et certains d’entre eux sont même des pèlerins qui viennent tout spécialement dans la Ville Sainte pour participer à cette Semaine si particulière.

Chaque année, à cette occasion, la commission pour le dialogue œcuménique propose une conférence sur l’actualité œcuménique des derniers mois, une façon d’inviter les fidèles à prier en ayant connaissance du chemin parcouru et à parcourir pour vivre l’Unité. C’est le président de cette commission épiscopale, le père Frans Bouwen qui se charge de donner les dernières nouvelles de ces chemins de rencontre entre les différentes Eglises. Le Missionnaire d’Afrique, membre de la Commission mixte du dialogue théologique entre l’Eglise catholique et l’Eglise orthodoxe a une très grande connaissance des Eglises orientales. Cependant, le Père Frans en début de conférence n’a pas manqué de préciser que sa présentation était, par la force des choses, portée par un regard subjectif, celui d’un théologien catholique installé à Jérusalem.

Lisez l’article complet de Cécile Klos sur le site du Patriarcat Latin de Jérusalem.

“Katholikentag” : a large gathering of Catholics in Germany

From May 9th to 13th, 2018, the big gathering of Catholics took place in Münster, in the north of Germany. Several Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa and several Missionaries of Africa participated. Together they welcomed many visitors to their common booth. Some sisters and confreres came from Poland to participate and to visibly enrich our internationality and interculturality. Many were the visitors who stopped in front of the stand for a personal conversation, to look for information on our missionary institutes and on Africa. Sometimes attracted by the sound of “tam-tams”, many people came out of curiosity or out of nostalgia from a previous stay in an african country, or because one or the other has an acquaintance among our sisters or confreres.

On several occasions we have experienced the joy of reunion. Lost from view after so many years, the stand allowed to meet again, to meet and exchange.

Apart from these interesting and rewarding encounters, the booth has conveyed messages about our missionary priorities and our various fields of apostolate.

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“Seek peace through interreligious dialogue”: the example of Northern Ghana

The organizers of the Catholic Rally (“Katholikentag”) invited a delegation from northern Ghana. So our confrere Mgr. Richard Baawobr, Bishop of Wa, was able to come to Münster. At a conference on intercultural dialogue, he shared his experience on Muslim-Christian dialogue. Together with Dr. Hazic Hussein Zakaria, Imam of the Quran Mosque of Tamale, they gave many examples of the dialogue lived in the society in Northern Ghana. At the conference, two experts and the public had the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers to better understand the context and interreligious practice. The challenges of dialogue are particularly at the level of mixed marriages, mixed schools attended by students of different religions and the sensitization of religious leaders at the grassroots level.

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Personally, I retained a message that deeply touched me: The God of love created Muslims and Christians, not so that they should fight against each other, but so that they could learn to live together and to commit together for more peace in the world.

Andreas Göpfert, MAFr

New Antenna of AEFJN in Kenya

A new antenna of AEFJN has been launched in Nairobi on February 16, 2018. It was preceded by a two-day workshop (February 15-16) on Advocacy and AEFJN. The antenna is anchored by the Conferences of Major Superiors of Kenya. Prior to this time, the two conferences (male & female religious congregations) worked independent of each other. AEFJN is now a common voice for the two conferences. A structure to coordinate the activities of the antenna for the next one year has been set up. The antenna chose the theme of Tax Evasion/Money laundering for their advocacy activities and will be meeting in the coming days to develop their Plan of Action on this theme. The Secretariat is very grateful to the antenna of UK and the Executive for their contributions in the setting up of the new antenna. The antenna of UK has further committed to working closely with the new antenna to mentor her.

Other antennae exist in Cameroon and in Central African Republic.

Workshop JPIC – ED

Mercredi 28 février et Jeudi 1et mars

Sixteen participants met Wednesday evening, 28/02/2018, in the cafeteria of the General House. The head of the JPIC-RD commission, Father Andreas Göpfert, welcomed us all and invited us to introduce ourselves to each other. On Thursday, the participants were invited to share some of their experience that motivates them to engage in JPIC-RD pastoral work but also to describe the functioning of JPIC-RD commissions in each province. Here are some pictures of the sharing of some fellow participants in the session. Continue reading “Workshop JPIC – ED”

Jacques Huntzinger – Initiation to Islam : A review (in french)

Jacques Huntzinger n’est pas un auteur très prolixe. Mais son CV est riche ayant été professeur de Droit, Haut Fonctionnaire et Ambassadeur. Nous avons déjà présenté son précédent livre, plus modeste en pages, intitulé « Les Printemps Arabes et le religieux ». Il existe de nombreux livres d’initiation à l’Islam. Nous y sommes très attentifs surtout quand ils sont écrits par des musulmans eux-mêmes. Continue reading “Jacques Huntzinger – Initiation to Islam : A review (in french)”

Long story short Islam (The Huffington Post)

Long Story Short: Islam | HuffPost Series

Sharia! Jihad! Hijab! These words might sound familiar to you, but don't judge a Quran by its cover. Wajahat Ali breaks down the misperceptions around Islam.

Geplaatst door The Huffington Post op donderdag 6 oktober 2016


Sharia! Jihad! Hijab! These words might sound familiar to you, but don’t judge a Quran by its cover. Wajahat Ali breaks down the misperceptions around Islam.