News from IFIC (Bamako)

Dear partners in the training of trainers for Christian-Islamic dialogue

Since 15 October 2007, the “Institut de Formation Islamo-Chrétienne” (I.F.I.C.) has opened in Bamako.

The institute provides training for trainers in the field of Islamology and Islamo-Christian dialogue. To do this, the institute welcomes Catholic and Protestant Christians: priests, pastors, religious, lay people in charge, members of national or diocesan dialogue commissions, teachers and educators, leaders of Catholic Action movements, in short all those who feel attracted to the Muslim-Christian dialogue.

According to Jean Cardinal Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako: “The I.F.I.C. is a school for the formation of resource persons whose mission will be to light and keep alive the torch of inter-religious dialogue, a religious dialogue at the service of peace between peoples.

The I.F.I.C. wants to be an instrument at the service of the Churches of French-speaking Africa – Catholic as well as Protestant – to respond to the imperative of inter-religious dialogue and a laboratory for the fight against ignorance of the other. For ignorance is the source of mistrust and misunderstanding.

With this circular letter, IFIC announces the opening of the registration for the academic year 2021-2022. The deadline for registration is Wednesday 15 September 2021.

For any further information, please contact the IFIC management directly (address below)

PS. The Administration asks you to support the project of building a training unit capable of hosting some future trainers in Christian-Muslim dialogue.

For the Team,

You can also learn more about this course by visiting this page.

My missionary life from Tunis to Paris (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

After my priestly ordination at Thibar in 1948, I was sent by my superiors to our community in rue Friant in Paris in order to undertake university studies; studies which continued at the University of Algiers. I was then appointed to Tunisia to our community of the Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes (IBLA), which was and still is a cultural centre where Christians and Muslims met and still meet one another.

After working in the library and on the IBLA magazine, I was appointed superior of the Catholic Students Centre, which had been founded by the Bishop of Tunis and which was also a place of encounter between Christians and Muslims. Then I worked with our confrere Robert Caspar and some Tunisian friends, all theologians and academics, to set up the Groupe de Recherche Islamo-Chrétien (GRIC), which published many books in France.

In the summer of 1975, at the request of the French Bishops’ Conference, our superiors appointed me once more to Paris to take charge of the Secrétariat pour les Relations avec l’Islam (SRI), which had just been created by the French Church. The mission of the Secretariat was to help the Catholics of our country to know and to become aware of the teachings of Vatican II regarding relationships between Christians and Muslims. After working for about 10 years at SRI and being responsible for our community in Maisons-Alfort, near Paris, I founded, with some friends, the “Groupe d’Amitié Islamo-Chrétienne” (GAIC) with which I worked a lot and still remain in contact.

In the years when SRI and GAIC were established, some of my White Father confreres found it difficult to understand how a “Missionary of Africa” could exercise his ministry in Europe. I am happy to see that, since the last Chapter, our superiors are very attentive to the presence of Muslims in our western countries where we can bring our input and support to the local Church in the very important domain of interreligious relationships and particularly in the area of Justice and Peace.

Michel Lelong, M.Afr.

Not only a missionary stomach but also a missionary brain (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

My letter of appointment to Mexico arrived in December 2014. I was Parish Priest of Kasamba and Dean of the Samfya Deanery in the Diocese of Mansa in Zambia. This appointment surprised me and put me in a state of uncertainty and doubting. And what about learning Spanish? A short period of discernment reproached me that language problems were not an excuse for a missionary brain. I accepted the appointment. Continue reading “Not only a missionary stomach but also a missionary brain (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

Rethinking Specialised Studies (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

I thank the Society of Missionaries of Africa for having given a new breath of fresh air to specialised studies by sending confreres for further education especially up to the level of a Ph.D. This shows that it is reading the signs of the times. I, therefore, welcomed my appointment to do a Doctorate in Moral Theology. Knowing that, in our Society, very few confreres do further studies and taking into account my age, I consider this appointment as a grace not for my own personal satisfaction but to better serve the Society. Continue reading “Rethinking Specialised Studies (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

My Experience in Specialized Studies (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

After my ordination, I served at Mapeera Nabulagala Parish in Kampala for four years and eight months. During the first three years, I was the curate, and then I took over as Parish Priest. Seven months after taking that office, the Provincial informed me that I had been selected for specialized studies, and it wouldn’t be long before I started. The announcement was both a surprise and a shock. On the one hand, it was a surprise because the specialized studies proposed was in Business Administration, yet I used to think that if one day I were asked to Continue reading “My Experience in Specialized Studies (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

Specialized Formation, a need for the mission, not a luxury (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

I am Brother Vitus Danaa Abobo, M.Afr. one of the lucky confreres who got all the support I needed to specialize in Social Communication, a B.A. program during my fourth phase of Initial Formation in Nairobi.

After one year of theological studies I was asked to Continue reading “Specialized Formation, a need for the mission, not a luxury (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

Specialised Formation: between privilege, right and duty (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

It is not unusual to meet confreres who think that specialized formation is not necessary to be a good missionary. I agree entirely if what they mean is that the mission does not depend on a head full of theories. We do not need a diploma to live the values of the Gospel, Encounter/Dialogue, Justice and Peace which constitute our identity as Missionaries of Africa. This is why an important aspect of studies at all Continue reading “Specialised Formation: between privilege, right and duty (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

Specialised studies today (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

What is called ‘Specialised studies’ in the vocabulary of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa is nothing but some supplementary studies needed to answer better the needs and goals of our Mission in Africa of today. From the very beginning, our Founder felt this need and the nature of what is needed varies from one period to another and from one place to the other. Let me leave the historical aspect of the topic to the historians Continue reading “Specialised studies today (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

Specialised formation: preparation for missionary service (PE nr. 1089 – 2013/03)

In recent times our General Chapters have insisted on the necessity to appoint more confreres for specialised formation. This insistence is due to the rapidly changing nature of our world and to the fact that our globalised world has become more complex. Therefore, the aim of specialised formation is to help us respond to the missionary needs of our times. In the past, confreres have been appointed for specialised tasks without having been prepared for them and it has to be recognised, they did an excellent job. However, while it is true that Continue reading “Specialised formation: preparation for missionary service (PE nr. 1089 – 2013/03)”