150 years… of which 140 in Jerusalem

On the 8th of December, at 10h, we celebrated the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in the basilica of St-Anne in Jerusalem. Many invitations were sent out. It is a ‘Consular Mass’ at which the General Consul of France participates, with members of the Consulate. But as the Consul was absent, he was represented by Mr. Remy Bouallegue, his ‘Adjoint’. Though it was raining, a good crowd came for the celebration: lay-people, Sisters, staff and students of the Salesian Institute and many more and about 20 priests concelebrating. Josef Buholzer, the superior of the community, was the main-celebrant, assisted by Mgr Michael Fitzgerald and Benoît Bernard, the newly arrived Rector of the Basilica. Bosco Ufoyuru, our newly ordained deacon, proclaimed the gospel. Continue reading “150 years… of which 140 in Jerusalem”

Memory of Christian Chessel, a testimony

On 8. December 2018, 19 Algerian martyrs will be beatified. One of them, Christian Chessel, we met in Rome during our studies. A few days ago, I was asked to make a few memories for a website article. Here you are…

Memory of Christian Chessel, Africa Missionary (White Father), new blessed of Church

8. December 2018 will be a special day. It is the 150th birthday of the society. On the same day, there are nineteen martyrs in Algeria, including four Missionaries of Afrika who were shot by militant Islamists on 27th December 1994 in Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria): Jean Chevillard, Alain Dieulangard, Charles Deckers and Christian Chessel, Christian, who was only 36 years old, and thus the youngest of the nineteen martyrs, remains in vivid memory.

After having entered the so-called “White Fathers” he came to Rome for a few years, to the Generalate of his community, where some of my confreres and I lived before we got our own house.

The Superior of his community had sent Christian to the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies (Pisai) and he was busy learning Arabic. I can still remember how he regretted not being German speaking, because in German-speaking cases it is much easier to pronounce the gutt and reibelaute such as the “ch which is almost an impossible thing for a French. To stay in good condition and keep fit, we saw him in winter with a fancy beanie jogging. He was a nice guy and had a winning way. We were all happy to be with him and we were happy to have dinner and chat together, or when he came to us to the anbetungsstunde.

We were also there when he was ordained a deacon in the chapel of the Missionaries of Africa. The moment was particularly impressive the moment he took his missionary oath, the hand over an arab gospel that had taken the first white fathers to the mission to Africa: these first missionaries had all been killed and only some time later In the sand of the Sahara this gospel was recovered together with the remains of the bones of the missionaries and other things that belonged to them.

On June 28th, 1992, the day before the feast of Peter and Paul, Christian was ordained a priest in Nice. He came to Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria), a mission of the White Fathers. In 1993, he moved to the Palestinian state of Palestine for a three months session. Before he finally left to Algeria, he came back to us in Rome, and we asked him what was the purpose for him to go to Algeria, to a place where you can’t be “right” because the public announcement of the Gospel is forbidden.
Christian told us: “the important thing is that the Church is also there for the salvation of people and that we also pray there and celebrate the Eucharist.”

Christian was not able to celebrate the Eucharist in Algeria for a long time. He was making a new library for the young people of Tizi-Ouzou. Shortly after Christmas 1994, a group of terrorists raided the mission and Christian was killed together with his confreres. The Eucharistic victim of the body and blood of Christ that was so close to him was sealed by the devotion of his own body and blood.
His picture for his First Mass, on which a schmerzensmutter (Pietà) is seen in dark robe, I often face and sometimes I pray that I, like Christian, have the courage to add my whole life to Christ and to his people.

Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who is himself Missionary of Africa said on November 24., 2018, during the oath and decaon’s ordination of three young Missionaries of Africa:
“The testimony that you are asked for can go to martyrdom (the word martyrdom means ” testimony “). Let’s think of our confreres in Algeria, who will be beatified as martyrs on December 8th and we think of all the confreres who have suffered a violent death and whose names are registered on the plaques in the crypt of the Generalate in Rome. The martyrdom is prepared by a given life, by constant acts of love and service.”

Andreas Hermann Fritsch
Priest of the Congregation of the Works

Happy Feastday of the Immaculate Conception

Today is a big day. For a start, it is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, our patronal feastday.

Happy feastday to all Missionaries of Africa and Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa.

But it is also the day of the beatification of our 4 confreres Missionaries of Africa who died in Algeria because of their unconditional dedication to their Mission.

Here is the video of the Mass of Beatification in Oran on this Saturday, feast of the Immaculate Conception, in Oran (Algeria). Enjoy it.

If you like to download it to show to a broader group, you may do so following this link.

Here in Rome, we celebrated the event together with the White Sisters (MSOLA). Father Guy Theunis, superior of the community of the Generalate, gave us an excellent homily, showing us how Mary and Jesus were very much alike at least following five traits of their personalities. You will find the text of this homily on the following post.

Berlin event for the 150th anniversary

Hundred and fifty years ago, Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, the then Archbishop of Algiers, founded the Missionaries of Africa, known in Germany as the White Fathers. In gratitude, we look back on a century and a half in the service of the Church and of the people of Africa.

We, the animators of the Africa Center in Berlin, would like to invite you to an event to commemorate the struggle of our founder, shared by the first missionaries, against the slave trade and the challenges of human trafficking today.

You are cordially invited on Thursday, 18th October 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cafeteria of the Catholic School Saint Francis, Hohenstaufenstr. 1-2, 10781 Berlin.

Program:

6:30 pm: Welcome and time for meeting each other

7:00 pm:

  • Father Gerard Chabanon, Provincial of the European Province, recalls the history of the slave trade in the 19th century and of the anti-slavery campaign of Lavigerie.
  • Sr. Margit Forster, SOLWODI (Solidarity with women in distress) Berlin, will talk about modern slavery and the fight against human trafficking in Germany today.
  • Greetings from Father Rudi Pint, German Provincial of the Missionaries of Africa and Father Frank Rossmann, Missionary of Africa.

Musical entertainment by groups from the Africa Center.

8:30 pm: African snack bar

We would be grateful if you could let us know by 12 October 2018 whether you will be attending the event.

Tel.: 030-216.9170
email: afrika-center.berlin@t-online.de

We are very pleased to welcome you.

Your Missionaries of Africa
and the Afrika Center Team in Berlin

Download here the original invitation flyer.

Feast of the Nativity of Mary in Jerusalem

“On September 8, the church celebrates the birth of the Virgin Mary. The Franciscans, together with the local church, went on pilgrimage to the place where according to tradition, the Madonna was born.”

That place is… St. Anne’s and the community of the Missionaries of Africa.  One Man in White is the General Consul (of France)… and the other one is a WF, Frans, making some publicity for our 140th Jubilee (W.F. at St Anne’s) and for our 150th Jubilee (Lavigerie family). Enjoy the video.

If it does not play well, follow the original link.

Conference on Cardinal Paul Zoungrana

As part of the conferences organized by the Roman Committee to prepare the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Lavigerie Family, Father Jacques Sidibe tells us about “Paul Zoungrana, a Pastor figure, one of the fruits of the work of evangelization of the Sons and Daughters of Cardinal Lavigerie. ” (in French)

Jacques Sidibe is a priest of the diocese of Ouagadougou, ordained in 1999. After a few years of pastoral ministry in a parish, Jacques is sent to Rome for studies, then teaches in two major seminaries. He is received in our community in Rome in 2018 while taking a time of sabbatical at the Urbaniana, when his bishop asks him to take advantage of his presence with us to work on Cardinal Paul Zoungrana, M.Afr., an emblematic figure of the Church of Burkina Faso, as his diocese is preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

 
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150 people for the 150st in The Netherlands

The MSOLA (Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa) in the Netherlands reopened their exhibition “The White Caravan” in the Center of the Religious Heritage in Sint Agatha (near Nijmegen), an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the “Lavigerie Family” (the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa).

The religious ceremony took place on 29 April 2018 in the presence of Sister MacDonald, MSOLA Superior in the United Kingdom and Fr. Jozef de Bekker, Provincial Delegate of the Missionaries of Africa in the Netherlands.

The celebration was animated by the Parish Choir of St. Charles Lwanga in The Hague and the 150 people present at the celebration ended up being drawn to the festive dance.

The exhibition is open until 21 October 2018 and, in the meantime, five lectures will be given :
Continue reading “150 people for the 150st in The Netherlands”

PAO: The Advent Retreat… In January

From “Baobab Echos N ° 8 of January 2018”

January 5, 2018, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace in Bamako

It seems a little anachronistic to bring together Confreres and Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, for an Advent retreat on January 5th! But the diaries of each other did not allow to find the opportunity to gather before Christmas.The theme being the one proposed by our two general councils: “We are all migrants”, could without problem be addressed, even outside Advent.Ha-Jo Lohre continues…

On January 5, 2018, the confreres of Bamako (community of the Guest House, community of Hamdallaye and community of the parish of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda) gathered together with our Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (Bamako/Kalabankura) for the “Advent” recollection.This recollection was proposed to us by our General Councils.”We are all migrants”…It is still topical and as we were all stuck by the Advent time, we decided to program it at the beginning of the year by choosing as a place “the Marian Hill”, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace, on a hill in the center of the city , close to the parish church of the Martyrs of Uganda.After climbing the 177 steps, some discovered for the first time this beautiful place of recollection built by the previous Parish Priest Laurent Balas.After the morning prayer and a little introduction to the theme, everyone had time to find a place to meditate on the biblical texts and the proposed questions – either in the crypt before the Blessed Sacrament, in the Church of the Virgin (where we celebrated the mass around 11:00 a.m.) – or else outside on the forecourt or under the gallery.During mass, each one had the opportunity to share the fruit of their meditations, before a good meal offered by the guest house consolidated our fraternity.

Conference of Sr. Carmen Sammut, msola

On the Footsteps of Cardinal Lavigerie
at the Service of the Universal Church

In preparation to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Lavigerie Family, Sister Carmen Sammut, Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa and President of the UISG (International Union of the (Sisters’) Superiors General), talks to us about her particular work as president of the UISG. Continue reading “Conference of Sr. Carmen Sammut, msola”