Ha-Jo, Dominic and Paul  17/1/24

Bearing witness to Christ whatever the cost!

Ha-Jo, Dominic and Paul

Témoigner du Christ

It was not God’s will that Joseph should be sold by his brothers, nor was it God’s will that the three confreres should be abducted, but God can use such events for his loving plan for the world. Who knows if I was not more useful in captivity than physically present!

This 17th January 2024 was an unprecedented day at the Generalate and for the whole Society of Missionaries of Africa with the testimonies of our stagiaire Dominic Merikiori Mahinini and our confreres Hans-Joachim Lohre (Ha-Jo) and Paul Sanogo. This took place during a conference of thanksgiving and testimony, both face-to-face and online. It was followed by members of our two institutes (Missionaries of Africa and Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa). On Zoom there were more than 215 connections, without taking into account those who were connected not as a single person but as a community. Meanwhile, the Chapter Hall was fully packed; Ha-Jo, who is visiting Rome, brought together the confreres and sisters who are present in Rome. Paul and Dominic gave their testimonies online from Mali and Tanzania respectively. The Superior General, Stanley Lubungo, who sat next to Ha-Jo, moderated the conference with great emotion. Dominic and Paul were kidnapped in Nigeria for 21 days from 2nd to 22nd August 2023. Ha-Jo was abducted in Mali from 20th November 2022 to 26th November 2023, a total of 371 days.

In their testimonies, Dominic and Paul spoke of the torture they endured, starting in their community house from which they were captured and continuing throughout their captivity in the forest. Prayer was their only support, and this strengthened their faith. During this conference, they reiterated their gratitude for the prayers that accompanied them from all over the world. They are grateful for the care and support they received after such an experience.

Ha-Jo joined his younger brothers by opening his testimony with thanksgiving. The word thank you would sum up his sharing. Thank you for the daily fervent prayers and spiritual support: “I have never felt abandoned, I have never been afraid and I know that I do not owe that to my little faith, but it is thanks to you, thanks to your prayers that the Lord has converted into consolation for me”.

Ha-Jo described his time in captivity, from the abduction to his release, in several stages, starting with a 5-week stay in the Sahel bush, a stay in the desert in the sands, then another stay in the stones, thorns and wadis. Throughout the period of his abduction, Ha-Jo was not tortured. However, he felt dependent and stripped of everything except his faith in Jesus Christ. So he gave a sense of spiritual retreat to his rapture in the desert. Ha-Jo affirms that the fact that he was released after a year is proof that prayers serve a purpose. He was abducted on Christ the King Sunday in 2022 and was released on Christ the King Sunday 2023, which coincided with the anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie’s death, Founder’s Day.

Ha-Jo confessed that the story of Joseph, son of Jacob in the book of Genesis, accompanied him throughout his captivity. His explanation would also apply to Dominic and Paul: it was not God’s will that Joseph should be sold by his brothers, nor was it God’s will that the three confreres should be abducted, but God can use such events for his loving plan for the world. So Ha-Jo asks himself: who knows if I was not more useful for inter-religious dialogue in captivity than physically present in Bamako?

Each testimony ended with a round of applause. It was such a moving conference that the Superior General concluded by inviting everyone to observe a moment of silence to interiorise the missionary exhortations heard.

Serge Zihalirwa Boroto

Jean-Marie Hougardy 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

Jean-Marie Hougardy

on Tuesday, 31st October 2023 in Schaerbeek (Belgium)
at the age of 84 years, of which 60 years of missionary life
in Malawi and in Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Jean-Marie Hougardy’s death

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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

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Yves Laforest 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

Yves Laforest

on Sunday, 24th September 2023 in Sherbrooke (Canada)
at the age of 80 years, of which 56 years of missionary life
in Tanzania and Canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Yves Laforest’s death

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Transition Session 2023

Transition Session 2023

Bernard Ugeux and Helga…Franke…. Have been “giving” the “Transition” and “Senior” sessions for over 15 years.

Thank you to both of them for their dedication and expertise, which have helped so many brothers and sisters to live this adventure peacefully in their lives.

Now it’s Terry Madden and Hélène Mbuyamba’s turn to take up the torch by accompanying the participants in these sessions.

This year, the transition session was held in French. There were 7 participants. 4 people were not able to attend the session due to health or visa issues.

The participants were Gloria Sedes Alvarez, on mission in Chad; Kordula Weber, on mission in Karlsrgou, Germany; Marie-Christine Rousseau, on mission in Rome; Jacques Lacour in Paris, France; Jean Michel Laurent, in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; Jean-Louis Godinot in Mours, France; and Jean Baptist Amona, in Kinshasa, DRC.

We cannot speak of this session without mentioning our deep gratitude for the contribution of the confreres of the Generalate and the MSOLA in Rome, our hosts and guides. In particular, we would like to mention the essential contribution of confreres Prosper and Olivier for the modules given, as well as Salvador and Vitus for their service in the audio-visual field. Without Luigi and Guy, we wouldn’t have been able to do even half the programme. We owe them a great deal for the preparation and running of the programme.

We thank God for this wonderful experience together.

Terry Madden

Theo Boonen 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

Theo Boonen

on Thursday, 07th September 2023 in Hamont-Achel (Belgium)
at the age of 92 years, of which 67 years of missionary life
in Burundi, D.R. Congo and Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Theo Boonen’s death

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Viateur Lafontaine 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

Viateur Lafontaine

on Tuesday, 5th September 2023 in Montreal (Canada)
at the age of 99 years, of which 73 years of missionary life
in Italy, Tanzania and Canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Viateur Lafontaine’s death

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Michele Vezzoli R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Giovanni Marchetti, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Italy,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Michele Vezzoli

on Wednesday, 30th August 2023 in Urgnano (Italy)
at the age of 82 years, of which 52 years of missionary life
in Uganda, Zambia, Philippines, D.R. Congo and in Italy

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Michele Vezzoli’s death

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Official communiqué, Baaladong, 2023

APPOINTMENT

Following the recommendation of the 2022 General Chapter
(C.A. Identity and Formation of the Brothers, n° 4, p. 39),
the Superior General, Father Stanley LUBUNGO,
after consultation of the Brothers of the Society,

in dialogue with the person concerned and with the assent of his Council,

has appointed
ANTHONY BAALADONG
Brother Coordinator

for an initial term of three years,
from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2026.

Rome, 19 September 2023

André-L. SIMONART,
Secretary General.

Michel della Faille 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

Michel della Faille

on Tuesday, 15th August 2023 in Antwerpen (Belgium)
at the age of 87 years, of which 60 years of missionary life
in France, Congo D.R. and Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Michel della Faille’s death

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