Bro. Trevor Robinson’s wheelchairs

Missionary Brother Creates
Wheelchair Tricycles
for Disabled in Ghana

Here is a short article published by ZENIT on the 15th July, featuring the work of our confrere Bro. Trevor Robinson in Ghana.

Hope for the ‘last among the last’

On the streets of Tamale, a Ghanaian town of over three hundred thousand inhabitants, you see boys and adults with disabilities. In those conditions, disabled people can only stay near their home. The rest of the world does not exist for them and, above all, they live in a degrading condition. Looking at these “last among the last”, marginalized, vulnerable and without any help, Brother Trevor Robinson, an English missionary of the White Fathers (the Society of Missionaries of Africa), had the evangelical desire to dedicate time and energy to improve their living conditions.

For this reason, he decided to create simple handmade wheelchair tricycles for the disabled, reported Fides News Agency. Exploring the possibilities to remedy that situation, Brother Trevor designed a wheelchair tricycle that enables the person to sit in a wheelchair-type bike seat and move pedals with their hands, thus enabling them to have mobility. From the project to the first prototype, the step was short and, thanks to the help of volunteers and donors, Brother Robinson started the work of recovering useful material, such as pieces of old bicycles donated by friends or acquaintances.

“When I started, I thought of turning this tricycle into an opportunity for street kids. I asked some of them to help me. At first, we produced about ten a week. Now, slowly, we have reached fifty,”  said the missionary. The total price of a tricycle for disabled people is about 250 euros. “They have been given to men, women and older children who are too poor to purchase like this for themselves. Some people offer us a little money if they have it — but for the most part, those who are receiving them are too poor to pay anything at all. The wheelchair tricycles allow people to have dignity.

“When a disabled person manages to obtain one of these means he enters a new dimension and regains a hope of life. Thanks to the tricycle, he can move anywhere. This allows him to relate with many people and to grow. Not only that, but his muscles become stronger and this improves his physical health condition. Now there is a glimmer of gratitude and light in their lives.”

Back to the Future

This morning, the liturgy proposed to us, in the book of Exodus (Ex. 3:1-6.9-12), the story of Moses, the adopted Egyptian prince who became an outlaw in exile in the desert not far from the Horeb mountain – Mount Sinai – the mountain of God. That took me back 25 years…

I was in Mbezi (Tanzania) with Brother John Abobo. We ran a centre for street children. On Friday evening, at nightfall, the boys were watching a video projected on a bed sheet stretched between two trees outside my office. They preferred action films, which they commented on as much as they wanted, because they did not understand the dialogues. But that evening, short of a film that would make them unanimous, I played them a cartoon, a VHS cassette – probably illegal – bought in the streets of Dar es Salaam. I feared their boredom, even their recriminations… In fact, there was even more noise than usual. I had trouble concentrating on my work in the office. Then, at some point, total silence, just the sound of the film that I hadn’t perceived from the beginning. Intrigued, I went out to see what was happening… They were all glued to the screen, as if hypnotized by what they saw and heard.

The “Lion King” is Simba’s story, from his birth to his ultimate vocation as “King of the Jungle”, in the noblest sense of the role – a protective king, a provider, a servant, a king respected and loved by his subjects….

Initiated by his father, King Mufasa, the young Simba took advantage of his leisurely years. But one day, he leads his childhood friend, the young lioness Nala, to explore a taboo place, forbidden for a good reason, it was an elephant cemetery, haunted by death. His father had warned him, however. His uncle Scar, unworthy brother of King Mufasa, took advantage of his young nephew’s innocent mischief and devised a diabolical plan to get rid of both the King and his heir to take over royal power. He puts Simba in mortal danger, forcing Mufasa to take great risks to save his son. With a little help from Scar, Mufasa will die there. Scar will deceive Simba by declaring him guilty of his father’s death and advise him to leave… far away… never to return again. Simba ran away… far into the desert where he was taken in, dying, by Pumba, a warthog whom no one wanted to approach anymore and by Timon the meerkat, a species of small mongoose that lived in the Namibian desert. Both were living carefree in the desert, singing and dancing, feeding on all kinds of insects and plants. They will introduce Simba to the same lifestyle, teaching him the song that reflected their philosophy so well: “Hakuna matata”, all you have to do is let yourself live and enjoy…

Meanwhile, Scar took power over the people of the Jungle, but instead of being a protective and providing king, he abused the environment and the people until he completely exhausted the common resources, forcing all the inhabitants of the jungle into true slavery, just to survive. Simba’s childhood friend Nala decided to go looking for him. But when she found him, he only complained about his own guilt. An important character then appears: Rafiki, the monkey who symbolizes the priest in the story of the Lion King – he was the one who introduced the newborn Simba to the people of the Jungle and anointed him as the King’s heir… Rafiki finds Simba lost in the idleness of a sad and wasteful life; he puts him to the test. And when Simba lamented that he had caused his father’s death, Rafiki revealed to him that his Father was alive and well. Perplexed, Simba followed Rafiki through brambles and bushes to a piece of water. “Shh, shh, quiet… You want to see your father? Look in the water!” Simba’s excitement quickly turned to disappointment when he only saw the reflection of his own face, but Rafiki insisted: “Look… deeper… He lives in you, he lives in me. He watches over everything we see. Into the waters, into the truth. In your reflection, he lives in you.” This little Oasis in the heart of the desert, became the holy ground of the Encounter, where Simba hears anew his Father’s call that he is to be the protective and providing King. He set out to challenge and defeat the traitor Scar and restore a kingdom of balance, prosperity, justice and peace.

It was on Mount Horeb that Moses met the Lord in the burning bush, the holy ground from which he drew the necessary strength to return to Egypt and deliver his people from slavery. Street kids are not just poor abandoned children. Many were educated and shaped by Pumbas and Timons. But some of them that evening set out again on the path of Life. I know, I crossed their path years later.

I invite each of us to ask ourselves: What is my Mission today? Where do I go from here? And every time I stop in silence in holy ground, it is the Father who calls me to take the path of Life again.

Twenty-five years after the release of the cartoon “The Lion King”, the same movie but completely remastered, more real than ever, is now being released on the big screen around the world. I can only invite you to go and watch it as a pilgrimage… or a little retreat.

Philippe Docq, M.Afr.

Blessed are you poor people

BLESSED ARE YOU POOR PEOPLE!

Theme of the year 2019 in Lourdes
150th anniversary of the M.Afr.

Georges Paquet, M.Afr.

“Blessed are you poor people! “I prefer another translation: “How lucky for you poor people…” But what poor people? I have met many “poor” people in Tanzania and for 20 years now in France among migrants – I have seen that some can be harsh, aggressive, violent, even towards the other poor! But who are ” the poor who alone possess the Kingdom of Heaven ” (Madeleine Delbrel). Certainly not those who claim to be “in a valley of tears and in exile on earth”, as it is still sung in Latin… Yes, how lucky for you Bernadette Soubirou when you say of your parents: “as long as they do not get stuck.” You’d rather see your parents struggle to get by than see them in the hands of the city’s bourgeoisie – who tried to trap you with nice clothes. You understood that the essential thing was what you lived with your loved ones, loving relationship, prayer in the family and later in a religious community. “I praise you, Father, for hiding this from the wise and understanding, and for revealing it to the little ones. “(Lk 10:21)

And this voice that called you “you” allowed you to remain yourself in front of the world of false great ones like Zola and others… You have nothing to give but a message, heard in the depths of your heart: “I am not here to make you believe it, but just to tell you”. “This is what I witnessed in Africa:” Everyone has the right to hear Jesus’ message and then to do with it what he wants. ” (Kila mtu ana haki ya kusikia maneno ya Yesu, na baadaye ya kufanya kama anavyotaka.)

I, who was not born into poverty, how am I challenged when I say: ” How lucky are you poor people? I want to be with you to fight against poverty, destitution and I will be able to do so if I can do it with as much passion and love as Bernadette…. 140 years after her death, see what technique and a lot of love can achieve: look at this excerpt from this summer’s show in Lourdes with Eyma… who is 16 years old.

The Kingdom is living the present moment, being a creator with the Creator. We are not happy in the world of selfishness, of hatred.  “The other world” is where there is love.

It is up to everyone to listen to the Voice, which is right next to you.

A bit of history: 

    • 1830: the miraculous medal “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. » 
    • 7.01.1844 : birth of Bernadette Soubirou
    • 1854: the dogma of the immaculate conception

“No doubt the expression Immaculate Conception struck her ears, in church, on the feast of December 8. But in these sermons delivered in French (a foreign language)… it is an unknown notion for her…” (p. 123). “Bernadette had a rosary of 2 cents bought in 1856 in Betharram, she knew how to pray it in French; she also knew this invocation that was said at the evening prayer: “O Mary conceived without sin…” (p.48).

    • The apparitions from 11.02 to 16.07.1858 – “I saw something white, Aquéro (that or this one, depending on the accent) has the shape of a small maiden ( damiséle)” (p.78).
    • “On June 3, 1859, she made her first communion. In July, a young lawyer, Charles Madon, talks with Bernadette: “and your secrets, what is it about? – They concern only me – and if the Pope asked you, would you tell him? – No…” (p.140) What if his secret was the way Aquéro understood the meaning of “immaculada councepciou”?
    • “Great difficulty for his canonization! In the summer of 1861, on the first floor of the sisters’ hospice, she ordered a little girl, a certain Julie: “I throw my hoof out the window. You go get it and bring strawberries. ” (from the garden below) (p.159) “I can’t meditate… but she started in the long run. » (p.161) “ 4.04.1864: Bernadette says she wants to be a religious
    • 7.07.1866: she is in Nevers
    • 16.04.1879: Bernadette dies

Quotations in “Vie de Bernadette” by René Laurentin, Desclée de Brouwer (1978)

    • Charles Lavigerie was born in Bayonne on 30.10.1825, in the same century. He was Archbishop of Algiers in 1867 and Cardinal in 1882.
    • On 1.07.1888, in Paris, he launched his anti-slavery campaign. The wording of “Temps” wrote: “The cardinal destroyed almost entirely the overly brief notions we had about the state of the slave trade.”
    • On 19.10.1868, he opened the first novitiate and on 8 December, he named the “Immaculate Conception” patron saint of his new Society of Missionaries of Africa, known as the White Fathers. In 1869, they were the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (mafrome.org : Want to be holy?)
    • In 1878, it was the first caravan for East Africa, which would become Tanzania. I would be there in 1971, a hundred years after the explorer Stanley (not St Stanley, another American martyr).
    • In Chavanay, in 1878, my family erected a statue of Mary, with these words on the base: “Holy Mary of the star, I am the bright gold, the brightness of noon, the last ray of the evening. Hail Mary 1878. »
Notre Dame de la Grande gorge – above the Rhône, facing the sunrise.

Read my poem « Marie » in  http://peresblancs.org/georges_paquet_poeme.htm 

Georges Paquet, M.Afr.
Tanzania 1971 – 1998.

Bruno Ruzuzi R.I.P.

Brothers, I’m sad to inform you of the death of our stagiaire Bruno Ruzuzi doing stage at Nyankpala parish Tamale. He was involved in an accident with our Theology student Salvator Mbonihankuye when returning from Tamale on their motorcycle in the night and collided with another vehicle (motorking). Bruno died on the spot and Salvator, injured, was admitted at the Tamale teaching hospital. We are going to the mortuary Where the body of Bruno will be laid to rest until the funerals. Pray for Bruno, pray for his family and all of us.

It is with these words that John Aserbire, Superior Provincial of Ghana Nigeria, announced the accident through the GhN WhatsApp network this morning. From all of us in Rome, best condolences to Bruno’s family, to his community, to the parishioners of Nyankpala Parish and to the Provinces of GhN and PAC. We prayed for him during our morning mass. Our best wishes of speedy recovery to Salvator Mbonihankuye. 

Adiós Padre Martínez

Last December and January I was in Mali and participated in the farewell ceremony to our confrere Jesus Martinez at the parish of Kati, not far from Bamako. It was a very beautiful celebration and Jesus himself gave us a beautiful homily. His parish priest and the president of the parish council then offered fine words of appreciation. I thought it was a good idea not to let these fine words fall into oblivion. With the permission of these 3 people I copied what they then offered.

Martin Grenier, M.Afr.

Mission accomplished: Forgive me and thank you!

Brothers and sisters, I thank you with all my heart for coming to help me thank the Lord by celebrating this Mass of thanksgiving for the 55 years that the Lord has given me to live with you… to look at my whole life with the eyes of gratitude.

As the Wise Man says in the Bible: “There is a time to stay, there is a time to leave”…

Old age is a new stage in my life, and becoming old can be learned. It takes courage… God is the God of exodus, the God of departure; we must embark on new paths, and whatever happens, “everything is grace”… What matters in life is not where you are, but where you are going, with whom you are going in that direction and for what. The mission is not ours, it is entrusted to us for a time only; our first work is to pray. “He who relies on God will not remain empty-handed. Coming into the world is not difficult, but crossing it…. Let us ask for the grace to be able to confide in Him.

I would like to share with you a few words about what has marked my life with you. First of all, I apologize, because I could have worked more and better. I didn’t thank God enough for the life he gave me. I didn’t like enough those who were by my side. The two words of thanks: Thank you above all to God who led me by his hand. Thank you to the Cardinal, all my gratitude, Bishop, gratitude to my family, my brothers in the priesthood…. I would like my departure to be joyful, because joy is a sign of the Kingdom, and if the departure is sad, it is not evangelical.

I felt very loved by you and I too tried to respond to that love. The best thing I have ever had in my life, it was Mali that gave it to me and in turn, I can say that I too have given Mali the best of myself… My missionary life has had two priorities: vocations (of priests, religious, catechists and lay people) and social pastoral care. What gave me strength and courage was the Gospel passage: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty… “Together, we have built many wells, schools, dams, mills, some churches, radios.

We are missionaries wherever we are… even if it takes courage to commit ourselves to new ways of life… There is a Providence. The best is yet to come, we must open our arms and welcome the future, keep the smile as a reflection of the smile that God continually has on us.

I would have liked to stay with you and continue to baptize our children, to continue to live with you, but when the superiors decide, obedience is essential. The spirituality of our time is a Holy Saturday spirituality; on the one hand confusion, discouragement, helplessness and on the other hand faith in darkness and the power of hope, perseverance. Old age is for the brave… It is to become a child again who lets himself be led by God… to adapt to God’s program and leave ours. Even if my heart is bleeding, I think that with you and thanks to you I can say “Mission accomplished”, Pardon and Thank you! May God give us to love what he loves. That we always accept the destinies that providence has on us. May the worries of life not discourage us.

May the Lord help us to keep our lamp lit.

Jesús Martínez

This is the essence of Father Jesús Martínez’s homily on the day of his “goodbye” to his family in Mali. The text has been shortened and a little edited to make it easier to read. But these are his words. (ed.)

Below are some excerpts from two testimonies given during the same thanksgiving mass on the occasion of the departure of Father Jesús Martínez.

 M. Valéry Dako

Chairperson of the Kati PArish Council

A golden jubilee journey on African soil in Mali is worth a distinction to the person who has accomplished this journey. We know you’re humble, but accept it that way. Let us go back a long way, a long way back and we find your youthful years with their share of enthusiasm, zeal and hope in the actions taken for the accomplishment of the mission. When you arrived in the country, Father Martinez, you blended into the mass of bwa by taking the name of Matièrê which represents the symbolism of work… You have visited all the parishes of the current Diocese of San: the parish of Mandiakuy, Tominian, Timissa and Touba, in whose erection you have actively participated, as well as its economic and spiritual development…

Then your steps led you to the Archdiocese of Bamako with a presence in the parishes of Kolokani, Faladje and Kati which happens to be the mother parish of the diocese of Bamako. You have taken in Bamanan country the name of DOMAKONO which can be translated simply by the person who waits one day, what day? May this day be intimately linked to the will of your master whom you have cherished intensely.

We have walked together with the objective of seeking God. What a journey we have made! Today, we are at another important turning point.

There are so many routes that you have taken between the CCBs of Koko, Malibougou, Kati Centre, Missions I, II and the “Camp pour le Seigneur”. There are so many ways that you also used to reach rural communities (Kalifabougou, Neguela, Yékébougou etc…) for evangelization…

The parish of Kati, your family, has adopted you. You have evolved by working for its different segments: catechesis, human families, parish councils, choirs, women’s and youth groups, the Queen of Peace radio as a means of evangelization, etc…

Father DOMAKONO, you have… advised, coaxed, soothed, consoled, comforted various people through your pastoral and human encounters. The joy of living given to others is the one the Lord expected from you for others.

Father DOMAKONO, the Kati Parish Council warmly thanks you for all you have been given to do in the context of the harmonious building of the Family of God Church in Mali. May the Lord himself be your shepherd on the day.

 THANK YOU Father DOMAKONO, We give you as a sign of gratitude a Ciwara mask with your engraved name (Father Martinez, Parish of Kati, Grateful). You also have a traditional boubou with its multi-eared cap to protect you from the elements.

Father DOMAKONO, Ala ka hèra kè kè i gnè, friend a ka hèra fon i ko.

Father DOMAKONO, Débwenou a oumanou gnou lou.

(Only God is able to provide water to termites when making their termite mounds.)

Rev. Émile Konare

Parish Priest of Kati

The way of life, the meaning that one gives to one’s life, that is what makes man’s misfortune or happiness. The wise Qohèleth tells us, and I quote: “Man works for his mouth. And yet the appetite is never satisfied. ” What then is capable of fulfilling man’s desire? Jesus, the Son of God, traces for us the path by which man has access to happiness: the path to the justice of the Kingdom. What is it about? As the first attitudes announced by Jesus, it is to be poor (or humble, or even humiliated), to be gentle (without violence?), to be afflicted, to be hungry and thirsty for justice ! If the prophets denounced those who practiced injustice, Jesus declares happy those who place the concern for justice at the centre of their lives. What is promised to us is nothing less than the joy of a filial relationship with God….

Father Martinez, you were ordained in 1962, and you have been in Mali, San and Bamako, and even one year in Mauritania, 56 years of your life, of your priestly life, to show to the Malian man, African, your fellow man, the face of our Christian faith: Jesus Christ who has only one Name: God-loving…. Father Jesús, for 55 years you have had the desire to live according to what God asks for by becoming the architect of the evolution of social works. You have helped Malian people, of all faiths, to see and recognize the face of God in their fellow human beings… through a life of concrete Love: Health Centres for the sick,… school structures to fight illiteracy, wells to give water to those who are thirsty,… You listened and considered the joys and sorrows of the Malian man who came to you in the hope of achieving a stable and dignified life. Finally, priestly vocations. Every priestly ordination is a source of pride for you. This is to say that you carry within you this desire to see young Malians consecrate themselves to God.

The realization of everything… is due to… your attitudes or, if you wish, the “beatitudes” that you have embodied and among which we can retain: patience, perseverance and humility. Blessed are the peacemakers. Man cannot become a peacemaker without embodying in himself patience, perseverance and humility, especially in a foreign land.

Father Jesús, on behalf of the entire Parish, I would like to express our deep gratitude to you for all the beautiful services rendered to the Catholic Church in Mali. Be assured of our affection, thoughts and prayers for this new life that is beginning.

It is therefore necessary to tell you that the doors of Mali are always open to you.

E nana Ala kof, Mali denq yé, Ala ka i Iakana.
(Father, you have come to announce God to the children of Mali, may God keep you and protect you).
E yé danaya kofo anw yé, Ala ka i ka dana baba.
(You have come to bring us faith, may God strengthen your faith).
E nana san biduru ani woro som, Mali jamanan konon, Ala da Mali jamanan gnèmajo.
(And you came to spend 55 years in Mali, may God grant Mali stability).
Maria Senu ka a jantoi la. | neither cé. l nor baraji.
(May the Virgin Mary protect you, thank you very much).

If you prefer to read the original texts of these interventions in French, here they are :

Jubilee celebrations in AMS (corrected v.)

Jubilees of 65, 60 and 50 years of missionary commitment in the province of AMS

CORRECTED VERSION

On Saturday, May 18, the jubilee celebration of the Sherbrooke House took place.

There were five of them: two of them with 65 years of oath: Pierre Aucoin and Victor Grégoire. Fernand Chicoine and Jean-Marie Tardif celebrated their sixtieth and Pierre Benson, 50 years of commitment. What struck me during the presentation of each of them was the great diversity of their commitments to the mission in Africa and for Africa. That’s impressive.

It was a beautiful day of thanksgiving, which brought together several confreres, relatives and friends. Once again, on behalf of the mafr.net website, my congratulations and thanks to all the Fathers and Sisters of the Society of Missionaries of Africa for their contributions to the emancipation of Africa in this year of the 150th anniversary of their foundation.

Denis-Paul Hamelin

From the Website of the AMS – https://mafr.net

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Missionary of Africa for Solidarity with South Sudan

Jim (James) Greene is a Missionary of Africa born in Ireland on the 27th July 1960. Ordained to the priesthood on the 2nd July 1988 after completing his theological formation in Totteridge, he started his missionary life in Malawi until mid-1997 when he became the Treasurer of the Province of Ireland (today one of the sectors of the European province). In 2002, he returns to Malawi, with a strong interest for Justice & Peace. Delegate to the Chapter of 2004, he is elected Assistant to the Superior General. After a sabbatical in Chigaco, he is appointed to Jerusalem as treasurer in 2011. Since January 2019, he is the executive director of the project “Solidarity South Sudan”.

A word from Jim

I arrived in Juba, South Sudan on the 26th January to join a team of about 30 religious, male and female who are working with the project called ‘Solidarity with South Sudan’. This is an initiative of the USG/UISG (male and female religious congregations) which started after an appeal for assistance by the bishops of South Sudan. 

Seeing the enormity of the challenges in what was then Southern Sudan, over 200 congregations decided to pool their resources together, both financial and personnel. Many congregations do not have personnel to offer to this initiative but presently about 18 congregations are represented on the ground in South Sudan, while many more contribute in other ways.

From an early stage it was recognized that ‘Solidarity with South Sudan’ could not respond to every need. With this in mind, it was decided that the emphasis would be put on training others in the areas of education, health care, pastoral services and agriculture. 

The project established teacher training centres for primary school teachers in Yambio in Western Equatoria and in Malakal in Upper Nile State. Unfortunately, due the hostilities and attacks the centre in Malakal is currently abandoned. 

The Comboni Sisters helped us establish a nursing and midwifery training centre in Wau, situated in the former state of Western Bahr el Ghazal. Coincidently, some of the present buildings were originally constructed by our deceased confrere, Hurbert Barbier in the late 1970s. For many years these buildings were occupied by internally displaced persons before being handed back to the church to start the nurses training project in 2008. 

In addition, a pastoral team was set up and trained many priests, catechists and other pastoral workers from many dioceses in the country. Given the violent history of the country, an emphasis was also put on trauma healing and trying to address some of the effects of past and present conflicts. Currently this team is in need of more members.

Solidarity seeks to witness not only through its actions but also by living in international religious communities of men and women. In a country sadly divided on the basis of ethnicity, we try to show that it is possible for women and men from different nationalities and ethnicities, to live and work together, while respecting each other’s dignity and difference.

Presently, I am the only Missionary of Africa in the country. Who knows what the future will bring? The harvest is indeed great!

Interview of Jim by Radio Vatican on 16th April 2019

Linda Bordoni of Vatican Radio interviews Father Jim Greene, Missionary of Africa, newly appointed executive director of Solidarity South Sudan. The original interview is here :  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-04/solidarity-south-sudan-pope-retreat-father-greene.html

Video produced by Solidarity South Sudan last November

Testimony of Jim to the confreres in Rome

Being the only Missionary of africa in South Sudan and having to attend meetings every now and then in Rome with the board of Solidarity South Sudan, Jim is attached to the Generalate, rather than to the Easr Africa Province which, traditionally, was hosting Sudan. As he was in Rome last April, he gave his testimony to some confreres. The video he is referring to at the beginning is the one above and the power point he is referring to follows. By default, the slides moves forward every 15 seconds, but you can force them forward or backward as you are listening to Jim. Towards the end of the testimony, Jim is answering questions… which are unfortunately not audible, as the confreres did not bother waiting for the microphone. But if you are interested in the testimony, you will be able to guess what the questions were about.

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Update on the Mozambique situation

We have just received the following message from Boris Yabre, M.Afr., Provincial Delegate for Mozambique.

Dear confreres and Friends and Benefactors and People of Good will, greetings from Beira.

Six days ago, I sent you a SOS message sharing with you about what we are living on the ground and appealing for help.

We want to thank each and every one of you for your constant prayers and growing concern. Some of you have already sent your contributions to alleviate the pains of the people around us; others are still looking for the ways and means to do so. We wholeheartedly say thank you.

On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Beira called for an urgent meeting of the pastoral agents of the archdiocese. About hundred people or so were present. we shared about the current situation of the people at the various places of the diocese.

Putting aside the lost lives, people are in extreme need of food, drinking water and shelters. Some incidents occurred by which the population went and broke some shops in order to get food without fearing the police presence.  There is no guaranty and certainty if the humanitarian aid is reaching everywhere. Bureaucracy, protocols, greed can be a hindrance to that.

The majority of the parish churches, chapels and schools are down or roofless. Many convents and presbyteries suffered.  The archbishop suspended all the pastoral planned activities until further notice. The urgency of the time is to be with the people, share their pains and give them hope regardless of their religious, political and ethnical affiliation. We were reminded not to lose sight on what the Lord may want to tell us through this calamity.

This 4th Sunday of Lent celebration is dedicated to pray for the victims of the cyclone Idai all over the archdiocese of Beira. Each parish will make special collection today to help its most affected people.

The sad reality is that in the market places the prices of essential products have gone higher. The price of iron sheet and cement have gone up in a moment where people are in dire need. The lusalite (asbestos) sheets cannot be sold to ordinary people. It is reserved for government use in order to fix first the public structures: Government offices and schools.

In the Sector house and Nazaré Centre of Formation, what occupied the mind these last days was to make some cleaning up: gathering the iron sheet left here and there by the wind, clearing the ground as most of the mango and coconut trees were down, in order to give way and protect ourselves. So far there is no electricity. Only the ‘chosen few” have access to it. At least, the Central Hospital have electricity and the Health Centres are using generators. Right now, the city of Beira is running out of generators on sale. To have one there is need to order it from Chimoio or Tete.

Sussundenga has no electricity neither. Those who lost their houses are given only tents by the Red Cross. The fields are swept away by the waters giving way to despair and the imminence of a year of hunger.

In Dombe there is rising need of food, shelters, and drinking water. For whatever reason, it is one of the forgotten places of the country. The fields got flooded and the crops are gone.  Our community chapels in some villages which partly fell are where some families are living.

On the estimates you can add ‘we shall try to come up with so concrete figures by the end of this week for what our Confreres may need for their missions and in order to contribute to helping the needy…

So far, we cannot give any estimate of what could cost the reconstruction of our structures: Nazaré Centre of formation, the Sector house. It seems to be too soon to have clear references, giving the general chaos we are in. We shall try to come up with so concrete figures by the end of this week for what our Confreres may need for their mission and in order to contribute to helping the needy.

The families of our candidates which we managed to contact are safe. They do also have some challenges like anybody else. Our confreres and stagiaires are doing well. They continue to be close to the people and to face with them the test of time.

Boris Yabre, M.Afr.
Provincial Delegate

  • The big chapel of Nazaré
  • Desolation in Nazare
  • Desolation in Nazare
  • Dombe, what remains of maize fields
  • Dombe camp of tents for the homeless
  • Maize fields swept by water in Sussudenga.
  • Some people trying to regain their villages after the flood for a new giving with almost nothing in Matarara- Dombe
  • The remaining of a community chapel serves as a shelter for this family
  • Improvised homes
  • Drinking water has to be supplied...

Cyclone Idai – News from Hugh Seenan (Facebook)

Thanks to all who have been worried about me here in Malawi or worried about Beira, getting in touch with me or my family. Where I am in Malawi, where I’ve been for the last year, we have had good weather. I was in Beira for 10 years before that. It’s been devastating seeing the reports. Over the years I’ve been in all the places from Beira to Chimanimani in Zimbabwe, even in Buzi where you see everybody on top of buildings without food. It is only in the last couple of days that I started getting news from friends and former neighbours. Slowly they are clearing up trying to repair their homes. It’s good to hear. Nazaré Centre , Beira Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, where I worked, was badly hit. Some pictures follow. They have started cleaning up but it will be a while before they can receive groups. All going well, I will go there for Holy Week. Thanks for remembering me. Pray for everyone affected and the relief teams. God Bless,

Hugh Seenan, M.Afr.

 

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”