Ambassadeur Régis Kévin Bakyono

Visit of the Ambassador of Burkina Faso to the Holy See Visit of the Ambassador of Burkina Faso to the Holy See at the Generalate

On Friday 12 May, before midday, the General Council was honoured by the visit of His Excellency Mr Régis Kévin Bakyono, Ambassador of Burkina Faso to the Holy See. The Ambassador’s visit had a special character. First of all, the Ambassador, newly appointed to the Holy See, wanted to meet personaly our Superior General and present himself in his new mission. The second reason for his visit was to express his condolences to the entire Society after the tragic death of our confrere Moses Simukonde on 29 March 2023 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

During this meeting, we had the opportunity to exchange with the Ambassador and to better make known our missionary Society which he had already met in Burkina Faso.

We wish the Ambassador all the graces of God in his diplomatic mission between Burkina Faso and the Holy See. We also continue to keep the socio-political situation in Burkina Faso in our prayers so that peace may prevail in this beautiful country of West Africa.

Pawel Hulecki

Way of the cross 2023

Via Aurelia pilgrims’ way of the cross

a journey of prayer and communion

To respect their Lenten observances, religious members of Via Aurelia Pilgrims in Rome, from near and far, as well as neighbours, friends, and visitors, joined in the way of the Cross. Among them were the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (the convener), the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Apparition, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Marist Sisters, the Missionaries of Africa, etc. As pilgrims, we were united with the universal Church on a journey of prayer and communion.

Seven stations guided our prayer and meditation. Our reflections were derived from well-chosen biblical passages and Laudato Si’ §§ 2, 66, 99, 100 and 205. They focused on creation, incarnation, the cry of the Earth, Golgotha and a return to the Father. We also asked our Mother Mary to intercede for us as we recited a decade of rosary. It was not only prayer and communion; it was also a time to contemplate the beauty of nature – trees, flowers, singing birds, sunshine – which reminded us of our responsibility to care for the Earth.

Furthermore, the host community offered snacks and drinks to the pilgrims. It was an opportunity to journey together, be in communion, nourish our faith, foster ecological conversion, and live synodal journey towards Easter.

Prosper HARELIMANA, M. Afr.

I saw the body of Benedict XVI

The word of the Lord remains forever

Reginald Cruz

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Pet. 1:24-25

These words of Scripture resonated in me when I saw the body of Benedict XVI. The death of any Pope would offer faithful people a moment of retrospection, even if the greyness of his embalmed body gave the air a slightly darker touch.

A steady stream of people lined up before the late Pope Emeritus. Many seemed to be tourists lucky enough to be in Rome, content to commemorate the event with their mobile phones. Yet there were those visibly affected by the loss of this “painfully introverted” theologian but great erudite, once feared as God’s rottweiler.

Joseph Ratzinger was not – as many have wrongly claimed – overly eager to occupy the See of Peter. Aware of the limits of his administrative skills, he was constantly learning to become a Pope. This self-awareness is the basis of his most incredible legacy to the Church: the deep humility to recognize and accept what neither mind nor body can ever understand and the willingness to hand over the Papal See. So it is that Benedict XVI was a servant of Christ and a herald of the Word of the Father who lives forever.


Mass for Cardinal Richard BAAWOBR


A Mass for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Richard K. BAAWOBR will take place on Monday, 5 December 2022, at 11 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. It will be presided by Cardinal Giovanni Battista RE.

The funeral will be held in his Diocese of Wa in Ghana.

Rome, 29th November 2022

André-L. Simonart,
Secretary General

Cardinal Richard Baawobr / Return to the Celestial Father

With sadness and pain we hereby inform you of the return to the heavenly Father of Cardinal Richard Baawobr which occurred today, Sunday, 27 November 2022. Our confrere was taken by ambulance from the Generalate to the Gemelli Hospital at 5.45pm and we received the sad news at 6.25pm. May Richard rest in the peace of his Lord whom he so generously served. On behalf of the bereaved Society. Our prayer and our thoughts go also to his family, to his diocese, his fellow bishops, to all his friends and acquaintances.

Rome, 27th November 2022

André-Léon Simonart,
Secretary General.

To express your condolences:

Our confreres in the North of Ethiopia

Our confreres in the North of Ethiopia

As we all have heard or read, on the early morning of the 24th August 2022 the war in the northern part of Ethiopia started again, just six months after the official ceasefire. A message from the Section Superior dated 26th August informed the Council that the day before, on 23rd, the confreres in Ethiopia managed to have Brother Clayb flown out from Mikelle. Brother Clayb and Father Sabu had remained in Adigrat throughout the war and chose to remain out of solidarity with the people when the fighting ceased. Confreres have also arranged for Clayb to go home to the Philippines and rejoin his mother and the whole family who have all been very worried about him. Clayb will then have the time to mourn the death of his father who passed away in July 2021. In a message to the Superior General dated 1st September he explained briefly the situation of the orphans and of the employees at the home and wrote : “Famine is a reality. Most people can only afford to have a meal a day. I tried my best to provide the children with two regular meals per day… In spite of the various challenges, Ethiopia remains a wonderful place to be a missionary.” Two confreres are still in the North of the country, Father Sabu in Adigrat and Father Angel in Wukro. We remember them to the Lord, commend them to the care of our confreres and pray for peace in Ethiopia.

A.L. Simonart, Secretary General

Another confrere created Cardinal

Another confrere created Cardinal

“In absentia” for the imposition of the red biretta and the cardinal’s ring, our confrere Richard Kuuia Baawobr was created a cardinal by Pope Francis during the consistory for the creation of new cardinals which took place in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome on Saturday 27 August 2022. The last Missionary of Africa to be created a cardinal was our confrere Michael Fitzgerald.

In his sermon during the ceremony, the Pope focused on the double image of fire: fire as the powerful flame of the Spirit and the fire of embers like the campfire lit by Jesus on the banks of Lake Galilee. For him and for all the Cardinals, the Pope insisted, this double fire of Jesus, bright fire and gentle fire, “reminds us that a man of apostolic zeal is moved by the fire of the Spirit to take courageous care of things, great and small”. In conclusion, the Bishop of Rome invited the universal Church to pray for the Bishop of Wa, who could not physically participate in this celebration due to hospitalisation following a heart problem.

In the same spirit of prayer, the Holy Mass of Thanksgiving scheduled for Sunday 28 August 2022 was celebrated in the large chapel of our Generalate and animated by the Ghanaian community of Rome. Peter Cardinal Turkson presided at this Eucharistic celebration in place of Cardinal Baawobr who was hospitalised at the Ospedale Santo Spirito in Rome.

Many people, bishops, confreres, friends, and even a delegation from the Ghanaian government, had come to participate in this event. Thus, our chapel vibrated to Ghanaian melodies and shone with the colours of this beautiful country formerly called Gold Coast.

Corroborating the message of the Pope’s sermon, Cardinal Turkson focused his homily on the theme of humility and service. Humility understood as a relational virtue with God, with all humanity and with all of God’s creation. It is in this humility that we are called to serve one another.

Our Superior General, Father Stan Lubungo, who had welcomed everyone to the Eucharistic celebration, reminded us at the end of the Mass of the importance of not insisting on visiting Cardinal Baawobr in hospital because what he needed most was rest and prayer. The coordination established by the Society for this purpose should be followed.

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the agape was shared in the beautiful garden of our house in a spirit of brotherhood.

May Christ who chose Cardinal Baawobr be favourable to our prayers and give him good health for the greater glory of God.

Serge Boroto, M.Afr.

Jubilee 25 years of Oath in Rome

Jubilee of 25 years

All the Missionaries of Africa – Sisters, Fathers and Brothers – throughout the world were celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady on Wednesday the 8th of December. However, in Rome, the celebration was grandiose, as three confreres (and not the least) were celebrating their 25-year jubilee of oaths and a White Sister her 25-year jubilee of vows. Fathers Stan Lubungo, Steven Ofonikot and Stéphane Joulain, for the confreres and Sister Maria-Carmen Ocón Moreno, who is in the General Council of the MSOLA. The mass was very well attended by all the confreres and the White Sisters present in Rome, as well as the elder sister of Sr Maria-Carmen and her family. Our confrere, Bishop Claude Rault, happened to be passing through Rome, and so the ceremony took another level of solemnity. During the celebration, each of the four jubilarians gave a testimony and confirmed their intention to carry on the Mission of Christ to the African World.

I am grateful for the last 25 years of my missionary life. During that time, I have been confronted to the suffering of people living in difficult situations, the Palestinian and Israeli populations, the migrants in France and the victims of sexual abuse, and even more in Canada and Rome. What I’ve received is the grace to see that even in the darkest places of human sufferings, there is always a little flame of God’s presence which is burning, ready to enflame each one of us.

Stéphane Joulain

I thank God for the gift of the past 25 years of staying focused and glued to the one who calls me. Seeing him in the people he sends me – the HIV victims in Bamako, the English-speaking prisoners, in San and Bamako, representing the beautiful women on the street, in the courts and police stations, teaching children to write and read the Bambara language… Like in this beautiful song Amazing Grace, I say: “This grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me on”.

Steve Ofonikot

My 25 years of missionary life have been characterised by encounter and fraternity first from within the Society, through the members of the different communities I have lived in but also with the different people the mission has allowed me to come in contact with. Living in and working among international and intercultural communities has been a very enriching experience. I pray and hope that the many people I have met wherever I have been will remember something of an apostle of Jesus in me.

Stanley Lubungo

My soul continues to glorifies You Lord 25 years later…

My soul proclaims today the greatness of God,
of the Living God.
My spirit rejoices in Jesus, the Emmanuel,
Your human face.

Because you have visited me in my emptiness,
penetrating my inner-self, gently,
like the rain falling into the earth.

Because you have always looked at me with tenderness,
lifting me up of my nothingness.
Anointing me with fragrances of
joy, simplicity and fulness of life.

Because with the strength of your transforming energy
You have done in me marvellous things;
by allowing me to give and share
of what I even did not think I had.
By receiving even from where apparently there was nothing.
By stretching my heart to the ends of your Creation.

Today, together with all those who have preceded me,
together with all those who have shared with me
these 25 years of my life as Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa,
I can proclaim Your fidelity, Your unconditional love
for each one of Your creatures.

Thank you for in Your Immensity
You chose to make Yourself
Into our human size.

Maria-Carmen Ocón Moreno

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon at the Generalate

On 25th May 2021 Fr. Stanley Lubungo, Superior General, hosted at the Generalate in Rome a meeting presided by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Prime Minister’s Envoy for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister for Human Rights  who was accompanied by the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy. Were also present Sr. Sheila Kinsey, FCJM, Executive Co-Secretary JPIC Commission, John Dardis, SJ, and a few other people. Lord Ahmed gave an overview and update on the Declaration of Humanity by Leaders of Faiths and Leaders of Beliefs and the UK priorities in terms of the effort to end sexual violence in conflict. Our confrere Bernard Ugeux has been actively involved in the campaign Preventing sexual violence in conflict and contributed to the drafting of the above mentioned declaration.