Cardinal’s Day 2020

Cardinal’s Day 2020

Ten days from the Feast of the Society, the anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie’s death is always an occasion to give the first place to the one who had the vision for our Mission. Father André-Léon Simonart gave us the homily during the Solemn mass of Cardinal’s Day.

As Qohelet says: There is a time for everything under heaven. We have gone through a time of preparation for the jubilee of our missionary institutes. We have had some beautiful celebrations. Now the time has come for apostolic action. It is the time for the commitments that our missionary institutes are embarking upon, as a follow-up of our Jubilee celebrations, to be realised. Such commitments have two major characteristics. They are inspired and motivated by our charism and they are intended as a response to appeals and challenges coming especially from Africa.  

I single out three such commitments. The first one is at the level of “our common home” as Pope Francis likes to call our world. It is an ambitious project of the whole Church, spread over seven years and meant to foster an integral ecology. Here we work with many other congregations and local Churches, with people of good will, all taking part in the campaign “Laudato sí in action”. Andreas and the General Council shared about it.

The second is about to be realised as the first White Sisters and the first confreres have started to move. It is the project that our institutes chose to mark our jubilee in a meaningful apostolic way. It is a project of the two institutes together. It is about being on the margins, among refugees in the north of Uganda.

The third project, specific to each of our two institutes, concerns the further appropriation of the charism that Cardinal Lavigerie bequeathed to us.

During the Plenary Council, last November, in Kampala, Brother Reginald, a Xaverian brother, made a brilliant presentation on charism. At the end he left us with four questions. The first is about spirituality. What are the different spiritualities, he asked, behind Cardinal Lavigerie’s spiritual intuitions? The second refers to personal dispositions. Reginald put it this way: According to Cardinal Lavigerie, what should the dispositions be of those who want to follow Christ as Missionaries of Africa? The third is about our identity, about who we are in front of Jesus, our one and only love. And the last one is about the practical consequences of the two previous questions: how does a M.Afr. organise his daily life, what is his lifestyle?

As we celebrate Cardinal’s Day, let us recollect ourselves before one or the other of these questions. It is true that our mission is a bit special. We are here either to study and likely to prepare ourselves for a new task, or we are here for helping with the general administration of our institutes. All the same, all of us we are engaged in mission.

Let us recall what our founder wanted our identity to be as missionaries and apostles. The question is not the one Jesus put to Peter when he asked him “who am I for you”, but “who am I for Jesus? Who am I in front of Jesus?” Starting out from there, we may then like to see with which inner dispositions, in which spirit, we are to assume the tasks and responsibilities which are ours today.

The Gospel of this celebration helps us to recall who we are for Christ and the first reading reminds us of the apostolic ideal of Saint Paul, an ideal our Founder Cardinal Lavigerie reminded us of so often and which he himself lived by so generously. Let us ask him to obtain this grace for us. 

Amen.

Ordinations 2020

Ordinations 2020

To keep you updated: with a green background, those already ordained - with an orange background, those who are due to be ordained.
Pour vous tenir au courant : sur fond vert, ceux qui sont déjà ordonnés - sur fond orange, ceux qui doivent être ordonnés.

Homily of the Superior General in memory of Gotthar Rosner

"Rejoice, for your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).

After returning from the places where we were blocked during the confinement brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we, as General Council, wished to celebrate a mass in memory of all our confreres who died since the beginning of the confinements. When Father Gotthard Rosner, Superior General of the Society from 1992 to 1998 passed away on 2 September 2020, we decided to honour his memory and to pray for him and for all the confreres who have died since the beginning of the confinements. There are forty of them in all! It’s a lot in six months. Some succumbed to Covid-19. Others have died from other illnesses. But they all share one thing in common: they past away during a period where it has been impossible to organise a normal funeral for them. In this evening’s Eucharistic celebration we want to pray for all of them as we begin our activities together again in Rome.

We were sad to hear of the deaths of our confreres and especially for our communities not to be able to say goodbye to them in the usual way. Today, it is a song of thanksgiving that we address to God for their long lives consecrated to the Mission in Africa and for the African world. The youngest among them in missionary life had fifty three years of missionary oath and the oldest seventy two. Like the seventy-two disciples sent by Jesus, most of them came back full of joy telling how even the evil spirits submitted to them in His name. And we are witnesses to what they did! Yet this is not the reason why we rejoice and give thanks. We rejoice because their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:17-20). We give thanks to God who first called them and made them grow in their love for him and in their relationship with him. They remain for us, above all, witnesses of this faith.

Father Gotthard Rosner, who died on September 2, is the latest of the confreres to return to the Father. He was a member of our Generalate community as Superior General of the Society. In celebrating this Eucharist for him and in associating in it all the other confreres who have died in recent months, we recognise the role he played in his mission at the service of confreres and we symbolise this by placing the names of the other confreres around his. Among the names of those for whom we pray tonight is that of Father Jean-Claude Ceillier with whom he served on the General Council.

Having spent several years in our houses of formation Father Gotthard is known to many confreres. Many confreres, but also other people who knew him, have testified to his very human sense and the compassion he felt for the people to whom we are sent. He was ready to listen and to accompany. A man with a big heart, he was a source of inspiration for many. As Superior General, Father Gotthard lived through very difficult times such as the genocide in Rwanda, the death of our blessed confreres in Tizi Ouzou and the overthrow of the Mobutu regime in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All these events strongly affected the confreres in those countries as well as the Society as a whole.

May the souls of our deceased confreres through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

Stanley Lubungo
Superior General

In Memoriam Covid-19 Times

In memory of Father Gotthard Rosner and other deceased confreres

At the beginning of the pastoral year 2020-2021, in memory of Father Gothard Rosner, Superior General of the Society of Missionaries of Africa from 1992 to 1998, who passed away on 2nd September 2020, and in memory of all our confreres who have returned to the Father from the period of lockdowns, a Mass will be celebrated in the Chapel of the Generalate of the Society in Rome on Wednesday 16th of September 2020 at 18:00 hours.

Join us on this day, wherever you are, in praying for our confreres.

Stan Lubungo,
Superior General

Confreres who died since the beginning of the lockdown in Rome (March 9th, 2020)

Gotthard Rosner 02/09/2020
Bernhard Pehle 01/09/2020
Jean Chardin 26/08/2020
Maurice Gruffat 21/08/2020
Wolfgang Büth 20/08/2020
René Ledeul 19/08/2020
Marc Deneckere 10/08/2020
Paul Tremblay 09/08/2020
Jean-Bernard Delannoy 29/07/2020
Eugenio Bacaicoa A. 21/07/2020
Pierre Landry 13/07/2020
Wlly Delen 04/07/2020
Alois Reiles 21/06/2020
Gerald Stones 21/06/2020
Josef Moser 13/06/2020
Bernard Jobin 12/06/2020
Justin Louvard 09/06/2020
Lucen Van Wielendaele 20/05/2020
Ger van Dieten 17/05/2020
Marcel Amport 15/05/2020
Karel Louwen22/04/2020
Jean-Pierre Claude15/04/2020
Bernard Vulkers14/04/2020
Michel Lelong10/04/2020
Bruno Chupin08/04/2020
Peter Kelly08/04/2020
Karl-Heinz Pantenburg07/04/2020
Johannes Tappeser06/04/2020
Paul Devigne06/04/2020
Anton Weidelener05/04/2020
Martínez López Antonio05/04/2020
Joannès Liogier03/04/2020
Fançois de Gaulle02/04/2020
Henri Frouin29/03/2020
Pierre Lafollie26/03/2020
Robert Laberge18/03/2020
Hans Gyr17/03/2020
Jean-Claude Ceillier16/03/2020
Maurice Redouin15/03/2020
Jan van Haandel12/03/2020

Feast of the Martyrs of Algeria

Feast of the Martyrs of Algeria

On 8 May, together with the universal Church, let us give thanks to God for the evangelical witness in Algeria of the Blessed Martyrs of Algeria, especially for the four Missionary of Africa confreres among them. By proclaiming them blessed, Pope Francis gave them to the whole Church as examples to be followed of Christian charity in Muslim countries. May they be especially for each one of us an inspiration for a missionary life given in total love of the peoples to whom we are sent.

Happy commemoration!

Stanley Lubungo
General Superior

Audit on Protection and prevention of abuse

Audit on Protection and Prevention of abuse

A small group of confreres mandated by the General Council met in Rome from 12-14 February to carry out an internal audit of our procedures and protocols for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse. Our first policy for the protection of children and vulnerable adults from abuse during ministry dates back to 2008. It has been regularly revised to give the 2016 version that we currently have. The General Council has therefore asked to be able to assess the progress of the implementation of this policy before making a new revision. In order to do this, in the next two years leading up to the next chapter this group of auditors will visit all the provinces to evaluate this work. Following this, a report and concrete proposals for amendments to the current policy will be presented to the General Council and to the Provincials? Good practices are those that are evaluated and improved. Transparency and accountability are the indispensable pillars of a good protection of the most vulnerable.

Our confrere Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Portico in Campitelli

Cardinal-Deacon Michael Fitzgerald

On Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., in the Church of Santa Maria in Portico in Campitelli, took place the solemn entry ceremony of Cardinal Fitzgerald into the Church which was assigned to him as Cardinal Deacon during the consistory of October 5, 2019. 

On Sunday, February 2 at 10:00 a.m., surrounded by his parishioners, the parish priest, his fellow Missionaries of Africa confreres, including the Superior General Stan Lubungo, and seminarians, the new cardinal celebrated the Eucharist of the presentation of our Lord in the temple. 

As a reminder, Michael Louis Cardinal Fitzgerald, served the Church as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Nuncio to Egypt before retiring. Today he is a member of the community of Missionaries of Africa serving in St Vincent’s Parish in Liverpool, Great Britain.

Freddy Kyombo, M.Afr.

See also Cardinal commissioning of Candlemas: “We follow the light” on the website of the VM Portico Church. SWITCH TO ENGLISH on TOP RIGHT

See also Fitzgerald: “I come among you in a spirit of service” on the website of the VM PorticoChurch.
SWITCH TO ENGLISH on TOP RIGHT