From all of us in the General House
to all of you, wherever you are,
we wish you a holy and prayerful
This excerpt from the letter of Emmanuel Ngona, provincial of the PAC, written from Rome during the meeting of the provincials, and published in the last Info-PAC, gives us a small idea of the debates that took place during the week of the meeting between the provincials and the General Council.
Hello to each of you from Rome, Eternal City! And may the Peace of Christ dwell in your hearts in this Jubilee Year! I hope that each of you is well where the Lord has planted him to blossom.
I am writing to you today to share some of the elements that struck me during our meeting between the provincials and the General Council from February 10 to 16, 2019.
1) During a private audience on February 8 between Pope Francis and the Mafr and MSOLA on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of our Foundation, the Pope recalled our mission today where we are:
“The mission ad extra is in your DNA… I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so that you never forget that the true Missionary is first and foremost a disciple and that the proclamation of the Gospel can only be lived at the cost of a true missionary communion. May the Spirit make you build bridges between people. Where the Lord has sent you, contribute to the growth of a culture of encounter; continue to be the servants of a dialogue that, while respecting differences, knows how to be enriched by the difference of others. And I thank you in particular for the work you have already done in the service of dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Through the style and simplicity of your lifestyle, you also demonstrate the need to take care of our common home. Finally, in the wake of Cardinal Lavigerie, be sowers of Hope, fighting against current forms of slavery. Always seek to be close to the small and the poor, to those who wait at the periphery of our societies, to be recognized in their dignity, to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated…”.
2) In the context of our Jubilee and the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict 15’s “Maximum” Apostolic Letter (a letter that served to awaken missionary awareness, give new impetus to the mission ad gentes and recall the raison d’être of the Mission), which will be celebrated in October 2019, we want to give a new impetus to our Mission at the personal, community, sectoral or provincial level in line with Cardinal Filoni’s challenge to us: “What does the centenary (150th anniversary, ndlr) of a religious family mean, if not to reflect fundamentally and understand why it was created and what role it still has today?”
3) Great attention must be paid to all our Institutions where we work with children and vulnerable adults so that these places become safe and evangelical spaces for them.
4) Everywhere the opening of our Jubilee went well. But let us not only focus on external manifestations, we want to take advantage of this opportunity and this time of grace for a new missionary impulse to make a difference thanks to our charism and the Holy Spirit who leads us on the roads of the world.
Let us continue to pray in community that this Jubilee Year will be a time of grace for our Society and the local Churches with whom we collaborate fraternally and that the next Plenary Council to be held in Kampala from mid-November 2019 will renew our enthusiasm and missionary strength that no power can take from us.
Recently, at the Generalate, the meeting of the General Council with the provincial superiors and the two sections took place. Two confreres attached to the general services – Stéphane Joulain for the integrity of the ministry and Andreas Göpfert for JPIC – addressed them. Here is a summary of their interventions.
Stéphane Joulain : The provincials were able to listen and discuss with Fr. Benoît Malvaux, General Procurator of the Company of Jesus, invited by the General Council. The subject of his conference was “the preliminary inquiry”. This conference was also given to the Safeguarding Delegates during their last training in Rome who took place in November 2018. So, Provincials and Safeguarding Delegates have received the same information. This preliminary inquiry precedes the canonical process in case of allegations of behaviour against the sixth commandment by a cleric on a minor or a vulnerable adult. The provincials were able to ask Fr Malvaux other canonical questions. His competence and numerous examples have made it possible to address these difficult and delicate questions in a very practical and serious manner.
Andreas Göpfert: On February 13, 2019, there was a JPIC-ED working session. For one hour and a half, the General Council, the Provincials and the Section Delegate Superiors met with the coordinator of JPIC-ED, Fr Andreas Göpfert. The first part of the meeting was devoted to the reading of some signs of the times and the interpellations heard during the audience with Pope Francis and to the celebration of the 150th anniversary with Cardinal Filoni (see PowerPoint below). In the second part, the coordinator reviewed the 2018 activity report and expressed some concerns, for example, about the functioning of the provincial commissions. There was a fruitful exchange between the participants calling for improvement. The coordinator also insisted on collaboration with Talitha Kum and with AEFJN and AFJN. The third part provided an opportunity to explain three events that will be organized by the coordination: a workshop on “Ecumenical Dialogue, a call for prophetic commitment” in March 2019 in Rome; an exchange and consultation meeting on “Islamic-Christian Dialogue” in April 2019 in Nairobi; a training workshop on “Life in intercultural community as an apostolic witness today” in September 2019 in Rome. Before concluding with the prayer of St. Bakhita, the coordinator gave some information on the pastoral care of human mobility taught at SIMI (Scalabrini International Migration Institute) in Rome (www.simiroma.org/site/) and SIHMA (Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility) in Capetown-South Africa (http://sihma.org.za/).
Start the Power-point by clicking on the small central white arrow at the bottom left and move it forward by continuing to click on the right arrow.
From 21 to 24 February, the presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences around the world responded to Pope Francis’ call to come to Rome to the Vatican to reflect together on how best to respond seriously to this unprecedented crisis facing the Catholic Church today. The sufferings of so many men and women, children and young people call for a determination on the part of the whole Church. During these three days, several speakers followed one another to address different topics based on the three areas of reflection proposed by the organizing committee: Responsibility, Accountability, Transparency.
All the conferences can be found on the VaticanNews YouTube channel. This summit was also punctuated by several testimonies of victims previously recorded in audio or video. These testimonies allowed those among the speakers who had never heard from victims to discover the extent of the suffering they had endured. Participants also worked in language groups.
What should we remember from this summit?
It is possible to read many analyses in different languages in the online press, indeed 450 journalists were accredited, mainly from the English-speaking world. But for us, here is what we can learn that is important.
This meeting is just one step in this immense project which is to respond to the suffering of the victims with compassion and mercy. It is also a step in the process of conversion of hearts necessary for real preventive work to make the Catholic Church a safe home for children and the most vulnerable. In his final speech, Pope Francis set 7 priority axes of work for the whole People of God and more especially for the bishops of the whole world, here they are summarized with his words (Excerpts from the final speech):
These are seven priorities that Pope Francis has set for the bishops and major superiors of consecrated congregations and institutes of consecrated life, but also more broadly for the whole People of God.
To complete this roadmap, other measures will come: produce a Motu proprio on this question; offer a practical guide for bishops and major superiors to help them in their mission; “task forces / teams of experts” may also be created to help local churches that have more difficulty finding material and human resources to fight against this evil that spares no particular church or human community.
Let us make this roadmap our own.
Useful links :
Chaine YouTube de VaticanNews pour voir ou revoir les conférences :
En français – https://www.youtube.com/user/vaticanfr
In English – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxIsefyl9g9A5SGWA4FvGIA
Also exists in other languages
Many interviews and articles on www.vaticannews.va
The monthly JPIC promoters meeting was held on the 20th of February 2019 at the headquarter of UISG in Rome. This meeting was organised by the African Working Group and focused on the topic “State of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa: providing keys for better understanding of the expansion of Islam”.
After the opening prayer prepared by Sr. Ignatia Asoh (TSSF) and Sr. Caroline Njah Bongnavti (SUSC), and the presentation of the 20 participants of various Religious congregations and institutes, Fr. Mariano Tibaldo (MCCJ) introduced the speaker. Fr. Felix Phiri is former Director of the Islamic studies in the Tangaza University of Nairobi and former Professor and lecturer at Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamology Studies (PISAI). He is at the moment actually in charge of the Southern African Province of the Missionary of Africa.
At the beginning of the conference, Fr Phiri explained the territorial expansion of Islam in its early existence. Next, he focused more on the Islam in sub-Saharan Africa showing how Islam spread in Africa. The speaker then stressed the conceptual frameworks underlying the Islamic expansion. He offered comprehensive explanation about “Da’wah” which refers to Islamic missionary activities in modern period. He stressed the different types of “Jihad”, the inner and outer jihad, and its extremist forms which are actually spreading out in various African Countries such as Nigeria, Mali and Kenya.
The Da’wah movement is encouraged by several agents of Islamic propagation, such as Islamic governments, Muslim International Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and individual Muslim Initiatives. The Islamist infrastructure worldwide relies heavily on “zakat”, the mandatory charity demanded by Islam, usually 2.5 percent of one’s annual earnings.
The agents of Islamic propagation explore various strategies such as media, schools and universities, social welfare projects as well as funding of mosques, Islamic centres and madrassas. There are also different ways used to national politics, economy, society, family life, education, language and daily cultural habits.
Fr. Phiri concluded by saying that although a religion with a universal outlook, Islam foresees a coexistence with other religions. In its expansionist thrust, Islam needs no one’s permission, emphasised Fr. Phiri, on the contrary Muslims would gladly see Islam become more accepted in society. (click here for the content of the conference)
During the second part of the conference, the participants asked questions on cohabitation of Muslims and Christians. The answers given by Fr. Phiri were clear and realistic. He encouraged the participants to live their witness through authentic Christian life in coherence to the message of Jesus. To the question about Pope Francis’ landmark visit to the United Arab Emirates, the speaker underscored the important gesture of encounter, the coming as a friend, the importance of collaboration between Muslims and Christians.
At the end of the conference, the moderator, in the name of all participants, expressed deep gratitude to Fr. Felix Phiri for his very interesting and impressive conference on Islam in sub-Saharan Africa.
Before concluding the meeting, Sr Sheila (executive secretary) gave some information about the future events organised by the JPIC commission.
Andreas Göpfert (MAFR) and Mariano Tibaldo (MCCJ)
Please watch the video announcing the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church, which will take place from 21st to 24th February at the Vatican.
Do also read the interview of Stéphane Joulain by Vatican News, posted yesterday (restricted to M.Afr. and MSOLA).
Interesting as well, the joint statement of UISG & USG before the Summit.
n.b.: UISG stands for Union of the International Superiors Major (Feminine) and USG stands for Union of the Superiors Major (Masculine).
And finally, do pray for the best outcome possible of this summit and follow the proceedings on http://www.pbc2019.org/home
Father Stéphane Joulain, priest of the Society of Missionaries of Africa and psychotherapist, explains the issues raised by the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church.
Continue reading “Interview of Stéphane Joulain with Vatican News”
Last Thursday, Father Manu Mathew, one of our residents here at the Generalate had organised, invited by the superior of the community, a mass in the Syro-Malabar rite. In this video, we have interviewed him as we show a few extracts of the celebration. You will excuse the short technical imperfections in the rendering of the video.
Please note that the pages of the Personnel Book, Edition 2019, are available for consultation “online” under Society > Directory >… with two further additions, namely the “Directory” of the Province of the Americas (AMS) and the list of personnel in the France sector. However, you will need to be identified as a Missionary of Africa to be able to access all this.
The statistics as at 1 January 2019 are also available under Society > Statistics. They are available for consultation to everyone.
This week, all the provincials and the two superiors of section are gathered with the General Council and sometimes with other consultors to discuss the running of the Society. It is also, for the provincials, the occasion to negociate for more personnel or for an exchange of personnel according to their specific needs. Here are some photos taken during Thursday morning’s session.