Provincials and Sections Superiors meet with the General Council, 2023

Meeting of Provincials and Sections Superiors with the General Council

In the photo, from left to right: (Sitting) ArsèneKapya (PAC), Réal Doucet (AMS), Stanley Lubungo (SG), Francis Bomansaan (AG), AnselmeTarpaga (AG), (Standing) Didier Sawadogo (PAO), Jean-Marie Amalebondra (MGH), Jos Van Boxel (PEP), John Itaru (TG), Leo Laurence Joseph Maria (AG), Dennis Pam (GHN), André Simonart (SG), Christian Mulenga (SAP), Haile Gazena (EPO), Pawel Hulecki (AG), (At a distance) Jaya BordhanMrutyun (SOA), and Oswald Mallya (EAP).

From October 4th  to 11th , 2023, the Provincials and Sections Superiors met with the General Council. This meeting aimed to introduce the various leaders to their task of animating the confreres and administering the multiple circumscriptions. It was an initiation to the dynamics of leadership in the Society, with some emphasis on the representative role not only of the Superior General but of the whole Society.

Provincials and Section Superiors were introduced to the exercise of authority in the Society through familiarisation with official documents such as the Constitutions and Laws, the various Vademecum and the decisions of the General Chapter and their advancement.

They also met the various sections at the service of the Generalate, such as the Secretariat for Initial Formation, the JPIC-RD Coordination, the Coordination for the Integrity in Ministry and the Media team. It was also a time to listen to news from our Provinces and Sections and to get to know each other better for more effective collaboration in the future.

Eight of the 10 participants were on site, and two followed the program from a distance.

Here’s what participants have said about the meeting:

 The meeting brought to me an awareness of my responsibilities as a provincial. The first awareness is that as a Provincial, I am an overseer not only of human and material resources in the Province but also of how these resources are to be handled and dispensed. The meeting also brought to my awareness the mission of our Society, especially in the areas of JPIC/ED. In the meetings, Ioften felt that the responsibilities were far too much for one person! I was somehow overwhelmed, and I wondered how one person (one man) couldhandle all these! The meeting once again brought to my awareness my limitations as a person and the need to seek God’s help and guidance in this ministry. Lastly, I hope and pray that “the grace of the office may transform me”.

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to the members of the General Council for your availability and sharing. The sharing from the various Provinces and Sections is highly appreciated. These sharing highlight the diverse nature of our missionary endeavours, joys and challenges. Thank you for listening to us and enabling us to be aware of the responsibilities and challenges of leadership. 

The meeting aimed to introduce the office bearers to the offices of the leaders for better administration in view of good service to the confreres and the Society at large. The meeting also equally drew to my attention how we could work and collaborate with each other as we are at the service of the Society. I personally appreciated the contributions and sharing of different views in the meeting, which enriched me. It was an opportunity for me to get to know others.

The meeting with the General Council was an opportunity for us to learn and deepen our knowledge of our Society, particularly about the exercise of the service of authority. It was interesting to come face to face with the documents (Vademecum and others). These documents are tools not only for the governance service in our provinces or sections but also instruments of meditation and prayer for this mission that we share with Christ in the Church, for the confreres in our jurisdictions and for the Society as a whole. Also, the application of these directives must always be lived out with the greatest love for the mission and for our confreres, for whom I am called to be an example in living and sharing our charism: isn’t that the best way to govern?

The meeting of the General Council with the Provincials was a very beautiful and fruitful experience. First of all, it was a good introduction to the mission of governing. Secondly, by the opportunity it has given us to meet, to get to know each other better, to learn from each other and to feel invested with the same mission in the service of our confreres. The different topics discussed corresponded to real needs on the ground, and they were very well prepared.

I very much appreciated the meetings with the various coordinators and the articulation between the formation on governance and the updating of the Chapter’s orientations to keep us focused on the prophetic mission.

About our meeting in Rome, I prefer to use the term ‘encounter’. For me, this was the most important part of our few days spent together: to create links, to learn to know each other and to develop an ‘esprit de corps’. It is so important to remind ourselves that we are at the service of the whole Society, not only of the confreres living in our own Province or Section. I was happy to listen to each one of the General Council members and to those in charge of the various services. Most of them are newcomers, and to hear them talking to us in the way they did confirms my convictions that our Society keeps alive the charism we received from our founder. Let us continue praying for one another!

The meeting was very helpful and encouraging for a variety of reasons. The fact of meeting face to face for several days allowed us to get to know each other, both among Provincials, Section Superiors, and the members of the General Council. Bonding is very important. The themes that were presented were very well prepared and gave us some deeper insights into what is expected from us. Thanks to each of the presenters, including the confreres in charge of various responsibilities at the Generalate (JPIC-ED, safeguarding, media, finances, etc.). We had a chance to discuss, ask questions, and give our contributions.

The welcoming atmosphere in the Generalate made us feel at home, and the interaction with other members of the community and other visitors was pleasant and interesting. I thank the General Council for inviting us to that meeting, which, for me, was more of a formation session on leadership in our Society. It was an eye-opener on the importance of administration in our system of governance.The importance of being congruent with the documents of the Society and knowing where to find explanations to many of our questions. It was clear that we don’t take enough time to read and digest our working instruments: The Constitutions and Laws, Vade mecum of Government for Provincials, Statutes of the Provinces, etc. and working towards the realisation of the decisions of the last General Chapter.

The importance of working as a team among ourselves and the easy flow of information. The meeting at that level of leadership in the Society is an important opportunity to rob shoulders among ourselves. The meeting was, for me, a real sign of unity and communion of the confreres committed to serve our Society of the Missionaries of Africa in leadership and administrative services.

The meeting was marked by an air of profound fraternity. Each Provincial/Section Superior was free to air out the challenges and triumphs experienced within his respective province/section of mission. The General Council’s willingness to listen and sympathise with these experiences made a strong impression to me of their openness to dialogue and collaboration.

One striking aspect was the overwhelming sense of listening that prevailed in the conference room. Despite differences in cultural, political and economic backgrounds of our respective provinces/sections, the Provincials/Section Superiors found some common ground in their shared mission in which everyone is deeply engaged.

What truly touched me during this meeting was the desire for unity. Despite the challenges and differences, a global network remained dedicated to the service of the mission. The expression “if it means to sink together, let us sink together” was not just a mare expression but of great impact and invitation for transformation of the attitude towards our Society as a vessel on which we are all on board.

This meeting was a profound and inspirational gathering. The shared dedication and combined efforts, with the unbreakable spirit of unity, left me with a renewed sense of purpose as we continue our missionary journey in different countries around the world.

I appreciate the initiative taken by the General Council in organising this introductory meeting. I appreciate the fraternal and relaxed atmosphere that reigned during the meetings. The topics covered were rich and interesting. This meeting made me more aware of the weight of responsibility on the Provincial when it comes to the governance of a Province and decisions to be taken. This responsibility requires a good dose of discernment and prayer before making important decisions. We wish a lot of inner strength to our confreres who are at the service of Provinces and Sections. Let’s not forget to pray for them!

Collected by Pawel Hulecki, (M.Afr) Assistant General 

Maurice Rambourg R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Michel Girard Provincial Delegate of the sector of France,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Maurice Rambourg

on Saturday, 4th November 2023 in Bry-sur-Marne (France) at the age of 95 years, of which 70 years of missionary life in Guinea,  in Burkina Faso, in Ivory Coast and in France.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Maurice Rambourg’s death

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Visit from Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero

Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero visit to the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome

On Tuesday, 24th October, around midday, we had a visit from Cardinal Cristobal Lopez Romero, Archbishop of Rabat in Morocco.

Cardinal Cristobal is currently in Rome, participating in the third phase of the synod, where the bishops and other invited participants work together to discern and build the next phase of the synodal journey of the Church. The visit was friendly and fraternal.

Firstly, the cardinal shared with the General Council about the presence of the Missionaries of Africa in Morocco. In September 2022, we opened a new community in Rabat with two confreres: Albert Kondemodre from Burkina Faso and Oscar Garcia Padilla from Mexico. A third confrere, Modeste Cubaka Tebuka from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has joined the team. The cardinal expressed his gratitude for the new community and the involvement of the confreres in the life of the diocese: Albert helps out in the cathedral parish and is coordinator of the prison ministry, Oscar is director of Caritas in Morocco while Modeste is learning literary Arabic on the spot.

Secondly, the cardinal shared the realities of the Church in Morocco and some thoughts about the Synod in Rome with us. We are very grateful to cardinal Cristobal for his visit to our Generalate and his paternal care of our confreres in Morocco. We wish the cardinal much inner strength in his mission on Moroccan soil.

May Our Lady of Morocco, Our Lady of the Way, walk with us together to reach the Father’s house.

Pawel Hulecki (M.Afr) General Assistant

Session de Transition 2023

Session de Transition 2023

Bernard Ugeux et Helga…Franke…. Ont « donné » la session de « Transition » et celle pour les « seniors » pendant plus de 15 ans.

Merci aux deux pour leur dévouement et leur expertise qui ont beaucoup aidé des confrères et sœurs à vivre paisiblement cette aventure dans leur vie.

Maintenant, c’est à Terry Madden et Hélène Mbuyamba de reprendre le flambeau en accompagnant les participants de ces sessions après le départ à la retraite d’Helga et Bernard.

Cette année, la session de transition s’est faite en français. Ils étaient 7 participants. 4 personnes attendus n’ont pas pu participer à la session pour questions de santé ou d’obtention de visas. Les participants sont : Gloria Sedes Alvarez, en mission au Tchad ; Kordula Weber, en Mission a Karlsrgou, Allemagne ; Marie-Christine Rousseau, en mission a Rome ; Jacques Lacour a Paris, France ; Jean Michel Laurent, a Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso ; Jean-Louis Godinot a  Mours, France ; et Jean Baptist Amona, a Kinshasa , RDC.

Nous ne pouvons pas parler de cette session sans mentionner notre reconnaissance profonde pour la contribution des confrères de la Maison Généralice et des SMDA de Rome, nos hôtes et nos guides. Surtout nous voulons signaler la contribution essentielle des confrères Prosper   et Olivier pour les modules donnés , ainsi que Salvador et Vitus pour leur service en ce qui concerne l’audio-visuel. Sans Luigi et Guy, nous n’aurions pas pu faire la moitié du programme. Nous leur devons beaucoup dans la préparation et le déroulement du programme.

Nous rendons grâce à Dieu pour cette belle expérience ensemble.

Terry Madden

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

Communication

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:
baawobr.condolences@mafr.org