Talking together at the Generalate

At the Generalate, we are mostly scheduling everything around the programmes of our “confreres students”. And as most of them resumed or started their studies today or last Monday, the past weekend had been selected to have some activities together. We started on Friday evening with a nice BBQ gathering not only the 45 members of the community but also the 14 senior missionaries from our Society and from the MSOLA, who had come for the “senior-session”, plus their two animators, Father Bernard Ugeux and Sister Helga Franke. Some visitors were present as well to make of that evening a grand evening!

The next day and a half were dedicated to living out together a formation session, entrusted to our JPIC-ED coordinator Andreas Göpfert and our studying confrere Prosper Harelimana. On Saturday morning, we started with some ice-breaking games meant to … well, break the ice, but also to highlight in a ludic way the frequent misinterpretations that can occur in a large community composed of members with so many different backgrounds.

Throughout the weekend, we were divided into small groups of discussion, carefully composed according to the topics discussed. As the big community of the Generalate is divided into three sub-communities, which we call teams, we were invited to assess in teams the quality of our communication among ourselves and to bring creative proposals to improve it, and then to do the same at the level of the greater community. The next day we were also divided into intercultural and intergenerational groups to share the success and the challenges of communication among us and the possible ways of improving it.

Mass on Saturday presided by the superior of the community, Guy Theunis.

Most of us took advantage of that session, which ended with an “apero” after the final mass presided over by Martin Grenier, the assistant playing the role of the provincial in the community of the Generalate.

The closing mass was presided by Martin Grenier, the official “Provincial Superior” of the General House Community.


New structured email addresses

Last May, a workshop on “Communication” brought together in Rome representatives of our ten provinces / sections. It was the first workshop of its kind in a long time. In the second part of this workshop week, we had the privilege to meet three communication specialists, all collaborators of the CREC-International association (Centre de Recherche et d’Éducation à la Communication). In the introduction to each of their workshops, all three confirmed what we had already perceived during our reflection on the establishment of a strategic plan for better communication: How do we present ourselves? Are we Missionaries of Africa, are we White Fathers? What is our logo? Can we be recognized in different websites, blogs and other social networks by identifying custom colors and styles? What are the specific values and priorities to which we adhere and how do we get them across in our communication? And are our e-mail addresses identifiable at first glance?… We have therefore decided to embark on a series of reflections and actions to establish a “corporate brand” and thus improve our “communication“.

Last year already, we were reflecting with the provincial superiors on the lack of coherence of our e-mail addresses. To show just one province, my home province, here is an example of inconsistency:

Provincial of Europe :
Assistant Provincial of Europe :
Provincial Treasurer of Europe :

Delegate Prov. of Belgium :
Delegate treasurer of Belgium :

Do you see the lack of coherence, as well on the left as on the right of the “at sign” (@)? To the left of the “at sign”, a logical structure would allow to write an official address without having to consult a directory. To the right of the “at sign”, the “domain” should allow everyone to identify who we are without too many problems. While the Belgian sector is on the right track, its membership of a broader structure is not obvious.

At the beginning of this year, in agreement with the Superior General and the Bursar General, we acquired the domain name which identifies us as the “Organization (Society) of the Missionaries of Africa”. Then, during our communication workshop, and mandated by the provincials, we finalized the semantics of our future official e-mail addresses.

Having acquired the domain name, all our official addresses will soon be hosted at the Generalate in Rome and will be of the type … As for the first part of the address, it will be structured according to the province, the sector, and the name of the service to which the e-mail will be addressed. For the provinces, the three official letters will be used, for the sectors, three letters also, approved by the delegates present at the May workshop. As for the function, nothing is perfect, but it was important to choose abbreviations that would be clear in both languages of the Society.

For example, to take the case of Europe, here are some examples of addresses :

Provincial of Europe :
Assistant provincial of Europe :
Provincial Treasurer of Europe :

Delegate Prov.of Belgium :
Delegate treasurer of Belgium :

The complete list can be downloaded from here but it may be updated until the 1st October.

The addresses will be created before September 1st and operational before October 1st. Do not use these new addresses before October 1st. Clear and precise instructions will be sent to the users of these e-mail addresses so that they can set up their new e-mail address. For a while, emails sent to the old addresses will be redirected to the  new addresses.

On the other hand, each confrere will be able, in due time and if he wishes, to obtain a structured e-mail address, for example for me This will be done from next January, through your province’s communications delegate.

Philippe Docq, M.Afr.

New missionary ventures in North America and in England

It is now official and about to be launched ! The Missionaries of Africa will be soon starting two new pastoral projects in Brooklyn (New York City in the United States) and in Liverpool (North of England).

Both areas where we will take up a parish are very multi-cultural, with a large population of Africans ( and Afro-americans in Brooklyn) and a large Muslin Community. In both areas, there is a real pastoral need that we could adequately respond to as Missionaries of Africa.

Those new ventures reflect what the Chapter of 2016 stated so clearly about intercultural and fraternal life being a witness to our world today. They also reflect our desire to take up new initiatives regarding being sent wherever our charism is needed to encounter those who thirst for God, to be close to the needy, the young and, in a special way, to the Muslims.

Our presence, in those two dioceses, we hope, will be a viable witness to all, that is truly missionary.

Brooklyn, borough of Queens, New York City

Confreres appointed :

A Tanzanian national, Bartholomew Mrosso, almost 52 years, was ordained in 2002. He was first appointed in Uganda, then was involved with formation in Nigeria and eventually was appointed the Provincial Delegate in Tanzania.

Gazena Haile was born in Ethiopia in July 1981. He was ordained in 2012 and worked in Ghana ever since.

Julien Cormier is a 77 year old Canadian. As a missionary, he worked in Burundi, in Niger and in Canada. Once apon a time, he was the redactor of the Petit Echo in Rome. Lately, he belonged to the Community in Washington.

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Liverpool, North of England

Confreres appointed :

Born in 1950 in Great Britain, Terence Madden spent his missionary life working in Burkina Faso, Great Britain and the Philippines. He was ordained in 1981.

Ferdinand van Campen was born in the Netherlands in 1959. He was ordained in 1993 and started off his missionary life learning Portuguese in view of working in Mozambique, which he did for a while before being called to the ministry of “formation”. He’s been a formator in Brazil, Ghana and Tanzania.

From Kenya, Charles Obanya has just turned 50 at the beginning of June. He was ordained in 1997 and worked as a missionary in Zambia and in Kenya. His just served two terms of three years as the Provincial of EAP.

Michael Fitzgerald was born near Birmingham in 1937. He had an academic carreer in Rome until his ordination as Bishop in Rome and his elevation to the rank of Archbishop and appointment as Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt. He belonged lately to the Community of Jerusalem, while continuing to accept missions from the Holy See.

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Communication workshop in Rome

Here is the evaluation of one of the participants in the Communications Session, which has just taken place in Rome from May 27 to June 2, 2018. The text has been shortened and adapted for this article.

Recently, I came across a WhatsApp status that said, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” It really touched me. It made me think about how Jesus, a simple Jewish carpenter, managed to attract large crowds. His message is still so powerful today that there are 1.2 billion faithful in the world. Questioning what made him such a famous preacher, I discovered that Continue reading “Communication workshop in Rome”

Financial Council

Three times a year, the Financial Council of our Society meets in Rome. They are in Rome for the moment. They began the meeting with a presentation of Michel Girard and Denis Rabier who are responsible for managing the files of about 700 confreres registered with EMI. The ordinary mebers of the Financial Council are the General Treasurer, the Provincial Treasurers of the 8 Provinces and the treasurers of the two sections (EPO and SOA).

Continue reading “Financial Council”

Seminar Sedos – Rome

SEDOS (Service of Documentation and Study on Global Mission) is a forum open to Institutes of Consecrated Life, which commit themselves to deepening their understanding of global mission. It encourages research and disseminates information through its Bulletin and Homepage, the annual SEDOS Residential Seminar (beginning of May), public conferences, and workshops.

To know more, follow this link

Father André Schaminée attends the meetings and events of Sedos in the behalf of the Superior General, father Stan Lubungo. This year, he is accompanied by three young confreres, Father Amani Dieudonné (DRC / Ghana), Daniel Kabuya (DRC / Toulouse – France) and Leo Maria Joseph (Studies in Leuven – Belgium), for the seminar 2018 – Youth and Mission.


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Feast of Our Lady of Africa – Trentaprile

Saturday the 22nd of April, the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in Rome invited the Missionaries of Africa to join them to celebrate – ahead of schedule – the feast of Our Lady of Africa. The theme chosen for the celebration was – in the mood of time – the fight against human trafficking. And the usual homily was replaced by a short time of sharing in small informal groups around the question “Regarding human trafficking, what have I become more conscious of ?”

Here is the text of the bidding prayers of the day : Continue reading “Feast of Our Lady of Africa – Trentaprile”