The Liberation of Father Hans-Joachim Lohre

Official Communication

Father Hans-Joachim Lohre, Missionary of Africa, was released on Sunday, 26th November 2023, and is currently in Germany. We thank God for his release after one year and six days in captivity. We are very grateful to all those who, by their prayers, hastened this release and accompanied us with their friendship and affection. May God bless them all.

We wish our confrere Ha-Jo a good rest and look forward to communicating with him in person in the near future.

Rome, 30 November 2023

André-L. Simonart (M.Afr.), General Secretary

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


Jean-Marie Hougardy R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Yvo Wellens, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Belgium,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Jean-Marie Hougardy

on Tuesday, 31st October 2023 in Schaerbeek (Belgium)
at the age of 84 years, of which 60 years of missionary life
in Malawi and in Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Jean-Marie Hougardy’s death


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

Paul LeBlanc R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Réal Doucet, Provincial of the Americas,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Paul LeBlanc

on Thursday, 12th October 2023 in Sherbrooke (Canada)
at the age of 92 years, of which 66 years of missionary life
in the United States of America, in Tanzania, in Italy and in canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Paul LeBlanc’s death


Yves Laforest R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Réal Doucet, Provincial of the Americas,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Yves Laforest

on Sunday, 24th September 2023 in Sherbrooke (Canada)
at the age of 80 years, of which 56 years of missionary life
in Tanzania and Canada.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Yves Laforest’s death


Transition Session 2023

Transition Session 2023

Bernard Ugeux and Helga…Franke…. Have been “giving” the “Transition” and “Senior” sessions for over 15 years.

Thank you to both of them for their dedication and expertise, which have helped so many brothers and sisters to live this adventure peacefully in their lives.

Now it’s Terry Madden and Hélène Mbuyamba’s turn to take up the torch by accompanying the participants in these sessions.

This year, the transition session was held in French. There were 7 participants. 4 people were not able to attend the session due to health or visa issues.

The participants were Gloria Sedes Alvarez, on mission in Chad; Kordula Weber, on mission in Karlsrgou, Germany; Marie-Christine Rousseau, on mission in Rome; Jacques Lacour in Paris, France; Jean Michel Laurent, in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; Jean-Louis Godinot in Mours, France; and Jean Baptist Amona, in Kinshasa, DRC.

We cannot speak of this session without mentioning our deep gratitude for the contribution of the confreres of the Generalate and the MSOLA in Rome, our hosts and guides. In particular, we would like to mention the essential contribution of confreres Prosper and Olivier for the modules given, as well as Salvador and Vitus for their service in the audio-visual field. Without Luigi and Guy, we wouldn’t have been able to do even half the programme. We owe them a great deal for the preparation and running of the programme.

We thank God for this wonderful experience together.

Terry Madden