He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth

As it is written in the prophecy of Isaiah: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7 – NRSV). We can see from this prophecy that violence and insecurity are making the headlines. This is because of the various conflicts and wars in several countries. Violence and insecurity are becoming more and more a part of our daily lives, and we fear that they will become second nature, i.e. seen as normal.

So, what do we mean by violence and insecurity? Violence may be understood as the intentional use of physical force or threats against others, groups or a community. In other words, it involves coercion and domination and can cause human and material damage. Violence and insecurity can affect not only physical health but also have psychological consequences, paving the way for possible self-destruction, isolation and depression in victims. They supplant the love and affection humans should have for each other, not to mention undermining efforts to achieve peace and social cohesion in communities. This shows that violence can take different forms.

What types of violence and what are the remedies?

Violence can be psychological, verbal, economic and physical. It can also occur in the family, public spaces and institutions such as schools. Despite all this, we remain animated by an unshakeable hope for an eventual return of love and peace in communities if appropriate awareness-raising campaigns on the consequences of violence and insecurity are carried out. In particular, we are considering setting up awareness-raising programmes for the youth to eradicate any behaviour and social norms that encourage and facilitate this phenomenon. What’s more, setting up appropriate structures can help victims in the event of violence. In other words, there should be follow-up and support for the victims of violence in the communities while providing appropriate security in these areas. It is also important to identify ways of helping young people living in economically or socially disadvantaged conditions. Our experience here in Nigeria has shown that many young people lack the necessities of life. This is an open door to terrorism since money can be used as bait to recruit these young people for terrorism.

My personal experience

Some of you will know that I had the misfortune, along with another confrere, to live through the terrible experience of being kidnapped for three solid weeks. But long before that, we as a community were committed to promoting social cohesion through good neighbourliness and setting up empowerment projects for young people. We also trained the youths to fight against incivism, violence and insecurity in our community. We dared to do all this because we noticed that the population was being left to fend for itself. Everyone had to fight for survival. This situation has led to a lot of violence and insecurity in the area. While we can’t justify violence or insecurity, we recognise that certain situations can cause much damage.

Violence and insecurity are evils that must be eradicated, because they damage the integrity of others. Despite what has happened to us, we remain hopeful for a better tomorrow when people will understand that they are there because the other is there; we all need each other. And our faith tells us that for God, nothing is lost. Nothing is ever too late for God, and nothing is impossible for Him.

By: Paul Sanogo (M.Afr.)

 

For victims of abuse: Pope Francis

In response to cases of abuse, especially to those committed by members of the Church, it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but it is not enough. Asking for forgiveness is good for the victims, but they are the ones who have to be “at the center” of everything. Their pain and their psychological wounds can begin to heal if they find answers —if there are concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again. The Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind. Nor when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions. The Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families. The Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected. Let us pray for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.

Green Islam, a call to live dialogue of action

Green Islam, a call to live dialogue of action

During the webinar organized by the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa and the Missionaries of Africa held on May 5, 2022, members of both missionary institutes shared proposals and suggestions for the upcoming SEASON OF CREATION 2022 (September 1 to October 4).

On this occasion, Father Ignatius Anipu, M.Afr., gave an interesting lecture on the theme “GREEN ISLAM: a call to live dialogue of action”. He invited the members of our institutes to take into account the spiritual sources, values and ecological initiatives of believers of other religions, especially Muslims. The encyclical letter Laudato Si n°7 underlines already that: “…other religions as well, have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing.”

The upcoming Season of Creation is an excellent opportunity to engage in a dialogue of action in caring for the Common House and in addressing the ecological crisis together. By bringing the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development, then things can change. (LS 13)

Please discover here the conference on Green Islam:

Tent of the Encounter, 4th edition

Tent of the Encounter, 4th edition

The season of creation is in full swing and in this fourth week a prayer meeting took place once again. This time, last Saturday, September 18, Father Peter “Subagyo” Stoll and all the Oblates of Mary Immaculate hosted us for a third time! We are at a loss for words to thank them. For this prayer, the theme of the tent was maintained but with a greater emphasis on the need to expand the space of our tents in order to welcome the unexpected. This unexpected which presents itself to us in countless ways and through which our Lord Jesus never ceases to present himself to us. Hence the importance, as St. Paul tells the Colossians, of putting on feelings of compassion, benevolence, humility, gentleness, patience and therefore of being ready to bear with and forgive one another (Col 3:12-13). Such virtues, no doubt, enable us to keep the door of our tent wide open and to make room for it!

This time of prayer began with the rap song Laudato Sii, composed by Sister McAbe, to set us on the right note. Through the readings and prayer intentions, well-chosen songs by the “Padri Bianchi” choir accompanied our reflection. We also had the joy of praying with the Philippine ambassador, his wife and members of the embassy. This embassy is well situated because it is flanked by two guardian angels! The property of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the convent of the Marist Sisters.

As on the other Saturdays, many participants came from the various congregations in the neighbourhood. Sheila Kinsey reminded us, with her well-known enthusiasm, of the next challenges to be taken up together in order to move forward with the platform Laudato Si’ in Action! A challenge that consists, as she so well summarised, in not consuming beyond our needs and in ensuring that future generations will also be able to benefit from a world, an earth, an environment that will be able to offer them a good living environment.

So don’t miss our next prayer time which will take place once again at the Oblates of Mary Immaculate on Saturday, October 2 at 4:30 pm. Until then, let us avoid the use of disposable plastic objects!

 

Martin Grenier

Laudato Sì Rap chanté par les OMI le 4 septembre

A home for all? Renewing the OIKOS of GOD.

A home for all? Renewing the OIKOS of GOD.

In the context of the TIME FOR CREATION which is being celebrated from the 1st of September to the 4th of October, our community of Missionaries of Africa, together with the community of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA), the Marist Sisters and the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, have undertaken a common initiative this year.

To live the theme “A HOME FOR ALL? RENEWING THE OIKOS OF GOD”, every Saturday afternoon we devote a time of meeting and prayer around a tent, which is moved from one garden to another and which makes us aware of the symbolism of the tent, based on different texts from the Old Testament.

On Saturday 18 September, the celebration took place in the M.Afr. garden. Father Stanley Lubungo, our Superior General, and Sister Maria Carmen Ocón Moreno, Assistant General of the MSOLA, welcomed the participants around the tent which reminds us that we are pilgrims, a people on the move on the earth, our common home.

After the reading of Leviticus 23:33-34 by Sister Gisela Schreyer, the participants were given a palm leaf to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Jewish festival of Sukkot. This festival reminds us of our dependence on God’s gift of creation – earth, sky, seas, birds, animals and insects – and God’s invitation to humanity to share the earth, our common home, and God’s universe.

Several members of the community formed a choir accompanied by our musicians. They enriched the celebration with songs in different languages from different continents.
The prayers of intention, prepared by the MSOLA community, also gave voice to our voices and concerns about the dramatic ecological state of the five continents. Father Martin Grenier concluded the prayer with a blessing presented by confreres in Moore, Dagara and Arabic.
The meeting ended with a shared glass of water and biscuits. Nearly 100 religious men and women from a dozen congregations participated in the prayer.

This prayerful, joyful and inclusive, inter-congregational and inter-cultural experience under the trees of the garden and the warmth of our brother Sun, was well appreciated by all participants. Next Saturday we will continue our journey in favour of the OIKOS, our common home, in the garden of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Week3
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Season of Creation 2021

The Season of Creation 2021

As every year since the promulgation of the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis “Laudato Sì”, the Season of Creation is celebrated throughout the World from the 1st September to the 4th October. 

If you haven’t found it yet, you can find all the documentation following this link :

https://seasonofcreation.org

In Rome, four communities – the Marist Sisters, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa – decided to plant the “Tent of Abraham” in turn in the four gardens of their Generalates. Every Saturday, these communities will celebrate together, deepening various themes around the “Tent of Abraham”:

      • The tent of the Presence of God
      • The tent of Hospitality
      • The tent of a People in movement
      • Expanding the tent space.

In our own garden, at the Generalate, the celebration will take place on Saturday the 18th of September. 

The photos below are taken from the album offered online by the organisers. You may access the full album by clicking on any of the photos. I suppose other photos will be added as the tent is planted in other gardens. Please check out every week. 

2021 Laudato Si’ week

2021 Laudato Sì week

Laudato Sì Week 2021, to be held May 16-25, will be the crowning event of the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year, and a celebration of the great progress the whole Church has made on its journey to ecological conversion.

Laudato Sì Week 2021 will also be a time to reflect on what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us and prepare for the future with hope.

May 25 there will be the Official Launching of the Laudato Sì Action Platform.

Detailed programme

JPIC-ED Prayer Book

Following the suggestion of several confreres, we have prepared a new JPIC-RD prayer booklet, entitled “Prayer for our Common Home”.

For the feast of Our Lady of Africa, you will find the prayer N°13, and for May 8, memory of the blessed martyrs of Algeria, the prayer N°12.

Andreas G
Coordinator JPIC ED

Practical advise for the production of this A6 booklet:

    1. Download the PDF document
    2. Print the 4 pages recto-verso (turn on the long edge)
    3. Cut the pages in half to make 4 A5 pages
    4. Fold the A5 pages in two and compose the booklet according to pagination 1 to 16
    5. Staple on the fold.

Et voilà