PAO – A matter of personal relationship with Christ

PAO - Une histoire de relation personnelle avec le Christ

We are relaying here an article from Maison Lavigerie, the first formation cycle in Ouagadougou, where the Superior General is on an extended apostolic visit. The original article original can be found on Maison Lavigerie’s blog.

Père Stanley Lubungo lors de son homélie

What a wonder the coronavirus did for us, we were in great joy. As a Lavigerian community, we had the very great and priceless joy of welcoming and spending a few days with the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, the Reverend Father Stanley Lubungo. During his few days visiting Lavigerie House, Reverend Father Stanley, in order to encourage one another, first met the students of the house and then the formators. As far as the meeting with the students was concerned, several elements were very rich and helped to revive in us students the desire to continue the formation with a view to becoming missionaries of Africa.

Reverend Father began by expressing his wishes for good health in view of the health situation that prevails throughout the world. He also expressed his deep joy at being with us. For the Reverend Father, the present situation is a challenge for everyone and especially for us believers. This situation is an invitation to prayer. It shows our vulnerability and challenges us in our missionary vocation because, according to the Reverend Father, “no one is at home here in his family”. He finished speaking about the health situation in relation to our formation by telling us: “I hope that you will integrate this little detail in your missionary formation. »

Père Stanley lors de son discours aux étudiants

Reverend Father then spoke to us about formation. He insisted a lot on the importance of the first stage of formation because it is like the foundation of our belonging or of our discovery of the Society of Missionaries of Africa. The first stage of formation is a stage of growth in all aspects of life; it is especially a stage of discernment. To encourage us and invite us to greater concentration in formation, Reverend Father said: “Your presence here [at Lavigerie House] is a matter of personal relationship with Christ. “He exhorted us to take seriously the magnitude of the call and to accept its implications because, “it is the call that sends one on mission.” And, if we miss this at the beginning of formation, we are off to a bad start.

Toute la communauté avec le Père Stan Lubungo

Finally, the being of the missionary was one of the themes addressed by the Superior General during this meeting with the students. He took enough time to tell us and explain to us what it really means to be a missionary. To be a missionary is a call to leave a certain material life, to leave everything. One must not leave for the sake of leaving, but one must leave in order to become attached to Christ in intense personal prayer and in listening to the Word of God. For Rev. Father Stanley, “attachment to Jesus is a sine qua non condition for becoming an apostle [for becoming a missionary in Africa].” The missionary is one who goes not only to proclaim Christ but also to be evangelized by those to whom he is sent. The authentic missionary is one who sets out to meet the other in his difference, whoever he may be. In making the link between missionary life and formation, the Reverend Father said: “You have all the years of formation to know Jesus better in order to follow and serve him better. “He reminded us that the missionaries of Africa who were beatified did nothing special. For him, “they only loved with all their heart the peoples to whom they were sent, they remained faithful to the call they received.” The Reverend Father concluded this theme with the words: “Prepare yourself for this life [this type of missionary life] and do not allow yourselves to be diverted; always know where you are going.” We express our sincere thanks to the Superior General for the many encouragements and for all these comforting words. We thank the Risen Lord for this beautiful opportunity he has given us. May he himself come to the aid of our world in distress. May he bless the life and ministry of Rev. Father Stanley and grant him a strong health so that he may always carry out his task. Amen!

Serge Sawadogo

Covid-19 in West Africa

Covid-19 in West Africa

According to statistics, in Africa, 46 out of 54 countries are currently affected by Covid-19. All countries in our subregion (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Togo) are affected. Curfews, quarantines and confinements are imposed on the population almost everywhere to cope with the progression of the disease.

Less impacted than the rest of the world, the African continent also faces the risk of a spread of Covid-19. While the World Health Organization (WHO) fears that Africa will not be able to cope with the pandemic, States are taking steps to deal with it. The WHO director has called on Africa to “wake up” and “prepare for the worst” in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa now counts more than 3,300 cases and 90 deaths.

Our colleagues have received all kinds of recommendations on the spot and they accept this situation. The proximity of Easter leaves us in disarray. For the confreres who work in the parishes, it is indeed such an important moment, with the preparations for all the celebrations (Easter Triduum, baptisms, confirmations, etc.). For the other confreres who work in different services, it is also a time when they are very busy. Concern is spreading to our communities.

What is happening today in the six countries of the sub-region that make up the PAO?


The country went from two cases on Wednesday 25 March to 18 infected people on Sunday 29 March. The first round of parliamentary elections, scheduled for Sunday 29 March, was maintained, although some candidates and civil society organisations called for their cancellation. A first victim died on Saturday 28 March.


25 cases were reported by Sunday, March 29. “The first case is a 42-year-old patient residing in Lomé with her family,” the government said in a statement. “From 22 February to 2 March, however, she spent time in Benin, Germany, France and Turkey before returning to Togo. The Togolese government assures that “all persons who have been in contact with the patient have been identified and quarantined. One death has been declared.

Ivory Coast

101 cases of Covid-19 were recorded on Sunday, March 29, 2020; the government is strengthening protection measures. It restricts access to the territory: from now on, anyone arriving in Ivory Coast will spend 14 days in quarantine. Three patients are now in remission. The first case was detected on Tuesday, 10 March 2020. It is a 45-year-old man who had just returned from Italy.

Ivory Coast closed its borders to all non-Ivorian travelers coming from countries where more than 100 cases of coronavirus have been detected.

Burkina Faso

The authorities in Burkina Faso announced on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, one death. This death linked to Covid-19 is the first confirmed death in sub-Saharan Africa. We are now at 11 confirmed deaths, on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Populated by 20 million inhabitants, the country has, on 24 March 2020, 207 confirmed cases of Covid-19 patients. About sixty passengers on an Ethiopian Airlines flight are, moreover, in quarantine in a hotel in Ouagadougou because of a suspicious case on board the aircraft.


With five cases listed, on Sunday, March 29, 2020, Mauritania decided to close its airports to flights from and to foreign countries. As early as 21 March 2020, the government had already announced the “closure of public and private schools, including Universities and Institutes, for a period of one week which may be subject to re-evaluation”. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazwani and his government announced late Thursday afternoon, 26 March 2020, that they will make a donation to the newly created national solidarity fund for the fight against Covid-19.


One of the poorest Sahelian countries in the world, Niger recorded its first case of coronavirus on Thursday 19 March 2020. This is a man who arrived in Niamey from Togo. He would have passed through Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, announced the Minister of Health. On Sunday, March 29, 2020, 10 cases were registered. Already on 17 March 2020, Niger closed its educational institutions, its land borders with its seven neighbours and the airports of Niamey and Zinder (south) to avoid being affected by the virus.

Last minute...

Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, Archbishop of the Diocese of Ouagadougou, tested positive for Covid-19, according to a note from the Vicar General of the same diocese, Father Alfred Ouedraogo, on March 30, 2020. The cardinal was transferred to the former clinic, Les Genêts, for appropriate care. The Cardinal wants to reassure the people of God, the note reads, and “invites us to remain united in prayer for him and for all the other sick people and for all those who care for them. “We reiterate our encouragement and invite you to keep hope,” the Vicar General concludes. Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, 75 years old, is the second bishop of Burkina Faso to be affected by Covid-19. On 25 March, the Episcopal Conference of Burkina-Niger informed that Bishop Séraphin Rouamba, former President of the same Episcopal Conference and Archbishop Emeritus of Koupéla, tested positive for Covid-19. He is at the Tengandogo University Hospital Centre in Ouagadougou. Some priests and pastoral workers also tested positive.

Extract from Baobab Echoes n° 35

Visit of the Superior General to the PAO

Visit of the Superior General to the PAO

Since March 2, 2020, our Superior General, Father Stanley Lubungo, has been in our Province. He was able to visit the communities in Niger, several communities in Mali and he arrived in Burkina Faso, after visiting the community of Bandiagara, a few hours before the border with Mali closed…

It were the communities of Niger that he visited first, since his plane dropped him off in Niamey on the evening of March 2, 2020. He was able to visit His Grace Bishop Laurent Lompo, Archbishop of Niamey, and then go to the parish of St. Joseph of Saga and then to the parish of St. John the Baptist of Nyantala, with Innocent Habimana. Father Stanley Lubungo then went to Birni N’Konni where he was able to meet the confreres and spend some time with them. Then he went to Maradi where he could meet the bishop, Monsignor Ambroise Ouédraogo, and attend some of the days of the presbyterium . From there, he went to Zinder where he was well received by the confreres who shared with him at length what they were experiencing in a parish often affected by insecurity, especially during the events of January 2015.

After Zinder, Father Stanley Lubungo stayed a little longer in Niamey. A plane then took him to Bamako, on the eve of our Provincial Council meeting. He then travelled with Sylvain Musangu to Nioro-du-Sahel. On the way back, he stopped at Faladyè and then, near Kati, at Ntonimba, to meet Father Arvedo Godina. On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Fr. Stanley Lubungo was in Bamako. The photo above shows him in the midst of the MSOLA confreres and Sisters of Kalabankura, who came to share the midday meal with us and to meet Father General. The next day, our Father General was able to participate in a day of our Provincial Council. He spoke in the afternoon to encourage us and share with us his vision of Mission today, following the Plenary Council held in Kampala last December. He promised to send us a letter on his return to Rome, where he will share with us in more detail his visits to the PAO and what he is getting out of them.

When the Provincial Council was over, he took a little rest in Bamako and seized the opportunity to meet Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some confreres who wanted to see him. With Luc Kola, he then set off again for Bandiagara in the diocese of Mopti. There he barely had time to meet the confreres because the radio announced the closure of the borders with Burkina Faso.

Very quickly, with Luc Kola, he took to the road again to cross the border at Bena in Mali. A little further on, the priests of the parish of Bomborokuy offered them hospitality and they spent the night there before taking to the road again to arrive in Ouagadougou in the evening of Sunday 22 March, fortunately a few hours before the curfew. Since that date, Father General has been in the community of the Provincial House. The quarantine declared on Thursday 26 March prevents any entry or exit from Ouagadougou for the moment.

All the flights have been postponed and we do not know when the situation will change. It was from the Provincial House that Father General wrote his letter on the pandemic of covid-19.

All the confreres appreciated his visit among us and regret that he is thus prevented from returning to Rome. It is a situation that he had not foreseen. Fortunately, through the internet and other means of communication, he can reach the members of the General Council and he can work from Ouagadougou. This is a completely new situation in the history of the Society. At least we have, at the Provincial House in Ouagadougou, the pleasure of his presence for a long time.

Extract of Baobab Echoes n°35

BF: Solidarity but not division!

Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner 
28th May, 2019

Theologians, pastors are looking for a way to display solidarity without accentuating ethnic and religious divisions

Anti-Christian attacks in Burkina Faso are continuing.

On Sunday May 26, heavily armed individuals entered a Catholic church during Mass at Toulfé in the north of the country.

Opening fire on the faithful, they killed four people and wounded several others.

On April 28, terrorists entered a Protestant church in Silgadj, killing the pastor, his sons and three members of the faithful.

On May 13, as the Catholic church celebrated the funeral of a priest and five members of the faithful who had been killed the day earlier in Dablo, four others were killed at a Marian procession in the neighboring province.

The messages of friendship and calls for prayer that circulated afterwards indicate the depth of emotion felt as well as growing concern at the determination of jihadist groups to sow terror in this small country of the western Sahara, which has long enjoyed a reputation for religious tolerance.

As has occurred after each anti-Christian attack in Sri Lanka, Egypt or the Philippines, the same question keeps returning. How to show solidarity with the victims without increasing religious division and thus assisting the terrorists’ in their objective?

“We must not fall into their trap and making a lot of noise is precisely what they are seeking by attacking religious institutions,” argues Father Anselme Tarpaga, the provincial of the White Fathers in the Maghreb region and originally from Burkina Faso himself.

Instead, those who wish to show their support should commence by informing themselves of the local situation. Although the authors of the attacks share the same ideology, the context and thus the resources available always differ.

In fact, tribal and family links have created a strong interreligious network in Burkina Faso where interreligious marriages are the norm, according to Father Tarpaga, who has a Muslim father and a Christian mother.

Similarly, Congolese Father Pascal Kapilimba, the director of the Institute of Islamo-Christian Formation in Bamako, Mali, sees this phenomenon as a means of countering the jihadists “by focusing on what unites us rather than what divides.”

“Rather than speaking of Christian victims, it is better to say they belong to the Yampa or Sawadogo tribes because when we say that, all Yampas and Sawadogos feel concerned, whether they are Christians, Muslims or practice traditional religions,” he believes.

While Wahhabi Islam – a form of Salafism – is growing, it is mainly based on the rural exodus.

“Since people are far from their families, young people are more easily seduced by the discourse and money of preachers formed in Saudi Arabia,” said Father Kapilimba.

“They may allow themselves to commit acts that are regarded as reprehensible by traditional Islam,” he says. “Moreover, they prefer to desert their villages because they will be viewed badly there.

“Father Christian Delorme, who is responsible for interreligious relations in the diocese of Lyon, identifies more fuel for the Salafist contagion in “the accumulated anger, jealousies, and feeling that the West – and therefore Christians – are to blame for all the evils of the world.”

For this reason, it is equally indispensable, in his view, to “display our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Africa and our refusal to normalize such actions” and to “refuse the fracture and the fatality of war.

“This can be achieved, he argues, by refusing to distinguish between “good and bad victims” and raising our voices against “all forms of violence.

“In a statement condemning the Dablo attack as “ignoble and unjustifiable,” the Federation of Islamic Association in Burkina Faso noted that imams have also suffered.

“The jihadists’ aim is to increase insecurity among all those who refuse to adopt their vision of the world,” said Father Delorme.

“It happens that attacking Christians has a greater impact than attacking victims practicing traditional religions,” he said.

Highly concerned by the attacks in his country of origin, Father Tarpaga has shared on social media the text of a practicing young Muslim Burkinabe who witnessed publicly to his gratitude to the Salesian priests with whom he “played football while young.

“Foreign Christians “must aid the Churches in Burkina Faso to keep their social and charitable works going,” he said because if they also give in to “the closing in, they will end up justifying the terrorists.”

Adiós Padre Martínez

Last December and January I was in Mali and participated in the farewell ceremony to our confrere Jesus Martinez at the parish of Kati, not far from Bamako. It was a very beautiful celebration and Jesus himself gave us a beautiful homily. His parish priest and the president of the parish council then offered fine words of appreciation. I thought it was a good idea not to let these fine words fall into oblivion. With the permission of these 3 people I copied what they then offered.

Martin Grenier, M.Afr.

Mission accomplished: Forgive me and thank you!

Brothers and sisters, I thank you with all my heart for coming to help me thank the Lord by celebrating this Mass of thanksgiving for the 55 years that the Lord has given me to live with you… to look at my whole life with the eyes of gratitude.

As the Wise Man says in the Bible: “There is a time to stay, there is a time to leave”…

Old age is a new stage in my life, and becoming old can be learned. It takes courage… God is the God of exodus, the God of departure; we must embark on new paths, and whatever happens, “everything is grace”… What matters in life is not where you are, but where you are going, with whom you are going in that direction and for what. The mission is not ours, it is entrusted to us for a time only; our first work is to pray. “He who relies on God will not remain empty-handed. Coming into the world is not difficult, but crossing it…. Let us ask for the grace to be able to confide in Him.

I would like to share with you a few words about what has marked my life with you. First of all, I apologize, because I could have worked more and better. I didn’t thank God enough for the life he gave me. I didn’t like enough those who were by my side. The two words of thanks: Thank you above all to God who led me by his hand. Thank you to the Cardinal, all my gratitude, Bishop, gratitude to my family, my brothers in the priesthood…. I would like my departure to be joyful, because joy is a sign of the Kingdom, and if the departure is sad, it is not evangelical.

I felt very loved by you and I too tried to respond to that love. The best thing I have ever had in my life, it was Mali that gave it to me and in turn, I can say that I too have given Mali the best of myself… My missionary life has had two priorities: vocations (of priests, religious, catechists and lay people) and social pastoral care. What gave me strength and courage was the Gospel passage: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty… “Together, we have built many wells, schools, dams, mills, some churches, radios.

We are missionaries wherever we are… even if it takes courage to commit ourselves to new ways of life… There is a Providence. The best is yet to come, we must open our arms and welcome the future, keep the smile as a reflection of the smile that God continually has on us.

I would have liked to stay with you and continue to baptize our children, to continue to live with you, but when the superiors decide, obedience is essential. The spirituality of our time is a Holy Saturday spirituality; on the one hand confusion, discouragement, helplessness and on the other hand faith in darkness and the power of hope, perseverance. Old age is for the brave… It is to become a child again who lets himself be led by God… to adapt to God’s program and leave ours. Even if my heart is bleeding, I think that with you and thanks to you I can say “Mission accomplished”, Pardon and Thank you! May God give us to love what he loves. That we always accept the destinies that providence has on us. May the worries of life not discourage us.

May the Lord help us to keep our lamp lit.

Jesús Martínez

This is the essence of Father Jesús Martínez’s homily on the day of his “goodbye” to his family in Mali. The text has been shortened and a little edited to make it easier to read. But these are his words. (ed.)

Below are some excerpts from two testimonies given during the same thanksgiving mass on the occasion of the departure of Father Jesús Martínez.

 M. Valéry Dako

Chairperson of the Kati PArish Council

A golden jubilee journey on African soil in Mali is worth a distinction to the person who has accomplished this journey. We know you’re humble, but accept it that way. Let us go back a long way, a long way back and we find your youthful years with their share of enthusiasm, zeal and hope in the actions taken for the accomplishment of the mission. When you arrived in the country, Father Martinez, you blended into the mass of bwa by taking the name of Matièrê which represents the symbolism of work… You have visited all the parishes of the current Diocese of San: the parish of Mandiakuy, Tominian, Timissa and Touba, in whose erection you have actively participated, as well as its economic and spiritual development…

Then your steps led you to the Archdiocese of Bamako with a presence in the parishes of Kolokani, Faladje and Kati which happens to be the mother parish of the diocese of Bamako. You have taken in Bamanan country the name of DOMAKONO which can be translated simply by the person who waits one day, what day? May this day be intimately linked to the will of your master whom you have cherished intensely.

We have walked together with the objective of seeking God. What a journey we have made! Today, we are at another important turning point.

There are so many routes that you have taken between the CCBs of Koko, Malibougou, Kati Centre, Missions I, II and the “Camp pour le Seigneur”. There are so many ways that you also used to reach rural communities (Kalifabougou, Neguela, Yékébougou etc…) for evangelization…

The parish of Kati, your family, has adopted you. You have evolved by working for its different segments: catechesis, human families, parish councils, choirs, women’s and youth groups, the Queen of Peace radio as a means of evangelization, etc…

Father DOMAKONO, you have… advised, coaxed, soothed, consoled, comforted various people through your pastoral and human encounters. The joy of living given to others is the one the Lord expected from you for others.

Father DOMAKONO, the Kati Parish Council warmly thanks you for all you have been given to do in the context of the harmonious building of the Family of God Church in Mali. May the Lord himself be your shepherd on the day.

 THANK YOU Father DOMAKONO, We give you as a sign of gratitude a Ciwara mask with your engraved name (Father Martinez, Parish of Kati, Grateful). You also have a traditional boubou with its multi-eared cap to protect you from the elements.

Father DOMAKONO, Ala ka hèra kè kè i gnè, friend a ka hèra fon i ko.

Father DOMAKONO, Débwenou a oumanou gnou lou.

(Only God is able to provide water to termites when making their termite mounds.)

Rev. Émile Konare

Parish Priest of Kati

The way of life, the meaning that one gives to one’s life, that is what makes man’s misfortune or happiness. The wise Qohèleth tells us, and I quote: “Man works for his mouth. And yet the appetite is never satisfied. ” What then is capable of fulfilling man’s desire? Jesus, the Son of God, traces for us the path by which man has access to happiness: the path to the justice of the Kingdom. What is it about? As the first attitudes announced by Jesus, it is to be poor (or humble, or even humiliated), to be gentle (without violence?), to be afflicted, to be hungry and thirsty for justice ! If the prophets denounced those who practiced injustice, Jesus declares happy those who place the concern for justice at the centre of their lives. What is promised to us is nothing less than the joy of a filial relationship with God….

Father Martinez, you were ordained in 1962, and you have been in Mali, San and Bamako, and even one year in Mauritania, 56 years of your life, of your priestly life, to show to the Malian man, African, your fellow man, the face of our Christian faith: Jesus Christ who has only one Name: God-loving…. Father Jesús, for 55 years you have had the desire to live according to what God asks for by becoming the architect of the evolution of social works. You have helped Malian people, of all faiths, to see and recognize the face of God in their fellow human beings… through a life of concrete Love: Health Centres for the sick,… school structures to fight illiteracy, wells to give water to those who are thirsty,… You listened and considered the joys and sorrows of the Malian man who came to you in the hope of achieving a stable and dignified life. Finally, priestly vocations. Every priestly ordination is a source of pride for you. This is to say that you carry within you this desire to see young Malians consecrate themselves to God.

The realization of everything… is due to… your attitudes or, if you wish, the “beatitudes” that you have embodied and among which we can retain: patience, perseverance and humility. Blessed are the peacemakers. Man cannot become a peacemaker without embodying in himself patience, perseverance and humility, especially in a foreign land.

Father Jesús, on behalf of the entire Parish, I would like to express our deep gratitude to you for all the beautiful services rendered to the Catholic Church in Mali. Be assured of our affection, thoughts and prayers for this new life that is beginning.

It is therefore necessary to tell you that the doors of Mali are always open to you.

E nana Ala kof, Mali denq yé, Ala ka i Iakana.
(Father, you have come to announce God to the children of Mali, may God keep you and protect you).
E yé danaya kofo anw yé, Ala ka i ka dana baba.
(You have come to bring us faith, may God strengthen your faith).
E nana san biduru ani woro som, Mali jamanan konon, Ala da Mali jamanan gnèmajo.
(And you came to spend 55 years in Mali, may God grant Mali stability).
Maria Senu ka a jantoi la. | neither cé. l nor baraji.
(May the Virgin Mary protect you, thank you very much).

If you prefer to read the original texts of these interventions in French, here they are :

Ivory Coast: Centre for protection at ICMA

A Centre for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons was opened within the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan, ICMA, in Côte d’Ivoire on 23 March 2019. This initiative responds to Pope Francis’ call to provide more protection for children against sexual abuse.

Our confrere, Stéphane Joulain, gave several sessions on the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Persons to ICMA students.

Read the article – in French – of Marcel Ariston BLE, of the French-Africa service of Vatican-News. Or read below a quickly-made translation into English.

Read also – in French – from the French daily LaCroix Africa.

The building that will house the Centre for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons is part of the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan, ICMA, in which many seminarians and priests from various religious congregations are trained. The blessing and inauguration of the building took place on Saturday, March 23, 2019, after the Eucharist presided over by Father Luc Kola, Chairman of the ICMA Board of Directors.

Listening to today’s cries

Father Pierre Claver Yessoh, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Abidjan, who represented, on this occasion, the Archbishop of Abidjan – Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa – , declared in particular: “This centre comes at the right time for all that we live in our Church. To have a centre of this magnitude in the Archdiocese of Abidjan is an opportunity for all God’s people.

The direction of the said centre is entrusted to Sister Solange Sia of the Congregation of Our Lady of Calvary, a doctor in spiritual theology. She says she welcomes this mission in the readiness to listen to Christ who asks us to be “listening to the cries of today in order to be able to give a response based on the Gospel”. According to Sister Sia, the centre will deal, among other things, with studying the risk factors of the commission of abuse against minors, but also with the care in case of abuse. Other modules, she assures, will mainly concern the accompaniment of people but also the question of prevention in order to avoid children being exposed to delicate situations.

Training actors for a new world

For Father Hermann of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, a student in his third year of theology at the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan: “By setting up this centre for the protection of minors and vulnerable people, the formation house enters into the vision of the Church which is to train actors for a new world who could respond to current challenges”.

Brother Joseph Soulib of the Don Orione Congregation, also a student at the Catholic Missionary Institute in Abidjan, believes that this centre will “make it possible to understand what is called abuse of minors. Then, as a pastoral agent, know what methods can be used to prevent children from being abused. This centre will be a testimony that priests are not those who offend, but rather those who defend and protect children.”

PAO : Gathering of stagiaires

The meeting of PAO ‘stagiaires’ took place from 17 to 23 April 2018 in Bobo-Dioulasso. It was attended by 19 ‘stagiaires’ and two facilitators, Fathers Delphin Nyembo Mabaka and Pawel Hulecki. The arrival of the ‘stagiaires’ and the facilitators went as planned. The organization chart of the meeting included a morning of recollection, various sharing of ‘stage’ experience, a visit to a site in Sindou, the visit of the Samagan Novitiate and the renewal of the declaration of intent.

The meeting began with a recollection preached by Father Jean-Claude Kaburame. Its main theme was: To new wine, new wineskins. This allowed the participants to return to the source of their mission and their commitments in the Church. An invitation to join the Body of Christ, to become a light body with Christ and in the Spirit. An invitation to work in the vineyard of the Lord, to earn bread. The recollection was closed by a Eucharistic celebration.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to the sharing of ‘stage’ experiences. Overall, it turned out that everyone, as far as he was concerned, could detect the roses and thorns of his experience that could be in community as well as outside of it. However, grace has abounded in everything. And as all the experiences contribute to our formation, all is good for the one who loves God.

After that, the visit to Sindou had many surprises in store. We were welcomed into the community of the Missionaries of Africa, but the actual visit began the next day. The site of the caves in Douna bathed us in wonder, with the view of the peaks and the nature. We were about to build three tents… Coming out of the caves, we had a good time and a reunion at the Samagan Novitiate.

Finally, on Sunday the 22nd, nine ‘stagiaires’ from the second year of ‘stage’ renewed their declarations of intent during a Eucharistic celebration presided over by the PAO Provincial Assistant, Father Delphin Nyembo. During the meal, we had a nice surprise. The Archbishop of the Diocese of Bobo-Dioulasso, Mgr. Paul Ouedraogo, visited us. Everything went very well, under the influence of the Spirit.

All’s well that ends well, as they say. After this precious time of meeting, the students of the PAO expressed their joy of being able to meet, to share, to gather around the only Master. May our Society live.

Bobo-Dioulasso, 22nd Avril 2018
Ferdinand CITO, ‘Stagiair’ MAfr.

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Photos: Pawel Hulecki

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PAO: The attacks in three countries of the sub-region

From “Baobab Echos” Nr 8 – January 2018

Successively Mali, then Burkina Faso and finally Niger have since January been the target of terrorist groups difficult to identify… Unlike other times, in Burkina Faso, before attacking the General Headquarters of the Faso Armies, a group attempted to penetrate, without success, into the premises of the French Embassy. Every time, not only did the assailants be slaughtered but soldiers and civilians paid a heavy tribe in dead and wounded, not to mention the enormous damages

It was on Saturday, February 24, 2018, in Northern Mali, that an attack caused the deaths of three civilians. Their car had exploded on a mine. Since January, the media has reported two distinct explosions in the North and central part of the country. Because armed groups are very dispersed in Northern Mali, it is difficult to identify and neutralise them. In addition, the Algerian Embassy in Bamako was the target, on Tuesday 13 March 2018, of acts of vandalism perpetrated by Malian nationals expelled from Algeria. Unhappy with their expulsion from Algeria, the latter organised a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Algerian Embassy in Bamako, which ended with stone throwing and a fire in a garden outside the Diplomatic representation.

On Friday, 2 March 2018, in broad daylight, at 10:00 a.m., Burkina Faso was the scene of a new attack, the third in Ouagadougou for two years. It was initially the buildings of the French Embassy and the consulate that were targeted, in the immediate vicinity of the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso’s office, and then it was the explosion of a car packed with explosives in the Staff court, right in the city centre. In our guest house, 300 meters from there, the windows of the living room and of the television room were blown away. The assailants were all slaughtered, but the armed forces lost eight soldiers in these attacks, the youngest had just turned 21. In addition to this terrible record, there were more than 85 wounded, some seriously. In the city, panic was general, people fled thinking it was a new “coup d’état”. The calm is back now but we notice that in the evening there is less traffic. The roads, ordinarily full of businesses and full of life, have become very quiet. In the photo, above, we notice the huge cloud of smoke that followed the explosion at the general staff.

A week later, on Monday, 12 March 2018, it was the turn of Niger to be the target of new attacks. Around 21:40 that evening, the Police Post of Goubé, 40 km from Niamey, in the region of Tillabéri, was attacked by terrorist elements. There we deplored three dead and one wounded among the policemen.

While these attacks in the major centres were carried out, there were also many assaults in the periphery and in the province, often close to the borders.

All the media, from Burkina and elsewhere, commented on these events.The populations, for their part, measure not only the losses of life, the wounded and the material damage, but also the future of peace in all the countries of the subregion. The security measures are slow to be put in place, especially the G5 Sahel, which lacks financial resources at the moment.

On the other hand, the situation of the hostages is equally disturbing.Mali marked the sad anniversary (one year) of the hostage-taking in Karangasso, a parish in the Diocese of Sikasso. Sister Gloria, a Colombian sister of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate, is still retained. Throughout Mali, on 7 February, the anniversary of the hostage-taking, prayers were held to request the release of Sister Gloria and all the hostages held in the Sahel.