Chapter Communication - 2 June 2022
The day was devoted almost entirely to plenary sessions with some main topics:
- Mission outside Africa;
- Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation;
- Inter-religious dialogue, ecumenism, Islam, African traditional religions, new religious movements
I share with you some of the highlights.
MISSION OUTSIDE AFRICA
In the case of the Missionaries from Africa, we are talking about America, Asia and Europe. The capitulants feel the need to clarify the term “mission outside Africa” and “mission in the African world and where our charism is needed”. We note that Africans are migrating more and more, especially to Europe and America. Among them are animists, Christians and Muslims.
The capitulants made other points: the length of a confrere’s appointment to a mission outside Africa. They also expressed the need for a good preparation of the confrere, to ensure the quality of his ministry and presence. Even if the confrere knows the language well, he does not necessarily know the culture nor the mentality. Interculturality was discussed both in terms of the composition of the community of the Missionaries of Africa itself and in terms of the population of the parish where we serve. These projects are evaluated regularly.
It was noted that it is not easy to implement the missions outside Africa due to lack of personnel.
JUSTICE AND PEACE AND INTEGRITY OF CREATION
Everyone understands the difficulty of a relevant engagement in Justice and Peace. We feel a certain fear about the consequences and our security. However, it is possible to launch some Justice and Peace initiatives in collaboration with the local Church and the population.
While the commitment to justice is very sensitive, the commitment to peace and the integrity of creation is received much better by the authorities and the people. It offers us an entry point. Indeed, the population is very interested in seeing the social situation improve, in seeing a development project taking shape, in seeing their fields being better cultivated. This form of commitment creates bridges for encounter, exchange and collaboration.
We should not think that a lot of monetary investment is required for this ministry. The capitulants shared some examples of initiatives that are accomplished without great expense, without publicity, and yet are very effective, not only in terms of development but also in creating more links between the people.
ENCOUNTER – DIALOGUE – ECUMENISM
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN RELIGIONS
NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
A fundamental principle of this ministry is to go out and meet the other. It is not necessary to have many material resources or even to be an expert. It is a matter of showing interest and friendship for the other, for their language and culture, which takes time. Thus, it is necessary to form stable communities so that trust grows and bonds are strengthened. Perseverance is required.
It is essential to initiate properly the confrere who is appointed to the ministry of dialogue.
As a missionary society, we are called to revive our interest in traditional African religions in order to understand them better. One of the difficulties of dialogue and encounter lies in the multiplicity of churches, sects, Muslim factions, new religious movements, state religions and secularisation.
The Catholic Church is increasingly promoting dialogue. Indeed, the latest edition of the Catechism contains a chapter on this subject. The Missionaries of Africa are working on this through preaching, catechumenate, sessions and also through catechesis.
ELECTION OF THE THIRD ASSISTANT GENERAL
IN THE PERSON OF
FATHER ANSELME TARPAGA
During the afternoon, the capitulants elected the third Assistant General. He is Father Anselme Tarpaga, originally from Burkina Faso. He was in his second term as provincial in the Maghreb. We assure him of our friendship and of our prayers. May the Lord accompany him and guide him in his new responsibility as Assistant General.