Closing celebration of the 150th anniversary in Cebu
On December 8, 2019 we joyfully celebrated in our Community House the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the closure of 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Missionaries of Africa.
Very early in the morning, a group of the friends of the Missionaries of Africa generously came to decorate the place where the Holy Mass was to take place. They also brought us some gifts and a gigantic cake prepared specifically for the occasion.
The choir was composed of Missionaries of Africa candidates and a group of the Friends of the Missionaries of Africa in the Philippines (FROMAP). Our talented candidates (Richard, Roberto, Mark, Vincent and Christian) did a tremendous work in preparing for the occasion.
The main celebrant was our confrere Fr. Mike (Michel) Agoh, who currently serves in the Parish of Malalag-Diocese of Digos. The co-celebrants were Frs. Bonaventure Gubazire, Boris Yabre, Luisito Poe, and an SDV Filipino priest, Fr. Gilberto, who served for a long time in Chad. Our stagiaire, Andy Deala, was also present.
During his homily Fr. Mike called upon the faithful to take Mother Mary as their model in matters of faith. Mary trusted in God and humbled herself to allow God to use her as an instrument of love for humanity. Those present were heartily touched to see a black man fluently speaking their local language – Cebuano.
The attendance was higher than expected. Among them were the parents of our confrere from Cebu, Clayb Caputolan, who is currently serving in Ethiopia.
Since our chapel is too small, we used our dining and sitting rooms for the occasion. The alleys of the house were also filled with well-wishers. Could the presence of a good number of friends suggest that our missionary presence and charism are well appreciated in this region? Many people say they feel at home in our communities both here in Cebu and in Malalag.
Could perhaps the fact of living in intercultural communities in itself be an apostolate?
After the celebration of the Eucharist, a catering group had already skilfully set tables, well decorated in white and blue to represent Marian colours. As it is a custom here, several lechon (whole roasted pigs) were served. The meat lovers among us rejoiced to the maximum.
The delicious meal was followed by entertainment. The lay Collaborators of the Missionaries of Africa and former Scholars of the Missionaries of Africa presented beautiful and artistic sketches. In the end, we all joined in the dance.
It was, indeed, a day marked by a joyful and blissful celebration. We give thanks to God who inspired our founder, Charles Cardinal Lavigerie, to dream of such a wonderful family of the Missionaries of Africa, a family elected to bear fruit and become a witness to God’s love and compassion in Africa and beyond.
May Mother Mary, Our Lady of Africa, continue to intercede for us!
From the SOA Newsletter – January 2020