We will miss him for a long time

The death of a confrere is often a source of sadness, but the one of Richard, Cardinal Richard, is felt as a tragedy because it is difficult for us to separate it from the succession of events since May. He was appointed Cardinal, then President of SECAM, he came to Rome for the consistory and for this we mobilised ourselves to give thanks and celebrate here at the Generalate, receiving delegations and friends from all over! All of a sudden, everything stopped!

Since his death, we have tried to make sense of it all. Only one feeling prevails: only God knows. It is only in faith, in the word of God, that we have found consolation, for faith and the word do indeed bring us back to what we deeply are, brothers and sisters of Christ, adopted sons and daughters destined for the fullness of life in God. Baptised with Christ into death, as we heard in the first reading, Richard entered and still lives in the new life. We believe that, as in his life he ate the “living bread that came down from heaven”, he will “live forever” and we hope that we too will live with him when the time comes.

Allow me to share a word about Cardinal Richard. Those who lived with him appreciated his total commitment to the good of the Society and of the confreres. Richard was a great worker but he was also a charming companion. As we know, his health was not good and several times he had to stop and had to be hospitalised. But when he was discharged, he was back at it again: trips, visits, meetings and conferences. Richard had become a true representative of our Society and an icon for many of us. His last appointments show how much his intelligence, his clear-sightedness and his commitment were recognised at the level of the Church in Africa and of the Universal Church.

During the Mass of thanksgiving for his nomination as Cardinal that I presided over here, I mentioned how happy we were to welcome different delegations in the house where he lived for 16 years! That’s longer than he lived anywhere else in the same place! It is beautiful in a way that it is in this house that he spent his last days on earth.

We will miss him for a long time. We pray that he may rest in peace and be reunited in joy with the One he served so well.

Father Stanley Lubungo,
Superior General
Farewell Mass – 19/12/2022

Maurice Dugay R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Emmanuel Lengaigne, Provincial Delegate of the sector of France,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Maurice Dugay

on Monday 12th December 2022 in Billère (France)
at the age of 80 years, of which 53 years of missionary life
in Mali and France.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Maurice Dugay’s death

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Pontifical Urbaniana University, Mass for H.E. Richard Kuuia Baawobr,

Communication

Before the body of the late Cardinal, His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr, M.Afr., leaves Rome for the funeral in Ghana, which will take place on January 11 and 12, 2023, a Eucharistic celebration will take place on Saturday, December 17, 2022, in the chapel of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, at 10.30 a.m. It will be presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization. Concelebrants are asked to bring alb and purple stole.

Rome, December 9, 2022

Andre-L. Simonart, M.Afr.,
Secretary General

The Immaculate Conception 2022 GMG

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Generalate 2022

It struck me this time, more than before that the Immaculate Conception is celebrated during the Season of Advent. During advent, the Church urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown to us by sending his Son to dwell among us. We recall that Christ’s coming was not only for the benefit of his contemporaries; his power extends to all of us, if through faith we willingly accept the grace he brought to the world if we live in obedience to him.

The coming of Jesus the saviour announces salvation. Though we essentially understand this in terms of our communion with God, which is the grace of the incarnation, the readings of the past days, much to our benefit in the situations that we are facing as humanity but also as the Lavigerie family, inspire in us consolation, strength, inner peace and trust in the Lord, and in so doing, lead us to look to our salvation in terms of redemption from all that enslaves us, brief, from the burden and consequences of sin in its various dimensions whether personal or social.

The coming of the Lord announces new times. It announces a new era for humanity and for the universe: where “the lowly will find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy one of Israel, for the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone” (Is 29: 18-18), it is a time where sin and its consequences of injustice will be no more! That newness is part God’s eternal and loving plan of salvation as the letter to the Ephesians actually proclaims: We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy, to be blameless, immaculate, before him in love to the praise of God’s glorious grace. Mary in the dogma that we are celebrating: the Immaculate Conception or the belief that the Virgin Mary was free of original sin from the moment of her conception,  appears to be the new and concrete realisation of God’s eternal and loving plan of Salvation. Though we are marked by the story of sin, which is our experience, can still say with Saint Paul in the letter to the Ephesians that like Mary we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy, to be blameless, immaculate, before him in love to the praise of God’s glorious grace

The important thing then becomes for us to seek to live up to this? How can we live up to the God’s call for us before the foundations of the world. It is here that Mary becomes for us, with reference to Eve, the new mother of all the living. With her begins a new era. The era of our forefathers and foremothers, Adam and Eve with its structures marked by Satan’s power have been undone in her. Mary also becomes the example of the new people of God, meant to obey God. We now know, with Adam and Eve, where disobeying to God leads. We know where sin leads. By God’s grace a new era starts with Mary. We may ask what is the example set up by Mary.

Not much is said of her in the Gospels, but one essential feature characterises her, she is a woman of faith and of trust in God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” This is where her greatness of lies, if we may say so. It is what Jesus indicates as such. Mary’s greatness did not lie, as some thought, in the fact that her womb carried Jesus nor that her breast nursed him (Lk 11: 27-28), but in the fact that she heard the word of God and obeyed it! A thing that Adam and Eve did not do! Jesus’ mother, sisters and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.

As we continue our journey through this season of Advent let us open ourselves more and more to God’s grace for it to remove any obstacles to his presence so that he may come at any moment to dwell spiritually in our hearts and in our lives and the lives of all, for the establishment of his Kingdom among us.

Stan Lubungo

François Leduc R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Emmanuel Lengaigne, Provincial Delegate of the sector of France,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

François Leduc

on 09 December 2022 in Bry-sur-Marne,  France
at the age of 86 years, of which 59 years of missionary life
in Italy, Lebanon and France .

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father François Leduc’s death

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Marc François R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

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

Marc François

on Tuesday 06  December 2022 in Bruges (Belgium)
at the age of 76 years, of which 51 years of missionary life
in Rwanda  and Belgium.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Marc François’s death

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A bishop close to his people

A bishop close to his priests and his people

In his homily at the Mass on Monday, 5 December, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops since 2010, underlined some of the virtues of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, such as his great spirituality, his missionary spirit and his remarkable intelligence.

A thoughtful zeal to proclaim eternal truths.
Cardinal Re outlines the various stages of the life of the Bishop of Wa, from his birth into a Catholic family on 21 June 1959 in Nandom in the Lawra District of Ghana to his death on 27 November 2022 in Rome.

Cardinal Re emphasized that Richard Kuuia Baawobr’s life is marked by a spirit of initiative, organisational skills, and a thoughtful diligence in proclaiming the eternal truths of the Gospel, with the language and style of the new times. He also understood that the missionary commitment of the Society of Missionaries of Africa should not be limited to Africa but should also be extended to countries with a Catholic tradition, which were in need of the Word of God and of a revival in the renewal of faith and Christian witness.

With him went a very significant figure of “the African bishop“.
In 2016 Richard Kuuia Baawobr was appointed bishop of Wa by Pope Francis; he was a pastor close to his priests and his people; always available to meet and say a word of kindness to those around him. He knew deeply “the responsibility that lay upon him by virtue of being a successor of the Apostles”. Last July, the plenary assembly of the episcopate of Africa and Madagascar elected him as its president, emphasised Cardinal Re, and affirmed that “with him disappears a very significant figure of the ‘African bishop'”.

The dean of the college of cardinals also emphasised that “this unexpected death, although it has caused consternation, is part of God’s inscrutable plan, mysterious but always inspired by love and strengthened by the immortal certainties of faith.

Commitment to mission in a spirit of openness.
In July 2020, the Holy Father appointed him as a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This was the beginning of a close collaboration with the Apostolic See. In many situations he was seen as an industrious protagonist with a great sense of responsibility, a desire to do good and driven by an innate missionary spirit,” Cardinal Re continued. The Bishop of Wa was engaged in intense pastoral activity, with a view to a future at the service of the Church and humanity. Cardinal Baawobr gave much and seemed to promise even more. But “God’s ways are not our ways“, concluded Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

Mass for Cardinal Richard BAAWOBR

Communication

A Mass for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Richard K. BAAWOBR will take place on Monday, 5 December 2022, at 11 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. It will be presided by Cardinal Giovanni Battista RE.

The funeral will be held in his Diocese of Wa in Ghana.

Rome, 29th November 2022

André-L. Simonart,
Secretary General