Dieudo 770x315

2017 is a year of grace by which the Lord wills to make manifest the exceptional fruits of the faith from the evangelization of the land of Dahomey. Indeed, the Lord has gloriously fulfilled the prophetical announcement of the Good News of Salvation for which, many dedicated members of both the Society of African Missions (SMA) and Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (OLA), have sacrificed their lives in response to the call of the Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

The SMA General Assembly of 1984 decided to accept candidates Africans into the society and thus saw the first SMA priest from Benin, Rev. Fr. Donatien Djohossou being ordained on 16th September 1995. Another feat was achieved with the ordination of four priests (Frs. Josée Cakpo, Anselme Yonlonfoun, Valentin Fadègnon and Désiré Salako, the present Superior of Benin/Niger at the beach of Agoué) on 11th April 2010, marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Frs. Francesco Borghero and Francesco Fernandez, the first missionaries in Dahomey on 11th April 1861. Until 2015, the number of SMA priests from Benin was 22 after the ordination of Frs. Habib Akpata and Désiré Folly Tinvi.

This year 2017 saw what we rightly call the “septenary of priesthood in SMA Bénin/Niger”: the historical priestly ordination of seven SMA confreres from Bénin. These are Frs. Anicet Agoli-Agbo, Cyrille Houénou, Dieu-Donné Dissou, Sylvestre Tchégbéhou, Tierry Aïmadé and Ulrich Houénahin. Indeed, it is beyond belief that we can see such a year of grace made by the Lord.

The ceremony was conducted by His Lordship Bishop François Gnonhossou, SMA, bishop of the diocese of Dassa. Among the concelebrants was His Lordship Bishop Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi, SMA, bishop of the diocese of Berberati in Central Africa Republic. The number of the conelebranting priests was estimated around hundred mostly SMA from Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast (...), together with priests from different dioceses in Benin. Also, parents and relatives of the newly ordained priests which came from Covè, Zagnango, Houèdo, Porto-Novo, Godomè, Dohissa, Tchatchégou and Ouèdèmè etc. witnessed the occasion. The parishners of Zogbadjè led by Rev. Fr. Josée Cakpo, committed themselves into making the ceremony a simple and a beautiful one. Despite the early morning rains on that day, the faithful came in numbers not only to witness the event but also, to be in communion both physically and spiritually with us through the mystery of the sacrament of priesthood by which, God our Father joins the fragility of human beings into his work of Salvation of Mankind in Jesus Christ his Son. The ceremony started at 9:30am with a procession and ended around 01:00pm with the final blessing of the bishops. Then, the big banquet offered to all who came to crown celebration.

Beyond the festivity, this ordination of seven SMA confreres from Benin bears an important theological and missionary meaning that was clearly underlined by Bishop François Gnonhossou in his homily echoed by Fr. Désiré Salako in his speech and by the vice-president of the parish pastoral council. That reflection needs to be studied and deepened through our approach to the SMA mission in the world of today.


 P. Dieu-Donné Bayéman Acéréou DISSOU, sma

 SMA Generalat - Roma