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Sup Gen" …love your neighbor like yourself, for us means, to love the other the country as your own, to love the other unit as your own," and a feeling that the "whole SMA is as your own real family."Despite the sanitary situation that the world is currently facing due to covid -19, the Society of African Missions has celebrated 164 years since its foundation on the 08th of December 1856. In a televised address to the SMA family all over the world, the Superior General characterized this year’s celebrations with two words, "fragility and gratitude."

Fragility due to the incertitudes that the world is currently experiencing due to the Coronavirus pandemic that "has dismantled our certainties and made us more aware of our weaknesses," he said. "Since January, we have lost 35 members" including "honorary members..." he added. 

Particular attention was given to the Irish province that has "lost several confreres some of them due to covid- 19."

Segundo, several scheduled visits by the General Council had to be canceled and certain important meetings such as the plenary council took place through the Visio conference.

Tercio, "leaders of our units notice with some concern the decrease in resources and donations from benefactors which are essential for our missionary work."

But all is not lost, all is not gloom, as there is so much to rejoice and to be grateful to God about in the SMA today. Fr. Porcellato said, that this year "the number of ordinations are remarkable" as the society has witnessed "30 new SMA priests" the latest being "Fr. Roberto Carlos Barrera from the Spanish province, ordained on the 5th of December" in the Republic of Benin.

Gratitude as "18 students became permanent members of the Society of African Missions," for the "314 students in the initial formation, from the first year of Philosophy to end year of theology," for the "dynamism and missionary motivation of members around their leaders in the 27 units," for the churches of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire that celebrated 140 and 125 years of the arrival of the first SMA missionaries respectively,  for the "release of Fr. Luigi Maccalli who came back to us on the 09th of October, 2020," for the "joy of seeing the founder become venerable last May…" Last but not least, gratitude that despite physical distance, "we have discovered how much we can communicate through video conferences."

Making reference to the three papal encyclicals, with special reference to Fratelli tutti, the Superior General, invited the SMA family to "reach out to others and share hope in our faith…" He called « for true brotherhood among us."  "…love your neighbor as yourself, for us means, to love the other the country as your own, to love the other unit as your own," and a feeling that the "whole SMA is as your own real family." This is in reference to the command of Jesus the author of the mission who told his disciples to "go all over the world and make disciples and prayed that they may be one."

He called on members "to assume our weakness… express our gratitude and above all to be weavers of brotherhood."

He concluded by wishing the entire SMA family a happy feast of the Immaculate conception and happy celebrations of the anniversary of foundation, moving forward in the footsteps of venerable Malchior de Marion Bresillac. 

                                                                      By Dominic Wabwireh, SMA