Print

mq3Greetings dear brothers and Sisters and welcome to this last edition of our SMA News for this pastoral year.
The Titles of this edition:
1- Democratic Republic of Congo: Acquisition of a new parish in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa;
2- The effects of Covid-19 in our SMA Formation Houses;
3- Sierra Leone: 9 years of SMA presence in the Archdiocese of Freetown.

 
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Go into the whole world Go and proclaim the good news. Christ's instruction to his church. An instruction that the SMA in the DRC and the SMA in general tries to follow by going to the most remote places of the African continent. An instruction that has once again become a reality in the DRC with the opening of the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas of Manpu. A parish located in the outskirts of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa.

Rev. Fr. Hippolyte BUHIKA – Parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas of Manpu:
The parish is in a rural environment of first evangelization. It was a secondary station of the Blessed Anuarite parish which was taken care of by the diocesans; and I am the first to reside here, so the first parish priest to begin this mission which was entrusted by the Archdiocese to the SMA. The work that the diocesans did was sporadic. Our presence gives another new form of mission. We go almost everywhere in the 14 stations; when I arrived, the parish had nine outstations now we have 14 so five new stations with our presence. What makes us happy here is to see these people who are very happy to see us, to see priests again, after ten good years. It's been ten years since they have not seen priests, have not received the sacraments, have not even had Mass. Our presence is truly a joy to the people of God who have long been abandoned without the presence of a priest.

Mr. Jean Pierre LIAKI – Catechist at St. Thomas Aquinas of Manpu:
Since the arrival of the SMA fathers in our parish, our status has really changed. From an outstation we became a parish. We have permanently a priest who says Masses for us every day and we also have an organization that is being put up to revive all the activities of the parish; we have are meetings going, reorganization of certain commissions for the parish to really be active. There is an influx of Christians who come a lot on Sundays; we have a lot of training given and we also have the possibility with the SMA Fathers to go to the outstations for pastoral services. And so, since they have been here, pastoral has taken form and is now fully active.

A pastoral which, however, is not without difficulty.

Rev. Fr. Hippolyte BUHIKA – Parish priest of St. Thomas Aquinas of Manpu:
In fact, the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, our new parish, is in the archdiocese of Kinshasa but it is 150 km from Kinshasa; and the outstations are distant from each other. The closest is 12 km away, the closest to the main station. And it is in a truly in an area of first evangelization; the road conditions are very difficult and since the stations are really far from each other this makes the work sometimes very difficult. This is somehow the difficulty that I face in this new mission in in the parish of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN OUR FORMATION HOUSES

The Covid-19 pandemic with its devastating effects has spared no social stratum, no generation, no sector of activity. Our SMA formation houses like the rest of the world have suffered and continue to suffer the consequences.

Rev. Fr. Dominik WACEK –Formation Secretary:
Even though in some African countries, the restrictions related to the virus were somehow less present than the one in Europe, still that affected formation in a various serious way. In many cases seminarians had to stay in the formation houses all the time without the possibility of going out to participate physically to the courses at the seminary. It resulted in the reality of students living under one roof literally 24/7. It created a lot of issues because of the limited pastoral activity that students were able to partake in, simply because they had to stay inside. Till now, even though we had some people who got sick because of the virus in the formation houses, till now as far as I know we didn’t have anybody who got seriously ill or who died because of the virus; and we thank God for that grace and we pray that it will remain like that.

If it is true that the consequences of the covid can be seen in all our formation houses, it is even more true that they were more visible in our formation house at Calavi, where some students were unable to come in order to participate in the program.

Rev. Fr. Hervé YEPIE – Superior of the Formation House of Calavi:
We give thanks to the Lord, yes thanks to the Lord because with his grace we were able to overcome difficulties that we have encountered due to the covid-19. First of all, some of our brothers this year were not able to participate in the program and we remember them. We remember our brothers in Congo, Angola, Nigeria and India; who were wished to come but due to the sanitary situation could not make the trip to Calavi, to partake in the program. Also, some of our brothers right here in Calavi have suffered from the pandemic. Some have tested positive, and were obliged to stay in their rooms, isolated for two weeks; But thanks to God and to technology, they were able to follow lectures by video conference. Yes, covid forced us to adapt to the situation, and yet we say thank you to the Lord; because beyond all its difficulties we were able to make our journey as a community. We had a good fraternal life well in community; and despite the crisis, life went on and we give thanks to God.

With the various vaccines available, we hope that the situation will improve and that we will return to a kind of normality. Otherwise, we will have to continue with what is now “the new normal.”

SIERRA LEONE

On January 13, 1859, the SMA arrived at the shore of Freetown to begin the work of evangelization. A work which knew a stop because of the sacrifice that the pioneers made with their lives in that part of the world. All of them, in record time, on various occasions and times died due to the yellow fever that prevailed at that time. All, including the Founder, Bishop De Marion Brésillac, paid with their lives the proclamation of the Gospel. Several attempts to return to the country have been made. Attempts which became a reality only in 2012.

Rev. Fr. David AGBEVANOO – Missionary in Sierra Leone:
Through the assistance of the archbishop, most Rev. Dr. Edward Tamba Charles, the SMA fathers returned to Freetown in November 2012 and settled in the village of Koama, after 153 years of absence of SMA Missionaries. And since our return here in Freetown, many catholic communities present here under our care have been asking us the SMA fathers for a sort of assistance to be given them in their already established catholic schools.

Today the SMA Fathers, well settled in the diocese of Freetown, work to nourish and nurture the seed sown in the ground by the pioneers.

General Information

1- Since June 25, the SMA has 19 new temporary members. 19 seminarians who took their 1st oath during a celebration at Calavi in Benin republic.
2- Our new ongoing formation center, “Centre Paul Pellet” located in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast was inaugurated on July 1st. And for this purpose, Fr. Rozario, member of the General Council in charge of permanent formation, went to Abidjan to take part in the inauguration and also to spend a few weeks with the Summer Renewal Program organized by the ICOF in the new center.

It is with this information that we end this edition of our SMA Monthly News, which is the last edition for this pastoral year. Thank you for having been with us during these different months. Rendezvous is taken for October.

Happy Holidays to all!