AFRICA-MADAGASCARA new Oblate mission
November 24 was chosen for the official opening of the new Oblate mission in Guinea-Bissau: the Mission of Cacine. Together with the Bishop of Bafata, Msgr. Pedro Zilli (a Brazilian PIME), Fathers Daniel Aliou MANE (in charge of the new mission) and Robert GALLINA began a new Oblate presence in the southern part of the country, near the other Guinea which is in the headlines because of Ebola.
The missionaries were commissioned by the bishop at a simple and meaningful Mass on the feast of the Martyrs of Vietnam. Present were the Provincial, Fr. Alberto GNEMMI who was visiting the Delegation; Fr. Alberto RUIZ, Councillor of the Mediterranean Province; and Fr. Bruno FAVERO, Superior of the Delegation.
In recalling the word “Oblation” as a total gift of one’s entire being, Bishop Zilli said he was happy to be able to begin the Catholic Mission of Cacine, a place where evangelization has never had the permanent presence of missionaries on site.
After the Mass, we left for the new mission, about 300 kilometres from the seat of the diocese, 80 of which are through thick forest on a very hazardous road. We arrived at about noon to share a meal with a Christian family from the area. The Oblate missionaries are hosted, for the moment, by a Brazilian evangelical pastor working in the area, a very ecumenical gesture of welcoming and sharing. The mission has no buildings yet; everything is yet to be built.
There are now ten Oblates working in Guinea-Bissau, in Farim (in the north), where we have welcomed a deacon from the Province of Brazil (Manoel Valadao); at Antula, a suburb of the city of Bissau; and since November 24, we are also at Cacine. It is a growing mission, a mission of first evangelization in a country that seems to have regained political stability after years of disorder and fratricidal war.
Since last year, the first vocation from Guinea-Bissau is in formation in Cameroon, Brother Aful SAHNA; there are other young people at the Foyer and the pre-novitiate in Dakar. Good luck to those confreres who are pioneers of the new Mission of Cacine. “The Oblates were once defined as ‘Men of difficult missions’ by Pope Pius XI and Cacine is certainly not an easy mission,” said the Provincial of the Mediterranean Province, visiting the place for the first time. A new page in the history of our Congregation is being written at the outskirts of the world.