We just finished the first year of existence of our Association. Let us thank God for having accompanied us. We also thank the Provincial, Father Abel NSOLO, for his consideration and availability. Our special thanks to all the Missionary Oblates of Congo (Provincial Administration, Provincial Treasurer, parish priests, chaplains and community superiors).
We are now 107 associates (Kinshasa: 53; Kikwit: 23 and Idiofa: 31). It is not possible to present a comprehensive assessment, especially since the Association is still in its infancy; much remains to be done. It is true that our committee was mandated, among other things, to recruit new members. If our priority was to consolidate first of all the existing districts, during this year, we will be widening our circle toward other Oblate parishes, including, initially, Ifwanzondo, Panu and Lozo and later Ekama, Opala and Angola.
As for the plan for self-financing, we have completed the study phase of the projects. In early September, we will have talks with BUPRODOMI to finalize these projects. God willing, by the end of 2015, we should be able to launch our projects in Kinshasa and Kikwit. In order to improve our functioning, we will develop, discuss and adopt, between September and October, our procedural rules, before submitting them to the Provincial Council in November. Thus, we will propose some adjustments to improve the road map that we received from the general assembly of 11-12 July 2014.
May Mary Immaculate, our Mother, accompany us in achieving our goals. By her example and intercession, may we live the charism of Eugene de Mazenod in our daily lives? (Désiré Baere Pene Yanganya, Provincial President of MAMI - Congo)
There are many surprises when one enters Oblate formation. The prenovices at Mokolo discover them rapidly. Here are the comments of some current prenovices.
To meet needs at various levels (academic, spiritual, and food preparation), the pre-novitiate is a client of the company that distributes electricity in Cameroon. This year's power cuts reached a record level, thereby disrupting the house program. In fact, electric current is useful in more ways than one. As for food, it allows us to preserve food and pump water into the water tower. On the spiritual and academic level, the current provides lighting, mainly for studies, prayer and the different activities of the house.
But this year, it so happened that the pre-novitiate spent hours or even days without electricity. According to explanations given here and there, it was a question mostly of equipment malfunction. The house suffered from these cuts, sometimes together with a lack of fuel to power the generator. In addition, sometimes the light bulbs were burnt out because of the instability of the current. But these power cuts and lack of fuel, even if they sometimes disrupted the program, did not prevent the progress of formation which has now concluded. Furthermore, this allowed us concretely to live poverty and in solidarity with those who have experienced or are experiencing the same difficulties. (Joseph Dogo)
Water, a scarce commodity in Mokolo
This year, Mokolo, a mountainous area, has seen huge water problems. The provision of water here depends on electric current. Untimely interruptions of current have resulted in a water shortage. It is true that at the prenovitiate, we have two wells, but one needs electrical energy to supply the water tower; the other is manual. It is this second well which was a success and has continued to provide for the crowds.
People travel long distances to stand in line at the pre-novitiate to get the precious liquid: women and children, big and little, all in search of water. To meet the demand and given the real need, the pre-novitiate did not hesitate to open its doors and its well to help this people in need. But this aid has had its cost: we no longer had priority. The pre-novices sometimes saw themselves maltreated by those people who have become so needy and more disadvantaged than the property owners.
The solution was to close the gates for two to three hours, giving us time fill our reserve supplies before opening up and welcoming others. That is the price of charity. Cans are lined up with the names of their owners who wait for long hours inside the pre-novitiate confines. (A pre-novice) (Bulletin du Prénoviciat No 3)
On September 8, the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fr. Neil FRANK became the new president of St. Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara.
The Grand Chancellor of SJTI, Archbishop Buti TLHAGALE, Archbishop of Johannesburg, was in attendance as were the members of the Board, the provincials of the Inter-Provincial Conference, students, formation staff, academic staff and members of the participating religious congregations who have students attending the Institute.
Fr Vusi MAZIBUKO, Chairman of the Board and Provincial of Natal Province gave the homily at the Mass.
Fr. Neil takes over from Fr. Sylvester DAVID, whose predecessor was Fr. Daniel CORIJN, former Oblate Vicar General and currently the Provincial of the Province of Belgium-Holland.
In his address, Fr. Neil spelled out his hopes and vision for the Institute. He is confident that there is great potential and a solid need for the development that the Institute can provide. He thanked his predecessors and the staff of the Institute for the firm foundation that has been developed through the 25 years of the Institute's history.