AFRICA-MADAGASCARIn the steps of our elders
The 11th Provincial assembly held from 05th to 08th January 2017 in the city of Maroua, situated in the extreme north of Cameroon, was convened by the Provincial superior Fr. Edouard DAGAVOUNANSOU.
The place chosen was not insignificant; it was all about going to the so-called danger zone to express our solidarity with these people devastated by the onslaught of the devious terrorist sect Boko Haram.
This part of Cameroon, subject to insecurity due to abductions and the kamikaze attacks of the above-mentioned group, finds itself stigmatized by the fact that all European expatriates no longer have the right to remain there, a decision taken by their different governments and embassies. Now among these Europeans are some missionaries who would love to stay with these people as a testimony of their solidarity at this very time.
Conscious of the risk and trusting in God, about a hundred Oblate missionaries gathered in this place with the desire to once again give joy and hope to these people.
It should be stated that the resilience of these people keeps them busy with their occupations, in choosing to live and not letting themselves die of fear.
Independently of the above-mentioned context, the assembly was a graced time for the province to remember its 70 years (1946-2016), and to recall some of the remarkable figures such as Bishop Yves PLUMEY whom we commemorated on this occasion of the 25 years since his tragic death (1991-2016).
Then the Provincial and his council took stock of the state of affairs by presenting the concrete situation of the province, notably on the basis of the objectives they had set for themselves at the beginning of their mandate. First of all, it was a question of the revitalization of community life. The observation in this area is that there have been considerable advances in reducing the number of Oblates living alone and in seeing to the quality of life of the brethren. The second objective aimed at ensuring a first and ongoing formation of quality was evaluated by considering the efforts at specialization and the revitalization of formation houses.
Formation for the mission was also a subject that aroused much interest in terms of important contributions and suggestions. Every Oblate, no matter where he may be, must consider himself as an important participant in formation for the mission.
The third objective concerning finances allowed us to evaluate all the dynamics put in place in order to increase local revenue and transparency in financial management. Here, starting with our realities, the conclusion is that there are still some challenges that call for a real joining of efforts.
The fourth objective was to assess the present state of missionary commitment to diversify and extend our missionary presence while giving importance to pastoral care with youth and the involvement of the laity in our missionary commitment. Here, we highlight the enthusiastic reception of the invitation to bravely cross borders so as to effectively be a Church that goes out.
In the midst of this assembly as a province, we had a memorable moment of reconciliation with ourselves, with our past and with each other. This reconciliation was led by Fr. François CARPENTIER.
The active presence of our lay associates was a grace for more communion and awareness of their more and more visible place at our sides from this point forward. (Fr. Ferdinand OWONO NDIH)