Ngizwenimana Olivier M.Afr.
March 07 2019 – St Anne's – Jerusalem On the occasion of the Jubilee celebration of 150th years of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, the staff and students of Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) were invited to St Anne’s premises for lectures and presentations on the Society.
All began with a talk by Fr. Dave Sullivan “150 years old and still going strong!” a presentation of some of the elements of our history which help guests to understand who the Missionaries of Africa are today. In his presentation, Fr Sullivan reminded the attendees that the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Society is a moment to prompt the White Fathers of the task that God, working in and through their Founder and the Church, has entrusted to them s and which is still urgent today. This anniversary reminds them of St Paul’s words to Timothy: “fan into flame the gift that was given to you!” He concluded saying then that they are ‘apostles,’ as Lavigerie said: “Be apostles and nothing but apostles!”
This first part was followed by a talk given by Fr. Frans Bouwen on “The presence of the ‘White Fathers’ in Jerusalem.” In his presentation, Fr. Bouwen gave the main dates and events which characterized their history, to make easier the understanding of the presence of the Missionaries of Africa here in Jerusalem and their apostolate. Presently, the White Fathers’ community takes care of the holy site of the Pool of Bethesda and the Basilica given by France and welcomes pilgrims daily.
After a break, Fr. Gaetan Tiendrebeogo presented the film made by the Chemin Neuf community “Witnesses of the greatest love,” about the ‘martyrs of Algeria.’
Finally, three of the Missionaries students shared something of their personal experience of life with the Society. Bro. Nelson Ekeh shared his understanding on inter-culturalism and simplicity of life. Bro. Thierry Uyirwoth, speaking of community life, said: “I am treated as a mature person with respect and I have to take responsibility for my own growth. I consider it as one of the best ways of formation to become fully responsible for my life.” Finally, Bro. Belito Joaquim shared his commitment to JPIC (Comissão Diocesana da Justiça e Paz e Integridade da Criação) in Burkina Faso.
After a lunch together, the activities continued with the 2nd annual edition of the STS Sport Tournament at Burj al-laq laq.