These are painful times. Unemployment, for so many a nonexistent or distant memory, has made a dramatic reappearance. People are suddenly afraid of the future which has a big question mark over it.
A personal experience
I remember having to look for a job. I had decided to take some time out from my studies for the priesthood. It was in the early 70s which was also a time of great uncertainty on all fronts. I needed a job. Any job. I began my search in September. I was qualifi ed to teach and I could also work in administration. I had the qualifi cations on paper. But jobs seemed to be scarce and I was in my late 20s so a tad old for fi rst time employment. I remember well the uncertainty of those weeks. The questions such as "what if I do not find a job"? I kept looking for 3 weeks and I saw a job as a van driver. I had a full license so I applied, got an interview. I hesitated when I discovered that I would be delivering corsets to Cleary's and other big stores. But at this stage I was desperate so when the job was offered I accepted. I found my self in a world that was completely different from what I was used to. We did have a practical working community.
People did look out for one another. In many cases whole families worked in the factory and there was a great sense of camaraderie. As was the case for all newcomers there was a period of probation before I was accepted into the community and this did not come as a call from heaven but as an invitation to play a couple of hands of poker at lunch. (For matchsticks). In many ways this year out became a reaffi rmation of my own vocation but there was still a sense of loss when I decided to return to my studies and prepare for a life in Africa. It is true that my circumstances were not very dramatic. I had no mortgage to pay, my family was supportive. I can, however, have a feeling of empathy for people who lose jobs after a lifetime of service to a particular firm. I can also understand their anger when the job loss is not due to their laziness or lack of productivity but to gross mismanagement of company funds by those entrusted with this task.
A Possible Christian Response
We do need to have a positive Christian response to the present economic crisis. If we are to work for each other, we need to keep in mind our care for those most vulnerable in society. We also need to make sure that the stranger in our midst is not discriminated against. We should ensure that all temptations to xenophobia be avoided. We will continue to welcome those who need sanctuary in our country.
It is a myth, but which persists, that they are stealing our jobs. We have seen this in other countries of Europe. We will have to refuse any tendency at any level that would allow racism or discrimination take a hold. In another area, the Government announced a cut of 95 million euro in Irish Aid. This is something that we need to reflect on. The poorest of the poor are thus being made to pay in a very real way for the faults that we have allowed to fester in our own society. The monies given in Aid are subject to stringent processes all
revolving around value for money, accountability, and transparency. Dare I say it at a level far higher than we demanded for banking and business at home? Would it be too much to ask your local TD to ask the Government to look again at this cut back?
Lent: a time for reflection:
Lent is a good time to reflect. We make more Lenten resolutions than we make at the New Year. What about planting a tree instead of giving up smoking, drinking, and sweets? We need to be act more maturely. If we are to seek salvation even in secular terms we need the support of family, friends and strangers. Our trust is in the Spirit of Jesus now living in us that allows us to seek each other out and pursue the good of all together.
There is no miracle in this. The Cross is a reminder that this is not an easy option but a decision that has to be taken in hope and courage and perseverance. Easter is a time of Resurrection. A time of hope. A time of faith. To all our friends and benefactors we wish you a very Happy Easter.
Ian Buckmaster, M.Afr
Since our house opened in the 1960s, we have always had students from Africa. Many were from our own society but we have also welcomed many Diocesan Priests from Africa. Many have gone on to serve their dioceses as bishops; those who were members of religious congregations went on to serve their institutions as Superior Generals or other important roles. This academic year is no different and we are happy to present to you our latest batch of student priests.
I am Abba Bahlibi Gebreegziabher Desta from the Diocese of Adigrat, Tigray in the north of Ethiopia. I was born in 1967. I come from a family of 6 brothers and one sister. My father has died but my mother is still alive and living in Maiberazio Parish. One of my brothers has also died. After I ? nished Primary and Secondary School, I joined the Major Seminary of Adigrat in 1986. I studied Philosophy and Theology for 6 years. I was ordained to the priesthood on the 3rd May 1992 in Adigrat Cathedral. Catholics are a tiny minority in Ethiopia. By far the largest Christian Group is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Christianity came to Ethiopia in the 4th
Century that is to say before St. Patrick arrived in Ireland. So the Catholic Church follows the Orthodox calendar for Easter and Christmas.
This year our Christmas day was on the7th January. We also use a different calendar so this year is only 2001. We celebrated our
millennium in September 2007 according to western calculations.
After my ordination, I served as an assistant parish priest in St. Marys Parish for eight months and in May 1993, I was appointed
to Maiberazio Parish. In June 1997, I was transferred to Edaga Hamus parish, as Parish priest. Then in December 2002, I was
appointed to St. Marys Parish Wukro again as Parish Priest.
Finally after 16 years of priestly service in the Diocese, my bishop. Abune Tesfasellasie Medhin, asked me to follow a two year course
in Theology and Spirituality at the Milltown institute in Dublin. Bishop Tesfaysellasie, himself, studied in Milltown in the 1980s.
I am happy to be staying with the missionaries of Africa in Cypress Grove. I thank them and all those who support them in various ways to carry out their missionary activities.
I am Joseph Royston Onogagamuea diocesan priest of the Catholic Diocese of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria. I was born in 1958, the fourth child of Jacob and Alice Onogagamue. In my family there were 6 children, four girls and two boys. Both my parents are dead and I have also lost two sisters. My elder sister is a teacher, my younger brother is a private transport operator and my younger sister runs her own business.
I was ordained to the priesthood on the 21st September 1996. After my ordination, I was made Vice-Rector of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda Seminary, Effurun and Parish Priest of St. Gregory's Parish, Agbarrho. In 1997 I was relieved of the school assignment so that I could concentrate on parish work. In December 2000, I became parish priest of Oleh. In 2001, I became the fi rst principal of the Good Shepherd Catholic Boys Secondary School in Oyede. In 2004 I became the Parish Priest of Christ the King Catholic Church in Obiaruku. Then in 2008, Bishop Richard Burke asked me to come to Dublin to study Applied Christian Spirituality at the Milltown Institute. He is the Apostolic Administrator of Warri diocese and the new Archbishop of Benin. He is a member of the St. Patrick's Missionary Society. I am happy to be living with the White Fathers in their house in Templeogue for the duration of my studies.
I am Moses Ortifrom Nigeria. I was born in 1973 and I am a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria. My parents are farmers. I am the fi rst born and I have fi ve brothers and one sister. They are still in school in Nigeria.
After I fi nished my Primary School in 1988, I went to St. James Junior Seminary, Yandev-Gboko and I studied there from 1989 to 1995. I spent a year of spiritual refl ection before entering the Senior Seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Makurdi in 1997. I studied there for 3 years and got a degree in Philosophy. Then I spent a year in pastoral placement helping out in a Parish before going on to study Theology in St. Augustine's Seminary Jos in northern Nigeria. After 4 years study, I got a degree in Theology and I was ordained deacon in July 2005. I then spent a year working in a parish before I was ordained in August 2006. Then I was posted to St. Peter's Parish Wurukum as a curate.
I have now come to Ireland for 5 months to follow a short course in Spirituality at the Milltown Institute. I need your prayers so that I can successfully complete this course.
Calling Innishowen &Tyrone
This year as part of the mission awareness programme of the IMU we have been allocated the Inishowen and Co. Tyrone Deaneries, in the Diocese of Derry. We look forward to visiting all the parishes in these Deaneries. We are grateful to the Bishop of Derry Most Rev. Dr. Seamus Hegarty for giving us permission to preach about our missionary work in these areas. We will be asking for your help in making sure that this work continues. If you know us please make youself known to the Missionary who comes. We would love to meet you.
Every January, the Society of Missionaries of Africa publishes the statistics of the Congregation. It is a time to look forward in hope and to set goals for ourselves. We in the Missionaries of Africa are no different. Although our numbers continue to decline, there are signs of new life. In the 1st edition of Petit Echo (our in house magazine) we are told that there are 375 men in training preparing for missionary life as priests and brothers. Last year there were 17 ordinations to the priesthood and 1 young man became a brother. 18 others also made a permanent commitment to the society. After a further year of studies they also will be ready for mission as priests and brothers.
For the most part they are from Africa with others coming from Mexico, Brazil, The Philippines, and India. Europe is represented by Poland with some coming from Spain, Italy Germany and Canada. Most of their training will be done in Africa. In order to meet this new situation we have opened 2 new centres in order to cater for the numbers wishing to join. A new house was opened in Balaka in southern Malawi in order to give students from southern Africa some formation in Philosophy and an introduction to missionary life. We have also opened a new house in Cedara, Merivale, South Africa. The students in this house will receive their theological training in a nearby Centre for Theological Studies run by the Oblate Fathers.
The background of our students is very varied. While many join after fi nishing their secondary school education, others have done national service, or worked as teachers, nurses and in the legal profession. Not all have come from traditional Catholic backgrounds. Indeed some have been baptized relatively recently. One is the son of an Orthodox priest, another the son of a Pentecostal Bishop. Some of the students had to endure diffi cult relationships with their families during their period of studies. In most cases things have worked out well and mutual acceptance and respect has been established before fi nal commitment.
For those who persevere, it is a rigorous 10 year training programme that will prepare them for the mission in 21st century. I am often amazed at just how good our new members learn languages and fit into new cultures. A recent candidate from Ghana did his initial training in Ghana (English), then he crossed Africa to do his Spiritual Year in Zambia (English), recrossed Africa again to do his Pastoral Training in Mali ( French and local languages) and did the fi nal years of Theology in Abidjan in the Ivory coast through the medium of French.
I am confident that this new generation will be well able to take on the task of evangelization in Africa as was the wish of our founder Cardinal Lavigerie. Please keep them in your prayers during this Easter Time.
SOME NUMBERS:.......On the 1stJanuary 2009
The Missionaries of Africa were in 261 communities in 43 countries of which 24 were in Africa. We were 1,561 in number from 37 different nationalities. Our average age is just under 70 years of age. There are 188 men from the African Continent plus 20 from Mexico, Brazil, Philippines and India. New shoots, new life.
Our students in the Spiritual Year
in Kasama Zambia in 2008
Chapel in Philosophy house In Jinja Uganda.
Mary Doohan a Great Missionary
St. Teresa of Lisieux is well known as the Patroness of the Missions. She had always a great desire to become a missionary but because of her ill health she was unable to ful? l that dream. She did, however, keep in touch with the missions and missionaries through her prayers and contacts.
Mary Doohan, who died in 2008, was a remarkable person who had much in common with St. Teresa She was born, in 1937, in the village of Mullagh Co Clare At the age of 20 she went to London where she worked in the Civil Service. In her parish there, she was also a member of the Legion of Mary.
She had three brothers who were Columban Missionaries in the Philippines Mary from the beginning had a deep interest in the Missions. What really sparked her particular commitment to the Missions was when she received a letter from her brother Fr. John in the Philippines. He mentioned to Mary that his church had been destroyed by a typhoon and as a young missionary he felt discouraged and distressed.
Mary took pity on him and decided to try and raise funds to help him rebuild his church. She bought herself a slide projector and went from parish to parish throughout London showing pictures of the devastation and appealing for help. People began to give generously.
Later more and more requests came in from other missionaries.
The Little Way;
This was the inspiration and the beginning of the Little Way Association that she founded. and eventually her little group of volunteers was organised under the patronage of St. Teresa of Lisieux.
The Little Way Association was not merely for fund raising. Its aim was also for Mission promotion and prayer. The Mass was always the centre of Marys life and she also had great devotion to the Blessed Virgin and St. Teresa of Lisieux.
Many Little Way Centres
The Little Way Association has expanded greatly since its ecclesiastical approval in 1960. There are Little Way groups in many countries and the Association has, besides its headquarters in Clapham, London, centres in Lourdes, Fatima, Knock and Walsingham which promotes devotion to St. .Teresa and prayer for the Missions.
Helping the Poor and Missionary
The Little Way Association has a long history of its great work in helping the poor, the orphans, abandoned children and abused girls, the aged and the homeless. It also assists seminarians, and catechists, gives grants for chapels, homes and wells in far-flung places as well as aiding victims of war and natural disasters.
Last year, 2008 the Little Way Association sent out £5 million pounds sterling (€5.5 million euro) to 76 countries to help missionary work
The Little Way Association also incorporated a youth movement in many secondary schools throughout Africa and Asia to promote Christian awareness, prayer and commitment to the spread of the Gospel.
Together with Bishop Nicholas Mang Thang, of the Diocese of Hakha in Burma, Mary co-founded the Little Way Sisters of St.Teresa of Lisieux, who now number more than 200 and the Little Way Missionary Priests of St. Teresa of Lisieux. The ? rst group of these seminarians will be ordained in March this year
Laid to Rest
Mary died in 2008. Her remains were brought home to Co. Clare to be buried in her home parish. So much of the world was Marys parish. The funeral Mass was celebrated by her brother Fr. Michael, a Columban. It was all as simple as Mary would have wanted it. When her body was lowered into the grave there was an outpouring of grief from her many devoted and dedicated Staff, an expression of their affection and loss of a dear friend
Her work goes on
Mary has touched the lives of thousands of people in the course of her life She was known and revered by many missionaries throughout the world, for her wonderful support for the poor and the many missionary projects she assisted. She was twice honoured by the Holy See for her outstanding work. She received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1978 and Dame of St. Gregory in 1996
Her loyal staff and supporters will ensure that her work will continue. She has left a legacy for which all can be proud. Like her great mentor, St. Teresa of Lisieux, Mary never made it to the mission fields but in every sense she will be remembered as a great missionary and a truly remarkable woman.
Joe Mc Menamin. M.Afr
Fr. Eddie Brady, has worked in western Tanzania for many years. Tanzania has offered shelter to millions of people ? eeing from war and terror in Burundi, Rwanda and RDC. This is the story of one such refugee. Omari said in his story: I was very happy at home in the Congo with my father, brother, and sisters. I was only twenty one years of age and I planned to marry a beautiful girl called Asha. Life was all joy for me.
Then early one morning our village was attacked by raiders. They had guns, hooks and knives. They killed many people including my father and brother. They set fire to our huts. I escaped with some others into the bush. We ran for our lives.
We could hear women and children screaming as the slaughter continued. I thought of my sisters and my girlfriend Asha. I thought of going back to look for them, but I knew I would be killed if I did so. For three days and nights we wandered though the bush. We had no food. Finally we came to a river which we crossed and arrived in Tanzania.
We were taken to a refugee camp, given some food and started building a small mud walled hut. In the camp there were 100.000 refugees from Congo. We were given maize and beans as food but it was only enough for one meal a day. I had lost my shoes and my clothes were torn but I could not get anything as there were no supplies. I worried about those left behind. I heard that one of my sisters had been seen alive but there was no news of the rest of my family or of Asha, my girl friend.
Life in the camp is very difficult. We are always hungry. We cannot leave the camp and we are not allowed to cultivate.
There was very little firewood for cooking. One of the biggest difficulties is lack of news about our relatives and not knowing what has happened to them.
The one thing that keeps us going is prayer. We pray together every morning and evening. We pray for everyone including those who killed our families. Omari says he says a special prayer for his girl friend Asha that she may still be alive. Above all we pray for peace. I depend on prayer to give us the grace to continue to live in love and to forgive our enemies.
Omari continues and says that every one of us, Hutu-Tutsi-Congolese want to be happy living together. The wars are caused by certain people wanting power and wealth and to oppress others just like Hitler and Idi Amin. Even if they get power, it does not last long but they are replaced by other tyrants and the cycle of killing goes on and the peace loving poor are killed or forced out of their homes to flee to other countries.
Omari could tell a lot more. The plight of refugees all over the world is horrific. As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Paschal mysteries, maybe we could make a special effort to live in harmony and peace with one another. To pray earnestly for that miracle that is Jesus gift to us, His Peace which he wanted all people to enjoy. We could also help in whatever way we can the Aid Agencies who do such a lot of work for refugees and displaced people in very dif? cult circumstances.
Eddie Brady, M.Afr
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA AFRICAN ROOTS
Barack Hussein Obama 44th President of USA
The election of a new president of the USA means that we in Ireland examine closely his roots to see if there is an Irish connection. In the case of the new president of the USA we did of course find a connection on his mothers side. The people of Moneygall, Co. Offaly claim him proudly him as one of their own or may be a short way up the road in Co. Tipperary I mean doesnt his name start with an O?
However he is much closer to his African roots. His Father was from Kenya, from the Luo people who live near Lake Victoria. His Grandmother still lives there. The Luo language is a Nilotic language which I understand it is very dif? cult to learn by an outsider. The Luo depended a lot on fishing as their form of sustenance but in colonial times they embraced educations and many found work in the civil administration both before and after independence which was achieved on 12th December 1963. As part of an aid package, the USA administration offered study scholarships to Kenyans to study in the USA and it was on one of these that the future Presidents father came to the USA. The new President has been much more exposed to the outside world than previous incumbents. He has spent 10 years in Indonesia and was born and brought up and educated in Hawaii. He is also the first president to be born outside mainland
His name is of some interest.
Barack, with Arabic roots (In Swahili Baraka) meaning blessing.
Hussein meaning handsome, good, beautiful. Hussein was a grandson of Mohammed. So a very old historical name.
Obama is a typical Luo name. No Irish connections whatsoever!
Keep him in your prayers.
Please Pray for our Friends who have Died
Mr. Sean McElroy, Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh
Mr. Ciaran O'Brolchain, Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey, and Dublin
Miss Sarah Keane, Barrack, Clogher, Ballina, Co. Mayo
Sister Ursula Corkery, Presentation Sisters, Crosshaven,
Co. Cork Mr. Michael Byrne, Cypress Grove Road, Templeogue, Dublin 6w
Mr Michael Fox, Creggan Road, Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone
Miss Peggy Grant, Hillcrest Park, Glasnevin, Dublin
Mr. Peter Gilleece, Terraroe, Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh
Miss Brigid Berryman, Garden St., Magherafelt, Co. Derry
Mrs. Cushla Murphy (Shaughnessy) Templeogue, Dublin
Mr. Vincent Brick, Kilfenora, Fenit, Co. Kerry
Mr. W. Starkey, Kings Reach, Ramsey, Isle of Man
Mrs. Catherine Coyne, Park, Athenry, Co. Galway
Mr. Donal Kerins, Church St., Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
Mr. Bernie Sullivan, Currygranny, Dromod, Co. Leitrim
Sr. Elizabeth McCarthy, Little Sisters of the Assumption, Finglas, Dublin
Miss Treasa Ni Dhuinn, Templeogue, Dublin Teresa McGovern, Chapel St., Newry, Co. Down
Mrs. Marie McGovern, Greenwood Drive, Newry, Co. Down
Miss Teresa Connolly, Tullycar Road, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Miss Clare Gallagher, Derry
Maureen Gallagher, Derry
Mr. Leo Gallagher, Letterkenny
Miss Nellie Fox, Kilmorey St. Newry, Co. Down
Mrs. Mary McSorley, Beragh, Co. Tyrone
Mr. Somers, Ballymore House, Curracloe, Co. Wexford
Mrs. Nora Quinlivan, Quin, Co. Clare
Miss Phyllis Willans, St. Mobhi Road, Dublin
Very Rev. Francis Kelly, PP, VF, Granard, Co. Longford
Miss Annie Tyrrell, Greek St., Dublin 7
Miss Bridie Cooke, Convent Road, Roscommon
Ms. Monica Strappe, Clonmel
Fr. Sean Breen PP, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare
Sr. Lucia Therese Cassidy, ex. Mater Hospital, Dublin. (Aunt of Fr. P.J. Cassidy M.Afr.)
Mr. Patrick McGeough, St. Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin.
Mrs. Shelia Traynor, Newbrook Avenue, Raheny, Dublin 5
Mrs. Ann Mannion, Belmont, Birr, Co. Offaly
Mrs. Brigid McDaid, Corgary, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
May they rest in peace with the Father
We thank all of you for your faithful support of our
PLEASE REMEMBER THE MISSIONS IN YOUR WILL
Our legal name is Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers).
A suitable formula is:
I give to the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) the sum of €........... free of
duty. And I declare that the Provincial of the Society who now resides at Cypress Grove,
Templeogue, Dublin 6W shall be in good discharge.
Carry on the good work you have been doing during your life by helping to spread the
Gospel after you have gone to the Father.