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The Call to Preach

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The Missionaries of Africa were founded over 130 years ago, for the Evangelization of Africa. They continue today to remain faithful to their mission to share the life and mission of Jesus, and to give witness to the Gospel in Africa...

Our founder, Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, from the very beginning, wanted us to be "apostles ... and nothing but apostles". In other words: men of prayer and action.

The dictionary definition of the word "Preach" is to proclaim. The Missionaries of Africa have always been committed to proclaiming the Christian Faith, by preaching it, teaching it, but more importantly by witnessing it, daily, in the way we live our lives.

One of the most original insights of Lavigerie is indisputably the way he envisaged the preaching and teaching of the Christian Faith. He held a doctorate in History from the Sorbonne in Paris and drew upon the ancient practices of the Church, insisting on lengthy instruction for all those desiring to prepare for baptism.

"I have decided that the ancient discipline of the Church, which has never been formally abrogated, should be vigorously adhered to by all our missionaries." (Letter to his missionaries of Equatorial Africa in 1879.) He was a visionary, and much of the advice that he gave his missionaries was similar to today's Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) which is familiar to many in the Church today.

To this day the Missionaries of Africa have remained faithful to that ruling of the founder, and to that tradition.

Successes:

Building the Church

In some countries in Africa where the Missionaries of Africa have worked, about 60% of the population are Catholic (Rwanda, Burundi). It has been noted by several authors (eg Pillip Jenkins "The Future of Christendom") that the growth of the Church in Africa is so dynamic that it may represent the future of Catholicism. In contrast to the United States and Western Europe vocations to the priestshood and the religious life are on the increase, moreover the average age of priests and religious declines each year, the number of religious communities, parishes and dioceses is increasing each year.

Evangelization

Despite this growth there are still millions of African who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Missionaries of Africa are turning over to the African clergy the care of those Churches where the Gospel has been heard and are devoting themselves to those who have not heard the Gospel message.

Christian Development of the Laity

Notwithstanding the increase in African vocations, a very large percentage of African Christians cannot celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday and feast day. In these areas the Church is led by lay leaders who gather the people to pray. They effectively run the Church in their villages. The education and support of these lay leaders is a priority for the Missionaries of Africa and the entire Church in Africa. Also a priority is the deepening of the Faith among the educated and elite classes in Africa.

Small Christian Communities

The are sometimes called "Small Christian Communities", "Basic Christian Communities" whatever title is give to them the reality is the same. These are groups of adults who gather together in groups of 12, 15 or 20 people at the local village level. They read and reflect upon the Word of God, and share with one another the fruit of their reflection thus helping one another to deepen their faith and understanding of Holy Scritpure. But they do not stop there, for inspired by the Word of God they look around them to see what they can do to help the people of their own villages, how to help the sick, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, even going so far as to engage in self-help projects.

Related Projects

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