The pioneer priests of the Society of African Missions arrived in the Central African Republic in September 1977. They began their work in Saint-Jean parish at Galabadja, in Saint Pierre parish at Gobongo and in Saint Pierre Claver at Bria. Then they opened a formation house in Bimbo, worked in Begoua and in the diocese of Berberati. It was in 2006 that the SMA got a regional house in Bangui with the approval of the General Council.

In the beginning, there was an exterior building existed in front of the door; it was not used in any way. Thus, the Central African District Training Council decided to renovate it and to make it available to the people that they could attend the mass every day. We applied to the Small Grants Fund in Ireland; the Provincial Superior and his Council agreed to finance our project to renovate and make the building as a chapel. The work began on April 1 and was successfully completed on May 12.

Cardinal Dieudonné NZAPALAINGA, Archbishop of Bangui, came to bless and to open the chapel with the Eucharistic celebration on Wednesday June 12. After the introduction to the Mass, Father Francis BARKA-NADO, the Superior of the District of Central Africa gave a welcoming speech in which he appreciated the sacrifice made by the Cardinal and all the others efforts for that day. In union with those of the members of the SMA to thank God for his kindness towards us and especially for the new chapel.

Fr. Francis took this opportunity to inform the Archbishop and the Assembly that from September 2020 onwards SMA students from Central Africa will stay in Bimbo for their philosophical studies instead of going to Lomé according to the decision SMA 2019 General Assembly.

The first reading was taken from the book of the prophet Nehemiah 8: 1-12; Psalm 18 and the reading of the Gospel were from Matthew 5: 17-19. In his homily, the Archbishop placed special emphasis on the true and good use of the new house of God established by the SMA Fathers so that it would be more useful to all.

He also emphasized the importance of applying the Word of God at the center of our lives: we come to church or chapel to listen to the Word of God and live it concretely, to be the salt and light of our society. We should always learn to place God before all our plans or plans of life; only in this way that we will have real life in its fullness. After the communion, a document signed by the Archbishop was read: he recognized that a chapel built by the SMA Fathers in Bangui was blessed by the Cardinal on June 12 according to the Roman Catholic rite; it is placed under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The document indicates that the chapel would be called "Our Lady of the Missions".

Before the final blessing, Fr. Joseph TANGA-KOTI, Vice Superior of the CDF, warmly thanked the Archbishop of Bangui, the Provincial Council of Ireland and all those who contributed in one way or another (workers) to make this possible. At the end of Mass, an image of Mary drawn on the wall of the main entrance of the chapel was unveiled. Around the image, it’s written: "Our Lady of the Missions, pray for us". After the family photos, all the participants were invited to share a small refreshment before returning to their different places. We want to thank the Lord that everything went on well, thanks to the Province of Ireland and all those have supported.

Charles sma