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 Welcome to this information magazine “SMA News” devoted to the news of the Society of African Missions in the world.

The titles of this edition:

- Benin Republic: Priestly Ordination of Rev. Roberto Carlos.

- Ireland: Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the class of 1970.

- Ivory Coast: celebration of the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first Missionaries.

Benin Republic

We are opening this monthly information with Benin Republic, where there was the priestly ordination of Rev. Roberto Calos, by imposition of hands of Bishop Martin Adjou Moumouni, bishop of the diocese of N’dali.

Member of the Province of Spain, the Rev. Fr. Roberto Carlos is the very first SMA Priest of Colombian origin.

A report by Fr. Habib Akpata.

Comment:

- It was with a cheering crowd, a community in prayer and in the presence of many confreres that Fr Roberto Carlos was ordained. It is in the community of St. Pierre of Kalalé, which is celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year, that he wished to receive the priestly ministry by the laying on of hands of Bishop Martin Adjou Moumouni who expressed his joy at having ordain his first Priest SMA.

Speaker: Bishop Martin Adjou Moumouni

It was with great joy that I accepted the invitation to ordain an SMA priest, and I tell you, this is the very first time. And therefore, you can imagine with what care, what enthusiasm, I really wanted to give myself this celebration. So, I say thank you to the Lord; thanks to the SMA for giving me this opportunity. And I tell you, I said it on the occasion of the homily; well, in our midst here there is very little opportunity for ordination, because there is very little vocation. So, you gave me the opportunity to exercise my episcopate, I really say a big thank you, thank you to you.

Comment:

Among the confreres present, we could note the presence of the Provincial of Spain, of which Fr. Roberto Carlos is a member, as well presence of the Superior of the province of Benin-Niger where the ordination took place. They share with us their impression.

Speaker: P. Marcos Delgado

We have just celebrated this ordination of our confrere Roberto Carlos. And for each one of us, it is a great joy after this journey, sometimes very long. And as he says, it was God who was looking for him, and He found him. And we can only give thanks to God. And besides, we want to say thank you to God, because Fr Roberto Carlos found the SMA; and thanks to the Society of African Missions, he discovered this magnificent continent. And it is a joy for us that he can continue to work in the footsteps of our founder, here in Africa.

Speaker: P. Désiré Salako

We can’t give thanks enough for what God has done for us. The first SMA priest of Colombian origin was ordained in our province, here in Benin. It’s a great thanksgiving. May there be many other Colombian SMA priests after him.

Comment:

Fr. Roberto Carlos, the 30th of the SMA Priests of this year, thus comes to close the spiral of ordinations for this year. He is assigned to accomplish his priestly ministry in the parish ...

Voice Over: In December 2020 The SMA Irish Province had celebrations in all the SMA Houses in Ireland for the Golden Jubilee of the ordination class of 1970

Ireland

Speaker: Fr. Malachy

On the 16th December 1970, 16 members of the SMA Irish Province were ordained Priests in St Colman’s Cathedral in Newry, Co.Down.

By the autumn of 1971, these new priests were on their way to Africa to begin their missionary journeys.

Speaker: Fr. John Dunne

It is extraordinary for me how my life unfolded as a priest in the SMA. Going to Africa in 1971… to see places we had never seen, to learn Languages we never knew, to meet people we did not understand… so how that unfolded… is the miracle really for me.

Speaker: Fr. Malachy

And their journeys led to their involvement in such ministries as teaching, pastoral work, Church and SMA leadership and formation – the training of future priests in Africa and Ireland.

Speaker: Fr. Colum O’Shea

I would consider… Way back in 1987 when we started up the formation programme in Ibaden, admitted Africans for the first time – I was involved there, that was a great time and a great time to be with the SMA and at this stage looking back, I can see many of former students who are now missionaries in Africa and that is very satisfying.

Speaker: Fr. John Dunne

I could say that the dream of the founder, somehow was fulfilled a bit in our own lives and certainly now is being fulfilled in that we have a future as SMA in the membership coming from Arica, Asia, India, Philippines and different countries in Europe still.

Speaker: Fr. Malachy

Today we want to thank God for each one of them, for the blessings bestowed on them, and for all he achieved in and through them. Our warmest congratulations to them all and we remember those of that class who have since died.

Dan O’Brien and Gerard O’Donaghue

Côte d’ivoire

And now we are going to Côte d’ivoire where last Dec 06, the province celebrated the 125 years of the arrival of the 1st Missionaries and by extension the 125 years of the presence of the SMA in this country of West Africa.

A report by Donald Zagore

- Comment:

October 1895 - October 2020, it is now 125 years since Fathers Alexandre Hammard and Emile Bonhomme arrived on the shores of the Côte d’ivoire to initiate the work of evangelization. 125 years that celebrates the church of Côte d’ivoire. The seed sown by its pioneers and in which so many men and women from various horizons participated have marked the paths of this flourishing church of Côte d'Ivoire.

This is what recalled Rev. Fr. Arthur Kola, in his homily during the celebration organized by the province of C.I on December 6th.

- Speaker: Rev. Fr. Arthur Kola

My thoughts go to your Society, the African Missions which, from a handful of men, have now hundreds of priests, houses, parishes and social works. And my thoughts go above all to the Ivorian church born from your preaching of the good news of the gospel. I think of so many sons of God: of bishops, of priests, men and women religious, fruits of this missionary labor. A grateful memory goes to all the catechists who have been and still are an indispensable instrument for evangelization and the work of inculturation of the Gospel.

- Comment:

This thanksgiving saw the participation of SMA confreres present in the province, Ola sisters, faithful from various parishes and members of the SMA friends, two of whom, Mr. Asaf koably konan and Mrs. Yeo Temena Irma, were received as honorary members of the SMA; the very first in the history of the province.

It was a celebration full of joy and gaiety.