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 vlcsnap JuneIn this sixth issue of our news magazine, we will go:
1- in northern Nigeria, more precisely in the diocese of Kontagora, where for several months we have been witnessing an upsurge in violence. Violence that prevents the smooth running of pastoral activities.
2- Then in Spain: where since September of last year, the Archdiocese of Madrid has entrusted to the SMA, a new parish, in the suburbs of Madrid. A parish on the verge of closing, but which, thanks to the SMA, is in the process of being reborn.
3- And to close our news, we are going to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to discover the “Stap verder project”. A project set up by the SMA and the “Stichting Pastoraal Diaconaal Centrum Bijlmermeer”, to help people without papers and homeless.

 Nigeria

How to continue the work of evangelization amidst insecurity is the worried of the Christian community of the diocese of Kontagora.
A diocese that has lately seen an upsurge of violence, making it difficult first for priests and sisters to reach out to the people of that part of Nigeria and also for the Christians to live out and practice their faith.

Bishop Bulus Dauwa Yohanna - Bishop of Kontagora:
In recent time, the insecurity situation has escalated and this has affected our ministry here: going to villages in order to celebrate mass and do some other pastoral activities. you are not sure that if you go the outstations, you will come back or that, you will even find some people in those places. In Kontagora now we have some of our members who escaped from their villages; and they are coming to the town looking for a place to stay. we are not prepared for this; we have no place for them and yet we still have to look after them. No provision is made for this.
So, the insecurity is really affecting our work here; since our work of evangelization involve moving from one place to another, village to village, doing home visitation apart from celebrating the sacrament. And our schools and our health centers run by the sisters are presently not functioning, because of the insecurity and the fear of being kidnapped.

Rev. Sr. Moriah Jacob, OLA – Superior of the Ola Community of Papiri: 
Bandits come in to threaten the poor ones, collecting their cattle, their money; whatever they have they collect, even their bikes. In Papyri precisely we received a letter, about 2 weeks to Easter, threatening us to bring money, if not they will kill us and kill our children. After a while, school continued and we got another letter telling us that they will be coming on the 19th of May. SO, we did not need to wait for them. we sent the children home to their families and we left that particular place. we have to leave that place and the children will miss us so much, because there are no schools here not even a government school.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel AMBI - Assistant Parish Priest of St. Peter’s, Bobi:
Most of our people here are what we can refer to as the most abandoned. They are rendered homeless; they don't have anything to do; some do not even have something to eat. Many are being killed and nothing is being done. So, we are praying and hoping that people will come to our aid, will support us in order to encourage our people who are passing through this difficult time, so that in the end, God's mission can continue, especially to the most abandoned who are living here, who are the center of our charism.

Spain

Located in the outskirts of Madrid, St. "François de Paul" is a parish entrusted to the SMA by the Archdiocese of Madrid. It is the very first parish entrusted to the Sma in Spain. A parish that brings a lot of joy to the SMA Fathers for the opportunity given them to serve.

Rev. Fr. Marcos DELGADO - Provincial Superior of Spain:
We are happy to have been granted this parish in September. The choice to ask for a parish in Madrid came from the observation that we have made from provinces like Italy and France which have a parish. I was able to visit the parish of Lyon and I was amazed. And also, since there are many of us here in Madrid now, we thought it was time to ask for a parish. We asked for a suburb of Madrid. For us it is an important choice; a choice that commits us. The reason is also pastoral. We have put together a team: Father Saturnino, the vice provincial is the parish priest; we also have Fr. Raymond and Fr. Victor. At the moment we are at the beginning but we are happy to render this service.

A joy which is equally shared by the Christians faithful, who are happy of the presence of the SMA Fathers.

Rev. P. Raymond KOFFI - Assistant Parish Priest at “San Francesco de Paula”:
There are some parishioners who are happy to see us here; to see us, because there is really a lack of priests. Before we came, this parish was meant to be closed; and so, I believe that the diocese sees us in a positive light, because it sees that our presence helps this parish to come back to life. There were enough difficulties; difficulties that we face and that we try to correct, while bringing in some SMA spirit.

An Sma spirit that is not only limited to the territories of Africa but to all the territories where there are Africans of origin.

Rev. Fr. Victor AZIABLI - Councillor of the Province of Spain:
Personally, when I joined the SMA, the mission was said to be in Africa and then we were told that it was with Africans and subsequently we understood that there is also a mission here. Mission from its definition which means to be sent. So, it is the church that sends us to do this work in this neighborhood where there are more immigrants than Spanish: we have immigrants from Latin America but also from Africa. And most Africans feel welcome here because many of them speak English or French.
To say something else, we should not think that it is only in Africa that there is mission. Where we are, we are still missionaries. It is above all the heart and the method of approach that are essential; without forgetting that we must be with the poor and the most abandoned; and this is the reason why we even chose this place, to be able to live our charism.
The mission continues as long as there is a will and we are the will in this neighborhood. 

Netherlands

The Sma charism has always been to be at the service of Africa and the Africans wherever in the world they would live.
In the southeast of Amsterdam, the African community living there originates mainly from Ghana or Nigeria; but also, for many other countries. The Sma missionaries based in Amsterdam are very active in supporting documented and undocumented individuals or whole families.

Rev. Fr. Frans Mulders - Board Member of « Stap Verder »: 
We are now cooperating with oecumenical diagonal center which was initiated by some of the christian denominations in this part of Amsterdam. The project which we call “Stap Verder” or “one step ahead”.

Rev. Fr. Augustin N’dah - Parish priest of the Francophone community of Begijnhof:
I was really emotionally involved. I really felt challenged by the situations I met and the problems my brothers and sisters from Africa and from other side of the world share with me.

The Pastoral project for West Africans in the oecumenical “Stap Verder” center provides consultation and caters to the needs of the undocumented in regards to housing, feeding, clothing, immigration procedures. It is a voluntary consultation team that includes social workers and lawyers also. All services at the center are free.
People without a home can take showers, wash clothes, use internet. Women groups learn sewing, making jewelry or making bags for sale.
The Sma also support the French-speaking community of Baranov catholic church and the Filipino community catholic church they also host a project for the development of lay missionaries.

Rev. Fr. Frans Mulders - Board Member of « Stap Verder »:
You may know very well that the Dutch province has a long history of working very closely with lay missionaries, with the associates; forming and sending them on mission.and Liesbeth GLASS coordinates our center of missionary participation which we now call, formation center, preparing lay missionaries to go on mission, to work very closely with our Sma missions wherever they are.

The SMA Formation Centre for lay missionaries - recruits and provides formation of laity, to be sent out to SMA missions in Africa for the period of 4 years. The formation takes one year and includes a visit to the country in Africa. Dutch lay missionaries are sent out to Liberia, Tanzania and Ghana.

General Information

1- All SMA Unit Superiors and their Councils attended two-day-ongoing formation on Child protection and Canonical guidelines for overall administration. Fr. Waclaw  Dominik, the person in charge of the Integrity of ministry office and Fr. Joseph Koonamparambil from Propaganda Fide were the resource people.
2- On Saturday May 22, took place at the SMA Formation House in Nairobi, the diaconal ordination of 6 of our students. A ceremony presided by Bishop John Oballa Owaa, bishop of the diocese of Ngong, Kenya.
3- Since the first week of last May, François de Paul, Rozario and Dominik who were on different visit are now back at the General House in Rome.
4- The Irish Province Extraordinary Provincial Council took place over three days between the 10th and 12th of May. Due to Covid-19 restrictions in place in in Ireland the event was held via Zoom. In all 20 people attended including representatives living in Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria as well as SMA’s living in the five SMA Communities spread around Ireland. During the meeting the participants heard presentations relating to such issues as Child Safeguarding and reports from the priests in Africa. They also discussed the work of the Irish Province in the areas of Justice, Communications, fund-raising etc. and made plans for how to advance these ministries over the coming three years.