in Benin, Journey with ACN
An Evangelization Centre for Youth
In Benin, there is a constant thirst and need for the deepening of the Catholic faith. Whereas the north of Benin is largely Muslim and Christians are only a small minority, in the south of the country the population consists mainly of Christians and of members of traditional African pagan religions.
Voodoo is a widely practiced religion and superstition is widespread – even among many Christians.
Because of the situation, religious formation is one of the highest priorities for the local Church. For this reason, , a special school of evangelization was established in 2014 for young people aged between 18 and 30. The school is located in Cotonou, which is the economic and administrative – though not official – capital of the country and also the seat of government, and which sits in the far south of the country on the Atlantic coast. The project is is known as the Jeunesse Bonheur“ ( “Happy Youth”) project and is regularly supported by ACN. It is derived from the well-known “Jeunesse Lumière” project in France, initially established by the well-known priest, Daniel Ange. The youth involved spend a full year living their faith together, getting to know it better and discovering how to pass it on to others – and with joy.
Among their other activities, these young people go into the schools and visit the families, people in prison and the elderly, and share their faith with all who are willing to listen.
This school of evangelization makes the Church in Benin something of a pioneer in Africa. And since 2014 young people have been able to take part in its various programs. It has borne many visible and tangible fruits – for example, out of the young people who took part in the first four years of its program, no fewer than 12 have since entered the seminary and five, a religious order. Several have gone on to establish their own Christian families, while others have found work within the Church sphere and now play an active role in its life.
However, the school was initially established on a provisional basis and in temporary conditions doing nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of those involved, but over the long term the centre does need suitable and appropriate premises, so that it can accommodate more participants. It is to be expected that in future young people will come from other African countries to take part in the program. With this possibility in mind, a new building is being built progressively, in stages. The first section, which is currently under construction, is the accommodation block for the young men.
ACN has promised $75,000 towards the realization of the project! We would love to have your help in fulfilling it!
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