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SEMINARIANS

 

ACN Project of the Week – Seminarians need help in Romania

15.05.2019 in ACN, ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Romania, SEMINARIANS

ACN Project of the Week in Romania

Seminarians are in need of us

The Greek-Catholic diocese of Oradea continues to rejoice at the high number of new priestly vocations. One of the most important contributing factors is the intensive family apostolate in the diocese. It has often been observed that families who play an active part in Church life, who truly live their faith, can provide very fertile soil for future priestly and religious vocations.

 

In 2017, the seminary in Oradea celebrated its 225th anniversary. In the 20th century, however, this long history was brutally interrupted by the communist persecution of the Church. And, it was not until after political changes were made, that young men were again able enter the seminary. A new beginning was far from easy – above all from an economic point of view.

ACN has been helping the reconstituted seminary in Oradea since 1993. And it still urgently needs our help because the immense poverty in this diocese.

Father Anton Cioba, the rector of the seminary, wrote to us. “Without help from abroad, we could not fulfill our mission. We continue to depend on your support and we thank you with all our hearts for the help you have already given us in the past. In doing so you are helping us to experience the universality of the Catholic Church. May God bless you and all our kind benefactors.”

 


We are helping the seminary once again with the training of its 54 seminarians with total of $48,600.

Project of the Week in Peru – Help for training in the Amazon region

02.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, FORMATION, Peru, SEMINARIANS

Success story in Peru

Help for the training of 19 seminarians in the Amazon region

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 17/00189
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Begining course in philosophy and theology with Mgr. José Luis Astigarraga (Bishop emeritus of Yurimaguas – died on 20.01.2017).

 

 

The apostolic vicariate of Yurimaguas in the east of Peru is situated for the most part in the Amazon rainforest, in an area that is home to various different indigenous groups.

The 224,000 or so Catholics in this region live scattered over an area greater than many of the smaller European countries. There are just 25 priests to care for them, all of whom face long, difficult and dangerous journeys as part and parcel of their mission.

Consequently, one of the greatest needs of the vicariate is for more priests to help in the task of ministering to the Catholic faithful, bringing them the sacraments and caring for them pastorally.

And so the vicariate has established a vocations apostolate, which is already bearing fruit. There, 19 young men are currently preparing for ordination. Seven of them are still in their two preparatory years at the propaedeutic seminary of Yurimaguas, while the remaining 12 are already studying at the seminary in the diocese of Callao, near the capital, Lima.

PERU / YURIMAGUAS 
Training of 23 seminarians in the diocesan seminary Cristo Salvador, 2017. Photo: Admission ad ordines with Mgr. José Luis del Palacio.

In years gone by, missionaries braved all the adversities of the region and proclaimed the Good News of the Gospel here. But today, their numbers have dwindled and the new, home-grown vocations are coming from the Peruvian people in the parishes they once founded. Being born and brought up in the region, and along with being  ideally suited to working in these climatic conditions as it is their home, they are also linguistically and culturally more apt to working among their own indigenous peoples of the rainforest for they are more likely to be aware of their needs and how best to support them .

We are only too happy to support these 19 young men on their path to the priesthood and have promised $8,530 towards the cost of their training.

ACN’s Project of the Week: Formation of three priests in Lebanon

21.02.2018 in ACN PROJECTS, FORMATION, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Lebanon, Middle East, SEMINARIANS

Lebanon

Formation of three priests from the archdiocese of Baalbek

 

Not so long ago Lebanon was the only country in the Middle East with a Christian majority. In recent years this has changed, however, with increasing numbers of Christians leaving the country. Already during the terrible civil war in the country between 1975 and 1990, around 700,000 Christians left the country, and the exodus is continuing today. Now Christians make up only around 34% of the total population, and among younger people aged 25 or younger only a quarter are Christians.

 

In the Maronite archdiocese of Baalbek, in the northeast of the country, the situation is still more critical, for here Christians account for barely 5% of the population. This is a poor region, close to the border with Syria, where the situation is insecure and people are afraid. Those who can do so leave the country and seek a new life elsewhere, in Canada or Australia, for example. Others move away to the capital, Beirut. Only a strong Church that can provide spiritual, pastoral, social and economic support for its faithful can stem the tide of this mass exodus. Clearly, well-trained, young priests play a key role here.

Lebanon, Baalbek-Mar: Formation of 3 seminarians studying at University of Holy Ghost Kasslik – Khalil Berqachi, Chadi Khoury, Marc Rahme

At present there are three young men from the Maronite archdiocese of Baalbek who are training for the priesthood. Archbishop Hanna Rahme has a particular concern for these young men, but lacks the necessary resources. He has turned to Aid to the Church in Need for help, so that they can be given a solid formation and be able to stand by their people as true shepherds. He writes: “I am sure you will be open to this request, especially since the Lord has already blessed us with many good priestly vocations, men who are already working with great apostolic zeal in our diocese. Permit me to say that I am counting on your goodwill and on the missionary kindness of your benefactors.”

We have no doubt that our generous benefactors will rally to the support of these future priests, and so we have already promised the Archbishop 10 500 dollars.

Thank you for your donation !


 

ACN’s Project of the week – Argentina – Scholarship funding for 12 seminarians

31.01.2018 in ACN PROJECTS, Adaptation Mario Bard, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Argentina, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, SEMINARIANS

Argentina

Scholarship  funding for  12 seminarians

Miles Christi – a religious community of priests, was founded in 1994 in Argentina. The “Soldiers of Christ’’ – the name in English – speaks something different from what the world has to offer. The vow of the members stipulates that they should reject a “vulgar, empty and useless life”. Instead, they must ask themselves, as they turn to Jesus Christ’s teachings and Cross : What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What must I do for Christ ?

Their particular charism lies in the pastoral care of young people and adults, and the goal of their apostolate is the “sanctification of the lay people.”. One example is by organising spiritual retreats for different groups that they have eshtablished.

As the congregation grows,  there are presently 12 young seminarians. In 2016, two young men took their first, temporary vows and were clothed in the habit of the order. The Miles Christi formation house is situated close from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lujàn, held in high honour by the Argentinian people. It was consecrated in April 1987
by Pope Saint John Paul II. 

The economic crisis in the country and the high inflation create a challenge to this growing Congregation. Their superiors are concerned about covering their cost. How will they be able to support these young men on their journey? To achieve this goal, they are hoping very much that our benefactors will come to their aid. So, we have already promised them 3 600 dollars in your name.

Just click if you want to give to a similar project.

ACN Project of the Week – Training of seminarians in Zambia

01.11.2017 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Journey with ACN, SEMINARIANS, Zambia

Zambia

Training eight seminarians in the diocese of Mongu

 

Zambia – a landlocked country in southern Africa – is fortunate to enjoy a certain degree of stability, contrary to many other African countries. The country still faces numerous challenges, however, including poverty, poor infrastructure and a 12% alarmingly high rate of HIV/AIDS, resulting in numerous orphaned children.

 

One third of the population are Catholic and a little over half belong to various Protestant denominations or ecclesial communities. Almost 15% follow pagan animist religions. Until recently, Muslims have made up only a considerably small minority; but in recent years there has been increased activity and an increased spread of Islam.

 

One of the major problems now lies in the spread of fundamentalist sects, which tend to spring up with simplistic and populist messages. For example people – who are for the most part very poor – are often enticed with promises such as: “If you join us, you will be rewarded even in this world, and the more you pray the richer you will become.” Often even the Catholic faithful are lured away, and so the Church in Zambia is very much aware of the need to intensify its pastoral work, to keep the Catholic faithful from easily falling prey to false promises. Crucial to this strategy, is the presence of more Catholic priests.

 

In great need of priests

When, in the past, the Church in Zambia consisted mainly of foreign missionaries, they were able to call on material support from their home countries.  But, today the Church has become more of a home-grown local church, led by native African priests. The young men who respond to the call of God and who are now training for the priesthood certainly do not look forward to a comfortable life here; instead, many of them will be serving in remote rural areas where there is no electricity or running water and where they are often long way away from their brother priests.

 

Currently, eight young men from the diocese of Mongu are training for the priesthood in a diocese west of the country covering a vast territory of around almost 90,000 km². It has 13 parishes, each as large in area as a diocese would be in other parts of the world. More priests are urgently needed because wherever the faithful are deprived of the regular support of a priest, the sects tend to have an easy time of it. Needless to say, the local Church is poor, and a solid and thorough priestly formation takes many years, and costs money.

 

ACN is happy to support the formation of these eight young seminarians and has promised a contribution on $11,600 for this academic year. 

If you would like to contribute to supporting seminarians in a similar project funded by ACN, please click to donate!

 

 

A short video on our Youtube Channel from a similar diocese in Zambia – thanks to  CRTN.

 


 

ACN Project of the Week – A new dormitory for the seminary in Conakry

30.03.2017 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Africa, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, CONSTRUCTION, Guinea, Journey with ACN, SEMINARIANS

Guinea                                                                                   

A new dormitory for the seminary in Conakry

Guinea is an overwhelmingly Islamic country in which roughly 85% of the population of 11.6 million people are Muslim. Christians make up only around 8% in this country, while the remainder of the population adhere to the traditional African religions.

For decades, this country of West Africa was dominated by the regime of dictator Ahmed Sékou Touré, who ruled from 1958 until his death in 1984. After his death, the Senegalese newspaper Le Soleil spoke of the end of what it had once called the “longest and most murderous dictatorship on the continent.” Torture and executions were an everyday occurrence, and thousands of people disappeared without trace.

The Catholic Church, which opposed the regime, was forced into silence and Archbishop Raymond-Maria Tchidimbo of Conakry spent almost 9 years in prison where he suffered torture. His successor, the present Cardinal Robert Sarah, was on the dictator‘s death list, though in fact Sékou Touré died before he was able to carry out his plans.

During these years of dictatorship, the Catholic Church was barely able to develop. To this day, it still only has three dioceses. For many years, the seminarians training for the priesthood had to study in neighbouring Senegal and Mali.

The Catholic Church built its own seminary, the doors opened for the academic year 2012/2013 to new seminarians in Kendoumaya in the Archdiocese of Conakry. The seminary is named after Pope Benedict XVI and serves the seminarians from all three dioceses of the country.

In 2014, there were serious setbacks because of the Ebola epidemic resulting in the delay of opening the academic year. The seminary, although still in its infancy, managed to cope even with this challenge.

Until now, the seminarians have only been able to study philosophy here. For their theology studies, they have had to travel to Bamako in Mali. This is all about to change…

Completion of the construction of the chapel for the Grand Seminary Benedict XVI in Kendoumaya

Aid to the Church in Need has provided substantial support for the new seminary. We are contributing $58,000 for the construction of an additional dormitory wing for the theology students; we are also giving $43,500 for the training of the 69 seminarians to help them reach their goal of becoming priests, to be of service to the Church and the African population.

 

Would you like to give to a similar project?  Simply click below to donate!

 


 

ACN Project of the Week – Training 22 seminarians in South Sudan

15.03.2017 in ACN Canada, ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Journey with ACN, Religious formation, Religious men, SEMINARIANS, South Sudan, Sudan

South Sudan                                                                

Training for 21 seminarians in the diocese of Tombura-Yambio

South Sudan is the youngest country in the world today.

In 2011, when the predominantly Christian and animist South of the country finally declared its independence from the overwhelmingly Muslim North after a quarter of a century of bloody civil war, the change was initially followed with great rejoicing. But, the joy did not last. In 2013 South Sudan slipped back into a new civil war.

Once again – as in so many other countries around the world – the Church is the only institution in which the suffering people can place their trust.

Pictures of seminarians at the minor seminary St. John Paul II in Tombura Yambio

With an area of over 81,000 km² the diocese of Tombura-Yambio is almost the size of Austria! The shortage of priests here is acute; many parishes do not have any priest at all. But even where there is a priest, he has to minister to an area so vast and with so many remote and widely scattered villages that the faithful in the local communities only rarely receive the Sacraments. As a result, many Catholics die without the last rites of the Church, many children remain unbaptized and the ordinary faithful are left longing to attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion.

Once again – as in so many other countries around the world – the Church is the only institution in which the suffering people can place their trust.

Therefore, the most pressing concern of the diocese is to provide its future priests with a good and solid formation. For every new vocation is a sign of hope for the future. So it is a source of great joy that there are 21 young men preparing for ordination right now,  in the diocesan seminary – the downside, however, is that the Bishop has no resources to fund their training. So often the parents of the seminarians have nothing. They have lost everything due to war, being uprooted and expelled from their homes and have even watched their houses burn to the ground and lost their few possessions to looting.

A seminarian at St. John Paul II in Tombura Yambio

“We are turning to our fellow Christians, hoping you can help us to train up our seminarians, so that they can become priests and serve the suffering people in our country, and at the same time become promoters of peace,” writes the rector of the seminary to us. And his bishop supports his request with these memorable words: “I do not want to see the future of the Church crumble in my hands.” He is also asking for our help.  We have promised him 28,275 dollars

 If you would like to support this or a similar project – simply click here to donate!  Thank you!

 


 

 

Project of the Week – Russia

07.09.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, SEMINARIANS

Russia

Ecumenical support for Orthodox seminarians

 

There are 183 young men at the Russian Orthodox seminary in Stavropol currently training for the priesthood. Aid to the Church in Need has for many years now maintained close contact  with this seminary and here too, as in many other places, there are close and friendly relations between Catholic and Orthodox.

 

In addition to their academic studies, the seminarians also work with the elderly, the disabled and orphans, in order to gain some practical experience of pastoral work. By now in fact this has become a standard element of priestly formation, and not only in Stavropol.

 

 

Our support for the training of these future Orthodox priests in fact also indirectly helps the situation of the Catholics in Russia since, given the minority situation of the Catholics in the country, those Orthodox priests who are well disposed towards the Catholics and who maintain positive contacts with the Catholic Church can also become valuable assistants for the Catholic communities as well. Already, we can see this happening in many places and in fact, more and more such joint initiatives are being organized today.

 

Training aid to 118 students at the seminary in Stavropol for 2014-2015

Training aid to 118 students at the seminary in Stavropol 2014-2015 benefiting both Catholic and Orthodox

More about Stavropol

 

The city of Stavropol, which today has around 370,000 inhabitants, lies in the northern Caucasus Mountains and was originally established in the year 1777 as one of the 10 fortresses designed to defend the southern frontier of the Russian Empire. At that time it was quite common in Russia to give Greek names to newly founded towns and cities. In fact the name of the town ”Stavropol“ actually means “City of the Cross.“   Today the city is also known as the “Gateway to the Caucasus.”

 

The seminary in Stavropol was founded back in 1846. However, during Soviet times and since 1920, it was only open briefly, from 1946 to 1960. It was not until 1988 that it was finally reopened as a Spiritual School, and not until 1990 that it was given the status of a higher spiritual seminary.

 

The situation in this area is particularly difficult, owing to its geographical proximity to the “troubled” republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, where the situation is quite explosive. The results of the war in Chechnya and the internal conflicts between moderate Islamic groups and radical Wahhabi-influenced Muslims – conflicts either conducted locally or “exported” in the form of terrorist attacks – are leading to a continuing emigration of ethnic Russians, who are increasingly leaving even the southern, ethnically Russian heartland around Stavropol. The result has been a weakening of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the region, with once Christian villages now becoming Muslim and more and more mosques appearing. In the face of these developments the Orthodox Church in the Caucasus faces some particular challenges which have to be taken into account in the formation of its clergy.

 

 

Consequently, and at the request of the Moscow Patriarch, the seminarians in Stavropol have for some years now included Islamic studies in their formation. The seminary also offers its students the opportunity to learn Arabic. But the library also includes works of Catholic theology, which Aid to the Church in Need has helped to provide.

 

 

Aid to the Church in Need gives regularly for the formation of these future priests, and this year again we are helping with a contribution of 438 CAD for each of the 183 seminarians – which translates into a grand total of 80,154 CAD.

 donate

 

To donate to a similar project – please visit our secure donation page on line – or call us!

We love hearing from you.  We do what we do, thanks to you!

 


 

 

 

 

ACN PROJECT OF THE WEEK – COLUMBIA

24.08.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Columbia, SEMINARIANS

Colombia

Help for the training of Cúcuta future priests

The diocese of Cúcuta lies in the far north-east of Colombia bordering Venezuela. This year there is special reason for celebration, as the local diocesan seminary is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The rector of the seminary, Father José Abel Sierra Parra, has written to Aid to the Church in Need, saying: “We thank the Lord for the fact that during this time he has blessed us with numerous vocations, and also with individuals and associations that have helped us both spiritually and materially.”

Columbia: a formation under the protection of Our Lady.

Columbia: a formation under the protection of Our Lady.

 

For the new Bishop, Victor Manuel Ochoa Cadavid, it is equally a heartfelt wish that these young men be supported and helped in their vocation. He knows the seminary very well, and wants to develop the promotion of priestly vocations in his diocese even more.

At this time, 49 young men are attending the seminary and receiving training in order to one day serve as priests at God’s altar. Most of these young men are from poor families who have little in terms of the material means needed to help their sons on this path they were called to. This is why the seminary needs outside help to cover the cost of training these future priests.

And so the bishop has turned to Aid to the Church in Need, with a request to subsidize the cost of the training of his seminarians.

Because of our benefactors, we were able to promise him 17,762 CAD this year to help with the expense so that no priestly vocation need be lost simply for lack of money.

All the seminarians in Cúcuma pray regularly for all the generous benefactors who have helped them on their journey to the priesthood.donate

To donate to a similar project – please visit our secure donation page on line – or call us!

We love hearing from you.  We do what we do, thanks to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACN Interview : Diocese of Mopti, Central Mali

20.05.2016 in ACN France, by Emmanuelle Kaeser, CONSTRUCTION, Mali, SEMINARIANS
ACN Project: Financing for the construction of the church of Eze, Parish of Bandiagara

Interview 

Diocese of Mopti, Central Mali

 

 

Father Germain visited tge Aid to the Church in Need international offices on Thursday, 21 April 2016. Born in Mopti, central Mali, he studied at the Bakamako seminary, and is now exercises his ministry as the diocesan bursar of the diocese of Mopti, which serves a region of around 3 million people. Here is an interview by our colleague, Emmanuelle Kaeser.

 

Le père Germain Arama du diocèse de Mopti à Mali, visite l'AED International le 21 avril, 2013

Father Germain Arama, economist of the diocese of Mopti in Mali, visiting ACN International office in Königstein, 21th April 2016.

In a predominantly Muslim country, shaken by Tuareg rebellions and threatened by jihadist movements, how is the diocese of Mopti coping with the situation?

There has been considerable growth in the number of Catholics, and in the number of those receiving the Sacraments. For example, in 2015 there were 1,400 Baptisms, 674 Confirmations, almost as many First Holy Communions, and 140 marriages. To give you a gauge of comparison, in 2012 there were only between 600 and 700 baptisms!

 

What is the explanation for this growth?

Seeing the way the Christians live, and seeing what they do for others, people come to believe that they are following the right path. They say to themselves, “Well, there are not many of them, but what they are doing is truly praiseworthy.” As a result there are many conversions – in this direction: from the traditional religion of our ancestors to Catholicism. For example, one day a parish was helping the people to dig wells, here and there. When the people of the village realised that it was the Christians doing the work, the animist village chief converted to Catholicism, along with all his family: 10 people in all.

 

Is the growth in the number of Catholics not also partly a consequence of the Christians fleeing from the North towards the South?

I don’t think so. The Christians from the North who have fled here to us were not very numerous – five or six in Kidal, 20 or so in Timbuktu, 100 to 200 people in Gao. In any case, they were already baptised. So yes, they have swelled the number of Christian in our diocese a little, but not the number of baptisms.

 

Is the number of priests growing in proportion to the number of the baptized?

Proportionately no, one cannot say that, but in my diocese we have almost 30 priests today, of whom five were newly ordained last year, and if all goes well there will be four new ones in the next two years. And there are eight students in the major seminary as well. But in some regions there is still work to be done. You can still find areas where there are only four priests for 250 parishes or chapel communities!

 

What are the specific needs of your diocese?

We are already counting very much on your prayers, but we also have plenty of material needs. In all we have seven parishes, and each one has its own language. We have just established a new parish which doesn’t yet have any parish office. We need training programs. In some villages there are four or five magnificent mosques, while we, the Catholics, are still worshipping in some sort of a shed. We also need congregations of religious Sisters to come help us in our pastoral work, and for that of course we have to have somewhere for them to live.

 

Mopti - Mali: Il n'est pas facile d'avoir des photos car certains ont encore peur croyant qu'ils seront traités non pas comme des réfugiés mais comme des rébelles. Certains enfants malnutris sont accueillis dans notre centre de santé.

Emergency help for the Diocese of Mopti (Islamist insurgency): It is not easy to have photos because some still have fear, believing that they will be treated not as refugees but as of the rebels. Some malnourished children are welcomed in this health centre.

What are the areas where their work is especially appreciated?

They are particularly valuable to us for their work with women. We have a saying to the effect that “the home belongs to the woman.” Women have a particularly important role in regard to their children and their husbands. The woman gets up before anyone else and goes to bed after everyone else. To prevent her from becoming discouraged she needs to be supported. And then there are the young girls. In Sévaré, for example, where the sisters will set up their convent, once the harvest is over, there is not much going on in the villages, and so all the young girls come to look for work in the towns. They are easily exploited and catch all kinds of illnesses… they need support and guidance.

 

Are there any Catholics still left in the North of the country?

The few who are left are for the most part expatriates – French army personnel (from Operation Barkhane), members of the MINUSMA units, the UN Blue Helmets, people from Togo and Ivory Coast.

 

No Malian Catholics?

Yes, there are some. Those working in the administration, for example, or the teachers (for instance those in the Ecole Sainte Geneviève, in Gao). Last year there were more than 200 of them at Christmas time, and the same again at Easter. But I don’t think they’re there out of conviction. They’re working there because they have to. They need to earn their daily bread.

 

Can you confirm that Church hasn’t really re-established herself in the North since 2012 – neither in Gao, nor in Timbuktu – on account of the security situation. There are no resident priests there and no stable presence of the Church.

It’s true. It is a difficult situation. There are suicide bombers, and bombs left here and there. All pastoral work is on hold for the time being. The only priest who goes there from time to time to celebrate Mass, has to leave by plane with an armed guard. Or, if he goes by car, it takes him a whole day. It’s a distance of at least 600 or 700 km, and there is no possibility for him of residing there permanently. In the North, when you go to work there, you leave your family in the morning, but… are you going to be coming back there in the evening to see them again? Whether Christian or not, anybody can be caught up in the same violence . But we have to hope, I think, and call people to peace and reconciliation.

 

Seminarians formation Mopti 2014-2015

Seminarians in training: Mopti 2014-2015

However, some years ago there were Christian communities in the North, weren’t there?

Yes, the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) in Gao, and a community of Sisters, but they have left. Some have left Mali altogether, while others are in Bamako.

 

Are there still tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country?

The Christians and Muslims live side by side, day in, day out. It’s not from there that the problems come. At the start of the rebellion there were some who thought the underlying reasons were religious, but in fact it wasn’t the case. The northern region, known as Azawad, wanted independence and it took advantage of the crisis in Libya to get help in the fight. That was the problem, above all.

 

Who are the jihadist offensives?

There are two sorts of jihadists, two different visions. There are those who joined in with the rebels in order to gain independence for Azawad, and there are those who wanted to make the whole of Mali Islamic. In any case, they did not see eye to eye.

What has happened to those who were trying to impose sharia in Mali? Are there still some of them left in the country?

They were defeated. Some of them were killed, others — no one knows where they are. They must have hidden, or fled to Mauritania, or to Algeria, here or there. But we have to accept that there are some of them still among us, still here. Some of them even came from our own villages. That is why we are still getting bombings and suicide attacks.

 

What are the principal challenges facing the Catholic Church today?

Reconciliation. Many Christians have lost family members. Muslims have also lost, an uncle here or  a brother there. There has been so much plotting! But now people simply have to agree to be reconciled. And if we, we Christians, want a lasting peace, we have to go through this process of reconciliation. It is unavoidable.

 

Is reconciliation possible then?

Yes, but the Media, who continue to report on the bombings and the tensions, are demonstrating that it hasn’t yet happened. It is essential for the Catholic Church to make people aware of this by telling them that, although mistakes have been made, bad things done, life must still go on.