Project of the Week – Cameroon and Chad

Help for the training of 28 seminarians of the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales

The congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales, also known as the Fransalians, was founded in 1838 in France. They are a congregation of missionary priests devoted to evangelization through preaching and pastoral care, and to the Catholic education of children and young people. The congregation has some 1500 members today in almost 30 different countries around the world. 

In Africa the missionaries are now present in 10 different countries and enjoy numerous new vocations. In the delegation of Chad and Cameroon, there are 28 young men currently undergoing formation. 

One of these is Yves, who as a child actually wanted to be a banker. He was always one of the top three in his class and excelled above all in mathematics. But as he moved on to secondary school, he began to attend the catechism classes in the parish and became an altar server. Soon the Church had become a second home to him. “When I was a teenager, there were just three places where you could find me—my family home, the school and the church”, he recalls. “In church I really felt at home and I was happy to be able to be there, to be able to pray, serve Mass, listen to the sermons and learn something in the catechism classes or while training as an altar server—and to encounter the Lord, who is present in the Tabernacle and in every brother and sister whom I was able to meet there. I used to go eagerly to the church, and served there at the altar with all my heart. ” 

But there was one problem. Most of the altar servers could not serve Mass during the week. Yves explains: “Many of them lived a long way from the church, and it was dangerous for them to have to leave the house as early as 5 or 5:30 a.m. in order to serve the 6 a.m. morning Mass. It was still dark then, and they were too young to go out in the dark alone. Others couldn’t come because they had a long way to walk to school and had to leave early in order to get there in time for their lessons. Others couldn’t come because their parents would not allow them, since they had to finish their studies and their morning duties at home instead. As a result the priest often had to say Holy Mass alone at the altar.

« And so I decided to go to Mass every single day, whether it was my turn to serve or not, whether it was raining or not (for the rainy season was another reason why many altar servers did not come). Being close to God and serving in the Church in this way helped me to realize something very important, namely that it was God himself, in fact, who was behind my motivation to serve Him. And the more I committed myself to serving Him, the more I was drawn to Him and became convinced that I was in the right place. I also came to understand the need and the importance of the priest for the whole world. And so my ambition to become a banker gradually transformed into the much greater desire to become a priest. ”  

His mother was against it at first, for she had other plans for him: she wanted him to have a career and start a family. But in the end she accepted his wish, something that Yves considers a grace. His conclusion, looking back on his path to his vocation, is this: “We must love only Jesus, be honest and truthful to God and to ourselves and serve Him with our whole heart. If we do that, our life will be in accordance with God’s will, for no one can take us from his hand. ”

ACN is helping Yves and his fellow seminarians to follow their chosen vocational path by supporting the formation of these 28 young men with a contribution of 16 800 dollar for this year. 

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