Day about Africa. 25 years of Inter-African Dominicans ( IAOP)
heat has begun. The first hours of hot air, heavy with humidity,
have enveloped us. The Eucharist was presided over by an African
and Friar Albert Nolan, the vicar for South Africa, gave the homily.
We began by singing "Thuma Mina" and finished with "Amen
Siakudumisa", both songs of beautiful African rhythms. Albert,
commenting on the "here are your mother and your brothers"
text of the Gospel, showed us the sanctity of the family in Africa.
It always causes a difficult choice between two good options: to
continue wholly united to one's natural family or to incorporate
oneself totally in the Dominican family. It is a challenging option.
At any rate it is necessary to take the best of each family whenever
it is not impossible. The fundamental thing is to live in a family.
first part of the morning was dedicated to Africa. In the last few
chapters it has been a tradition to listen to the brethren from
a region or zone of special interest to the Order. In the last chapter,
at Bologna, there was a report on Asia. There is no commission treating
the theme of Africa. This time was dedicated without any documents
to study or vote on, for the simple reason that all the participants
have first hand information about the Order on that continent. This
year marks the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of IAOP's
founding. It is a structure created by the sub-Saharan Dominicans
with the support of Master De Couesnongle for interchange, collaboration
in mission, and economic aid. It groups together the eight entities
of the Order on this continent. There has been collaboration in
initial and permanent formation, in centers of studies, in publications,
and in constructing a web site. One example of great collaboration
among the Dominican family is the founding of FEDOSA (the Federation
of the Dominicans of South Africa), which groups together the brethren,
sisters, nuns and laity. Today begins the celebration surrounding
the launching of the book, The History of The Dominicans in Africa.
It is written in French and costs $20. No provincial should leave
chapter without buying this book.
of those diverse African entities at the chapter presented their
realities, with Friar Roger Houngbédji, assistant to the
Master, as presider. It was a very interesting exposition, even
though what was presented was not all "gaudium et spes"/
"joy and hope". Above all there were no joys, because
it seems that the world has forgotten that continent. But they do
maintain hope. The Dominicans have been in Africa since the sixteenth
century. Two screens showed the geographic area being discussed,
the entities referred to, the great titles of their projects, etc.
projects emerged: the creation of a center for theological studies
in the Africa which speaks French and Portuguese - 50% of those
friars are in initial formation -;creating a dialogue with Islam;
paying attention to the large regions isolated by such calamities
as AIDs, hunger, almost eternal wars; the foundation of a new community
in Madagascar and another in Cameroon.
vicar of the Congo gave a reflection citing Timothy: We Dominicans
are also present in the countries which foment the wars in his country
- one can say the same about Angola - with the sales of arms and
other political interests. Can't we do something?
the morning there appeared three texts of as many commissions which
will be discussed tomorrow: a document on the Nuns, one on Community
Life, a section on Contemplation, and a section of the Fraternal
Life in Community. A cursory reading foretells that there may be
an interesting dialogue.
were in English. They ended with "Hail, Blessed Lady"
and a beautiful prayer to St. Dominic by the great liturgical director,
Africa there are seven Dominican monasteries: 3 in Cameroon; 1 in
Angola - with plans to found another, since there are more than
forty nuns; 1 in South Africa; 1 in Kenya and another in Burundi.
have overcome the problem which had seriously affected the work
of the secretarial staff. A computer virus, without being especially
damaging, caused the problems. It is curious that by what it seemed
to know about those of us who are here and by that which was published,
it is possible that it was created by someone very close by.
Master has a calendar very full of appointments. There are matters
pending about which he wishes to be informed by listening to the
provincials. And the General Council still needs to be completed.
Some fear that they will be chosen, while perhaps others fear that
they will not be chosen. The world is badly distributed
heat promised by the weather forecaster became a reality in the
early hours of the morning. But there is no excuse for not working;
we have a very good air conditioning system - sometimes it is too
other communications received, one charitable soul corrected us
by saying that one should not say "papelorum progressio",
but rather "populorum progressio". Thank you!?
the beginning of these sessions, the Master announced the latest
news about the brethren who have had to leave the chapter because
of sickness: Friar Charles Fenech; Friar Virgilio Ambrosini, Friar
Michel Van Aerde. All are recuperating normally.