What We Do
Proclaim the Gospel
Any ministry which has a real relationship with Africa, no matter in what part of the world it may be, is considered by the Missionaries of Africa to be within the scope of our Apostolate. Our aim is to proclaim the Gospel to the peoples of the African world. Because of its origins, our Society has always had a particular interest in making contact with and understanding Muslims and the Islamic world.
A missionary is someone who is sent
A Christian missionary is sent in imitation of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us that He was sent by His Father to proclaim the Good News to prisoners, the sick, the poor, and those oppressed. The Good News is that all people, without exception, are invited to experience God’s love. Jesus showed God’s love for all people by his life and invites them to share in it and to share it with others.
Sent by whom?
Jesus asks all Christians to carry on his task. Each man, woman and child baptised in Jesus’ name shares this task and carries it out according to God’s call. We witness to God’s love as husbands and wives, as single people, as children, as neighbours, as friends, in our work, in our leisure time, when we are sick, when we are well. We are sent to be Christ to others in our daily lives. We, Missionaries of Africa, are priests and brothers sent by the Church the Body of Christ, to carry out our common Christian mission in Africa and the African world.
All people everywhere are considered by God to be his children. But how can they know that unless someone tells them? Who will tell them if no-one is sent? God needs those who are sent to accept his mission and go!
To do what?
We share this relationship of children of God with those who have never heard, or those who have not understood, or those who have forgotten. To offer to our brothers and sisters the best thing we have. We do not impose our beliefs nor do we despise cultures other than our own. We offer to share with others the best we have. We have received freely and must give freely. It would be selfish to refuse to share
First we speak, but actions speak louder than words. Learning the other person’s language is not enough. To communicate love means to show it in a way understood by the other, in a way relevant to the life of the other. When I was hungry, when I was naked, when I was in prison… what did you do?
And in practice?
In Africa, this often means parish work, building up Small Christian Communities, working with the Media, involvement in justice and peace issues, inter-religious encounter, care for the environment, agriculture, seminary training both for ourselves and for the various dioceses, education and social welfare. The Missionaries of Africa aim to work in partnership with the local Church in Africa…and above all else, to help build up the leadership of the Churches.
On the Missions at the service of the people of Africa
Be Apostles, nothing but Apostles
We work in 23 countries in Africa and 2 places in the Middle East (Jerusalem and Lebanon). We are at the service of the local Church wherever we are present, sometimes fulfilling specialist needs, sometimes reaching out to the poor and marginalised, always witnessing to Jesus Christ in an African context.
Build up the Local Church
In many countries we run parishes until the local clergy are numerous enough to take over. This has meant also helping to form seminarians, priests and laity so that they can take their proper responsibilities in building up the Church. In the past this has meant teaching in seminaries. Now it is more often running centres of spiritual renewal, prayer centres, catechetical centres, the ministry of counselling/psychotherapy (giving sessions and to individuals in dioceses and seminaries etc.)
Our mission from the beginning has been to initiate and continue respectful dialogue with Muslims and with people of Traditional Religion. As regards Islam and Muslims, we have parishes in Muslim countries and areas where there are few Christians. Our own small White Father communities and the Christian communities we serve, witness by our behaviour and by living in friendship with our Muslim neighbours. We have centres where Islam is taught to priests, religious and laity so that Christians might come to understand Islam better and respect Muslims more. As for Traditional African Religions, the White Fathers have set up centres where specific African cultures are studied and valued. Frequently this has gone hand in hand with teaching African languages.
Promote, Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation
The specialist needs are very diverse and too numerous to give in detail. Making of wheelchairs for the handicapped, teaching the deaf and dumb, radio programmes for isolated Christians, exposing corruption and exploitation, highlighting land conservation, organising co-operatives, etc., etc., etc., but always encouraging local people to take over the task when they can.
Our Ongoing Mission
Finally, we continue the mission by forming future missionaries, future White Fathers. We have seminaries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. We accept candidates from any country or continent to join in our work of witness. Candidates study with others in colleges and universities but we always live, pray, eat and celebrate as brothers in our own communities.