30th Anniversary of Songhai Centre, Benin

30th Anniversary of Songhai Centre, Benin

From 1st to 2nd November 2016, the Agro-pastoral Centre, Songhai in Porto-Novo, Benin Republic celebrated the 30th anniversary of its foundation. Present was the Master of the Order of Preachers, who presided in the Mass of Thanksgiving, on the solemnity of All Saints, in the Hall built in memory of this 30th anniversary. Brother Bruno Cadoré was accompanied by his Socius for Africa, Bro Gabriel Samba, the prior of the convent of Cotonou, Brother Marcel Koudoro, representing Bro Benjamin Sombel Sarr, Vice-Provincial of the Vice-Province of St. Augustine in West Africa, who could not attend due to unavoidable circumstances, the chaplain of Songhai Centre, Fr. Bernardin Maforikan, of the Diocese of Porto-Novo, and Bro Godfrey Nzamujo, OP, Director of Songhai Centre. Several members of the Dominican family (brothers, sisters, nuns, lay people) as well as the workers of the Centre and the faithful took part in this Mass. In his homily, the Master of the Order made a link between the saints and the faithful departed because in Benin, “All Saints Day” is a day that families go to the cemetery to lay wreathes and pray for the dead.

After Mass, Brother Nzamujo introduced the Centre to the Dominican family by way of a guided tour in all sectors of Songhai agro-ecological Integrated System: yards for the manufacture of agricultural machinery, food processing, animal feed, livestock farming, market gardening, fish farming, Bio-energy production, Mineral water, etc. In the afternoon, at 4 pm, there was a big conference of the Master of the Order in the Hall. The Hall was filled with young learners, workers from Songhai Centre, members of Dominican family and many invited guests. The theme of the conference was:

- The agro-ecological and spiritual vision of the world today through:

the ideas and teachings of His Holiness Pope Francis (Laudato Si) and writings and thought of Father Louis Joseph Lebret o.p.

Resolutions from COP 21-22 and the UN meeting on SDG.

- The way in which these movements and new visions can help to revise the strategy of evangelization in the contemporary world.

Brother Bruno pointed out that celebrating an anniversary means receiving a legacy to preserve and bear fruit. The 30th anniversary of Songhai Centre opens a future of responsibility. Using the teachings of the encyclical Laudoto Si of Pope Francis, the Master of the Order insisted on the equal dignity of all people, all heirs of the earth. He then highlighted the importance of ecology by identifying five strong criteria for action and four ways of doing things. Speaking of Brother Louis Joseph Lebret, Brother Bruno stressed his commitment to the development of peoples, especially through Economics and Humanism, whose main objective is the ethics of development or human economy. The Master of the Order also invited brothers, sisters and laity of the Dominican family of Benin to collaborate effectively in the work of Songhai Centre in order to give it a full Dominican identity, as Brother Nzamujo has been requesting for several years.

On Wednesday 2nd November, the Master of the Order presided in Mass for the commemoration of all the faithful departed in the Chapel of Songhai Centre. In the company of Brother Nzamujo, Brother Bruno, then made a courtesy call to His Lordship Aristide Gonsallo, Bishop of Porto-Novo where they discussed collaboration between the diocese of Porto-Novo and Songhai Centre in spiritual animation at the chaplaincy of Songhai Centre.

Finally, Dominican nuns: Sr. Languida of the monastery being established in Dassa-Zoumé, Benin Republic, and Sr. Juliette Kilanir of the Monastery of Bambui, Cameroon, and coordinator of the Dominican nuns inAfrica, seized the opportunity to have a meeting with the Master of the Order.

fr. Gabriel Samba, op.




(24 November 2016)