The Inter-Africa of the Order of Preachers (IAOP) is 41 years old

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The Inter-Africa of the Order of Preachers (IAOP) is 41 years old
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Today 29th April 2017, the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, the Inter-Africa of the Order of Preachers (IAOP) is 41 years old. Indeed, it was at the end of the first meeting of the Dominican brothers living in sub-Saharan Africa convened by the late Brother Vincent de Couesnongle in Ibadan, Nigeria, from 20 to 29 April 1976 that the creation of a continental structure called INTER-AFRICA ORDER OF PREACHERS (aka IAOP) was proposed.

The aim of this structure is to promote collaboration and mutual support among all the brothers working in sub- Saharan Africa. In addition, the Inter-Africa OP is a structure at the service of fraternal communion and of the mission of the Order in Africa. It offers its members a place for reflection, dialogue and collaboration, especially in the areas of formation, intellectual life and the mission of the Order (Statutes of IAOP, art.2).

The following Dominican entities are now members of the IAOP:

1. Province of St Joseph the Worker of Nigeria and Ghana,

2. Vice-Province of St. Augustine in West Africa (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Togo),

3. Vice-Province of St Pius V of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

4. Vice-Province of Southern Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Zambia),

5. Provincial Vicariate of Equatorial Africa (Cameroon, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic) which belongs to the Province of France,

6. Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi which belongs to the Province of Canada,

7. Provincial Vicariate of Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan) which belongs to the Province of St Joseph in USA,

8. Provincial Vicariate of Angola which belongs to the Province of Portugal.

There are about five hundred Dominican brothers in the IAOP. The Dominican house of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea which belongs to the Province of Hispania, and the Dominicans communities of Cairo (Egypt) and Algeria which are part of the Province of France are not yet members of the IAOP but the brothers are invited to the General Assemblies of the Inter-Africa.

The Inter-Africa OP is preparing to celebrate its 13th General Assembly, from 28 May to 2 June 2017 in Ibadan, Nigeria under the theme: “The renewal of Dominican life and mission in Africa”. This Assembly will also propose to the Master of the Order three candidates, by secret consultative ballot for appointment as the sixth Socius for Africa and Coordinator of the IAOP, for the next six years.

Since 1977, the following brothers have served the IAOP in different capacities:

1. fr. Liboire KAGABO (Burundi) as the first Coordinator (1977 – 1981),

2. fr. Eloi MESSI (Cameroon ) as the second Coordinator (1981– 1985);

3. fr. Chris Angelo UTUIBE (Nigeria) as the third Coordinator and the first Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa (1985 – 1993),

4. fr. Emmanuel NTAKARUTIMANA (Burundi) as the fourth Coordinator and the second Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa (1993 – 1999),

5. fr. Roger HOUNGBEDJI (Benin Republic) as the fifth Coordinator and the third Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa (1999 – 2005),

6. fr. Cletus NWABUZO (Nigeria) as the sixth Coordinator and the fourth Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa (2005 – 2011),

7. fr. Gabriel SAMBA (Congo-Brazzaville) as the seventh Coordinator and the fifth Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa (2011 – 2017).

In 2016, the year of the Jubilee of 800 years of the confirmation of the Order of Preachers, Pope Francis appointed two Dominican brothers from Africa as Bishops namely;

1. fr. Roger HOUNGBEDJI, OP, as Archbishop of Cotonou in Benin Republic, and

2. fr. Richard Appora, OP, as Bishop Coadjutor of the diocese of Bambari in Central African Republic.

Happy Feast of St Catherine of Siena and Happy Anniversary of the Inter-Africa OP!

fr. Gabriel Samba, op.

 

(29 April 2017)