The Inter-African (IAOP) Mini-Summit

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The major superiors of Dominican entities in Africa and members of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Inter-Africa of the Order of Preachers (CC-IAOP) gathered for a Mini-Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 10 to 15 December 2012.

Present were; Gabriel Samba (Socius for Africa), Prakash Lohale Anthony (Socius for Apostolic Life), Charles Ukwe (Province of St Joseph the Worker – Nigeria and Ghana),  Roger Houngbedji (Vice-Province of St Augustine, West Africa), Justin Adriko Mundua (Vicariate General of St Pius V – Democratic Republic of the Congo), Sikhosiphi Mgoza (Vicariate General of Southern Africa), Prudence Hategekimana (Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi), Claver Boundja (Provincial Vicariate of Equatorial Africa), Martin Martiny (Provincial Vicariate of Eastern Africa), Mike Deeb (Councillor for Justice and Peace and the Dominican Family), Andre Adoba (Councillor for Intellectual Life), Marie Victor Kisyaba (Councillor for Formation) and Emil Blaser (Syndic for Africa). Miguel Chakachama of the Provincial Vicariate of Angola was unable to attend.

Br Gabriel Samba began the proceedings by reporting on the activities of the CC-IAOP since that last General Assembly in Bujumbura in August 2011. Initial formation, communication, new foundations, the daily upkeep of students, solidarity amongst the African entities and the activities of IAOP, especially Justice and Peace, were identified as priorities for discussion.

Reports from the major superiors on the state of their entities indicated a healthy flow of vocations into the Order, with several extensions to buildings underway to accommodate the growing numbers. Providing a rich formation and a vibrant experience of community life for these young brothers, however, poses a challenge due to a serious shortage of good formators.

The need for collaboration and solidarity in the exchange of students and the financial involvements were discussed. The need for brothers to be formed so that they can deal with African realities was emphasized. The realities of the African situation calls for a serious attention for Justice and Peace.

Superiors were informed of the Master of the Order’s desire that the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order in 2016 be an opportunity for spiritual renewal and a time to revisit the Order’s history and envision its future. Some good ideas for the Jubilee which will utilise modern technology – such as DVDs telling the story of Dominicans in Africa – were proposed. To improve communications, the “Afridoms”, “Afridoms Flash” and the IAOP website will all be maintained and improved.

When new foundations were being considered in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, Br Prakash filled in the history and background and provided the perspective of the General Curia. The Province of St Joseph The Worker – Nigeria and Ghana, and the Vicariate General of St Pius V – Democratic Republic of the Congo indicated an openness to assisting.

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg graced the summit with a visit and celebrated Mass with the superiors. The Archbishop shared his wisdom on the challenges facing the Church in Africa and urged us (Dominicans) to live up to their charism as the “Order of Preachers”.

The African superiors are a relatively youthful group at the moment. They appreciated the opportunity provided by the summit. Even in the midst of numerous lacks, they are ever willing to lend a helping hand.

It was decided that the next General Assembly of IAOP will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from July 20th to 27th, 2014. As for the other meetings, the following dates and venues have been suggested: Regents of studies – February 13-17, 2013 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Formators- October 7-12, 2013 in Bujumbura, Burundi; Students- Easter or July 2014; Justice and Peace - October / November 2013 or January 2014.

The next CC-IAOP meeting will take place from December 27 to 31 2013 in Johannesburg.

For the Coordinating Committee
Br Gabriel Samba, op
Socius for Africa