New Dominican Foundation in Malabo: Vocations are blooming already

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The Dominican Brothers in Malabo
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The presence and the preaching of the Dominicans friars in Malabo are already bearing fruits. Four years after their arrival, several young Guineans are interested in the Dominican life. Five have already joined the Order and are in initial formation in Spain: 2 students at the Studium of Valencia and 3 pre-novices are in the convent of Valladolid. On site in Malabo, seven young students aged between 21 and 28 years form the group of new aspirants.

On the occasion of the fraternal visit of Brother Gabriel Samba, Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa to Malabo, Brother Roberto Okón Pocó, Superior of the community and the Director of Vocations organized a meeting with the aspirants. The meeting was held on Saturday, December 14, 2013 in the morning at the community. Six of the seven candidates were present. A round table allowed everyone to introduce himself and share on how he met the Dominicans and what attracted him in the Order of Preachers. The parish, the teaching of Brother Roberto at Claret College and the National University of Equatorial Guinea, the preaching of the brothers were then mentioned. Others knew the Order through the Sisters (Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, for example).

The configuration of the group, the previous religious experiences of some candidates, the context of the foundation of Malabo and the current economic environment of Equatorial Guinea gave the opportunity to the Socius of the Master of the Order to focus his talk on the specificity of religious vocation and the Dominican life. He invited young people to understand the difference between being a diocesan priest and being a religious and missionary. He spoke of the Dominican vocation in relation to the vocation of cooperator brothers. He placed particular emphasis on the fundamentals of the Dominican life: regular life, community life, sharing of goods, obedience, study, apostolate and the mission ad gentes.

In a country that has experienced an oil boom, where young people have dreams and ambitions of a wealthy and independent life, it was important that candidates know that engaging in the Dominican religious life this means that they must be ready to leave their country, not only study outside of Guinea (not necessarily in Spain) but perhaps in other African countries, and also to go out of the country to work elsewhere, leaving oil benefits, parents, friends etc. Finally, he explained the purpose of studies in the Order as a mission and not just the unbridled pursuit of diplomas.

Candidates asked interesting questions about Dominican places for formation in Africa, and learning foreign languages such as French and English. The meeting ended with a meal with the community.

The Dominicans arrived in Malabo on 1 March 2009. They are responsible for the parish of Santa Maravillas de Jesús and the School of Theology for the Laity. In the future, they will establish and operate a Catholic radio for the Diocese.

Br. Gabriel Samba, op

(To receive Afridom Flash dirctly, contact fr Gabrial Samba, OP - s.africa@curia.op.org)

(18 January 2014)