Priestly ordination of Brother Jean-Charles POATHY in Bangui

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Priestly ordination of Brother Jean-Charles POATHY in Bangui
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On Sunday, September 28, 2014, the Church in the Central African Republic and the Order of Preachers celebrated with joy and thanksgiving three priestly ordinations: two from the Archdiocese of Bangui and one Dominican, brother Jean-Charles POATHY MBOUITY, O.P. The Mass took place at 9 am at the esplanade of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Bangui. It was presided over by His Grace Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangui who also conferred the ordination. It was attended by His Grace Franco Coppola, Apostolic Nuncio in the Central African Republic and Chad. A hundred priests, many religious men and women, and many Christians took part in the celebrations which also marked at the same time the start of the new pastoral year in the Archdiocese of Bangui.

The celebration was rich in symbolism. For example, there was a Gospel Procession which included the Word of God (the Bible) carried by a child sitting in a canoe; the offering of a live crocodile by the parents of one of the ordinands - a symbol of the offering to God in the tradition of the coastal people; and the offering of two white pigeons by the parents of Brother Jean-Charles to symbolize peace. These animals accompany the sacrifice of our life offered to God and the service of the Church.

The Archbishop of Bangui urged the ordinands to join their voices to those of their predecessors in the priesthood, to be artisans of reconciliation and peace, to unite the heart of Central African peoples wherever they are in ministry. "The cries of applause that accompany your ordination are shouting, but tomorrow they can be the cries turned against you through criticism and insults. Such is the example of the triumphant ascent of Christ to Jerusalem, where he is welcomed with many cheers, but soon after he suffered all the insults and abuse," he said. Notwithstanding these contradictions and difficulties, he concluded, "you must stand firm to advocate for the good cause of humanity."

The priestly ordination of Brother Jean-Charles in Bangui, his home country, is a vivid testimony of friendship and solidarity. The Order of Preachers wanted to pay a great tribute not only to the Church in Central Africa and to the Dominicans residing in Bangui, but also to all the Central African people who went through an unprecedented crisis in its history. Fear can prohibit us to consider such a project of ordination in this country that is still struggling to heal its gaping wounds; but to have the courage to stand in solidarity with others in difficult times, is a triumphal arch.

It's incredible but true !!!! At a time when the Central African Republic, to some people, looks like the Wild West, where there is a climate of violence and lawlessness, could God’s servants still be born in it? At a time when the Central African crisis, to others, is similar to a war of Byzantium, can we still believe in the birth of new priests of Jesus Christ? Yes, whatever the circumstances of the time and gnashing of teeth, when a pregnant woman has reached the time for the delivery of her child, God will give her the strength to give birth even in pain.

I thank the Lord who calls us to His service. "I can do all things in him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4: 13)

Fr Jean-Charles Poathy Mbouity, op

 

(02 October 2014)