The Regional Meeting of Cooperator Friars in Africa

Subtitle: 
Held at Kinshasa (DR of Congo), 20-22 December 2012.
Picture: 
From left to right: Bros Marie Victor Kisyaba, André Adoba, José Bolaboto, Gabriel Samba, Daniel Mario Ibezim Chukwuma, Thomas Kamainda and Emmanuel Nteni.
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After the International assembly of the cooperator friars held in Lima (Peru), from 31 October to 3 November 2012, the following cooperator friars in Africa met in Kinshasa-Limete, at the Convent of Saint Dominic from 20 to 22 December 2012: Emmanuel NTENI of the General Vicariate of Saint Pius V in DR Congo; Friar Daniel-Mario Chukwuma IBEZIM of the Province of Saint Joseph the Worker in Nigeria and Ghana; Friar José BOLABOTO of the General Vicariate of Saint Pius V in DR Congo.
 
First day: Thursday, 20 December 2012
The opening mass and the welcoming of the friars was done by fr Justine ADRIKO, Vicar general of the General Vicariate of Saint Pius V in DR Congo. The Socius for Africa and Coordinator of IAOP, fr Gabriel SAMBA was also there to welcome the brothers.
 
The first presentation was on “The Historical Aspects of the Vocation of the Cooperator Friars in Africa” by the elder of the friars of the General Vicariate of Saint Pius V in DR Congo, fr Thomas KAMAINDA.
 
Second day: Friday, 21 December 2012
All the friars participated at the mass of ordination of deacons and priests at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Congo. 14 priests and 13 deacons were ordained by His Eminence, Laurent Cardinal MONSENGWO, Archbishop of Kinshasa;
 
In the evening, two presentations were given. The first one on “The Vocation of the Dominican Cooperator Friars” by the Delegate of the cooperator brothers in Africa, fr José BOLABOTO. The second one was on “The Formation of Cooperator Friars in Africa” by the Councilor of IAOP for Formation and Students’ Master at St Dominic Priory, Kinshasa, fr Marie-Victor KISYABA.
 
Third day: Saturday, 22 December 2012
The presentation on “The Ministries of the Cooperator Friars in Africa” was given by the Socius for Africa and Coordinator of IAOP, fr Gabriel SAMBA.
 
The presentations were followed by group works with the special assistance of the following brothers; fr Roger NINONI (secretary) and fr André ADOBA (translator).

The following were identified as the challenges facing the vocation, formation and apostolates of cooperator friars in Africa:

  • Scarcity of vocations to the cooperator brotherhood;
  • The lack of adequate promotion of vocation to the cooperator brotherhood by Promoters of vocations.
  • Lack of models for the youth, for examples Martin of Pores’ and John Macias;
  • Lack of adequate information on the vocation of cooperator friars;
  • The smearing and disregarding of the vocation of the cooperator friars.
  • The limitation of studies for cooperator friars
  • The diversity of criteria for renewal of the vows
  • The reduction of the apostolates of cooperator friars to menial services (e.g. gateman, farmer, etc.);
  • The lack of the involvement of cooperator friars in lay ministries;

The following suggestions were proposed:

  • The presentation of a common application into the Order without any disparity of criteria.
  • The appointment of qualified Promoter of Vocations with proper job description.
  • The inclusion of a cooperator friar in the selection board of candidates.
  • The encouragement of the apostolate of cooperator friars within IAOP’s entities.
  • Studies (philosophy, theology, etc.) should be open to all and in accordance with the intellectual abilities of the friars.
  • There should be similar criteria for renewal of the vows for clerical and cooperator friars.
  • Qualified Masters (Postulate, Novitiate and Studentat) and Regents of studies should be appointed with job description.
  • The apostolate of cooperator friars should be diversified in the community and parish.
  • Except for ministries reserved for priest friars, all other ministries should be open to cooperator friars too.
  • The Delegate for Africa of the cooperator friars should promote the exchange of news within IAOP’s entities where we have cooperator friars by publishing the news in Afridoms.

The closing words of the meeting were given by the frs José BOLABOTO and Gabriel SAMBA.

Friar José BOLABOTO, OP.
Delegate for Africa of the cooperator friars.