“Share a word of justice, hope, peace and life”

On the Canonical Visitation of the Master of the Order to the Province of Nigeria
Friars of the Province of Nigeria

From the 4th to the 22nd of December 2014, the Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré visited the Province of St Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana. He was accompanied by fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., Socius for Intellectual Life and fr. Gabriel Samba, O.P., Socius for Africa. They received a warm and fraternal welcome. The Master was grateful for the important contribution that the brothers are making to the mission of the Order in the two countries.

In addition to meeting with all of the brothers in Nigeria and Ghana, the Master and his two Socii were able to visit together different communities (Yaba, Mafoluku, Oyigbo, Ibadan), and several of the ministry sites: parishes, schools, the Dominican Institute in Ibadan, the site of the future Dominican University, the Dominican Centre for Human Resources Development (Moniya Farm), among others. They had meetings with members of the Dominican Family (Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, lay Dominican fraternities, Movement of Dominican Youth).

They also visited the Adoration Sisters in Ilorin founded by fr. Jude Mbukanma, O.P., and who want to become Dominican Nuns. The Master had important meetings with them in the presence of their founder, and fr. Charles Ukwe, O.P., Provincial of Nigeria and Ghana, and Bishop Ayo-Maria Ayotebi, O.P., Bishop of Ilorin, because according to the current status of the sisters in the Church, as a "Public Association of the Faithful" (CIC 312), they are under his authority and responsibility. The Master of the Order invited them to establish or re-establish bonds within the Dominican family, through simple, brotherly, usual relations, especially with the nuns of the Order in Africa. He also outlined a clear plan for the Sisters to follow so that they might realize their goal as a Monastery sui iuris.

The Socius for Africa visited the brothers and the Dominican Family in Gusau, diocese of Sokoto in northern Nigeria, a region strongly influenced by Islam, and where minority Christians are often subjected to religious intolerance. He represented the Master of the Order at the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of this diocese which was ran by the Dominicans for many years.

Unfortunately, difficulties with the visas prevented brothers Bruno and Michael from visiting the two communities in Ghana, which was especially disappointing since strengthening the presence in Ghana is one of the priorities of the province. However, all five brothers living in Ghana, came to meet with the Master in Lagos, Nigeria. Finally, we paid courtesy visits to the Archbishops of Lagos and Ibadan, the bishop of the Diocese of Aba, and our brother Ayo-Maria Ayotebi, Bishop of Ilorin.

The brothers explained to us the ecclesial and social context in which they work: preparation for national elections in 2015 in Nigeria, proliferation of Pentecostal churches which attract people through a gospel that emphasizes the Resurrection, but avoids the cross; a gospel that proclaims a theology of prosperity and material success through a God who grants daily miracles to those who believe in this gospel. The context is also marked by the terrorist attacks of Boko Haram.

The political and social situation forced the Master to challenge the preaching mission of the brothers: “What does the Gospel of Jesus have to say to the people of Nigeria and Ghana? How do we as an Order respond to all these challenges? What are the gifts that the Order of Preachers has to offer to the local Church? What word do we as Dominicans have to say to those who follow Pentecostal churches? How do we as preachers of the Word share a word of justice, of hope, of peace, and of life?” Indeed, the brothers look to the future with hope, strengthened by the blessing of many new vocations who are eager to share the Gospel.

During this time of the Jubilee of the Order, fr. Bruno encouraged the brothers to reflect on the way that as a community of brothers they can address the needs of the Church and the society, faithful always to our Dominican charism and to the mandate that we have been given, namely preaching and salvation of souls. Finally, he invited them to foster greater collaboration with the Dominican family through the creation of a secretariat, and to carry the mission of the new foundation in Zambia through to a successful conclusion.

For pictures on the visit to Nigeria, click here.

The Socii, MM & GS