Vice-Province St. Augustine in West Africa, July 22, 2012: Closing of the Golden Jubilee (1961-2011) of the presence of the Dominican Friars in Ivory Coast .


The Vice-Province of St. Augustine in West Africa ended the Golden Jubilee of the presence of the Dominican Friars in Ivory Coast on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at St. Dominic priory in Abidjan. The solemn closing Mass was presided over by Most Reverend Jean-Pierre Kutwan,  Metropolitan Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in the presence of Brother Bruno Cadoré, Master of the Order of Preachers and his Socius for Africa. Also present at this Mass, Most Rev. Pierre-Marie Coty, Bishop Emeritus of Daloa (Ivory Coast), His Excellency Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio, Prime Minister of Ivory Coast and several other personalities. The large Dominican  Family in Ivory Coast,      Christians and friends of the Brothers wearing the loincloth of the fiftieth anniversary came to celebrate together with the forty Brothers present at the Mass. Brother   Pierre Pirson one of the elders of the priory of Abidjan came from Belgium for the occasion.

Fifty years is "the age of maturity," said Bishop Kutwan. The Archbishop of Abidjan recalled the achievements of the Brothers and expressed his gratitude to them. He also paid    tribute to the pioneers of Dominican presence in Ivory Coast. Finally he questioned the Brothers to         continue their mission in the current context of the Ivory Coast, announcing to all that "time of joy can begin," that "God has mercy on his people" and to be artisans of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace as Pope Benedict XVI says in Africae Munus.

In his speech for the occasion, the Master of the Order expressed his great joy and the gratitude of the Order for the work that has been done. He also expressed his gratitude to the first Brothers who were messengers of God’s friendship in Ivory Coast. Brother Bruno said that “celebrating the Jubilee is to commemorate the history of which we are heirs” and also “to learn on our roots to build the future.”  The wish of Master of the Order for this jubilee is to see the Brothers being “animated by insomnia of compassion "and being "concerned with the truth for the next 50 years ".

Invited by Most Rev. Bernard Yago Bishop of Abidjan, the first Dominican Brother, John-Baptist Nielly from the former French province of Lyon, arrived in Abidjan on April 2, 1961. The Bishop appealed to the Dominicans to entrust them with radio programs and university chaplaincy. Upon their arrival the Brothers were also assigned a place of worship which became St. John parish of Cocody in 1963.

Founded by Brother Michel Nielly, the priory of Abidjan was inaugurated on October 13, 1963 and Brother Michel was its first prior. In 1996 the priory became a House of formation. Currently, St. Dominic priory of Abidjan is one of the IAOP priories (Inter-Africa), welcoming Brothers from different entities of the Continent.

Fr. Gabriel Samba, O.P.
Socius for Africa