"Living the Gospel and accompanying young people":
inauguration of a new community of the Missionaries of Mary

Garoua (Agenzia Fides) - "For some years we have been planning to open a new community of the Missionaries of Mary in Cameroon: we will live in the midst of a Muslim majority people. Jesus, Light of the nations, wants to be present in this environment through our missionary presence". This is what Sister Imelda Sartore, a religious who belongs to the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary (also known as "Xaverian Missionaries"), said in conversation with Agenzia Fides who arrived in Garoua a few months ago with the first Xaverian nuns in one of the poorest areas of the Cameroonian city.

"We arrived on January 10 in the parish of St. Agnes of Ouro - Lawane, a Muslim area on the outskirts of Garoua - says Sister Imeld - the presence of the Missionaries of Mary in this work, as well as giving the opportunity to fully present ourselves as a Xaverian Family in Cameroon, will allow us to contribute to raising the level of assistance and internal accompaniment of school activities: our task - she says - is to give continuity in different ways to the grace granted by our founder St. Guido Maria Conforti".

"The young Christian communities in this part of the country - explains the missionary - are still in a phase of consolidation and need a deepening of faith. We try to give it especially in this period of Lent, a "strong" time, in which people have greater availability: we start - she continues - from the situation of each community, to help it discern the implications of faith in daily life, in the family, in education, in sickness and in health, in the profession as a place of true Christian witness". Even charitable activities, usually linked to a celebration, take on greater importance during the Lenten period: "Every Wednesday or Friday - Sister Imelda tells Fides - offerings are made for the poor, to be distributed in the communities themselves. In Lent, deeper ties are also strengthened liturgically between the small peripheral communities and the parish. In the field of catechesis - continues the Xaverian nun - not only the baptized, but all Christians prepare themselves with interest for the day of baptisms. The communities accompany the candidates and prepare to follow and support them and this also contributes to a deepening of faith. It is a strong sign", she underlines.

"We were welcomed with great joy by the Bishop of the area - reports Sister Imelda - and this is a good sign for our future in Africa. Our mission - she concludes - sees us engaged in the first proclamation of the Gospel, in the formation of catechumens and catechists with particular attention to young people". The diocese of Garoua, in the north of Cameroon, currently has 54 priests. The Catholic population is about 80 thousand people. 

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