"Proclaim the Gospel with works of charity":
the Orionine missionaries ready to inaugurate a new community
Djoum (Agenzia Fides) - "We are about to open a new community in the diocese of Sangmelima, where the Bishop, Msgr. Christophe Zoa, awaits us to entrust the people of God in the city of Djoum. On July 5, two priests left to start organizing the mission, which will officially open next October, the "missionary month." This is what Fr. Pierre Assouan, Orionine missionary, says in an interview with Agenzia Fides, speaking of the new mission that the spiritual heirs of St. Louis Orione of the African Province "Notre Dame d'Afrique" have decided to start in Cameroon. The diocese of Sangmélima is situated in the southern region of Cameroon. The Catholic missionaries in this territory arrived 50 years after the Presbyterian Protestants, who constitute the most extended community. The diocese currently has 39 parishes and about 50 priests "In October 2021 - Father Pierre explains to Agenzia Fides - at the invitation of Bishop Christophe Zoa of Sangmelima, we went to Cameroon, visiting the diocese to try to find a possible presence of our congregation in the country". "After a few days of travel - he continues - Bishop Zoa's proposal fell on Djoum, an urban agglomeration located about 105 km from Sangmelima and 120 km from the border between Gabon and Congo. Here there is a parish, a primary school and a dispensary. There is also a foyer, a structure that the diocese built to house the pygmies who live on the border with the jungle". "The parish - reports the missionary - also has a vast piece of land of about twenty hectares. In one part of it there is a plantation of palm trees and fish ponds, where there is also a small farm run by the parish priest".
The priest continues explaining: "The Christian communities in this part of the country are still in the process of consolidation and need a deepening of faith and spiritual accompaniment". And he continues: "We start from the situation of each community, to help it discern the implications of faith in daily life, in the family, in education, in illness as well as in health, in the profession as a place of true Christian witness".
"This choice is symbolic - explains Father Pierre - and reflects the maturity of the Province, which after fifty years of Orionine presence in West Africa is ready to set up another tent in Central Africa, in Cameroon". "The local population has welcomed us with great joy - he reports - and this bodes well for our future in this part of Africa". "There is much to do - continues Fr. Assamouan - it is very important to look at the many young people who are in formation, at the timid but encouraging positive responses of the local population, who must be encouraged and helped. We Orionini missionaries, are entrusted with the mission of responding, with our style and according to the charism of our founder, Saint Luigi Orione, to the challenges that this land and this society pose to us".