Children First

Dear Readers, we open our Letter 25 of these last months expressing our solidarity to the rest of humanity for what the world is going through at this particular moment in the history of mankind, COVID-19.

The devastating effect of this pandemic is alarming and has put us questioning the essence of our existence. Nearly all the countries of our mission have been affected especially Italy, and a few days ago, we forwarded a message of encouragement to our brothers who are in the Italian Province.

It is a delicate moment and we remain connected to one another in prayers. What is sure is that no human being remains indifferent to the Corona Virus. Everyone in one way or the other is working hard day and night to get the fastest solution. There is the greatest desire to rescue human lives and give hope to the rest of humanity. For me, it is the first time in recent years that the world has come

together in solidarity to get a prompt response and a lasting solution to rescue human life. On our part we are in contact with many vulnerable persons in our mission areas, let’s remain a sign of hope and encouragement to the little ones and their families. For most of us, life is changing drastically.

Covid-19 is challenging us and giving us the opportunity to come together, to journey together, to think together and to grow together as one humanity, irrespective of our origins, for we are all created in the image and likeness of the same Creator.

A flashback in the past months reveal a series of events that have marked the life of our Province especially the Canonical visit to Cameroon of the General Superior and his Assistant during the month of January 2020.

It was a moment of fraternal communion and solidarity with all the brothers in the different communities and closer collaborators in our various Institutions and Mission Areas. In his Capacity as Superior General for a second mandate in Office, Pedro Aguado came to encourage the brothers in their Piarist Vocation, especially the young ones in the various formation houses. We remain thankful to him for his fatherly love and concern.

The second part of the visit was to take him to the Communities in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and R.D Congo but due to the impact of Corona Virus, the visit has been postponed to a future date. Another great event that also marked our life was the Council of Major Superiors that was held in Dakar Senegal, from the 10th — 14th of February 2010. An event that brought together all the Major Superiors of the Order from the different Continents of the world.

It should be remarked that this was the first time since the creation of the Order of the Pious Schools in 1617 that such an encounter was organized in the African context. The encounter took place in the House of Spiritualiy “Mount Thabor” of the Religious of Presentation of Mary in Rufisque, Dakar.

In his opening words of welcome, Fr Christian Ehemba, Provincial Superior of West Africa, expressed his gratitude to the General Congregation for the choice of his Province to host such a historical encounter which will mark an important step in the history of the Pious Schools in Africa.

The objective of the encounter was to evaluate the works that have been going on in the different domains of the Keys of Life and also to start planning for the upcoming 48th General Chapter that has been programmed to take place in Mexico, from the 1st to the 22nd of July 2021. Fr General remarked that it was also an opportunity to get in contact

with the reality of the Order in Africa, especially in the context of Senegal. There were many other interventions, and among them was one of the Archbishop of Dakar, Mgr Benjamin Ndiaye, who addressed the Assembly on the challenges of education in Africa.

The Archbishop encouraged the Piarist Fathers for their preferential option for the poor and appreciated them for what they are doing for the transformation of the lives of young people in Senegal. Looking at the reality of our Province in the past months, a lot has been done in the various domains of our life. Worth mentioning in this edition was the visit of the team on Ministry and Shared Mission in the Delegation of Equatorial Guinea where they held encounters with the Volunteers and dynamize the activities of the Calasanz Movement.

Dear Readers, we are writing this edition of Letter 25 at a very difficult moment where the entire world is experiencing the devastating effects of the Corona Virus. Most families have been infected and many have lost their dear ones. All the Schools in our demarcation and in other parts of the world have been closed.

The future is uncertain and humanity is trembling. Our only hope is in God. Pope Francis has been encouraging us not to lose hope but to turn to God in prayers. Let us raise our voices to heaven and invoke the intervention of God our Heavenly Father in the words our Lord Jesus Christ taught us: Our Father, who art in Heaven…

Rev. Fr. Evaristus AKEM NDI, Sch.P. Provincial Superior

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