During periods of political elections, it becomes normal to question the role the Church plays. But it isn’t easy to delimit or clearly define how much the Church can get involved in politics. This becomes a complex question because politics lies beyond the scope of the Church’s competence, and this could explain the reluctance to approach the subject, which often leads to theological and spiritual speculation that could serve as an escape from concrete historical responsibility. The issue becomes more complex in a context like ours here, in Sierra Leone, where two mainstream political parties - two houses: ‘red and green’ control the political arena and where the temptation of being “one-sided” is real.
My name is Father Noah Onguéné François. I was born and grew up in Cameroon in the suburb of the political Capital, Yaoundé. From a polygamous family, Noah Ngah François, my father has two wives. They are all living now. From Ngah Cécile my mother and the first wife, we are three boys among which I am the second. From Ngono Suzanne the second wife, my father got nine children in which we find three boys and six girls, and three passed away. They remained six. My parents are baptized Catholics. In the first part of my life, I grew up with my mother while my father worked abroad. When he came back from Gabon after his first daughter death from the second wife, he remained in Cameroon. He then settled in Yaoundé in 1985 with his second wife. I joined him in 1986 while my mother remained in the village with my two brothers. I got my high school degree and I went to the University of Yaoundé I to study psychology.
Let us love, not with words but with deeds
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017
- “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard. The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. Love has no alibi. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).
“You Are the Rock!” (Mat 16:18) is the theme the of weekend gathering of Mongo Catholic Youth, (21st-23rd July 2017). This gathering was to conclude the youth activities during the last academic year, as part of their own formation before enjoying their long holiday time. As a young generation, through the meeting the Catholic Youth’s were helped to realise, appreciate and develop more their typical potential such as freedom, creativity, innovation, openness, talents and so on, which are needed for the Church and society. With their potential the youth have the opportunity to take up the important role of transformation, both in the Church and in society. It can be said that today, the world is in the hands of the youth, as Pope Francis said to them, “You are the future of the Church!” Therefore, whether they like it or not, it demands them to open their mind to accept the challenges. Nowadays the youths are fortunate because they live in the information technology era. They easily find out a lot of information which challenges their lives. This era demands the youth to become persons who are open and able to contribute actively to improve the environment.
This has, by now, become a tradition that nobody dares to question. But here someone is prepared to challenge such tradition, even to the point of refusing to comply to impositions. Money may be useful, or at times even necessary, but it must remain in the rank of servant. If it is allowed to dictate, yes, it will soon become a dictator and cause havoc wherever people live and relate. The Gospel (Jesus) calls money “that tainted (dirty) thing”. It always tends to be God’s antagonist: “You cannot serve two masters…”
After spending a week in Freetown, I asked to go to Fadugu for two weeks (26 October-10 November) in order to see and learn from what the confreres are doing in this mission environment. Fadugu Is one of the four parishes cared for by the xaverian missionaries in Sierra Leone. It is located a dozen miles from Kabala on the road that links Kabala to Makeni.
“I must not omit to confess to you the reasons why I was so persuaded, because in them your deep, secret providence was at work, and your ever-present mercy, and these are to be pondered and proclaimed…”
– Saint Augustine, The Confessions.
On the first of the month of October 2016, a Memorial Day of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church and Patron of Mission, at noon time I stepped my feet for the first time on the land of Sierra Leone. This year the first day of October happened to be a Sunday, the twenty-sixth of ordinary time and this Sunday’s gospel reading (Mt 21:28-32) offers food for thought and meditation as I commemorate my arrival and celebrate one year of presence in this country.“Which of the two did his father’s will?, asks Jesus.” Is it the elder son or the younger one? With this in mind, I share about my going to mission.
MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2017
Mission at the heart of the Christian faith
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Once again this year, World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, “the very first and greatest evangelizer” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7), who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. This Day invites us to reflect anew on the mission at the heart of the Christian faith. The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away. So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent. What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?
The ecumenical movement has done great progress in the sphere of theology and has managed to solve traditional conflicts on Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, on Christian Ministries and the Doctrine of Justification, as shown by “the joint declaration of Justification” signed in Augsburg in 1999, between the Lutheran world federation and the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, these doctrinal progresses are often ignored in pastoral practices of Christian African Churches.