Hi, my name is Alexander and I come from Colombia but I’m originally from Peru. I’m a Xaverian missionary priest and I am 32 years old. I am now living in Makeni which is the third more important city of Sierra Leone. I have five siblings: three sisters and two brothers and I’m the oldest brother. My mum is a housewife and my dad is a farmer. All my family live in Perú.
FIRST STEP: THE BUILDING.
Having a secondary school in the Kolo Kolo compound at Makeni, in the parish of St. Conforti, Diocese of Makeni, seemed an impossible dream a few years ago,
Bishop Natale Paganelli, sx made a pastoral visit to Mongo Parish from 15th – 18th March 2018. Rather unusually, he spent more time remaining the main parish community in order to better understand the situation and better to guide and encourage the life of the parish. The main agenda of the visit was to have meetings with all groups of the parish, to visit some catholic schools and have meeting with teachers, and to administer the sacrament of confirmation. All the programs were carried out well, though in a simple way due to the general elections atmosphere which still persisted in the country.
From the 6th of February to 8th 2018 we, Father Patrick Santianez (the Vocation Director of the Xaverian Missionaries), Sr. Beatrice Adamsay Sesay (Vocation Directress of the Clarissan Sisters) and myself, Fr. Francois Noah, traveled to Kailahun in the Diocese of Kenema. Makeni is around 480 km from Kailahun. Most of the road is tarmac. Only the last section is being tarred by a Chinese company. The motivation for this first trip was to discover where the young people from Kailahun who joined the December 2017 Come and See live. Four of them travelled from Kailahun to Makeni last December 2017 in order to participate in the “Come and See program” organized by the Xaverian Fathers in the Regional house. The determination which these young people showed, prompted our decision to move towards them. In Kenema we joined Father James Jamiru, the vocation director of the Diocese of Kenema, who led us through the diocese of Kenema, passing by Kailahun and Koindu at the border with Guinea and Liberia, and other places.
It is more than a decade that the Christian Community of Falaba was founded. It was the Fathers of Kabala who started and followed that small community of Christians. They celebrated baptism in two occasions. First it was Fr. Carlo Di Sopra, second by Fr. F. X. Sudarmanto. They used one classroom of the school as their church. Through the years, the community struggled to survive. The faith that was planted lasted until today.
SECOND STEP: ADMISSION OF STUDENTS.
This first important step, the building of the school, has been followed by the second one no less important and very meaningful: the Registration-Admission of the first pupils who have chosen this school to continue their education.
The 22nd of August at 9.00 am, we gathered in front of the primary school and after a mini assembly with the parents and pupils who were present, the registration started and is continuing now. It was a fine coincidence that the first two students sat together for the interview and one was a boy, Alusine S. Sesay and the other a girl, Aminata Kalokoh.. This JSS secondary school is a natural continuation for those who attended already the primary school at St. Conforti and it will be a help for the many children who live in the area of Kolo Kolo and New London. We thank also Mr. Gabriel Kamara, the acting Principal and the teachers who have already started their cooperation. Finally the city of Makeni, after long years of waiting, has a third Catholic Secondary School, after “St. Francis” and “Convent”.
The Catholic University of Makeni, Unimak, in collaboration with CEU(Centro de Estudios Universitarios) S. Pablo, a university in Spain, have organized summer camps in three parishes of Makeni, St. Conforti, St. Francis' and Our Lady of Fatima.
Thirty volunteers arrived from Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Saturday, 14th July.
The pilgrimage of the Archdiocese of Freetown had a special purpose this year. It was focused on the prayer for peace and the commitment to be peaceable people. At the beginning of the pilgrimage, the Archbishop of Freetown, Edward Tamba Charles, spoke about some acts of violence which are springing up in the country since the results of the general political elections were out. People have been bitten or frightened because of their political affiliation or their tribe, said the archbishop in a solemn manner. It is not fair and just in a democratic country, he added.
Last January 20, 2018, Bishop Natale Paganelli, s.x., the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Makeni, came to Holy Martyrs of Uganda Parish-Kabala and confirmed 42 members mainly from the central Church. Many people attended the Holy Mass.