Oblate Brothers Daniel KLOCH and Christian RAMISY, of the Madagascar Delegation, tell of their experience at the First Regional Meeting of Oblate Brothers, held in Cameroon.
Leaving Madagascar on February 9, we arrived the next day at the Yaoundé airport. There, two Brothers from Cameroon, Mirabeau and Christian, were waiting for us and they accompanied us to the formation house of the OMI scholastics. On Saturday and Sunday, the Brothers of the 7 other provinces landed successively in Yaoundé.
They came from: Namibia, Senegal, Lesotho, South Africa, Congo, Zimbabwe and Zambia. As for the Cameroonian Brothers, they came directly to Garoua. On Sunday, February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Mass was celebrated with the Oblate scholastics. And on Monday afternoon, all Brothers coming from outside left for N’Gaoundéré by train. The night trip was a really interesting adventure. Having arrived Tuesday morning in N’Gaoundéré, we changed means of transport. This time a quite comfortable bus took us to the novitiate, which was in town. The novices with their Master welcomed us with joy and Oblate fraternity. And then, on to Garoua and to the OMI Procure.
Our meeting started on the morning of February 13 with a word of welcome from the superior of the house, Brother Jean Marie DIAKANOU.
On the first day, there was a presentation by each participant: his background and the position he currently holds. To get to know each other better, we spent the day with comments, conversations and various questions. Father Guillaume MUTHUNDA, General Councilor for Africa and Madagascar, who came for this meeting, emphasized Father General’s concern for the vocation and the life of the Oblate Brothers in the Congregation all over the world.
The second day, Ash Wednesday, was marked by the beginning of Lent. We reflected on the vocation of the Brother. From this perspective, we continued to share on the identity of an Oblate Brother today. The day was busy and there were many suggestions made about basic spiritual and theological formation and the professional formation of Brothers from the beginning of their religious life.
After this great fraternal sharing, on the third day, we took to the road toward the extreme north of Cameroon. First, we stopped at Figuil to pay a visit to the Oblates who work in this area and pray a moment at the Marian Sanctuary built by Polish Brother Grégoire ROSA. Then we had a good time in Mokolo with the OMI novices and at the end of the day we arrived at Maroua at the Visitor Center. Oblates and lay associates received us very well. We felt the family relationship between the Oblates and the laity.
On February 17, early in the morning, we headed back to Garoua to celebrate the Oblate feast together with the Provincial of Cameroon. In the afternoon, we concluded our meeting, always in English and French, and we entrusted to three Brothers the writing of a report for Fr. General and the OMI Congregation.
It was the first meeting of the Oblate Brothers of the Region of Africa and Madagascar; we hope that it will not be the last. Our thanks to the organizers and all those who ensured the smooth running of this meeting of the Oblate Brothers. (OMI Bulletin of Madagascar, March 2018)