Fr. Thomas Bang, OMI

Concerned about the animation of the orientations of the 37th General Chapter of our congregation in the mission of Angola, the superior of this Oblate unit, Father David Ibwidi, OMI, turned to the General Procure of OMI.

Indeed, the superior of the mission of Angola has requested that a session on the issue of the protection of minors and integrity in ministry be facilitated in his mission. The session on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons did not interest only the Oblates who work in Angola but also the laity. Collaboration in ministry between Oblates and lay people is increasingly encouraged. It is together with the laity that we make our pilgrimage of hope.

The session that took place from January 7 to 10 was in two phases: from 7 to 8 with the laity and from 9 to 10 with the Oblates.

The meeting at the Saint Anne Center with the laity brought together more than 200 people. Among the participants, there were mainly women (mothers) and young people. The meeting had two main parts: A presentation made by us, and questions and answers. Our presentation was based on the following points:

  1. Types of abuse in families, schools and parish activities.
  2. The role and responsibility of parents in prevention, awareness and denunciation.
  3. The means of defence in case of abuse, the right and the duty to report abuse.
  4. The consequences of the abuse on the victim, the family, the Church and society.
  5. The places of reporting.
  6. Red flags that there has been abuse or that person could be a potential abuser.

Fr. Thomas Bang, OMI

After this presentation, some participants shared their experiences and also some types of sexual abuses that we encounter in cultures. For example:

  • In some cultures, when a girl reaches puberty, she must have sex with one of her uncles. It is only after this sexual act that the girl is deemed fit and mature for marriage.
  • Sexual intercourse during the initiation rites of young girls.

After this meeting, we shared a cocktail with the participants.

Sunday January 08, 2023 Parish Center St. Anne of Luanda

During the mass, we gave the end of training certificates to 15 young girls and boys who followed in November, training on awareness techniques against abuse in the family and in schools.

After mass, we had a meeting with two different groups (young people and mothers) who raise awareness against the different forms of abuse in families, schools, and in their different living environments.

They presented what they do and the multifaceted difficulties they encounter. Suggestions have been made. We promised to support them in continuous training to build their capacity.

Meeting with the Oblates

From Monday January 9 to Tuesday January 10, we had a session with the Oblates of the Angola mission. They were 9 in total to follow the session.

We spoke in turn about the state of the problem of sexual abuse in the Church in general and in the local Church of Angola in particular. We talked about the types of abuses, the consequences and the means of prevention. A point was made on the indices of abuse, the Red Flag. A presentation was made on the handling of cases and the role of the person in charge of the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.

The method used during this session was: presentations, group discussions of 4 and 5, sharing of experiences and questions and answers.

It was in a very fraternal atmosphere that the session ended on the evening of Tuesday, January 10, 2023.