Seek earnestly the greatest gifts (1Cor 12.31)

The magazine « Letter to our Friends » has had a facelift. The year 2022 marks a new stage in our desire to seize new opportunities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Missionaries of Africa in Canada, like you and the rest of humanity, are wondering about the future of our society, of our world.

Fatjer Robbin Simbeye in Tunisia

The earth continues to turn and so do we. Instead of turning on ourselves, like a whirlwind, our gaze is pointed towards other horizons. In this issue of The Letter to Friends we will go to Tunisia to meet an exceptional community made up of Christians and Muslims where ecumenism and religious dialogue are lived daily with respect for all.

Artistic expression is an extraordinary way to illustrate the precious gift of love. It is a collective wealth of almost infinite variety. The African world present in our country now has a place to disseminate this wealth. The Afromusée (see on page 6) will build new bridges towards the recognition and enhancement of the history of Afro-descendants, which dates back more than three centuries in Canada.

Sculpture by James Samikwa from Malawi

African art is inspired and inspiring. On the cover page and on page 7, you will notice an exceptional image of Christ; a sculpture by James Samikwa from Malawi. The finesse of the details illustrates the cosmic power par excellence of the healing Christ.

The gift of hope is also to be sought constantly. Read the extraordinary struggle of Sister Marie Stella from Togo. This same hope is celebrated on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa located in Algiers. Once again, this historic gift builds bridges between religions. This sanctuary promotes dialogue and sharing between Christians and Muslims. The same is true from an intellectual point of view with the creation of a new bilingual magazine focusing on Islamic-Christian studies in Africa.

The spiritual gift that we received from our founder, Cardinal Lavigerie leads us to be sensitive to the realities of today’s world and to dare to constantly modify or reassess our mission.

It is in this respect that the encyclical of Pope Francis entitled Fratelli Tutti is particularly significant for us. Despite the numerous confinements, a consequence of the spread of Covid-19, we insist on building bridges.

Finally, we propose today to support a commendable initiative for the protection of albinos in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A lot of effort and ardor have been invested in this project, which has already made it possible to restore dignity to many people who have been discriminated against.

Let us persist together in earnestly seeking the greatest gifts.

Fr Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr


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