History of the diocese of Morondava

Hits: 631

The first evangelization of the extensive Menabe region took place in the years 1910 – 1928. The northern area of this region (Maintirano Ambatomainty, Antsolova Ankavandra) was visited by the Spiritan Fathers from Mahajanga, the valley of Tsiribihana by the Salesians from Antsirabe and the south (Malaimbandy, Mahabo and Morondava) by the Jesuits from Ambositra.

It was only in 1928, that the Salesians from the United States settled in Morondava, and took the great territory – from Morafenobe in the north as far south as Beroroha.

In 1935, the first nuns, Sisters of Providence from Corenc, reached as far as Morodava to erect their first school for girls and an orphanage.

Joseph FutyEtienne Garon

 

 

In 1936, when the colonial administration did not recognize the Americans as apostolic prefects, then in 1938 a province from France took response-bility for this mission with Bishop Joseph Futy, M.S (1938-1946) as the first apostolic prefect. In the year 1950, the northern regions (Maintirano Morafenobe Ambatomainty) became a part of Tsiroanomandidy prefecture. Holy Family missionaries came to this part of Madagascar in 1950. Thanks to their help and pastoral ministry, the area from Morombe to Manja along with Beroroha became a diocese in 1960.

 

 

Paul Girouard

In 1952, the missionaries of Mary Immaculate from Montreal replaced the Sisters of Providence. In 1956, following the ordination of Bishop Paul Girouard (1955-1964), an American as the first bishop of the diocese, the American province of St. Louis once more accepted the mission of Menabe.

Bernard RatismamoloanaIn 1964, along with the ordination of auxiliary bishop Ratsimamotoana Bernard (1964-1998) a new expansion and development of the Church had begun. The number of female communities increased from one to five: Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Sisters Joanna Delanoue, Sisters of the Immaculate Conception from Niort, Sister Mother of God from La Salette. In 1987, Brothers of the Christian Schools accepted direction of middle school of St. Paul. In the same year, the Carmelite Fathers of the Immaculate Conception arrived too.

Priestly ordinations were rare indeed. These were the evangelization years in which the catholic schools played a great part. Youth movements became a School of Faith, and the catechists’ job remained the basis of pastoral evangelization in the diocese. The new millennium is a careful and powerful call to continue the evangelization in the face of sects and the pressure of Islam.