A Presentation of the Oblate Delegation on Madagascar

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" EVANGELIZARE PAUPERIBUS MISSIT ME "


« Evangelizare pauperibus missit me ». This is the motto of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

logoMadaIn 2017, the Delegation of the Missionary Oblates on Madagascar celebrates its 37 birthday of installation in the diocese of Tamatave. In this presentation we will show several important elements of our ministry among the Malagasy people, while not being unmindful of all those who jointly with us preach the Gospel on the Red Island, helping us with prayer and donation.

Our presence among the Malagasy

Thirty seven years among the poor. This presence manifests itself by engaging in varied missionary areas, where the poor are in the forefront.  The poverty on Madagascar is not extreme and often flows out of a lack of education. In this poverty one must recognize an uncommon wealth of the human person expressing itself in peace of soul, in hospitality, in sharing with their hardships and their disposition as well.

Another reality strongly present in the Malagasy culture is the Traditional Religion of their Ancestors. This refers to formalistic practices as well as social, which are strongly rooted in the spirituality of the Malagasy people. Their individual life is very strongly tied in with traditional ceremonies of their ancestors. A question arises – What method does one use to preach the Gospel to people deeply rooted in the stereotype faith of their ancestors? What is the future of these people, so they might discover the Christian religion; as well to simultaneously confront this modern world filled with new technologies, selfish-ness and materialism ? Is it not too late, to lead the civilizations of the world, which in fact is already strongly present in certain sectors of this country ? How to protect this country from the misfortune of “to have” for me, in order to have them preserve “to be” for others ?

The answers to these questions are like drops of water in the ocean that surrounds this Island. Each drop is:

  • List 03An individual Malagasy, who must be treated individually, while not destroying his culture and not insulting his ancestors. This culture taken very broadly is the call of every missionary, who wants to fulfill well the mission entrusted to him.

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  • First of all, one must recognize the individual person. The child who cries. The young lad who has never held a toy in his hands, and sometimes not even a candy. Or a young girl whose parents were unable to send their daughter to school.
  • Or young people, who do not know the future in their lives and fall morally or become drunk on local rum. What about the adults without work and the elderly people begging on streets, because no one has assured them of a peaceful and happy old age. These people await the help of the missionary and stretch out their hands to him.

The resurrected Christ, best describes this suffering nation. And we missionaries must witness to the presence of the Church among the poor and preach this poor Jesus Christ.

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The congregation of Missionary Oblates came to this country 37 years ago. Daily we stand before our lambs, which we lead into our sheep fold, whose Shepherd is Jesus Christ.

OUR MISSION FIELD

01We take on the world joyfully in order to love the poor.

This actually happened that the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate landed on this Island 37 years ago, along with 5 first missionaries.

Madagascar numbers almost 24 million inhabitants and is the fourth largest island in the world. It is separated from Africa by the Canal of Mozambique and figures among the poorest countries in the world. The standard of life is very low and poverty is found in cities as well as in the bush. The country’s economy lies in farming, fishing and animal husbandry. After fifty years of independence, one does not see any growth in these three pillars of the nation’s economy. A coup d’état in 2002 and 2009 greatly weakened the country’s economy and impoverished the citizens. Especially the present situation illegally leaves many wounds in the economy of this poor country.

“Let’s go to the most isolated from civilization, where there are no roads and bridges, but where the poor are, who are awaiting us” – such a motto accompanied the first Oblates to arrive in Madagascar :

From 1980: MAROLAMBO, AMBINANINDRANO
From 1985: MAHANORO

“Let us also go to the poor living in sectors of large cities, so that they also might know Christ”, motto of the missionaries:

From 1988: Parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. John Baptist in Tamatave.
From 2011: French island alongside Madagascar - LA RÉUNION
From 2012: Parishes St. Jean-Paul II in Morondava
From 2016: Mission in Befasy - Morondava


HOUSE OF FORMATION FOR FUTURE VOCATIONS

“If we have started some undertaking, we must know how to continue it”. This wish of Father Marcello ZAGO, Superior General of the Oblate Fathers in 1988, helped the Oblates on Madagascar to open houses of formation:

From 1988: NOVICIATE in Ambinanindrano
From 1996: PRENOVICIATE in TANAMAKOA - Tamatave
From 1993: SCHOLASTICATE in SOAVIMBAHOAKA - Tananarive
From 1999: SCHOLASTICATE in MAHAMANINA – Fianarantsoa

Other sectors of pastoral ministry conducted in the delegation:

La Délégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée à Madagascar entreprennent les autres activités et collabore aussi avec différentes Congrégations des Sœurs:

From 1934: L’École in Mahanoro - Sisters Filles de la Sagesse
From 1989: Centrum for girls in MAROLAMBO - Sisters Mary Repentant
From 1998: Centrum Audiovisuel OMIFILM - in AMPOPOKA - Fianarantsoa
From 1992: SCHOL of carpentry for bush boys - Marolambo
From 2012: SCHOL in Ambinanindrano - Sisters Filles de la Sagesse
From 2016: SCHOL in Morondava - Missionary Oblates

INFORMATION ABOUT THE DELEGATURE

Presently, the Delegature numbers 81 Oblates dont : 44 priests, 5 brothers, 28 seminarians, 4 novices. The Oblates work in 4 dioceses. Despite numerous personnel, our Delegature does not have a stable financial situation.

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Each year our personnel and work load increases, but our finances become smaller. The local people participate in supporting the missionaries, but this is hardly noticeable. One may say that the Delegature is maintained by help from the Oblate world and help received from Friends of the Mission.
Help here is most often in the form of natural products. People share with us what they possess and this must be strongly recognized. From year to year this help diminishes, since these people are also becoming poorer. Natural catastrophes like cyclones, floods, hurricanes, locusts which eat everything they come upon.
That is why our Delegature is seeking aid from different corners of the world, because we are aware that the time for our delegature to be self sufficient has not arrived. Consequently, that is why we have opened our mission at La Reunion, so that in the future the Christians of that small island someday might help our large island. For us these are new challenges and new ideas, so that our Unit may develop both spiritually and materially.