AFRICA/BENIN – The Mission is an adventure worth living
Friday, 17 March 2023
Calavì (Agenzia Fides) – “At the beginning of January 2022, I settled in Calavì, Benin, at the ‘Brésillac’ Center where the seminarians of the Society of African Missions follow the International Year of Spirituality (Novitiate), between the two or three years of philosophy and the three or four years of theology”. Father Giovanni Benetti recounts his experience with the young seminarians of the Center Calavì, on the outskirts of the large city of Cotonou, in the south of the country. “I find myself in the midst of so many young people who, together with the formative fathers and the friends of the Center, nurture an atmosphere of fraternity and simplicity”, writes the missionary.
Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola, Liberia, Zambia, DR Congo, Benin, India, are the countries of origin of the 37 seminarians currently present at the Brasilac Center in Calavi. The SMA formative priests are 5 in number, including 1 Indian, 2 Nigerians, 1 Polish and 1 Italian.
“I am involved, continues Father Benetti, in their spiritual accompaniment, in the preparation of some retreats and formation courses, and in the participation in the various meetings planned for formators. Depending on the time available, I also try to offer , especially on Sundays, my pastoral service in some neighboring parishes. There is no shortage of work and requires a great sense of responsibility, because it is a question of the vocation and therefore of the life of the seminarians, future SMA missionaries, who expect from me and other priests an authentic Christian witness. This requires humility, which allows formators to share the problems and immerse themselves in the personal history of these young men on their way to the priesthood and missionary commitment without borders “.
“Of course, here as everywhere, not everything is rosy. The water, for example, is not drinkable, it must be filtered or boiled. Unlike Nairobi, where I have been since 2021, the tropical climate du Calavì is heavy and the Anopheles mosquitoes are very present and active, we try to fight them with mosquito nets and repellents.However, I dare to say it bluntly: the Mission is an adventure worth living because may it help to grasp what is essential in life and to put into perspective what risks becoming an absolute. I ask the Lord to help me to be the reflection of his love, here and wherever the breath of his Spirit takes me. My desire is above all to share with simplicity the precious gift received from Him: faith, which gives taste, serenity and meaning to life”. (GB) (Agenzia Fides, 17/3/2023)