Africa Madagascar Regional Conference
Dakar, Senegal 2004

Superior general - French

Dear participants in the Africa-Madagascar Regional Meeting,

I have received fresh news that your meeting is about to start in spite of the difficulties of travel that have been involved. From Rome, the General Council and myself wish to send all of you our best wishes for a grace-filled New Year 2004!

The Africa-Madagascar Region is full of vitality. One has to recognize that much of this vigor springs from the paschal mystery. In many ways you experience the mystery of the cross of Christ in the people you serve, and you bear it in solidarity with them proclaiming the power of the resurrection. Thank for this witness. A beautiful example of this vitality is your new presence in Guinea-Bissau which began just a few days ago from the very country where your meeting is taking place. Congratulations to Sénégal and to the whole Region!

I believe very much in the importance of the Regions and the Sub-Regions; you are in a privileged position to assess common needs and to work at a common response. So much can be done in common, for the good of the mission, be it especially in the area of formation or in the sharing of your resources in personnel and finances. What I would be happy to see, is that the Regions establish the structures and provide the means to fulfill their mission even more effectively.

For us Oblates, it is the year of the Chapter. I am sure, besides the other important business you have to deal with in Dakar, your gathering will also give attention to the work of its preparation. At the Chapter we expect to harvest the fruit of the “Immense Hope” process and through it achieve clarity and a renewed spirit of daring for our Oblate mission. The Chapter will also discuss some practical issues which the delegates choose should be highlighted at its sessions. So I invite you to reflect on the question: What is it that the Region of Africa-Madagascar would like to see discussed and perhaps resolved by the highest authority of the Congregation? May the Spirit assist you in making some enlightened proposals.

The Oblates all over the world will be looking more and more towards Africa-Madagascar, our fastest growing Region. The strength the Lord is giving you, will be a blessing for the many missionary needs on the increase in your own countries. It is at the same time meant to become a blessing for other parts of the world. May Saint Eugene and the spirit of his apostolic zeal accompany you at your gathering. May Mary, mother of all missionaries, fill you with the family spirit she always knows to create around her.

I assure you of my prayers and wish you the blessings of a fruitful meeting.

Fraternally in Christ and Mary Immaculate,

Fr. Wilhelm Steckling, OMI
Superior General

(Rome 3 janvier 2004)