VISITE DU PERE GENERAL AU CAMEROUN
Our primary love must be to Our Society...
This meeting took place on the 6th of February 2012 at about 9 am. In attendance were about 25 priests including Fr Peter Hillen who came from Nigeria. In the beginning, the General Rector pointed out the unique place that Cameroon has in the life of the Society.
This is because it is the only country where the Pallottines implanted the Church from the onset. His vision therefore is to see the Region grow and become a strong Province in the Pallottine Society. He went on to stress that as a Region which took up the name of the formal Province ‘Holy Trinity', it must always be considered as one entity consisting of Cameroon and Nigeria until the time Nigeria would be given independence. Therefore, that fraternal communion between the two must be sought for and maintained.
Fr General went on to say that from the observation he has made so far from his visit, he is putting forward ten important points which must be considered if the members really want the Region to be a strong one in the future. These points according to him, have bearing on both the Region as an entity and the individual members.
1. The society must be able to develop and utilize the great human resource available to it in the presence of the 126 young and able members. In other words, its greatest strength lies in these young and able members. But for this to happen, the members must have three important qualities:
A. ‘They must be persons committed to the Lord', ‘persons of faith' and ‘must remain spirit filled people'.
B. They must be committed first of all to the Society because they are Pallottines and not Diocesans. Their primary love must be to the Society meaning that they must become more Pallottines in their hearts and pastoral ministry. This is because if there is no thought of the Society even in those areas they work, the Society will surely die.
C. The members must be mature human beings who can maturely handle all kinds of differences in the Society. According to him, prejudices, and all other kind of unhealthy disagreements are as a result of human immaturity. This maturity must extend especially to sexuality, which will enable them to curtail the problem of sexual scandal that we are experiencing today.
2. The members must give great attention to the spiritual renewal of both their personal and communal lives. They need to become spiritual persons with strong faith in God. Because without faith, they cannot make it. However, this must begin with the conversion of individual hearts and then that of the community. Hence as Pallotti requests, the members must establish cenacle of prayers in our homes, adoration of the blessed Eucharist, recollections and preached or directed retreats.
3. The members of this Region must know and love the Father founder in a much deeper way. This demands then that they know his spirituality and goal, exemplified in the UAC. Pallotti to a great extent, remains a great undisclosed treasure which must be constantly discovered and made known to the others. But the question is how can this be done in the Region? This can done in three ways:
Formation and vocation must be the priority...
A. By producing more writings on Pallotti especially in French.
B. By establishing Pallotti Institute in the Region (Cameroon), as has been decided already in the last meeting of the Major Superiors and Formators (where…).
C. By celebrating the octave of Epiphany in a more grand way in this Region and in the Pallottine world at large, and by working for the realization of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate as a way of being the Church that works for the glorification of God. But in all these, the members need to pray and work with Vincent Pallotti.
4. The Region need to work more and more on the members and on formation rather than constructing structures. In other words, formation and vocation must be given prior attention and it must be a personalized one. It should not be a mass formation but must remain simple and focused on the students. In the same manner, the students in communities should be encouraged and empowered to produce something while in formation houses. For example, they can be encouraged to farm and work on the land available in the communities. Also here, it must be noted that for African Pallottines, French and English languages are of very much importance. This is to ensure that the loving co-operation which should exist between them is neither ignored nor suppressed.
5. The conferrers in the Region must be specialized. They must be allowed to do special courses in different fields and this can be done in three ways:
A. Training people according to the needs of the Society.
B. Selecting the right persons, based not solely on intellectual capability but also on the commitment of the person to the Society and his passion to carry out the task after the training.
C. Training people in different fields where they can bring out maximum out come.
6. The members must invest now for the development of the Region not only focusing on developing the diocese or engaging too much on social work even thought doing so it is important too. It is the right time to start thinking for the Region and how to move it on.
7. Collaboration with other Pallottine entities must not be looked down upon in this Region. The Society must be built up in the collaboration of one entity with the others. Thus, the entire Society needs the help of this Region because it has many young members. Attempts should also be made to ensure that the right people are choosing for this collaboration and good contracts are also established. Failure to do so can lead to the destruction of the good spirit of collaboration among different Pallottine entities.
8. There must be a need for a change of attitude in the whole question of finance. For example, there has been constant allegation against African conferrers mismanaging finance. This has resulted to a situation in which these African conferrers still depend on the others even after so many years. It entails that efforts must be made to make money within our own different countries even though this might be difficult at the beginning. In view of this therefore, the question should no longer be: what shall the others give to the Region but rather what shall the Region do to yield money. There must be the active desire to look for self independence and this idea will be supported by the General administration who has decided to support only those projects that will yield money. Also, it is quite important for the Region to look for both internal and external benefactors.
Time to take personal initiatives and responsibility of the Society...
9. As it is one thing to make money and another thing to make good use of it, attempt must be made to ensure that transparency and accountability are held to high esteem without any compromise.
10. Above all, the Region needs to solve its problems by focusing much not on the negative areas but on those positive areas and energy. With this last point both the Rector General and Fr Norbert, stressed that it is now time for all the members to stand up to fight for the good of the Region because it is theirs.
That it is time to take personal initiatives and responsibility of the Society and put into action individual capabilities in the collaboration with one another so as to bring out wonderful things about the Region. Hence, the vision for the Region was tagged as ‘Grow together to live together'. And for this vision to be realized, all kinds of individualistic and selfish life which stand against working together, must be abolished. Hence, good and open communication, exchange of students and other important elements which can empower the togetherness of this Region must be promoted and upheld.