The 2nd African Congress of Dominican Youths

 

A communion of Christian hearts, a gathering of brothers and sisters to share our rich Dominican Spirituality, an encounter to revive and strengthen our destiny as Young Preachers; such was the 2nd African Congress (ACon) of Dominican Youths which held at the Grand Seminary of Yaoundé, Cameroun from 24th to 30th July, 2017. We all gathered to prayerfully and creatively reflect on the theme: “Youths, how to take over the 800 Years of Preaching Truth and Mercy in the light of current challenges?” 

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The ACon was a very colorful and highly spirited meeting which brought together one hundred and four (104) multi-disciplinary participants from different arms of the Dominican Family, and twelve (12) countries of the world – Cameroun, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Sénégal, Kenya, Central Africa Republic, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Philippines, Portugal, Congo and Paraguay. The occasion was specially graced by the presence of the Socius to the Master for Africa, fr. Gabriel Samba OP; the Socius to the Master for Apostolic Life, fr. Orlando Rueda Acevedo OP; the Promoter General for Laity, fr. Rui Carlos Antunes OP; the Vicar Provincial of the Vicariate of Equatorial Africa, fr. Jean-Paul Kamameu OP; the Vicar Promoter for the Dominican Family in Equatorial Africa, fr. Aristide Basse OP; the International Coordinator of IDYM, Mr. Benjamin Rodil; other Friars working with the Movement, many Dominican Sisters from different congregations; Adult Lay Dominicans and  other dignitaries.

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The Congress was declared open with an opening Mass, presided over by fr. Jean-Paul Kamameu OP; during which he urged us to give ourselves entirely to the work of God, in order to be true partakers in the Mission of the Order. Just after the Mass, there was an exciting Opening Ceremony during which the host community presented us with different dances from various tribes and cultures in Cameroun. Other countries in attendance were also invited to present a short dance and their country flags. Later the same day, we received a very enriching talk from fr. Aristide Basse OP on the topic “To Live and Preach Mercy as Dominican Lay”. This exposition helped us to journey through the pages of Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church as we all sought to discover the importance and application of Mercy in our Preaching Mission as Young Dominicans.

The following two (2) days were marked with series of activities, talks and workshops. Of special note were the Theme Speech presented by the African Coordinator, Dr. Isioma Chukwuka-Nwodo on the topic: “Dominican Youths in Africa and Future Prospects: What are the Challenges?”; workshops on “How to Evangelize with Art” and “First Aid”; and Sporting activities.

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In the evening of Thursday, 27th July, the Representative Assembly began. Elected delegates from different African countries where the Dominican Youth Movement (DYM) exist, gave reports of their respective local groups, as we evaluated our vocation as Young Dominicans over the past 3 years; while other participants at the Congress were involved in workshops aimed at finding solutions to the challenges highlighted in the Theme Speech. The Assembly was also able to develop a Statute to guide the activities of the African Dominican Youth Movement

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(ADYM) henceforth. The Assembly came to an end on the 28th of July with the election of a new Regional Council to pilot its affairs until the year 2020 when the next Congress is scheduled to hold in Kenya. The members of the newly inaugurated African Council are as follows:

-          African Coordinator:                         Isioma Chukwuka-Nwodo (Nigeria).

-          Scribe/Promoter for Communication: Kudakwashe Joshua Mufandaedza (Zimbabwe)

-          Promoter for Finance:                        Carine Dongmo (Cameroun)

-          Promoter for Formation:                    Sharon Awiti (Kenya)

-          Promoter for Mission:                        Anthonia Chinazo Umenwobi (Nigeria)

The 29th of July was a day of outing, felicitation and relaxation after an activity packed meeting. Following the election of the new national officers of the DYM–Cameroun, we all set out on an excursion to the Basilica built on the site of the first Church in Cameroun, which goes by the name: “Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apotres de Mvolye”. From here, we paid a visit to the National Museum of Yaoundé, a deeply cultural and historic edifice. We all came back to the venue of the Congress late in the afternoon to prepare for the cultural night; wherein participants were gorgeously dressed and rendered various cultural displays.

The 2nd African Congress of Dominican Youths came to a close on Sunday, 30th July with a closing Mass presided over by fr. Gabriel Samba OP, during which the final communiqué of the Congress was read out and all participants were handed their Certificates of Participation and special gifts prepared by the host community. Good will messages were also received from the Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadore OP and the Promoter for the Dominican Family Nigeria and Ghana, fr. Emmanuel Taiwo OP.

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The Congress was indeed a Spiritual Summit for Dominican Youths in Africa wherein our zeal to live out our Preaching Mission as Young Dominicans was rekindled. It also afforded us the opportunity to learn more about and interact with the cultures of members from different parts of Africa, especially the host community – Cameroun; empowering us with the tools to be effective evangelists of Truth and Mercy in Africa.

The Holy Spirit continues to blow and bring fresh fire to the Dominican Youths in Africa. We rejoice as we go back home to discover better ways of setting Africa aflame with the truth of the Gospel.

St Dominic, Pray for us!

Compiled By,

Isioma Chukwuka-Nwodo,

African Coordinator,

ADYM. 

 
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