- Written by Dr. Thomas Cherukat
Greetings from Rome
My dear Friends of Fransalians,
It is Christmas again. I wish to greet each one of you a very Happy Christmas. It is my prayer that all of us may experience the joy and peace of Christmas in our own personal lives so that we may be able to work more effectively for peace and harmony in the world. Christmas is not merely a feast. It is essentially God’s own message of love to the whole of creation. It is a message addressed to the entire human family that we are all children of God and as such we are called to be brothers and sisters. May this Christmas strengthen our hope for a more peaceful world founded on genuine love and compassion.
Pope Francis has officially closed the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome marking the end of the extra-ordinary jubilee year of mercy. It is now for each one of us to keep the doors of our hearts and minds open to communicate the message of God’s mercy and compassion to a world that is increasingly witnessing immense suffering and extreme poverty caused by unjust structures and armed conflicts.
400 children sponsored under the Schuelerpatenschaft Program.
I am happy to inform you that our Schuelerpatenschaft Program continues to make some progress. We have been able to help more than 400 children drawn from 9 countries in Africa besides India. However the number of children seeking our help is also on the increase. Hence I would like to make an appeal to all of you to encourage your friends and acquaintances to join our program of reaching out to the poor children in some of the poorest countries in the world. It will be a beautiful gesture of mercy and compassion in the true spirit of Christmas. Please remember that your contribution of Euro 10 per month or Euro 120 per year offers a bright future for a poor child in a distant land. May God bless your generosity.
22 Wells completed in Chad-Cameroon
During the past few months, five more wells have been dug in our Chad-Cameroon Mission raising the total number of wells completed so far to 20 with a large number of villagers benefiting from them. We would like to extend this project to many more villages in Chad and also if possible in a few more countries in Africa where the need is most. Your contributions are earnestly solicited.
Saint Francis de Sales School at Ngaoundere, North Cameroon
The ongoing project “SFS School” at Ngaoundere has been making steady progress. More than 200 children are already enrolled. The school needs more class rooms and other basic facilities. We count on your generosity to realize our dream of making this project a big success in the coming years.
A New Project in Doba.
It is in Chad in the diocese of Doba that we the Fransalians began our work some 18 years ago. Being one of the poorest countries in the world we would like to bring education and development to the area where we are entrusted with two large missions. The mission has already acquired a piece of land in a prime place at Doba. We are now in the process of establishing a school and hostel at Doba to begin with. We shall keep you informed of the further developments on this project as and when it is being initiated.
I am indeed very happy to acknowledge the enormous goodwill that we experience from our friends and benefactors. It is my wish and prayer that this grace-filled season of Christmas and New Year bring us much joy and happiness through our acts of mercy and compassion. God loves a cheerful giver. Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.
P. Dr. Thomas Cherukat, MSFS
Greetings from Chad-Cameroon
Dear Friends of the Fransalians,
Greetings and good wishes from the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales in Chad-Cameroon.. The year 2016 has been an year of grace for the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales working in the Chad-Cameroon Mission.
During the past one year we have experienced an unprecedented growth of our mission. The newly established school at Ngaoundere in Cameroon is fully operational with 205 children enrolled in 5 classes with an average of 40 children per class. As the demand for new admissions are on the increase, we have planned to construct more class rooms in the coming years. We are particularly grateful to our friends and benefactors in Germany, Austria and France for their continued support and encouragement for this worthy project. I would like to place on record my heartfelt gratitude to P. Sen Vellakada in Austria and P. Jose Kananaikal in Germany besides P. Thomas Cherukat in Rome for their constant support and encouragement. I thank the members of the newly founded Agape Austria for their initiative and enthusiasm.
In recent times we do face a lot of difficulties in our missions in Chad due to the political and economic situation in the country. The sharp fall in the price of petroleum products has put the Chadian economy in serious trouble. There is a general strike going on in the country. Many of the state-run schools and institutions in the country remain closed. Trusting in God we continue our work for the most needy.
We have been able to complete yet another 5 wells in Chad of which 2 are in Bero and 3 in Doba. This ongoing project is mainly aimed at making available clean and safe drinking water for the remote villages and thereby prevent deadly diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, jaundice etc. This project has already helped us to save so many lives of new born babes in ours missions of Doba and Bero. We look forward to your continued support for the extension of this project to many more villages in our missions. The Schulerpatenschaft program initiated by the Amisales in Rome and Agape in Germany has been able to bring much relief to a large number of poor families in Chad and Cameroon. More than 100 children from our missions are directly supported by Amisales and Agape for their education. We thank all the sponsors for their kindness and generosity towards the poorest of the poor.
Our mission has recently acquired a good piece of land at Doba in view of establishing an educational institution for the benefit of the poorest sections of the population. We have planned a school and hostel for which we depend very much on the financial support from our friends and benefactors. We hope to initiate the construction by February 2017.
A minor seminary was a long cherished dream of this mission. This dream has now become a reality. The newly built seminary at Ngaoundere is scheduled to be blessed in February 2017. The Congregation is blessed with a number of candidates to priesthood both from Chad and Cameroon. It is our fond hope that sooner or later our missions in Chad and Cameroon can be fully manned by the indigenous priests themselves. The missionaries from India who have pioneered this mission are ever grateful to our friends and benefactors for their generous support for the formation of native vocations in Africa.
“La Feuiellette”, our main Mission House at Ngoya near Yaounde has been serving as a multipurpose house namely the Mission Headquarters, a major seminary and a minor seminary. Due to the scarcity of space for all our candidates and students, we have initiated the work on an extension of “La Feuiellette”. We are grateful to several donor agencies such as the Papal Foundation and the Church in Need for their timely help towards this important work.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHT NEW YEAR
We, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in Chad and Cameroon extend to you our warmest Christmas Greetings to you. We pray that the healing touch of Jesus Christ may bring much joy and happiness to each of us. The message of Christmas is clear. Christ is born. God is with us. That is the Good News. Christmas is indeed a family feast. Families re-unite, near and dear ones come together, friends and acquaintances exchange greetings and gifts. I take this opportunity to greet you, one and all and to express our deep sentiments of gratitude to all of you who have been by our side in our effort to help the poorest of the poor in our missions. May the Lord accompany each of us on our journey in 2017. God bless.
Rev. Fr. Manoj Xavier Arackal MSFS
Mission Superior (Chad-Cameroon Mission)