1st African Salesian Cooperators Congress
Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)
From September 9 to 13, the Provincial House of Addis Abeba in Ethiopia hosted the 1st Salesian Cooperators Congress.
There were 33 participants representing the 12 African Provinces. Present also were the two World Delegates, and the World Coordinator and Regional for Africa. In a climate of great fraternity and joy, all the participants worked with dedication to reach the planned objectives. After the opening greeting of the Regional and World Coordinator, the two Delegates presented the new Plan of Apostolic Life. The knowledge, study, and deepening of this book of life is fundamental to live the vocation today and accomplish the mission of the Salesian Cooperator.
The second objective was knowledge of self and of the Association in the great African continent. The Coordinators took turns presenting the situation in their Province. The reality is rich and encouraging and asks to be better coordinated, accompanied, and animated. Among the strong points emphasized were love for Don Bosco and the Salesian charism, enthusiasm for working for the education of the poorest young people, joy of belonging to the great Salesian Family. Challenges are not lacking: communication and circulation, autonomy lived with responsibility, greater ecclesial, social, and political visibility.
The third objective was the new organization of Salesian Cooperator presence in Africa. At the end of a serious and impassioned debate during which they discussed four hypotheses, a conclusion was reached. Keeping in mind the strong points and the actual challenges, and to facilitate communication, the African Region was divided into two sub-regions or zones: the French-speaking Zone and the English-speaking Zone. The two Portuguese-speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique will be part of the French-speaking Zone. A period of three years, until the next Congress, was established to verify the validity of this choice.
Each sub-region is animated by a Coordinator and his/her Council. The English-speaking Zone chose the Coordinator, Mrs. Rosanna Kathangu, as Coordinator of Nairobi and Kenya; and Mr. Patrick Himvi, Cooperator of Cotonou, Benin, as Coordinator of the French-speaking Zone. The two Coordinators and their Councils are already at work planning objectives and elaborating strategies for the next three years.
For the Salesian Cooperators, this 1st Congress in Africa is the best fruit of the Bicentennial of Don Bosco's birth. Africa is the continent of the future. Many young people are waiting. As in the beginning of the Salesian work, the African laity with a clear Salesian identity affirms that they are with Don Bosco and the other groups of the great Salesian Family, animated by the same charism to live together the one mission of the education and salvation of the young.