The Capuchin Minor Friars celebrated 75 years of their presence in Chad and the Central African Republic, with a Mass at the Cathedral of Moundou on Sunday, 20 October.
The Mass was presided over by the local Ordinary, Mgr Joachim Kouraleyo Tarounga and by Mgr Rosario Ramolo, Bishop of Goré. The celebration was attended by 40 priests. The event was preceded by a week of prayer, Eucharistic adoration and conferences. Fr Michel Guimbaud, who arrived in Chad in 1957 and is now 82, is one of the few Capuchins still alive who knew some of the founders of the Capuchin mission in Central Africa - Chad. Fr Michel therefore outlined the history of the presence of the Capuchin Minor Friars in both countries.
The evangelization of Chad is very recent because it dates back to 1929 thanks to the work of the Holy Ghost Fathers from Bangui and then by the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who arrived from Foumban in Cameroon. In May 1938, the Capuchins of the Province of Toulouse took the place of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Berberati and Bozoum in Central Africa and Doba in Chad. In 1941 it was the turn of the Dehonians to be replaced in Kelo by the Capuchins of Toulouse.
From Doba the Capuchins extended their missionary activity to the region of Moyen Chari.An important role is carried out by Fr. Arthur Delepine, a young Capuchin priest of 25 years of age, who founded the mission of Moundou in 1941. The current Cathedral of the city is essentially his work. He died in 1945 in Bouar in Central Africa at the age of 29, worn out by fatigue.
But 324 Capuchins from France, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Peru, Slovenia and Poland have followed his footsteps in order to animate the mission in the two African countries. Eight dioceses have been established in Berberati, Bossangoa, Bouar, Moundou, Sarh, Doba, Lai, Goré .
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