Thursday 27 September 2012

First Nigerian Salesian Missionary to Asia and our brothers serving and training abroad

 this message was published on the official salesian website in Rome 
(ANS - Rome) - Joseph Kunle Ogundana, from the group of 1986, Salesian post-novice from Nigeria, is among 5 young Africans who will receive the missionary mandate on 30th September in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco. He is going to Bangladesh, a country very different from where he was born, but he is determined and knows that at least he will follow his calling.
The young Ogundana sets out with the conviction and deep determination aware that he cannot do it by himself, but needs the help of someone greater: “I am going because all that I have I want to share with them. I am going to learn how to be aware of life (…) in order to give myself to a Church which calls me to hand on the Gospel”; though, having recognized in an interview with the Mission Foundation – a pastoral organization set up by the Italian Bishops Conference – I had to admit also: “I need someone to take me by the hand”.
Bangladesh, the country to which he is going, is very different from Africa, from his Nigeria or from Ghana, where he was on mission. The Asian country, culturally so far removed from reality, with a difficult language, makes one a bit afraid. For this reason, a young student prior to thinking about what he can offer in his mission, needs to think about and understand the context.
“Going to Bangladesh – admittedly – is not something I would have chosen, I was being sent, but I am happy. The situation is scary because it is difficult. It is a country with a population of 40 million people. Compared to Nigeria, it is 5 times smaller but the population is similar to that in Nigeria, hence it is very hard to supply basic services. There is lots to do. I believe that my experience as a missionary could enrich me also.”
For him, the formation course for the mission has been very useful, ending with the orientation course and in these days in the places of Don Bosco. “There has been a lot of preparation. It would be difficult starting to get used to the culture. The language is very different from mine. The alphabet is different. But if God gives prepares me I shall be ready. It is easier for me to go now than when I was younger”.
However, his missionary vocation is something that the young Salesian began to become aware of right from the start, that he could not turn away from: “the mission became a calling when I started my Salesian education. I had the chance of going to Ghana for my novitiate in poor villages far from the city and had the opportunity of walking with them. (…) God has a plan for me: if he wants me to return to Africa. I am ready to follow God’s will.”

br kunle on the mic in Rome after receiving the mandate to go to Asia (Bangladesh) 

 br tony served in south sudan and now italy
 br maximus (l) and theophilus in northern italy
 some of the Nigerian salesians in Nairobi kenya
 br Philip  and Emmanuel in Kenya
br tony (l) and br Isaac (south sudan)
 the Afw deacons in Nairobi
our confreres with an italian friend

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