Ir. Alcinete volta aos Camarões após um serviço no Brasil

In July 2007 I arrived in Cameroon and I remained till July 2017, when I went back to Brazil for a service in my Province of origin. In 2022 I went back to Cameroon. Our missionary life has nothing planned for ever, we have to be always on the move, available to go and come.

I fully understand the meaning of the statement of Pope Francis: Mission is something I cannot uproot from my being, is part of my life” (EG 273). This is why our donation is without measure, wherever it is. Missionary life in Brazil or in Cameroon is always demanding and challenging, every moment, especially today, when the style of mission continually changes.

Our being missionaries requires a total openness and a detachment from things and persons. I am sure that where God is present, everywhere we find situations which require openness, dialogue, hospitality and, like Mother Teresa of Kolkata was saying, everywhere we find different kind of poverty.

When I went back to Cameroon I spent the first six months in a mission which I knew already (Ambam), but then I went to work for the first time in a primary school run by the diocese, which didn’t have the conditions to which I was used in our school in Manaus. Every day I worked to do my best, with the resources I had.

I realized once again that the proclamation of the Gospel sometimes is simply being a joyful presence in the ordinary life, without too many expectations. I wanted to do more, I wanted to change the people, today I want to change myself, today I want to discover Jesus in the people.

Ir. Alcinete volta aos Camarões após um serviço no Brasil

Now I work in the city, the capital (Yaoundè) and in this metropolis I found many challenges. I visit some schools, I teach in two schools. I am not teaching catholic religion, nor our doctrine, but I accompany a group of lay people, catechists, who as volunteers teach how to learn to live a life AS GOD’S GIFT. We train people to integrity, to respect and care for our common home and for others. As an educator myself I believe that EDUCATION is a powerful way to change the world (Nelson Mandela).

In Cameroon there are still many conflicts among different races, between rich and poor, there is still corruption like in many other places. Education to the values of justice and of our ethics in all their dimensions, to the respect for human dignity is still part of mission in todays’ society. Evangelize is to proclaim Jesus in order to transform the society, our life and the lives of those around us, as well as transform those whom we encounter.

Regarding the mission of the local church in Cameroon, I found it much more engaged in the mission of Jesus. The church in Cameroon has grown a lot in the last few years, the number of diocesan priests increased, there are more active catechists who are well trained. It is in general a synodal church, where the pastoral different areas work well and are well organized; there is also a good service of Caritas in the parishes and there is an attentive care towards the common Home.

Our parish church is under construction and I see as a very positive sign the commitment of everyone, everybody’s effort in this construction work. In the parish I am working with the youth: they have a coordination team and I collaborate with them.

A missionary priest I knew used to say: “the missionary life has to be shared like the Eucharist” (fr. Giorgio Paleari), shared with generosity and service. In my mission I make this experience: first and foremost, be a joyful presence, I try to have empathy and know how to live the mission without fear and with confidence that the Lord always accompanies always those He sends.

As a conclusion I quote Pope Francis: “Mission is the tireless journey towards all humanity to invite them to the encounter and the communion with God. Tireless! God, great in love and abundant in mercy, is always going out to meet each human being to call them to the happiness of His Kingdom, despite indifference or refusal.” (25/1/2024) .

Our life is a mission, even though it is challenging, we have to continue with perseverance, persistence, joy and love!

Sr. Alcinete Cardoso, Camerun

 

 

Missionary to discover Jesus in the people

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