Recalling some history
Founded in France on 13 May 1856, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament is at present situated in the five continents of the world. Sustained and led by the grace of the Holy Spirit, despite the winds and tides, this ecclesial institution continues to proclaim the Good News of Christ to the world through its specificity which is the Eucharist, following in the footsteps of its lovable founder, Saint Peter-Julian Eymard.
Moreover, since the Italian Province of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was unable to continue the animation of the parish of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Canadian Martyrs, the Superior General, Reverend Father Eugênio Barbosa Martins, and his Council requested the African Conference to provide religious for this mission. This appeal for African assistance is in full accord with the wish of the 35th General Chapter to bring about, where possible, the creation of intercultural communities for the fostering of our charism. Thus, under the aegis of the African Conference (CA) and the General Council, the Province of Blessed Isidore Bakanja, the canonical authority of the mission, the Province of Our Lady of Africa and the Region of Cardinal Emile Biayenda provided personnel to form the new community of this parish. So on 1 November 2020, the feast of All Saints, this new African community received canonical responsibility for the parish of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Canadian Martyrs.
Induction of the new parish priest
Five weeks after the parish was canonically undertaken, on 8 December 2020, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the auxiliary bishop for the northern sector the diocese of Rome, Monsignor Guerino Di Tora came to induct the new parish priest, Reverend Father Nicaise Milandou. The Eucharistic celebration began at half past ten in Rome time. Before the induction ceremony itself, we recall that Bishop Guerino Di Tora highlighted in his homily two aspects of the Gospel of the day: the fear that had seized Mary and her availability by her "Yes".
Fear, the bishop said, made Mary hesitate and doubt. This sometimes happens to us: we doubt about committing ourselves and accepting responsibilities. But we need faith to transcend this doubt; Mary’s “Yes” made the impossible possible. We are therefore called to show ourselves available, as Mary did. In faith she said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to your word." Let us commit ourselves, he emphasised, let us be available and malleable to God’s will. Finally, he invited the faithful to be available to welcome and work in collaboration with the new parish priest and the entire team of priests. The ceremony of the induction of the parish priest then followed. The essential moments characterising the induction were: sprinkling with holy water and incensing of the altar and the faithful by the new parish priest, his profession of faith, and finally his installation.
At the conclusion of the Eucharistic celebration, the Superior General expressed gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to his auxiliary Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, Mgr Guerino Di Tora, president of the celebration, the Province Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament represented by Father Maurizio Zorzi, the former pastor, the new parish priest for his availability, and all the new presbyteral team. In addition, he stated: “this is in keeping with our Eucharistic mission. Inspired by the 35th General Chapter which opens us to interculturality, the General Council is committed to entrusting this parish to the African sectors.” He also urged the parish community to collaborate with the new team by working in synergy. After the Superior General, it was the parish priest's turn to speak. Thanking God, the master of time and circumstances, the parish priest promised to work with his collaborators as a team, and invited the faithful to this same collaboration. Finally, Father Flavio, who had been a curate, rose to express a word of thanks.
Following the Eucharistic celebration, a meal was hosted by the community of the General Curia. Thus, the two communities showed their willingness to walk together to help the new community to be inserted into its mission. The meal ended with a glass of chartreuse, and taking some photographs to commemorate the occasion.
Father Serge Itoko Mundele, sss