Bata, Equatorial Guinea. In the framework of the reorganization of the Claretian presence in Africa, and as a result of a long process of discernment, the General Government, during its March 8, 2018 sessions, approved the constitution of a new Independent Delegation that would take by name “Delegation Padre Xifré.”
On July 16, 2018, Padre Xifré Independent Delegation is canonically erected, which brings together, at this moment, the Independent Delegation of Equatorial Guinea and the General Mission of Gabon. This Delegation will be governed by the common law of the Church and by our Constitutions and Directory. The territorial limits of the Delegation coincide with those of the countries of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Faced with the need to carry the Word of God and to bring the Claretian missionary charism to distant lands, by decision of the then Superior General, Father Josep Xifré Mussach, “the famous twelve” (six brothers and six priests) arrived in the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea, formerly known as Fernando Poo (from the period of Portuguese colonization), on November 13, 1883 after taking a trip from Barcelona on October 5. Father Ciriaco Ramírez was the Apostolic Prefect of that group.
In this way, and after the failed Claretian experience in Algiers, the missionary journey of our Congregation on the African continent began. The presence of the Catholic Church in Equatorial Guinea has been largely a Claretian presence. Many of our brothers carried out their evangelizing service in that Mission, even with the surrender of their own lives. From then on, the juridical status of this Organism moved from Mission to Quasi-Province, to Province, and then to Independent Delegation.