The Lay Claretians Make Their Way Into Africa

Sep 11, 2023 | Claretian Family, Lay Claretians

In coherence with the numbers that the Holy See collects annually, which express the clear growth of Christianity in Africa, the Claretian Family also enjoys an increase in its members in several regions of the continent. There are now 642 Claretian Missionaries residing in the seven African Major Organisms, representing almost 22% of the total number of members of the Congregation.

Out of the roughly 1,600 of the Lay Claretian Movement worldwide, around 500 reside in African countries. Several of them could attend the XI General Assembly of the Movement held in July 2023 in Leioa (Bizkaia, Spain), finally after twenty years. Unfortunately, the visa policies of European governments limited the number of attendees. Only Lay Claretians from Cameroon, Congo, and Nigeria could participate.

The activity of the Movement is intense in various nations. The 9th Assembly of the Lay Claretians of Nigeria was held in July 2023. These six groups linked to the Nigerian Province of the Claretian Missionaries are about 60 Lay Claretians. A month later, the Lay Claretians linked to the Delegation of West Nigeria had their retreat.

The official records of the Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo indicate the presence of fifteen groups, comprising approximately 270 Lay Claretians, spread across five different regions of the country. Cameroon has ten Lay Claretian communities, with a membership of around 75 people scattered throughout the country.

The Movement, which is currently established in 31 nations, 21 in America, is delighted with the expansion of the Lay Claretian’s calling in Africa. There are groups of lay individuals with a Claretian mindset in Angola and Sao Tome who have not yet been officially associated with the Movement, and there are indications of their presence in the Ivory Coast as well.

Over the next few weeks, the Movement will experience great happiness in Zimbabwe. Three groups of Lay people, comprising over 60 individuals, have been formed after rigorous training and decision-making. These groups will formally join the Movement through admission ceremonies in October. Archbishop Robert C. Ndlovu, the Archbishop of Harare, welcomed the Movement into his diocese and pledged to support its growth. The October events will include retreats and other activities to prepare for the admission ceremonies.

The Lay Claretians’ XI General Assembly has prioritized improving communication and text translation to enhance unity within the Movement and enhance its mission within the Church. The General Council aims to maintain relationships with African communities and laity in Angola and Sao Tomé, who are actively engaging with the Movement’s mission and charism. Additionally, recent efforts have been made to connect with laypeople in India, Sri Lanka, France, and Italy.

Source | General Prefecture of Apostolate

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