Madagascar: Pastoral Visit of the general Superior in the District of Antananarivo

Sunday, November 13, 2016: Closing celebration of Brothers’ 150 years presence

On Saturday, November 12, in the context of the closing celebration of the 150 years of the Brothers of the Christian Schools’ presence in Madagascar, the finals sport competitions between students of different Lasallian Schools took place… It is however the Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday, November 13, that truly made up the summit of this celebration. It lasted three and a half hours, from 9:00 am to 12: 30 pm, on Soavimbahoaka hill around Blessed Br Louis Rafiringa’s shrine. The hill, flanked by flags (the colours of Vatican, of the Institute and of the country…) slamming in the wind, and crossed over by a crowd of people (religious, singers, students, members of the various movements and associations) with varied attires, attracted the eyes from afar. It was sparing no rest to foreign eyes pushed to browse it with the gaze from endless discovery…

Br Vincent Rabemahafaly introduced this historical Eucharistic celebration with an intellectual oratory exercise lasting almost one hour consisting of a narrative summarizing the 150 years. The narration started in Malagasy, continued in French and then in English… The Mass was presided over by the Archbishop of Antananarivo, Archbishop Odon. Bishop Fidelis, Bishop of Ambositra and religious priests and diocesans concelebrated with him. Representatives  from the Government, from some of the 82 women Congregations and the 32 men Congregations present in Madagascar, from the different school delegations of the Brothers and the Guadeloupian Sisters, from the associations of the Lasallian family, parents, friends, Brothers’ former students, comprised the large gathered assembly for the circumstance. We should note the presence and the elegance of the hostesses, especially La Salle Info Centre, showing the guests the way, accompanying them to their seats… The general Superior spoke after the thanksgiving, around the figure of Blessed Louis Rafiringa, both model but also a challenge for all today, challenge of fidelity to the service of the Church, the poor, of the country… His message was translated in Malagasy by BR Michel Tolojanahary.

At the end of the mass, in the company of Brother Visitors, the Superior watched an exhibition of photos in three tables, a table for each period of 50 years. He was overjoyed to meet Brother Mamy’s mom and dad, Visitor of the District of Antananarivo. He did not fail to compliment and congratulate them for the gift of their son to the Institute and to the whole Church.

The meal of this historic day brought together without doubt more than 300 guests. The presence and the service of the hostesses were remarkable. They were supported by the strong mobilization of the Guadeloupian Sisters, devoting themselves to offer dishes and drinks … Different choirs, and even a group of Brothers took care of the musical animation. In the end, the guests could not resist the charms of the music and the dance floor was opened by Archbishop Odon accompanied by Sister Virginia delegate for the Guadeloupian Sisters in Madagascar… The general Superior and The Brother Visitors even joined the queue of dancers…

At 4: 30 pm, the general Superior, accompanied by the General Councillors Gustavo and Pierre, visited the Guadeloupian Sisters scholasticate where they also have the pre-postulancy. After the visit, mainly the chapel which inauguration is due to be in December 12, on the day of the celebration of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, he had very relaxed discussions with the Sisters in an atmosphere combining seriousness and jokes. He complimented the Guadeloupian Sisters for their admirable dedication during this celebration with the Brothers. He pointed out that through the example of Blessed Louis Rafiringa, they will represent in their own way tomorrow’s pioneers… The different RELAF Visitors and auxiliary Visitors, and the president of the Delegation joined later the general Superior and the general Councillors for a dinner embellished with songs and dances prepared by the sisters and also their postulants. I can assure you that the cake prepared by the Sisters was worth alone by itself the move for it was delicious…

This celebration will no doubt remain etched in the memories and hearts because this was the opportunity of much joy and the presence of exceptional guests like the general Superior, general Councillors and the Brother Visitors and the President of the Delegation of the whole Lasallian region of Africa.

General Councillor for RELAF (Translation by the Regional Secretary)

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