Sister Audrey JOLICOEUR shares with us her travel to Madagascar to meet the CANA Fraternity and the leaders of several dioceses.
To train the leaders of the CANA Fraternity of Madagascar, to meet the CANA Fraternity of Fianarantsoa where there is the largest CANA Fraternity on the island, to visit the leaders of the Church and of the family ministry, these were the objectives of this long journey.
After two days of quarantine to wait for the results of the PCR test done at the airport, I took the road to Antsirabe where I met Father Ferdinand, priest in charge of family ministry in the diocese of Antsirabe and secretary of the Family Ministry of the Madagascan bishops’ conference. With this priest, who wanted to know CANA better, we were able to clarify several points. For example, CANA is a mission of the Chemin Neuf Community and is not a movement with specific statutes… With him, we went to visit the local radio station where CANA has a programme one hour a week and we even went live on the radio! The Father would like us to present CANA to the Madagascan bishops’ conference.
On Friday evening the 8 couples responsible for the Fianarantsoa fraternity and the 3 couples of the regional team arrived in Antsirabe (in Fianarantsoa there are 8 fraternities, 6 of which are in the bush). On Saturday morning, before the formation began for everyone, the leaders were able to share the great difficulties of the moment, summarised as follows: “COVID, the Great Drought, the 3 Cyclones and the torrential rains”. All together, we had an intense time of prayer and they kept saying how much they were touched.
Training in Antsirabe
The 16 fraternities of Madagascar were represented for the leadership training programme. There too, there were good exchanges and they were able to work by region to see how to make CANA better known and to launch an evangelisation campaign to announce the CANA Weeks or CANA 1-2-3.
For Antsirabe, it’s already beginning! CANA 1-2-3 started on the weekend of May 1st. With the person in charge of family ministry, they chose to target 6 parishes in the city centre, for a session that could welcome 100 couples. We were also able to go deep into subjects which are very difficult for the Madagascans. At the end of the weekend, even those who remained silent spoke up. Apparently, those from Fiananrantsoa sang all the way home, (6 hours of very rough and winding road, not easy for people who are not used to travelling!)
On Monday I met the bishop of Antsirabe, Mgr Philippe Ranaivomanana, who encouraged us in our mission and to make the Community known.
Meetings in Fianarantsoa
Then, in my turn, I took the winding and greatly damaged road to Fianarantsoa, where with 40 couples the CANA fraternity is the largest fraternity in Madagascar. The next day I visited the CANA fraternities in the bush, 25 km from the city centre, which we reached after a 3-hour drive! It was a very good time where we were able to share more about their difficulties; the main challenge being that everyone was present for the fraternity times, especially in such difficult times.
At the end of the trip, the meeting with the team in Tananarive was also very important, as we were able to discuss the difficulties encountered in becoming introduced in the parishes. We saw together how to make the Community and the CANA mission better known.
A mission to be supported
All in all, it was necessary to take this time for Madagascar. The CANA fraternity is beginning to be well established, but to take root, trust is essential. It is up to us to remain close to those in charge, especially as the bishop of Morondava, Mgr Fabien Raharilamboniaina, who presides over the Madagascan bishops’ conference, calls us to a mission in his diocese.