Address of Fr Michel L’Hostis at Benin Jubilee celebrations
Fr Michel L’Hostis is the Superior for the SMA in Benin and Niger Republics. After the ordination of the four new SMA priests they received their Mission Crosses from the bishops of the dioceses from which they came. Fr L’Hostis spoke to the faithful who participated in the Ordination Mass :
Your Excellencies, Bishops, Fathers and my dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Yes, 149 years on, the Church in Benin gives thanks to God for the arrival of the first two SMA missionaries at Ouidah and today ordains four of its sons to continue the work.
Our thanks to the Episcopal Conference for agreeing to integrate the priestly ordination of these four members of the Society of African Missions into this Solemn opening of the Jubilee Year.
How symbolic! Yesterday, Dahomey received; today, Benin gives! Yesterday it welcomed those sent by God; today it sends out four of its own and it will continue to do so as there are many Beninois priests and Sisters working beyond its shores.
Benin Christians, remain supportive of your missionaries; do not forget them; they have need of you. The missionaries who came here were supported by their churches of origin; it is for you today to do the same.
And you my dear young confreres, always safeguard your roots; continue to love your Church of Benin, which has brought you to ordination and never forget at what price the sacrifices that were made, with what devotion so that the Church would flower.
Love it, but don’t become nostalgic. The places you are going to may perhaps not be as good as Benin. The Church there may still be at its beginnings. Don’t be discouraged but remind yourself: it is for this very reason that I am sent here!
And now, in the name of the SMA Superior General, Fr Kieran O’Reilly SMA, I now inform each of you of your first appointment as an SMA priest :
Valentin Fadegnon, you are appointed by the Superior General to Nigeria ;
Desire Salako you are appointed by the Superior General to Tanzania ;
Jose Florent Kakpo, you are appointed by the Superior General to Nigeria ;
Anselme Yonlonfoun you are appointed by the Superior General to the Central African Republic.