Jubilee Celebrations


The Society of African Missions [SMA]
Jubilee 1856 – 2006



SMA Irish Provincial Team – 2006

Events:

  • The official Public Programme of the Jubilee was formally launched on 19th March 2006 at SMA Church, Wilton, Cork.
  • March 30-31: Symposium on Issues affecting Africa and Europe at UCC
    April 28-29: Lay Graduates Reunion – Dromantine
  • May 27: National SMA Pilgrimage to Knock
  • June 1-4: International Flower Show – Dromantine, Newry
    June 4: Family Open Day – Claregalway
  • June 10: Remembrance Day for all deceased SMA members – Wilton, Cork
  • June 24-25: International Pilgrimage to Lyon, France
  • Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick
  • September 23-October 1: Mission and Novena to St Theresa – Blackrock Road, Cork
  • October 6-8: Ballinafad Old Boys Association – Dromantine, Newry
  • November: Special Commemorations of deceased SMA members at local level – Dromantine, Claregalway and Dublin
  • December 8: Foundation Day: Closing of Jubilee

Other Features

  • Souvenir Album
  • DVD on our Missionary work was launched on 7 February at Wilton
  • Biography of the Late Bishop Patrick Kelly SMA, Bishop of Benin City in Nigeria was launched on 25 August.

In 2006 the Society of African Missions (SMA) reached an historic milestone in its existence as a Missionary Society.
Founded on 8 December 1856 in Lyons in France, the SMA had a unique opportunity to both look back with gratitude for the 150 years of solidarity with Africa and to look forward with renewed hope and dedication to continue its work of mission.

Looking back on the life of the Founder, Bishop de Marion Brésillac (1813-1859), one could easily conclude that the Society’s coming into existence was a chance or accidental happening. At first a diocesan priest in France, the Founder had very early in his priesthood volunteered to work as a missionary in the East and was assigned to India. This he did for 12 years. After 4 years in India he was appointed Pro-Vicar and then Vicar Apostolic of Coimbatore (its first bishop). Had he not run into a variety of difficulties there, it is conceivable that he would not have resigned as he did in 1854, and in all likelihood would have spent all his active days there. That events transpired as they did was instrumental in his founding a new Society, with the approval of Rome, for the evangelisation of Africa. Thus 2006 gave all in the SMA, and all connected with it, the opportunity to give thanks to God:

  • For what has been achieved in Africa, under His grace, in the course of 150 years;
  • For the dedication of generations of SMA’s and loyal bands of lay co-workers in partnership;
  • For where the Society is today with an ageing membership in the older Provinces but with emerging new Units in Africa itself, in Asia and in Poland.

Indeed the focus of our celebration was very much towards the future. Undoubtedly it was a moment of opportunity and grace from God for all connected with the SMA – members and lay supporters – to renew our commitment to nurture the growth of the reign of God, especially in Africa.

It was also an occasion for more people not only to learn of the SMA and its work, but also to become active participants as an expression of their baptismal call. Our Jubilee celebrations were an opportunity to give thanks for God’s blessing and guidance during the last 150 years and to move forward in confident hope knowing that “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20).

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