The Bight of Benin District-in-formation covers the territory of Bénin Republic, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.
Bight of Benin DF
Fr Reginald Nwachukwu (Nigeria)
Vice-SuperiorFr Francis Barka-Nado
Secretary & BursarFr Emmanuel Zinsu (Nigeria)
Bight of Benin District-in-formation,
Mob. +234 803 3652249
The missionary priorities of the District-in-formation can be summed up as “a commitment to mission ‘ad gentes’ and ‘ad vitam’, particularly in areas of Primary Evangelization”.
The BBDF has 69 permanent members who come from Bénin, Central African Republic and Nigeria. The 62 priests are working in 12 different African countries as well as doing Further Studies in Italy or the USA. The 7 deacons will be ordained in 2013.
As of 1 May 2013, the breakdown of the above is as follows:
Benin / Niger has 16 priests and 3 deacons;
Central African Republic has 1 bishop, 8 priests and 1 deacon;
Nigeria has 37 priests and 3 deacons
The BBDF also has seconded members, SMA priests on loan from other SMA units. They are working full-time for the BBDF in the Formation Houses, in Administration or in Fundraising.
Missionaries from the DF are engaged in
- pastoral (parish) work, particularly in areas of Primary Evangelization,
- administering programmes for those suffering from HIV/Aids,
- ministering to marginalised groups in some countries, running literacy programmes
- searching for sources of clean water,
- developing relations with Islam,
- building and administering schools etc.
Formation in the DF
As of 1 May 2013 there were 7 Deacons, 28 temporary members (19 in Theology and 9 on Stage) and 51 other seminarians in the DF initial formation process. Those seeking to be an SMA missionary have to become fluent in both English and French, the two languages of the Society. As most of our seminarians are already fluent in one or the other language he will learn the second language during his formation, especially in the early years of studies.
Those seeking to be an SMA priest undertake the following studies:
An Introductory Programme (usually in their country of origin);
Philosophy studies (a 3 or 4 year programme, at a diocesan or inter-congregational seminary in Africa);
International Spiritual Year (ISY) programme (at one of our ISY Centres, in either Calavi [Benin Republic] or Silang [Philippines]. At the end of this nine-month programme the seminarian formally asks for admission to the SMA. If accepted he takes a one year Oath of Temporary membership in the SMA. He then goes for his Stage programme.
Stage (a supervised Pastoral Year with an experienced SMA priest) in some mission outside his country of origin. In some cases, the seminarian will do his Stage in the ‘other language’ of the Society (e.g. a student from Nigeria may be sent for Stage to Togo);
On completion of Stage, the seminarian is assigned to theological studies. This takes place at one of the three SMA Houses of Theology in Africa – in Kenya, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Towards the end of these studies the seminarian may seek admission to Permanent membership and ordination to the Diaconate.
Initial formation concludes with Ordination to the Priesthood.
Would you like to know more about life as an African Missionary?
If so, contact Fr John Suakor SMA at [email protected] or SMA Director of Vocations, P O Box 7414, SHOMOLU, Lagos State
Further information on the BBDF (NOT Vocations) can be got by contacting the DF Secretary, Fr Emmanuel Zinsu, at [email protected] or by phone +234 806 364 7840 or +234 818 281 4565