Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ma première semaine au pays innu


It is barely a week I arrived in Maliotenam, Côte-Nord du Québec, (Northern Shore) to work with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Notre Dame de Cap Province of Canada. In this little write-up, I gave a brief summary of my journey to this very part of the World. How it was not easy to separate with both my biological family and the members of the Christian community where I last served.  

 Après quelques moments de formation dans la congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, je me suis rendu compte que le moment le plus douloureux n`est autre que le moment de transition d`une communauté à l`autre ou d`un lieu à l`autre. Quand je disais au revoir à mes parents le 4 décembre dernier, je me forçais pour ne pas leur montrer que mon départ pour cet autre côté du monde n`étais pas seulement douloureux pour eux mais aussi pour moi. En vérité, je n`ignorais pas le chant qui dit que partir c`est mourir un peu, mais je me consolais en me disant que c`est ce à quoi je suis appelé.
Sevré donc encore une fois de plus de ma famille biologique, je savais que j`aurai encore un autre calice à boire avant de prendre l`avion pour le Canada.
Après mon ordination sacerdotale, le 17 février 2014, j`ai été affecté dans notre communauté de la Paroisse Saint Martin d`Ihiteowerre, Nigeria. Et même si je n`y ai passé que neuf mois, j`étais bien habitué avec les gens que cela semblait des années du service. Mon dernier passage dans cette paroisse, ne pouvait donc que me rappeler que j`étais en train de m`éloigner de ceux qui me sont chers.Voilà donc le chemin qui m`a amené au Côte Nord du Canada.
Toutefois, à mon arrivé au Canada, mon problème ne constituait pas seulement à savoir comment gérer les différents changements géographique et climatique (changement horaire et de température) qui caractérisent ce déplacement mais surtout comment retrouver une communauté qui m`accueille.
Mais heureusement, les premiers contacts faits ici à Mani-Utenam (Maliotenam), m`ont été rassurants. Déjà à mon arrivé à l`aéroport de Sept-Îles, le Ps. Gérard Boudreault O.M.I et Guy Fortin O.M.I qui attendaient mon arrivé m`ont accueilli à bras ouvert. Et arrivé à la communauté, il y avait le P. Gérard Tsatselam O.M.I qui m`attendait aussi. Ces premiers gestes, aussi banals qu`ils soient, étaient pour moi des indications que je suis bienvenue dans ce champs pastoral.
Le lendemain,  j`ai alors eu mon premier contact avec le peuple innu. Et comme s`ils comprenaient bien que j`étais en première phase de transition, ils m`ont ouvert leur bras largement et depuis ce jour-là, j`ai compris que je ne me trompais pas de chemin.  

Ali C. Nnaemeka (mekaalison@gmail.com)
''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Sur la trace des ainés en milieu innu


 Dans le but de poursuivre mon insertion dans ma nouvelle communauté innue, j`ai visité une des églises desservies  par des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculé, province Notre Dame de Cap, Canada.  Avec les Ps. Gérard Boudreault, O.M.I et Guy Fontin, O.M.I. nous sommes allés rendre visite au P. Gérard Tsatselam, O.M.I, qui sert les communautés de Ekuanitshit (Mingan), Nutashkuan, Unamen Shipu (La Romaine)
Même si la communauté innue de Ekuanitshit (Mingan) a eu sa première visite des missionnaires au 17ieme siècle avec la première visite du Père Louis André, Sj accompagné de Louis Joliet explorateur en 1684, il a fallu attendre jusqu`en 1857 pour la construction de la première chapelle par le P. Babel, O.M.I. Cette première église a été par la suite embellie par le P. Arneaud, O.M.I.
Et puis reconstruite par John Maloney, le Jack Monoloy de chanson de Gilles Vigneault en 1918-1919. Et entre 1971-1972, le P. Roland Delaunay, O.M.I avec l`aide de toute la communauté chrétienne de Ekuanitshit (Mingan) lui a conférée son style indien actuel.
C`était pour moi, non seulement un moment de rencontre avec le monde innu à travers des œuvres artistiques innues mais aussi avec la mission oblate au milieu innu.  




''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Seeking peace over land use by Alison

The conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers over use of a grazing land reserve is a major concern for the local community in Benue State. The Tiv people depend on agriculture, while the Fulani are herdsmen. Unfortunately the tension over land between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers has resulted in conflict that has led to loss of lives, families internally displaced and properties destroyed. This is a story of the Nigerian people but it is affecting the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and their collaborators ministering in Nigeria. Fr. Cornelius Ali NNAEMEKA explains the situation:


“The Nigerian Oblate mission has always had contact with the poor with their many faces, but the challenges raised by the recent ethnic clashes in Nigeria have brought us into contact with yet another group of poor people. This new development caused us to make a shift from our regular activities of helping our parishioners have a decent life, access to clean water and quality education. In recent months, we have had to face some new challenges. This deplorable situation calls us to do what we can, by word and example, to rekindle the flame of faith and hope that seem to be dying in the hearts of our brothers and sisters.

“The above-mentioned problem first occurred in Benue State where we opened a new Oblate mission late last year. It was due to a clash between some Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers. Even though these two groups have lived well together for a long period of time, they have developed a new hostile relationship that left many Tiv farmers homeless. The problem is over planting and grazing lands. The people ran away from their villages due to the violence. On arriving at the city of Makurdi, they were stranded and having nowhere to go, they had to take refuge in schools and other public buildings.

“Those who took refuge in our territory, Northern Bank, Makurdi, were almost abandoned to themselves. But with the aid of parishioners from the Oblate parish, we provided the few basic necessities we could afford. We built the only sanitary facilities that the thousands of them could use. We provided in our own little way for their food and other medical needs. And some of our parishioners took care of educational needs.

“Our other contact with these victims of ethnic clashes was in Jos. The Oblate parish in Jos is made up of different ethnic groups. These people, in spite of some conflict in living together, in recent decades had a healthy relationship until some months ago. Because of a dispute over land ownership, two ethnic groups, the Bace, known as the Rukubas, fought their neighbors, the Miangos. This conflict displaced thousands of our parishioners. Many lost their relatives, their property and their houses. In this conflict, we Oblates were the major actors, since both groups were our parishioners. We also provided them with food, bedding and some basic necessities according to our own capacity as a growing mission.

“This is our recent challenge in a country where conflict seems to arise every now and then in various places. Encouraged by the support of our brother Oblates and men and women of goodwill, ‘We will labour and spare no effort with all the resources at our command to covert these affected people to see the dignity of human life and share land as their common good.’ This is our Mission. This is our Oblate calling.” (This article was first published by Missionary Oblates’ JPIC Blog)

''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

Monday, 28 April 2014

CHILDREN'S CORNER II Poem

Hop Hop Hop
Once I saw a little bird
     Come hop, hop, hop;
So I cried, Little bird,
      Will you stop, stop, stop?
I was going to the window
      To say 'How do you do?'
But he shook his little tail
And away he flew.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Children's Corner: I

One of the greatest way to teach kids is through poems. I hope to propose few of them, in Children's Corner, with time for children's consumption.
Watch out for the series. They might be the ones your kids already know but repetition, they say, is the mother of science. Help them to learn it, if possible by heart and see the effects with time.
        THE CLOCK
   "Tick," says the clock,
        "Tick, tick,
   What you have to do,
        Do quick."
Check out @emekalison's Tweet: https://twitter.com/emekalison/status/456480365578694656

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Reflections: 3rd Sunday of Lent, 23rd Match 2014

If you knew the gift of God
The readings
Ex. 17:3-7
Ps. 95:1-2.6-7abc.7d-9
Rm. 5:1-2.5-8
Jn 4:5-42
Today's Sunday is a special one from the point of view of the choices of the readings. The first reading for example tells the story of the ingratitude of the Israelites in face of difficult moments. The Israelites were in the desert and when they lacked drinking water they rebelled against Moses and God. They remembered there was land in Egypt.
How come they easily forgot the greatness of the great I am? Have they already forgotten his words in Exodus 3:7-8? I saw the affliction of my people and I came down to rescue them. Have they soon forgotten how he made them pass through the red see in Ex. 14? How come they are now longing for their land of captivity? If they knew the gift of God!
In the second reading, St Paul takes up the second part of his teaching to the Romans. From Rm. 1-4:25. St Paul develops his teaching on justification by faith. But in today's second reading he takes up another aspect of it. He explains what makes Christ's death unique: That's he died for sinners and not for the righteous. The implication is that Christ dying for the unjust reconciled sinners to God giving them hope of salvation. Hence believing (surely by living an active faith) sinners are reconciled to God.
In the Gospel from which the theme was taken, St John gives us the narration of Christ's encounter with the Samaritan woman. The past historical motif(background) without which this encounter cannot be better appreciated could be read in the 2Kg 17:1-25.
The gospel tells how Jesus was tired and needed some rest and, should I say coincidentally had no where to rest except at the well. Was he really intending to rest or was waiting for an opportunity to initiate a conversation? Let's notify that the problem wentbfar beyond Jewish-Samaritan squabbles when he decided to chat with a woman. Every good Jew knew it was scandalous for a man to chat with a woman publicly. No wonder the Apostles were dumb folded at the sight of the  "all round abnormal pair".
At the course of their conversation, Christ made two important remarks.
1). He is the Messiah and he gives the living water.
2). Time have come when those who worship the Father should do it in spirit and truth.
To conclude, let's not be like the Israelites who only recognize God's presence in good moments. Let us instead learn from the Samaritan woman who recognized Christ the Messiah in an ordinary life activity. Let's be attentive to see Christ in the most usual things of our daily activities.
If you knew the gift of God!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Daily reflections, 19th Match 2014

Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
One of the most important personality in the soteriological history is Saint Joseph, the chaste spouse of Virgin Mary. But he is also one of the less known individuals among the minds behind the natural brought up of the Man whose death on the cross was to bring us salvation. The Bible hardly evoked his name in the life of Jesus apart from the early pre-nativity and some few allusions to the infant narrative of our Lords history. Who then is this less known personality that guided the mother and child of the Holy family?
The Gospel of today tells us that his father is Jacob and that he is of Davidic lineage. Here again the scrupulous Jewish evangelist, Matthew tells us that he is not only a just man but also outstandingly a respecter of others. It's this his last quality that made him decide to send away Mary secretly to preserve her honour and dignity.
Another character of his that's very auspicious is humility. In fact, Saint Joseph is an embodiment of humility. This character always kept him behind the scene in almost all the life event of Christ. In the presentation at the Temple of Jesus, Joseph was kept behind the scene. In the rediscovery of the child at the Temple, he was behind the scene and totally absent in the ministerial life of Christ.
Let us ask God to give us more especially we male folk the grace necessary to over our come our male chauvinism and accept that humility is a virtue and not a weakness.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

An iconic African singer

Cameroon's protest singer dies http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26617430

Daily reflections: Friday 14th Match 2014

The readings of the day:
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Matthew 5:20-26
God's desire for man is that he be saved. His intention for him is that his situation be ameliorated. But he however wants him to make the first step in response to his salvation project. He wants him to come to him!
This is why he invites us in this time of lent to return to him. Through the prophets like Ezekiel etc. he promised to blot out our offenses if and only if we return to him. He has even agreed to set us free if we confess our sins. The sacrament of reconciliation is one of those means by which he purifies us. There he waits for us to bring him all our iniquities.
For this reason and other occasions he has granted us, he reminds us in the Gospel that to whom more is giving, more is demanded. That's what Jesus mean by "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees you will not enter into the kingdom of God".

Daily reflections, Tuesday 18th Match 2014

The readings of the day
1st reading: Isaiah 1:10.16-20
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 50:8-9.16b-17:21.23
Gospel Matthew 23:1-12
One of the major and ancient problems of humanity is to distinguish between religiosity and spirituality. The ambiguity that exists between them is without doubt due to man's shallow understanding of what really matters in life. While religiosity is more of the way in which man re-links with his creator spirituality is more of the outcome or fruit of this relationship. The problem that's generally associated with the former is that seldom it has to do with external practices whereas the later has to do with mature fruit of a deep relationship.
In today's readings, in the three, we observe a clear distinction between the two phenomenons. Whereas the first reading and the responsorial psalm are condemning religious practices (religiosity) that are arbitrary to a deep (spiritual) relationship between God and man the Gospel is sounding a strong note on why our religious practices must be coherent with our daily life.
In fact, according to the three readings, what matters most is not the rate at which we are religious but the much that our religiosity renders us spiritual. And in all, the best way to know the level of spirituality of a religious man is to observe his relationship with others. How he helps the weak, how he fights for a just world, how he cares for the orphan, for the needy, the widows etc.
At last let's remember that: "the world will be a better place if and only if every religion seeks the face of God that is in the neighbour". Alison-omi

Monday, 17 March 2014

Daily reflection, Monday 17th Match 2014.

The readings of the day
Daniel 9: 4b-10
Psalm 79:8.9.11.13
Luke 6:36-38
The two major adjectives that  better qualify the Theo-Israelite relationship in the Old Testament could be summarized in maternal and paternal care. The paternal aspect of this relationship made God strike the people whenever they arred. And his maternal affection made him bring them back to their land at the end of their every purification.
In the first reading of today, the people are faced with the reality of God's faithfulness being put in doubt. He promised through Ezekiel that he was to liberate them after 70 years of their exile. But he tarries beyond this prophecy. This particular incident puts the maternal aspect of their relationship into question.
But prophet Daniel in one of his rare literary devices shows that God's faithfulness can never change. He insist that God is faithful even amidst the people's unfaithfulness.
In the Gospel too Jesus takes up a related discussion. He teaches that it is in the measure with which we treat others that we will be treated.
Let's then begin to show mercy to others in other to obtain God's mercy.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Second Sunday of Lent 2014

The readings of the day :

1st Reading  Genesis 12:1-4a,
Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2nd Reading  2Tim 1:8b-10

The theme of this Sunday could be God's call and man's response. 

In the first reading, the author of Genesis narrates the call of our father in faith, Abraham. He tells us how God asked Abraham to quit his father's land and his people to an undisclosed location. “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you".

Abraham being a man of faith did not doubt God. He obeyed the command and followed God. 

His response merited him all the blessings attached to the call.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

And being the sons of Abraham his blessing could be ours if we share in his call. If we could leave our own comfort zone to a land which the Lord is to show us. If could accept to be a pilgrim people in search of the sick, the poor, the most abandoned, the neglected etc. These people could be the seen as "the land which I am going to show you".

Though it might not be easy answering this call, God would want us to see it as our share in the redemptive plan of God. Thus he says in the second reading: "Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God". 

And if we are ready to follow him, we should be ready to make a promise like Peter in the Gospel: “Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

You must not make three tents like Peter would have wanted it. But it could just be enough making one. And that could be made possible by visiting a sick person this week, helping the poor or feeding the hungry. All these are our calls as Christians and as long as we are not doing them, we are not yet ready to share in Abraham's blessings

 

''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.