International Catholic Charity Donates Towards Formation of Novices in CAR

Perpetual vows of two young Carmelites at Bangui, Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel December 20, 2020.

Young Carmelite Novices in the Central African Republic (CAR) have received a financial boost from the Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, to facilitate their formation to Religious Life.

Confirming the 25,000 Euro contribution towards the formation cost in a Tuesday, January 5 report, ACN leadership noted that the formation had been hugely interrupted by COVID-19 pandemic and violence that has rocked the country during last month’s election period.

The challenges, however, have not impeded the ongoing formation of the Carmelite Novices, according to Fr. Federico Trinchero, the Provincial delegate of the Religious Order, who spoke to the ACN International.

On the contrary, the prayer life of the young Novices has been intensified and their communal life strengthened, ACN reports, adding that the Carmelites “are in any case already well used to emergency situations.”

“In 2013, for example, at the height of the last civil war in the country, there were up to 10,000 refugees living in the extensive grounds of the Bangui Carmel! And so, the Carmelites were well able to take the lockdown in their stride!” the leadership of the Pontifical organization notes.


“It was only the silence that was somewhat unusual,” adds Fr. Federico.

Normally, the monastery is a place to which thousands of people turn in their need, and is at the same time an important spiritual centre for the Catholic faithful.

“There are usually countless children and young people constantly running around, for whom the extensive monastery grounds are a perfect playground,” ACN leadership reports.

Founded in 1971 by four Carmelite Fathers from Italy who arrived in CAR some 50 years ago, the Religious Order has grown to receive more and more local African men who undergo formation in one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.

In the work of formation, the Friars in CAR work closely together with their Carmelite brothers in neighbouring Cameroon.

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Currently, there are 38 young men in formation, 23 of them in CAR and 15 in Cameroon.

The young men spend the various stages of their training in different Centres, living in the local Carmelite monastery and forming part of the community there.

They follow their Philosophy and Theology studies at the University of Bangui, the capital of CAR, and Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé.

ACN leadership notes that the formation of the 38 young Carmelites is a massive challenge for the Religious Order.

“Padre Federico puts all his trust in Divine Providence and in the excellent collaboration between all the teaching staff, who are responsible for the spiritual, human and intellectual formation of the young men in their care,” officials of the organization that supports the Church in difficult countries say in the January 5 report.


They add in reference to the Carmelite Novices, “So that they can continue their studies without interruption, ACN has promised a contribution of 25,000 Euros towards the cost.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.