Review of the Senegal Mission
To mark Mission Day, during the Salesian Week, Sister Monique and Sister Raymonde Marie put on a display, showing the history of the Sénégal Mission, based upon the following very interesting text.
In 1949, Mgr Lefèvre, a Spiritan Father, reserved, officially, a plot of land for the mission.
Father Cadoux, French Provincial of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, paid a visit to Tambacounda. Holy Mass was celebrated at the station. At that time, Tambacounda counted 25 to 30 European and Lebanese families, numbering about a hundred people. This initial contact of 2 days left Father Cadoux with the memory of very welcoming people but who were neglectful where religion was concerned, and therefore, non-practising. A Priest from Kaolack came to Tamba, a distance of 280 km away, for a couple of days, twice or thrice a year, and from thence to the Mali Frontier.
During the course of this visit, the people pressed for the building of a Chapel and begged the Priest to stay longer. Acting on the report given by Father Cadoux, the Superior General appointed four Priests to this new mission. At the end of that year, Father Cadoux was named Superior of the Sénégal Mission.
In 1954, the decision was taken to have a resident Priest at Tamba. He received a very warm welcome.
A Chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of the Universe, was inaugurated on May 1st. Mgr Candoux had founded the Kédougou Mission, 233 km from Tamba. Father Paravy arrived there, accompanied by a Brother.
This year marked the arrival of the first missionaries in Tamba: Sister Marie de la Salette, Sister Thérèse Vittoz and Sister Odile Domenjoud. They opened a Domestic Science Centre, a Dispensary for the Sick, a Primary School, and the first ever College for Girls. In 1965, the first five pupils passed the BEPC exam.
Sister Dominique Demaison and Sister Marie Alphonsa Meynet arrived in Kédougou where they opened a Primary School and a boarding School for the children from the Bush Villages.
To this day,, the school and the boarding school share in the education of young people from the region and in their development, both social and christian.
Pope Paul VI established the Apostolic Prefecture. It regained entirely, the administrative region of Tamba, 1/3 of the national territory. Tamba became the regional capital. Mgr Cailleau, a Spiritan priest, was placed in charge of the apostolic Prefecture.
The 1st pastoral plan stressed the following:
- The importance of and concern for vocations
- The organisation and animation of christian communities
- Announcing the Word to the ethnic animists – Bassaris, Bedik,Cogniaguis and
- Malinkès – and healthcare for all.
- A presence of the Church among Muslims at Goudiri. The Church thus assumed a
universal dimension and gave witness to its care for all people.
- Promotion of social care for the most deprived, in collaboration with the official services.
Our plan of action endeavours:
- To create and animate communities, witnesses to the mercy of God
- To form, in each sector, apostolic teams: places of reflection, discussion, prayer and celebration
- To ensure the training of catechists and people to be responsible for the Church Communities of Base, the priests and apostolic workers.
Pope John Paul II established the prefecture in the Diocese. Tamba became the 6th Diocese in Sénégal. Mgr Diouf was their first Bishop. His objective: “To implant the Gospel in the heart of each member of our Communities”.
Mgr Diouf convoked a Synod. The first assembly took place in 2001, with the rallying
call:“Church of Tamba, you can and must accomplish your mission on the threshold of the 21st century and the 3rd millenium”.
John Paul used to say: “The great challenge presented to us in the 3rd millenium is, to make of the Church, the House and
of the Church, School of the Communion”. Our Church therefore, must promote by every possible means, a spirituality of communion, from which springs the new vision of our pastoral plan:
- To participate, from now on, in the Trinitarian communion, in the mystery of Christ met, known, loved, imitated and served, thanks to the gift of the spirit of communion.
- To build the Church, the family of God, rooted in different cultures, evangelizer and evangelist, witness to Jesus Christ and to living the values of the Kingdom in our region of Tamba
- Actual objectives: communion, liturgy, witness and service.
Today, the Diocese of Tambacounda numbers about 12,956 faithful, that is to say, 1.7% of the total population. It includes 3 deaneries: Tamba Town, the rural villages and the deanery of Kédougou and Salémata.
The Diocese includes 10 Parishes of which, the Parish of Bakel was the most recently founded, in 2013. It is led by 29 diocesan and missionary Priests (Salesians, Jesuits, Oblates and Spiritans) 2 male Religious and 30 female Religious from 4 Congregations.
19 Priests, 8 female Religious and 5 male Religious were born in the Diocese.
The Diocese runs 7 pre-schools, 6 primary schools, 1 college, 1 technical school, 1 sociocultural centre, 6 health centres.
The diocesan branch of Caritas Sénégal works in hydraulics, purification systems, health, education, emergency aid, female farming.
For the past few years, in the Kédougou region, the search for gold has developed, attracting people from different countries. Unfortunately, with this resource and wealth, we notice prostitution, violence and even human sacrifice.