Celebrating 30 Years of “Les Cartières” Association: A Milestone of Maturity and Friendship

Dominic Wabwireh avatar

30th anniversary of the association "Les Cartières" as a house of hospitality

Under a clear sky on the morning of Sunday, May 26, 2024, Trinity Sunday, the Cartières community prepared to host a special event: Friendship Day, coinciding with its thirtieth anniversary of the association “Les Cartières” as a missionary house of hospitality.

For 30 years, they have served Christ and their brothers and sisters, supported the Diocese of Lyon, and welcomed school groups, associations, movements, parishes, and retreats for all ages, including young migrants. They have celebrated 30 years of festivities, sharing, happiness, fraternity, and testimonies, and 30 years of discovering Africa, its values, and its joy of living.

A festive atmosphere prevailed, with volunteers in green t-shirts and religious bustling about, some setting up stands, others preparing their stalls. In the two ground-floor halls of the central building, exhibitors displayed their items, ranging from clothing and fashion accessories to books and African art. In the large garden, transformed into a chapel for the occasion, an altar was set up facing rows of chairs ready to welcome the faithful. Children enjoyed the greenery and the pleasant weather, playing happily.

At 10:30 AM, the mass began in front of a crowd of faithful. It was celebrated by Mgr. Michel Cartatéguy, former Archbishop of Niamey, Niger. During this celebration, marked by the Word of God, songs, and a procession, Mgr. Cartatéguy highlighted in his homily the symbolism of thirty years in the biblical texts. “The great biblical figures always engender at thirty. The Levites were ready for service at the age of thirty, David became king at thirty, and Jesus began his ministry at thirty. Therefore, thirty years is the age of maturity,” he affirmed.

According to Monseigneur Cartatéguy, the Cartières community symbolizes the fraternization between priests and laypeople, and also responds to the call of Vatican II. He cited Vatican II, which stated, “Among all the baptized, priests are brothers among brothers, members of the one and same body of Christ, whose construction has been entrusted to all.” He also invited the volunteers to share their experiences and encouraged those who wish to participate in this missionary work to do so fully. He concluded by hoping that the communion of love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit would be the model of life at the Cartières, in families, and in communities.

For Father Yves Tchogli, the Cartières house consists of three entities: the Fathers of the African Missions, the Missionary Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and the volunteers. Given the importance of volunteers in achieving the house’s goals, this day aims to honor and thank them. It is therefore a day of joy and togetherness. In addition to the mass, the day continued with an aperitif, a meal, as well as the sales exhibition and games.

Sister Andréa Bacho, head of the Missionary Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart (MCSC) in Menton, assured that her congregation, a member of the spiritual family of the African Missions, would remain committed to organizing the various Friendship Days of the Cartières community.

Sister Victoria Zirra, provincial head of Our Lady of Apostles Sisters (OLA) in France, was also delighted that her congregation is always associated with organizing these days. The OLA Sisters had a stand where they sold various products such as peanuts and chili. For Sister Zirra, the proceeds from these sales will fund a project in Benin. She called for strengthened collaboration within the spiritual family of the African Missions, stating, “Alone, as NDA Sisters, we can go far, but in collaboration with the Society of African Missions (SMA) and the Missionary Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, we can go very far in our common mission.”

Heartfelt thanks are extended to the FLM (Fraternité Laïque Missionnaire) family, the Missionary Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and the many volunteers and friends of the SMA.

The next Friendship Day is scheduled for May 25, 2025, marking the seventieth anniversary of the SMA’s presence at the Cartières. On this occasion, Father Yves promises an extraordinary celebration with the presence of all his confreres who have stayed at this house, as well as the volunteers.

By Bertille Coulibaly, Master II NPJ student, Université Lumière Lyon Il and Dominic Wabwireh, SMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *