LTC · Lomé, Togo

22 - 28 January 2012

 

The ICCRS Leadership Training Course is for people of all ages, from charismatic organisations worldwide who want to spend some time of their lives being formed in leadership within the CCR.

“Take strength from the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Pass on to reliable people what you have heard from me through many witnesses, so that they in turn will be able to teach others.”
2 Tim 2:1-2


In partnership with local Charismatic realities, ICCRS provides this week–long programme that will call and empower new leaders as well as strengthen and encourage current ones.

The programme includes daily Mass, Eucharist Adoration and a time of Charismatic Praise and Worship. The teachings cover: the foundations and vision of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Ecclesiology, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Histoy of the CCR, a Theology of Mission); and practical help and ideas for ministry (elements of a prayer meeting, basic techniques for evangelisation, the life of leaders). There is also time for reflection, sharing and ministry.

People of all ages from the host country or nearby are invited to participate!


Language

Classes are primarily in French.


Speakers

  • Jim Murphy, USA (Director of the ICCRS Formation Project)
  • Julienne Mesedem, Cameroon (ICCRS Councillor; Vice-chairperson of AFSCI)
  • Jean Pliya, Benin (Former ICCRS Councillor)
  • Cathy Brenti, France (Former ICCRS Councillor)
  • Sr Myriam Osée de Jésus, Cameroon (ICCRS Staff member)


Contact

Please contact Jean-Christophe Sakiti for more information.


Event Report

From January 22nd to 29th, 2012, ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service) held a Leadership Training Course (LTC) in Lomé, Togo. ICCRS started organising the LTC’s as an answer to Pope John Paul II urging Renewal leaders to grow in “ecclesial maturity”. This course was first given in Rome, Italy. Later on, the LTC has been organised in other countries. In Africa, the course took place in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2010. In francophone Africa it was held for the first time in Lomé, Togo. This report on the LTC Togo focuses on the following points:

  • Preparation.
  • Participants.
  • Key times of the Course.
  • Fruits of the Course.
  • Difficulties.
  • Lessons learnt.
Preparation

Togo was asked to organise the Leadership Training Course during the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Congress for Francophone Africa in August 2010 in Libreville, Gabon. The preliminary work was to establish the budget. This was done by ICCRS and CCR Togo leaders. The preparation started in October 2011.

Creation of committees: Secretariat, planning, decoration, medical care, accommodation, reception, music and liturgy, transport, security, spiritual matters. Each committee had its own meetings and all the committees would gather every two weeks.

Spiritual preparation: CCR members of every country were asked to pray the Rosary on a given day in December. In January, every country was asked to attend mass a pray for the success of the LTC.

Venue: finding a venue for the LTC was a big deal. After a research in Lomé and Kpalimé, we agreed to choose EDA OBA Hotel where we could have accommodation for all participants, as well as a conference room, a hall for secretariat and a place for medical assistance. A particular room was dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament permanently exposed for adoration.

Finances: the decision to hold the conference in EDA OBA Hotel implied an increasing budget, because of the high costs of the hotel. CCR Togo leaders asked CCR group members and other persons of good will to donate so that the Course may be organised for the Lord’s work.

Administrative letters: many letters were written and sent to several civil and religious authorities:

  • Bishops.
  • Priests.
  • Chaplains.
  • Chaplains of the CCR Lomé.
  • The faithful of all parishes.
  • Donors.
  • Security Minister.
  • The Mayor of Lomé.
  • The Prime Minister.
  • The President of the Togo Republic.
Participants

They came from 12 countries and were priests, religious sisters and brothers, and lay people:

Countries Lay People Priests Religious Total
Benin 5     5
Burkina Faso 7     7
Burundi 1 1   2
Cameroon 1   1 2
Congo-Brazzaville 5 2   7
Gabon 5 1   6
Mali 8 3 1 12
Niger   1   1
DRC 6 1   7
Central Africa 1 1   2
Chad 3 1   4
Togo 33 8 11 52
Total 75 19 13 107


Nine new communities were represented.

Teachers

There were five speakers leading the LTC:

  • James Murphy, USA
  • Cathy Brenti, France
  • Sr Myriam Osée de Jésus, Cameroon (coming from the ICCRS office in Rome, Italy)
  • Jean Pliya, Benin
  • Julienne Mesedem, Cameroon
Important events

The main activities of the LTC were: teachings, Eucharistic celebrations, praise and worship, the pilgrimage to Togoville, the evangelisation rally.

a. Teachings

The main topics of the LTC were:

Ecclesiology: James Murphy focused History, the identity and the mission of the Church. Although its members are sinners, the Church remains holy. God accomplishes his work through the Church, even though its members are far from being role models. The Church is the beloved spouse of Christ.

Life of a leader: Cathy Brenti, Jean Pliya, Julienne Mesedem and Sr Myriam showed us what a leader must be and how he is exposed to many temptations, in addition to the battles he has to fight to row against the current.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit: Cathy Brenti and James Murphy introduced the need for every Christian to experience a new life in the Holy Spirit. They taught the participants how important it is to welcome all charisms and use them for evangelisation.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal: James Murphy gave an in-depth history allowing the participants to understand how the Lord, since the years 1880, had started with Blessed Elena Guerra and Pope Leo XIII, together with Pope John XXIII to prepare the coming of this current of grace in the Church. He described how the “movement” started among protestant churches. The II Vatican Council gave a great opening which led to welcome the CCR in the Catholic Church.

Prayer meetings: James Murphy helped us understand the purpose of a prayer meeting and what it should be made of. He emphasised how important it is to welcome all participants and have them ready right from the beginning to be open to the Holy Spirit and receive the blessings of the day.

Evangelisation: We call for a new evangelisation in the power of the Holy Spirit. Evangelisation contains the pre-evangelisation in which we must bear witness through our life, the active evangelisation which can be done by testimony and the permanent evangelisation.

b. Eucharistic celebrations

The opening mass was celebrated by Bp Isaac Gaglo, Bishop of Aneho, in charge of the CCR in Togo. About twenty priests celebrated with him. Mass took place in “Cristo Risorto parish” of Xedzranawoé and lots of participants from the city of Lomé were present.

Mass at the Marian Sanctuary in Togoville: Mass was presided by the rector of the Marian Sanctuary Our Lady of Lake Togo, Mother of Mercy. We prayed for Togo and for all African countries.

The closing mass presided by Fr Isidore Sassou took place in St John parish. Fr Isidore invited us above all to humility and urged us to put aside our ego which does not help us to “build up”.

The daily Eucharistic celebrations took place in EDA OBA hotel. Participating priests would alternately preside the celebrations. After morning mass, the Holy Sacrament was exposed for a thirty minutes adoration.

c. Times of prayer and adoration

We started every day with praise and worship so that everyone could welcome the Lord’s message through the teachings. In the afternoon, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for one hour.

All the Eucharistic celebrations, praises and adoration enabled the participants to meet the Lord in their hearts and to strengthen their relationship with Him. When Sr Myriam Osée was back to Rome, wrote to us these words: “I did not hear any voice above another except to praise Jesus. No quarrel, no tension.”

d. Pilgrimage to Togoville

On January 25th, all participants went to pray at the Marian Sanctuary of Togoville, and after mass, they surrendered themselves to “Our Lady of Lake Togo, Mother of Mercy” before her icon, and they presented their personal intentions and those of their countries.

They also visited Kekeli Neva (“May the light come”), a centre for the blind where they could see the care for brothers and sisters suffering from this condition.

All participants were invited to greet the traditional chief of Togoville who told them about the history of the Ewe people (the most important tribe of Togo) at the time of the German protectorate and the difficulties the country had to face until its independence. Togoville (the original name is Togo which means “the hill on the lake side”) is the village that gave its name to the country.

e. The evangelisation rally

It was one of the key moments of the Course. James Murphy addressed to the attendees assisted by both Sr Myriam Osée for the French translation and Jean Bernard Abidi for the Ewe translation. After the Good News had been proclaimed, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and James Murphy led the prayer. Many people were healed form their physical diseases and received consolation; some were called by the Lord to change their life. Many came up to share their testimonies.

Fruit of the formation

For all participants, it was an opportunity to meet the Lord who spoke to everybody personally. The Lord invited us all to conversion by speaking to us trough the teachings, homilies, contemplation and prophecies. One participant said this after the LTC: “My faith was strengthened by the life of the teachers and also their simplicity. It is not teachings only that they gave us, but rather their life.”

Leaders received a new strength, a new light that will help them serve the Church and their brothers. They have learned how to listen more carefully to their brethren; and also to be gentler, friendlier with people they are leading.

For the CCR in Togo, it was a great blessing. The Lord has come to give them a new zeal; they have to move forward and proclaim the Good News.

Difficulties

The delay in registration did not enable the organisation to make good prospects, especially with the hotel such as number of people who needed accommodation and food. It was also difficult to plan transportation for the pilgrimage.

From Friday 27th to Sunday 29th the hotel imposed on us to use a different conference room. Although the new conference room was better, having to move required packing everything and installing them again.

What we can learn

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: He can do everything if we trust him. It was not easy for us to get the amount of money needed for the organisation. We asked him and he gave us. He is the Lord. May His name be praised forever and ever!

CCR in Togo took big steps. James Murphy, at the end of the LTC, said three times: “I have been organising this event all over the world in many countries. This is the best organisation I have ever seen. Thank you for the work you have done in Togo.”

We need to train our people to become leaders. This course must be given to our brothers and sisters who are leaders in their diocese and parish, so they can be well trained and fill their mission adequately.

The national music ministry is doing a good job. Dioceses and parish groups must learn from it.

But we still have a long way to go. We need more unity; we need a greater communion between the national coordination team and diocesan coordination teams. The prophecy given by the Lord to Togo during the prayer for countries referred to unity. The word received for Togo was a call to unity. We do believe that this call refers to CCR groups, as well as the Church and the nation. This is the price to pay so that the Renewal may be a leaven in the dough; this is the price to pay to help build our country.

Conclusion

“The almighty has done great things for me. Holy be His Name” (Lk 1:49).

We can use Mary’s words, our mother and the mother of the Church, and make them ours to thank the Lord who prepared and organised this event with us, poor sinners. Togo is the smallest among all francophone countries; but it was chosen to hold the LTC and according to teachers and all participants, the LTC Togo organisation was a success. May the Lord give us the grace to continue to serve Him with humility as our mother Holy Mary did.

Jean-Christophe Sakiti
Togo



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