Missionary work: first Seychellois Catholic priest ordained to the Spiritans congregation
Father Roméo Bonne (right) pronounced his vows on Sunday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese of Port Victoria, Alain Harel. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The first Seychellois priest ordained in the Catholic Congregation of the Holy Spirit Sunday heads to Cape Verde for his first missionary post.
Father Roméo Bonne pronounced his vows on Sunday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese of Port Victoria, Alain Harel.
Also present at the ordination were the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, as well as members of Bonne’s family and parishioners from the various churches who were involved in his journey to his ordination.
|Bonne was the first Holy Spirit Deacon to take vows since the congregation arrived in Seychelles on September 20, 2000. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY President|
Towards the end of his ordination ceremony, Bishop Harel revealed that the new priest’s mission is in Cape Verde, an archipelago off the West African coast.
“The first responsibility of the priest is to nurture the soul of your parishioner with the word of God. You will need to understand the culture, history and socio-economic realities of your mission country,” Harel said.
Father Marc Botzung, who leads the Spiritan clergy in the Seychelles region, said: “You will see that many things will remind you of Seychelles, but there are many new things that you will also have to learn once there. .
He informed Bonne that he will have to learn not only Portuguese but also the Portuguese Creole spoken in Cape Verde.
Speaking to the press after the ceremony, Bonne said: “I am now the servant of Christ and I have confirmed the choice I have made.”
|The President of Seychelles and First Lady Linda Ramkalawan along with other senior government officials attended Bonne’s ordination. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
As he is now a missionary clergyman, members of the Spiritan congregation do not work in their native country and Bonne said that “it is not tragic, because I wanted to be a missionary and I prepared myself not to be able to work in my country.”
The Spiritan Congregation is part of a Catholic religious congregation founded in France in 1703 and is formally called the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
Originally from the southern district of Mahé in Takamaka, Bonne joined the Spiritan congregation in 2017 after studying in Senegal. As part of his journey to join the clergy, he was ordained a deacon in Dakar, Senegal on August 14 after years of training.
|Good blessing of the Eucharist with the other members of the clergy. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
He was the first Holy Spirit Deacon to take his vows since the congregation arrived in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, on September 20, 2000.
The 32-year-old is also the first Catholic priest to be ordained in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, for more than a decade. The last ordained priest in the island nation was Father Collin Underwood in August 2009.
To date, the Congregation has nearly 3,000 Spiritan priests, brothers and associates. With missions in 60 countries around the world, including Seychelles, he is involved in many diverse ministries including education, parish work and refugee ministry.
Seychelles is a predominantly Christian country, with the majority of believers being Catholicfollowed by the Anglican Church and many other Christian denominations, as well as Muslim and Hindu believers.