Wednesday, January 12, 2022
The Comboni Lay Missionaries of the province of Togo-Ghana-Benin met from December 11, 2021 to January 3, 2022 in Togo. On the 11th December, three of our members namely Wotormenyo Christian, Amekor Benjamin and Justin Nougnui started the journey to Togo.

After crossing Togo-Ghana border, we headed towards Tabligbo to meet the parish priest Rev. Fr. Shane Degblor who took us to Sts Joachim and Anna catholic Church in Esse-Ana where we should reside for the experience. Our stay for three weeks helped us to enjoy our togetherness and also to go out to meet other people. We were later joined by our brother Godwin Ocloo.

A) A Community life: We had time to pray together as CLM aspirants, eat together, plan together.

Prayer life: We had time to pray together in the morning and evening, share daily readings and mostly Sunday readings with some comments given to us by the parish priest.
Around the table: With a food prepared by ourselves or with the help of some members of the Church, we always sat at the same table for the meal. And often, the eating went in pair with discussion on our experience and also about CLM life in our province.
Planning: In evening, we reflected on how best we spent the day and how best we could continue.

B) Life with the church community: The meeting held with the parish priest on the 15th December after our arrival at Esse-Ana paved the way for us in our commitment with the church community.

Prayer with the community: We had morning celebrations from Monday to Friday. With the nice organization of the Diocese of Aneho about the lay Communion Ministers, we had the grace to receive Holy Communion at daily basis with the zeal of the Fidei Custos Richard Tchitchira. The worship was either presided over by one of us or the catechist Albert Adandjehoun.

Monday and Thursday, we prayed rosary. Christmas festivities were very enjoyed with celebrations and entertainment by Holy Childhood and Hosevu (drum group).

Work with the church associations: A meeting held with associations’ leaders on the 12th December helped us to know the challenges some groups were facing. We tried our best to help them especially the Choir and the lectors. With morning songs learning, we equipped the choristers with some new songs. Also, we increased the number of the lectors by calling for membership.

Training on worship leading: We started a training of two members of Esse-Ana community to enable them to lead a celebration in the absence of a priest. We entrusted the two people to the catechist to continue their training.

C) Meeting with outside church world

House visitation: House visitation helped us to come across some sick people either of the church or not. We met a sub-committee of the church committee in charge of sick people to continue the visitation and plan some help to them. We also spoke to the catechist to prepare the communicants among the sick for the Sacrament of Confession so to prepare them for Holy Communion. We invited other people to join us in our celebrations.

Teaching of English language: We came to Esse-Ana some days before vacation. With this opportunity, we moved from Primary to Senior High (Lycée) passing by Junior High (Collège) to assist the English teachers in teaching English Language. Being all teachers and a fortiori having an English master, Amekor Benjamin, among us was a great advantage to teach. We invited students to church and to take up some leadership position. We had a worship with the primary school before departing and planned for other activities to continue when they resume.

D) Other station visitations

We visited other stations near Esse-Ana. By car, motor or bicycle, Christian Wotormenyo and Justin Nougnui went to Kodehoe, Tometykondji, Boevikorpe and Klohome. We helped in the sharing of the Word, preparing the choir and going round to visit some faithful who stopped coming to church. We gathered some couples at Esse-Ana with the aim to facilitate their training for Holy Matrimony.

E) Challenges

The main challenge we came across was the absence of electricity which handicapped some of our activities. The other challenge was the means to reach stations around Esse-Ana. We reached some stations with motor(hired) and bicycle.

F) Readiness for more

This experience brought new aspects of what we did last year in Cape-Coast (Republic of Ghana) which are teaching (our profession) and going outside the main station. We have seen the need for teaching and the need to go out. We hope the subsequent experience will open the way for us to practice our profession and have time and means to reach out more stations.

Justin Nougnui, coordinator