ROME: Dominicans Erect New Province in Africa

By Arnold Neliba

VATICAN CITY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 (CISA)-The Master of the Dominican Order, Fr Gérard Timoner has erected a new province in Africa, St Charles Lwanga Province of Equatorial Africa becoming the third in Africa.

“…it is advisable to renew and restructure the Order in these countries of Equatorial Africa; having verified that there is a well-founded and evident hope that, thanks to vocations issued from the said country, a structure of the Order erected there will be able in the future to develop the regular and apostolic life and that the other conditions for the erection of a province are met,” reads in part a decree given in Rome in the Convent of Saint Sabina on September 21, 2022.

The newly formed province covers Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Chad, Gabon, and territories initially attached to the province of France.

The Province of Equatorial was promoted straight from a vicariate to a province, defying the normal stages of a vicariate moving to a vice-provincial and then to a province.  A vicariate is headed by a vicar and can be declared a vice-province if they have the resources and number of the finally professed friars. The vicar is answerable to the provincial of the province under which they fall.

The province has full autonomy. It has a certain number of friars who are finally professed and with certain financial muscles. The provincials are answerable to the master.

Before its elevation, the new province, previously vicariate of Equatorial Africa was dependent on the province of France. With the announcement Fr Gabriel Samba OP, originally from the Republic of Congo, was appointed provincial of St Charles Lwanga Province of Equatorial Africa.

The new African province has about 70 brothers from five countries and is distributed in five convents and houses; the convents of St Joseph of Douala and Saint -Dominique of Yaoundé in Cameroon, the Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne convent in Pointe-Noire and the St-Martin-de Porres house in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo and the St-Dominique convent in Bangui in the Central African Republic.

According to the decree, the works and apostolates of the province of France that fall in the

territory of the new province now belong to the latter. Likewise, the temporal goods of the province of France situated in the territory of the new province and the other goods until now administered by the authorities of the former provincial vicariate are transferred to the new province.

The St Charles-Lwanga province becomes the third Dominican province in Africa after the Saint-Augustin province of West Africa erected in October 2017 and the Saint-Joseph-the-Worker province of Nigeria and Ghana.

Other Dominican entities in Africa are two vice provinces; that of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo: And three Vicariates; the vicariate of Angola which is under the province of Portugal, and the Vicariate of Rwanda/Burundi which is under the province of Canada, and the vicariate of Eastern Africa, which covers Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan under the Province of St Joseph of New York,USA.