This year the total converts of the 2,000 White Father s engaged in missionary work in Africa will reach close to the 2,000,000mark.
" Despite the troubles of war conditions, in the past year there were 200,000 baptisms in the 23 vicariates and prefectures in Africa entrusted to the White Fathers," states the Very Rev. Henry Cote, Superior of the Canadian Province of the White Fathers of Africa While final figures are not yet available, it is believed there was a decrease in confessions and Communions as well as school attendance last year. Fr. Cote said this was because the missionaries did not have the means to visit the outlying stations as regularly as usual, and consequently many convent who lived as far away as 70 miles from missions were not able to receive the Sacraments more than three or four times in the course of the year. The Vicars Apostolic, he said, are all clamouring for more missionaries, adding that the Canadian and American people are practically the only ones in a position to help.
" Only the White Fathers of French nationality can be admitted in French colonies," he said. " Moreover, eleven of them were killed in the war, and there are still 56 priests and seminarians pining away in German prison camps. Of course, Dutch and Belgian missionaries are unable to leave for Africa. As for our English young priests, they are not allowed to leave North Africa, where they were at the time of the French capitulation."
Another great drain on the resources of the White Fathers of Africa cited by Fr, Cote is that the Order, following the outbreak of war, had to take charge of a whole vicariate in East Africa, where 70,000 Christians were under the care of 80 missionaries of alien nationality. This was a strain on the personnel of Uganda and Rwertzori.
SEMINARIANS IN TUNISIA Owing to war circumstances the White Fathers in Northern Africa have assembled all their seminarians of the philosophy and theology courses in the Holy Cross Scholasticate at Thibar, Tunisia. The Novitiate remains at Maison Carree, in Algiers.
The scholasticate was built under the direction of Coadjutor Brothers and was dedicated on September 14, 1934. It is about 75 miles south-west of Tunis, Built in the shape qf a horseshoe, it commands a panoramic view.
The course of study is similar to that of European major seminaries, with special emphasis on problems and theological theses of importance to the missionary. The study of living languages, particularly Arabic, the physical and natural sciences, manual labour and physical education also receive special emphasis.
Holidays are often devoted to the study of the Carthaginian and Roman ruins of Gebel Gorrah and to visiting the natives of
the vicariate. On October 11, 1941, the number :of students was 159, not including those who are interned.
Bishop Marshall of Salford was present at the Requiem Mass at St. Edward's Church, Rusholme, Manchester, -last Friday. for Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Cunningham, mother of Fr. J. Cunningham, J.C.L., the Bishop's Secretary. A number of priests also attended.
Married to a Liverpool woman, and educated by the Christian Brothers, Mr. William O'Neill, of Limerick, Reuters chief correspondent/in Ilong Kong, is a prisoner of the Japanese.