Congratulations on your appointment as Cardinal!

Today, 5th October, is truly a unique day to thank God for! Jesuit Priest and Founder of AJAN Fr. Michael Czerny will be among 13 priests receiving the red hat as cardinals whom Pope Francis announced earlier this September. Fr. Czerny has been the Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Please sample great memories of various Jesuit Priests from centers across Africa who interacted with Czerny in one way or another.


Czerny taught me not only to work hard, but also to fully remain an African Jesuit who is totally committed to God- Ghislain Tshikendwa Matadi, SJ.

I warmly congratulate my companion, the Reverend Father Michael Czerny, SJ. for his elevation by Pope Francis, to the Cardinalate. I thank him for trusting in my talent in writing. He taught me to not only work hard, but to also remain fully an African Jesuit totally committed to God. I thank him for helping me publish my book on Job and to facilitate translation into English and German.


Michael, I have fond memories of the time spent together with you at AJAN- Jacquineau Azetsop SJ.

Michael, I have fond memories of the time we spent together at AJAN in the service of the kingdom, imbued by the preferential option for the marginalized and filled with the desire to place justice in the heart of our human history. May these same values accompany you in the service of the Church, as bishop and cardinal of the Holy Church. I stay in prayers with you.


I was inspired by how Fr. Czerny used Catholic Social Teaching to stand with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDSWanyonyi Eric Simiyu SJ.

Greetings of Jesus’ peace, love and joy from Rumbek South Sudan. I met Fr. Michael Czerny in 2003 when I had come to do my second novitiate experiment at Kibagare slum in Nairobi. On 1st Dec 2003 he gave me a gift of a yellow t-shirt to participate in HIV/AIDS world day at KICC Nairobi Kenya. I was inspired how Fr. Czerny used Catholic Social Teaching to stand with people infected and affected with HIV/AIDS.

During my regency at AJAN House, Fr. Czerny taught me to love Jesus, to love the Society of Jesus, and to love the Catholic church. He taught me to be committed as he would often remind me every evening when there was an urgent work “please Simiyu this work was needed yesterday. Good night.” I am full of joy for Fr. Czerny being appointed to be the prince of the Church. “I continue to pray for you in your new mission my elder brother.”


A Man of the Church is the image I keep of youPaterne A. Mombe SJ.

A Man of the Church as an institution and people of God is the image I keep of you at AJAN. You encouraged me to be the presence of the Church and an instrument of grace in the life of the people of God plagued by the challenges of HIV and AIDS in Africa.

That Man of the Church, that presence of the Church in the life of the suffering people of God, yesterday in the social apostolate, today in the pastoral of the migrants, tomorrow elsewhere: this is the constant of your life that, in communion with Pope Francis, I wish to celebrate on this special occasion. Hongera, Rebbe Michael!!! All shall be well AMDG


During evenings, we spoke a lot about the genesis of AJAN and the struggle he overcame to mobilize Church leaders in Africa to come to the rescue of the people who were suffering from HIV/AIDS- Patrice Ndayisenga SJ.

I first met Cardinal – designated Michael Czerny, SJ in 2008. By then I was a first year student of philosophy at Arrupe College. Cardinal Czerny spoke to us about HIV and AIDS and the work of African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), an institution he had founded in the sub-Saharan Africa. I later on met him more closely in 2012 when I was his host at AJAN. He was attending AJAN’s tenth anniversary and I was a regent at AJAN at the time. During evenings, we spoke a lot about the genesis of AJAN and the struggle he overcame to mobilize Church leaders in Africa to come to the rescue of the people who were suffering from HIV/AIDS. I have admired his sense of the Church and its pastoral mission towards the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable. I thank God who keeps opening Fr. Czerny’s horizons offering him more space to serve Him in ever bigger spectrum. Congratulations dear Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ and blessings in your new mission.


You always encouraged me to write and reflect on the challenge of HIV and AIDSThierry Manirambona SJ.

Congratulations to Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ. You has always encouraged me to write and reflect on the challenge of HIV / AIDS. You helped me publish my book The Orchids and ensured the its translation through AJAN. You were always attentive responding to my various correspondences and were available to encourage me even when your were not in AJAN. May God bless him, give him the physical and spiritual strength he needs for the mission entrusted to him by the Church. Congratulations to the new Cardinal!


Fr. Czerny is a heart for the poor who did not spare a single energy to encourage Jesuits and Church leaders in Africa to think and develop answers for the good of the people who are infected or affected by HIV in Africa.- Elphège Quenum SJ.

In September 2003, my first meeting with Cardinal Czerny. I had just completed my masters in Social Sciences and I was set to start my regency with him at the African Jesuit AIDS Network in Nairobi. I would go on to spend two rich years with him. I discovered a companion who was very dedicated to the cause of the poor and the vulnerable people. The Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar had just decided to put in place AJAN to organize and strengthen the Jesuit responses and initiatives to the dreadful epidemic of HIV and AIDS in Africa. Carrying out this responsibility, Michael Czerny did not spare a single energy to encourage Jesuits and Church leaders in Africa to think and develop answers for the good of the people who are infected or affected by HIV in Africa.

He used to say: “This is the time for the Church. We are called, in this moment, to express the Church closeness to the weak and people who are suffering in the society”. Czerny dedicated his time to visit the Jesuit houses of formation to interact with young Jesuits and their formators and to reflect about the situation regionally and locally. These discussions would pave way for actions in response to the challenges. He would also visit the companions in their various apostolates to impress on them to include HIV and AIDS responses in their mission.

Centers such as Center Esperance Loyola (Loyola Hope Centre) in Togo, Parlons-Sida (Let’s talk about AIDS) and Foyer Louis de Gonzague in Democratic Republic of Congo, Upendo (Love) and Uzima (Life) were created or strengthened under his leadership in order to care for PLWHIV and who were facing stigma and discrimination. Many Jesuits wrote insightful books on the epidemic to share their experiences.

As a successor of Michael (after Paterne Mombe SJ.) I always remember his heart for the poor which inspires me to exercise my leadership to continue the same mission for the benefit of the PLWHIV. I wish Michael Czerny success and joy in his mission as Cardinal.

AJAN warmly and proudly congratulates Cardinal Czerny!!!

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