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African Jesuit AIDS Network, (AJAN) undertook the AHAPPY training of trainers (AHAPPY TOT) for the Novices, in the Noviciat-Notre Dame de la Compagnie de Jésus at Kinkeso/Inkisi- located in the Catholic Diocese of Kisantu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1st to the 5th of August 2022.

2nd year Jesuit novices and Novices and pre-novices of the Congrégaton Missionaire de la Mère Laura

In this month of August 2022, the Jesuit Novitiate of Central Africa Province (ACE) was marking 25 years since it opened its doors in Kisantu and AJAN is delighted to have walked this journey with them, as the formation is part of the popularization of the AHAPPY program and the Universal Apostolic Preference (UAP) of the Jesuits, number three, which is namely ” Accompanying the young people in the creation of a hope-filled future“. CONGRATULATIONS! And we thank God for many graces upon this formation house. Noviciate is the first stage of Jesuit formation.

Fr. Matambura Ismael SJ. AJAN Director is presented with a t-shirt to mark 25 years since the novitiate formation opened its doors in Kisantu, DRC.

The mandate of AJAN, besides several others is to Keep HIV & AIDS on the Agenda of the Jesuits, the Church and the rest of society. The network seeks to empower Jesuits, pastoral agents, Religious and other people in society’s mainstream, so that they take a more active role in the fight against HIV/AIDS with sustained commitment in their various capacities and areas of mission. The undertaking is also motivated by the call to journey with the youth in the creation of a hope-filled future (UAP3). Notably, AJAN, responds to this call by using the tools and resources at its disposal, one of them being the AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention program for the youth (AHAPPY).

2nd year Jesuit novices and novices of the Congrégation missionnaire de la Mère Laura (Missionary Congregation of Mother Laura) during Group discussions.

In line with the above mandate the 5-days AHAPPY training of trainers (AHAPPY TOT) was animated by a team of trainers from AJAN led by Father Matambura Ismael SJ, Director of AJAN accompanied by Mr. Kienge Dieu Merci and Mrs. Sergon Pascalia that saw seventeen participants attend, who comprised of 13 Jesuits Novices in their final year of noviciate formation and 2 novices and 2 pre-novices from the Congregation Missionaire de la Mère Laura (Missionary congregation of Mother), a female religious institution.

The training turned out to be very interactive, exciting and participants demonstrated a lot of creativity while commenting about the whole session.

The young men and women in attendance had the following to say, “My companions, I call upon us to take note of the need to be grounded because we can sometimes get abstract, this session has challenged me because I never imagined HIV situation in Africa is as serious as it is and I get to understand now; the training spoke concretely to our Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) 2, 3, and 4 because we Jesuits are really to discern. We discern for and with the people we serve.” (SJ participant).

Awarding of the AHAPPY Certificate to the participants by Fr. Matambura Ismael SJ. AJAN Director

“Thank you for extending the invitation to us to take part. You may not understand how helpful this training is. We have many young girls coming to us, many times I personally get stuck what to do to help them, thank you so much for sharing knowledge on other important areas of concern like STIs, drug abuse, sexuality, gender-based violence, besides HIV&AIDS; the training was very short and consider lengthening it because I think there is so much, we surely need to learn.” (Mère Laura’s novice).

As the training came to a close Fr. Ismael Matambura SJ. Director of AJAN issued out certificates to the participants who had successfully completed the AHAPPY training course, and he had this to say, “Through this training and many others which have been carried out already earlier in the year, AJAN has topped up the capacity building exercise for Jesuits in formation with the use of the program. Our motivation is to contribute to the preparation of young Jesuits for the mission, particularly in accompanying the youth and the vulnerable. In addition, the participants received tools to prepare them face the world of the youth and society with confidence and more importantly with the focus not just to improve social realities, but seek for in-depth and genuine changes in the communities they work in.”

In the closing ceremony, the socius (Assistant to the Novice Master), Fr. Gabriel Kunonga SJ pointed out that the usefulness of any knowledge is in its application. He reminded the participants that the end of the novitiate is the beginning of intensive life of study and engagement in the apostolic works, noting that the training is timely for the novices since they have extra skills to ground them in their assignments. He emphasized to the participants to makes use of information for their benefit and for the benefit of the society/community at large. 

Through the training conducted, AJAN would like to equip young Jesuits and other religious in formation to accompany the young people they meet in their places of apostolate and to engage them in the fight against HIV and violence that they are currently facing in their youth environment.

HAPPY 25th Anniversary to the Noviciat Notre Dame Mère de la Compagnie de Jésus!

By Ms. Sergon Pascalia,

AJAN capacity building Officer.

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Pe. Matambura Ismael, SJ


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