The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
Posted in Apostolates on December 14, 2015

On August 15th 2015 in Libreville, Gabon at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish both Church and State officials inaugurated the façade of Christ the King Church. The Institute of Christ the King, at the request of Archbishop Basil Mvé has been constructing this parish church since 2006. Nine years later the façade is an architectural marvel for Equatorial Africa and a monument attesting the Catholic Church’s mission to glorify God and sanctify man.

This historic event reunited the greater Institute family; His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Vatican and Gabonese dignitaries, local faithful as well as those from the missions south of the Equator, and the many Canons who served in Africa over the years.

Monsignor Schmitz, Vicar General, Canon Bergerot, Pastor, and Canon Valadier worked months in advance to coordinate the logistics of a ceremony that would regroup people from three different continents. A large delegation of clergy, that included Cardinal Burke, Monsignor d’Agostini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, and numerous seminarians from Gricigliano, embarked on a plane at Paris for Libreville on August 13th. The passengers were impressed by the vast array of clergy on board, all in white cassock, but either in red, violet, or black fascia and buttons. Many asked for blessings, His Eminence graciously obliged. One flight attendant even remarked, "Now I know what a Cardinal is: such a great dignity yet so paternally approachable."

Once is Gabon, a fleet of charitable (and excited!) faithful and drivers were waiting. The Canons and seminarians were the guests of the Parish and His Eminence and the Superiors, the official guests of the President of Gabon himself. After many liturgical practices and much preparation on August 14th all the clergy gathered at the mission for a meal on the picturesque terrace of the Maison du Sacré Coeur:

On August 15th, feast of the Assumption, the spiritual and temporal realms united to offer unto God and His Blessed Mother public honor. Gabon aired all of the ceremonies live on their major television channels and radio broadcasts. In the early afternoon faithful started to pour into the mission grounds. Altar boys from other Institute missions arrived by bus. Superiors and Canons of the Institute awaited in their full choir habit… then His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Monsignor d’Agostini, His Grace Basil Mvé, Archbishop of Libreville arrived; the Cardinal and Ordinary in their cappas folded over the arm. A red carpet stretched from the steps of the Church out into the streets to receive them. Then the President of Gabon arrived with his wife, the First Lady. The President and Cardinal stood side by side for the playing of the Gabonese and Vatican hymns by the military band of Gabon.

The inauguration ceremony itself began with two addresses: one by Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King, in which he traced the history of the Institute’s 25 year presence in Gabon and publicly thanked the President for his unwavering support of Catholic culture; the second by Monsignor Schmitz in which he explained the architectural exactitude of the façade, the meaning of having the Christ Child as the centerpiece adored by the Three kings and flanked by the Institute’s patrons. He also developed the meaningful beauty of the façade as a visual catechism and an uplifting reminder of man’s divine vocation.

The Archbishop of Libreville then proceeded to solemnly bless the façade after which the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, cut the ribbon at the façade’s entrance. He led the faithful into the Church and then Cardinal Burke processed in preceded by the ministers to begin the Pontifical High Mass of the Our Lady Assumed into Heaven, Patroness of Gabon. At the conclusion of the Pontifical High Mass, the Papal Master of Ceremonies read allowed the plenary indulgence that was granted by the Holy See for the occasion and Cardinal Burke gave the Papal Blessing which Pope Francis had delegated him to bestow. A warm reception regrouping faithful from three continents, all walks of life, Church and State, young and old, concluded the day’s festivities.

Join us in offering thanksgiving for such graces at our missions. The façade evangelizes Gabon by its very stature and beauty; drawing more souls to the life of the sacraments and union with God. Continue to pray for the Canons serving in Africa and now help them complete the inside of the Church. Christus vincit!

Click the images below to enlarge them.

The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises
The Assumption in Africa: A Church Rises