White Father's community was founded in 1994 in the 15th district
of Marseille in the very north of the city. We live in a parish that
has, at least, 30,000 people from differing religious beliefs and
from European, African and Asiatic backgrounds.
The foundation of this community was the result of two converging
strands of reflection. The Synod of Marseille in 1991 saw that
there were a large number of migrants from all sorts of religious
and cultural backgrounds in the Diocese and the Missionaries of
Africa, at it's General Chapter, in 1992 decided to start a missionary
project, that would reach out to Muslims and Africans living in the
western world. The French Province, in line with the directives of
the Chapter of 1992, proposed a missionary project that would aim
at encountering Muslim and African migrants. This initiative was confirmed
at the Chapter of 2010 which insisted on maintaining the presence
of missionary projects in the European Province.
The commitments of the confreres are varied, in function of
their past experience, the local circumstances, and out of a sense
of solidarity to live with the diocese. These commitments cover
1 - Pastoral work with migrants and people from an immigration
A confrere is a member of the Diocesan Commission for Migrants and
is involved with caring for the African Christian community.
Two confreres give literacy courses in the housing estates and in
the offices of letter writers. They deal mainly with foreigners.
One confrere takes part in the activities of E.M.E. which deals with
the welcome and care for foreign students.
2 - Pastoral work concerned with relations with Islam. This work
a) Making Christians aware of the nature of Islam so as to
facilitate community living. A confrere helps groups as required and
gives seminars at ISTR as well as a radio programme. This confrere
is the Diocesan delegate for relations with Islam. He gives a series
of courses at Notre Dame de Vie as well as workshops.
b) To meet with Islamic believers through local associations,
by a variety of invitations, by a presence in the housing estates
and helping those in 'mixed' marriages.
c) To organise meetings between clergy and imams about every
two months on a religious topic. These meetings facilitate the creation
of friendships and lead to a better mutual understanding
d) To be involved at the Institute Catholique de Lyon in research
- Parish Work with the faithful from differing ethnic origins
There are about 200 faithful who meet in the two churches in the
area: St. Anthony and Notre-Dame Limite (because it was at the end
of town). A confrere is the Parish Priest and he coordinates the catechetics,
and officiates at the occasional baptisms, marriages, and funerals.
He visits families particularly those who are sick and lonely.
Each of the other confreres takes his turn for the Sunday services
and looks after a biblical group. In all this, each one helps this
little community to be open to one another. Every fortnight a mass
is celebrated in one of the housing estates.
4 - Ecumenical Work
A confrere prepares programmes for Radio-Dialogue (An ecumenical
radio station in Marseille) and some of these programmes are taken
up by other radio stations for broadcasting in French speaking Africa.
A confrere is, also, involved in a biblical group which unites Catholics
and Protestants from the Reformed Church of France. Each year, this
same group prepares an ecumenical service.
5 - Involvement in the Diocese
We are well integrated into the diocesan structures (Council of Priests)
and we are actively involved in the diocesan commissions such those
for Islam, Migrants, missionary cooperation as well as various institutions
such as I.C.M., Chemins de Dialogue.
At the moment, our community is made up of