The Catholic Church of the Ivory Coast celebrated 125 years of evangelization: the fathers of the Society for African Missions (SMA) were pioneers for the missionary work in the country, reported Fides News Agency. Among the emblematic figures of the SMA fathers who marked the history of the evangelization in the country there is Fr. Paul Pageaud, originally from France. On January 5, 2020 Fr. Paul celebrated 60 years of priesthood, 40 of which spent as an SMA missionary in the Ivory Coast at the service of evangelization in this country. Engaged in the pastoral field, he gave birth to over 60 Christian communities and trained more than 120 catechists. Engaged in the formation of seminarians with the main objective of forming the local clergy, he built the preparatory seminar which to date has given the Church of the Ivory Coast 350-400 priests.
One of the projects promoted by the missionary, who marked the life of the Church in the nation, is the construction of the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Liberation: a work with a highly spiritual character and stature that welcomes 50,000 to 60,000 pilgrims every year.
“Considered one of the mystics of our time, Fr. Pageaud reconciled contemplation and action in the field of evangelization”, writes his Ivorian confrere, Fr. Donald Zagore to Agenzia Fides. Now retired in France, “the missionary has been a blessing for the country in general and in particular for the Church in the Ivory Coast. For the younger generations of missionaries he remains a model to follow”, says Fr. Zagore.