The MCCP Madagascar: A Constantly Evolving Church Movement
The MCCP Madagascar comprises members from the liberal professional world and executives from the public service and the private sector. In its thirty years of existence, MCCP Madagascar has gone through different periods, in its life of movement (creation, evolution within the national authority of the Church, geographical extension) but also in the face of all aspects of national socio-political and economic life. The socio-economic, cultural or environmental realities of Madagascar, as well as the lessons communicated by the Church through the Popes’ encyclicals or the Bishops’ letters, have influenced the actions undertaken by the movement.
History of the movement: from IMCS to MCCP
The MCCP Madagascar was created by former members of the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) or university chaplaincies. After completing university in their professional life, they felt the need for a Christian commitment in an intellectual and professional environment and for appropriate pastoral accompaniment. They were motivated by the Pope John Paul II’s invitation for all Christians to be promoters of a new evangelization. Bringing the light of the Gospel and incarnating Christ’s message in professional life at all levels: this is the fundamental option of every responsible Christian. The initial small seed has now become a tree thanks to the efforts of dedicated lay and religious leaders in MCCP Madagascar. The movement has now spread across the country. In addition to Antananarivo, MCCP is present in two thirds of the twenty-two dioceses in Madagascar. Currently, the MCCP Madagascar has about 400 members in several dozen parishes across the country.
An organisation adapted to the evolution of the movement
As a church movement, MCCP Madagascar aims to promote evangelization by bringing good news to its members who are catholic professionals in the liberal world. It is motivated by scripture as written in Is 49:6: “I have established you as a light for the nations that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Each member contributes to the achievement of this objective by
- witnessing his Christian faith through actions and words,
- ensuring the happiness of his/her family (harmony of the couples, education of the children).
With the expansion of the movement, it was necessary to set up multi-level structures (parish, diocese and national) for better coordination of actions as well as for easy compliance of the ecclesiastical rules.
A national congress is held every three years. In addition to debating a main theme, this meeting also serves to renew the members of the national office and to define the movement’s orientations and action plans for the next three years. At the last MCCP congress in 2017, the theme was based on Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Sì“. A plan action for the period 2017-2020 was also developed during the 2017 congress. Over the three period, the national coordination team meets with representatives of diocesan and parish teams on annual basis to review the previous year’s activities and plan for the activities of the year that follows. In order to preserve the memory of the movement, all the activities and reflections are documented through the monthly report sheet and the biannual liaison bulletin IDEES (Information – Documentation – Evangelisation – Education – Awareness).
The MCCP Trains its Members
The MCCP has been active in the formation of its members, especially in the social doctrine of the Church as well as in-depth reflection on the Word of God. MCCP also offers members space to reflect on the Church’s teachings such as Encyclicals and letters from national episcopal conference. In this way, it helps its members to have a sense of responsibility, respect for human dignity, dialogue with others (ecumenism) and good management of the common good including biodiversity and the environment.
Participation in Church Activities and National Public Life
As a movement within the church, the MCCP takes an active part in the main events organised by the Church or CEPAL (Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity) or the material support of parishes or other associations or movements within the Church. In addition, MCCP members takes roles in the Madagascar’s socioeconomic and political realities. They are aware of the roles they must play as guardians and promoters of ethics and defenders of the achievements of democracy, fundamental freedoms and human and women’s rights. It is a long-term project that requires the mobilization of all Christian leaders’ worthy of the name. Thus, some members of the movement are also involved in civil society organizations, including organizations involved in the observatory of public life and those involved in election monitoring.
Opening up to the international life
The increasing internationalisation of economic, cultural, political and geostrategic relations has led the movement to consider certain problems that arise at the global level. International solidarity is essential in the search for alternatives and in the implementation of solutions. These include: poverty and hunger, debt, the environment, human rights, technological revolution, democracy, war and peace. The openness to the world through MCCP’s relations with movements and associations in other countries (MCC) as well as international organizations (Pax Romana, ICMICA, IMCS, etc.) is part of the search for credibility and mutual knowledge of each other’s experiences.
Challenges and Threats
While the MCCP was still only present in 5 dioceses during the last congress held in 2017, we have taken up the challenge of covering all 22 dioceses in the next 3 years. Currently, we have only 5 dioceses left: Maintirano, Morombe, Antsirabe, Ambositra and Taolagnaro. During this congress, Laudato Sì was examined and the MCCP committed itself to carrying out concrete actions throughout the island to implement the Holy Father’s directives for the safeguarding of the common house. Like any Catholic church in Africa, the church in Madagascar is not immune to the proliferation of sects. Poverty is still rampant in Madagascar: corruption is a permanent danger for all Christians and even for Christian leaders.