By Fr. Elvis Fernandes
Pilar, October 9, 2019: A visiting bishop from Mauritania has commended the Pilar missionaries from India for their loving and dedicated service to the nomads of Sahara.
Bishop Martin Happe of Nouakchott, who was on a visit to the headquarters of the Society of Pilar, said two missionaries from the Goa-based congregation have helped build bridges with the local people by serving their needs.
The young Pilar Fathers Vincent Lobo and Andy Gomes currently serve Kaedi in the Sahara Desert the comes under the diocese of Nouakchott.
Most parts of Mauritania, a West African nation, are desert.
“In its ethos of reaching out and being pioneers, the Society of Pilar has reached out to these people in love and service,” Bishop Happe said October 9 while addressing the delegates of the first central assembly of the Pilar Society.
The congregation’s base is at Pilar, a village around 13 km east of Panaji, capital of Goa state.
The Mauritania prelate urged Christians to follow the Pilar missionaries’ example and make the world a better place to live with gentleness and commitment to the message of Christ.
Bishop Happe, a German national who has spent 46 years serving the nomadic peoples of the Sahara, wants Christians to take social and economic initiatives to make a difference in the lives of people, as shown by Jesus.
Bishop Happe, who is the Nouakchott prelate since 1995, was welcomed with headgear from Maharashtra and a currency garland of Punjab.
Nouakchott, the base of the only Catholic diocese Mauritania, is the national capital and largest city of the country.
It was a tiny fishing village of little importance until 1958, when it was chosen as the capital of the nascent nation of Mauritania, a former French colony.