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The coexistence between Muslims, Catholics and Christians enriches spirituality

Fr. Jess Marco Sanchez, prior of the Augustinian Recollect community of Kamalo in Sierra Leone, shares in this interview his experiences, challenges and dreams in his work of evangelization, education and interreligious dialogue. Originally from the island of Negros in the Philippines, he arrived in Sierra Leone in 2015 during the Ebola crisis.



As prior and school manager, Fr. Jess is responsible for the administration of 48 schools belonging to the Diocese of Makeni and explained that the main challenge they face is consistency.When you are trying to convince someone with love, it is not enough to say it once or show it in one incident. There must be a constant demonstration of love for the message to be received.


To explain this challenge, he used the analogy of family love: No one knows that our parents are our real parents at birth, but their constant love during good times and bad convinces us that they really are. Similarly, in the proclamation of the Gospel, consistency is key. We always pray to God to grant us perseverance and determination to be consistent in our evangelization work.


The interaction between Muslims, Catholics, Christians and other religious denominations in Sierra Leone has been deeply enriching for Father Jess: Through the experience of living with them, we discover that the presence of God and the Holy Spirit is not limited to the confines of Catholicism. Before our arrival, God was already here; love already existed. This experience enriches us and encourages us to be consistent in our proclamation and evangelization.


Fr. Jess has big dreams for her mission as encourage other religious and volunteers to come here, to broaden their perspectives and to be courageous. I want to break the mentality that by coming here we are the ones helping. By staying here, you will find that you not only help, but you are also enriched. They help you learn more about your own religion and yourself.






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