These celestial guardians, assigned by God to protect and guide us, silently stand by our side, intervening in those pivotal moments of need. However, as we celebrate this day, let’s also honor the ‘earthly’ guardian angels: the men and women who champion the cause of evangelization and support the missionaries worldwide, through The Pontifical Mission Societies.
One such tale of faith, resilience, and divine intervention is that of Father Rene Dakouo. From the streets of Treichville on the Ivory Coast to the halls of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Father Dakouo’s journey is a testament to God’s unwavering support and the human spirit’s indomitable will.
From a young age, Rene felt a deep calling to the priesthood. Attending Mass with his parents, he would gaze upon the priests, observing the joy and fulfillment radiating from their prayers. Inspired by their devotion, Rene shared his dream with his parents, expressing his hope of one day becoming a priest with God’s guidance.
However, financial hardships struck the Dakouo family when Rene’s father lost his job during his fifth-grade year, and he had to leave school. Rene accepted this challenge gracefully, understanding that he could contribute to his family’s well-being through various small jobs.
Little did he know that a life-changing opportunity awaited him in the form of his aunt’s visit from Mali.
Witnessing the dire circumstances preventing Rene and his brother from attending school, Rene’s aunt made a courageous decision to bring them to Mali, recognizing the importance of education for their future. Upon their arrival, Rene found himself enrolled in a Catholic school under the guidance of his uncle, the headmaster. The doors to education swung open once again, illuminating Rene’s path forward.
“I saw God’s guiding hand in this,” Father Dakouo reminisced. “He never leaves us alone, but nothing in the Bible says he will make it easy for us either! We are called to follow Him, and in my case, he surrounded me with people who have inspired me throughout my life to do so. But he also made me resilient, giving me daily opportunities to grow in my faith and love for Him.”
His story is not merely of personal growth but of community upliftment and mutual support. He always found a guiding hand through the challenges he faced, whether it was the chance offered by his aunt, the nurturing environment of the Minor Seminary, or the crucial insights gained assisting a parish priest.
Father Dakouo’s teachings align with the ethos of The Pontifical Mission Societies. Just as he draws inspiration from Luke 22, we too are reminded, “Let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” And just as he is driven by serving others, our mission is to support the evangelists who, like Father Dakouo, light the path for many.
Now, in Rome, as Father Dakouo delves into Canon Law, he’s also absorbing the rich tapestry of global perspectives. “Being here, studying at the Urban University, surrounded by priests and sisters who, like me, come from missionary territories, is of great help for me… It serves as a reminder that we are not walking alone.”
And as he rightly points out, there’s an urgent need for us to share and amplify the stories from missionary territories. “Can you share from the pulpit the reality of the Church in mission territories? Can you raise awareness over the challenges we face in Mali, but also throughout Asia and Latin America?”
On this Guardian Angels Day, let us all be inspired by the journey of Father Dakouo and countless others like him. They remind us that while God’s guardians watch over us, we must be the earthly angels, supporting and championing those who dedicate their lives to evangelism.
Your support to The Pontifical Mission Societies doesn’t merely contribute to a fund; it fuels dreams, bolsters faith, and indeed, acts as a Guardian Angel for missionary men and women worldwide. Let us keep this spirit alive and continue to be the pillars they lean on, as they work to spread the Gospel and light up the world with God’s love.
Become a guardian angel today. Support and pray for the missionaries and echo the selflessness and dedication of individuals like Father Rene Dakouo.