Building Communities

children in the remote village
of Mandabe, Madagascar
Before Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S, retired as Bishop of Morondava, Madagascar, he went for one last pastoral visit to the district of Mandabe, where for many years Fr. George Repchick (+1998) ministered lovingly to the people. Bishop Donald writes:

“I just returned from a five-day visit to Mandabe. The road has not gotten any better since the times we traveled it together years ago. How many years is it now – 5 or 6 – since the approaches to the bridge at Dabara were washed away? The bridge still sits in the middle of the river with no way to get on it. Meanwhile we have to plow through about two miles of shallow water and deep, fine sand to get across.

“As always it was a very sentimental trip as I can’t but think of George and pray for him when I am there. An enlarged photo of him adorns the back wall of the church. Fr. Richard – an Italian priest incardinated into the diocese and who is presently director of that missionary district – says that George’s presence is still vividly felt. I am amazed to see the continual growth of this Christian community. I think it is the district that has shown the most progress and growth in the last six years.


Fr. John (George) Repchick, M.S.,
(1928-1998) with two children
from his parish
“A new community of sisters – Missionaries of the Holy Family – has been there only a month and already the population has fallen in love with them. There are 532 children in the Parish’s Catholic school, and another 654 in the six Catholic schools in the bush. I was able to visit three of them and everywhere there were numerous First Communions and a total of 78 Confirmations.

“The church in Mandabe is quite large for a mission district church – sixty benches holding 10 persons each – and George never thought it would be filled. Well, last Sunday – and it was not the exception – it was packed. Fr. Richard has promoted a lot of construction these last six years – building not only structures but faith communities through prayer and religious instructions.”

Interior of the Church in Mandabe, Madagascar


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