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Bochum, February 13, 2019

A silver priestly jubilee is an occasion to rejoice and thank God for the grace of vocation and for the love, strength, loyalty and devotion God has given me. In the first place I have to thank God and then I also thank all the people who accompanied me on the challenging path and still do so.

To become a priest was my childhood dream. As a little boy I often invited my friends and performed in front of them the "Holy Mass" as a "priest". The rosary prayer and the veneration of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, were and are the focus of my family. This path of faith shaped me personally and led me to the altar of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On February 13, 25 years ago, I was ordained a Dominican priest by then Bishop Emile Haiti Waro Leru'a, Bishop of Isiro-Niangara Bishopric in Watsa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are events in a person's life that are never forgotten. Some are so formative that we remember them exactly even later on. Such a formative event was my ordination to the priesthood. I was the only priest candidate at that time. The service lasted four hours, that was a huge joy!

I have heard the call of God 25 years ago and have kept my yes-word to this day. That is not self-evident. As a Dominican priest I will not be spared crises in my life. There are also ups and downs. I also know despondency, I experience disappointments and also doubts.

God selects poor, weak, and sinful people to be praising, blessing, and healing through them. There are three main messages in the Dominican Order: laudare (praise), benedicare (bless) and praedicare (proclaim). In them, I orient myself in thinking and acting; I try to implement them in my life.

A silver priest's jubilee is a day of joy and thanksgiving. But it does not need a big party. I am grateful for my vocation and the experience of my consecration. Yes, and the joy ... and of course, for your attention. I am very glad that you gave me a chasuble and a Portable Mass Kit as well as the donated pilgrimage to Lourdes. Thank you for that!

Being a priest is not a profession for me, but a vocation! As priests, we must radiate and live the joy of this vocation. The people we meet need to feel that joy. I think it's a wonderful vocation to be a priest.

I am happy to be able to accompany people, both in happy hours and in sad times; but above all, always to proclaim to them God's encouraging message. It is and remains a wonderful vocation to be a priest. I am happy to be able to say and show people in the personal encounter and in the sacraments: God is interested in you and in your life and destiny. You are infinitely precious and important to Him.

We want to pray today for the priests who are paying attention that the souls of the faithful do not die of thirst. I ask you for a prayer. A prayer that in the future will give me the strength for my priestly ministry in the vineyard of the Lord.

Hoping for a continued blessed ministry, we trust in the intercession of God's Mother and we wish in our daily needs and concerns her maternal protection and support.

All the best and God's blessing

Dr. Dr. Jean-Bertrand Madragule Badi (Pater Badi OP)

Chairman Kongo Social-Care e. V.

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