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Why a black Jesus?


Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, speaks of inculturation:


116. … Through inculturation, the Church “introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community”,[90] for “every culture offers positive values and forms which can enrich the way the Gospel is preached, understood and lived”. …

Father Egermann :

- In the catacombs of Rome in the first century, the Good Shepherd is shown with the costume of the shepherds of the Roman countryside.

- In the story of the healing of the paralytic, for example, Marc speaks about  Palestinian terraced houses and said that carriers are “opening” in the roof (Mk 2/4). Luke contrary,  addressing people who live in Greco-Roman houses with tile roofs wrote: “they took the tiles off” (Lk 5/19).


Father François Vidil went out on Sunday, November 3rd in Versailles (France).
- It is him who launched the original idea of a catechises which redraws the Life of Jesus in images.
- Jesus, his apostles, the Virgin and any else characters belong to the world which surrounds them: they are black in an African environment.



1973 North Cameroun : Mafa Christian communauties wish to have an African representation of the gospel. A committee is formed to work on the project.
  The most important New Testament scenes for liturgical and catechetical use are selected and then adapted to be played by the village people. The sketches are photographed and drawned. After a careful and detailed study JESUS MAFA paintings are executed by the artist, Bénédite de la Roncière.
Different size reproductions of these paintings have been sent all over the world since 1977 : 62 scenes, from the Annunciation to Pentecost, illustrate the three years sunday gospels in the Mass book. As for the church porches and the stained-glass windows in the european mediaeval cathedrals, where the environment and characters shown belong to the mediaeval society, likewise in Jesus Mafa paintings the characters and the environment belong to Africa.Thus a visual support of everyday life scenes helps the african catechist as he presents the Gospels oraly. Since about 40 years, More than 6 millions of these pictures have been dispatched to catechists, churches, missionaries, african communities, all kind of schools, libraries, booksellers, private people etc.
  There is something like a miracle in the success of this job done for 40 years. by a french team which keeps up close relations with its correspondants in Africa. The artist knows how to find a simple and clear, realist and spiritual style which touches the sensitivity of black people, a style made of grace and beauty.
The Association Life of Jesus Mafa which, through its unpaid members look after the objects of the scheme and also carries out all the edition tasks : relation with the artist, the printers and the publishers. Organisation of the distribution channels and finally shipping of the parcels up to 30 kilos by post. 
All the members of the Association are convinced of the need of the solidarity between Churches. They attached as much importance to sending a few pictures to a little mission in the bush as sending big quantities to some bookseller in a big city who resell on the spot. Their goal is not commercial but strictly missionary. 
To-day, VIE DE JESUS MAFA is in touch with over 3000 correspondants in 83 countries all around the world : (44 in Africa, 13 in America mostly in USA (30 different states), 5 in the Pacific Ocean and 21 in Europe)



Father Aubrey, ofm8 April 2014 at 17 h 53 minReply

How can I see the pictures and order copies of ones I might like to have?

asmafa9 April 2014 at 9 h 04 minReply

Hello, thanks for your message, all the pictures are on the site reach them through page “catalogue”, concerning order go to paga “order” or page “contact”.

asmafa13 March 2013 at 11 h 16 minReply

“Aimer l’Eglise Méditations sur la lettre aux Ephésiens de Raniero Cantalamessa aux Editions Béatitudes avril 2005 pages 41/42 ”

I can’t imagine Pentecost as traditional artists and iconographers show it to us : each of them is still and well sat on its own place, arms crossed devoutly on one’s chest, the glance lost in the vacuum…
I have in mind one picture of the series “Jesus Mafa” from Cameroon. The apostles smile themselves and look at themselves enraptured. Some raise the arms to the sky, others hide the face between the hands because of the too great light. Only, Mary is quietly sat, calmly. But we understand why : She have had already her own Pentecost, what was happening did not take her by surprise. Her “sober drunkness” of the Spirit, she had already experimented it and even sang it in the “Magnificat”.
By this way was born the Koïmonia connected with the church : it is the experiment to be loved by God which creates the need and the possibility to love each other. The continuation of the account of “Pentecost” : And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Ac 4, 32) is the confirmation of it. So was born the collegial structure as a living reality. Before that moment Peter usually talked with the first person using the “I” : ” Even I have to die with you, I will never disown you”. (Mt 26, 35) Now he uses the “we” ; “we are all witnesses of it” (Ac 2, 32).A new subject appears it is the collegial sructure : “Peter stood up with the Eleven”. Ac 2, 14).

M…7 March 2013 at 9 h 15 minReply

Hello, love your pictures. I want to order these 11 (eleven) mini-posters:

I love all of them nice job! congratulations!
Please let me know how can I order ? and How much is it? thanks, regards!
God bless you all, M… C…

Fr. Tim Ardouin16 February 2013 at 9 h 51 minReply

Tim Audouin
16 février 2013 at 9 h 34 minReplyEdit
This ‘article’, if you approve, will appear in ‘Gower Church Magazine’ Vol 113 No. 1354 March 2013. I am writing a book at the moment which draws on liberation theology (with a Celtic perspective). When it comes to illustration (probably about two years time) I will be looking at your work again for sure!
God bless
Fr Tim

Click here to look at the article