Tuesday, 1 December 2015

LAVIGERIE IS DEAD BUT LIVING



It is few days ago since we commemorated the death of Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, the founder of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). As the community of Lavigerie, we are so grateful to commemorate this day with our friends. The celebration was led by Rev. Fr. Kato Otto, the Ugandan vocation animator. He started by welcoming and congratulating each one who was present for that day of which he attributed their love for the community. He defined Lavigerie as a man who had a strong character with missionary zeal. Furthermore, he attributed the Uganda Martyrs to Lavigerie’s missionary work since he was the first person to send missionaries to Uganda in conjunction with by then the Pope. He said that Lavigerie’s desires and interests did not stop him in extending the kingdom of God that is Christ’s mission. He challenged everyone who was present to take on the same example.

Fr. Otto Kato
Fr. Kato Otto is a gifted follower in the footsteps of Christ. His reflection of the day begun with a song ‘’banga’’ from West Africa as the only he could afford to give to Lavigerie as a gift. He said, “Had it not been Lavigerie, I would be… as a slave in a country which he could not describe’’. The reading talked about the end of the word which he described as a challenge especially those who translate the bible literally. He pointed out few people including ‘Kibwetere’ of Uganda who predicted that the world would end in 2000. This was followed by burning several people to ashes with some religious people inclusive. 

Fr. Katto continued his homily attributing the following memorable qualities of Lavigerie in his successful evangelization of Africa:

Be nothing but apostles. He said that Lavigerie encouraged his missionaries to be apostles. That is a man of prayer and reminded them that they were neither explorers nor travelers but missionaries. This is an important point of reflection especially for people who are both in formation and mission.      
       
Respect for humanity. Lavigerie was an outstanding figure where he said at one time that “I am a man and nothing human is foreign to me”. It is said that in a dream of black people, he saw them welcoming him with songs of joy and praise. This dream geared Lavigerie’s plan to save humanity in Africa where he found the society of missionaries of Africa. He encouraged them to learn the language of the people where they would be sent because it would be one way of showing that they part of them.          
    
Humility, Lavigerie‘s humility was exceptional from others. In case of small mistakes, he would go and kneel before his secretary to ask for forgiveness. Political, religious and any other leader should have him as the role model to transform our societies where we are living.

Fr. Otto said that all these qualities are more or less similar to those of Pope Francis. The society will always remember you for the service you render to it but not what position you hold. Lavigerie, you will keep in our memories for the great work done in Africa.

                                                                                       JOHNBOSCO MAGEZI