Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The joy of caring as pursuing our responsibilities

Filbert Tarimo
The spirit of caring for the environment in Lavigerie House, is enjoyable. It surrounds several kinds of intelligence. Normally the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, nurtures students to grow in the aspects of intellectual, spiritual, human formation and pastoral work. As part of the signs of intellectual growth, which is intermingled with spiritual formation, human formation incorporates doing manual work which involves several intelligences, such as body/kinaesthetic and spacial intelligences. The use of the body parts, creatively to make the compound beautiful, also, helping in the development of sufficient reasons for the existence of things the way they appear by nature and how they should look like.

Areas of concentration include our gardens, where we obtain our vegetables, our animal farm, our banana plantation where we obtain our yellow bananas and Matooke. Together with this, we have candidates who are committed in taking care of our Chapel working as sacristans, those taking care of our cafeteria working as assistance bursars, those caring for our recreation hall, those caring for our bicycle shed, without forgetting those who are in the team compounds and overalls of the management of the compound shrubs and flowers. All these responsibilities are under the same spirit of finding joy in whatever one is doing. This is what can be confidently named as the joy of being part of the Lavigerie community in Jinja.

Lavigerie House has its culture which does not need amendments. This culture keeps the community alive and enjoyable. Indeed if maintained no matter the change of administration or community members, the joy of living together in an international community will remain, which every member desire to have a share. This culture is simply explained in few words: finding joy in your responsibility. This aspect in the community does not need to be emphasized to any member, everyone finds it as a value for community living. Actually, according to me, it has to be embraced and whoever tries to extend a hand to eradicate it remains non-cooperative in the community.

Any person, who is not aware of the aspect of finding joy in our responsibilities, his intention may not be to achieve a common good as a community but to make other people’s lives in the community unenjoyable. The community leaders, the whole of the community administration do not experience hardships because every member finds joy in his responsibility in the house. It is on this note that my experience as a community leader, will be shared with you our readers.

For at least one year as the tradition of Lavigerie House holds, I was among the community leaders and in-charge of manual work organisation in the house. During this time, I experienced a lot of dynamics on the ground of what should be done in our community compound. Basically what made it all successful is the attitude already established in the community that was never taught to anyone but caught from our seniors who lived in the house ahead of us. It is fortunate that the spirit is progressing well. Integration of my personality, as an extravert, played a lot in maintaining that attitude, not by persuading people, by analyzing with sincerity the vitality of whether one does his responsibility with joy and experiencing some happiness through contemplation of nature.

It is also on this ground that my true self came up as a reflective practitioner in the field of leadership, responsibility and community life. A man full of zeal to embrace his responsibility in communion with those around; mobilising community activities and being part of it; exploring different dimensions for a better and more beautiful community; initiating others in self movement, and acquiring new knowledge in using both mind and body strength that one is granted from God among many other aspects.

Well, the year ended with a lot of joys around my personal life as far as responsibilities and leadership roles are concerned in Lavigerie House. The most and precious appreciation should be given to the Almighty God who provides wisdom and knowledge attached to the gift of leadership. The other appreciation should be given to the community members who never got tired to perform their responsibility with the light of faith and joyful hearts. We were giving our best in this field of manual-work, which was enough for success. Indeed it was a joy of caring for each other and our community compound as far as environmental care is concerned. I cared for them, and they responded; that is by caring for my duty and responsibility as a leader, so all together we cared for our community through performing manual activities together as a contribution to the common good of all of us.

Filbert Tarimo 

The Great Unity in Diversity, ONE CULTURE

The chapel at the residential stay of candidates of the Missionaries of Africa was full of jubilations. The newly accepted candidates sung merrily the joyful songs. They widely opened there well moulded mouths as they articulated the words of the song, Sancta Maria, the Anthem of Missionaries of Africa. Furthermore, it was during the Easter Triduum. They were over joyed, having been granted the chance to embrace the charism of the Missionaries of Africa to the fullest, not only to the full.

Luya dance performance by the Missionaries of Africa candidates

It is a new style of living as young energetic men with diversities live together. People of different race, tongue and nation assemble, just like the Disciples of Christ, for a period of three years of discernment at Lavigerie House. They converge to form ONE CULTURE. Is it a mystery? It could be. It is a joy that love, unity, trust, toleration and the spirit of cooperation is enriched among people who had never met before. ‘No one can live as an island, journeying through life alone’ they say. However, one of the pretty clear challenges lies on the integration of all the varied cultures into one culture of the Missionaries of Africa. Following the classes of the preparatory stay, community life plays an important role in the society of the missionaries of African. In addition, it is one of the key pillars of formation among the Missionaries of Africa. It is pretty obvious that there is vulnerability.

Unless the members of a given community understand what a community really implies, there is a danger that community life will be unlived. A voluminous number of people name it ‘communion’, others echoes it as having ‘a common goal’. In addition, few talk of ‘communication’ and finally, a few talk of ‘communion’. Individuals get to know one another, understand it as THE ONE CULTURE.

Tolbert Odhiambo presenting the Luo culture
in one of our cultural evenings.
THE ONE CULTURE is challenging. Before one fully embraces this culture, one would have learnt three things. First, one would have learnt that his culture is not the best. This entails the food eaten at the individual home. Secondly, one would have learnt that the language they speak in their native land is not the best, however nice it might be to speak. Finally, one would have learnt that whatever they do at home is not only what can be done. There are many and more essential things that could be done.

Let the integration of varied cultures bring the good, the common good, not harm. For in unity and diversity, a community can work wonders and miracles, just as it is said that prayers works wonders. Believe it. The one culture joined with other ‘one’ cultures to form ONE CULTURE should make members of the community what one ought to be and not what one’s egoism directs one. Do you believe this? Think about it!

Tolbert Odhiambo

The Pelican

Artist: Jean Marie Bamutaze
The Pelican is a water bird that takes full care of its young ones. It is all things to its young ones the fact that it hatches in big numbers. In times of scarcity of food, it feeds its young ones on its own blood by biting itself to bleed. In that way, the Pelican so much inspires and speaks to us at Lavigerie House and the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) at large. It helps us feel our identity in the Gospel and in Christ through his laying down of life for us. Again inspired by Cardinal Lavigerie our founder in his words “Be all things to all”, this is to be just as a Pelican to its young ones. This is the greatest value of love that we embrace in our service to human kind. Following the inspiring sacrifices of Jesus and the Pelican who both shade their blood for the survival of others, we too be there in special attention and priority to the needs of others.

We portray this through helping the needy, the neglected, marginalized, and stigmatized, promoting peace, justice and integrity of creation, inter-religious dialogue and respecting the status of all humanity in our pastoral activities. All this is done for all people irrespective of their colour, race, gender, status etc, without any complaint, hesitation or expectation of any reward but for the Greatest Glory of God.

Jean Marie Bamutaze

Monday, 30 March 2015


It is important to reckon that a remarkable balance between the mind and the heart is indispensable in life. This is precisely the reason for blending our daily lives with the power of the intellect. Somebody said the eye of an intelligent person perceives things in depth and not merely superficially. The eyes are a clear sign of light which is in people. Any person who has an illumined mind has a limpid gaze or a clear stare if you will. Missionaries of Africa house in Jinja have a provision of students to attend lectures at the consortium, Philosophy Centre Jinja (PCJ). The main reason of this is to allow students, undergoing formation, acquaint themselves with abundant information that aids them to handle issues in this rapidly growing world that is complex with massive ideologies and technologies. Through attention to the studies, students are able to develop more the multiple intelligences that are present and unique in them.

Intellectual formation is very essential aspect in a formation program. It is one of the aspects in life that teaches commitment and dedication. Philosophy Centre Jinja offers several quality courses based on both social and philosophical studies. Some of these courses include: Psychology,  Human sexuality, Human Resource Management, Sustainable Development, Ethics, Conflict Transformation and Resolution, Economics, Project Planning and Management, Organization and Institutional Management, Logic, Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology, African Philosophy, Theodicy, and Meta ta Meta Phusika (Metaphysics)  among others. In line with this, there are also extensive courses in religious studies; Liturgy, Old and New Testament and Spirituality. This range of courses unleashes the various hidden realities of each and every individual. All of us able to integrate components of life and draw a nature of consistence in whatever we do. Moreover, a provision of language courses enhances coherence and understanding of many other disciplines.

Normally during daily undertakings, people find it hard to perceive or measure the difference in growth and character development. Through studies, individuals equip themselves with lucrative tools that help them to experience a positive change and modify their characters. This is achieved with the help of knowledge and practical values that are imparted in one’s mind. One of the best agents of character shaping is knowledge. It is the only arena that one is given a glimpse of self-knowledge that inspires him or her to have knowledge about others. It is said that, it is only through self-knowledge that people begin mastering their lives that eventually leads them to understand and know their neighbours.

The education acquired at the institute helps individuals to be more at themselves and imagine the world around them. Whatever the mind of a person can conceive, it can achieve it. This is by the virtue of the images that individuals hold in the fields of their minds. Individuals are able to attract what they imagine and this is the enormous power that rigorous academic engagement offers. It gives one an opportunity to soar into greater heights and attracting positive things. It is through academics that people come to realize that all that they need is around them and they carry it in their various potentialities. Individuals have the universe and they are the universe because they have a powerful opportunity to open up to abundance.

Equally important to realize is that, all that we are is the result of what we have thought and the process of thinking is only acquired through engaging the intellect, the mind if you will.

James Bwire

Palm Sunday 2015

The Way of the Cross

You are traumatized, it is a lie!!

It is amazing to hear how we joke about painful experiences either in us or others. During our workshop on trauma strategies, awareness and resilience, we had some moments of cracking jokes with one another that “that is trauma or you are traumatized” but this is one this one way of identifying hurtful experiences in ourselves. The ability to talk about trauma itself is healing. Thanks to our facilitators for their dedication and commitment to guide us into the way of recovery! A major fact remains; we have painful experiences. These we faced them either before our birth or after. Significantly, at a tender stage of our development (infancy), we are delicate which provides ground for any hurts and easily wounded because we are vulnerable. Mentioning that you are traumatized itself is traumatizing. Should we then keep silent in shame and resentment? We can respond yes and no depending on what we want. In case one feels at ease with sadness and pain, we say yes. The second response is a big “NO” for those who are willing to heal the deep wounds. Whichever response, there is a reward one positive and negative respectively. A decision to share your pain (vulnerability) with someone else will heal you. It all takes courage to share our vulnerability. Remember that “a problem shared is half or all solved” it is vital to build a certain level of trust and openness to share your pain with another person. Find someone who can be able to listen to your story. They may not have what to offer but their time to listen to you is in itself relieving. We can relate this to our situation as students in formation. We are called to live in a communion, sharing in solidarity. We share finances and property why don’t we share our traumas too? Let us not be mean in sharing pain when we are credited for our generosity in giving out other things. Like we share a cake at our founder’s day, why don’t we share pain at a certain hour even it is every day in order to heal? It is crucial therefore as brothers to share what hurts us as a tool to maintain healthy relationships wherever we may be. I believe that once I have underlying pain which none of my brothers know, it magnifies within me. I start comparing myself with the rest as if they are better. Feelings of low self esteem and misplaced among fellow students crop up. This will imprison my peace! One lives as an isolated island. Sharing is definitely important to the one who feels pain. A challenge comes! The one listening, are you prepared to respect what you hear from your ‘client’ it calls for a mature level of confidentiality otherwise individuals shall remain dustbins of traumatic pain. This is because the “brother” entrusted with our pain is suffering from a running mouth (he can’t respect privacy of information for long.) In the gospel, Jesus said that the sick are the ones who need a doctor. It is up to each one of us to take an initiative in finding a way to recovery.

Ariho Henry Moses

Kiwanuka Team

Kiwanuka, Joseph Nakabaale (1899- 1966)
Bishop Kiwanuka was the first native African to be ordained a Catholic bishop in modern times. He was born at Mawokota County, Uganda, the child of Catholic parents, Victoro Katumba Munduekanika and Felicitas Nankya Ssabawebwa Namukasa. Joseph was baptized at Rubaga, Kampala, on June 25, 1899. He received his primary education at Mitala Maria from 1910 to 1914, when he entered Bukalasa junior seminary. After studying philosophy and theology at Katigondo major seminary, he was ordained priest at Villa Maria on May 26, 1929. In his fourth year at Katigondo, Kiwanuka felt the call to join the Society of Missionaries of Africa. Bishop Henri Streicher, his ordinary, opposed the move. However, Fr. Voillard, the Superior General of the society, who visited the seminary in 1928, agreed to admit Kiwanuka after ordination to the priesthood. 

Shortly after his ordination, Kiwanuka received his call to the novitiate of the Missionaries of Africa on July 15, 1929. However, Bishop Streicher again intervened, sending the young priest to Rome for further studies. Kiwanuka lodged at the house of the Missionaries of Africa on via Trenta Aprile and attended the Pontifical Angelicum University, where he took a licentiate and doctorate in Canon Law. The subject of his doctoral dissertation, which he defended in 1932, was the marriage contract. After visiting France and England, Kiwanuka arrived in Algiers to make his novitiate with the Missionaries of Africa on October 8, 1932. He completed his novitiate on October 12, 1933 and, after his return to Uganda, pronounced the missionary oath at Entebbe on October 12, 1934. Meanwhile, Bishop Streicher's diocese had been divided into the vicariates of Masaka and Rubaga, on his retirement in 1933.  After pastoral appointments at Bikira and Bujuni, Kiwanuka came to Katigondo seminary, where he joined the teaching staff. On June 1, 1939 he received news of his appointment as Vicar Apostolic of Masaka. Joseph Kiwanuka was consecrated bishop in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, by Pope Pius XII on October 29, 1939; Kiwanuka came back to his diocese soon after the start of World War II. In August 1940, the new bishop moved his diocesan headquarters from Villa Maria to Kitovu near Masaka town in 1947. In January 1961 Joseph Kiwanuka was appointed Archbishop of Rubaga, on the retirement of Archbishop Joseph Cabana, and in October of the following year played a prominent role in the celebrations accompanying the attainment of political independence in Uganda. Immediately afterwards, Kiwanuka came to Rome to attend the sessions of the Second Vatican Council 1962 to 1965. During the third session of the Council, Bishop Kiwanuka assisted Pope Paul VI at the canonization of the twenty-two Catholic Martyrs of Uganda on October 18, 1964. In 1965 Obote's government in Uganda underwent a political crisis, and Kiwanuka responded by publishing an inspiring pastoral letter on political leadership and democratic maturity. This was Kiwanuka final legacy, for he died suddenly on February 22, 1966, the day before Milton Obote’s assumed unconstitutional powers. He is buried in Rubaga Cathedral. The leadership of Archbishop Kiwanuka opened the door to the full development of the Catholic Church in Africa, which is now entirely in African hands.

Martin Kibira  [Kiwanuka team member]

Sunday, 22 March 2015


The word Formation and indeed Formator are relatively subjective concepts. Through my own experience, starting from my time in Formation as a Candidate and my experience of working in the field of Formation as a Formator, I have come to distinguish 4 types of ‘Formator’, in Formation. These ‘Formators’ may or may not nurture the good growth of the Candidate. This is the reason I would like to share about them so as to help anyone in our Houses of Formation. Here, I present these ideas with their strengths and limitations. These 4 Formators are: The Holy Spirit, The Candidate, The Peer Group, And the Elder or the officially appointed Formator.

Obviously, the only Formator, for most of us is the ‘Elder’ who has been given the duty and right to form the Candidate. You may not agree with me, but I think we should also give importance to the three others. In addition, I wouldn’t mind putting them in this order of importance: 1: the Holy Spirit; 2: the Candidate himself; 3: the Peer Group and 4: the officially appointed Formator or Elder. My experience has shown that the three other “Formators” are even more important if the Candidate desires a deeper transformation and growth throughout his life.

The Holy Spirit

It is God who calls, and this call is heard, carried and cherished by the power of the Holy Spirit. In any call, the great initiator is the Holy Spirit. (Jesus’ calling Lk 4: ‘The Holy Spirit has come upon me…’) Without any doubt, the Holy Spirit is the First Formator. Not only is he at the beginning of any Formation, but he is always there till the end of that call-mission, present till death.

I would like to dwell on this point awhile. If there have been people who have crossed our path in life, if there have been events which have unfolded throughout our lives, if we have been experiencing a way of life, I believe it hasn’t just come by sheer luck. Rather, God has poured his Grace upon us, and will sustain that love infinitely. Just as his love for us is infinite, so any action within this love goes beyond a particular time and place. So, before the so-called Formation took place, and throughout that Formation and even long after that Formation had taken place, God or the Spirit of God, continues to form the one who has been called.

It means that any young man or woman in Formation will blossom if s/he considers and follows this ‘Formator No. 1’ seriously. The non-awareness of the Holy Spirit in any Formation will weaken seriously it. The privileged sphere and place for this ‘Formator No. 1’ is prayer. I am always amazed to see how Jesus took this ‘Formator No.1’ so literally seriously. Before and after any event in his life, he retired alone to pray. 

The Candidate Formator

Formation has to be internalised. Therefore, the Candidate has to be active in listening to this ‘Formator No. 1’. He needs to be creative and take initiatives so as to make clear the voice which is calling him. It goes beyond fulfilling the required timetable for prayer. It is about creating a man who becomes tuned into God’s Spirit every day. 

‘Formator No. 2’ will eventually let himself be a product of ‘Formator No. 1’, the Holy Spirit. This ‘Formator No. 2’ needs time and soil-humidity in order to sink roots and bear fruit. He needs to be regular in meeting ‘Formator No. 1’. I don’t see how a Candidate can answer his call and be happy if he doesn’t take himself seriously in meeting with the Holy Spirit. (Gal. 5: 22-24). 

For the future missionary, this will imply developing a strong habit of daily personal prayer or meditation. Obviously, this will demand self-discipline in carrying it out, even when ‘Formator No. 4’ is not around. The sustained effort of the Candidate, during and after Formation, becomes an opportunity to acquire a high degree of personal responsibility, because when the Spirit of the Lord speaks, he conveys a specific message, which will become an imperative mission to be carried out.

If this internalised Formation doesn’t take place, most likely the Holy Spirit will not be given a chance to communicate a calling or indeed to deepen it. Miracles do happen, but in normal circumstances, our collaboration and predisposition is very important. If the Candidate doesn’t take himself as a self-Formator, his freedom to grow will be seriously jeopardized. The test of this ‘Formator No. 2’ comes into view at the end of the prescribed time of Formation. What remains of all the Formation when the young confrere finds himself alone, far away from any structure of Formation? How does he manage this (His) mission-call in a parish set up? What about his personal prayer life? 

The Peer Group

Another rather invisible Formator is the Peer Group. The presence of individuals will bring a bearing, positive or negative, on the whole group. In Formation, at any stage, we are going to perform within a team/community, big or small. Though we don’t choose our community, the community spirit does play a very important role. If the spirit in the community is a good one, it bears up even lukewarm spirits. The quality of presence which, in general, calls everyone to take part in fraternal correction and promotion make this ‘Formator No. 3’ very important. We may not pay attention to him, but he does bring flavour and colour into any community. More and more, we rely and, indeed, pray that the Holy Spirit may bring a good spirit within the Formation group. To the question, ‘How are the Candidates doing?’ the common satisfactory answer is, ‘There is a good spirit.’

Very often, the Peer Group knows things about the Candidate long before the ‘Formator No. 4”. When, within the group, people are more motivated by envy, jealousy, competition and selfish interest, this ‘Formator No. 3’ may just arrest individual and communitarian growth.

The Elder Formator

There are many things which have been said about ‘this Formator’. I only present some practical considerations. The ‘Elder Formator’ can only help when the Holy Spirit is already at work in or on the Candidate. Often the ‘Elder Formator’ only needs to encourage and nurture what is already present in the Candidate. He is a companion, an Elder brother. I use the word ‘brother’ because it is essential for the Candidate to progress in an atmosphere akin to family.

When necessary, ‘Formator No. 4’ should learn the art of challenge. As for any good family, the Elder needs to show Christ’s love for his disciples. He needs to tune up with ‘Formator No. 1’, so that whatever conclusion he takes has to come from the Spirit. This is not easy and the temptation is to think that he is the sole Formator.

Our wish is always to carry out the call through all 4 Formators. They are present in our lives. Through discernment, we will be able to fulfil God’s mission wherever we are sent.

Raphael Gasimba M.Afr

From Petit Echo n° 1010 2010/4