Wednesday, 7 December 2016

LAVIGERIE DAY RECREATION: RECREATION! RECREATION! RECREATION!



I believe almost everyone loves recreation am I right?

It was on the evening of 26th of November 2016, in the Lavigerie Formation House Jinja, after Fr. Arsène A.K.A Cekoroba led the Eucharistic celebration of the GREAT LAVIGERIE DAY when a fabulous event resumed. Following the clear directions from Gabriel Ouma, the MC of the day, we commenced with the introduction of the welcomed guests led by Rev. Fr. Yago Abeledo. The bodily nourishment followed while Zeno Kokoyo and Moses Ashango, the DJs, entertained us with good music. Immediately after the meal, Simon Kimani’s crew came in with a skit concerning the arrival of the first missionaries in Uganda. We had a vivid picture of the scenario of what the first missionaries encountered as the first people who brought Christianity. It seemed that was not enough, we had  powerful words of encouragement  from MSOLA sisters and a beautiful song from MSOLA and Benedictine sisters. We had the cutting of the cake and we all shared it in joy and love. After Koro opened the dancing flow, we joined in for the dance.

To most people’s opinions and inclusive of all members of Lavigerie House, we had a great day full of joy and fun. With the gregarious and entertaining MC made everything to be perfect and gave each one of us a smiling face as we concluded the event as the guests left all in preparations for the Advent season which started few minutes later.

MAY GOD BLESS US ALL. 


By Kelvin Mwamburi

Thursday, 1 December 2016

LAVIGERIE'S DAY HOMILY (Fr. Evert Van Oostrom)


Fr. Evert Van Oostrom delivering his homily
Today is New Year’s Eve. Today’s Gospel message is short but most relevant on this founder’s day: “watch yourselves, or your hearts will be co-arsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly like a trap. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the son of God.” This son of God is Jesus Christ and father Lavigerie is Jesus’ missionary servant.

We, the Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa and the Missionaries of Africa, are to be caught and passioned by Jesus Christ like father Lavigerie himself. Lavigerie was rather reserved in revealing his own inner spiritual life. However, shortly before his death, in a simple conversation with the seminaries of the apostolic school, St. Eugene, he revealed, in a marvelous way, his inner life and what motivated him passionately in all his life: “mes enfants, il faut etre fou de Jesus Christ comme je le suis moi-meme (be madly in love with Jesus Christ, as I am myself).” This was the passion and inspiration and secret of our founder father. It was the secret behind the rough, sometimes off-putting exterior. It was the living person of Jesus Christ. Precisely because he fr. Lavigerie was madly in love with Jesus Christ, therefore he felt urged to found the 2 missionary institutes od the M.Afr’s and the MSOLA’s. We are the fruits of Lavigerie’s madly love for Jesus. From this it follows, that we can be missionary daughters and sons only on condition that we are madly in love with Jesus. He was passionate for Jesus Christ, intoxicated by Jesus Christ. The same is true for his missionary sons and daughters. Because he was madly in love with Jesus Christ, therefore his Episcopal code was ‘CARITAS’ – charity. He wanted his missionaries to be filled with the Christ charity. Fr. Lavigerie did not allow himself nor his missionaries to lead a bourgeois life. His constant admonition was, “Be apostles and nothing but apostles.” The M.Afr chapter of 1992 commented, “Be apostles and nothing but apostles: mindful of this command of  our founder, we accept as apostles to be sent, to move on, to walk from village to village, to be pilgrims like Jesus Christ.” Following Jesus’ example, we have lightly. In a spirit of freedom and joy, we have a simple life-style, in solidarity with the people we are with, being unafraid to take at all times radical measures in line with the Gospel. While shessing this active missionary apostolate, fr. Lavigerie never allowed this to be separated from what ought to be our deepest life-inspiration i.e. to be madly in love with Jesus Christ, just as he was himself. His missionaries ought to be “Christ-missionaries.” Though fr. Lavigerie worked too hard, he was not a Clinch workaholic. He was not a fanatic, but a passionate disciple of Jesus. On 12th Jan. 1888, he put the following questions to his Msola aspirant, Ms. L’Epreries (Marie Clares):

   Are you firmly resolved to attach yourself totally to our Lord? Yes or No?
   Are you resolved to follow this way, which is the way of the disciples? Yes or No?
   Are you resolved to with His grace not to offend Him? Yes or No? Answer me clearly, please, to those questions in your next letter.


In the M.Afr retreat in 1880, he said, “True apostolic zeal must be rooted in the heart and it must be based on the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. This love is nourished in prayer. The missionary is someone on fire.”

In 1869 he said to Msola’s: “The sisters ought to focus their eyes constantly on Jesus Christ, their mind on who has surrendered himself, obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross.”

In the 1884 rule of the Msola novitiate, Lavigerie wrote, “The sanctification of a missionary sister consists out of 2 indispensable elements, first detachment of human things and secondly, a strong and intimate union with our Lord.”

Though this expresses a classical, traditional spirituality, it takes on a very personal role in the spirit of our founder. He expressed this mere personally in 1886, in a letter to Ms. l’Epreries (Sr. Marie Clares): “What our Lord asks above all from the apostles, is to love Him and to love everything in Him and for Him, especially the people to whom He sends us. This is the only condition the Lord puts in His choice of Peter, ‘Peter, do you love me? Feed my lambs. Let this be the only object of our desires, to love Jesus and to be able to tell Him like Peter, ‘Lord, you know that I love you.’ On the day, that you can say this in all truth, everything has been won. However in order to love Jesus, we have to detach ourselves from everything else. Fr. Lavigerie summarized it all during the M.Afr retreat in 1887, “Let a missionary be constantly concerned to be a person of prayer. A missionary belongs totally to God, because he/she has been sent by God. Let his/her be especially concerned to live always in union with our Lord, Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.” St. Augustine summarized it thus, “Only the one, who knows how to pray, knows how to live.”
It is New Year’s day and it is founder’s day and today’s inspiring Gospel-message is: “Watch yourselves, stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen and to stand with confidence before the Son of God.”


Fr. Evert Van Oostrom

A glorious triumph to the journey of sainthood



The Sunday 6th November 2016 was a significant and historical day to the church of Uganda and the society of the missionaries of Africa. This was a day for the opening session of the cause of Beatification of the two pioneers of faith in Uganda Fr. Simeon Lourdel commonly known as Mapeera here in Uganda and Bro. Amans Delmas as well as mother Kevin the founder of little sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan Missionaries Sisters for Africa. These three now to be called servants of God according to the church’s hierarchy of sainthood worked in Uganda several years ago. Coincidentally, this event took place at Lubaga Cathedral which is the same place where Fr. Simeon Lourdel and Bro. Amans met with the then Buganda king to seek for permission to evangelize in Buganda. In addition, it is behind this cathedral where the remains of Fr. Simeon were reburied. An event of this kind took place 93 years ago with Uganda Martyrs whom they evangelized.

These two pioneers took eleven months from Algeria before arriving in Buganda. Simeon was the first priest to be in Uganda while Bro. Amans was the first religious brother in Uganda since he took his final oath in Uganda. They evangelized during a very difficult moment more so with Uganda Martyrs. It is with the same reason which made them at certain moment to go back to Tanganyika. They dedicated themselves fully to God’s service as it can be evident from one of Fr. Simeon’s letter, he said;

“I am going away to preach the Gospel to the Blacks of Africa. Of course I would like to reach the goal, but if God wants me to die before, it is okay, it is up to Him. I also do not expect to live there for more than ten years! .....I am a fool, but it is the foolishness of the cross.”

This event remains relevant to the society of Missionaries of Africa, first, because both Fr. Simeon Lourdel and Brother Amans Delmas were confreres of this society and secondly, they are the first Missionaries of Africa to be considered for sainthood. It is due to this honour that among the officials who took oath as tribunal officials during this celebration was our confrere Fr. Richard Nnyombi.

This event was officiated by two representatives from the Holy See and mass presided by the arch-bishop of Kampala His grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. This process to continue requires our participation only by asking for favours through the intercession of one of these servants of God and reporting the favours to the relevant authority.  
    
                                                                             By: URBANUS MUTUKU

The Joy of Advent

How happy it is to live happily with brothers and sisters who we do not know even their origin but treat them in powerful attitude of love. This is the true call of advent, to stay awake with Christ who is already with us or in our midst, as suggested theme of mapera team this first week of advent. We are called to be attentive to the needs of our brothers and sisters who see us as carrier of Jesus himself. We are an example to them. We should see them as Jesus Christ in the midst of their way of life. This will bring joy in our life. 


By Simon Kimani 

The Grace of Perseverance


To be able to endure in things that seems to be more than our capability, is not easy. One may feel that it is too much for him or her to walk in the situation. This call for the grace from above. This is the moment when everybody seems to have been left alone in the desert. ONLY GOD CAN HELP.

By Simon Kimani
                                                              

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

I am a Gift from God to God

Sister with Isaac and Nicholas


October recollection was about recognition of our being as a gift that comes from with it is purposeful end being in God.  Sr. led us to first answer the question, who am I? As Paul puts it “we are his hand-work, created in Christ Jesus for the good work that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”(Ephesians 2:10). God created us to be a gift to one another, that despite ourselves being gifts He also endowed us with other gifts within us to share them out. These are different from one another “and he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers.”  Quoting one of the writers that, “a personhood is not accomplishment, is a gift.” Sr. continued that my presence to one another is the greatest gift ever to others. This gift means what one gives expecting no return, and this mostly is a gift of self. Smile in my face communicates love to the other person and yet it does not cost material things. According to Ignatius we ought to experience God in all , this leads me in sharing my gift because I will realise that am sharing it with God in all. Drawing from St Teresa of Calcutta, we cannot give what we do not have, therefore I can only share my gift by realising how am gifted.

The second session was to help us realise our sinful nature and God’s Love. That as human there is no doubt that we are sinners but the most important knows that I am a Beloved Sinner who is invited by the Merciful Father for repentance. If my gift is used in works of charity my sinners are remitted, because is by grace that we have faith. (Eph 2:8-9) one repentant soul brings joy in God’s house, therefore we should have the attitude of the tax collector towards our sinful nature “O God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13); and not like the Pharisees attitude of self praise and comparison. Lastly, she invited us to conceal our sins because through confession we find God’s mercy (Proverbs 28:13), and be ready to approach one another to ask for reconciliation in order to create a peaceful and joyous community with ability of sharing our gifts because we are gifts from God called by our way of life to be gifts to others. The facilitator called us to have hope because it helps us not only to see the sin we are in today but that we will be washed from it by God’s mercy.

Texts of reflection; Psalm 139, Ex 34:5-7, James 1:16-17, Jn 3:16, 14:6,10:1-11,Rm 12:3-17, Lk 23:39-43 and Jn 8:3-11.


By Gabriel Ouma

PCJ Social Evening


The PCJ Social evening is a time when all the candidates from the different congregations gather to have a family-time. The event is graced by presentations from the different religious congregations accompanied with dancing, eating, drinking and socializing.