|Team Amans celebrating a birthday|
Monday, 23 September 2019
Thursday, 29 August 2019
D'abord, the formation program of the Missionaries of Africa demands a community project be done each year. This academic year, it was held from 12th to 14th August, 2019.
The community project was defined by the members as the guiding tool made by all the community members with the aim of a harmonious community living. Fr. Oswald, the rector, conducted the sessions for this new community project. In his approach, Fr. Oswald employed the 'W4H', i.e. Why? When? What? Who? and How?
These were really reflective questions across all the 5 pillars of formation; Spiritually, Intellectually, Apostolic, Community life and Materially. According to Fr. Oswald, material life as a pillar of formation is an accompaniment of the other four pillars. if we are to achieve their objectives, we then really need the material to attain the set objectives in these pillars.
The project was successful with excellent attendance of all the community members: formators and students. Free interaction was tolerated with Fr. Oswald making the necessary responses.
The prognosis of our session was development of an annual theme, mission statement and a draft of the general formation pillars. After all the necessary deliberations, the theme was: "Lord, Guide Us To Do Your Will."; and the mission statement: "". Each pillar had objectives and possible suggestions for a better community living at Lavigerie Formation House.
The house menu and timetable were agreed upon unanimously as a community. We all pledged to have a total respect to this project developed.
Lastly, I wish to appreciate the Rector and the entire team of formators. I also wish to extend my gratitude to the Society of the Missionaries of Africa for engaging the candidates/students in the planning and organization of the activities together. This involvement and participation makes a student feel concerned and respected, thus, accepting the programs in the community with total obedience.
Blessings and peace.
2nd year 2019/2020
Friday, 8 March 2019
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” (Preface of Lent I). We can thus journey from Easter to Easter towards the fulfillment of the salvation we have already received as a result of Christ’s paschal mystery – “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). This mystery of salvation, already at work in us during our earthly lives, is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation. As Saint Paul says, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). In this perspective, I would like to offer a few reflections to accompany our journey of conversion this coming Lent.
1. The redemption of creation
The celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ (cf. Rom 8:29) is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.
When we live as children of God, redeemed, led by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:14) and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts and in nature, we also benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption. That is why Saint Paul says that creation eagerly longs for the revelation of the children of God; in other words, that all those who enjoy the grace of Jesus’ paschal mystery may experience its fulfillment in the redemption of the human body itself. When the love of Christ transfigures the lives of the saints in spirit, body and soul, they give praise to God. Through prayer, contemplation and art, they also include other creatures in that praise, as we see admirably expressed in the “Canticle of the Creatures” by Saint Francis of Assisi (cf. Laudato Si’, 87). Yet in this world, the harmony generated by redemption is constantly threatened by the negative power of sin and death.
2. The destructive power of sin
Indeed, when we fail to live as children of God, we often behave in a destructive way towards our neighbors and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will. Intemperance then takes the upper hand: we start to live a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and nature itself. We yield to those untrammeled desires that the Book of Wisdom sees as typical of the ungodly, those who act without thought for God or hope for the future (cf. 2:1-11). Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogans “I want it all and I want it now!” and “Too much is never enough”, gains the upper hand.
The root of all evil, as we know, is the sin, which from its first appearance has disrupted our communion with God, with others and with creation itself, to which we are linked in a particular way by our body. This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures.
Once God’s law, the law of love, is forsaken, then the law of the strong over the weak takes over. The sin that lurks in the human heart (cf. Mk 7:20-23) takes the shape of greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. It leads to the exploitation of creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and sooner or later destroys all those in its grip.
3. The healing power of repentance and forgiveness
Creation urgently needs the revelation of the children of God, who have been made “a new creation”. For “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Indeed, by virtue of their being revealed, creation itself can celebrate a Pasch, opening itself to a new heaven and a new earth (cf. Rev 21:1). The path to Easter demands that we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness, so as to live fully the abundant grace of the paschal mystery.
This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails. All creation is called, with us, to go forth “from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.
Dear brothers and sisters, the “Lenten” period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3). May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain!
Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.
God saw that man is lonely and thus created a helper for him (Gn 2:18). Out of the necessity of companionship, the woman was created. A woman is essential being in society. Taking away the bias and prejudices many have, this precious creation is the backbone of our societies. These creatures are super strong to bear the whole society by themselves, through themselves but not for themselves alone. By the term ‘woman’, I mean the whole feminine gender.
Without the discrimination of any woman; both in potency and in actuality, the universal society at large celebrate your presence in this universe. This article is focused on their presence as it is out of their presence all other characteristics and functions flow out. This is to ease the tension put on each woman in this universe such that they are limited in whatever they are doing or should do in life. Not to be quoted wrongly, I do not mean to judge anyone’s actions and thoughts concerning women or the women themselves. Due to women’s presence, great things are present.
It is my belief that the universe is at its present state out of the efforts of both men and women jointly, we just need to wake up; open the eyes to see these beautiful beings’ contribution. Starting from the basic stages in life, to the evening of one’s life, the impact of the women cannot be just brushed off from reality. We cannot negate their necessary presence and the changes impacted on this universe due to their contagious good qualities.
Women have been spotted in all possible areas in the 21st Century. It is out of many efforts to create an equal society, women are presented and represented an important and ignored gender. This should not be taken circumstantially but rather out of awareness. Women cut across all sectors. In one way or another, one has to meet a woman. From the basics of existence, a woman is involved. In the whole lifetime, these compassionate, caring, loving, educative creatures take part. By illustration, we can note the efforts made by mothers. To some cases, some are raised by the male gender but all the same, he has some influence from a woman either directly or indirectly. From the vulnerable stage of infancy to gradually growing to be a self-sustaining individual, much credit goes to women.
It is my appeal to everyone, today and forever, to take time to appreciate women. Let us put our ego aside and promote gender equality across all the sectors (this should not be quoted wrong on instances already made clear about gender roles and involvement i.e. in the Catholic Church). Let us support women, let us pray and believe in them, let us listen and speak to them, let us spend and earn for and with them, let us write and think of them. However, let us not try them nor quit on them, let us not segregate them and leave them in depression to die sad. They are our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and many more. One love!
Monday, 25 February 2019
Dear brothers and sisters,,
It is with great joy that I welcome you to the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Missionaries of Africa and the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. In thanking your Superiors General for the words they have addressed to me, I wish to express my cordial greetings and spiritual closeness, as well as through you, to all the members of your Institutes, present in Africa and in other parts of the world. Thank you for the service of the mission of the Church, lived with passion and generosity, in fidelity to the evangelical insights of your common founder, Cardinal Lavigerie.
Over the past three years, you have been preparing to celebrate this jubilee. As members of the great “Lavigerie family”, you have returned to your roots, you have looked back on your history with gratitude, to give you the means to live your present commitment with a renewed passion for the Gospel, and to be sowers of hope. With you, I give thanks to God, not only for the gifts he has given to his Church through your Institutes, but also and above all, for the fidelity of his love that you celebrate with this Jubilee. May this Jubilee Year strengthen in you the assurance that “God is faithful, he who has called you to live in communion with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9). May your consecration, your ministry thus be able to manifest concretely, in your fraternal life and in your various commitments, the fidelity of God’s love and its closeness, to sow hope in the hearts of those who are wounded, tested, discouraged, and who feel abandoned so often.
Dear friends, you know that when Bishop Lavigerie, then Archbishop of Algiers, was led by the Spirit to found the Society of Missionaries of Africa, then the Congregation of Missionary Sisters, he had in his heart the passion for the Gospel and the desire that it be proclaimed to all, making himself “everything to all” (cf. 1 Cor 9:22). For this reason, your roots are marked by Mission ad extra; it is in your DNA. Thus, following in the footsteps of your founder, your primary concern, your holy concern, “is that so many of our brothers and sisters live without the strength, light and consolation of the friendship of Jesus Christ, without a community of faith that welcomes them, without a horizon of meaning and life” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, n. 49). But, in the light of the journey made since your foundation, you know that the proclamation of the Gospel is not synonymous with proselytism; it is this dynamic that leads us to be close to others, to share with them the gift received, the encounter of love that has changed your life and that has led you to choose to consecrate your life to the Lord Jesus, Gospel for the life and salvation of the world. It is always with him, through him and in him that the mission is lived. So I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so that you never forget that the true missionary is first and foremost a disciple. Have at heart to cultivate this particular bond that unites you to the Lord, by listening to his Word, celebrating the Sacraments and serving the brother, so that your words and actions may manifest his presence, his merciful love, his compassion to those to whom the Spirit sends you and leads you. May the celebration of your jubilee thus help you to become “nomads for the Gospel”, men and women who are not afraid to go into the deserts of this world and seek together the means to lead their fellow human beings to this oasis that is the Lord, so that the living water of his love may quench all their thirst.
May this Jubilee Year also contribute to the development of fraternal bonds between you, because the proclamation of the Gospel can only be lived at the price of true missionary communion. With the strength of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses to this hope which does not disappoint (Cf. Rm 5:5), despite the difficulties. In fidelity to your roots, do not be afraid to venture out on the paths of mission, to witness that “God is always a newness, which urges us to leave without respite and move beyond what is known, towards the peripheries and borders” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, n. 135). May the Holy Spirit make you build bridges between people. Where the Lord has sent you, contribute to the growth of a culture of encounter; continue to be the servants of a dialogue that, while respecting differences, knows how to be enriched by the difference of others. And I thank you in particular for the work you have already done in the service of dialogue with Islam, with our Muslim sisters and brothers. Through the style and simplicity of your lifestyle, you also demonstrate the need to take care of our common home, the land. Finally, in the wake of Cardinal Lavigerie, be sowers of hope, fighting against all current forms of slavery. Always seek to be close to the small and the poor, to those who expect, at the periphery of our societies, to be recognized in their dignity, to be welcomed, protected, raised, accompanied, promoted and integrated.
With this hope, by entrusting you to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa, I give you and all the members of your communities the Apostolic Blessing and I call upon God’s blessings on those whose lives you share, where the Lord has sent you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.
February 8th, 2019
Monday, 7 January 2019
Following the tradition of the Society, for the members to be equipped with two languages or more, it was high time we were to seal the academic journey by going to the source. French being very important, is the key statement one always refers to create the urge and thirst for it, as we continue to aspire to join the royal kingdom of service. The journey to and fro’ was accompanied by the goal of coming back to Jinja more eloquent in French than before in the lifetime.
The early returning one month before the culmination of the long holiday was proved to have been worthy of being sacrificed. Being a month of cold weather, the moan was always; “aujourdhui, il fait froid”, ‘it is cold today’. Some days the expression went further with correspondence to the weather, ‘aujourdhui, il fait très froid’, ‘it is very cold today’. All this made life in foreign countries both enjoyable and an arena of learning a lot.
In Kimisagara, Kigali, the one-week stay in the community created a better picture and environment of being a missionary. With different confreres present, they cordially did their best to create a splendid moment for our urge to learn this beautiful language. Being given a warm welcome and a clear proceeding, we were ready to continue with the voyage we had started since the year 2016. The location of house, on one of the gorgeous hills of the country, gave a tranquil view of the whole city and a clear invitation to explore other areas as we insert into the society; of which I believe is one of the effective ways of learning a language. Interacting with this beautiful creation of God was not the only way but class time needs to be credited for its impact. Much credit to Monsieur Landry, the lecturer in Kigali for his incredible work and the base he established as we proceeded to “the Great Bukavu”. Merci beaucoup monsieur!
Enjoying the beautiful scenery in Rwanda’s capital was not terminated there but advanced as we journeyed through the hills and the beautiful escarpments towards Rusizi-Ruzizi border. Luckily, there being no great population as postulated before, the processing and crossing over was swift. We crossed safely as others, among our very group were ‘warmly welcomed’ to the prodigious land of Republique Democratic du Congo. The Grand Maison not to be further than 200 M from the border, the walking distance was quite gratifying as we got the chance to hear the ‘Kiswahili of Congo’- Congolese Swahili. It was fun as some of the Swahili speakers among ourselves laughed at the language as we compared it and even calling it ‘dead Swahili’ in correspondence to the statement; ‘Swahili was born in Tanzania, grew up in Kenya, fell sick in Uganda and later buried in Congo’. Again, this was just for fun as we all strive to be joyful and thereafter achieving the ultimate goal, happiness.
The three weeks were noteworthy days for the continuous discernment process. Aided by many factors present in the area, we all came to an agreement that we learnt a lot and not just French, a language. With the help of Aimé Milenge, the enseignant in Congo, all went well. It will always continue to be our pleasure to continue to relate with these beautiful creation of God in Congo. God bless all who made the stay more comfortable in Bukavu. The natural features such as the Lake Kivu, the immediate feature, and Rwanda across it, made the place far much more beautiful.
Sincerely, it was a boundless experience for many of us, if not all. We thank the Almighty God for the moment of learning in the two beautiful countries and for enabling us to journey to and fro’ safely after the enjoyable arena of expounding knowledge. The extension of the gratitude goes to the formators on behalf of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa for believing in us. Lastly, appreciation goes to all who were involved both directly (and not mentioned above) and indirectly, for their inordinate support in order for us to have this phenomenal experience. We will live to cherish that moment as we aspire to be multilingual people, equipped well for the fulfilment of God’s mission wherever He will send us to attend to His creation.