The Consolata missionaries working in the African continent have been challenged to emulate the attitude of the ants who are focused and know how to plan for the future. Fr Stefano Camerlengo, the Superior General of the Consolata Missionaries said this while giving his opening remarks during the prechapter continental assembly of Africa held on Zoom between February 1 to 3.
“We have reached the stage of the study of the Lineamenta so as to get to the General Chapter with an Instrumentum Laboris that is complete enough to allow the chapter reflections to decide well for the good of the institute” said Fr Camerlengo.
Fr Camerlengo reiterated that the synodal journey of preparation for the General Chapter was inspired by the angel’s message to the seven Churches in the Apocalypse, where the angel addressed the communities at the beginning with praise, then presented reproaches and finally ended with exhortations to walk faster.
Addressing the 27 participants, Fr Camerlengo pointed out that in order to receive a concrete, valid and efficient community project, the delegates needed to have three things in mind: a vision, honesty and teamwork.
Quoting Stephen Covey’s book, The Eighth Rule, Fr Camerlengo said “When people do not have a vision, when they neglect the development of the creative capacity of the mind, they fall prey to the human tendency to victimhood.”
“Today”, he said, “we are not here to praise ourselves, but to identify the challenges and problems and try to find concrete guidelines that can help us to qualify our life and mission”
Fr Camerlengo cited poverty as one of the main challenges that face the African continent which he said should be one of the priorities for the future of the Consolata missionaries. “The choice of the poor is a fundamental part of our consecration to the mission and, above all, in our time, when the poor are even more forgotten and marginalized” he concluded.
Fr Mathew Ouma, the facilitator of the assembly for three days invited the participants to try and find out “where the spirt is leading us”. Fr Ouma, who was one time a continental councillor for Africa said that there was a need for the Consolata missionaries today to change their mentality so that they may be relevant. “This change is achievable through basic and ongoing formation” he said adding that the change must begin with “you the participants of this assembly”.
Fr Ouma stated that the that the whole chapter process is imploring the participants to listen to what God is telling them. “The journey begins with us. It’s we who need to be converted first” he said
Fr Godfrey Msumange, the continental councillor for Africa and convener of the assembly in his closing remarks thanked all those who participated in one way or another for the success of the assembly adding that the assembly was the first one of its kind since it was the first time this was being held online.
The meeting was attended by the all the members of the General Council in Rome, delegates of the chapter from Africa, continental council of Africa, rectors of theological seminaries and novice masters, a representative of the brothers, continental commission for pre-chapter, translators and the technical person.
By Fr Daniel Omondi Mkado