The Consolata missionaries working in Kenya and Uganda region gathered for a weeklong annual regional assembly in Bethany House, Sagana. Themed: Listening to the Spirit in the Context of the General Chapter the assembly that was held from Monday March 6th to 10th.
In his opening address, Fr Peter Makau, the regional superior welcomed the missionaries and asked them to feel part of the assembly. “We have come from different corners of our vast region of Kenya and Uganda region and with different missionary experiences. We are united in a special way with all our missionaries especially the sick and the old conferes” he said.
“We are beginning today our annual general meeting as Consolata missionaries in the context of the XVI General Chapter which will be held in the month of May and June 2023” he said. Fr Makau reminded the participants the importance of the upcoming General Chapter, saying, “The Chapter is a special moment where the delegates in the name of the whole congregation come together to examine the life and activity of our religious family in the light of the Gospel, the directives of the church, and the charism of our founder”.
In his address, Fr Makau thanked the missionaries present for their faithfulness and missionary seal to the mission. Quoting our Founder Blessed Joseph Allamano, he said, “ The Founder tells us that ‘You need zeal; you must work first; you need to sacrifice yourselves for souls and to make your own the words of the Apostle Paul: I do all that I do for the sake of the gospel. We must work not only to sanctify ourselves, but also to sanctify others. We should be ready to accept any sacrifice’”.
The weeklong assembly had a day dedicated for recollection, two days for on-going formation and two days for regional reports and discussions.
“Driven by the Holy Spirit who is the protagonist of the mission the institute invites each one of us to open our vision with far-sighted objectives” said Fr Vincent Onyango, a consolata missionary, the preacher of the retreat.
In his preaching, Fr Vincent challenged the missionaries saying that it’s time to let go some of the old schemes in order to open ourselves to the newness of God.
“It is time to revive the enthusiasm and joy of the missionary Spirit which characterized our choice and our vocational commitment” he said.
Fr Vincent reminded the missionaries how our institute has tried to make some external changes and now what the Spirit wants from each one of us is internal transformation and healthy growth of communities.
“We must not allow the Spirit of God not to depart from us, from our communities, from our seminaries and from the institute. We must say with the disciples of Emmaus, “Stay with Lord” (Lk 24, 29)’ he said.
As part of on-going formation, the missionaries were given a talk on the centrality of the sacred liturgy in the life of the church.
“Sacred liturgy is an exercise of the priesthood of Christ. It’s not about me. It’s about Christ. That’s why every gesture, every word, should conform to the person on Christ” said Fr Josiah Muthee, a priest from the diocese of Murang’a who was the speaker of the day.
Fr Muthee challenged the participants that as priests, they need to approach and appreciate liturgy as a gift. “So, if it’s a gift, it’s for us to handle it as stewards” he said.
Fr Muthee reminded the missionaries that every time, they are involved in a liturgical celebration, it’s about the mystery of Christ adding that every liturgical act has Christ as the chief person.
He advised the priests present to always prepare their homilies.
“Move away from this habit of retrieving homilies, instead prepare them adequately. Our homilies should always give hope, bring healing and comfort” said Fr Muthee who holds Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy from Padova University, Rome.
The weeklong assembly was attended by 94 out of 111 missionaries in the region. It was one of the most attended assembly in the recent past.