Fr Lengarin: “To build authentic communities and to have enthusiasm for Consecrated Life” 

Father James Lengarin presides the closing Mass of the 13th Regional Conference (Kenya-Uganda region) in Sagana, Kenya. Photos: Daniel Mkado

The General Superior of the Consolata Missionaries, Fr James Bola Lengarin, warned the missionaries against, losing focus on the essentials of consecrated life as “a certain mediocrity” which manifests itself in “…superficiality and loss of enthusiasm, that determines the interests and choices of some missionaries.”

By Lourine Oluoch *

While urging for strong fraternity among the missionaries, Fr Lengarin noted that superficiality and individual disengagement from community life is often the result of, “a lack of clarity of roles within the community, or of the unwillingness of some members of the community to assume their role with conscience, responsibility, and service.” 

The General Supirior was speaking March 1, 2024 at the end of 13th Regional Conference (Kenya-Uganda region) held at Bethany House in Sagana, Kenya where representatives of the Consolata missionaries gathered to plan the life and mission for the congregation for the next six years.

13th Regional Conference (Kenya-Uganda region) held at Bethany House in Sagana, Kenya.

“Enthusiasm for the consecrated life and fidelity has become fragile and difficult to maintain” the Superior General decried.

Fr Lengarin stressed that it was important that every community in the region plans together, allowing the lively participation of all the members, noting that the local community clarifies the role, the abilities, and the duties of each one of its members. 

“It is essential to reaffirm the spirit in which each one should embody his role: it is a service for all, to be carried out with a sense of responsibility, commitment, preparation, and generosity,” he said adding that the local superior of each community should create a climate of mutual trust in which the role of each is respected and arrive at decisions through a communal discernment.

He noted that this “family spirit”, a true, sincere, and fraternal communication in the local community would help build a strong sense of belonging to the Institute. The General Superior also encouraged the missionaries to apply the rules and the economic discipline of the Institute.

“We are experiencing economic concerns where the shortcomings against poverty, financial transparency, and fraternal sharing increase. We still struggle to understand that the time for the “fat cows” is over, that Europe no longer has the strength to “maintain the Institute,” that we must have the courage to work where we are to support ourselves, support our communities and our mission,” he said. 

He urged the missionaries to always have people at heart. “We are consecrated men and as such we are men of liminality, we must go beyond the common, the ordinary in order to promote men and women of our society,” he said.

The 13th Regional Conference held February 26 to March 1 follows the 14th General Chapter that took place in 2023 in Rome.

* Lourine Oluoch is a journalist at The Seed Magazine

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