Merrivale: Renewal of Vows and Institution of Ministries

“Let love for your vocation and the Consolata Institute precede everything else”

Joy and merry lit up faces in Merrivale Theological Seminary – South Africa on the evening of 07th June 2024, as 10 Consolata seminarians renewed their religious vows.

By John Bosco Othieno

Of the 10 temporary professed Consolata seminarians, 4 were renewing for the first time, 3 for the second time, and another 3 for the third time. Fr. Nathaniel Kagwima IMC, the Delegate Superior presided over the Eucharistic celebration, and among the concelebrants were, Fr. Didier Sunda IMC, the Vice Delegate Superior, Fr. Simon Mbala IMC, the Seminary Rector, and two priests from neighbouring missionary formation houses. In attendance also, were several seminarians from other formation houses, classmates to Consolata seminarians at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute.

Fr. Nathaniel, during his homily, quoted Blessed Joseph Allamano’s exhortation to the missionaries to love their vocation in Cosi Si Voglio, the Delegate Superior, urged the seminarians to have preferential love for their vocation and the Institute, “nothing else should come before that, neither your personal talents and gifts nor individual interests”, Fr. Superior insisted. Reiterating the words of the Blessed Founder Joseph Allamano, Fr Nathaniel read, “We must love this vocation with our heart so that the world’s attractions seem as nothing compared to the beauty and grandeur of our calling.”

He also emphasised that the evangelical counsels, should not only be thought of in terms of renunciation of and detachment from certain things, but they should be considered even more as values that make one offer him or herself generously to God and others. “The vows make us detach in order to attach ourselves somewhere else…the vow of poverty enables us to offer ourselves generously to others, in our service to them,” said Fr. Nathaniel. He added that likewise, in the vow of Obedience, we renounce our will, and so surrender ourselves entirely and become available to the promptings of the will of God as revealed and communicated through the Superiors.  Fr. Superior concluded that personal self-giving (the basis of the religious vows), is at the heart of missionary life, and encouraged the seminarians to continually cultivate this very important attitude in their formative journey.

After the Holy Mass, there was a dinner meal prepared by the seminary community, during which the birth anniversaries of Fr. Simon Mbala IMC and seminarian Rogasian Mkenda were celebrated. At the peak of the twilight’s merry-making and jubilance, was cake-cutting and champagne popping accompanied by cheerful dancing and congratulatory songs.

On the morning of Sunday the 09th of June 2024, during the Holy Mass at St. Martin De Porres Parish- Woodlands, the 2nd year theology seminarians; Darious Mucunguzi, Calvin Ochieng Adongo, and Rogasian Mkenda received the ministry of Lectorate, whereas the 3rd year theology seminarians; John Bosco Othieno, Stanley Kiarie Ng’ang’a, and Vincent Wanzala Odida received the ministry of Acolyte. Fr Nathaniel was the main celebrant, and the concelebrant was Fr. Didier Sunda. The Delegate Superior, Fr. Nathaniel encouraged the newly instituted lectors and acolytes to responsibly and dedicatedly carry out their service to the church.

* John Bosco Othieno, IMC, Merrivale Theological Seminary – South Africa.

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