Dar es Salam on 07 – 10th April 2015
Place of work
Bro. John Gachoki
Bro. Daniel Ndihu
Bro. Kenneth Wekesa
Bro. Joseph Wamalwa
Bro. Paolino Rota
Bro. Alessandro Bonfanti
Bro. Wilson Gitonga
Bro. Nahashon Njuguna
On 6th April 2015 the Consolata Brothers working in Tanzania and Kenya arrived at Bunju Spiritual Centre (CMC) in the evening. The community representative received them warmly.
Later, had supper together with Consolata Philosophical Seminarians from Morogoro who had visited the spiritual center with their formators.
We agreed upon a brief timetable and agendas of the days we were to spend together.
7:00 am – Eucharistic celebration and lauds
8:00 am – Breakfast
8:30 am – First Session
11:30 am – Second Session
12: 30 pm – Lunch
3:30 pm – Third Session
7:00 pm – Supper
8:00 pm – News
10:00 pm – Lights off
Reflection on the Letter of Pope Francis ‘Rejoice’
By Seminarian William Wema IMC
The main theme in this letter of the pope to the consecrated men and women is joy. How a religious men and women can be a source of joy and how they can transmit this joy to the other people.
He began his talk by quoting the words in the Acts 2:32. We are called to be a witness of the risen Christ. The main aim of our life as religious is being witness. Our founder Bl. Joseph Allamano acknowledge this when he says, “we are not called to perform miracles but to be witness in our mission.” We as religious and especially Consolata Brothers are called to be aware of this and to be united in Christ. As religious Brothers this is the time to teach ourselves to be with Christ and this should happen since the time, we are young and not only when we grow old. The call of religious is to be witness and are called to be witness of the resurrected Christ.
The question is what is the difference between a religious brother in vows and the other Christians? As religious, we have vowed willingly to live the evangelical counsels. Religious life is a radical way of following of Christ in the midst of the reality at hand i.e. denouncing everything to following Christ. Religious is a way of expressing our discipleship in Christ and the Church. When we follow this way, we become special gifts of the Mother Church. By our vocation, religious life, we are going to dedicate ourselves to the service of God and the church. This should always the intention of all the religious people especially as brothers in our day-to-day activities that we are involved.
In his message, Pope Francis underlines the following as the aims of this year of consecrated life:
The speaker highlighted some methods of learning wisdom, which he encourage us to embrace. These methods include:
The pope ask us to reflect on our origin i.e. our particular history. For us we should do it as Consolata missionaries. The history of our founder, the first missionaries, the origin of our congregation, the Charism and identity and why the brother in the congregation. We are called to look this if we are still in the right track, is there still the enthusiasm that the first missionaries had? Going back to our origin and history, we are preserving our identity and look forward to correct the mistake done by the other missionaries. This will help us to strength our unity of Consolata missionaries.
Sense of belonging. The question is, do we feel the sense of belonging as Consolata missionaries? Looking at the origin of our congregation, we should be challenged by the first missionary. They had a strong sense of belonging in the congregation. The change of the feeling that we need to have as a Consolata Missionaries, i.e. sense of belonging should start with the individual and not the others.
Still looking at the origin, we are able to grasp the ideal and the values that inspired the founder to found our congregation. The courage that the first missionaries had of these values include the enthusiasm, the missionary zeal that sometime is dying in the young missionaries, the courage to be witness even in hard situation. Let us look to our origin and embrace these values and let us not sit on them but apply them in our daily life.
The second aim is to live the present with joy. As religious we should live our own time. There are a lot of challenges of witnessing Christ in our time with joy and not in gloomy faces. We should not worry of what is happening in the world. We should also not forget the idea of the cross as it encourage us to move forward in our way of witnessing Christ. As individual brothers, we should discover our own responsibilities in the church and in particulars the institutes, and how to respond to these responsibilities.
In this year we religious, we are called to renew our discipleship in faith in Christ. We destroy what draw us away from Christ. We need to be rooted in the meaning of gospel ie. The beatitudes and love, the desert, cross, poverty, prayer (seeking the will of God saving the brother and sister.) The pope continue to tell us that we betray our mission by the excuse of saying we are living in the insecure world.
The third aim is to embrace the future with hope. This is because of the religious are experiencing the problem and challenges of our own time. For example the decrease of the vocations and the ageing members, economical problem coming from the global financial problem, internalization and globalization and the threats of relativism (religious life has no meaning).
Second Session of Reflection
Mark 10: 17-22 the parable of the young rich man
Jesus is still showering us with brotherly love. To inherit the kingdom of God there are conditions that we need to fulfill. We are called to live and practices the commandment and the most demanding thing is to detach ourselves and follow Christ fully. This is only possible by the practice of the virtue of love. Love defends life. Love is everything, for us religious brothers. To love one another helps us to live in harmony and communion in the community.
In this year, our expectation as religious in the entire church is to be joyful. The pope Francis says that where there is religious life there is joy. For us religious we should be the source of joy to people and not the source of cry. The joy that religious bring to the people it contradicts the joy of the world thus we should be ready to face some hardship and we should be ready to stand firm in our own faith. In most cases now days the religious have become the source of cry, discouragement among others. Let us renew ourselves and become the source of joy to those people we are serving. We serve them with joyful faces and not gloomy faces. The pope underline that our joy is not found in the success but it is on the silence of the cross. Let us embrace the cross and learn from it. We do what we are doing in silence as our founder was telling us. We should do good in silence. As Christ’s disciples, we are called to carry and accept the cross.
This reflection brought a challenge to us brothers and provoked the discussion on these:
IMC BROTHERS AS ALLAMANO WANTED THEM
By Sandro IMC
Other areas where we see brother encouraging brothers is through the diaries and letters between the founder and the brothers. Eg the letter he wrote to Bro. Benedetto, in August 4 1904 and we quote. “From your letter I see that you do not lose your cheerfulness even despite your illness. Very well. Continue with this spirit and the lord will help you…”
Discussion from the Brothers
The visit to historical site at Bagamoyo. This is the first place of evangelization in East Africa. The visit to Bagamoyo, was enriching and challenged us brothers to see where “The good news” began in East Africa.
As a terminal point on the cost for Arabs trading caravans, Bagamoyo naturally became a holding depot for slaves brought from the interior
Five kilometres south of Bagamoyo are the Kaole ruins. They are basically medieval, though some structures (including the West Mosque, once perhaps the finest on the mainland) date back on the 3rd and 4th centuries.
We also had a chance to have lunch outside and moment of socializing and sharing.
In this session, we were trying to see the way forward in our congregation about the vocation to brotherhood. It is a vocation faced by some challenges within the individual members and without. Having analyzed some of the challenges of our vocation we sat down to see the way forward to see how we can improve the way we are responding our vocation and help others appreciate it. The points below are the contribution of the brothers:
In the session, we tried to give out the outline to one of our brother, Bro. Wekesa who was requested to share about the vocation to brotherhood in this millennium. The international Missionary conference will be held in the month of May 2015 few day before the beatification of Sr. Irene Stefani. It will be held in Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi Kenya. It is to mark the 100 years since the Muranga Conference, which were held in Muranga Kenya, and other religious congregation will be mark different celebration during that time.
When this was presented, the brothers were very happy to hear about it and to have someone requested to share about vocation to brotherhood. Here are some of their contribution towards the one to do the presentation.
Ancora sangue in Kenya, ancora violenza «brutale e senza senso», come definita da Papa Francesco. I terroristi somali del gruppo Al Shabaab irrompono, alle ore 21 italiane del 2 aprile, nel campus universitario di Garissa, a Nord-Est del Kenya, facendo 148 vittime e ferendo altre 79 persone. Un’azione dettata dalla persecuzione religiosa che attanaglia quelle terre, giacché dopo il blitz, i militanti della falange islamista hanno rapito diverse persone dividendole in base al loro Credo. «La Ragione, prima ancora che le Fedi – afferma il Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco nella sua Prolusione al Consiglio Permanente della Cei – non può non condannare tanta barbara e studiata crudeltà contro le minoranze e in particolare contro i cristiani solo perché cristiani. Perché tanta barbarie compiaciuta ed esibita? Perché non fermarsi neppure davanti ai bambini e agli inermi?».
In Kenya la popolazione è a quasi totale maggioranza Cristiana, con l’84,4 percento di abitanti appartenenti a questa Fede. Seguono i musulmani, con il 9,7 percento, e le altre religioni del territorio. Il Paese africano ha subito, in questi ultimi anni, le terribili incursioni terroristiche di Al-Shabaab, culminate nell’attacco al centro commerciale Westgate della Capitale Nairobi, dove persero la vita 68 persone, alcune delle quali uccise perché non sapevano recitare a memoria versi del Corano o perché non conoscevano il nome della madre del profeta Maometto.
In Somalia il 99,8 percento della popolazione (10 milioni 195mila persone) è di fede Musulmana. La libertà religiosa è del tutto inesistente per la piccola minoranza Cristiana, pesantemente perseguitata dagli estremisti. Nei territori controllati da Al-Shabaab, non è in vigore alcuna Costituzione formale: ciò che viene applicata è una versione radicale della Shari’a, che non lascia spazio alcuno ad altre religioni che non siano l’Islam. Chi è sospettato di aver lasciato l’Islamismo per il Cristianesimo, è detenuto per lungo tempo senza alcuna garanzia giuridica o giustiziato senza processo. La lapidazione è la punizione per l’adulterio, le mani sono tagliate in caso di furto. Nei territori sotto l’egemonia di Al-Shabaab, antichi santuari e cimiteri sufi sono stati distrutti, così come cinema pubblici, luoghi di ristorazione e di ritrovo. La versione radicale della Shari’a non permette agli abitanti di vestire all’Occidentale, di guardare partite di calcio, di cantare o ballare ai matrimoni e, soprattutto, di organizzare eventi sportivi. Un oscurantismo che condiziona pesantemente la vita nel Corno d’Africa.
In Kenya, Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre ha previsto programmi umanitari e educativi per chi vive costantemente sotto minaccia. Nel 2012 è stata lanciata Radio Akicha, emittente che trasmette dalla diocesi keniota di Lodwar e che si rivolge ai Turkana, tribù keniota di fede Cristiana. Un programma educativo e pastorale, che prevede programmi di stampo religioso, notizie e musica. «Perfino i musulmani ascoltano con interesse le trasmissioni – racconta ad Acs Padre Avelino Bassols, della locale comunità missionaria di San Paolo Apostolo – al punto che alcuni di loro hanno comprato una Bibbia per approfondire i testi sacri ascoltati in radio».
Educazione, comunicazione, dialogo. Queste le parole chiave su cui Acs sta lavorando in Kenya e in Somalia, per ricomporre i conflitti che dividono questi due Paesi confinanti. Il ruolo di Radio Akicha è fondamentale in tal senso: «È un mezzo di comunicazione che assolve a numerosi compiti – afferma monsignor Dominic Kimengich, Vescovo di Lodwar – nella lotta al dilagare dell’HIV e dell’AIDS fino al sostegno pastorale per i fedeli. Possiamo così contribuire alla formazione e all’educazione dei giovani». Un esempio di confronto, educazione e dialogo che, si spera, possa costituire la base per far sì che stragi del genere non si ripetano più, come auspicato da Papa Francesco durante la Via Crucis del Venerdì Santo.
Yes. The story of Cain and Abel keeps repeating. The Christians in the Middle East continue to be massacred, the boy Eduardo de Jesus in Complexo do Alemão in Brazil was killed by military police and 147 students killed in Garissa / Kenya by the radical Islamic group Al-Shabaab. What insane barbarity!
It is the same terrorist group, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, which claimed responsibility for the attack in Kenya Westgate (2013) in which at least 67 people were killed. The war of all against all (Thomas hobbes). Now it has expanded its operations throughout the whole-holy world and built links with other terrorist bands such as Al Qaeda in the Middle East and Bukus haramu in West Africa.
But why all this? How? Until when? I don’t know. This rise more hair and questions than answers. One thing is certainty; there is an authoritarian negligence of the bottom of the pyramid like Garissa / slums. The neoliberal politics of money and power are characterized by social exclusion, gene egoismo and the culture of death. No doubt there is a tie-knot ‘aids’ between terrorism and organized crimes, such as grand corruption and money laundering.
Imagine! Even after being warned of possible attacks by the British and Australian government, the Kenyan authority gave a cold shoulder! May be because the 147 students are poor, Africans, Christians, seen by the world as nothing, pants, the backward, the people always in sufferings / Ebola, no one cares. For that there was no manifestation of politicians and religious leaders condemning this atrocity. This is the culture of indifference that pope Francisco reminded us in Lampedusa. The real deal pope gave us a prophetic toque of welcoming the unknown, the different, and others. I know how it is difficult and challenging, but it is the only way forward on this global google.
Of course, there are fanatics in all social and religious folks. But those who call themselves followers of Islam and do force others to convert or kill are homo patiens. Their nihilism syndrome needs attention, dialogue, but more calls for education, re-learning especial of our ‘nem nem’ generation. That life no matter what, how, how slight, it is beautiful, thus must be protected and respected from womb to tomb.
I hope that these advents will be a lecture conversional for each one and all of us, that terrorism is a global threat. It is more moral and religion problem than a political one. It is a process to undergo, not merely cosmetics solutions. Urgently, we need to gather strength, walk talks, synergy and spiritual unity to stop this barbarism and civilization of horror.
I wish you a happy Easter with a desire to end the death penalty and social exclusion which keeps growing. Happy Easter to all who are daily crucified just by their religion, race or skin color.
The missionary activity of the Church in the world is developing and so should do the missionaries and those in formation aiming at being missionaries. With this in mind, the Consolata Missionaries in Kenya realized the Inter-Seminary Meeting from 22nd to 24th February 2015, at Consolata Seminary - Nairobi. The Inter-Seminary is a meeting of all the Consolata seminarians in formation in Kenya (sometimes joined by the Consolata Sisters in formation), realized every two years. It aims at integrating those in the various stage of formation (Propaedeutic, Philosophy, Noviciate and Theology), while reflecting on some pertinent topics affecting our Institute and the society. The theme for this year’s Inter-Seminary was “New waves of Evangelization”.
The Inter-Seminary had the presence of more than120 Consolata seminarians currently in the various stages of formation in our Region and a group of young ladies beginning the formative process in the Consolata Sisters. Every day our morning sessions were dedicated to a specific topic with the assistance of a facilitator and group discussions while the afternoons were dedicated to sport activities and the evening dedicated to talent performances.
We began our reflection on the first day, going back to our roots in Kenya, as far as the IMC is concern. We reflected on the Conference of Murang’a and its impact to the Church missionary activity then and today. Fr. Tarcisio Maina, IMC pointed out the extreme importance of the event of Murang’a in a way that it opened the horizons of the Consolata Missionaries from Murang’a to the World.
On the second day of reflection, we focused on the Pastoral challenges of witchcraft and superstition today. Fr. Clemente Majjawa (a professor from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa) assisted us in a reflection that exposed the challenge of some Christians who are involved in superstitious practices or secret societies such as witchcraft and illuminati, though the latter is more common among the youth. In addition to that, there is also the challenge of Church leaders and ministers involving themselves in the same practices.
The third day was dedicated to reflection on Drug Abuse. Paul Ndungu, an Addiction Counselor, shared with us an outlook of the most consumed drugs in Kenya, its effects on human health and the factors that lead people to enter the world of drug abuse. It is not surprising to us that even Church people, such as seminarians, priests and nuns also fall into this vice. Paul concluded the session with his personal testimony. He shared how he entered into drug abuse at the early teenage, how he lived with it for good part of his life undergoing several challenges, how he underwent treatment and managed to get out of it. Today he is a trainer/facilitator and addiction counselor helping other people to come out of the challenge of drug abuse.
The event was a good opportunity to meet our friends of other formation houses, socialize with them and gain some knowledge as far as the challenges facing the new waves of evangelization are concern.
The Lord calls, consecrates and sends us!
On 14th February 2015, the Consolata Missionaries in Kenya celebrated in advance the feast of our Founder Bl. Allamano and gave a special gift for the whole Church with the ordination of six deacons (Gregory Mduda, Domnick Otieno, Benard Agesa, Dieudonné Mukadi, Marco Emilio, and Yeinson Ospina) and seven priests (Luke Nyachio, David Onyango, Jeremiah Mutua, Alexander Nthenge, James Murimi, Victor Wafula and Urbanus Mulati). At the same time, two Camillian priests were also ordained.
The theme chosen for the celebration was, “The Lord calls, consecrates and sends us”, having as reference the year of Consecrated Life, the vocational history and the mission of each ordained.
In a good Kenyan atmosphere where everyone is invited to the celebration, the first guests arrived at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy (local of the celebration) at around 7 am and gradually the place was filled with colors and smiles. At 10 am the smiles and colors intensified with the entrance song that read in Kiswahili “Njoni tumfanyie shangwe Mungu wetu” (come all praise our God). In fact, the mood was of much joy in a procession of more than 150 priests and deacons and an assembly of almost 2000 people. Among the priests were the Superior General of the Consolata Missionaries, as well as his vice and the General Councilor for Africa, who now are in the Kenya-Ugandan Region doing the Canonical Visitation.
The president of the celebration, Bishop Emmanuel Okombo, during his homily, drew attention of those present to the fact that we should not only look for the physical appearance of the new ministers of the Church. Rather, we should be more concerned with what they represent in our midst and what they have to offer us, so that we can all help them to be faithful servants of the Lord. One of the representatives of the newly ordained, during his thanksgiving speech, invited his colleagues in the priestly and diaconal ministry to be humble and be at the service of all.