We, the Consolata Missionaries in South Africa and Eswathini (DSE), had the privilege of welcoming our General Superior Fr. Stefano Carmelengo together with the Vice General, Fr. James Lengarin and the General Councilor Fr. Godfrey Msumange. Fr. Stefano and Fr. Godfrey arrived on the 9th of August 2019 while Fr. James Lengarin arrived on the 12th August 2019.
On 11th of August, the Parish of St. Mary's Mamelodi West had an important day of which the young Parishioners there were receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. The occasion was graced by among others, the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, Archbishop Dabula Mpako, our General Superior, Fr. Stefano Carmelengo, Fr. Godfrey Msumange and our Delegate Superior Fr. Rocco Marra. After the Holy Mass, the Archbishop had lunch together with our superiors, which was also unofficial moment of knowing the Bishop and the Bishop knowing the Superiors. However, there was the allocated time for an official meeting later.
On Monday 12th August at about 12:30 pm the General Council together with the Delegation Council officially opened the Canonical visit in the Parish Church of Our Lady of the Rosary – Waverley. The Midday Prayers were held and thereafter the invocation of the Holy Spirit. The General Superior requested those present to dedicate the Canonical visit of Our Lady Consolata. The Holy Spirit is the guide in this visit so that the deliberations and outcome of this Canonical visit may reflect our Charism as IMC here in this land of South Africa and eSwathini.
The Delegation Council together with the General Council in the absence of the Vice Delegate Superior Fr. Daniel Kivuw'a and in the presence of the Delegate Administrator Fr. Samuel Mathenge, held the first meeting in the Delegate House. The agenda was for them to listen to the Council in matters of the areas that are expected to be focused on during their visit.
On 13th August, The General Superiors together with the Delegate Superior went to meet the Archbishop of Pretoria Rt. Rev. Bishop Dabula Mpako and thereafter met with the Nuncio His Excellency Archbishop Peter wells where they had lunch together.
The afternoon and evening of the same day, 13th of August, was spent for the community of Daveyton, our brothers welcomed the Superiors in their community. The Superiors met the Commnity of Daveyton, namely Fr. Matthew Ouma, Fr. Samuel Mathenge and Bro. Gogo. The superiors also met some members of the Parish and their leaders.While the following day, 14th August morning the Superiors had an appointment with the Archbishop of Johannesburg Archbishop Buti Tlhagale. After the meeting with the Archbishop of Johannesburg, the members of the General Government visited the community of Mamelodi, they had fraternal sharing with our missionaries, they received the visit of some local lay leaders, and they had a short trip through the township and meals together.
On 15th August, the Superiors headed down to Esathini (formerly Swaziland) to meet the Missionaries working in that kingdom. It is by grace tan fate that even the Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini, is a member of the Consolata Missionaries. Hence, the Superiors, just like in other Dioceses met the Ordinary of the Kingdom, Rt. Rev. Jose Luis Ponce de Leon Imc.
Besides meeting our Missionaries in the Kingdom of Eswathini, namely: Fr. Samuel Onyango, Fr. Peterson Mwangi and Fr. Giorgio Massa, the Superiors met the Parishoners and Leaders of the Parish of St. Peter and Paul Manzini, where we missionaries witness. It was also an opportunity for the Community to have the General Superior bless the new community house that is located in the outcasts of Manzini town, namely, Tubungu Estate. The Superiors also visited Malindza Refugee Center and the Mission where Fr. Giorgio Massa serves called, Our Lady of Sorrows in Hluthi. Going with the African Spirit, whereby a visitor ought not to leave empty handed, the superiors, the Superiors carried with them some traditional gifts that will keep their memories of the visit alive.
The next Community to visit was Osizweni Community. They arrived in the evening of 17th August, abit exhausted for the Journey. After a good rest of the night, they woke up early for Sunday Masses. All the Parish Communities had Holy Masses and so the Superiors divided themselves in order to cover all the communities. All of them together with the Parish Council Bet in KwaKristu Umsindisi (KKU) Church for lunch and greetings. However, in the last Holy Mass in the same Church, they were entertained by the children and offered traditional gifts. In the afternoon, the Superiors went for an appointment with the Bishop, Rt. Rev. Graham Rose of Dundee Diocese.
The Superiors had a day with the community of Osizweni, namely with Fr. Ashuro Kidane and Fr. Nathaniel Kagwima. They were joined for lunch by Fr. Mandla Makhanya, who is a Diocesan Priest but who has a very close relationship with the consolata Missionaries since his entire formation was done in the Consolata family. Hence our brother and Son.
The end of the visit in Osizweni was a beginning of a visit in Merrivale in the Seminary Community. The Superiors had the opportunity to meet the Parish Council of St. Martin De Porres Woodlands together with their Parish Priest Fr. Gabriel Kwedho and the Assistant Fr. Fredrick Agalo. The superiors had also a moment with the Cardinal of Darbun, His Eminence Wilfred Cardinal Nepier. That was in 21st of August. Later that day, all the Missionaries in the Delegation of South Africa and Eswathini arrived for the assembly. The Assembly was also for the conclusion of the Canonical Visit.
The Seminary Community is made up of 9 Seminarians and 3 Priests namely; Fr. Fredrick Agalo the Rector, Fr. Gabriel Kwedho and Fr. Victor Kota.
The Superiors were so grateful for the family spirit and the warm welcome they received in all the communities they visited. This extends to the Parishes where we serve. The Assembly was so crucial because there were important reflections and decisions that were to be taken to guarantee the continuity of our Ad Gentes Charism in this part of the world.
The mood was of great serenity and joy, yes with seriousness too without losing focus on the important agenda of the visit.
The meeting ended on the evening of 23rd with the Holy Mass led by Fr. Godfrey Msumange the General Councilor of the Continent of Africa and the Homily by Fr. Stefano Carmelengo.
The Superiors later headed to Pretoria for the meeting with the Delegate Council and with the Delegate Administrator. After that, they had time to visit the Cradle of Humanity – Maropeng, Montecasino, 'small Italy' in Johannesburg, Mall of Africa where they too celebrated the Birthday of Fr. Didier Sunda.
All in all the Canonical Visit has been a refreshing and inspiring moment for DSE. The Superiors encouraged the members to keep on witnessing the Gospel and to have courage to expand the horizon of our Charism - Ad Gentes.
No one can deny the fact that the road ahead is challenging but at the same time encouraging.
Alleluja do przodu! Corragio e avanti!