The superiors of the Consolata Missionaries of the African circumscriptions met in Kibondo -Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo from 4th to 10th February 2020.
Fr. Godfrey Msumange, General Councillor for Africa Continent, called the following superiors who were present at the meeting: Fr. Erasto Mgalama <Tanzania>, Fr. Rocco Marra <South Africa-Eswatini>, Fr. David Bambilikpinga-Moke <Congo>, Fr. Peter Munguti Makaw <Kenya-Uganda>, Fr. Alexander Likono Ashivaka <Ivory Coast>, Fr. Marco Marini <Ethiopia> and Fr. Pedro Elias Sisto <Mozambique-Angola>.
We were welcomed by the Superior of the Congo Region and the General Councillor of Africa.
After some technical information and organization, included the chosen of the new secretary of the Council Fr. Mgalama, the meeting started with a moment of prayer and reflection. Fr. Jacques Kuziala guided the presents to praise the Lord; then a reflection on the Martyrs of Algeria, Fr. Kuziala emphasized their testimony and their missionary methodology attitude (presence, to be) close to the people and with the people, their joy to live the Gospel in communion although members of different congregations and even religions. Other characteristics of the martyrs were also shared by the present in the meeting.
Fr. Jacques Kuziala gave his view on the social, political, ecclesial and economic situation of Democratic Republic of Congo: politically the situation is dramatic, the country is in crisis since 1997; economically the country is rich, but everything is use for the upgraded of the powerful countries of the world; security is a challenge in this land and corruption is a kind of cancer that is damaging most part of today’s world. The Catholics are more than 52% of the entire population and the leaders of the Church are close to the people and they denounce the injustice perpetrated by internal and external politicians and business people. The Church is the consolation and hope of this wonderful country.
Finally, Fr. Kuziala gave a brief introduction to the Congolese Rite saying that was a answer to the expectations of Second Vatican Council (Sacrosanctum Concilium 38-40). The fundamental and center of the rite is the Word of God as Good News, as feast <encounter God with person/people> and Word of God that forms the community.
The meeting proceeded with the sharing of the superiors about the situations and challenges they experiment in their Regions and Delegations. In this attitude of sharing Fr. Jean Tuluba was also with us, in a special session reserved for him, to describe the first steps of the Consolata Missionaries pioneers in Madagascar, specifically in Beandrarezona, in the diocese of Ambanja. Also, to see if is time to allocated Madagascar under one of ours existing circumscriptions of the continent.
After evaluating the Continental Missionary Project, considering how far we are in progressing according to the objectives that have been presented in the document: all the superiors shared their feedback related to the commissions they chair. The missionaries continued discerning, evaluating and planning various aspects of the missionary activities we have in the continent.
In general, the council has seen the challenges related to self-reliance and personnel, because there is a risk to have several communities with practically one missionary. In continental level several projects going on starting from the reflection to have one in common for income generating, then to provide for the missionaries when find them frailty, disable or advance in age, etc.
Bro. Marc Waweru shared with us how was our Brothers’ meeting contemplated in the continental plan: it was done at Mombasa 20th-25th May 2019, it is a reminder of our being religious missionaries and appreciate the ministry and service of each one.
It was nice to know once more that we are collaborating for several years with “Solidarity with South Sudan”, an initiative of general superiors of over 200 congregations, operating in the country, by now for ten years. It is an inter-congregation missionary experience aiming to help the youngest country of the continent in education, health, agriculture and pastoral activities. Our institute has been collaborating in the project.
According to the plan of the XIII- IMC General Chapter, in October 2020 we will start the Biennial of the Person, preparation for that starts immediately; involving the formation commission of our circumscriptions, but all the missionaries being each one subject of his own and community continue formation.
Apart from other communities visited by the Continental Councillor in the centre and north Congo, the rest which are found in Kinshasa, were visited by the whole team of the Continental Council.
Every day we could have Eucharist Celebration at the Regional House were the meeting was held, but also in the Philosophical Seminary and in our parishes such as St. Joseph of Arimathea, Mater Dei, St. Hillary and Bisengomambwe. It has been a moment not only of encouragement, but also to witness the good work of consolation our confreres are doing.
* Fr. Rocco in the name of the Continental Council.