Dear confreres and all the people of God under our Service,
In this year of Our Founder Blessed Joseph Allamano, as the Regions throughout the world implore the lord in deep prayer to the Most Holy Trinity for the ineffable gift of allowing the miracle to happen for the canonization of our founder, there is for us and the entire family born of the charism of consolation the added joy of celebrating the 113th Anniversary of the foundation of the Consolata Missionaries.
It was on 29th January 1901 that the Consolata Society for Foreign Missions was canonically and officially established by decree of His Eminence Card. Augustine Richelmy. In the history of our Congregation this is our official birthday that must be celebrated every year out of gratitude to God. This moment of grace came after a long process of discernment of God’s will by Father Founder, as he listened to the voice of God calling him to send missionaries to other parts of the world beyond the borders of Piemonte. There were only a few of them; in fact, on the 8th May 1902, when our first missionaries departed for Kenya, our little Mother-House became childless and empty. In humble obscurity and enduring many trials our Institute began to lay its solid foundations, so that in due time it could grow like a giant and come to full light.
That small beginning has become an abundant stream of grace within the Church as the Consolata Missionaries have grown in ways that could not have been foreseen 113 years ago. For that great gift, I join you in giving glory to our Heavenly Father and I exhort you in the words of the First Letter of Peter: "As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace" (4:10)
We missionaries in Kenya are members and custodians of a region that is the Mother of Mission since this is where the Seed of Missionary endeavour was first planted, on 29th June 1902 in Tuthu when our four missionaries celebrated their first Mass. Since then, the Consolata Missionaries has produced abundant fruit, as God has raised up Brothers, Fathers, Sisters, Lay Missionaries and a great host of people – of all beliefs and cultures that have either joined the congregation or have become involved in this work of consolation which has spread throughout the world under the inspiration and direction of Blessed Allamano and his successors. "This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes" (Ps 117:23).
“The aim that characterizes our Congregation within the Church is the ‘evangelization of peoples’ … This aim should permeate our spirituality, influence our options, determine our formation and apostolic activities, and orientate our whole life.” Each one of us has to be inspired and guided by this aim in the missionary service as we celebrate this foundation day.
As we celebrate, we should keep in mind that our religious consecration and missionary service has to be done in the Spirit of Communion. In the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II stated that, Consecration and Mission; must be sustained by fraternal communion as an essential aspect of the life to that you and me are called (No. 13). We can be models of this communion in our communities if we always give a shining example of "a readiness to serve others generously, a willingness to welcome them as they are, without ‘judging’ them (cf. Mt 7:1-2), and an ability to forgive each other’s shortcomings up to ‘seventy times seven’ (Mt 18:22).
Though we come from diverse backgrounds, I encourage you to bear steadfast witness to genuine evangelical love and fraternal charity among yourselves, that love which becomes a "particular sign, before the local Church and society, notwithstanding our differences of race and origin, language and culture.
This Foundation Anniversary is as well an occasion to give thanks to the God of gratuitous providence and all mercies both for the gift of our Founder and for the abundant spiritual, materials and vocations that has come to the Congregation through the generous support of our friends and the people of good will that are appreciative of our good work. At the same time I am grateful for each member’s unstinting dedication to the Lord’s call and fidelity to the evangelical councils that gives us a unique identity and zeal in our ministry.
I pray that this celebration will also be a moment of grace for each of us, a time to review our personal life and service, and meditate more intensely upon our own call and the charism of the Congregation, so that we may enter still more fully into the mystery of the saving work of Jesus Christ, which our Founder placed at the heart of our apostolate and spirituality.
I commend each one of you and the entire IMC Regional Family to the maternal protection of our Mother Consolata and Founder Blessed Joseph Allamano. May they enkindle in each of us a renewed desire for holiness, a keener thirst for Jesus, a deeper love for our vocation, and a more ardent desire to love and serve the Lord in our mission!
Rev. Fr. Joya Hieronymus Emusugut, IMC