On the 8th December 2015, our community of Lualuo celebrated the feast of our Society. On the eve, we had already celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Fr. Francis Bomansaan; we had a moving liturgy and his testimony at the end of the Eucharist boosted our spiritual lives. We wished him more jubilees to come. In these few lines below, I am going to focus just on the clothing ceremony which, according to the house custom, is celebrated on the same day as the feast of the society, that is, 8th December.
In an explosive Mass presided by Babaine Venerato, we were able to explore what means to put on a gandoura, rosary and burnous, what qualifies an attire to be right, and finally how ought we to aspire and inspire with our attire at the service to the African world.
Starting by sharing his experience whereby he had to put on a mechanic suit in order to help a stranded driver, he went on explaining how our right attires (gandoura, rosary and burnous) are just external symbols which stand for the internal symbol, meaning our attires should “inspire and aspire” others. It is a call to live our rightful vocation and our lives to the extent that we create positive impact on those we meet on our vocation journey. People need to see peace and contentment in us. If we always do good, we show people the way, the truth and life of holiness. “Embedded on right attires, commitment becomes a commitment, a vow becomes a vow and obedience becomes obedience”. Obviously, none of us alone can change the world but each one of us can make a difference in the life we are choosing. At least we are called to make a contribution in our community through acts of charity to one another. A simple gesture of charity can be fetching water when there is a shortage, working in the garden, cleaning around, passing on drinking at table; all those simple gestures we often ignore, yet have an impact on the community’s daily life. We have the ability actually to help one another around us before we can reach out to others. Therefore these simple acts of charity have enormous impacts on our own lives and on other peoples’ lives.
In addition, right skills and adequate information will qualify our right attires. If we are equipped with information and skills for the job we are called to do, we shall fit into the service to the African world. In other words we cannot give what we do not have. It is a call to know God’s love in our personal experiences and share this love to others. This knowledge however is personal and it is never read from books. The knowledge and skills about God’s love are extraordinary important in order to come up with what we can give to the African world.
It is from this point that Fr. Babaine touched the final question. How ought we to inspire and aspire with our right attire? How we live our right attires will be defined by availability to the job we are called to do. In other words Father Babaine invited us to be available to the service and to listen to the people we are sent to. No wonder Paul to the Romans puts it clear for us that we should weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice and finally to this we should help them (Romans 12,15).
Some photos of the community and the teams (Spiritual Formation Centre, Kasama 2015-2016)