From the 20th till 23rd January, 2016, John Mubanga, Dieudonné Amani, Dominic Apee, Gaspard Cirimwani, Gazena Haile, and Erus Tirkey celebrated the climax of the Year Dedicated to Consecrated Life on behalf of the Missionaries of Africa in Ghana/Nigeria Province in Kumasi, the second largest towns in Ghana. The theme was the one given by Pope Francis: “Wake up the World.” Views and sharing helped the participants to find ways to bring peace, joy and love to our contemporary world as religious men and women.
The celebration was organised by the conference of Major Superiors of Religious in Ghana whose president is Dominic Apee (Provincial of M.Afr Ghana/Nigeria). In his opening remarks, he welcomed everybody and most especially Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu, SVD, Bishop of Ho Diocese, and Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye of the Archdiocese of Kumasi. Dominic reminded each one of us that “consecrated life is a gift given by Christ who chooses a person to respond to his great love in a special relationship. Consecrated life is a vocation in which men and women give witness to Christ by following his teaching. Consecrated life is most often shared in a community which is united in living out a common mission.” Indeed, as Dominic pointed out, we are called to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ without remaining at that level of imitation by allowing him to penetrate our lives in order to “Wake up the World!”
As consecrated men and women, we are called upon to wake up ourselves first by having faith, holiness and hope. Looking at us, people expect holiness. However, we know too well that we are sinners. Hence, we need to keep on striving to be holy. Archbishop Gabriel called each one of us to find time to “bisect and digest the challenges of discerning our vocation as Christians with the help of good and educated formators in cognitive true love through sincere joy”.
In his presentation, Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu recognised the fact that our diversity in the Church is very rich. “Hope is deeply rooted in our lives. (Thus), if only we live in despair, we will not be able to wake up the world. Three points are vital: encounter, communities of communion and religious creativity. God encounters us using our wounds, our brokenness, […] and our weaknesses. Still, God loves us. Consequently, loving our neighbour shows that we love God who loves us. If only we keep this spirit of loving one another as consecrated men and women, at the end of the day we will come to realize that something is really deeply rooted in our lives.” The Bishop could not understand why consecrated leaving together could start “a third world war” among them. “The mission is not theirs but belongs to Christ.”
He added to say that there are “many forms of apostolate though we are all involved in similar apostolate; education, caring for the sick and pastoral work. We are called to be in the front line of imagination and creativity in order to carry out the inspiration of our founders.” Furthermore, Bishop Fianu called each one of us “to name what we see: ignorance, if so, instead of poverty. All over the world, people are crying in silence. We have to listen attentively if we want to bring some consolation. Let us share their cry and anguish. Waking up the world is possible through our given charism.” Otherwise, if we fail, as one Sister pointed out, we may end up “defeating the purpose of our community or congregation.”
We had a good time in Kumasi. I kept one question: How can we then make ourselves visible in our places of apostolate? Our interaction and sharing with other Religious Congregations gave us eagerness to continue our ministry. We are not alone carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ.
We ended our celebration with the Holy Mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish located in South Suntreso, Kumasi. Mass started with a candle light procession by all consecrated people presided by Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, Archbishop of Kumasi. The day ended with a common meal.
Click on the right to read the PDF file: Climaxing the Year of Consecrated Life