This day, Thursday 29th September 2016, will always stand out in our memory as our ceremonial official entry into the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. There was no immediate official entry form, no pompous rituals. It was simple yet prayerful and inspiring right from outside the chapel. It was very symbolic for many of us as we entered through the door of our beautiful chapel, crossing the threshold into a spiritual journey of self-discovery and gradual knowledge and attachment to Christ our Lord and his Gospel. As Saint Paul says, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14, 7-8).
The ceremony was presided over by Fr Michael Mawelera who started by reminding us that, as we celebrate the official entry into the Society on the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, our names will be officially written in the book of the Missionaries of Africa. He did not mention though the fact that it was also his feast day.
The mass began at 11: 00. Michael was surrounded by the staff members, Francis Bomansaan, Leonard Hategekimana, Clenerius Chimpali and Justin Sebakunzi. Through his homily, Father Michael reminded us that, as Lavigerie said, we ought to “be apostles, nothing but apostles”. We become apostles, because we are sent forth by someone to someone and for a particular mission. He continued by highlighting that all this needs to be accompanied by faith, prayer, courage and commitment to the mission.
During this mass, each candidate received the Bible and the book of the “Constitutions and Laws” of the Missionaries of Africa. The Bible will help us to deepen our relationship with Christ; the Word of God. So we are entrusted with the Sacred Scriptures for us to read, to live by and to share. The book of the “Constitutions and Laws” will inculcate in us a familiarity with the texts which govern our missionary society. He went on by reminding us that each one of us has been called by his name, to follow Jesus through the Society of the Missionaries of Africa and that the journey we have already started goes on. He promised to pray for us candidates and for the staff members who are tasked to accompany us on this journey of life.
All of us students, from eleven nationalities, were grateful to God, to the Society, to our staff and to many other people who contribute directly or indirectly to our wholeness. May our Lady Queen of Africa and her Son Jesus Christ continue to guide and protect us all in our missionary vocation.