By Jean-Baptiste Uzele
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad” (Ps 118:24). On Monday 8thDecember 2014, in a cool morning, some Missionaries of Africa among whom Fathers Sergio Villaseñor Salinas from the General Council and Christopher Chileshe, SAP Provincial celebrated the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lua-Luo Spiritual Formation Centre. Everybody was welcomed by Father Francis Bomansaan, the Rector, to this great feast of our Society.
During Mass, the Novices received their ghandourahs, burnus and rosaries. Looking at each one of us, I remembered our happiness after the first announcement about ghandourahs and when we were making our rosaries. Then, wearing them, we were so happy that we could echo the prophet Isaiah: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation…” (Is 61:10). The warm liturgy, the songs, dances and smiles, the presence of our visitors, congratulations, encouragements, photographs and decorations expressed the greatness of that day. We shall never forget this fraternal gathering.
In his homily, Father Sergio reminded us that Mary is the example of discipleship. We too are called to be disciples by following her attitudes: to be attentive, to wonder and to listen with our hearts to God’s words. Yes, a missionary is a person of hope. He also pondered on this famous question: How do we want to evangelize in the future? Our mission is to be in the service of the marginalized, the poor as required by Pope Francis. In this view, we need a spiritual foundation. Thanks for your inspiring message!
This clothing ceremony is a new step on our journey. People will recognize us as sons of Charles Cardinal Lavigerie. From a French expression we say: “The garment does not make of someone a monk and yet, a monk can be known through his garment”. Thanks be to God Almighty who has led us to this ceremony. We are grateful towards the staff for helping us and the visitors for their support. Twatotela sana!