Here comes an account of the big day in Jerusalem where four students of the “small formation group” became confreres by taking the Solemn Missionary Oath. This account is written by Olivier Ndayikengurukiye, one of the four, from Burundi.
On Saturday 29th April 2017, four candidates in the Small Formation Group in Jerusalem made their Missionary Oath. These are Dominic Kapatamoyo (from Malawi), Olivier Ndayikengurukiye (from Burundi), Patrick Sebyera Ndirenganya (from DR Congo) and Simon Chege Njuguna (from Kenya). The Oath took place in a Eucharistic celebration organised by the community of Sainte Anne in Jerusalem. The Superior General, Fr. Stanley Lubungo presided the mass and received their Oath. In his homily, the Superior General mentioned that it was a great joy for the Society of Missionaries of Africa and for the whole Church at large to receive new members who commit themselves fully to the Mission of Christ. The liturgical readings chosen by the four candidates were 1 Cor 9:19-23 and Mt 28:16-20.
Guided by these Biblical passages, Fr. Stanley exhorted them to be true Missionaries who are sent to encounter the other. As our Founder, Cardinal Charles Martial Allemand Lavigerie wants them to be, they are called to “be apostles, nothing but apostles”. Moreover, since mission is about serving people and not serving oneself, they are not to go and wait people to come to them, but rather they are to go out and bear witness of Christ’s love among people. They are called to be “all to all” and the Gospel they chose will remind them that they are always with Christ who strengthens them “until the end of the ages” (Mt 28:20). Fr. Stanley Lubungo reminded them that Gethsemane (in Jerusalem), the place where they are going to be ordained Deacons (11th June 2017), will also be their school of the Cross so as to be fully the disciples of the Crucified but Risen Christ. The ceremony happened the evening before the Feast of Our Lady of Africa. This was not by chance, as the Superior General reminded us, because our Mother Mary, the Protector our Society, has been accompanying and will continue doing so to our four brothers in their mission.
After the homily, the Confrere in charge of the SFG – Fr. Aloysius Ssekamate – gave a short presentation of each candidate. This helped the assembly to understand how the time they have spent so far in formation is has prepared them to be ready to take up the commitment they were going to pronounce. Then the key moment for the celebration arrived. The right hand upon the Bible, Dominic, Olivier, Patrick and Simon pronounced their Missionary Oath. After this, the confreres with the Oath congratulated each of the four new members of the Society. It was indeed the shared joy for the whole assembly who had come to give support our four brothers.
We give thanks to the Lord for the gift of the four new members of the Society, for all the formators, friends and benefactors who accompanied and supported them up to the moment they gave their “Yes” to God’s call in the Church for the world. We also thank their respect families which, through their sons, are going to participate in the Missionaries of Africa Society. We concluded the feast with a fraternal meal with the guests who had come to join our community of Sainte Anne. The presence of our Superior General was also appreciated as he had to cancel all his other plans in order to come and share with us the joy of receiving new members in the Society of Missionaries of Africa.
By Olivier Ndayikengurukiye (Jerusalem)