To the source of inner strength (Info-Pac)

To the source of inner strength (Info-Pac)

Dennis Pam, Provincial Assistant of PAC inspired by a book of Anselm Grün

[…] As missionaries, we have all experienced those days when we wake up full of energy and ready to face the day despite the fatigue of the day before. But there are also some days when nothing goes right or when we feel weary. We have no momentum, we don’t feel like doing anything and we are paralysed. A disagreement with a confrere is enough to block us. Sometimes we feel that the water from the source that sustains us is troubled. It has lost its regenerative capacity. It is altered by attitudes that are detrimental to our very person and

possibly to our mission. So where can we find strength in such cases? And how do we find the path that leads to the source of all life? We need to move from the outer springs from which we expect healing, strength, and freshness to the inner springs that God has offered us naturally to refresh us and give us new vigour.

We have a core of energy within us, a kind of reservoir from which we can draw our sources of energy. If we access this reserve where all our strengths are gathered, we will be able to flourish and have enough energy flowing through us to fuel our actions and thoughts. Here we think of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in the Gospel of St John 4:11 where Jesus speaks of “living water”. Water is the symbol of life, and spring water from the depths of the earth is pure and gives the possibility of endless renewal. But to discover this spring of pure water within us, we must first face the troubled waters, crossing them to reach the clear spring within our souls. We have negative emotions within us that disturb the water of the spring, that influence our life and mission, that have destructive effects and turn into rigid attitudes that direct our behaviour negatively. There are, for example, fear, ambition, work that sometimes turns into a drug, perfectionism, the desire to prove to ourselves that we have this or that quality, an exaggerated demand on ourselves in order to be able to meet the expectations of others, rivalry and competition, the desire to control everything, lack of self-confidence, anger and the depression that has become the disease of the century. All these attitudes are detrimental to us. […] Throughout our journey towards God, we make adjustments and revisions to respond adequately to our call. Every inner journey is always an adventure into the unknown. Our vocation is a call, an irresistible inner force, and we respond by letting the One who calls us guide us, while lending Him our cooperation. So let us have the courage to change what needs to be changed in us. In this way, the path to the source, deep within us, becomes the path to God and to others. 

Happy Easter to all of you!

Covid 19 – Consequences

The consequences of Covid 19 - Some reflections by Bernard Ugeux

Bernard Ugeux is a Missionary of Africa based in Bukavu (DRC). A theologian, very close to small Christian communities and very committed to people living in the periphery, Bernard gives his reflections on the meaning and consequences of the Coronavirus. The French version was published some two weeks ago. It was translated into English by the translation department in the Generalate.

Youth for Peace in the Great Lakes


Inspired by the theme that marks our 150th anniversary, “With Christ, Ever Faithful to Africa”, the Youth Chaplains Fathers – Lowrent Kamwaza, M.Afr. of Notre Dame d’Afrique Katoyi-Goma Parish (DRC), John SSekweyama, M.Afr. of the Parish of the Holy Trinity Buholo-Bukavu (DRC), Kingsley Njimogu of St. Augustine Parish (Burundi) and Edison Akatuhurira of St. Pierre Cyahafi Kimisagara-Kigali Parish (Rwanda) – took the young people of these 4 “Great Lakes Countries” on a 150th anniversary pilgrimage of Twinning for Peace and Coexistence at Uganda Martyrs Sanctuary in Namugongo, Kampala, 6-13 May 2019.

The second edition of this initiative in favour of the Youth of the Missionaries of Africa parishes of the Province of Central Africa (PAC) has proved to be a fruitful experience of encounter for our young people. It will leave deep traces in the hearts of these young pilgrims by stimulating in them the desire to seek Christ to the end, as witnessed by the young martyrs of Uganda – St Kizito, Charles Lwanga and others.

This pilgrimage began on May 6, 2019 when our young pilgrims from Burundi, Bukavu and Goma (DRC) were warmly welcomed into Christian families at Kimisagara Parish in Kigali. Exchanges, laughter, songs of praise and fraternal sharing marked this very important first step of the journey in the lives of our young pilgrims. The generosity of these host families and Rwandan confreres, the friendships forged during the meetings are all seeds of peace and love that will now sprout in the hearts of these young people.

The next day, May 7, the trip of more than 500 kilometres from Kigali to Kampala was very interesting. Two buses had been rented to transport these young people, most of whom were making such a long trip for the very first time in their lives. They were amazed by the beautiful landscapes and good roads of neighbouring countries, a world quite different from Congo or Burundi.

The highlight of this pilgrimage was a day of prayer and visits to the shrines of Namugongo and Manyonyo and to the parish of Nabulagala. For the first time, our young people saw their dreams come true when they set foot on the holy ground where our Martyrs of Uganda rest. Prayer, meditation, visiting these sacred places and celebrating the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist in the Basilica of Namugongo are experiences they will never forget. Our thanks to our brothers Vincent Lubega, Bernard Chowa and the trainees of Nabulagala who devoted their time to speak and give our young pilgrims the necessary explanations about the martyrs.

May we express our sincere thanks to our colleagues from Sharing Youth Centre Hillaire Guinko and Joseph Bakuri and their administration who fraternally welcomed and housed our young people during our stay in Uganda. These confreres have provided us with the best equipment and personnel to ensure the success of this pilgrimage. Their generosity impressed everyone and their welcome is a sign of true missionary charity. Many thanks to our colleagues at Lourdel House – Otto Kato, Elias Mwebembezi and Brother Francis – for their generous welcome.

May the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Our Lady of Africa intercede for all of us and for this youth in search of peace!

Viva the 150th anniversary of the Missionaries of Africa!

Lowrent Kamwaza M.Afr.
May 23, 2019

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Renewing the way we look at things

This text by Bernard Ugeux appeared in the last Info-PAC.

This jubilee time is for us an opportunity to take a renewed Christian look at our brothers and sisters, at the Church, Africa, the World…

Jesus has a unique way of looking at the people he meets, especially the most vulnerable, of recognizing the signs of the times in the expectations of crowds without a shepherd and the oppositions of religious authorities. He has renewed the hope of his people.

As for Cardinal Lavigerie, he too, throughout his life, took a very profound and demanding look at the realities of the world and the Church.

  • A look inhabited by the Spirit who benevolently discerns the new calls addressed to the Church by the societies of his time, in France, in the East, then in Africa.
  • An apostle’s look at all those who ignore the God of tenderness and forgiveness proclaimed by Jesus Christ.
  • A visionary and passionate look, he who is ready to give his life for the salvation of the infidels of Africa as a whole, “as if he saw the invisible”.
  • A look of reconciliation when he meets the prelates of the East invited to return to full communion with Rome.
  • A look that calls, confirms and sends apostles – men and women – for Africa, inviting them to consider martyrdom without fear.
  • A look that courageously and serenely confronts the opposition of those who refuse the Church’s openness to the people of North Africa.
  • A look of deep compassion that invites us to begin the proclamation of the Gospel by caring for the bodies while waiting for the awakening of souls.
  • A tender look at orphans boys and girls, abandoned people and victims of massacres or epidemics, whether in Lebanon or Syria, in Kabylia or the Sahara, or in the depths of the African continent.
  • A wrathful and provocative look in his tour of European capitals to stop the slave trade in Africa, appealing to humanity as much as to the faith of his listeners.
  • A sometimes dominating and overpowering look at his collaborators, which then leads him to humbly ask forgiveness from those he has hurt by the overwhelming nature or demands he has placed on them.
  • A look of contemplation and adoration placed with confidence for hours each day on Christ, the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Sacrament, and which is implored at the feet of Mary, Joseph and the great martyrs of North Africa. …
  • Today, what view does Lavigerie invite us to take of the human spaces that Pope Francis calls the peripheries?
  • What look of renewed indignation and compassion at the countless contemporary slaves and human trafficking that primarily affect children and young people; at migration, the looting of raw materials from poor countries and all forms of human exploitation?
  • What discernment about contemporary developments in globalization and its victims?
  • What invitation to dialogue between the currents within the Church and with other Christian confessions and religions?
  • What openness to differences in language, culture, religion, faith, gender, generation, recognizing that otherness is not a threat but a gift, when it does not impose itself with fanaticism?

In short, today, the Cardinal invites us to know him better (1) in his complexity and richness and to convert our viewpoint so that he may come closer to that of Christ, in his benevolence and his demands, beginning with ourselves.

Bernard Ugeux, M.Afr.

(1) In May 2019, Bernard Ugeux’s book will be published, Prier quinze jours avec le Cardinal Lavigerie, Nouvelles cités