Chapter Communication - 19 June 2022
For all that has been, thanks
For all that will be, yes
These were the opening words of the recollection led by Dave Sullivan on Saturday morning, and were a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld, a former UN Secretary General. These words express many of the central attitudes needed for the leaders of the Missionary Society of Africa to implement the acts of Chapter 2022, thankfulness, gratitude openness, hope.
Fr. Dave wanted to encourage the capitulants to put Chapter 2022 into practice by also using the following texts:
- Luke 12 (41-46): the parable of the stewards
- Matthew 23 (14-30): the parable of the talents
- Haggai 2 (1-5): Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem
These texts contain an exhortation to faithful commitment, perseverance and courage in the face of adversity. This commitment must be lived with responsibility, intelligence, respect and faith in the Lord. It is also a reminder of the Lord’s presence and support in carrying out the work undertaken in his name. “I am with you” is the promise of Jesus at the Ascension. We are called to hear it today at the end of the chapter and make it ours once more.
OFFICIAL CLOSING OF THE CHAPTER
The Superior General thanked all the capitulants. He set in motion the internal rules of the Chapter, including the signing of the Chapter report and the closing vote submitted to the assembly. He officially declared the twenty-ninth Chapter of the Missionaries of Africa closed.
During the evening, a BBQ was held in the house garden to allow all the members of the chapter and the community to meet in a friendly and relaxed way, to say goodbye and good luck as some have to fly early to their mission destinations.
THE EUCHARIST OF THE LAST SUNDAY OR THE CHAPTER
The Superior General, Fr Stan Lubungo, led the Eucharist. During the homily, he underlined that the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus allows us to celebrate our faith in the Eucharist. He showed from some biblical texts that the Eucharist is the expression of God’s concern and support for us throughout our lives. The Eucharist must be understood in the line of the incarnation of God who comes to share our humanity and who makes himself entirely present in it and confirms it through the Eucharist, his Body and Blood.
Fr. Stan Lubungo added that the celebration of the Body and Blood of Jesus enhances the meaning of our chapter, because the Eucharist is the centre of our life and, during the chapter, the Eucharist remained at the heart of our sharing. May we, in the footsteps of Jesus, give our lives to others and for them too.
Today’s liturgy included a short rite of welcome for the new General Council and the handing over of power. On the welcoming side, each member of the former General Council said a word and gave a welcome gift to a member of the new Council.
- Francis Barnes to Francis Bomansaan: a fundamental word of the Jewish faith: the “Shema Israel”, “Hear Israel, you shall love your God with all your heart, with all your soul”.
- Ignatius Anipu to Anselme Tarpaga: a plate with inscriptions in Arabic, signifying that the White Fathers are dedicated to dialogue and encounter with the Muslim world.
- Didier Sawadogo to Maria Joseph Leo Laurence: the vade mecum of the houses of formation with the mission of making our candidates apostles, nothing but apostles.
- Martin Grenier to Pawel Hulecki: a cross with “Peace” written on it and a document from AFJN to signify the important commitment of Missionaries of Africa to peace and dialogue in the world.
The second part of the handover rite consisted of the exchange of the 150-year jubilee chasubles between the councillors of the former General Council and those of the new council. The latter then took the place of the former as concelebrants at the side of the Superior General.
The use of Bishop Livinhac’s chalice brought a special solemnity and significance to the celebration. Bishop Lininhac was the only Superior General to have been re-elected for successive terms. And he died in 1922.
The Superior General and the two General Councils’ members will spend time together during this week. This is a time of sharing between the two councils during which there will be much exchange and passing on of information.
During this time, the chapter members will fly to their respective destinations… not because the chapter is over, but rather because it is starting to come alive in our communities and missions
Finally, I would like to thank you for your loyalty in reading the Chapter’s communications. I hope that these communications have sparked your interest in the Chapter and the Missionary Society of Africa.
The communications stop, but we remain united through our missionary vocation and through prayer.
Peace and blessings.
Thank you to Pawel Hulecki who faithfully took pictures throughout the Chapter and to Yago for today’s pictures. Other pictures of the Eucharistic celebration will follow.