Echoes from the Plenary Council – 18th November 2019

Echoes from the Plenary Council - 18th November 2019

We remembered during our prayers this morning and at the Eucharist our confrere Darek who would be laid to rest in Ouagadougou today. We also remembered and prayed for our former superior general Theo van Asten who would be also laid to rest today.

Today we began our plenary council in earnest. In fact, over the next three days we will be discussing the question of our Identity. Some may well ask why should we be looking at our identity. Don’t we know who we are? Most of us know whom we are yet somehow it is more a question of appropriating our identity, allowing that identity and the core values that stem from that identity to be the motor that drives us forward. Such core values are there to help us discern and see the way forward to live and fulfil the missionary life we have chosen. A distorted view of whom we are will lead to a distorted and dysfunctional way of being. The morning was spent in quiet reflection on what was shared in the input, In the afternoon we were able to meet in groups to look at certain issues proposed by the General council. Some of the salient points pointed out in the introduction by Francis were:

    • Surely for us missionaries our ultimate goal will be to develop and nurture those choices that are consistent with our Missionary of Africa vocation. Our happiness and sense of fulfilment hopefully will stem from living in harmony with the choices we have made and the core values that are ours. 
    • Hopefully there is something that does indeed differentiate us from other congregations, something specific to us that is reflected by the way we live our charism, something that reflects an identity particular to we, Missionaries of Africa.  It does not make us better or superior to others but reflects the reality of the way we live our lives and the way we live out the mission that is ours.
    • Thus a whole process of renewal and a renewed appreciation of our charism has been initiated by the chapter. It is spirituality that is the thread that weaves itself throughout our charism and if we get our spirituality right the rest should flow. 
    • Our spirituality of community certainly, of dialogue yes, of multi-culturality, of discernment, a spirituality of frontier situations, of the peripheries. In a word prophetic spirituality deeply rooted in the gospel.
Francis Barnes

Here are some pictures sent by John Gould, the superior of the Section of Asia. They were taken during a eucharistic celebration, presided over by the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Lwanga, who teherafter blessed the new chapel.

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