Celebration of the release of our confrere Ha-Jo as a missionary family
An evening of gratitude and joy reigned at the Generalate today, 18 January 2024, when the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa gathered for a Mass of thanksgiving. The reason for this special celebration was twofold: the release of our confrere Ha-Jo and the presence of Father Pier Luigi (Gigi) Maccalli SMA, himself held in captivity in Niger for more than two years before being released in October 2020.
The Superior General, Father Stanley Lubungo MAfr, presided over the Mass, accompanied by Ha-Jo and Father Luigi. Their presence was a witness to faith and resilience, symbolising the strength of the spirit and the power of prayer in the most sombre of times.
In his homily, the Superior General underlined Ha-Jo’s moving witness, highlighting the strength of his personal experience shared with the community of the Generalate a day earlier. In his witness, Ha-Jo transformed his difficult ordeal into an experience of grace, describing his kidnapping as a sabbatical time and a time of profound spiritual growth.
The Superior General spoke of the often neglected reality of suffering in missionary life. Citing biblical passages and recalling the life of Christ, he said: Can it be any different when Jesus the Master of the Mission himself suffered and did not promise an easy life to his apostles? In the same spirit, Father Stanley recalled that our founder, Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, had warned from the outset that the mission entailed risks and asked missionaries to be ready for anything, including martyrdom. Hence the need for courage, faith and self-sacrifice in the mission in Africa, which is still a risky undertaking.
This evening’s Eucharist was a celebration of new life and renewed faith, and a reminder that the apostolic mission is not without its challenges, but always accompanied by the grace of God, who is present even in the darkest moments. After the mass, an atmosphere of fraternity reigned as we shared a meal and a cake.
You will find below the Superior General’s homily on the occasion of this thanksgiving mass and some photos of this moving event.
Pawel Hulecki M.Afr. (Assistant General)