PAO – A matter of personal relationship with Christ

PAO - Une histoire de relation personnelle avec le Christ

We are relaying here an article from Maison Lavigerie, the first formation cycle in Ouagadougou, where the Superior General is on an extended apostolic visit. The original article original can be found on Maison Lavigerie’s blog.

Père Stanley Lubungo lors de son homélie

What a wonder the coronavirus did for us, we were in great joy. As a Lavigerian community, we had the very great and priceless joy of welcoming and spending a few days with the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, the Reverend Father Stanley Lubungo. During his few days visiting Lavigerie House, Reverend Father Stanley, in order to encourage one another, first met the students of the house and then the formators. As far as the meeting with the students was concerned, several elements were very rich and helped to revive in us students the desire to continue the formation with a view to becoming missionaries of Africa.

Reverend Father began by expressing his wishes for good health in view of the health situation that prevails throughout the world. He also expressed his deep joy at being with us. For the Reverend Father, the present situation is a challenge for everyone and especially for us believers. This situation is an invitation to prayer. It shows our vulnerability and challenges us in our missionary vocation because, according to the Reverend Father, “no one is at home here in his family”. He finished speaking about the health situation in relation to our formation by telling us: “I hope that you will integrate this little detail in your missionary formation. »

Père Stanley lors de son discours aux étudiants

Reverend Father then spoke to us about formation. He insisted a lot on the importance of the first stage of formation because it is like the foundation of our belonging or of our discovery of the Society of Missionaries of Africa. The first stage of formation is a stage of growth in all aspects of life; it is especially a stage of discernment. To encourage us and invite us to greater concentration in formation, Reverend Father said: “Your presence here [at Lavigerie House] is a matter of personal relationship with Christ. “He exhorted us to take seriously the magnitude of the call and to accept its implications because, “it is the call that sends one on mission.” And, if we miss this at the beginning of formation, we are off to a bad start.

Toute la communauté avec le Père Stan Lubungo

Finally, the being of the missionary was one of the themes addressed by the Superior General during this meeting with the students. He took enough time to tell us and explain to us what it really means to be a missionary. To be a missionary is a call to leave a certain material life, to leave everything. One must not leave for the sake of leaving, but one must leave in order to become attached to Christ in intense personal prayer and in listening to the Word of God. For Rev. Father Stanley, “attachment to Jesus is a sine qua non condition for becoming an apostle [for becoming a missionary in Africa].” The missionary is one who goes not only to proclaim Christ but also to be evangelized by those to whom he is sent. The authentic missionary is one who sets out to meet the other in his difference, whoever he may be. In making the link between missionary life and formation, the Reverend Father said: “You have all the years of formation to know Jesus better in order to follow and serve him better. “He reminded us that the missionaries of Africa who were beatified did nothing special. For him, “they only loved with all their heart the peoples to whom they were sent, they remained faithful to the call they received.” The Reverend Father concluded this theme with the words: “Prepare yourself for this life [this type of missionary life] and do not allow yourselves to be diverted; always know where you are going.” We express our sincere thanks to the Superior General for the many encouragements and for all these comforting words. We thank the Risen Lord for this beautiful opportunity he has given us. May he himself come to the aid of our world in distress. May he bless the life and ministry of Rev. Father Stanley and grant him a strong health so that he may always carry out his task. Amen!

Serge Sawadogo

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