The Queen of Philosophy Centre, Jinja (PCJ) summit of the Founding Congregations was held from December 27-28, 2013 at Mill Hill Missionaries, Hekima Gardens, Ngong Road, Nairobi. There were 17 participants which included the Leadership of the Founding Congregations of PCJ, PCJ Board of Governors, PCJ Administration and special invitees. The main goals of the summit were: to stem perceived loss of control of PCJ by Founding Congregations, to recommit Leadership of Founding Congregations to assigning qualified personnel to PCJ and to clarify the role of the PCJ in relation to Uganda Episcopal Conference. The summit was also an occasion to discuss various other issues concerning the Institute such as review of statutes, mission statement, academic standards and degrees, finances, etc. Thanks to Fr. Patrick Neary CSC, the Chair of the Board of Governors, for taking the initiative to convene such a historical summit. Frs. Emmanuel Edeh(General Consultor, Rome), Fr. John Francis(Coordinator, East Africa), Fr. George Nedumattam and Fr. George Nandalath represented Claretians at the summit.
Fr. Geo CMF
CONGREGATIO MISSIONARIORUM FILIORUM
IMMACULATI CORDIS B. MARIAE VIRGINIS
Rome, August 10, 2013
To the Claretians of East Africa,
One month and a half has already passed since we met in our Assembly in Nairobi. I do believe that it was an important moment in the journey of our Congregation in East Africa. We had the opportunity to share the main steps of that journey in each of the countries in which we are present: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It was good occasion to thank the Lord for his blessings and to remember the names of many Claretians who have given the best of themselves for the growth of the Congregation in that part of Africa. Analyzing our strengths and weaknesses we tried to set up the basis on which we will continue building up our missionary life in the future. The presence of almost all the members of our communities as well as the participation of the Major Superiors of the three Provinces that are in charge of these missions (East Nigeria for Kenya, Chennai for Tanzania and Bangalore for Uganda) was very significant.
I have shared with the other members of the General Government the procedures of the Assembly and the results of my own consultations with each one of you. I want to thank you once more for your openness and for the sincerity with which you shared with me your own feelings, fears and hopes concerning the future of the Congregation in East Africa.
After careful deliberation, the General Government has decided to establish an Independent delegation in East Africa which will embrace all the Claretian communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Delegation will be constituted in the month of June, 2014, during an Assembly that will be convoked with this purpose.
As I pointed already during the Assembly, there is need to establish a process that will allow us to reach the goal well prepared to assume the challenge. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh, General Consultor, and Fr. Manuel Tamargo, responsible for the general Mission Procure, will accompany you in the journey towards the constitution of the Independent Delegation next year. For this purpose Fr. Manuel Tamargo will be with you during the month of November this year and Fr. Edeh during the month of December (he will also represent me in the meeting of PCJ Board, in Jinja on December, 27-29). Fr. Tamargo will be again with you in the month of April next year and Fr. Emmanuel will accompany you before and during the assembly in which the Delegation will be officially inaugurated in the month of June next year. They will send you a more detailed program for their visits.
There are several points that have to be taken care of in the process of preparation. Let me point out some of them:
- The most important point is the commitment of each one to the consolidation of the Claretian missionary life both, personally and in our communities. The fidelity to the Constitutions that we promised to “observe with all possible care” is the only basis on which you will be able to build a missionary dynamic Delegation.
- The integration of all the members of the future delegation that will demand for a truly open attitude from each one and for a strong commitment to community life.
- The drafting of a comprehensive “Missionary plan” that will regulate the growth of the Congregation in the three countries, taking into account the needs of the local Church and the demands of our vocation as religious and Claretian Missionaries.
- The consolidation of the formation plan and the programs for promotion of local vocations to the Congregation.
- The planning of the economy of the Delegation that obviously will have to be supported by the General Government but that has to start looking for means to generate some economic resources.
I know that you are ready to take the challenge and commit yourselves to the development of the Congregation in that region. I saw in you the capacity to undertake this task and I am sure you will succeed in it.
An important aspect of the process will be the clarification of the future of each one of the members who are now working in those missions. Regarding this aspect, let me clarify the criteria we follow in the Congregation in these occasions:
- The Claretians who were born in these countries will be incardinated to the Delegation
- To those born in other countries but working in these Missions three possibilities are always offered:
- To be incardinated to the new Delegation,
- To continue being incardinated in their own Provinces of origin but assigned for some years to the new Delegation by the Superior General,
- To return to the Provinces to which they belong or be sent to another Major Organism of the Congregation by the Superior General.
You will be asked at the proper time to state your own desire. You will remember that you shared already with me your own position in the personal talk I had with each one of you during the retreat and assembly. However, an opportunity will be given to each one to express his own desire that will be an important element in the discernment of the final decision to be taken by the Superior General.
From this moment until the constitution of the new Delegation, in the month of June next year, the Major Superiors of East Nigeria, Chennai, and Bangalore will have to consult with the General Superior any change of personnel they would like to do in the communities of their missions in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. This will help for a better coordination in the transition period.
The General coordinator of East Africa, Fr. John Francis, will help to coordinate the process together with the coordinators of each mission (Fr. Pius Nwanko for Kenya, Fr. Bhaskar Amalraj for Tanzania, Fr. Joy Mampillikunnel for Uganda). They will be in close contact with Frs. Emmanuel Edeh and Manuel Tamargo. A budget will be set apart for this purpose and it will be managed by the General Coordinator.
I want to thank wholeheartedly the Provinces of East Nigeria (Nigeria, when the mission started), Chennai and Bangalore for the wonderful work done during these years. Thanks to them we can now think in a new step in the growth of the Congregation in East Africa. You should be proud of what you have done and ready to collaborate as much as possible to assure a bright future to the new Delegation.
The last General Chapter insisted on the need for a reorganization of the Congregation taking into account the different changes concerning personnel and geography we have been experiencing. In the meeting of the General Government with the Major Superiors of the Congregation held in Colmenar Viejo-Spain-in September 2010, the need to undertake the reorganization in Africa and Europe was underlined. Last year two new Independent Delegations were created in Africa: Cameron and Congo. The General Government took direct responsibility for the mission in Gabon. These are the facts that speak about a growth of the Congregation in Africa and, at the same time, will facilitate a more significant presence of the Claretians working in Africa in the different Congregational gatherings.
I know that any challenge causes different feelings in the persons concerned. But I am sure that each one will be contributing his best so that the Congregation can offer to the churches and peoples of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda the best of its missionary charism.
From October we will start taking concrete steps to address all the issues related to the establishment of the new Delegation. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh and Fr. Manuel Tamargo will be in touch with the General Government for this purpose.
I entrust our journey to the heart of Mother Mary. May we all be inspired by her openness to the will of God and her commitment to the mission entrusted to the mission entrusted to her. The memory of our Claretian martyrs that we are celebrating these days invites us to look at the future with a great confidence in the love of God. I wish you would be able to follow faithfully and joyfully in the footsteps of our founder.
Josep M. Abella, cmf
My dear Beloved Claretians in East Africa,
“My spirit is for the whole world” said our Father Founder St. Antony Mary Claret, burning with the zeal of preaching the Word of God. We are indeed privillaged as Claretians to follow his footsteps and imbibed by the same spirit to live and die as universal missionaries. Last week we celebrated the feast of our Founder which reminds us to burn with the same fire of love and spread its flames wherever we are!
On 13th of October we had another event to celebrate joyfully the beatification of the 23 martyrs of Tarragona as a congregation. Their faith, love and commitment thrill us, even at the face of death they were able to proclaim ‘long live Christ the king’ and forgive graciously the murderers. It is amazing to see their hope and courage and their belief that they shed their blood for witnessing to Christ. In East Africa the new Aspirants Formation house at Moshi(Tanzania) is dedicated to these martyrs of Tarragona and pray that our missionary students may also burn with the same spirit and grow in the virtues of our beloved martyrs as they start their formation.
This year we are also blessed to have two young and vibrant missionary students from Indonesia who are doing their regency in Musoma and later will be doing their theological studies in Morogoro next year. We welcome whole heartedly these two young missionaries namely Deni m and Gabriel.
As missionaries working in East Africa all of us are aware of the birth of the new Organism of the East African Independent Delegation in the month of June next year. Twenty years of fruitful presence of the Claretian Missionaries in East Africa is going to give birth to this new organism in this part of Africa. We thank sincerely Very Rev.Fr. Joseph Maria Abella CMF, the Superior General and all the members of General Government for their close accompaniment and animation to all the missions of East Africa. Let us implore our Blessed Mother for her maternal guidance and protection in all our endeavors and strive forward with hope and courage to realize the dream of the new organism in East Africa. May our Holy Father Founder St. Antony Mary Claret intercede for us!
Fr. John Francis CMF
(Formation Coordinator, East Africa)
I would like to greet all the missionaries working in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda from Nairobi, part of the future Independent Delegation of East Africa, and where I am participating in the Encounter for Economes of all the Major Organism and Missions in Africa!
I thank the Lord for the generous commitment of your lives to the Kingdom of God, and pray that God the Father may always lead and carry you in his hands and grant you his strength, wisdom and prudence of the Spirit.
The beginning of the new Organism will request from each one of you a renewed and daily commitment of openness of heart and mind to the Spirit, whose guidance will help you to achieve an authentic community of life and mission –as the last General Chapter reminds us (MFL 16) so that you may be able to proclaim the universal fraternity that Jesus has convoked us to build.
As General Econome of our Congregation, I would like to encourage you to keep always in mind that the administration of our economy, as part of our daily life, needs to be enlightened and guided by our Claretian charismatic identity, which has the communitarian element as one of its main characteristics. This is one of the challenges that the new Delegation will have to face. It will be very necessary to create a new environment that promotes the sharing of goods among all members and communities and a transparent administration of all the resources of the Organism for the service of the Mission. As our Founder lived himself and wished for the whole Congregation, the new Delegation may be able to say of itself: “We are living in community… a truly poor and apostolic life” (Dir. 63).
Together with the Superior General and all members of the General Government, I make myself available to accompany you in this new journey that you have already started to walk!
Fr. Domingo Angel Grillia, CMF
The Claretian Mission Encounter for East Africa was held in ARU (Association of Religious, Uganda) Kampala, from 9-15th September 2013. There were 19 participants that include Fr. Miguel Angel Velasco, General Prefect of Apostolate, Fr. Emmanuel Edeh, General Consultor, Br. Robert Omondi, JPIC Director, Fr. Henry Omonisaye, Superior Delegate from West Nigeria, Fr. Joseph Kidangayil, Prefect of Apostolate from St. Thomas Province, India and different representatives from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
The first few days of the encounter were devoted to a reflection and analysis on some Congregational documents as well as a general look on the situation of the African continent. The circular letter Missionaries written by the General Superior posed reference points in considering the mission, the accompanying challenges, as well as the defining characteristics of Claretian Mission here in East Africa.
Acknowledging the importance of drawing our theological reflection from the life realities of people in East Africa, the encounter was led to take a closer look at East African context through Dr. Francis Xavier Bisasso’s presentation: Enhancing the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Health of our Organization through Strategic Thinking, Planning and Actions in order to optimize the accomplishment of our Evangelization Mission. It is in this same context that the Conclusions of the Claretian workshop in Colmenar Viejo, Spain on Theology for Mission (September 2012) highlights missionary spirituality and new evangelization as reference points in our Claretian style in East Africa.
Following a process of consideration, dialogue and group discussion about the reality of East Africa, the church and the Congregation, the encounter then defined (1) Claretian Mission Style, (2) Priority Lines and Prioritized People, and (3) Strategic Positions for East Africa.
On 31st August 2013, 6 of the Third year students of Bl. Andre Sola, Claretian Philosophy House, Jinja(Uganda) officially marked their entry into the stage of Postulancy! It was done in the Holy Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Fr. George Nedumattam CMF, the Superior of Bl. Andre Sola Claretian Philosophy House.
The long awaited dream came to true for the Claretians of East Africa to have their Aspirants’ Formation House in their own land on 22 Oct 2013.The celebration was made so colorful with the presence of many religious Priests and sisters. Very Rev. Fr. Micheal Maria dass the vicar of the Province of Chennai was with us grace the joyful occasion along with His Lordship Rt. Rev.Bishop Iaasac Amani.The Newly build House was opened by Fr. Mariadass. His Lordship Blessed the New House. In the Holy Mass the new Alter was consecrated and the house was dedicated to the Blessed Claretian Martyrs of Tarragona. The students of the Formation House entertained all the people with their well prepared cultural program. The historical and joyful celebration came to an end with the Agape Meal. Evening we had friendly volleyball Match between the priests and students of the house. Of course the priests emerged as winners of the Match.
As usual, the Claretians of Kiyunga Parish organized a “Lay Claretians’ Day by uniting all the Lay Claretians together for the great occasion of o the feast of our founder St. Anthony Mary Claret on 24th October 2013. As part of the preparation for the feast around 60 lay Claretians came together for a day of recollection and prayer animated by Rev Fr. Sebastian Muthukattil CMF. On October 24th the Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr. Mathew Mundackel CMF who was the binding force for the beginning of Lay Claretians’ Movement in Kiyunga Parish. Bro. Balaswamy Pasala CMF is the animator for the lay Claretians in Kiyunga parish now.
The new presbytery at Kimara was opened and blessed by His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, the Archbishop of Dar Es Salaam on 4th August 2013. On this occasion, His eminence conferred the sacrament of Confirmation on the candidates of the parish.Fr. John Francis, the coordinator of east Africa acknowledged the hard work and the contribution of the parishioners for the successful completion of the presbytery. A word of thanks was also given to the aid given by the Church in need agency and the diocese of Koln, Germany.
Two of our brothers namely, Pascal Ndzie, CMF from Cameroon Independent Delegation and Stephane Uyungu, CMF from the Independent Delegation of Congo were raised to the Order of Diaconate on Saturday 28th September, 2013 at Jordan University College Chapel Morogoro.
The Holy Mass began at 10:00 am and was presided over by the Local Ordinary of Morogoro, His Lordship Most Rev. Telesphore Mkude. After the Holy Mass at the college, the community organized a reception for our brothers together with their relatives, friends and well-wishers respectively who came to grace the occasion.
Sixtus Anyanwu, CMF