NAMUGONGO-KAMPALA, 3rd January 2017
The end of the Provincial Chapter is not an end in the real sense, but a step which marks a renewal. Assembled for the Provincial Chapter to rethink the Assumptionist mission in the African land for the next six years, the Assumptionists have reflected, from Friday 29th December 2016 to Tuesday 3rd January 2017, on the mobilizing theme: “Workers of the Kingdom in an Africa under Crisis.” Concrete orientations have been taken to heal socio-political paralysis in African countries where the Assumptionists work with apostolic zeal for the reconciliation of peoples, and for justice and peace.
African Province has reached the Age of Maturity
n his speech at the end of the Provincial Chapter, the General Superior Benoit GRIERE gave a testimony of the progress which he noticed: “The Province of Africa has got over a hurdle which illustrates that it has acquired maturity.” Indeed, the Lay and Religious of the Province of Africa have proved, in this 9th Provincial Chapter, of the rigor and eagerness to be “Workers of God’s Kingdom in an Africa under Crisis.”
We want to live our Assumptionist Charism in the African land. Thanking the capitulars of this prophetic Provincial Chapter for their active participation and fruitful and fraternal sharing, the M.R.Fr. Benoit GRIERE invited us to be committed in the struggle for reconciliation, justice and peace, while looking at the past with gratitude, embracing the present with passion in view of projecting the future with hope.
The Province of Africa, an Important Component of a Body, the Assumption
The M.R.Fr. Benoit GRIERE, Guest of Honour, is a witness of the progress which took place in the last six years. Thus, he invites his Brothers, the African Assumptionists, to venture into a responsible restructuration: “Don’t be afraid of that change; it is a sign of dynamism.” He then comforted us saying: « You are not alone; you belong to an international body which will not abandon you. You constitute an important element of the system. You will bring a new inspiration to the General Chapter; we rely on you.”
As for Fr. Protais KABILA, Provincial Superior, he thanked the participants of the 9th Provincial Chapter for concrete and realistic proposals: “The Province has grown in age, in personnel and in mission, but without triumphalism of number ˂he ˃ acknowledged. Nonetheless, he invited his brothers Lay and Religious to increase the effort in the fulfilment of our mission for the Reign in this Africa under crisis. Moreover, he thanked the M.R.Fr. Benoit GRIERE, General Superior, and his Vicar, Fr. Emmanuel, who supported us by their active presence throughout this Chapter.
The Provincial Superior expressed his gratitude to other Assumptionist Provinces which made possible the delocalization of these meetings of the Provincial Chapter to Kampala/Namugongo. Initially, this Provincial Chapter was to be held in Maison Quenard in Butembo/Nord-Kivu. But, due to a permanent insecurity in that part of the Congo (DRC), the Provincial Chapter was celebrated in Namugongo, the historical place of the Ugandan Martyrs, to confirm the call to the prophetic aspect of Assumptionist Religious Life in this Africa under the threat of wars and terrorism which are yet to be defined but which cause insecurity and lead many people to death.
Message of Peace from the Archbishop of Kampala
During the closing Mass celebrated in the Ugandan Martyrs’ Shrine which marked the end of the Provincial Chapter, H.G. Cyprian KIZITO LWANGA, Archbishop of Kampala, wished all the best to the Assumptionists, borrowing these words of Our Lord to his disciples under anguish: “Peace be with you!”
In fact for him, to be a worker of the Kingdom in an Africa under crisis is to promote peace. Friend of the Assumption and informed by the Provincial Superior of the tragedy which the Congregation undergoes in DR-Congo, the prelate of Kampala referred to the kidnapping of our Fathers Anselme WASUKUNDI, Edmond BAMUTUPE and Jean-Pierre NDULANI which occurred in Mbau four years ago, as well as the killing of Father Vincent MACHOZI. Besides, he said the following: “You are urged to be true witnesses of Christ in this Africa under crisis. Don’t respond to violence by violence. Whoever wants peace prepares peace.”
Furthermore, he drew the attention of the capitulars to an ethical crisis, namely, homosexuality, an evil about which people speak less in Africa. He then offered to each one a gift of a booklet that he, himself, composed entitled Position of the Catholic Church on Homosexuality.
Thereafter, he shared the festival meal with participants of the Provincial Chapter. The Oblate of the Assumption Sisters and our Assumptionist Brothers from Saint Charles LWANGA Parish Kyavakadde, home village of H.G. Cyprian KIZITO LWANGA, were our guests for the concluding celebrations.
Participants testify: This Provincial Chapter has been a Mobilizing Endeavour
Brother Dominic Kamau, a delegate from Arusha asserts: “This Chapter was well organized. I have discovered my Province and its challenges.” The Brother acknowledges that the theme of this 9th Provincial Chapter was mobilizing and in conformity with current issues. It requires the sacrifice of each one, as Brother Héritier NSENGE put it. The latter has come to discover that the Provincial Chapter is a forum of freedom of speech and of debate for the advancement of the Assumptionist apostolate.
The Lay were not locked aside. Nobody can continue doubting about the reality Lay-Religious Alliance in the Assumption. The partnership is already sealed: “We thank the Province of Africa for having given clear orientations by defining the place of the Lay in the apostolate and the mission of the Assumption for the advent of God’s Reign in us and around us,” asserted Mr Eric KIHUNDU, Lay Assumptionist from Goma.
Happy for having participated to these Provincial meetings, Stella VUMILIA, a Lay Assumptionist from Kinshasa, declares to have learned more about the concrete situation of the Assumption in Africa thanks to fraternal sharing, and about the apostolic challenges which we have to deal with together, that is to say, in the Alliance Lay-Religious.
Also, Mary WANYOIKE, Lay Assumptionist from Nairobi, did not hide her joy of having discovered new spiritual horizons and the beauty of Assumptionist life. We must “work towards a better African Province,” she concluded, since we are the ones to play a central role for our future and that of Africa.
The journey has started. What remains is to live the orientations of this 9th Provincial Chapter. Finally, the M.R.Fr. Benoît GRIÈRE, General Superior exhorted us as follows: “May each one be the promoter of these new ideas of this Provincial Chapter.” New wine in new wineskin!
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