AFRICA-MADAGASCARFirst perpetual vows in the mission
Every journey begins with a single step, and though one might walk for millions and millions of steps, the journey itself becomes joyful and full of life and enthusiasm when a significant leap that marks growth, development and change occurs. For the Province of OMI Lacombe, the recent occasion, when Gideon RIMBERIA and Joseph MAGAMBO made their final vows, was not only a joyful and a memorable occasion but equally one that marks a significant growth, small as it might seem, for the Kenya mission. They were the first Oblates from this mission to profess final vows. The multitude of people from all over Kionyo parish and quite a number of dignitaries that came to witness and cheer on Gideon and Joseph on their journey of life as Oblates showed the ‘grandeur’ of the occasion. A rough estimate of about 2,000 people attended the historic event.
Gideon himself described his emotions at the Mass of Oblation: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. Though I was facing the altar, I glanced once in a while behind me to see the multitude of people gathered to witness our final commitment. Deep inside me, I felt that something was happening, something bigger than myself, something that I couldn’t explain by words then, but now I would figure it out as a way of letting myself be driven by the Spirit, like Moses, closer to the burning bush to discover in a deeper way God’s presence. I felt so peaceful, so relaxed. The singing, the ululations, the dances, the hugs, the greetings, the congratulations and above all the Holy Eucharist accompanied by a very inspiring homily delivered by our provincial, Fr. John M. MALAZDREWICH, made me feel that this was one of my most important transitions in my life history so far. When I made my vows, I knew that a way of being a witness of Christ in the presence of the same people that had come to witness my ‘crowning’ had begun. For sure, it wasn’t my first day in religious life, but I would say that at this step I feel mature; for the past few years, I have done much inner exploration and am more equipped to journey on with God’s guidance. With my little experience, I know that man’s search for the meaning of life is a built-in desire to find or discover his purpose and then to pursue that purpose with passion. For me, my purpose is to be a witness of Christ in our society today.
“With Christ as our model, I also have as models some great men; these are the men that I aspire to be like in my own unique way. I remember in a special way the founders of the Kenya mission and a few deserve to be named for their heroic missionary zeal. I still remember Fr. Harold KAUFMANN whose missionary zeal was always an inspiration to many youths of my parish. May his soul rest in peace. Our great mentor and example of all times since our prenovitiate, Fr. Bill STANG, will forever live in my memory as a man of honour who leads by example and I am always proud of him. Then there were the formators during our prenovitiate: Bro. Harley MAPES, Bro. Roman ZAPADKA and Father Joseph JACEK. Father Ken FOSTER, the superior of the Kenya mission for quite a long time, is a man whose inspiration and foundational projects put the mission on a sound basis.
“I also recognize the former superior, Fr. Alfred GROLEAU, whose commitment to formation and the mission of Kenya in general has been significant in so many ways. We equally salute all the efforts of the present day missionaries in Kenya whose endeavors are fruitful to the growth of the mission.” (www.omilacombe.ca)
Oblates from several regions participated in the recent World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, February 6-11. Patti Radle, a member of the United States JPICcommittee, described her experience: “Itis very emotional and encouraging to be around thousands and thousands of people who are so sincere about making a better world and seeing beyond borders.” The World Social Forum is an annual summit heldby non-governmental organizations, civil society members and religious leaders working to create a more sustainable and equitable world.
At a Mass at the cathedral in Dakar, the local archbishop, CardinalThéodore-Adrien Sarr, gave a blessing and offered prayers for those attending the World Social Forum.
Oblate JPIC General Service Director, Fr. Camille PICHÉ, hosted an informal inaugural gathering for Oblate participants to convey expectations and a debriefing session following the forum to share experiences.Oblates participate in the World Social Forum in order to express solidarity with the thousands of participants meeting both to share concerns and explore effective responses to a diversity of issues,from globalization, ecological sustainability and trafficking of women and children, to trade relations of nations, extractive industries and indigenous peoples’ issues. The Oblate Delegation in Senegalprovided hospitality to the Oblate participants. (