, 18 October, 2020 / 11:30 AM
The need to cultivate fraternal collaboration in the ministry of evangelization has been emphasized on the eve of World Mission Sunday, an annual event when Catholics across the globe renew their commitment to their missionary vocation and implore God’s graces for the missions worldwide.
Speaking to ACI Africa on the sidelines of the seminar on “Popular Mission” spearhead by the Daughters of St Paul in Nairobi, one of the facilitators underscored the value of “togetherness” in the mission, linking such collaborative ministry with the Trinity.
“The Mission is an enterprise that we must do in togetherness. We cannot separate mission from togetherness because even the source of that mission is the Holy Trinity and in the Holy Trinity there is a relationship of friendship and togetherness between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,” Fr. Joakim Kamau Njani told ACI Africa Saturday, October 17.
Fr. Joakim who is a member of the Consolata Missionaries explained, “Jesus Christ himself, when he was sending his missionaries, the disciples, he sent them two by two. Christ continues the same mentality, the same impetus today – the fact that we cannot walk alone in the mission.”
The Kenyan-born Cleric regretted the present restrictions requiring physical distancing to minimize the spread of COVID-19 saying, “Individualism now characterizes the mission because society obliges us to live as such and particularly this time that it is being emphasized so much that we separate ourselves from the rest.”
He however clarified that individualism “is not the original essence of the human person.”
Even if we remain indoors adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, Fr. Joakim observed, “the human person was created by God and destined for relationship. That is why we say no human being can live alone as an island.”
“We are relational beings and therefore the mission can only be successful if we work together,” Fr. Joakim who is the Human resource director of the Consolata Missionaries in the Kenya-Uganda Province told ACI Africa October 17.
He made reference to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, giving the example of St. Peter and St. Paul as missionaries who cultivated fraternal collaboration in their apostolate.
“Saints Peter and Paul as missionaries, were not working alone. They were always having companions,” he said, adding, “The mission makes sense when we work together when we do it together because the source is a source of relationship. The source is the Holy Trinity. And Jesus Christ himself wishes that the mission is done in togetherness.”
Organized under the theme, “Popular Mission,” the October 17 Webinar is part of activities that the Daughters of St. Paul organized to mark World Mission Sunday 2020, an annual event that is being celebrated under the theme from Isaiah 6:8: “Here am I, send me.”
The main organizer of the event, Sr. Olga Massango told ACI Africa that the virtual “event was a Pauline way to celebrate World Mission Sunday in times of COVID-19 challenges as today the world provide us with new mission, that of reaching out to the people of God with the gospel message using the all the digital platforms.”
Citing St. John Paul II, the Mozambican Pauline Sister further said, “Popular mission is effective when... it drives conversion, that is, to return to the truth and friendship of God, those who had lost faith and grace through sin.”
The followers of Christ who have experienced conversion and returned to friendship with God, Sr. Olga said, are “called to a life more perfect to the Christian routines, fervor in souls, to live the beatitudes, and to bring vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life.”
Speaking during the virtual session, Fr. Joakim told the participants that God reaches out to his people on daily basis, inviting them to His service that continually requires “laborers.”
“Answering God's call is a daily activity and it is very fulfilling to answer Here am I, send me,” he said.
The Consolata Missionary Cleric who has previously served in Brazil for over 20 years added, “It is very fulfilling to take into consideration the mission that God has given to us and also to take into consideration the fact that the harvest is plentiful, but still, laborers are very few.”
“Mission is simply to put yourself at the service of God and at the service of humanity,” he further said during his input on topic, “Biblical and Pastoral Approach to Popular Mission in the light of Pope Francis' Message of World Day of Missions.”
He went on to encourage the participants to face their respective ministries in the mission with courage and zeal and urged them to be a source of encouragement to others to respond to God’s call for missionaries.
“There is a need for us to work for vocations, missionary vocations so that we can guarantee the future of the missionary Church – the future of this nature of the church, which is missionary as we were told, particularly by the Vatican II Council, the documents of Lumen Gentium and the Ad gentes,” Fr. Joakim said.
He added, “When we go out for missionary work, we should not be looking for comfort, abundance, and for security. We should look for the essence of that mission and that is announcing the mission of God, the salvation of God, the grace of God to his people.”
At the online event, a new book titled “Freedom and Trinity” by the late Italian-born Consolata Missionary Cleric, Fr. Nicola Fogliacco was presented by Fr. Bernard Dennis Ofwono. The Ugandan-born Consolata Missionary Priest used the virtual occasion to highlight the pastoral perspective of the new book in today's world.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa