CISA NEWS REPORT: SAGANA, May 8, 2012 (CISA) -The 11th regional conference of the Consolata Missionaries from Kenya and Uganda kicked off , May 7 at Bethany House, Sagana, a hundred kilometers outside Nairobi.
The conference held every six years, ends Saturday May 12, 2012.
The 5-day conference will discuss: economy of communion and sustainability; evangelization and mission; spiritual and community life; formation; organizational structure and, missionary animation and vocational promotion and communication.
Among other participants are: Vice-Superior General of the Consolata Missionaries worldwide, Fr Dietrich Pendawazima, the General Councilor in-charge of Africa, Fr Marco Marino, the General Administrator, Fr Rinaldo Cogliati, the Regional Superior, Fr Joya Hieronymus and 40 delegates drawn from Kenya and Uganda.
The Vice-Superior General, Fr Pendawazima expressed hopes that the conference would capture the mandate of the General Chapter.
The General Chapter held in Rome last year, resolved to set up a Continental Secretariat which would help to re-qualify the Consolata mission, improve sharing of personnel, restructure the congregation’s presence and economic support to increase the sense of belonging in the continent.
“The Continental Secretariat Council will consist of regional and delegate superiors and General Councilor in charge of the continent who will coordinate with the General Council in Rome. This will guarantee the flow of coordination, information and programs. The idea is to decentralize the decision-making powers of the General Council,” he said.
Fr Pendawazima called on missionaries to be aware of the economic challenges facing the congregation, saying these should not trigger alarm as Consolata Missionaries are called to live a more austere lifestyle.
He urged missionaries to be calm amidst financial crisis that the congregation is undergoing as it is a worldwide phenomenon.
“Crises are cyclical, benefactors are disappearing, our administrators should be therefore trained,” he told CISA in an interview.
Fr Joya, the Regional Superior, acknowledged that the congregation in Kenya is grappling with rising numbers in the vocations, but due to financial constraints, the conference will have to re-think the number of students to admit in its seminaries.
Fr Joya said that Kenya and Uganda is a very important region as it is the first mission and has the highest number of human resources. He urged the delegates to plan well for the region’s future.
“It’s a region that is endowed with many resources and opportunities that if well tapped, even economically, it can really help the continent and also the whole congregation,” he said.
Amidst all of these challenges, he noted, many local ordinaries continue to extend invitations to the Consolata missionaries to open missions in their respective dioceses. He expressed hope that even if there are no available resources, the Christians in these parishes would work hand in hand with the congregation.
“It is a sign that the local ordinary appreciate our work,” adding “This conference will therefore have a look into the resources we have and see if we can answer to this requests. Through divine providence God will give an answer to it.”
Fr Joya expressed optimism that the conference would come up with plans to mitigate the economic challenges including investment and resource mobilization ideas to sustain mission work.
The Consolata Missionaries are working in 25 different countries in the world. The Kenyan region has a total of 168 members (priests, brothers, novices and students in formation).