The sense of welcoming others is one of the simplest virtues that a human being can offer free of charge. Everyone has the capacity to welcome. But what kind of welcoming? Far from any theoretical considerations, the welcome here stated is the one that springs from the heart and not a welcome masked by a smiling figure and not rooted in the heart. How can we say that the welcome of our new brothers in the community was a moment of encountering them, a moment of joy and dance? or how has this welcoming of our confreres plunged us into these three essential dimensions for a successful reception: meeting, listening and celebrating?
Meeting others is getting into the reality of the person. We could say it is communion with the life of this person. This can be done in different ways. Among the different ways, there is an attentive listening and patience. This has been well verified in the community by the fact that newcomers have shown a commendable charity to introduce themselves to the community, and the community in turn was patient to listen to each one of them. At a personal level, I have summarized their presentations into these words: God acts beyond our expectations. Perhaps the stories need to be re-told to get a little better understanding.
Listening: First, Sc. Fernando coming from Mexico opened the door of presentations and said: “Even though my Father has gone to the Celestial Kingdom, God has opened to me a new family”. He said that in the noviciate he had the idea of going to Kenya or to Congo but “Divine Providence sent me to South Africa”. The second to share was Sc. Madalitso from Mozambique. He said that all his family is protestant. So, how can his missionary vocation in a protestant family be explained if not perceived as divine providence?. In his turn, Ben Joseph Carlos from the Philippines said that he has taken a long time of his life working in a company. By an act that he does not know how to explain, he bumped into the World Mission magazine, produced by the Comboni Missionaries in the Philippines, and through this magazine his desire to make a covenant with God through Comboni began. Fr Ibercio, the new parish priest of our parish, thanked God who has always accompanied him and in a particular way during his life as a missionary in South Africa, to which he first arrived in 1991. All these life stories provide a reason to be ceaselessly thankful to God.
Thus, there is no need to separate such an enriching welcome from the joy which the community has experienced. This joy could well be seen in the faces of all the confreres. And that opens a series of heartfelt yearnings to say simply: you are all most welcome, feel at home. In simpler terms, it is a joy that not only exalts the goodness of the confrere but also and above all, accepts and respects the confrere in his difference. One could even say, a joy that renews again the quality of fraternal life in the community. In this way the confrere, old and new, becomes a gift to and for the community.
This joy was partly manifested through dance. With an attentive and curious mind, I came to the conclusion that this music was missionary. To say that it went beyond local, national and intercontinental boundaries. It was a true cultural diversity of our community. As a result, the new confreres in the community and all the old confreres, each found his share and showed a cultural openness, and an openness to the missionary spirit.
To close, we thank God who allowed the success of this day. A welcome marked by the meeting of the other in his difference, a moment of joy as an expression of an enriching fraternity, moment of dance to intercultural music as an expression of our openness to the missionary spirit. May this joy continue inflaming our hearts and uniting us in the service God through St Daniel Comboni.
BY SCH. MUMBERE MUYISA KAPITULA MCCJ