A newly born child is always a joy in a society and so is the gift of a new member of the community as all others rejoice having received some more members of the community. This was the feeling on 17th September, 2016 in the community of St Daniel Comboni Scholasticate, Pietermaritzburg. On this day, three of us were officially welcomed and initiated to the community. These are: Mathews Kutsaile from Malawi-Zambia province, Kelly Mikisi Juma from Kenya, and Ronald Alionzi from Uganda, who are a gift from God to our community. Usually new scholastics are welcomed and initiated during the feast of the Exaltation of The Cross, but this year because of many activities, the 17th was the convenient date for this initiation.
Comboni valued the cross so much and it is with this in mind that we contemplate Jesus on the cross. The founder said “The works of God are born at the foot of the cross.” Indeed the Cross is our source of courage, we look to the Cross to get our strength and courage for the mission. The Cross, the dry wood that was associated with suffering, punishment, and shame became the tree of life, and bore abundant fruit that will last forever. Therefore, we as new scholastics feel welcome with the image of cross in this life because this journey will not be a bed or roses but also thorn. Yet by looking on the Cross we get courage to face the challenges that are ahead of us.
The main message from the homily of the presider Fr. Vicente indicated that in this life there are always fears; fear of the unknown, fear of what others think of me. But these fears should not prevent one from living their lives and expressing themselves in the community. We should learn to face the future with courage and put everything in the hands of the Lord because by ourselves we can do nothing.
The community welcomed Mathews, Kelly and Ronald as full members in a special way with the words of Tertio Millenio Inuente 1 ‘remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm and look forward to the future with confidence.’ According to the custom, we received the Breviary, the Bible, the educative charter and the community year plan. After this the Superior, Fr. Ngumba Lelo invited us to remain faithful to the rule of life, the type of life to which the Lord called us and which we accepted to follow in concreteness of the circumstances where the Lord places us. Then the whole community had an opportunity to welcome us by a fraternal embrace after a hymn to our Mother Mary.
The day concluded by a social evening where the new scholastics shared stories of their lives amid other forms of recreation and entertainment. Indeed it was really a nice experience to be welcomed in a special way in the community. We the new scholastics would like to thank this community for all the love they have shown us. We are not perfect beings; all we ask from you is your patience and understanding towards us. You have already shown this in past few weeks and we are appreciative of that. Through our strengths and weakness we want to commit our lives to this scholasticate for the wellbeing of all and we hope by the grace of God to give our best to foster the spirit of the cenacle of apostles.
May God continue to bless us all.
By Ronald Alionzi