Being a Deacon is not a temporal task, but a lifelong disposition
On February 26, 2022, the Jesuit Community of Hekima University College in Nairobi had the joy of presenting fourteen scholastics of Society of Jesus in Africa and one from the Xaverian Missionaries of Yarumal for diaconal ordinations.
Those ordained were: Francis Kyalo, SJ (KENYA); Noah Lungu, SJ - (ZAMBIA); Guy Isaki, SJ - (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO); Gandaf Wallé JP, SJ - (CAMEROON); Toky Donah, SJ - (MADAGASCAR); Philippe Amanfo, SJ - (IVORY COAST); Daniel Kamuzyu SJ - (ZAMBIA); Eugene Andrianiaina, SJ - (MADAGASCAR); Cedric Mouzou, SJ - (TOGO); Tanaka Mashiche, SJ - (ZIMBABWE); Thierry Manirambona, SJ - (BURUNDI); Mayamiko Kachipapa, SJ - (MALAWI); Alcidio Tembe, SJ - (MOZAMBIQUE); Emmanuel Chisanga, SJ - (ZAMBIA); and Xavier Murunga Ekesa, MXY - (KENYA).
This event was marked by three major points: adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the Mass of ordination and a Mass of thanksgiving by those ordained.
On the eve of an event of this magnitude as is customary the community of Hekima met at 8:00 p.m. in the main chapel, for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament directed by the Spiritual Father, Fr. Jean-Luc Enyegue, SJ. During this moment in which we entrusted to the Lord the commitment of our companions being ordained, the whole community prayed so that the presence and assistance of God would accompany them in their new ministry. The meditation in silence, the reading of biblical texts and some texts of the Society of Jesus, the invocation of the Virgin Mary and the litany of the saints of the Society of Jesus punctuated this vigil of arms.
Saturday, February 26, 2022, was the D-day. The ordination Mass presided over by Rt. Rev. Rodrigo Mejia Saldarriaga, SJ - Vicar Apostolic Emeritus of Soddo (Ethiopia), began at 10 a.m (EAT) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Nairobi, Kenya.
Several Jesuit companions joined in the procession to accompany the steps of the new deacons; present were Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ - JCAM president, JCAM major superiors, and representatives of the absent major superiors. Also present were several religious men and women from other Congregations as well as laypeople with whom the newly elected have collaborated in the context of their pastoral care over the past three years.
The first part of the mass concerned the call of the candidates and the liturgy of the word. In the light of the texts chosen for the occasion (Jr 1:4-9; Ps 110; Tim3:8-10, 12-13; Mt5:13-16), Bishop Rodrigo, in his homily, dwelt on the sense of the diaconate in the Church, starting from the very history of this ministry. He said that “when one is ordained a priest, one remains a deacon. Priestly ordination does not annul the diaconate”. So, he invited the new deacons to the service emphasizing that it is not a temporal task, but a lifelong disposition. The rite of ordination which followed the liturgy of the word began with the commitment of the ordinands, then the litany of the saints, the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination and the vesting of the new deacons.
The ordination rite was completed, then the Mass continued normally, with two new deacons having the opportunity to officiate alongside the bishop. At the end of the mass the new deacons, through a word read by one of their representative, Alcidio Tembe from the Southern Africa Province, wanted to thank all those who from near or far contributed to the realization of this important moment of their life.
The Rector of Hekima, Fr. Deogratias Rwezaura, SJ, also addressed a word of gratitude to the deacons who agreed to give their lives for a noble cause such as following and serving Christ. The festivities continued after the mass with a fraternal meal which was offered by the community of Hekima College in honour of the new deacons.
Later, sheltered from the gaze of those who joined the event, in the evening, it was a moment of celebration of the ordinations by each Province in various communities within Hekima. To share their experience in the Society of Jesus, their impression, and their feelings in this day of joy. It was also an opportunity for Father Jean-Luc Enyegue to give them some advice that could help them face the challenges of their new ministry. These smaller celebrations were concluded with prayer and the blessing of the deacons.
To God, we address our praise for the gift of new deacons to the Society and to the Church. May their ministry be fruitful.
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