Reflections from the Eucharistic Celebration by the JCAM President Fr. José Minaku Lukoli, SJ, during Rector Transition at Hekima University College

During events like today's gathering, there's always a unique joy in preparing the Eucharist, especially when exploring how the day's readings enrich our celebration.

As I delved into today's readings, I couldn't help but chuckle. The words seemed to speak directly to Deo and all those embarking on their journeys:

"Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make profit…"

But hold on! Fr. Deo, this isn’t about you. In this brief passage, James, in his typically straightforward manner, addresses a group he labels as “arrogant.”

James criticizes their arrogance in believing they can control their future and achieve success through their own plans without acknowledging life's uncertainties and God's ultimate authority.

One of our defining traits as Jesuits is our proactivity. Often, during our daily examen, we reflect on what we have done and what we have achieved. Look at Hekima—there's always something stirring here! Yet, when we feel we haven't completed everything on our agenda, we’re left disheartened. However, in the De Statu Societatis Jesu, Father General points out a tension we all face between being and doing. If doing can breed arrogance, the act of seeking first 'to be' instills humility in us. In the face of the arrogance of doing, we must embrace the humility of being. Today, Saint James reminds us that our plans and scholarly pursuits hold no significance unless they are grounded in God.

Lessons on Leadership from the Gospel

Turning to the gospel, the Lord’s message is particularly relevant to all of us, especially today for Fr. Foro. Jesus offers a lesson on leadership in a scene about power. The disciples are entrusted with a certain authority and share specific privileges among themselves, which they guard closely. We can understand their suspicious glances toward those outside their inner circle who seem to wield the same power. The Lord’s response indicates the principle of subsidiarity, which mandates that everyone's work be respected as long as we all contribute to the same mission of Our Lord.

Jesus emphasizes that those who do good in His name should not be stopped, even if they are not part of the disciples' inner circle. His response highlights the broader scope of God's work being done through various individuals, not just those in a specific group. The mission of the Lord is more significant than us!

Jesus wants us to understand that being with Him and serving His mission is more important than our titles and positions in society. He encourages inclusivity and a focus on the common goal of spreading the good news and fulfilling God's mission. Being a leader today requires constant adoration, as Moses did when he took off his sandals before the burning bush.

As we conclude the year and make plans for the holidays and our next missions, let us heed James' call to humility, putting everything in the hands of our Lord. Likewise, let us listen to the Lord reminding us that His mission is broader than us! In all we do, and in every move we make, let us put Jesus at the center. Amen.

In photo from right: (Frs) Deogratias Rwezaura, SJ, Fr. José Minaku Lukoli, SJ, and Emmanuel Foro, SJ, after the transition mass held at Hekima University Chapel on 22 May 2024.

A Journey of Service and Leadership

Fr. Deogratias M. Rwezaura,, SJ (outgoing Rector) has served as the Rector of the Hekima College Jesuit Community since 2017, appointed by the head of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits Global), General Arturo Sosa, SJ. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1994 and was ordained priest in 2005. He has held various roles, including Regional Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Eastern Africa and Socius in the Provincial Curia of the Jesuit Eastern Africa Province (AOR). Currently, he also serves as the president of the Faculty of Theology of the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar (FTJM) and is a lecturer at Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya. His tenure at Hekima College has seen significant improvements, such as the solarization project.

Fr. Emmanuel Foro, SJ (incoming Rector) was born in 1967 in Toma, Nayuala Province, in the Republic of Upper Volta, now known as Burkina Faso. He has been a member of the Society of Jesus for 31 years. He studied Geography at the University of Ouagadougou between 1988 and 1993 before joining the Society of Jesus. In 1993, he entered the West Africa Province (Jésuites AOC) Novitiate in Bafoussam, Cameroon, and after two years, he proceeded to Saint Pierre Canisius Jesuit School of Philosophy in Kinshasa, DRC in 1995. In the year 2000, he enrolled in the Hekima Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya, to pursue his bachelor's degree. After this, he proceeded to the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, USA, in 2003 to pursue his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL). He then continued his Doctoral studies in Systematic Theology at the same institution. Between July 2010 and July 2012, Fr. Foro served as Parish Priest of St. Francis Xavier Parish and Chaplain at the Catholic University Centre in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He relishes the two-year experience of being a parish priest, saying that the pastoral immersion was instrumental in his theological formation.

In August 2011, Fr. Foro joined the Hekima Jesuit School of Theology, where he taught Systematic Theology for six years. While at Hekima, he also served concurrently as Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology and the Deputy Principal for Academics between 2014 and 2017. Father Foro has worked in different apostolic areas of the Society of Jesus, including teaching, administration, pastoral work, and spirituality, demonstrating his diverse skill set. He served as the Delegate for Formation of AOC Province in 2013 and later as the Province Socius.

Recently, from September 2021 to August 2022, he worked as a retreat director at the Paam-Yôodo Jesuit Retreat Centre in Ouagadougou. During this time, he was also a visiting lecturer at Institut de Théologie de la Compagnie de Jésus (ITCJ), the Jesuit Theology Faculty in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. He had the opportunity to take a sabbatical year at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. He held the prestigious Waite Chair for Jesuit Education during his stay, a research position exclusively for visiting Jesuits. His year-long research on sacramental theology from August 2022 to May 2023 was a transformative experience that allowed him to gain deeper insights and knowledge in current theological pursuits.

In January of 2023, he returned to Hekima University College as a lecturer. Where he was named the Acting Deputy Principal of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Jesuit Theology Faculty of Africa and Madagascar (FTJAM).

Let us keep in our prayers Fr. Foro as he takes up the mantle, Fr. Rwezaura as he continues to serve in a different mission within the Society of Jesus, the entire Jesuit Community and the Hekima University College under the leadership of the Principal Fr. Marcel Uwineza.

Their contributions and leadership exemplify the Jesuit commitment to humility, service, and education.