Nearly 20 years' ago, in 1995, the Consolata Missionaries in South Africa had a canonical visit. It is a special time when the Superior General (today could also be the Vice Superior General) "officially" visits the missionaries to know more about their journey, their joys, struggles and hope for the future.
I had just arrived in South Africa (1994) and had been appointed to the Piet Retief - Pongola Mission with Fr Arlindo IMC. We thought it would be good to do something "special" when the Superior General would visit us and we planned to take him and the Vice Superior General to Swaziland as we were living on the border between the two countries. It was "short visit". We only crossed to have supper and were then back in the Mission.
Another canonical visit is being celebrated these days in South Africa. The visit to the Consolata Bishops is part of it. As I would be in Swaziland in the chosen dates for the visit, they agreed to come and visit me there.
For them it was a great opportunity to visit a new country and become more familiar with the journey of the Church in the Diocese of Manzini.
For me it was a great opportunity to spend time with friends.
Fr Stefano Camerlengo IMC (left) is the superior general. For six years he was Regional Superior in the Democratic Republic of Congo when I was Delegate Superior in South Africa. This means that once a year we met at the continental meetings of Consolata superiors. At the end of those six years he was elected Vice Superior General and I became Secretary General. From meeting once a year... to living in the same house in Rome.
Fr Marco Marini IMC (right) is the general counsellor for Africa. For many years he was the General Administrator and visited us in South Africa. When I was transferred to Rome he was the one who introduced me to many technological resources that today allow me to do this and help others too.
Being together for a couple of days allowed me to catch up with news of our Missionary family... News about Mongolia and our future in Asia, the coming opening of a new presence in Angola, and the journey of our missionaries in many other countries... Brazil, Colombia, Poland, Mozambique, Ethiopia...
They were not alone! Fr James Mwigani IMC (on the right in this photo) takes them everywhere. Fr Mwigani is the present Delegate Superior in South Africa. In 2004 we both moved to Daveyton (Archdiocese of Johannesburg) beginning the presence of the Consolata Missionaries in that archdiocese.