The feast of "Our Lady Consolata" is celebrated on June 20. Being this year a Saturday, we gathered at Pax Christi (Newcastle, South Africa) to celebrate together just a few days' before.
Consolata Missionaries (professed students, priests ... and a bishop!) arrived from Waverley and Mamelodi (Pretoria), Daveyton (Johannesburg), Madadeni and Merrivale (these in KwaZulu - Natal Province) and, of course, the Diocese of Manzini in Swaziland as both Fr Giorgio Massa and myself attended the gathering.
The first afternoon was dedicated to catch up with some information regarding the celebration of the beatification of Sr Irene Stefani MC in Kenya and the "International Missionary Conferece" held there on the 110th anniversary of our first conference in Murang'a (Kenya).
It was more than information. There is a lot of homework to be done in the communities as we plan to work more and more at continental level and we reflect on our service of evangelization all over the world.
In the evening we started the celebration of our feast which this year brings two special jubilees: the Silver Jubilee of profession of Fr Matthew Ouma Opiyo IMC (from Kenya) and the Golden Jubilee of profession of Fr Giorgio Massa IMC (from Italy).
The following morning, together with some diocesan priests, religious serving in the area and some lay people, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady Consolata. The liturgy was prepared by our professed students coming from different parts of the continent. It was probably the best I could remember since I arrived in 1994.
Fr Matthew Ouma presided, Fr Daniel Kibuw'a preached and Fr Giorgio Massa shared on his journey from the time he joined the diocesan seminary in Cuneo when he was only 11 years' old, then decided to join the Consolata family, arrived in South Africa in 1969 ... until his presence in Swaziland since September last year.
At the end, aware of the presence of our professed students, he said: "It is worth giving all our lives to Jesus".