By Honore Onana Olah, SJ
Today, the 31st October, 2017 the Church and especially the Society of Jesus is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death into new life of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1533-1617), also called and known as Alfonso Rodriguez, who is the Patron saint of the Brothers in the Society of Jesus. At Hekima Jesuit community, the celebration reveals a particular character because the community is blessed with two Jesuits Brothers: Arnold Murwira, and Aaron Nyadawa.
In his message to the whole Society of Jesus, Fr Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal SJ, the Superior General said that “The celebration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Jesuit Brother Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez provides us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of our common vocation to the Society of Jesus, the vocation by which we, filled with joy, leave all behind to follow the Lord Jesus (Mt 19, 16-22), becoming friends in the Lord in order to collaborate in his mission of liberating all humankind”.
All the Jesuits of the Hekima community were present during the mass which was held at Hekima chapel. Fr Bienvenu Matanzonga, SJ presided over the Eucharist celebration, while the concelebrants were Fr John Ghansah, SJ, the Rector of Hekima Jesuit community, and Fr Gaspar Sunhwa, SJ.
Br. Arnold Murwira, SJ, one of the two Brothers companions of Hekima Jesuit community shared the spiritual reflection during the mass and he spoke about the vocation of being a Brother in the Society of Jesus. In his words: “I was the only brother when I joined the novitiate, and other novices asked me many times why, but I told them there is a diversity of vocations in the Church, and I believe that is how God continues to work among us. Brother Murwira, SJ, also made a parallelism between the life of Brothers today and the life of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez.
At the end of the mass, the celebration took another dimension with songs and agapes as friends in our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrating the joy of having Brothers in the Society of Jesus.
Indeed, the English Supplement to the Missal and Lectionary for the Society of Jesus reminds us that Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ, served during forty six years “at the College of Montesión in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) as doorkeeper where he befriended Saint Peter Claver. He is remembered for his fidelity, kindness, spiritual struggles, and friendship with student who sought his counsel.”