By Honore Onana Olah, SJ
“All Saints of Africa and the Society of Jesus… Pray for us”! These are the words of faith pronounced this November in the chapel of the Jesuit community of Hekima on the occasion of the celebration of all the Saints of Africa and the Society of Jesus.
This year, the liturgical calendar proper to the Society of Jesus was good enough for the celebration of all the Saints of Africa to coincide with that celebration of all the saints of the Society of Jesus. Indeed, the Feast of all the Saints of the Society of Jesus is generally celebrated every November 5th after the celebration of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, Patron Saint of the Brothers of the Society of Jesus and All Saints. The date of November 6th reminds us of the celebration of all the Saints of Africa. This year the 5th of November fell on a Sunday and this led to a double celebration for the 6th of November.
Father Jocelyn Rabeson, SJ, who presided over the Mass, in his homily recalled the presence of all the Saints known and unknown in our families. The presence of those whom we call “ancestors and who preceded us” and who continue to watch over us. “They followed the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and that is why they are examples for us.”
All saints of Africa and the Society of Jesus… Pray for us!
According to Father Rabeson, there is no differences between them and us because « those people whether they are religious or lay people, Jesuit or non-Jesuit, they shared the same gospel in different ways.” We are also called to do the same.
During the Mass, several names of Saints and Blessed including Saint Jacques Berthieu, Saint Anuarite Bakhita, Blessed Isidore Bakanja and the Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, etc… were sang during the Litany of Saints in a spirit of communion with Christ.
Indeed, the English Supplement to the Missal and Lectionary for the Society of Jesus reminds us that the feast of All Saints of the Society of Jesus we are celebrating “honors the Jesuits who are with God in Glory; the canonized saints, the beatified, and the countless others, who in following the charism of the Society of Jesus, have attained heaven”. The celebration also calls to mind “the power of God shining through human weakness and the reward given to those who faithfully labor under the banner of Christ’s cross.”