The Hekima Jesuit community, the Pallotines community and the Montfort Missionaries in Kenya are full of joy and grateful to God for the gift of new lectors and acolytes to the service of the Church. Indeed, 17 lectors and 18 acolytes were instituted this Saturday, 7th November 2020 during an Eucharistic celebration presided over by Father Joseph Oduor Afulo, SJ, outgoing Provincial of the Eastern Africa Jesuit Province (AOR). The liturgical celebration took place in the Chapel of Hekima College under high respect of sanitary rules due to Covid-19.
Father Joseph Afulo SJ reminded to the candidates during his homily that the “conferment of ministries is a moment when they are called to an active participation. This active participation is embodied in the mission of service to the people of God during liturgical celebrations. Lectors and acolytes are instituted to serve at the altar of the Lord,” he added.
An Invitation to Indifference, Generosity and Charity
Commenting the readings of the day, the main celebrant underlined that Paul in his letter to the Philippians 4:10-19, is inviting to an indifference, an attitude of generosity and charity. This Pauline indifference, he said, is not “a passive attitude nor a prevalent disposition of selfishness. It is rather being very deliberate and disposed in our intentions, actions and possessions to be charitable and trusting in divine providence.”
Quoting Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Father Afulo, SJ, noted that his attitude helps us to understand that indifference means to choose only what is for the greater glory of God, be it long life or short life, poverty or riches, sickness or health etc. Charity and generosity become therefore paths of fruitful indifference.
From Indifference to being Neighbour for One Another
According to Father Afulo SJ, the indifference to which Saint Paul invites us should lead us to be charitable by caring for one another and being concerned by the welfare of the poor, the vulnerable and the weak. In other words, we are called to be neighbours for one another following the example of the Good Samaritan.
Commenting the psalm 112, the main celebrant insisted that the experience of God should encourage us to imitate Him, particularly through caring identity and concern for the poor, the abandoned and the outcast. “Our disposition to indifference comes from God and leads us to intimacy and familiarity with that gracious and merciful God,” added Father Afulo SJ.
Ministries in the Church as Service of Fidelity and Integrity
Drawing inspiration from the Gospel (Luc 16:9-15), Father Joseph Afulo invited the candidates “to be true ministers of the altar with a life of integrity and trustworthiness choosing always God and not Mammon. Our familiarity with God, driven by our indifference, should be accompanied with fidelity, honesty and total commitment. Being a lector or an acolyte does not have to be a life of self-contradiction.” The celebrant concluded his homily by asking Mary to intercede for all the candidates in order to be able to carry out their commitments at the service of God and the people with more dedication.
Towards the end of the celebration, Father Deogratias Rwezaura, SJ, Rector of Hekima College Jesuit Community, addressed some words of gratitude to all the participants.
Jean-Pierre Gandaf Walle, SJ