I first met Tom McGrath in Luanda when I joined my basic formation program. I had the impression of a man who was so much in love with his mission. Every Wednesday after pastoral outreach, Tom would be there to welcome us back and listen to our stories. Many times we spent the day out with him. It was such a honour to be with him again at the East African assembly January 2020.
He talked to us about mission, how we should love mission and love ourselves, how we should be handmaids of the Lord at all times. Quoting Pope Francis message to the Curia, he asked us not to fear but embrace change. Especially as the face of Mill Hill changes. He also asked us to always be attentive to the voice of the Lord who called on St Francis to rebuild his Church.
Referring to Fr. Stephen Odhiambo at the time of his ordination in Kakamega, when he vested him, he said emotionally that he felt like Elijah putting his cloak on Elisha to continue his mission. He challenged us to take up mission seriously as it is our time as reminded by the fact that we shall be hosting the society’s general chapter in 2020.
As Tom celebrates his Golden jubilee, we not only wish him well in life, but thank him for his tireless service to the Society and to East African mission. I feel privileged that I had time to journey with Tom however short it was. On behalf of my brothers, we assure our Grandpa Tom, that we shall avail ourselves to the mission of God through Mill Hill for the rest of our lives. Hongera Fr. Tom.
Francis Makuba MHM