Today, Friday 22nd September, we celebrated the perpetual oath of our five brothers – François Bameko, Gabriel Lofembe, Olivier Lomboto (all DR Congo), John Peter Otieno (Uganda), and Pasala Sudheer (India).
The Mass was presided over by Reverend Father Philip Adede, a member of the General Council and the Councillor for Africa of The Mill Hill Missionaries. The Mass was well-celebrated, and the singing was excellent. After the homily, it was the moment for the brothers to take their oaths in front of Father Philip, and everything proceeded as usual.
What I wish to share are the words of wisdom from Father Philip as he encouraged the new members to be prepared for the realities that lie ahead as Mill Hill missionaries. I quote Father Philip, who also quoted our current saint, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, saying, “Jesus does not call us to become successful missionaries, but Jesus calls us to be faithful.” This message deeply resonated with me and many of us Mill Hillers who were present, as it reminded us to be faithful not only to one another but also to our mission, vocation, and, above all, to the One who has called us Jesus Christ. These words helped me personally and many of us to renew our own promises.
Every time I attend celebrations like this, whether it’s the perpetual oath for our brothers, ordination to the diaconate, or ordination to the priesthood, it helps me to reflect on my own promises that I made six years ago and to contemplate the reality of my vocation.
I would like to share the immense joy that many of us experienced yesterday as we witnessed our five brothers taking their perpetual oath. The homily was fantastic, especially when Father Philip encouraged all of us missionaries, coming from different backgrounds with our unique differences, to bring all of these together for the glory of God.
The brothers were reminded that they would encounter people of all sorts on their missionary journey, starting with ourselves as Mill Hill missionaries. We are different, yet we are called to remain focused and move in the same direction so that everything we do leads us to eternal life. We should never lose sight of the identity established by our founder, Cardinal Albert Vaughan: “To love and to serve.” As our Motto.
After the Mass, we concluded with a grand celebration, enjoying good food and meals, all in the Mill Hill spirit. There was no high table; everyone, including the superior, joined the queue. This simplicity is the kind of life we are invited to live in our different places of ministry.
Placide Elia MHM