Tribute to Fr. James Juma MHM

We have known our brother Fr. James Juma, lived and worked with him for as long as he has been a member of our Society and for us the younger ones since we joined the Mill Hill Missionaries. The death of Fr. James “comes like a thunder bolt out of the blue. His death resembles the fall of a young tree, apparently in full bloom. The fall of such a tree comes as a complete surprise. Yes, we know one day we’ll all die but we did not know he would go this soon. When people die like that we are shocked and saddened. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem fair.” And especially when such a person is a pillar to the family, friends and confrères. He leaves us, his mother, siblings and friends to mourn him.

A few months ago, we were together with Fr. James Juma for the African Cluster, discussing and planning how the Society ought to move forward. Whenever he gave his contributions, we felt he had genuine concerns for the Society. His passion to see that Africa is well established and the future secured was so evident. He had a lot of wisdom and good plans for the Society. It is a great loss.

His death is a great loss for our Society. We have lost a great leader, a coach and a guide. Fr. James was a firm man. He challenged injustices no matter who committed them. He could be seen as tough but that was his nature. He spoke things the way he saw them and felt. He was the person to whom some of us could run, whenever we found ourselves in trouble or discouragement. I am sure a good number of us spoke with him the weekend before his death. His loss has left a big gap in the Society, since all his work is cut short.  His death should remind us of the emptiness of life without God, and to think beyond ourselves and to put others first.

We are a people of the resurrection. The loss of James is a challenge to all of us as members of the Society to live and accept what we preach, the resurrection. God has given us the victory over death through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May Fr. James rest in the risen Lord and  intercede for us to continue being faithful to our responsibilities and commitments on a daily basis. 

Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu, mhm

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