AFRICA: KENYA: BISHOP CALLS FOR AUTHENTIC MISSIONARIES
CISA REPORT: NAIROBI, October 28, 2011 (CISA) –Kenyan Catholic Bishop Anthony Mukobo, Chairman of Commission for Missions in the country has called on missioners to be authentic in order to make Christ their sole mission.
Speaking at the regional Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) meeting in Nairobi on October 26, Bishop Mukobo said that to be truly authentic, the missioners need to project the image of communion and share the faith-experience with fellow men.
He pointed out that missioners must be ready to promote the corporate responsibility of the People of God in all its various sections, laity, religious and clergy.
“There is today an undeniable thirst and hunger for prayer and contemplation. We see this around us, but especially among the laity, among the young,” said the bishop.
He noted that for a Christian community to truly and joyfully fulfil its mission, every Christian must be helped in his/her striving to appreciate his/her missionary commitment to put Christ effectively at the center of his/her life.
He called on the PMS delegates to practice on-going catechesis adding that it is urgent and compelling to spread the message of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him.
However, he said, “The more we preach Jesus in generic form without inviting people to have that personal encounter with Jesus, the more we will be “manufacturing” lukewarm Christians whose faith lacks a lot in depth. As Directors of Pontifical Missionary Societies, you have to make God known, loved and served.”
“We must effectively translate the primacy of evangelization into deeds, in a continent like Africa where eight hundred million men and women have not yet consciously come to know Christ and his Gospel in significant ways; and our word and witness, with the progressively better use of the mass media, must be placed generously at the service of this endeavour,” said the bishop.
While speaking about the role of PMS in Africa today, the bishop advised the directors to be engaged all the time, to promote solidarity with the other diocesan, national and continental PMS wherever they may be.
“Those in Africa, the Pontifical Missionary office at whatever level, for instance, should update those missionaries in diaspora the successes, gaps, challenges etc, as being experienced locally such that upon the return from missionary lands their brothers and sisters will have easy transition and insertion,” he said.
He reminded them that in the course of planting God’s message in people’s hearts today; they should not ignore cultural, religious, political, economic, educational, sanitary and environmental aspects of life.
Bishop Mukobo further said that Africa today needs real and genuine shepherds and pastors. “I think Africa Missions needs priests and religious who will relate with their Christians horizontally and not vertically. It would be a pity if this priest/brother/nun became part of the small cream of affluent elite in a sea of misery.”
You guys should maintain a high sense of missionary zeal and avoid becoming just a “maintenance man” in an “established Church.” He said.