On July 22, 2022, the course for missionaries of the three branches of the Franciscan First Order (OFM Conv., OFM and OFM Cap.) concluded in Kampala, Uganda. At the closing Mass, the Vicar General, Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI, proclaimed the Word of God and gave each of the participants a diploma for completing the course.
This most recent course was a continuation of the previous courses offered in Brussels, Belgium. After the interruption caused by the pandemic, a new format was developed which emphasized the contextualization of the missionary vocation, and reorganized the course in the context of present and future missionary work being carried out by Franciscans in Africa.
The course lasted six-weeks. The theoretical part of the course covered topics such as the concept of the African continent; the history of evangelization in Africa; the foundations of missiology; mission and inculturation in Africa; mission and dialogue; the mission and finances; and the missions and the new areopagus in Africa.
In addition to the theoretical part, the participants also learned how our confreres carry out their missionary vocation in the practical sence. The participants visited Franciscan communities and various places of pastoral ministry (parishes, health centers, schools, etc.), as well as places of worship of other religions and other Christian denominations.
One should also mention the spiritual dimension of the course, which was influenced by the Basilica of the Ugandan Martyrs in Munyonyo, the place where St. Charles Lwanga and companions began their march towards martyrdom. On behalf of all the participants, we thank the friars of the Provincial Delegation in Uganda for their very fraternal hospitality. Special thanks to the Conventual Franciscan fraternity in Kampala-Munyonyo.
The course for missionaries began on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, who burned with desire to become a missionary and martyr. The course ended on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the “apostle of the apostles.” This connection with the liturgical calendar seems purposeful, since it reminded the participants that the missionary vocation is linked to the search for holiness, and its implementation, wherever the Lord God sends us, to peoples far and near.
Friar Dariusz MAZUREK, General Delegate for Mission Animation