IVORY COAST: Consolata Missionaries Build-Up to Fifth Conference in April

By Fr Boniface Ochieng IMC

SAN PEDRO, JANUARY 26, 2024 (CISA) The Consolata Missionaries in Ivory Coast are having their Annual Assembly from January 22 to 29, 2024, in preparation for a regional conference to adapt the Acts of the 14th General Chapter held in Rome in 2023.

The assembly, an extraordinary encounter of eleven Missionaries from six different nationalities (Italy, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Argentina), working in three different dioceses across Ivory Coast: Odienne diocese, San Pedro diocese and the archdiocese of Abidjan, is to make ways for their forthcoming fifth conference of the Consolata Missionaries in Ivory Coast.

Having a regional conference is a tradition of the Consolata Missionary Institute, which occurs after every General Chapter of the congregation. In a designated place, each group, delegation or region sits to actualize the fruits of the General Chapter according to their context. This is what is called a Conference.

Since its humble beginnings 28 years ago, the delegation of the Consolata Missionaries in Ivory Coast will be having its fifth conference in April 2024.

This year’s assembly began with a recollection by Fr. John Baptist Okaro, IMC, rector and a member of the Delegation Council.

In his exhortation entitled “All for the Gospel”, scripturally inspired from 1 Corinthians 9:16-23. He dwelt on three major points outlining what “All for the Gospel” meant to him.

“‘All for the Gospel’ is a five-faced reality. First, it means to leave oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit just as the Apostle Philip did, Acts of the Apostle 8: 26-40. The second is to have Christ at the centre of one’s life. The third is to move out and encounter the other. Fourth is the three aspects of Ad Gentes (that is Ad Pauperes -to the poor; Ad vitam -for life and Ad Extra -to the extremities of the land). Finally, the Fifth is the holiness of life,” he said.

He further requested all members to find personal or individual meaning to these significant words of St Paul and underlined some contemporary challenges one would face in living the Gospel as a religious and above all as a missionary, which he highlighted as individualism, favouritism, and lack of creativity or comfort with the status quo; the Syndrome of Jonas, closed within failures or achievements, among others.

In his reflection, he offered some recommendations for dealing with the challenges in this noble vocation. He said one should have the memory of his first encounter with Christ, the roots of his missionary calling and nurture the spirit of going elsewhere – moving towards other unknown realities of life.

After a day of spiritual recollection and the evaluation of the Continental Conference held in Bunju, Tanzania from December 4 to 9, 2023, by Fr Matteo Pettinari, IMC, the missionaries, guided by the Preparatory Commission, embarked on a heavy work of presenting and analyzing the Acts of the 14th General Chapter, which was held in Rome in May and June 2023. This was then followed by the evaluation of the Acts of the 4th Conference held in San Pedro from April 16 to 2018.