KENYA: Bishop Joya to Consolata Missionaries, ‘Avoid Culture of Individualism and Self-Seeking’

Paschal Norbert

SAGANA, MARCH 1, 2024 (CISA)“As Church leaders, we must be ready to serve others sacrificially with love in all humility. In other words, as leaders in the congregation and among Christians we must be humble, loving, selfless and ‘the servants of all’,” said Rt. Rev. Hieronymus E. Joya, IMC, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal.

In his homily during the 13th Regional Conference of the Consolata Missionaries Kenya/Uganda region held in Sagana from February 26 to March, the bishop-member of the Consolata Missionaries appealed to the conscience of the over 44 delegates drawn from Kenya and Uganda to rediscover their missionary identity and zeal in the true spirit of servant leadership.

“As missionary leaders in Jesus’ Church, we must be the servants of all the people we are entrusted to serve in our missions. We are to give both spiritual and human services to the people of God who share with us the royal priesthood of Christ by Baptism (Rv 1:6; cf. 1 Pt 2:5,9),” said Bishop Joya.

Reflecting on a reading from Mathew 20:17-28, the former regional superior of the Consolata Missionaries Kenya/Uganda (2011-2016) said many missionaries suffer from the ‘Zebedian Sons Syndrome’, their selfish and self-serving ambition leads them astray from the missionary mandate of Christ in today’s world.

Consolata Missionaries Kenya/Uganda Region attending the 13th Regional Conference at Bethany House, Sagana.

Joya explains, “As agents of evangelization whose core mandate is Mission Ad Gentes, we should avoid the attitude of the sons of Zebedee of desiring favours and a better place in the mission. Today a good number of missionaries suffer from the Zebedian Sons Syndrome where they seek for favours from people in authority and look for better places in the missions by all means but are not willing to make any sacrifice for the salvation of the people of God as the first missionaries did.”

He cautioned, “Not willing to go and serve the poor, the marginalized, the vulnerable groups and reaching out to none non-Christians is going against the aim of the congregation. Even worse, getting more preoccupied with only congregational investments like some congregations are doing now is endangering the existence of the congregation since we relinquish the sense of divine providence and seek security in the capitalization of material wealth for our own sustenance without sparing anything for the building of the Kingdom.”

Bishop Joya detailed the profile of who a Consolata Missionary ought to be. He said the missionary that the congregation, Church and society need today is a person who has a sense of belonging and works for the common of society and the entire congregation.

“The person who treasures the charism of consolation and lives and shares it with people generously. The person who uses his formation and acquired knowledge not for self-gain but for the greater good of the members of the congregation. The person who lives the ideals of the formation he received and is ready to form others with the witness of his life and who is ready to form himself and be formed by others into a better person,” he said, adding “The person who appreciates his cultural and congregational identity but transcends his race, nationality, tribe and social status. At the same time, he recognizes the value of diversity, respects and learns from others and lives with them without prejudice.”

Bishop Joya appealed to also appealed to the missionaries to exercise accountability and transparency in the use of financial resources and urged for the adoption of better financial guiding principles for the common good of all members of the congregation.

He said, “Amid economic challenges of our time, resource mobilization, proper management and administration as well as investing in viable income generating projects is needed. Moreover, consolidating finance resources in the common fund and sharing, guarantees a sustainable economy that enables the missionaries to have sufficient resources to live with dignity and carry out their missionary activities without problems.”

The regional conferences of the Consolata Missionaries take place every six years after the General Chapter and are a platform where they plan their missionary lives and activities of the congregation for the six years to come.

The 13th Regional Conference of the Consolata Missionaries Kenya/Uganda region was attended by Fr James Bhola Lengarin IMC, the Superior General, Fr Michelangelo Piovano IMC, the Vice Superior General and Fr Erasto Mgalama IMC, the Continental Councilor for Africa.