Auteur: Katy Beedle Rice
On Tuesday 2nd February 2016, feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple, Day of the Consecrated Life and closing of the Year of the Consecrated Life, three Dominican brothers and one Dominican nun, made their first profession, together at the Dominican monastery of Corpus Christi in Karen, Nairobi, Kenya. Friar Maury Schepers, OP, Vicar Provincial of the Provincial Vicariate of Eastern Africa, gives us, himself, the story of this wonderful Dominican common event.
It happened quickly! At midday on Monday, 01 February, three Brothers of the Vicariate of Eastern Africa, having completed their year of Novitiate in the care of fr. Albert Nolan in South Africa (Aquinas Priory, Mondeor, on the outskirts of Johannesburg), boarded a Kenya Airways flight for Nairobi. They arrived at six in the evening. Next morning (02 February) they went over from St. Dominic's House of Formation (Karen) to the Monastery of the Dominican Nuns, to rehearse for their profession. Coincidentally the Nuns had scheduled a profession of their own; and we agreed, as Brothers and Sisters, to come together for this event - their one and our three!
So in mid-afternoon the Nuns and Friars were together at the Monastery, for the blessing of candles (the Nuns make paschal candles - and other kinds too - that are used all over this region), a procession, and the Eucharist - with the first professions!
Sr. Bernadette Wanza made her first profession in the hands of Sr. Mary Martin,O.P., the Prioress of the Dominican monastery of Corpus Christi. Brothers Francis Kawooya, Alfred Omondi and Stephen Sese made their own in the hands of fr. Maury Schepers, who presided over the Eucharist, with a number of concelebrants, and preached. Since it was the feast of the Presentation, the theme of the homely was LIGHT - the witness of Simeon: “let your servant go in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation, LIGHT for the Gentiles, and GLORY for Israel”. Our profession is also to be light to the world.
What a wonderful way to conclude the year of the Consecrated Life for all of us, and to begin the consecrated life of these Brothers and Sister of ours! Now, Lord, you can let your servants go forth in peace, as missionary disciples.
Please offer thanks to God with us for this great blessing, as we put the newly professed symbolically into the loving arms of the Mother who carried her Infant Son to his Father's House. One of our newly professed is Ugandan, the other two Kenyans, as is Sr. Bernadette.
fr. Maury Schepers, OP - Vicar Provincial
(12 February 2016)
Article date: Friday, February 12, 2016Date overload: Friday, February 12, 2016Category Home: Life of the OrderCategory Location: AfricaCategory Tag Topics: News from AfricaSpirituality / prayer / liturgyRising newsletter: Rising newsletter
On Ash Wednesday, millions of people around the world freely submit to having their foreheads marked with ashes while they hear the words “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Every year, Catholics, other Christians, and even some non-Christians are eager to get their ashes, but not everyone who wants ashes imposed on their foreheads understands what this imposition of ashes is supposed to mean or what the words “to dust you shall return” are meant to convey.
“You are dust and to dust you shall return” is a quotation from the Book of Genesis. It is taken from chapter 3, when God declares to Adam and Eve the consequences of their sin. As God warned in chapter 2, one result of eating the fruit of the forbidden tree was that Adam and Eve would surely die. They, and all their progeny, would return to the dust from which they came. For the human race, the children of Adam and Eve, death is a consequence of original sin. It was not part of God’s original intention (see Wisdom 1: 13).
The death of human beings is a consequence of sin and is an evil that is contrary to God’s original purpose. It is part of what Jesus came to undo. Jesus is the redeemer of all mankind and, by his own death and resurrection, has liberated human beings from the tyranny of sin and its evil effects. St. Paul tells us that “Jesus must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet,” that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death,” and that “for just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life” (1 Cor. 15: 25, 26, 22). Jesus has come to destroy death, to raise up our earthly bodies of dust and transform them according to the pattern of his own glorified body.
When we have ashes imposed upon our foreheads and hear the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” we are invited into this great mystery of death and resurrection in Christ. In the season of Lent, we are called to remember our own sin and our own death, so as to see in ourselves the need for Christ’s redemption. We remember that we are dust so that we will also remember that it is our own lowly condition that Jesus has embraced and redeemed in His death and raised up and glorified in His resurrection. We remember this, not just through a mental exercise, but also by our fasting and works of penance. The practices we adopt for our Lenten observance are meant to keep ever before us the reality of our sin and our death in order that we might hone our desire for their remedy. The Church has traditionally referred to such practices as “mortification,” a word that suggests the “putting to death” of the body in order to enter more fully into the paschal mystery of Christ.
In health care centers throughout the world, many people are sick and some people, sadly, are dying. For those who have faith in Jesus, the mystery of his suffering, death, and resurrection is something they experience in very real and intense ways. They are confronted with their own bodily weakness and, for many, the possibility of their own death. This can be a most frightening and discomforting experience. It can also be a moment of profound grace. The sick and the dying often find themselves prompted to turn to God in ways that they never have before, longing to share in Christ’s victory over sin and death. They share now in the Cross of Jesus, trusting that, through His Cross, they will also share in Jesus’ resurrection.
Our ashes invite us to solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffer in our midst. As we begin the observance of Lent, we are told to recall our own weakness and our own mortality. How can we not take heed of the sickness and mortal danger experienced by our suffering neighbors? We are invited to enter into the passion and death of our Lord, a mystery being lived out all around us. We...
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