NAIROBI, Kenya - On 15th August 2021, the Montfortian community in Nairobi was privileged to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven as they witnessed other three occasions. It was a moment of joyful thanksgiving.
Firstly, they had the renewal of vows of the two Montfortian scholastics, namely Bro. Alex Muhwezi, SMM and Bro. Amos Hope Makina, SMM. Secondly, a consecration to Jesus through Mary was also made by Ms. Esther Wanjiru who is from Kenya and other 18 lay associates renewed also their consecration to Jesus through Mary. The words of the Psalmist were evident in their hearts, that is, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me”.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Most Reverend Hubertus Matheus Maria van Megen, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya. Among the concelebrants were Fr. Jacob Ombidi Otieno, SMM, the community superior, Fr. Leonard Musinguzi, SMM, Fr. Nobert Kashaija, SMM and Fr. Paul Kumwenda, SMM. In addition, some delegates from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) offices in Kenya also attended the celebration, namely the very Rev. Fr. Anthony Makunde who is the current General Secretary of AMECEA and Fr. Andrew Kaufa, SMM, the current Communications Director at AMECEA, among others.
It was also an opportunity for the Montfortian family in Kenya to come together for a celebration. They had the 3 brothers of St. Gabriel, the 3 Daughters of Wisdom who are currently doing their studies in Kenya, and other religious men and women.
In his homily, Most Rev. Hubertus Matheus Maria explained at length, the role of Mary in our salvation history and Christian life in general. He noted that Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, carrying in her womb, the lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice offered once and for all. She is the bridge between the old and the new covenant.
In addition, while reflecting on Rev. 12:1 that states “Another sign appeared in heaven, behold a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems upon his head”, he noted that the number seven stands for perfection. He reminded us that many times, evil presents itself to us under the guise of perfection, and this makes it powerfully attractive. He added that the ten horns stand for the human rule and authority that is proud and self-sufficient. Thus, the dragon stands for a culture and government that builds its society without God. And it is no surprise that modern society is at war with God, where in the name of freedom, we kill and destroy the unborn, the poor, the immigrants and the refugees. He brought hope to the congregation by noting that, the church as mother, though continuously being attacked and put to shame by the dragon, never ceases to give birth to the Word of God that consoles and gives life. As Mary was close to her son, she too never abandons us, her children, in our vocations and commitments, and this is our hope and a cause for celebration.
After the Eucharistic celebration, they shared a meal together as one family. The Nuncio thanked the Montfortian community for the warm welcome. Likewise, Fr. Jacob Ombidi Otieno, SMM also thanked the Nuncio for honouring the celebration. In expression of his humble gratitude, Fr. Jacob presented to the Nuncio a copy of the major writings of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort.
May the Virgin Mary, mother of pilgrim humanity, make us so committed disciples of Jesus, the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom. And that in all things, we may remain faithful in following the spiritual path proposed by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort and become fully mature with the fullness which Jesus possessed on earth and with the fullness of His glory in heaven.
Bro. Alex Muhwezi, SMM
Montfortian Community - Nairobi