✧ HSR Regional Assembly 2022 – Entebbe, Uganda
At last, the time for the Holy Spirit Regional Assembly had come!
Originally planned for Ethiopia in January 2022, it had to be delayed due to uncertainty of the ‘when and where’, as the conflict in Ethiopia and difficulties to obtain visas concerned us all in the latter part of 2021 and into 2022. Finally, it was agreed to hold it in Uganda, at the Best Western Hotel in Entebbe, conveniently near the airport. It was a lovely, though brief, opportunity to sample the hospitality of Uganda and its people.
Finally, all 35 participants had arrived in Uganda, and how wonderful it was to meet and catch up with those we had not seen for so long, and also to meet new people in the Cabrinian family! The meeting began on Tuesday 22nd, with an introductory welcome by Sr. Diane, Regional Superior, and an opening address by Sr. Barbara, MSC General Superior, giving some background to where we find our ourselves today, calling us to ‘Free ourselves and put on wings’ so as to enter more deeply into Mission despite the many challenges we face in our Institute, mission and the world.
Through the First Day, our theme was to ‘Re-connect’ with each other, and we began with a brief Morning Prayer that included a ritual where we each brought a small amount of soil from our places of mission, and placed it into a common bowl, which served as a reminder of our connectedness through the Assembly. There were also brief presentations of the various missions & ministries, focusing not on ‘facts & figures’, but rather on the impact, through sharing specific stories of individuals we have helped in one way or another, as well as looking at areas of unmet needs to which we might be able to expand our ministries. Accompanying these vignettes, were short videos that Tatiana Paradiso, Head of the Generalate Communications Office, had put together after visiting the HSR missions, on the themes of Education, Refugees, Family Services, Formation and Healthcare. Tea breaks and meals were joyful as people chatted and discussed the topics and also life and family back home. We even celebrated a birthday wishing Mzamo many blessings!
Each day we had Mass in the evening, presided by Fr. Odomaro Mubangizi SJ, a good friend of the MSCs. Concelebrating with him was Fr Wiseman Nkomo from St. Philips Mission, eSwatini. On the Wednesday and Thursday we were also honored to have with us Bishop Sabino Odoki, Bishop of Arua Diocese, where our sisters are based in northern Uganda.
Our theme of the Second Day was to ‘Re-imagine’, as we were to look again at the recommendations we had made in 2019 to bring to the General Chapter. Fr. Odomaro gave an inspiring presentation titled “Free yourselves and put on wings: A radical call to Fraternity, Dialogue, Communion and Mission.” He challenged us to look at the obstacles that block our freedom, and to seek the ‘wings’ that can set us free to be true missionaries.
The rest of the 2nd day was spent in table groups, to reflect and discuss the 2019 Recommendations
- to see if they were still relevant for us now, in this world so impacted by Covid and other challenges. As we began our review, Sr. Barbara invited us to look at them from a different viewpoint, to open our ‘wings’ and create our ‘Dreams’ for the future in Mission, Vocation & Formation, Government, Governance & Constitutions. Changing the way we were looking inspired us all, giving a breath of new life into them.
On our Last Day, our theme was to ‘Re-commit’ ourselves to Mission. We had separate Sisters and Partners sessions. Sr. Barbara and Bishop Odoki participated in the laity sessions, facilitated by Nicole; while Ben facilitated the session with the sisters. Our closing of the Assembly commenced with evening Mass and a ‘sending off’ to our missions. The soil that we had each contributed to the common bowl at the Opening Ceremony was mixed together by Sr. Diane, representing our unity. Each person was called up to receive a small amount of soil together with a few seeds from Uganda to take home. Our Partners in Mission were also invited to make a personal commitment to walk alongside the MSCs for 1 year, which they joyfully did. Bishop Odoki also gave a closing talk to thank everyone, especially for the MSC presence in his Diocese, and encouraging all to continue the good work we have begun. He then gave out small mementos of Uganda. Cath Garner, who was to be a facilitator, but then was unable to come, sent a video message of support and encouragement from Australia.
We are very grateful to everyone who participated and helped make the Assembly a success, and especially we thank Bishop Odoki, Sr. Barbara and Fr. Odomaro for their presence and presentations. We also thank the staff at the hotel, who were friendly, professional and very helpful during our stay. We give praise to God, and ask for the continued inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit to guide us as we seek to follow God’s Way, and lovingly serve our brothers and sisters in need wherever and whenever.
Sr. Maureen MSC
Srs. Tigist & Elfinesh receiving the symbolic soil & seeds – soil from the different missions put together at the opening Ceremony, and now mixed altogether at the closing ceremony, and fro each mission & person a small amount received together with a few seeds from Uganda.
Las Hermanas Tigist y Elfinesh recibiendo la tierra y las semillas simbólicas – la tierra de las diferentes misiones reunida en la ceremonia de apertura, y ahora mezclada en la ceremonia de clausura, y de cada misión y persona una pequeña cantidad recibida junto con unas pocas semillas de Uganda.
Le sorelle Tigist & Elfinesh che ricevono la terra e i semi simbolici – terra dalle diverse missioni messa insieme nella cerimonia di apertura, e ora mescolata insieme nella cerimonia di chiusura, e per ogni missione e persona una piccola quantità ricevuta insieme ad alcuni semi dall’Uganda.
Irmãs Tigist & Elfinesh recebendo o solo simbólico & sementes – solo das diferentes missões reunidas na cerimônia de abertura, e agora misturado completamente na cerimônia de encerramento, e de cada missão & pessoa uma pequena quantidade recebida junto com algumas sementes de Uganda.
The bishop addressing the Assembly after the Closing Mass & Ceremonies. Fr. Nkomo from eSwatini in background.
El obispo dirigiéndose a la Asamblea después de la misa y las ceremonias de clausura. El P. Nkomo de eSwatini al fondo.
Il vescovo si rivolge all’Assemblea dopo la Messa di chiusura e le cerimonie. P. Nkomo di eSwatini sullo sfondo.
O bispo se dirige à Assembléia após a Missa e Cerimônias de Encerramento. Pe. Nkomo da eSwatini em segundo plano.
The bishop giving Sr. Barbara a small moment of Uganda.
El obispo entregando a la Hna. Barbara un pequeño momento de Uganda.
Il vescovo consegna a Sr. Barbara un piccolo momento dell’Uganda.
O bispo deu a Ir. Barbara um pequeno momento de Uganda.
Laity group with Sr. Barbara and Bishop Odoki.
Grupo de laicos con la Hna. Barbara y el Obispo Odoki.
Gruppo di laici con Sr. Barbara e il vescovo Odoki.
Grupo de leigos com Ir. Barbara e o bispo Odoki.
Blessing of Mzamo (L) & Zodwa (R) by Bishop Odoki.
Bendición de Mzamo (izquierda) y Zodwa (derecha) por el obispo Odoki.
Benedizione di Mzamo (L) e Zodwa (R) da parte del vescovo Odoki.
Bênção de Mzamo (L) & Zodwa (R) pelo Bispo Odoki.