On Saturday, May 20, the Congregation of Holy Cross’s District of East Africa celebrated the Final Professions of Br. Morris Achana, C.S.C., Mr. Prosper Atukwatse, C.S.C., and Mr. Joseph Owori, C.S.C.
It was the first time that Final Professions were held on the grounds of the beautiful new McCauley Formation House in Nairobi, Kenya, which was dedicated on October 22, 2016.
Fr. Patrick Neary, C.S.C., Superior of the District of East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) presided and preached at the Final Profession Mass. Also in attendance was Br. William Zaydak, Superior of the Moreau Province (Austin, Texas). Br. Zaydak received the vows of Br. Achana, while Fr. Neary received the vows of Mr. Atukwatse and Mr. Owori.
“Today, my brothers, you commit to leave behind esteem and honor and the obsessive quest to be noticed and noteworthy,” exhorted Fr. Neary in his homily. “Fr. Moreau, speaking in the voice of Christ, says, ‘Hide yourself in God with me, and do not dream of appearing again before I show myself to the world. Hide yourself. Bury yourself willingly in the dust of a classroom or in the obscurity of a rural parish church.’”
Then, after having reflected on each of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Fr. Neary told the men: “Now it is time for you to get to work. Your mission is what our founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, enjoined upon us all: ‘Be about the work of Resurrection.’ No other saint has said this. Be men with hope to bring, in every moment, in every situation that you find yourselves.”
“It all begins with a call from God and our whole life must be a passionate response to that call,” continued Fr. Neary.” That is why our Constitutions begin and end in the same way, with the call. ‘It is the Lord Jesus calling us: “Come. Follow me.”’ And we respond, like young Samuel, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’”
A celebratory meal followed the Final Vows Liturgy. It was a particularly festive occasion as all three of the newly final professed hail from Uganda, and it was the first time that many of their family members had traveled to Kenya.
After letting the Final Vows of the three men sink in for a few days, the local Holy Cross gathered again on Thursday, May 25, to celebrate the Deaconate Ordinations of Mr. Atukwatse and Mr. Owori. With a purposefully smaller assembly, as the emphasis had been placed on the Final Profession celebration, the Ordination Mass was held inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel of the McCauley Formation House.
The Most Rev. David Kamau, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Nairobi, presided at the Ordination Mass. He is the same bishop who dedicated the new chapel and formation house in 2016.
As Fr Neary had preached in his Final Vows homily, getting to work is exactly what the men will do now.
Br. Achana, a teacher by training with a Masters in Educational Planning and Administration, has been assigned to the faculty of St. Joseph’s Hill Secondary School in Kyembogo, Uganda. Deacon Owori will work at St. Brendan’s Parish in Kitete, Tanzania, while Deacon Atukwatse will continue serving as Bursar of Holy Cross Lake View Secondary School.