On 29 November 2017 we arrived at the Scholasticate Eymard Formation Center in POLA (Province of Our Lady of the Assumption - Philippines-Uganda-Hawaii).
We were accompanied by Father Brel Gustinau Daouda Malela sss, the Regional Superior at that time. After practically six months of a course of English, we began our theological studies: in August 2018 Brother Ceti Cesaire Bansimba Moukanza sss, and in January 2019 Brother Ephege Baloula sss, commenced at the CICM Maryhill School of Theology, which is situated about a 20 minutes’ walk from the Scholasticate and about 5 minutes from the provincial house. This Institute belongs to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and we familiarly call it ‘MST’. The other scholastic confreres (Filipino and Ugandan) study in a diocesan seminary (the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary) in Makati City. At MST there are two scholastics from the Congo in the 4th year of theology and a Chinese confrere in a special programme.
Since on 15 March 2020 Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and other localities have been placed in quarantine because of the pandemic Covid-19, we followed the courses online in the comfort of our computer room.
We are twenty-one scholastics and two formators.
Three scholastics are in the 4th year of theology (two Congolese and a Filipino), two in the 3rd year (Ugandans), six in the 2nd year (four Filipinos, a Ugandan and a Chinese), four in the 1st year (two Ugandans, a Filipino and a Kenyan, who is a brother candidate from the Ugandan delegation).
We also have six confreres studying philosophy for a year before starting theology.
As regards the house programme, this is the structure: at 6 o'clock we have the Eucharist and Lauds, followed by breakfast, after which we take part in the online courses. At 6 p.m. we have Adoration and Vespers followed by dinner. Straight after dinner, we pray the Rosary (while walking in the yard); then we wash the dishes and clean the refectory. We end our chores with compline at 9 p.m. On Saturdays, beginning at 3 p.m., we have manual work and sport (volleyball).
Our experience here has enabled us to notice some essential points: a sharing in common that makes for an efficient contribution to finances, a good organization of the vocation ministry, love of prayer and commitment of the members in working for the province and supporting it in its initiatives and projects.
In short, the Eymard Formation Center scholasticate is a community of the life of intense prayer. We are initiated into a sound preparation about the liturgy and devotional exercises (Marian and others), as well as in maintaining care of the budge well. The formator emphasises the importance of ‘becoming excellent, authentic and transparent religious.’ Sacrifice and the gift of self for the community is our credo. We are assessed according to the ‘SAAAC’ method: ‘spiritual life’, ‘academics’ (studies), ‘apostolate’, ‘affectivity’ and ‘community life’.
Brother Céti Césaire Bansimba Moukanza, sss
Extract from the Bulletin Régional n.1 - 02/08/2022
Region of Cardinal Emile Biayenda