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Saints Andrew Kim, Paul Chong & companions
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Marist Calendar - September

Animated by hearts passionate



Brother Eugène Kabanguka presents to us the new Vicar General

03/10/2009: General House

Brother Eugène Kabanguka is from Rwanda. He is 56 years old. He has worked in formation as sub-master of novices and master of postulants. He was Vice-Rector, then Rector of the Marist International Center of Nairobi. He has also worked in the animation of the brothers and communities as Superior of the District of Rwanda. At present he is Provincial of the Province « Central East Africa »

AMEstaún. The election of Brother Emili Turú as Superior General also raised expectations about the future Vicar General. How did you experience that time?

Eugène. After the election of Brother Emili Turù as Superior General, I asked myself who would be his assistant. I saw a number of Brothers, since after all the services he has rendered the Institute, he would do it with the Lord, and I am sure the Good Mother would be at his side to tell him, as at Cana: « Do whatever he tells you ». However, he also needs human hands. And hands which respond with a passionate heart for Jesus Christ and are full of compassion for the Brothers. I believe Brother Joseph McKee can offer those hands to Brother Emili.

AMEstaún. You know Brother Joseph well. Describe to us some features of his personality.

Eugène. Brother Joseph McKee spent many years of his youth as a Brother in the Cameroons and had 6 years in Kenya as rector of Marist International Center in Nairobi. I will describe him as I knew him in Nairobi. Marist International Center is a house of formation, but also a hospitality house for the many Brothers who visit Africa. Even other Brothers on mission in Africa very often pass through. They were always well received. Joe was waiting for them, whether at the airport or in front of the Champagnat fraternity.
The young Brothers in formation, sometimes over 80 in number, found in Joe an older brother, who was often close to them. He gave them a love for a well prepared liturgy, especially by encouraging singing. Musical talents were developed among the youth. Joe is very methodical in all he does. He is rather uncomfortable with carelessness in the dress of the young Brothers. One should be poor but presentable. You see how neat he is without any extravagance.

AMEstaún. How do you perceive Joe’s inculturation in Africa?

Eugène. He has a cultural sensitivity. He is attentive to cultural differences. In Nairobi he encouraged what are called cultural days, when Brothers from different cultures presented the values and popular elements of their countries. This sensitivity was evident even in the liturgy. He loves music and performs it. With him, the young Brothers developed their talents, as far as beginning to produce pieces of liturgical music on CD. I can say without deceiving myself that Joe has a gift for languages. He speaks several European languages, but is also interested in some African ones. I think that that is linked to his cultural sensitivity.

AMEstaún. Brother Joe left Africa to live in Nijmegen, where he was appointed Provincial. How did you experience this change?

Eugène. As Provincial of the Centre West Europe Province, a service he accepted with much faith, Joe has had experience of the Belgian motto: « Union gives strength ». Back in Europe after many years of mission in Africa, he was hardly expecting this appointment, especially since he did not know the Brothers of the Province at all well. He has relied on the experience of other Brothers of the Province, and he is very much at home in the communities. I had an experience of this during a meeting we had in Germany last year. And when I passed through Belgium, all the Brothers were happy with his leadership.

AMEstaún. A thought for Joe

Eugène. I pray that Brothers Emili and Joe may be animated by hearts passionate for God and compassionate for all the Brothers of the Institute.

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