By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer
Fifty years ago, the Apostles of Jesus (AJ) Missionaries were founded in Africa, and this year the AJs – who have been serving in the Diocese of Allentown since 1996 – will celebrate their golden jubilee with a Mass Thursday, July 26 at Queenship of Mary, Northampton.
Regional Superior Father Augustine Idra is stationed at the AJ’s Regional Office Headquarters and USA Mission Office Headquarters in Northampton.
“Allentown is actually our mother Diocese in the United States because it was from here that we started and spread to the rest of the Dioceses throughout the country,” Father Idra said.
“It is therefore, right and fitting to celebrate our golden jubilee in the Diocese where our Regional House is situated at St. Michael Rectory in Northampton.”
Queenship of Mary is the AJ’s official parish since the closing of St. Michael. The theme of the celebration is “50 Years: Celebrating with Graditude, Joy and Hope.”
Bishop Alfred Schlert will be the main celebrant of the 5 p.m. Mass at Queenship of Mary, with dinner to follow at the Hungarian Hall next to the church. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, has already confirmed his participation. Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee is among those planning to attend.
The AJs serve at several places in the Diocese.
Three AJs serve with Father Idra in Northampton: Father Avitus Kazi Siriwa, secretary of the Regional and Mission Offices; Father Richard O’Nyamwaro, mission director; and Father Bruno Dongo, financial secretary.
Father Francis Iroot is assistant pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, Orefield.
Father Venantius Karobo is in residence at Notre Dame of Bethlehem and is chaplain of Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg Campus, Bethlehem; Manor Care Health Services, Bethlehem; and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, Allentown; and chaplain to the School Sisters of St. Francis, Monocacy Manor, Bethlehem.
Father Elias Munyaneza is in residence at Our Lady of Mercy, Easton.
Father Anthony Nyari is in residence at St. Ursula, Fountain Hill.
The AJs are a missionary institute founded by two Comboni missionaries – Bishop Sixtus Mazzoldi and Father John Marengoni – in Moroto-Uganda in 1968 for evangelization of Africa and the world.
Their mission is the very mission of Jesus as given to his apostles to continue Christ’s holistic ministry so that all may have life and have it in fullness (John 10:10). Thus, build together a new civilization of love, justice, peace and life.
“The official start year of the Apostles of Jesus in the Diocese of Allentown was in the summer of 1996,” said Father Idra.
He recalled it was the then pastor of St. George, Shenandoah who introduced the AJs to the late Bishop Thomas Welsh, Second Bishop of Allentown.
Those present were Father Silvester Rwomukubwe, then superior general; Father Paul Gaggawala; and Father Peter Mushi.
The AJs are engaged in direct pastoral work in more than 60 apostolic communities around the world, including Africa, Europe, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Cuba and the United States.
Keeping with their charisms, the AJs commit themselves totally to the service of all with special preference for the poor and vulnerable. They reach out with the Gospel worldwide; build seminaries, formation houses and schools; establish health centers to continue the healing mission of Jesus; farm to feed the hungry; and care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
The AJs missionary priests and brothers serve around the world in various ministries. In the United States alone, they help where there are shortages of priests and in other ministries in over 20 states across the country – serving in hospitals, schools, parishes and other social services.
For more information on the AJs, contact the USA Regional Office Headquarters, 829 Main St., Northampton, PA 18067, 610-502-1732, firstname.lastname@example.org; the USA Mission Office Headquarters, 829 Main St., Northampton, PA 18067, 610-502-1728, email@example.com; or visit http://www.apostlesofjesusmissionaries.com/.