On 17 December 2016 Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ spoke on topic “Diaspora as Mission” at the Consolata Missionaries, in Etobicoke, Ontario. The public event was co-sponsored by CJI, the Jesuits in English Canada, and the Pontifical Missions English Canada chapter.
Fr Orobator, originally from Nigeria, is the current Principal of Hekima University College Jesuit School of Theology and Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also the author/editor of several books.
“When a rabbit reaches old age it survives on the milk of its offspring.”
Fr Orobator used this African saying to explain how the church in Africa feeds into the soul and life of the global church. He noted that a more balanced and inclusive understanding of mission in the global church is needed in order to bring to fruition the gifts of cultural exchange and encounter in a rapidly changing world. The church in Africa and the African diaspora have many gifts to offer the global church, and those who have settled in the global North have a unique opportunity to bring those gifts to the church in the North, as well as globally.
Further, Fr Orobator stressed the importance of home and belonging, as many of the participants at the talk questioned the ability of people to contribute in an environment where, because of fear and mistrust of new and changing communities, the unique contributions of diasporans are not always welcomed. Repeatedly, Fr Orobator stated that where you are is home, and that even with a diaspora identity everyone comes with skills and benefits for the growth of the land that has been adopted.