Vocation Story. “A call of God”

“A few weeks ago, while I was sitting somewhere in a calm and serene atmosphere, I decided to reflect on my personal journey and missionary vocation.” Let us listen to what a Comboni Father, Fr Sylvester Hategek’Imana from Uganda, has to say.

I am the first born of eight children, five girls and three boys of whom I am the only one who joined religious life and priesthood. The rest are happily married, with their families.  The youth movements especially the Exaverian movement that instilled in me the liking, the gusto and desire for things of God. My home parish priests and Christians for the foundation they laid in my life.

I made my first religious profession on April 28, 1990, and this year 2024 it will be 34 years of religious consecrated life. I entered religious life happily and despite experiencing moments of unworthiness and sometimes lukewarm feelings, the good and loving Lord has sustained me with that peace of mind and heart above all with the joy of being a consecrated religious priest.

I have come to realize and continue discovering that this precious gift of consecrated life and priesthood, I carry it in an earthenware jar. I embraced the evangelical counsels of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience with total freedom, awareness and desire to grow in perfection. I voluntarily assumed and embraced them as a path that would lead me to growth in inner freedom to entirely be at the service of the Lord in his mission.

But no sooner, had I professed, did I also realize that religious life cannot be sustained faithfully without that strong bond and union with God in prayer and ministry.

Looking back now at how I lived this gift of vocation to religious consecrated life between April 1990 and October 23, 1993 when I made my final commitment, I can gratefully say that it was a grace filled moment of peace, joy and fulfilment in the Lord.

Let Him be Praised!! It was beautiful that despite my personal limitations, flows and weaknesses, I grew into a better trust in the wisdom of God, close to me making me understand what consecrated life meant for me. I can easily affirm that with the profession of evangelical counsels, as a consecrated person I derived more abundant graces from God: “With the One who gives me strength, there is nothing I cannot master” (Phil 4:13).

My consecrated life, vocation and faith journey has been graced by structures, people, companions, friends, Christians in various missions where I have ministered to as a missionary religious priest, as an administrator of the circumscription of Uganda and as a disciple under the good and faithful guidance of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

The communities have been for me a home, a family, a gift and a source of growth both in mission, ministry of formation and administration with a particular social cultural and ecclesial context.

I can remember from the days in the St. Paul’s diocesan minor seminary to the Novitiate Mbuya Kampala. The challenge in another cultural atmosphere in St. Rose of Lima Scholasticate, Peru. My first Missionary Assignment Ethiopia to Kampala in the Provincial administration. And now as a formator in the Comboni Scholasticate Nairobi.


Each of these places is a detail in my life journey. It implies people with whom I shared life experience. People who made me grow into the person that I am today. These are people who gave their best to me and I tried also to give them especially who I am as a person.

The Lord has been and is still keeping his protective hand upon me and I am grateful. I can confidently say that I found communities integrated into the life of the Holy People of God for the good of all.

In these last 30 years of my priesthood (June 26, 1994 -June 26, 2024) there have been occasions whereby the call to fidelity to God over unhealthy friendships took precedence. These have not been so easy moments for me. I have come to realize that I carry a treasure in earthenware vessels. “But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, so that the immensity of the power is God’s and not our own” (2 Cor 4: 7).  But I am at peace with my circumstance because I do not rest my hope on anything else other than God and Jesus Christ.

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