Words of thanks from Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr

I want to thank you all for your support in various ways during the preparations and after my ordination to the priesthood. Everything went on very well because of your support, both spiritually and financially.

robbin-simbeye-ordination-nov-2016-06-bI am so grateful to my Parish Priest, Fr. Peter Tembo, and to all the parishioners of St. Monica – Lukanga of Kabwe Diocese who sacrificed their time and money to ensure that my ordination be a success. Indeed it was a beautiful celebration. I am grateful to my siblings and to Fr. Isaac Mbewe who have always supported me since the first day of my initial formation, you are such a blessing to me.

It has been a blessing for me and for my entire family to have had Didasio Mwanza involved in the ordination preparations. The days and nights he spent in my family before the ordination will never be forgotten, they meant a lot to me and to my family. May the good Lord keep blessing you abundantly!

Looking at the people who came from different parts of Zambia, from Congo, and from Malawi, and also looking at my confreres who, regardless of their tight programs like the Post-Capitular meeting but managed to come and participate and witness to my ordination, I have no reason why I should not carry you all in my prayers and ask the good Lord to guide and protect. Thank you very much.

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Link: Priestly Ordination of Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr, at St Monica parish in Kabwe, Zambia.

International Conference on Pentecostalism and the Catholic Church – Abuja, 13-17 November 2016.

International Conference on Pentecostalism and the Catholic Church.

bernhard-udelhoven-03By Bernhard Udelhoven, M.Afr

I was invited to attend the International Conference on Pentecostalism and the Catholic Church that took place in Abuja (13-17 November 2016), and that was organised jointly by the Nigerian and the German Bishops Conferences. It was a follow-up on a previous conference in Rome (which I did not attend), and it addressed questions about new trends in the Pentecostal global mission, in the ministry of deliverance and healing, oral hermeneutics and Pentecostal ways of reading the Bible (the Holy Spirit as prime agent of interpretation within a concrete community), a theology of prosperity shaped by the context of the Church’s option for the poor, and ventures of evangelisation through the social media. The conference addressed also the challenges of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Pentecostalism in its immense variety.  

The attendance of the conference proved to be an interesting mix. Apart from various scholars on Pentecostalism from around the world (among them Amos Yong, Opoku Onyinah, Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Andreas Heuser, Richard Burgess and Afe Adogame), the conference was also intensely followed by thirty or so Nigerian bishops plus priests from all the fifty dioceses. Some of them were charismatics themselves, while others seemed rather sceptical about Pentecostal influences. Bishops and priests also had their own internal meetings in the evenings to discuss what the various contributions would mean to their situation and how they wanted to respond in a unified way. Apart from discussing a dialogue with Pentecostalism, the Nigerian Church was also seeking answers to the Pentecostal impact on Catholic practice. The invited Pentecostal and non-Catholic scholars were greatly outnumbered by the massive Catholic presence, but I guess that they also gained their own insights into the internal workings of the Catholic Church and how Pentecostalism is perceived by Catholics on an official level. Maybe it would have needed more time for all of us to digest better the different topics that have been presented to us.  

Personally, I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with different scholars on a topic that I have been quite engaged with. The conference has made me more humble, showing me how little I know about Pentecostalism, about its enormous sense of mission, about new ways of doing theology (based on the primacy of the Holy Spirit, dynamic experience and orality over reflection and interpretation), and about a highly organised outreach, often from the grassroots. We would all profit from an informed debate on the Pentecostal challenges.

Link FENZA website: Spirits and the healing of body and spirit: pastoral challenges by Bernhard Udelhoven. A paper delivered at the Conference on Pentecostalism and the Catholic Church, Abuja, 14 – 17 November 2016. Content: Boko Haram spirits – Healing ministry in the Catholic Church – Healing linked to deliverance – Diagnosis, prophecy and exorcism – The need for a person-centred and inclusive approach in a pluralistic world -A shift in focus that our approach requires – The discernments of truth in the inner worldA boy in a mountain – Inner experiences and outer tensions – “Being attacked by the spirit of my great-grandmother” – “Dreaming of my late mother” – “Haunted by dreams of having sex with my late husband” – Our approach in a nutshell –  Healing as a drama – Conclusion. Appendix: some areas of concern in the charismatic healing ministry that I encountered in some Zambian groups

Other links: Church in Nigeria discusses Pentecostalism phenomenon. Catholics, Pentecostals meet in Abuja over religious harmony

The leadership of Nigerian Catholic Church and the Pentecostals yesterday (November 15, 2016) in Abuja began an international conference on Pentecostalism, religious harmony among Christians and relationship with Muslims.

The event four-day event jointly organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the German Bishops Conference, is being attended by experts and academicians from different parts of the world to discuss the theme: “The Catholic Church and Pentecostalism: Challenges in the Nigerian Context”.

The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said the conference sponsored by Missio Aachen of Germany is a follow-up to an earlier international programme on a related matter, held in Rome in 2013. He said it became clear at the Rome event that Nigeria was the focal point of Pentecostal development in Africa due to the activities of Pentecostal Christians, hence the need to fashion out ways of harmonious relationship among Christians and other religions.

A member of the Research Group on International Church Affairs, German Episcopal Conference Andreas Hesenchever said the Pentecostals have been accused of arrogance and overconfidence that made them get into conflicts with Muslims and other Christians, thus the need for dialogue for peaceful co-existence.

archbishop-kaigama-of-nigeria-rv-copieThe Archbishop of Jos and President of the CBCN Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said perpetual conflicts among Christians will impact negatively on Nigeria let alone Christian-Muslim conflicts and that “The artificial barrier erected for decades should be done away with. We have to relate and live well together in the interest of our country.

A leader of the German Bishop Conference Munster, Germany Bishop Stefan Zekorn, said the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement has proved to be an important challenge for the Catholic Church not only in Nigeria but many other countries worldwide for decades.

“The German Bishop Conference conducted a research and that experts have suggested positive encouragement and personal empowerment within Pentecostal communities that help people tackle the amenities of everyday life. Strong moral rule within the Pentecostal communities might help stabilize family and community values and bring people forward in their businesses and career,” Zekorn said.

Towards the 150th anniversary of our foundation – Letter 4 – December 01, 2016

m-afr-and-m-s-o-l-a-logo-pngDear Sisters and Brothers,

We are all preparing for the 8th December, our family feast. On this day, we can look back on our first year of preparation for the 150th Anniversary of our foundation which started on 30th of April 2016. Let us thank God for the reflections and prayers we were able to hold together. The rereading of parts of our common history has led us to gratitude for our common charism and to reconciliation among ourselves. Wherever this happened, our ties have been strengthened. This movement leads us naturally to the theme chosen for the second year that will begin on 9th December 2016: “To live our common charism together today with passion”.

We understand this as our willingness to be prophetic in our way of living and in our way of acting.

This year, both our Institutes have taken a long loving look at the present and discerned what God could be asking of us today. How can we actualize our charism? During the General Chapter, for the Missionaries of Africa, and during the Enlarged Council, for the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, both Institutes discerned the apostolic choices to which we feel called today.

The areas identified were: “dialogue and encounter”, “care of the environment”, “modern slavery and human trafficking”, “migrants”.

Together we want to become even more conscious of what is happening, where we are in relation to the above, what are the calls that we perceive. As members of the same Lavigerie family, we want to collaborate so as to seek solutions and ways of acting together. We want to make prophetic gestures which do not always need to be very extraordinary, but which are meaningful and can be seen as such by others. We want to involve, where possible, the groups of collaborators, friends, and associates. It is for us an opportunity to fortify our missionary spirit together.

We know that in many countries, our communities come together to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, you could program when to meet throughout 2017 in order to discern the calls you feel in your context and to think of prophetic gestures that can be carried out together.

The coordinating committee will help us celebrate this coming year.

We are sure that in this way, Cardinal Lavigerie and Mother Marie-Salomé will recognise their sons and daughters. Happy feast day on the 8th December, and may Christmas be for us a call to live with passion our charism today!

Your sister and brother in the Lord and in Lavigerie.

Sr. Carmen Sammut, MSOLA                                     Fr. Stanley Lubungo, M.Afr

Superior General                                                          Superior General


Farewell to Pierre Lafollie, M.Afr – Lusaka, November 25, 2016.

11-pierre-lafollie-sap-blog-nov-2016-bThe M.Afr gathered on Friday evening November 25 to pay tribute to a great missionary who spent 50 years in Zambia, primarily in Bemba land in the North-East part of Zambia. He lived in Mbala, Ilondola, Kayambi, Lwitikila, Serenje, Mulanga, Chalabesa, Isoka, Mulilonsolo, Mpika/Lwitikila, Lua-Luo, Kasama and Lusaka.

We are very grateful for the dedication, self-giving and holy priest he has been for us all throughout so many years. Pierre Lafollie was and still is very knowledgeable in the Chibemba language and rituals. See below few pictures starting from his time of studies in Carthage in early 60s. Some will remember Paul Gallen (+2013), Pierre Lafollie, Denis Bernardin (+2011) and Antoon Coninx (+2016) on a picture taken in 1982.

Dear Pierre, we are already missing you. With love from Zambia.

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Newsletter South Africa No 69 – 29th November 2016

newsletter-south-africa-no-69-titleGreetings! I hope you are well and that you have fully entered into the beautiful time of Advent! Yes, this is an occasion for each Christian to prepare to receive the Lord in a missionary way. Which means to involve others in this great hope and expectation of Jesus who is coming at Christmas. On the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis reminded us that “The Gospel is not trying to frighten us, but to open our horizons to further dimensions, giving meaning even to everyday events.” This is an invitation to open our hearts and minds to others, thus to live as missionaries wherever we are. The Pope adds: “we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes at the hour which we don’t expect.” He concludes by saying that this time is “an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready…” On 14th November, I went to Malawi. The first night, I stayed at Mua Parish where I started as a young missionary in 1970; a long time ago! As part of the Parish life, Fr. Claude Boucher, M.Afr, from my home diocese in Canada has established an art school and a museum to help keep the Malawian culture. I suggest you visit their website at You can see the museum and different aspects of his work with his team of artists. Then, from 15th to 21st, I was in Salima, on the shore of Lake Malawi. There, I did my yearly retreat in the house of retired bishop Rémi Sainte-Marie, bishop emeritus of Dedza Diocese and archbishop emeritus of Lilongwe arch-diocese. He welcomed me warmly and respected my times of prayer and silence. It was a good spiritual experience.

From the 22nd to the 26th in Chipata Pre-Formation Centre (Zambia), we held our meeting of Vocation Directors of the Southern African Province. We were from the four Sectors of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

vocation-directors-in-chipata-nov-2016This new Centre in Chipata currently has its second intake of 18 aspirants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia (nobody from South Africa!). From October to May, they are spending time discerning their vocation, exploring their self-knowledge with psychological assessments, in order to understand better their deepest aspirations and desires in the light of God’s call. They also study the Bible, Church history, liturgy, the missionary dimension of our lives as Christians, and how to reach out to people, especially the poor, and how to share with them the Good News. They also have activities such as manual work, sports, etc. After this intense period, if they are still decided and if they are accepted, they will be called to go to the First Phase of their formal training: three years of philosophy in Balaka, Malawi.

This month, our aspirant Patrick Kadima wrote an article for our Provincial blog. To read it, go to our blog at

 Wishing you all the best for a blessed Christmas! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr



Lavigerie memorial day celebration in Malawi on the 26th November.

lavigerie-memorial-day-celebration-in-malawi-bBy Landry Busagara, Stagiaire.

Under the theme of “flourishing communities”, the M.Afr and MSOLA gathered at Chezi, about 50 km from Lilongwe, to celebrate the memorial of Cardinal Lavigerie, our Founder.

First, a recollection centred on the philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am because we are”, helped each one to recognise that our interdependence and interconnectedness as women and men missionaries is essential to our mutual survival.

Then, with the leadership of Jos Kuppens, we had a time of sharing on flourishing communities. We recalled the high-point life involvements we had in the past as missionaries; our best moments in partnership. We found that those exciting situations were so nice that we would like to live them forever. We saw that flourishing MSOLA and M.Afr communities are “positive, alive and life giving. They are inclusive, integrative and collaborative. They create space for everyone to connect with self, with others and the whole creation, with God. They respect and affirm the freedom of everybody to live in dignity, security, peace, harmony and solidarity.”

As M.Afr and MSOLA, we value a sense of common belonging when caring for each other. We mutually gain by being non-judgemental, positive and open minded. A welcoming spirit bring more unity, mutual acceptance and create occasions for sharing.

Flourishing communities of consecrated women and men as we are is best demonstrate around the table of the Lord through the Eucharistic celebration which actually ended the recollection. It was a moment of gladness for all the wonders of the Lord.

We ended our day by sharing some drinks and food, happy to sit side by side and being all children of Lavigerie.

Priestly Ordination of Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr, at St Monica parish in Kabwe, Zambia.

robbin_simbeyeBy Camille Konkobo, M.Afr

On the 19th November, the Diocese of Kabwe celebrated the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the priestly ordination of Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr. The celebration was colourful and joyful in a crowded church. Sixty priests, among them seventeen Missionaries of Africa, were present.

This ordination was quite appropriate for the closing of the Year of Mercy as Bishop Clement Mulenga, SDB, emphasised on the attitude of all priests to be merciful. He encouraged them to collaborate and seek advice unceasingly.

The Provincial, Felix Phiri, M.Afr, thanked the Bishop and his clergy for this timely feast within the diocesan calendar. He also thanked the parishioners of St. Monica and sent Robbin officially to his mission in Tunisia. He then invited all the M.Afr present to come around him for a solemn blessing by singing the Sancta Maria.

The first Mass took place at the same parish the following day. The church was vibrating from the beginning till the end. The family members of our newly ordained priest were full of joy and we could see it on their faces. It was a bright and appropriate time for missionary awareness. At the end of Mass, the Vocation Director, Camille Konkobo, made an appeal for more vocations.

Robbin Simbeye studied philosophy in Arusha, Tanzania, made his spiritual year at Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, his apostolic training of two years in Rwanda and his theology at our Formation House in Merrivale, South Africa.

Let us unite our voices and prayers for his mission and for the parents of Father Simbeye.

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Blessings of a new library at Lechaptois Formation House, Balaka, Malawi.

new-library-balaka-nov-2016-01By Robert Tebri, Rector.

A new library has been built in Balaka Formation Centre to cater for an annual average of 35 candidates. The former library became too small after receiving the entire philosophy section of the then Arusha First Phase Centre in Tanzania which has been transformed into a spiritual year.

The project took a bit more than eight months to be completed. Both staff and candidates are expressing their gratitude for the beautiful house of knowledge that will serve for many generations to come.

The people of Kapalamula and Kanyama villages that welcomed the Missionaries of Africa Formation House of philosophy have been experiencing water problems for some time now. A couple of years ago, the problem was so acute that the formation house started sharing their water with them. But this was not going to continue forever with the risk of running out of water for the house. Through the confreres in Canada, some funds were found to make two boreholes for the two villages of about 50 families.

By Kelvin Mutalala, student.

The 12th November, 2016, was the blessing and official opening of the new library at Lechaptois Formation House. The day was coloured by a joyful celebration from the people of Kapalamula Village who got two boreholes. Furthermore, it was the birthday of Father Sylvain Yameogo.

The entire ceremony was spearheaded by Father Kamanga, Bishop Secretary of Mangochi Diocese. He blessed the boreholes and handed them over to the Kapalamula community. In their prayers, the people thanked the Lord for the gift of water and also prayed for those who are still in dying need of clean and safe water. Chief Kapalamula gave a vote of thanks to the Missionaries of Africa for helping them.

SONY DSCEveryone proceeded to Lechaptois Formation House for the blessing of the new library. After few songs and the opening prayer, Father Robert Tebri thanked the Lord for such a beautiful building. He welcomed all the priests, different Religious Congregations and all other guests. Among them were Father Felix Phiri, Provincial, Father Michel Sanou, renewed Provincial Delegate of Malawi, Father John Itaru, Provincial Treasurer and Father Paul Namono, Delegate Treasurer for Malawi. Then, Father Kamanga cut the ribbon, opened the door, entered into the library and blessed the books and the rooms.

A Thanksgiving Mass ended the day which saw the Kapalamula community acquiring two boreholes, the students having a new library and Father Sylvain Yameogo celebrating his birthday. In his homily, Father Kamanga stressed on the importance of perseverance and sacrifice for the fulfilment of the common good. Finally, Father Piet van Hulten closed this memorable day with a word of thanks.


Cross-cultural course experience in Tamale, Nyankpala, Ghana.

patrick-kalonji-cross-cultural-nov-2016By Patrick Kalonji Kadima (M.Afr, Stagiaire)

I spent one month, from September 4 till 30, at the Tamale Institute of Cross Cultural Studies (TICCS) for a cultural introduction course which was based on introducing its participants to the diversity of ethnic groups and languages in Ghana. It included the “do’s and don’ts”, Chiefs and politics, ethno-linguistic groups, cross-cultural spirituality and cross-cultural differences, conflict resolution and Islam in Ghana today. Adding to it were: dynamics of African Traditional Religion (ATR), kinship systems and gender roles and social change in Ghana, Christianity in Northern Ghana, as well as witchcraft mentality, friendship, cross-cultural communication and language learning.

The above mentioned topics aimed at providing the basic capacity and understanding to the participants for ministering or do pastoral work in various cultures in Ghana. This one-month course was not only pleasant and attractive but also it uplifting my awareness, activated my presence and full participation when I was feed more and more on the dynamic aspect of cross-cultural values.

Moreover, through one’s presence in such an adventure, one benefits already. All these topics are interrelated in such a way that they become instruments or tools to develop our various goals in our future mission in view of facilitating our relationship with the local people and enhance their lives.

Through the lenses of cross-culture, one observes that there is an enrichment relationship. This is to say, even the one ministering or doing pastoral work finds and discovers that he or she is improving her or his own life, hence he or she finds fulfilment.

The course at TICCS also provided us with the skills, drills and techniques to learn a new language. As one of my fellow compatriots, Benezet Bujo once said; “Language is one of the capital elements that cannot be neglected.” Consequently, I will not neglect learning Dagbani without which my pastoral experience will be limited. I am open and ready to experiment a vision of life which is different from my own culture.

In few days to come, I will be going for my language course in one of the villages. As I am preparing myself and feel equipped enough with my experience at TICCS, Dagbani will be my first African language that I will sit down and concentrate on learning. I wish to speak it like a native speaker. I know that it is not a Bantu language, but I am willing to put much effort into it. May the almighty God, who blew on the Apostles the Holy Spirit to speak in various languages, blow in me as He did with them.

I thank God for all the wonders He keeps on performing in my life. Countless thanks to the Province of Ghana-Nigeria and to the Sector of Ghana for making it possible that I undergo such a course. Many thanks are due to Fr. Clement, the stagiaires’ Coordinator. I cannot forget the Director of TICCS, Fr. Joshua SVD, the staff members of TICCs, and my course mates. Lastly, my thanks would be incomplete if I fail to thank the members of my community at St Monica Parish. Yes, we can!!! 

Lavigerie’s Day in Mozambique

lavigeries-day-2016-02The Sector of Mozambique decided to celebrate the Lavigerie’s Day on the 25th November 2016 even though the yearly commemoration is on the 26th. We all met, confreres and stagiaires, at the Sector House in Beira. 

We had a talk about the Post-Capitular Acts in the morning. It was an interesting sharing about our vision as a Society for the coming years. In the afternoon, Padre Hugh Seenan gave a short history of our presence in Mozambique from May 1946 up to now, meaning 70 years this year. Pierre Lukusa presided Mass for the Cardinal in the evening. We were joined by two SVDs, one of whom, Fr Philly, was celebrating his birthday, and two FMMs.

The day finished with a lovely meal organised by Bosco Nigibira. It was a perfect finish to a lovely day.

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Missionary Oath and Ordination of Michael Mpindo, Peter Nyirenda, Fredrick Mulenga Chungu and Martin Kasongo in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

oath-diaconate-abidjan-nov-2016-bBy Mpindo Michael, M.Afr

On behalf of all the SAP students, with praise and gratitude to Almighty God, I am writing cordially to thank you all for your generous support and would like to inform you that the fraternity Lavigérie of Abidjan invites you on Saturday December 10 to the Missionary Oath and Ordination of the following SAP students:

Michael Mpindo (Brother)            Peter Nyirenda (Deacon)

Fredrick Mulenga Chungu (Deacon)          Martin Kasongo (Deacon)

We are happy and consoled by the fact the Lord knows how to work and how to act even with insufficient tools and by his grace and especially through your prayers. In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help and Mary his most beloved mother stands on our side (Pope Benedict XVI).

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The beginning of the academic year 2014-2015 at Fraternité Lavigerie of Abidjan

Mafrwestafrica logo

Mafrwestafrica lettre du 22 novembre 2016

Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site


« Statistiques de l’Église 2016 » des chiffres pris sur le site du Vatican (lire la suite)

« Visite de Francis Barnes à Bobo-Dioulasso » au sujet de cette visite du premier assistant général, un texte et des photos envoyés par Manolo Gallego (lire la suite)

« Trump et l’immigration » des informations prises sur le site de Radio France Internationale (lire la suite)

« Ordination Albert Kondemodre à Kaya » notre jeune confrère qui a terminé ses études en Afrique du Sud sera ordonné prêtre le 17 décembre (lire la suite)


« Récollection pour l’Avent 2016 » une proposition faite par le père Herman Bastijns (lire la suite)
« Les membres du Conseil Général » une brève présentation de chacun des cinq membres du conseil élu lors du dernier chapitre (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Rencontre interreligieuse à Paris » entre juifs, chrétiens, musulmans et bouddhistes (lire la suite)
« Un même Dieu, oui mais… » sur le site de l’ARCRE, un article reçu (lire la suite)

« Marie dans la Coran » : accès à un article de Aicha Landhiri du Groupe de recherche islamo-chrétienne (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Festival ciné droit libre » à Ouagadougou, du 10 au 17 décembre 2016. Ce sera la douzième édition de cet événement. (lire la suite)

« Le pape s’adresse aux responsables de Caritas » à sa manière, c’est à dire très librement, mais la retransmission de son discours a été brutalement coupée (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Résultats du referendum en Côte d’Ivoire ». Le vote avait lieu le 30 octobre, les résultats ont été connus le 4 novembre (lire la suite)

« Elections municipales au Mali » certains bureaux de vote n’ont pas pu ouvrir, article pris sur le site de RFI. (lire la suite)


Official Opening of the Formation House 18th November 2016

chipata-formation-centre-logoThe official opening of our Pre-First Phase Provincial formation Centre of the Missionaries of Africa, called Lavigerie Formation Centre, will take place on November 18.

Under the jurisdiction of the Southern Africa Province (SAP), namely Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi, the Centre welcomes young aspirants from those countries for their first experience in an international setup in view of sending them to Balaka, Malawi, for their studies in Philosophy. The formation Centre has a capacity of welcoming twenty aspirants.

The guest of honor, Lord Bishop George Lungu of Chipata, will preside over Mass.

Timetable of the day: 10:00 Mass – 13:00 Snacks and refreshments – 15:00 Entertainment

Venue: Lavigerie formation Centre, Malawi road, after Luthembwe Bridge, Chipata, Zambia.


Death of Father Antoon Coninx and Father Arthur Bosmans in Belgium.

antoon-coninxFather Luc Putzeys, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Belgium, informs you of the return to the Lord of Father ANTOON CONINX on Tuesday the 11th October 2016 in Achel (Belgium) at the age of 81, of which 57 years of missionary life in Zambia, in the United States and in Belgium.

Father ANTOON CONINX is from Belgium, Hasselt Diocese. He was born in Achel on 25/06/1935. He made his spiritual year in Varsenare on the 08/09/1955 and his Oath in Eastview, Canada, on the 20/06/1959. He was ordained priest in Eastview on the 30/01/1960.

arthur-bosmansAlso Father ARTHUR BOSMANS on Sunday the 16th October 2016 in Varsenare (Belgium) at the age of 89, of which 64 years of missionary life in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and in Belgium.

Father ARTHUR BOSMANS is from Belgium, Hasselt Diocese. He was born in Beringen on 11/03/1927. He made his spiritual year in Varsenare on the 22/09/1947 and his Oath in Heverlee on the 21/07/1951. He was ordained priest in Heverlee on the 12/04/1952.


Sharing in the Joy of Children.

sharing-in-the-joy-of-children-03b2“…. let the little children come to me….,” Jesus said.

By Sister Vickness Nangogo Muleya (MSOLA).   

It is now coming to the end of the year. So many things have been and have come to pass. It was a busy year with so many deadlines to meet. It was always rush hours, everybody was busy to meet their own demands and requests. However, this did not leave the children out them too inclusive.

It is in this view that I wish to share with you a bit about what I am involved in at the Parish where I am working. Since I arrived, I have been involved in many different programmes and activities such as Caritas, Pastoral and Education activities. It is from the later that I want to share with you this particular aspect of the Kindergarten.

On each particular day, I could see the little ones at our Kindergarten in the grounds of the Parish coming very early in the morning to school being brought by their parents and guardians and going back home late in the afternoon. Imagine how busy their childhood is? They have not much time left for themselves because upon reaching home they are bathed, fed and it is time for home work! So this is the children’s daily routine for those in kindergartens.

Nonetheless, on the 13th of October, I was lucky to be among those who accompanied the children for “a day out to children’s play pack”. This was to facilitate at least a day out for the children after so much hard work by them! After so many exams and tests, they needed to relax, to play and be away from everything for a day!

I was so happy to be among the children, so joyous and glorious, full of laughter and innocence they were! We started our trip around 9 in the morning and by 10:30 we were at the place but before that the children were led into prayer to entrust our day into the Lord. On the way the children sang and made all kinds of joyful noise, they were very excited and looking forward. This was amazing. Before I could realise it, I was also jumping and singing with them and doing all kinds of crazy things children do, you can imagine!

So whilst there we ensured that our children had a special mark to be identified with because there were many other children from other kindergartens around the city of Dar-es- Salaam. We gathered them under a big tree and arranged ourselves in readiness to start the relaxing, playing, etc. The team ensured that all the children participated in all the activities. Oh what a wonder to see all the children enjoying themselves! Some were afraid with certain activities at the beginning but when they got used to the mood of the day they did not want to stop. The most of all was when we went into the pools. Practically, the pools were especially well prepared for children, the very small kids just went under heavy showers which eventually made a very low pool down. My goodness come and see the little ones diving and jumping up and down under these showers and in this little pool! I told myself maybe that is why Jesus said, if you want to enter the Kingdom of God you have to become like little children!

It is very easy to make a child content and happy with very little things!  After the swimming, we had our lunch and after we gathered our children and headed home, this time there was not much excitement and noise because now they were tired and content. Therefore, upon entering and sitting in the bus the kids were all sleeping! When we reached the Parish we found their parents waiting for them. After ensuring that all were safe in the hands of their parents we all dispersed to our respective homes tired but happy!      

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Chakwela makumbi rainmaking ceremony of the Soli: A faith event.

patrick_mumbiBy Patrick Mumbi, M.Afr (FENZA)

The literal translation of chakwela makumbi is ‘pulling down the clouds’. At this time of the year in Zambia, the earth is dry parched, people are thirsty and therefore hankering for rain. In some places, animals have begun to die. It is why Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II, through the ancestors, intercedes to God for a good rainfall. The seeds of sorghum, maize and other ones are brought to her. While at prayer, she shells maize, pumpkin seeds and squeezes sorghum into the gourd and mixes them. She raises eyes to heaven and cries to God.

I heard her prayer; “God of my ancestors, of heaven and earth, open your heavens and pour down rain to us. To whom can we go except to you our Father? I am your creature and you created me and you can take my life if you want.” After a lengthy prayer and while kneeling, she begins to sob and threw herself prostrate to the ground. This is a reminiscence of the psalmist distress; “I cry aloud, I cry aloud to God that he may hear me,” Psalm77, 142.

Women worshippers began to wipe away her tears. This was a moving prayer and I felt tears in my eyes too. I then saw some dark clouds forming in the sky. I could not help but think that God has definitely listened to such powerful prayers. I sensed a deep concentration on the side of the people as they implored God. I also could not help but notice the humility of people as they clapped their hands to God.


Also, prominent among the people, were a group of women worshippers, whom some people may call babinde, dressed in black symbolising the dark rain clouds. I was told that, in former times, the people chosen to go and pray were erecting some shelters in the forest. These were special people like diviner rain makers or cousin clan members (abena mfula na bena bowa). While they were in the forest, they would pray for rain and it would immediately pour down. During yesterday’s prayers, I saw some herbs and a black chicken placed on a black cloth within the same area of prayer. In the background, there was a chanting invocation song; “Twakabomba kuli mwami, mukamambo, katiye tulumbe,” meaning “we are saying thank you to the Chieftainess Mukamambo II. Let us go and say thank you.”

A woman worshipper dressed in black came and snatched away the black chicken, swung it and threw it at the other women seated nearby. This act was a symbolic gesture showing that our ancestor did not go empty-handed when approaching God. They would offer sacrifices to God in their supplication.

As Clifford Geertz said, the power of symbols lies in the ability to transform experiences by constructing a sacred reality upon which everyday events of life are grounded. Symbolic gestures reflect unconscious wishes, longing desires and even desperation. When people communicate through their ancestors with symbols, their prayers are addressed to God. They are speaking to God and not to a mountain, a big tree or the waterfalls. These are just spiritual symbols to solicit God’s power and benevolence.

chakwela-makumbi-rainmaking-ceremony-of-the-soli-03The second part of chakwela makumbi ceremony was the planting of seeds by the Chieftainess. At this time, she lights the fire within the cleared bush and burns a heap of stalks of maize. She then plants sorghum, maize, pumpkin seeds, etc. while people were again imploring God in a solemn song; “ilaloko, ilaloko kuli babinde, twebene mandondo, twebene imfula ilaloko ilaloko katuna tubyala. The language of this song is quite ancient. But the literal translation could mean; “it has rained, the raindrops are there, the rainmakers are praying the owners before the planting season.” This song implies that it would even rain at time before the planting season. But it could also mean that before the chief plants crops no one is supposed to do it.

Kings, Chiefs and Chieftainesses possess sacred powers over the land and there are the ones to sanction the planting season. This also corresponds to the sanctioning of gathering caterpillars among the Bemba people of Northern Province. Before the Paramount chief of the Bemba offers sacrifice to God, no one is allowed to gather caterpillars or else something worse will befall him or her. If this order is ignored, these are times when we hear that someone has been swallowed up by a python.

Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II herself is a Catholic Christian. For that reason, the ceremony begins with a solemn inculturated Mass. People know that she goes to sweep and clean the premises around the church. According to them, this should not what a Chieftainess should do. When people try to stop her sweeping and taking away weeds around the church, she answers them saying; “in heaven, there are no Kings or Chiefs. We are all the same!”

Venue of the event: Chongwe



Newsletter South Africa No 68 – 27th October 2016

newsletter-south-africa-no-68-titlenewsletter-south-africa-no-68-ordainedGreetings! Surely, a very important event which took place on 1st October is the ordination to the diaconate of 6 of our students in Merrivale. Being at the end of their third year of theology in Cedara, they were ordained deacons. They are Alfred and Daniel (both Rwandese), Amorain (Togolese), Anthony (Ghanaian), Eric, (Mexican) and Theophile (Burkinabe). On the same day, eleven candidates of second year received the order of acolyte, their first step toward priesthood. They are Philippe (Malian), Christopher (Zambian), Martin, Robert and Victor (all Burkinabe), Éric and Pierre (both Congolese), Ryan (Filipino), Silas (Burundian), Dominic (Indian), and Francis (Nigerian).

Our deacons ordained last year – now in their fourth and last year of theology – will, in the coming weeks, go to their respective home-countries to be ordained priests and take a well-deserved holiday with their families. After two or three months’ rest, they will go to the missions where they have been appointed. They are Robin (Zambian, appointed to Tunisia), Damian (Ugandan, appointed to DR Congo), Alphonse (Rwandese, appointed to Burkina Faso), Albert (Burkinabe, appointed to Tunisia) and Konrad (Tanzanian, appointed to South Africa). CONGRATULATIONS to all! We place you all in our prayers that you may be good and faithful missionaries. These are really good news to celebrate Mission Month!

As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our foundation (1868-2018), we rejoice in having so many young Africans joining our ranks! At present there are 492 students in our formation programme (all in different African countries); 90% of them come from within Africa. During the first hundred years of our existence, our candidates came from Europe and North America. In Africa, our priority was to promote the diocesan clergy, and not our own missionary Society; we wanted first to establish a strong local Church. Only in the last 30 to 40 years have we started to recruit in Africa for our own. At present, 284 of our members are African. Our new Superior General and 2 of his 4 assistants are from Africa. Thus, we are starting to fulfil the wish of our founder: the initial work of evangelisation would be done by European and North American M.Afr., but it would be continued by the Africans themselves! Yet, we are still waiting and hoping for some South Africans to join us!

newsletter-south-africa-no-68-pdf-coverThis month, Patrick, our only candidate, wrote from Ghana. Here is a short excerpt from his email (in the box to the right). As you can see, we put a lot of emphasis on the learning of the local language, so we may be closer to the heart of the people we work with. Also, I had a chance to visit Pascal (see last month’s Newsletter) on 13th October in Assisi; he is really working hard on learning Zulu! Keep it up, Pascal! In Henley, they are waiting for you!

God bless you as his missionary. Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr


Learning a New Language

thierry-jawiyambe-uyirwoth-2016_jpegBy Thierry Uyirwoth, Stagiaire at St. Lawrence, Lusaka

I struggled to improve my English and learn few words in Chibemba at my novitiate in Kasama last year. Now, I have just completed ten weeks of Chichewa or Chinyanja, as it is called in Zambia. I am very happy as I am building a foundation for my future missionary life. As Frank Smith said: “the limits of my language are the limits of my world”. Ludwig Wittgenstein also said: “A different language is a different vision of life.” By learning new languages, I feel that I am opening myself to the world. It is really a special gift that I am receiving from the Society of the Missionary of Africa.

In return, I do my best in learning new languages. As a group, we started after a session offered by FENZA called “Welcome to Zambia” which gives a general view of Zambia. It took me some courage and conviction but I am able now to speak some basic Chichewa/Chinyanja.

I am overwhelmed with joy when I interact with people. They are happy to see that I am putting efforts to learn their language with enthusiasm. I feel challenged when I see people like me who have learnt and speak a foreign language. Soon, I will be fluent in Chichewa/Chinyanja.

learning-a-new-language-03We had a nice group of students. We were united in the struggle and work together. We found means of supporting each other. As a Chichewa/Chinyanja proverb says, “Mutu umodzi susenza denga”, meaning “one head does not carry a roof”. Hence, we were motivated to work together. This spirit of togetherness helped me a lot to go ahead. We were really a family though coming from different countries such as the USA, DRCongo, Kenya, South Korea, India, Ireland and Togo.

Of course, it has not been always easy. At times, I was discouraged as I could not see much progress. Perseverance is the key. As we were saying, “pang’ono pang’ono ndi mtolo”. This proverb was for us a motto. Literally, it means; ‘a bundle of firewood grows gradually.’ In other words: ‘gradual and persistent attempts reach their objective’. That proverb helped me by concentrating my efforts.

Most missionaries I have encountered have been telling me that knowing languages is the key for a fruitful mission. Therefore, I am putting all my efforts in view of enjoying the mission. Today, I can agree with them, when you know the language, you find yourself part of the people to whom you are sent. It is really a nice experience. After learning the structure and grammar of Chichewa/Chinyanja, we now have to go into the field and practice. May God help us always to give our best in the mission which we have been entrusted.

Thanks be to God for giving us this opportunity through the Society of Missionary of Africa. A special word of thanks to FENZA community for their hospitality, to the teachers, all the students, especially my fellow stagiaires; Chandan Nayak, Emile Baguma and Emmanuel Kopke with whom we had a good time.

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Link: 10th Year of Cinyanja/Cicewa – Cibemba Class in FENZA


Blessing of children at Chudleigh House School, Lusaka, Zambia

chudleigh-house-school-oct-2016-27In the aftermath of its 20th anniversary which took place in 2013, Mrs Petronella Chisanga asked the Missionaries of Africa to bless the school. Father Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr did so by blessing all the children from Pre-School, Primary and Secondary School. Over 600 students were blessed individually knowing that the Lord has already blessed them in so many ways; the gift of life, the support of families, teachers and friends. With the help of their teachers, the classes drew a picture where the names of the pupils were written to symbolise the unity in diversity. Boys and girls as much as grown-ups are all children of God. Our prayer is to remain blessed by showing our mutual love and respect.

chudleigh-house-school-website-logo-20_jpegChudleigh House School, situated in one of Lusaka’s residential areas called Chudleigh, was officially opened by then University of Zambia Chancellor Mr John Mupanga Mwanakatwe on the 16th July 1993. The school was the brain child of Mrs Petronella Chisanga and was joined by Mrs Lalita Money, Mrs Dorothy Kasanda, Mrs Lucy Musonda and Mrs Maud Moonzwe as promoters.

Chudleigh House School is a multinational and inter-denominational school. The school aims at producing a well-rounded person after 12 years of learning. There are a total of 17 classrooms, a computer room, two science laboratories, a library, e-learning room, music room and home economy room. The school has a canteen on campus which serves hot healthy meals every day. The school has three sections; early learning Centre, Primary school and Secondary school.

Chudleigh House School is an examination Centre for Grade 7, 9 and 12 levels. The pass has been consistently above 90% at all levels in the last 20 years of its existence. May the blessing of the Lord upon the children and teachers makes it be the same for years to come.


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Cliquer sur le lien suivant pour la traduction en français.

Bénédiction des enfants de l’école de Chudleigh, Lusaka, Zambie.

Death of Petronella Mubanga, sister of our confrere John C. Mubanga.

john-mubanga-2015-jpgYesterday afternoon, 21st October, around 16:30 when I was just preparing to go for Mass, I received a call from home that my sister Petronella Mubanga (Bana Chitoshi) passed away at 13:30 in Mandevu, Lusaka, Zambia. She was the first born in the family and when I was growing up, she contributed a lot to making sure that I finish my school since our parents were not working then. She contributed also a lot during my ordination in Zambia even though she was very sick at that time. Petronella has left four children. 

Remember her in your prayers. May Almighty God in his infinite goodness welcome her in his Kingdom. Amen.    John C. Mubanga, M.Afr