SAP Blog has reached 140 000 hits.


140 000 hitsSAP Blog has reached 140 000 hits since its beginning in January 2013. Over 60 visitors a day with an average of 100 hits, SAP Blog is consulted widely in the Southern Afrika region, especially in Zambia, but also all over the world, mainly in the United States of America.

Thanks for your support. Let the people know that a mine of information is available on SAP Blog. You are following this blog, along with 534 other amazing people. Your comments are always welcomed.

Thanks for your support.

140 000 hits2

New academic year 2017-2018 opening Mass in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.


New academic year Abidjan 2017 01 copieBy Goodwell Levison.

The opening Mass of the new academic year in Abidjan took place on Friday September 15, 2017.  The first purpose of the event was to welcome the new members of the formation house called the Lavigerie Centre. Paul Pipe started his first year while Joseph Goodwell Levison made his declaration of intention as a second-year student. Both of them are Malawians from the Southern Africa Province (SAP). A third-year student is also from SAP; Brian Banda from Zambia. The new rector, Fr. François Xavier Bigeziki was also presented to the community at Mass.

It is a custom in Western part of Africa to welcome visitors with a cup of water. This local ritual was performed to welcome the new rector and students once they have knocked at the door outside the campus. Then, the visitors were being asked to express their intention of coming. Few pictures below are showing this cultural behaviour. The new academic year starts on Monday 18th September. We wish them all a fruitful year.

On behalf of my fellow brothers here in Abidjan and my own behalf, we appreciate and recognize always the members from SAP and those working in SAP for your unceasing moral, financial and spiritual support.

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Golden Jubilee of priesthood of Fr Piet van Heijst, M.Afr.


Fr Piet van Heijst 03Fr Piet van Heijst celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a priest at St John the Baptist Catholic Church New-Kaloko in Ndola on August 27. The celebration took place in a joyful atmosphere led by the Parish-Priest Fr Francis Scszurek assisted by Fr Didasio Mwanza and the entire church council. A number of delegations came from various parishes and institutions as well as Dominicans and Child Jesus Sisters. The Vicar General, Fr Paul Simukanzi represented Bishop Justin Mulenga of Mpika. Fr van Heijst has been working in his diocese for the past 40 years.

Friends came from Chilonga, Mpika, Serenje and from Twatasha and Kawama in Kitwe. In his preaching, Fr Camille Konkobo highlighted the joy felt by the Jubilerian, a priest dedicated to the people and the sick who loves the Zambian. Christian families and small Christian Communities were encouraged to promote vocations in the Church.

Recently, Fr van Heijst has been the chaplain of Ndola General Hospital while helping the Parish-Priest.

He is a dedicated and hardworking Missionary of Africa. In the thanksgiving Mass, 50 candles were lit as a symbol of faith in all the places where Fr van Heijst worked. It was very touchy and emotional, a great moment of prayer. After Mass, a group of women made a sketch depicting the call to priesthood.

We wish you many more years in your ministry and may you continue being a model, a pastor, an image of Christ to the people you are sent to. Happy ministry and keep your beautiful smiling face always!

Camille Konkobo, M.Afr, Vocation Director for Zambia based at Kolibo Vocation Centre, Serenje, Zambia.

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Death of Father Henri Langlade, formally missionary in Malawi from 1952 till 2000.


henri_langlade copieHenri Langlade died on the 2nd September, 2017, in Billère, France, at the age of 92 years of which 67 of missionary life in Malawi and in France.

Birth: Aimargues, 03/09/1925

Spiritual Year: Carthage, 25/09/1946

Oath: Thibar, 27/06/1950

Priestly ordination: Carthage, 24/03/1951

29/03/1952 Arrival at Mzuzu, Nyasaland (Malawi). 22/08/1952 Curate at Mzambazi. 18/09/1953 Curate at Nkhata Bay. 12/02/1955 Curate at Karonga. 07/10/1956 Catechist School Rumphi. 22/05/1961 Retreat at Villa Cavalletti Italia. 22/08/1962 Chaplain at the Training Teacher College, Katete, Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi. 01/12/1966 Chaplain at the Rosarian Sisters at Rumphi. 26/09/1979 Session- Retreat at Jerusalem. 01/01/1984 Curate at Nkhata Bay. 01/01/1986 Chaplain at the Rosarian Sisters at Rumphi and Seminary, Malawi. 04/11/1988 Back to France. 31/07/1989 Chaplain and teacher at Nkhata Bay, Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi. 01/07/1991 Chaplain and teacher at Mzuzu, Secondary School, Malawi. 01/07/2000 Back to France. 02/07/2000 Residence in Billère, France. 13/09/2000 Session in Roma, Italia. 02/09/2017 Death at Billère.

Priestly ordination of Fr. Paul Donnibe, M.Afr, july 2017 in Ghana.


BISHOP MATTHEW ORDAINS THE FIRST SMA PRIEST FROM THE DIOCESEBy Patrick Kadima, stagiaire from South Africa.

Three ordinations are to take place in different Dioceses in Ghana in 2017; in Sunyani, Bolgatanga and at the Diocese of Wa. One of them has actually taken place: the priestly ordination of Paul Donnibe.

His ordination took place at St. Mary Help of Christians Parish, Sunyani on Saturday 22nd July 2017, by His Lord, Most Rev Matthew Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani Diocese. I personally travelled on Friday. On our arrival, one could observe that people were arriving from different parts of the country and across the borders with Burkina Faso to witness the event.

At the venue, it looked like nothing was taking place when we first arrived. But it did not take long when parishioners, family members, friends, priests, sisters, and religious men and women started to show that something great was about to unfold.

The District Commissioner of Sunyani, one of the chiefs and most especially the Bishop, were introduced. The Bishop likewise welcomed the whole assembly. He emphasised the importance of the day and the reason of the gathering. He mentioned that our brother Paul was set apart and reminded the people to pray for him and his family.

While congratulating our Brother Paul, the Bishop mentioned that the whole parish and the diocese of Sunyani were proud of him. Paul is the first fruit of the Missionaries of Africa in the diocese. In a manner of advising Paul, the Bishop pinpointed in his homily the good examples Jesus sets for us. He reminded Paul that Jesus was a servant for others illustrated by the washing of his disciples’ feet. The priesthood is a journey of service for others just like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The bishop emphasised that a good priest finds joy in his duties. Since God loves a cheerful giver, if our brother Paul, as a priest, gives himself to God’s service by doing what a priest is supposed to do, indeed he will be a joyful servant of God in his priesthood. The bishop ended his homily by reminding our brother that he was also sent as a missionary to be an ambassador of the diocese of Sunyani wherever he will be.

Before Mass ends, our brother Paul gave his first and fresh blessing as a newly ordained priest, first to the Bishop, then the Provincial followed by all the religious men and women and then his parents and his relatives, lastly to all the faithful who were present. Finally, he expressed his gratefulness to all of us and to special people who made his ordination possible including some of his former teachers who were present and the District Commissioner of Sunyani.

After Mass we were invited for some refreshment at the parish house. We had supper together with Paul’s family and some parishioners. On Sunday, Paul said his first thanksgiving Mass at 7h00. After it, we took the road to go back home. It was good to be part of Paul’s ordination and very interesting to see how people celebrate life.

Ordination of Frederick Chungu Mulenga, M.Afr


Frederic Chungu Ordi2By Felix Kamunenge, M.Afr

The ordination of Rev Fr. Frederick Chungu Mulenga by his Lordship Rt. Rev Patrick C. Chisanga, OFM. Conv. took place at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Nchelenge – Mansa Diocese, on 19th August 2017 which is a new parish created from St Paul’s – Kashikishi which had been one of the oldest parishes of the M.Afr in the 1980s.

As early as 08:30 am on Saturday morning, scores of diocesan priests from the neighbouring parishes and Missionaries of Africa from afar were getting ready to be witnesses of Frederick’s ordination day.

The ordination proper was punctuated by the solemn profession of faith in St Paul’s Parish in which the ordained publicly, in front of the Bishop, the Provincial Superior and a few priests and lay people, read and signed the creed as a sign of being faithful to the deposits of Catholic faith. The whole ceremony took about 30 minutes.

As soon as this exercise was concluded, there followed an ordination motorcade with a convoy of 20 cars following each to the ordination square in St Peter’s. It is a distance of 3.5kms from the presbytery. Two policemen on a twin police motorbike led the motorcade in front. The whole procession was so well organised that no car was allowed to overtake the other.

The ordination Mass kicked off at 10:00 am with the procession accompanied by the Stella (child dancers aged 5-10), ba Buomba (adult traditional dancers) and all the priests. Frederick was accompanied to the altar by his parents, who later presented him to the bishop and the M.Afr Superior.

The liturgy was lively and inculturated. The singing by the choir and by Buomba at different intervals was well coordinated. The ordination Mass was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life. About 35 priests out of which 13 M.Afr attended the function and a handful of religious Sisters. Here we can say that our Chungu was fully supported.

The homily was short and straight to the point. In his homily, the bishop made it a point to praise the past missionaries of this land and urged the Christians to safeguard the faith deposits planted in the hearts of people. He urged the ordained to be an ambassador of the Church in Nchelenge by being a good example wherever he would be sent. He was tagged as the 125 Jubilee baby of Nchelenge being one of the fruits of M.Afr evangelisation. Citing Jer. 1:4-10, he was encouraged not to be afraid to speak the truth as the cross is part of our Christian identity. He further talked about certain traditional practices like seeking witch doctors as hindrances to real evangelisation.

After the ceremony, all M.Afr gathered in front of the altar to sing the Sancta Maria while the newly ordained priest was kneeling down.

Mafrwestafrica lettre du 1er septembre 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« Contre la dynastie Gnassingbe au Togo » des manifestations du Parti National populaire (PNP) contre cette famille, au pouvoir depuis 50 ans (lire la suite)

« Attentats de Catalogne » : l’enquête a mis au jour une filière terroriste marocaine d’une douzaine de personnes. Parmi elles, quatre fratries originaires du royaume chérifien (lire la suite)
« Le site M.Afr pour la France » quelques informations au sujet de ce site et de sa nouvelle adresse sur internet (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Ce qu’ont vécu les lycéennes nigérianes » les journaux intimes clandestins tenus par plusieurs des jeunes filles enlevées par le jihadistes de Boko Haram a été rendu public par l’agence de presse Reuters (lire la suite)

« Biographie du père Joseph Olivaud » ce missionnaire qui se trouvait dans notre maison de Billère, est décédé le 9 juin dernier. Son parcours est raconté par le père Jaquinod (lire la suite)

« Problèmes au Congo Brazzaville(Pool) » Pas moins de 2 000 personnes sont venues assister à la manifestation de l’association des jeunes-mères du Congo (AJMC) le 28 août (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Recherche sur la radicalisation violente » quels sont les phénomènes de radicalisation cognitive et comportementale qui touchent des acteurs islamistes partisans du djihadisme armé (lire la suite)

« Observatoire pour les minorités » Mgr Gallagher a participé à l’inauguration d’un Observatoire pour les minorités religieuses dans le monde (lire la suite)

« Religion et violence » des informations intéressantes fournies par l’Observatoire des Religions et de la Laïcité (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Ras Bath au Mali » Ras Bath, qui est aussi membre du Collectif pour la défense de la République (CDR), est une des voix les plus audibles de la plateforme « Antè A bana » contre le projet de révision constitutionnelle au Mali (lire la suite)

« Journée mondiale migrants et réfugiés » le message du pape François pour la 104ème journée des migrants et réfugiés qui se tiendra le 14 janvier 2018 (lire la suite)

« Prier pour la sauvegarde de la création » la 3e édition de la Journée Mondiale de Prière pour la Sauvegarde de la Création qui se déroule le 1er septembre (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Armes françaises en Afrique »  De 2012 à 2016, l’Afrique aura acheté des armes à la France pour un montant de 3,939 milliards d’euros. Le continent est même en constante augmentation (lire la suite)

« Situation en Sierra Leone » La catastrophe a fait au moins 499 morts et des centaines de disparus. Les populations sont traumatisées, les secouristes tentent toujours de retrouver les corps des disparus (lire la suite)

« Faux médicaments en Afrique » Interpol a annoncé vendredi la saisie de plus de 420 tonnes de produits médicaux de contrebande en Afrique de l’Ouest (lire la suite)

« Togo : manifestations en faveur du pouvoir » Une marche organisée en réponse aux manifestations de l’opposition du 19 août qui ont coûté la vie à deux personnes (lire la suite)

25 years Chezi Parish (Lilongwe, Malawi) & Catechist Chagwa, 50 years Jean Arnaud who also bye to Africa – 12 August 2017


Chezi 01By Brother Landry Busagara

On the twelfth of August, Chezi Parish had a great joy of celebrating 25 years of its existence. We were so happy on that day. We have been preparing for it for more than a year. Then when the day arrived we were really excited to celebrate it and to welcome all our guests who came to help us to live in that big event. We started with Mass which was presided by his lordship Archbishop Tharsicius G. Ziyaye.

During the celebration, just at the beginning of Mass, our Parish Priest Father Simeon Kalore welcomed everyone and wished them a good time at Chezi Parish. Then, we listened to the history of the jubilant parish which started in July 1992. Before its establishment, there were only centres which were really far from each other in other parishes. This made the work for the priests and Christians considerable. The distance was very long and the Christians could not receive sacraments frequently. That is why the Bishop of that time allowed the parish to start. Chezi Parish is called so because of its location, it is at the mountain of Chezi. Now The parish has more than 13,000 Christians.

Something that I did not mention yet here but so important is that we were also saying ‘’good bye’’ to Father Jean Arnaud who has been working in that parish for 18 years. He is leaving for good very soon for another apostolate in Lyon-France. We were also celebrating 25 years of service of one of our catechists who has been working in the Parish since 1992. At the beginning of Mass, we also had an opportunity of hearing their history of service in the parish. Moreover, in this mass more than 100 young boys and girls received the sacrament of confirmation as new witnesses of God.

When the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe started Mass, he could not hide his joy. He said that this is a time of praise, a time of celebrating all the wonders of the Lord, all that the Lord has been doing in Chezi Parish. He thanked God for the gifts of Father Yohane and the catechist in the Parish. Even in his homily, he came back on that joy as he told us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are really visible in the Parish. God gives to each one of us his own gifts, then on our turn, it is up to us to use them fruitfully. There is no gift or talent to be neglected, even the smallest one is so important if it is used well and with love. What we believe in has to be shown by our works, by our way of serving our brothers and sisters because all that is for the greater glory of our Lord.

Before we finished Mass, Father Jean Arnauld talked to us to express his great joy and how he was so grateful for the warm welcoming of Malawians for all the years he has been working here in this country. He still believes that though he is going far away from Malawi, one day we will meet again, here on earth or in heaven. He said: ‘’A moyo salekana’’. Father Simeon Kalore, the Parish Priest also thanked again everyone for the support, especially the Archbishop to have chosen to come to Chezi in spite of all the duties that he has. He said ‘’ Zikomo kwa mbiri’’. He thanked all the people of Chezi Parish, each one in his place for the responsibility taken so that the celebration goes well.

Our Provincial Father Felix Phiri was present and when time was given to him so that he says a word, he said that, he, too, was so grateful to the Bishop, to Father Jean Arnaud for his devotion to the mission in Malawi, for the years he worked in Malawi as Missionary of Africa. The Society will always be grateful. The Provincial also welcomed Father Christian Munyaneza, M.Afr who has just arrived in the country and will be working in Mua Parish. He ended his speech by calling all the Missionaries of Africa who were present and the MSOLA as well to come to the altar and sing our hymn ‘Sancta Maria’.

The Archbishop, his Lordship, Tharcisius G. Ziyaye, before he closed the Mass also said that he is so happy and was so impressed by the improvement of Chezi Parish. He did not forget to mention that it is Father Jean Arnaud who taught him how to ride a motorbike when he was a young priest. He said that all his words are to say thanks.

As we concluded our Mass, we were all invited for a meal which was shared to everyone with great joy.

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Mafrwestafrica lettre du 15 août 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« 77000 euros remis à la police » une histoire forte, celle d’un homme qui n’a pas voulu s’approprier une telle somme. (lire la suite)

« Blanchiment d’argent en Afrique » Deux des affaires marquantes évoquées dans le dernier rapport de la cellule chargée de lutter contre la criminalité financière, publié fin juillet, ont directement trait à l’Afrique. (lire la suite)

« Pesticides au Burkina » Les producteurs maraichers de la capitale, ou les agriculteurs en milieu rural, utilisent des pesticides et herbicides dont ils ignorent la qualité ou la composition. (lire la suite)

« Attaque terroriste à Ouagadougou » une attaque terroriste a fait 18 morts à Ouagadougou, lors de l’attaque d’un café restaurant dans la nuit du 13 au 14 août 2017. (lire la suite)

« Résultats élections au Kenya » les résultats proclamant la réélection de Kenyatta ont été publiés mais l’opposition de l’accepte pas. (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Réaction au décès du Père Charles Sarti » un message reçu d’une personne qui a beaucoup échangé avec lui. (lire la suite)

« Journée missionnaire mondiale 2017 » le texte du pape François pour la journée missionnaire mondiale à venir, le 22 octobre 2017. (lire la suite)

« Biographies des pères Forgues et Boinot » ces deux Pères Blanc qui ont vécu la mission en Afrique de l’Ouest et sont décédés l’un en 2015, l’autre en 2016 – textes tirés du Petit Echo. (lire la suite)

Dialouge interreligieux

« Psychologie et Islam » Al Razi, grand médecin perse des IXème et Xème siècles, est le fondateur du premier établissement psychiatrique au monde. (lire la suite)

« Mosquées en Algérie » il y a plus de 20 ans que l’état essaie de contrôler l’espace religieux, sans beaucoup de succès. (lire la suite)

« Formation pour prêtres et imams » une suggestion du secrétaire du Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux. (lire la suite)

« Message du pape pour la paix » Le pape François invite les religions à « prier et travailler ensemble pour la paix », à l’occasion d’une rencontre interreligieuse organisée au Japon. (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Nouvelles de l’AET Ségou » le dernier bulletin de cette association qui œuvre pour les enfants en situation difficile. (lire la suite)

« L’Afrique change-t-elle ? » un texte du Père Maurice Oudet qui pousse à réfléchir sur cette question fondamentale. (lire la suite)

« Lutter ensemble contre l’esclavage moderne » Il existe un lien entre l’exploitation de la nature et l’exploitation de la vie humaine. Il existe également une corrélation directe entre la migration et le trafic humain. (lire la suite)

« Migrants encore jetés en mer » 180 migrants africains qui avaient pris place en bateau ont été jetés par-dessus bord par des passeurs au large du Yémen. (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Alassane Ouattara en Côte d’Ivoire » l’actuel président de ce pays affirme qu’il ne se représentera pas pour les présidentielles de 2020. (lire la suite)

« Burkina : Bassolé inculpé pour trahison » l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères est finalement inculpé de “trahison”. Ses avocats disent qu’il n’a rien à craindre dans ce dossier”. (lire la suite)

« Fonctionnaires fantômes ? »  Au Burkina, la bancarisation des salaires a pour but de lutter contre les fonctionnaires « fictifs », un problème qui existe aussi en Côte d’Ivoire, au Nigéria et dans d’autres pays africains. (lire la suite)

« Résultats référendum Mauritanien » certains sénateurs refusent de tenir compte des résultats du référendum constitutionnel : le oui l’emporte très fortement. (lire la suite)

« Fosses communes à Kidal au Mali » au moins deux fosses communes ont été découvertes par la Mission des Nations unies au Mali (Minusma) dans la région de Kidal, dans le nord du Mali. (lire la suite)

Words of thanks from Fr. Martin Kasongo, M.Afr


Martin Kasongo 09By Martin Kasongo, M.Afr

Dear Confrères!

Join me first of all in thanking God for the love and for all the mercies he lavished upon me by allowing me to be ordained priest to serve in his vineyard. Dear confreres, I write to you more especially to thank you for your support before, during and after ordination. Each and every one of you, near or far, in one way or another, contributed to the preparation and the success of my ordination. I really appreciate your spiritual, material and moral support. Your support was very strengthening to me. I was very privileged and blessed by your presence during ordination and thanksgiving mass. This gesture was very encouraging and assuring to both my family and the parish. Unity and support are the echoes I receive from my family, from the parishioners of Kabundi Parish (St. Stephen) and from all the people who participated in my ordination and thanksgiving Mass. The parish and my family testified and affirmed that I have people around me.

Allow me also, dear confreres, to thank the community of Ndola (Shinde Street), Didasio and Francis in particular for the energy they put in to welcome confreres and prepare for the reception in Ndola. Dear Didasio and Francis, I am very grateful for your help and support. 

To all of you dear confreres, I say thank you very much and may God bless you. I also invite you to come in number and give the same support to our friend and confrere Frederick Mulenga Chungu on his priestly ordination this coming Saturday. May God bless us all and our families; may he make fruitful our life and our mission. United in prayer!

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Twenty- Five Years of Missionary Priesthood of Malachy Oleru, M.Afr


Malachy Oleru 25 years 2By Malachy Oleru, M.Afr

My final journey to Beira was safe, except for my luggage that arrived 48 hours late and a somewhat clumsy and inconsiderate air ticket booking from Raptim. Cheap things are not always cheap! The services of Kenya Airways leave much to be desired too, but that is a topic for another day. The presence at the airport, of the Missionaries of Africa led by Boris, was gratifying. For me, a new mission has started in Mozambique after a 25 year spell elsewhere.

I started my language learning about a week ago and still wonder why at my age, I have to be saddled, beside English and French, with the learning in Africa, of another colonial language – Portuguese! But Missionary life is “For better, for worse”, right? So nothing will becloud the hopes of this nascent divine mission to the “African world”.

Homily under a car park.

My ordination anniversary date, August 8, came up within two weeks of my arrival. The Delegation insists on a celebration, at least to water the seeds of my new mission. 25 years is not a joke, they said. It is akin to what a diocesan priest at home called “Priesthood with hard labour”. Hear! Hear!! And before I could say ‘Obrigado’, Boris Yabre, with M.Afr students at home was up and doing. Rafael Gasimba ‘sailed’ from Dombe land with the stagiaire. Frank Mbala Kalala and Florent Sibiri Sawadogo with another C.A.T. ‘flew’ in from Sussundenga. Fidel Salazar del Muro and ‘senior apostle’ stagiaire Olivier, ‘astral-travelled’ from Centro de Nazaré, just less than five minutes’ drive away! Friends, brothers and sisters from the other mothers, made the day at the Delegation House as Julian Kasiya and Pierre Kabwe Lukusa from Tete Mission, could only participate – electronically.

Anointed, (literally and metaphorically) to preside over the Eucharistic celebration, the car park of the house was the best temporary house of God. The students did a good job of cleaning. Being the memorial feast of the great preacher of the Word, St Dominic, the readings were taken from the references for the day. My reflection was on Luke 9:57-62.

Three calls, three men, one mission: “follow me”,

The rule of three does not always elicit a Trinitarian response. “I will follow you wherever you go”, appears generous, spontaneous, and immediate but also simplistic, if not frivolous. It sounds like playing to the gallery, not counting the cost, bordering on presumption. Jesus, the ‘Novice Master’ ‘remembers’ St Ignatius of Loyola’s discernment of the Spirit (Go on, argue for anachronism!): “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”. Jesus brings the dreamer to the reality of the mission. It is not for the feeble-minded, not for dreamers (even if sometimes we dream at the General Chapters!). You must count the cost. You must become aware of the challenges. You must evaluate what you are leaving behind. You must be ready for sacrifices. There is no guarantee for easy life and assurance for security: “Certified for martyrdom, do you agree?”

Even when the initiative comes from the Master (it always does), “Follow Me”, the response is hesitant, like coming from one who is not ready, who is more worried about family duties than concerned for the mission. A natural realist, his response is to first go and do his natural duty: “Lord, let me first go and bury my father”. Yes, there is a duty to perform and the best way to avoid responsibility is to say “I have responsibilities”! And Jesus’ response is simple: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God”. You are not the saviour, not even of your family, for it is not your duty that saves. You have your path to follow. Be detached from the accidentals of life to re-focus on the essentials. Remain resolute and vigilant.

The third encounter and dialogue in vocation discernment is like the first. The attachment is not as serious as the first. He only needs to “…first say farewell to those at home”.  “No one who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”, was again Jesus’ response. Mission is about being resolute and ‘staying fit’ for the kingdom of God.

Conclusion: indefectible, not infallible.

Grace is mine to say that in more than 25 years, I have journeyed with Jesus through these three stages of call-response paradigms. I delayed for five years, my missionary vocation to attend to family and personal needs. Then, when I thought I was ready, I also thought that I could shift those family responsibilities to my brother in USA. Well, he got murdered a year before my Missionary oath, and I said ‘zut alors!’ – whatever that meant. Then I understood that I must follow Jesus ‘naked’; re-engineer my assurances and security packages to fit into his plan so that “no one takes this honour on himself…”  Ever since I did, passing through thick and thin of the mission, I have been sustained by this word of the Master in response to Peter’s prevarications: “Anyone who left father, mother, sister, brother… on account of my word, shall receive a hundred fold…and in addition, eternal life”. I have, believe me; for God lives in an eternal now, and I am satisfied. And I know that if I have not stayed infallible, I have remained graciously indefectible.

One Down: ‘One’ To Go; ordination of Martin Kasongo, M.Afr


Martin Kasongo 2017 copie
Fr. Martin Kasongo, M.Afr

By Everisto Mwelwa, M.Afr

One Zambian M.Afr was ordained on 4th August 2017: there is yet another one to be ordained this month. So ‘One down: One to go’; Habemus Fr. Martin Kasongo, M.Afr. This brings the number of Zambian Missionaries of Africa to thirty-two.

All the roads from M.Afr communities in Zambia and abroad were leading to Ndola Diocese’s Cathedral of Christ the King. Confreres and M.Afr students filled up our house in Ndola to full capacity. A moment of fraternal sharing, updating and thanksgiving to God.

In his homily, the ordaining Bishop Dr. Alick Banda urged the twelve deacons to take a leaf from St. Jean-Marie Vianney, whose feast fell on that day. St. Vianney, though not so intellectually gifted, was ascetical, zealous, prayerful and humble. The deacons were urged to start and end the day on their knees; meaning in prayer. The Bishop also highlighted that the Catholic faith, after 125 years in Zambia, has given three General Superiors to three Missionary Congregations, namely the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), Dominican Sisters and Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi. A commendable gesture of maturity in faith.

Martin Kasongo 2017 03After the ordination ceremony, a reception was held at our house in Ndola. It was a colourful and prayerful occasion to thank God for the gift of Fr. Martin to the Church.

For Fr. Martin’s Thanksgiving Mass, confreres went to St. Stephen Parish in Kabundi, Chingola on Sunday the 6th August. The parishioners and local clergy organised the celebration well and it was attended by many confreres. Thereafter, another reception was organised at the Salesians of Don Bosco’s school and residence in Chingola. Indeed, a moment of thanking God for the self-giving of Fr. Martin. The Zambian Sector of the Southern Africa Province (SAP) is thanking all the people of God who organised and attended these celebrations. May God bless you all.

Fr. Martin Kasongo, M.Afr is appointed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Diocese of Kasongo (yes, same name!). Wishing him a fruitful and grace-filled ministry to the people of God in DR Congo.

On 19th August 2017, all the roads will be leading to St. Peter’s Parish, Nchelenge in Mansa Diocese for the ordination of Deacon Frederick Mulenga Chungu, M.Afr. You are all invited and welcome to witness to this event. See you there.

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Mafrwestafrica lettre du 30 juillet 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« SMNDA nouveau conseil général » quelques informations récentes à ce propos. Des changements mais aussi de la continuité  (lire la suite)

« Responsables M.Afr de par le monde » des informations actuelles au sujet de ceux qui ont un rôle important dans la société des Missionnaires d’Afrique  (lire la suite)

« Pose 1ère pierre EHPAD Billère » cet EHPAD existe depuis longtemps, mais est appelé à accueillir plus de confrères Pères Blancs (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Décès du Père Charles Sarti » ce confrère qui a passé pratiquement toute sa vie au Burkina Faso (lire la suite)

« Légion d’honneur pour une carmélite libanaise » Sœur Mariam An-nour, déjà promue officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques en 2010, vient d’être élue chevalier de la légion d’honneur  ce 14 juillet 2017 (lire la suite)

« Marche d’imams contre le terrorisme » une soixantaine d’imams étaient présents à cette marche organisée par l’imam Chalgoumi et l’écrivain juif Marek Halter (lire la suite)

Histoire

« Départ des M.Afr du Mozambique » un texte très long du père Frank Nolan au sujet de cet événement qui est loin d’être indifférent (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Requiem pour le père Jacques Hamel » un livre d’un musulman au sujet de l’attentat qui a coûté la vie au père Jacques Hamel (lire la suite)

« Burkini, saison 2, épisodes 2 et 3 » un article du Monde et un paru dans l’Express qui nous parlent de la situation « légale » de l’apparence des femmes dans leurs quotidien (lire la suite)

« Lutter contre la violence » quel est le rôle des leaders religieux pour lutter contre la violence de par le monde ? (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Comment donner des nouvelles » sur le site de Zenit, à Rome, des orientations suggérées pour que les nouvelles soient véritablement conformes à la réalité (lire la suite)

« Où en est le social en Côte d’Ivoire ? » sur le site de Jeune Afrique. Le gouvernement a privilégié l’économie et le long terme – ce qui est excellent en soi –, mais en minimisant les facteurs sociaux et le court terme (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Evolution préoccupante au Mali » à l’issue de combats meurtriers, le Gatia – groupe touareg – perd du terrain face à la CMA – coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (lire la suite)

« Législatives au Sénégal ? »  Dernier jour de campagne au Sénégal avant les législatives de ce dimanche 30 juillet. L’opposition craint des fraudes (lire la suite)

« Procès au Burkina », à savoir celui de l’ex-directeur de publication du journal Le Soir qui était face à la justice, ce jeudi 27 juillet. Il est poursuivi pour diffamation par six magistrats (lire la suite)

« Togo, élections à venir » Avant que ne se tiennent les élections législatives, le pays devra trancher sur la composition de la Commission électorale nationale indépendante -Ceni- (lire la suite)

Death of Father Andreas Edele, M.Afr


Andreas Edele PNGFather Andreas Edele comes from Stetten in Hohenzollern. There he was born on 24 January 1934. After the Second World War he came to the mission school in Haigerloch and graduated from high school in Grosskrotzenburg. This was followed by the Philosophy Studies at the White Fathers in Trier. He was then appointed Novitiate to Alexandria Bay in the USA and then went to the theological studies of the African Missionaries in Eastview, Canada. In Ottawa, he was ordained a priest on September 19, He was appointed to the mission to Malawi, where he was first employed in parish work after a language course, and from 1961 worked for two years as secretary for education. From 1964 he was a lecturer in theology and until 1967 was a professor at the University of the White Fathers in Trier. After his home mission, his journey back to Africa, this time to Lusaka in Zambia, where he was again active in pastoral care. In 1982 he returned to Germany and worked for Missio in Aachen. He then went back to the mission to Malawi, where he worked in Kanengo and Mua in pastoral care. At the beginning of the nineties, his eyes forced him to undergo surgery, and in the following years he came back to eye control again and again. In 1993 he was finally appointed home, was a few years in Trier, and from 2003 to 2008 he took over the management of the mission house in Haigerloch. During the years in Germany, he has never forgotten Africa, but from his own location, has done his best for the people of Africa. On July 22, Father Edele died after a long illness at the hospital in Balingen.

Pater Andreas Edele verstorben

Pater Andreas Edele stammt aus Stetten in Hohenzollern. Dort war er am 24. Januar 1934 geboren worden. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg kam er auf die Missionsschule in Haigerloch und machte in Großkrotzenburg das Abitur. Es folgte das Philosophiestudium bei den Weissen Vätern in Trier. Danach wurde er zum Noviziat nach Alexandria Bay in den USA ernannt und ging anschießend zum Theologiestudium ins Scholastikat der Afrikamissionare nach Eastview, Kanada. In Ottawa wurde er am 19. September 1959 zum Priester geweiht. Er erhielt eine Ernennung in die Mission nach Malawi, wo er nach einem Sprachkurs zunächst in der Pfarrarbeit eingesetzt war und ab 1961 für zwei Jahre als Sekretär für Erziehungswesen tätig war. Ab 1964 machte er das Lizentiat in Theologie und war bis 1967 als Professor an der Hochschule der Weissen Väter in Trier eingesetzt. Nach diesem Heimateinsatz führte sein Weg zurück nach Afrika, diesmal nach Lusaka in Sambia, wo er wieder in der Seelsorge tätig war. 1982 kam er zurück nach Deutschland und arbeitete bei Missio in Aachen im Bildungsbereich. Anschließend ging er in die Mission nach Malawi zurück, wo er in Kanengo und Mua in der Seelsorge wirkte. Anfang der 90er Jahre zwangen ihn Probleme mit seinen Augen zu einer Operation und in den folgenden Jahren kam er immer wieder zur Augenkontrolle nach Deutschland zurück. 1993 wurde er endgültig in die Heimat ernannt, war einige Jahre Superior in Trier und von 2003 bis 2008 übernahm er die Leitung des Missionshauses in Haigerloch. In den Jahren in Deutschland hat er Afrika nie vergessen, sondern von seinem jeweiligen Standort aus, sein Möglichstes für die Menschen in Afrika getan. Am 22. Juli ist Pater Edele nach längerer Krankheit im Krankenhaus in Balingen verstorben.

http://www.afrikamissionare.de/de/verstorbene_2017.html

Meeting of Young Confreres in the Second Term of Mission in Kasisi, Lusaka, Zambia.


Young Confreres 2nd term Kasisi Zambia 01bPhilip Meraba, M.Afr

The young confreres in the second term of mission had a three-week meeting at the Retreat Centre of the Sisters of Little Servants of Mary in Kasisi, Lusaka, Zambia, from the 2nd till the 23rd July, 2017.

We were 13 participants from different countries across Africa and Asia with two facilitators; Rev Frs. Timothée Bationo and Bernard Ugeux, M.Afr working in Zambia & DR. Congo respectively.

The participants were almost of the same generation. It was a great occasion offered by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa to encounter one another once more after years of separation due to various involvement in different countries. Through sharing of various missionary experiences, the participants could recharge their batteries in order to take off once more with a new missionary spirit and zeal.

Joys, excitement as much as discouragement and difficulties over the years were the focus of our sharing done spontaneously in openness and mutual trust. We sympathised, encouraged or even amiably confronted one another. Despite some few painful experiences, none ever regretted to have been a member of the Society but felt rather more fortified and convinced of our missionary calling amidst the challenges.

Different moderators, including two Sisters from Lusaka, let various sessions on sexuality, addictions, spirituality, pastoral ministry, leadership, Justice & Peace, religious encounter, media and finances. The session on community life was given by Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Southern Africa Province (SAP).

It was not business all through. We also had wonderful moments of relaxation together, outings to interesting places around Lusaka, celebration of birthdays and missionary oath anniversaries. We also visited M.Afr communities around Lusaka and joined parishes for Sunday liturgies. A barbecue was prepared in our honour by FENZA community where we had the chance of interacting with most confreres around Lusaka, together with former novices who were on their way to join their various countries for their apostolic stage.

The participants had the great joy of witnessing the historical celebration of the 125th anniversary of the evangelisation of the Church in Zambia by the White Fathers and other missionaries. This was a national feast and the White Fathers were highly recognised by the Zambian Church authorities for the greater role played in planting the seed of faith in this country. Our Superior General, Rev.Fr. Stanley Lubungo was present at this occasion and he paid us a courtesy visit at Kasisi Centre. We had the privilege of fraternal sharing with him on some key issues concerning the future and vision of our humble Lavigerie family.

Prayer was never left out. The whole group was divided into teams and we celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Eucharist.

Young Confreres 2nd term Kasisi Zambia 03bWe are highly indebted to the leadership of the General Council for such memorable opportunity offered to us to meet, learn, encourage one another and re-energise ourselves. We appreciate the good organisation, simplicity and wisdom with which our two elder brother facilitators, Timothée and Bernard, accompanied us throughout the session. Our sincere gratitude goes to the leadership of SAP; Felix Phiri, the Provincial, Venerato Babaine, his Delegate in Zambia and John Itaru, the Provincial Treasurer. We thank the little Sisters of Mary and the whole personnel for the pleasant accommodation and feeding.

We are indeed well refreshed, equipped and ready to go back to our missionary stations with more enthusiasm to serve. May Our Lady of Africa precedes us, Amen!

My Personal Odyssey from Head to Heart.


John-Paul Ngabirano copieBy John-Paul Ngabirano

My heartfelt gratitude goes to God, my formators and fellow novices who accompanied me up to the end from the beginning of the spiritual year. It has been a nice experience with which I feel fulfilled. We started eighteen novices and ended seventeen. There are many factors that inspired us to be committed up to the end. That was observance of our community project that comprised five objectives: to know the will of God in my life, to deepen my relationship with Jesus, to live in a fraternal and intercultural community, to deepen the knowledge and charism of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa and to know who I am.

Community life was not so much spoken of but lived. The concern of the other fetched a kind of bond with cords that cannot be broken. Also, prayer and Jesus were at the centre of our stay, for we had much time of reflection, prayer, meditation, silence and retreats which helped us deepen our relationship with Jesus. In fact, at the end of the spiritual year there is one common word that comes so often on the tongue of each novice. And that is, “Jesus Christ” from whom priestly vocation precedes. We indeed grew and we continuously grow in knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ to him be glory in present and in eternity.

Kasama July 2017 02We had many occasions that brought a sense of joy and belonging. In order for us to belong, we took the clothing ceremony seriously “Gandoura day” which is our identity in the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. The knowledge of the society was deepened in looking forward to listening to wisdom of old and keeping the dreams and visions of the young. To have a proper foundation of all that is good in life there is one aspect that brings more sense to my life. A sense of being loved by God. Indeed, God cannot hate His own hand. The Ignatian spirituality led us to be committed, have inner freedom to all created things and to come to the realisation that we are loved sinners who need God’s mercy. And that is what we will share in our apostolic training as we go for our apostolic training, also called ‘stage’, of two years.

Be still and know that I am with you!

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A ‘Finale’ on 125 Years of Catholic Faith in Zambia – July 15, 2017.


By Everisto Mwelwa, M.Afr

125 years Catholic Church in Zambia 03
Catholics gather in the show ground during the celebration of the 125 years of the Catholic Church.

Logo 125 Catho ZambiaIt has taken a whole year of various celebrations to mark a hundred and twenty-five years since the Catholic faith was brought to Zambia by the missionaries in 1891. Part of the opening of these celebrations was the Eucharistic celebration held at Mambwe-Mwela on 6th August, 2016. It is at Mambwe-Mwela where the first missionaries settled down in the present day Republic of Zambia.

Catholic dioceses and parishes in Zambia held various celebrations to mark all these years of Catholic faith in Zambia. Kasama Archdiocese, as an example, closed the year with a Eucharistic celebration held at Chilubula (Mary Help of Christians Parish) on 24th June, 2017 on which day two deacons were ordained to priesthood.

For the national celebrations to mark the end of 125 years of Catholic faith in Zambia, two days were set aside in the Archdiocese of Lusaka. On Friday, the 14th July, 2017, all the roads were leading to Lusaka from all the Catholic dioceses in Zambia. This day was dedicated to the Catholic Youth. They had various activities and talks in the Cathedral of the Child Jesus (Lusaka) and then proceeded to the Agricultural Show grounds for the Eucharistic celebration. The youth and their patrons/matrons had a coloured procession of about three quarters of an hour accompanied by two musical bands. At the end of Mass, the Catholic bishops came to convey their wishes to the youth.

125 years Catholic Church in Zambia 07
VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina receives a present from Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu during the 125 years commemoration of Catholicism in Zambia in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

The final ‘finale’ was the Eucharistic celebration held in the Agricultural Show grounds of Lusaka. The Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev Julio Murat, all the Zambian Catholic bishops and the two archbishops were present. Two bishops from Malawi and Zimbabwe also came. AMECEA sent a representative. The Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, Fr. Stanley Lubungo, who happened to be in Zambia at that time also attended. Indeed, not fewer than twenty-five Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) were present!  The government of the Republic of Zambia was represented by the Vice-President, Inonge Wina, and several ministers.

The main celebrant of the Eucharist was the Apostolic Nuncio but the homily was delivered by the Archbishop of Lusaka, Telesphore-George Mpundu. In his homily, the Archbishop highlighted the dedication and self-giving of the early missionaries despite the difficulties, many of whom died in their early years of missionary life due to diseases. He urged the present day Catholics to take a leaf from them; quoting the theme of Mansa Diocese “We are the Missionaries of today”. Archbishop Mpundu urged Catholic faithful of today to be more self-reliant. He also underscored the holistic human developmental work carried out by the Catholic Church in Zambia.

One can easily estimate about five thousand Catholic faithful attended the celebration, not counting the priests and the religious.

Medal honour 125 years Catho Zambia JPEGAt the end of the celebration, medals were presented to the Catholic faithful who have dedicated to evangelisation. These were dedicated men and women, laity and religious. For the Missionaries of Africa, three confreres were decorated with medals, namely Henk van Kessel, Jean-Luc Gouiller and Robert Lavertu.

A colourful celebration to mark the ‘finale’ of 125 years of Catholic faith in Zambia.

Links:

Catholics, State pledge unity to fight for people

Catholics celebrate 125 years of existence in Zambia

AMECEA: Chairman applauds ZCCB for the 125 Anniversary of Catholic Faith in the Country

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Mafrwestafrica lettre du 28 juin 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« Pèlerinage aux saints d’Afrique en Suisse » une célébration annuelle dont le père Claude Maillard nous a envoyé des nouvelles (lire la suite)

« Toujours l’insécurité au Mali » 2 morts et des dizaines de civils évacués suite à une attaque près de Bamako (lire la suite)

« Approbation de G5 Sahel par le conseil de sécurité » un appui qui était attendu depuis longtemps. Mais qui va financer ? (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Fête des jubilaires à Bry sur Marne » jubilaires parmi lesquels ils sont nombreux à avoir vécu en Afrique de l’Ouest (lire la suite)

« Décès du père Joseph Olivaud » à l’âge de 94 ans, le 9 juin dernier. Lui aussi a passé de nombreuses années au Burkina, après treize ans en Guinée (lire la suite)

« Les Pères Blancs au Sénégal » un article rédigé par le père de Benoist, qui n’a pas encore été publié car il vient seulement d’être retrouvé dans les archives de l’auteur (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Islamophobie aux USA et en Grande Bretagne » les actes islamophobes sont en hausse aux Etats Unis comme au Royaume uni (lire la suite)

« Education contre le radicalisme » c’est par le biais d’une éducation bien conçue que les jeunes pourront acquérir une vision objective et humaine du monde et des autres (lire la suite)
« Les musulmans au défi de Daech » compte rendu d’un livre de deux auteurs musulmans, livre facile à lire et qui donne des perspectives d’ouverture (lire la suite)

« Vœux pour fin du ramadan » comme chaque année, plusieurs messages ont été envoyés par les églises locales pour la fin de ce temps de jeûne (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Le film ‘Bayiri’, la ‘patrie’ » l’interview d’un cinéaste burkinabè qui a réalisé un film sur le problème que le retour dans la « patrie » pose, après de très longues années en Côte d’Ivoire (lire la suite)

« Journée mondiale des réfugiés » le 18 juin dernier, au moment de l’angélus, le pape s’est exprimé comme chaque année à cette occasion (lire la suite)

« Tchad : l’opposition dénonce la corruption » sur le site de RFI, cet article ainsi que trois autres au sujet de ce pays (lire la suite)

« Urgence humanitaire au Nigéria » 8,5 millions de personnes réparties dans les Etats de Borno, de l’Adamawa et de Yobe ont besoin d’une assistance urgente (lire la suite)

« Migrants portés disparus » dans le désert du Ténéré, au Niger, une cinquantaine de personnes en route vers la Libye sont portées disparues (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Présidentielles Côte d’Ivoire 2020 ? » d’après Henri Konan Bédié, Guillaume Soro ne serait pas intéressé à proposer sa candidature (lire la suite)

« Kagame candidat aux présidentielles » Le président sortant, Paul Kagamé, a été désigné sans surprise candidat à l’élection présidentielle par son parti. Elections le 4 août prochain (lire la suite)

The Positivity of Humility.


Brother Patrick Nora, M.Afr, from Ghana but based in Tanzania gave us a spiritual and illuminating retreat in Kasama from May 8 till 16, 2017.

On the third day, there was something that retouched me on the theme of the Mercy of God.

patrick_mumbiBy Patrick Mumbi, M.Afr

Initially I wanted to have as title; ‘forgiveness and humility’. I had the sense that you cannot forgive without humility because the two go together and especially when forgiving someone who is not contrite for what he or she did to you. Those who killed Jesus or St. Stephen were not remorseful as they thought that they were doing a just act. Even terrorists might think so. But Christians must make a difference by not retaliating. They should instead pray even for those who persecute them (Mt 5:44). Our Master Lord Jesus Christ said; ‘if only you reserve your greeting to those you know what difference are you making, even pagans do the same, do they not (Mt 5: 47)’?

alan-kurdiOn the theme of forgiveness, others think otherwise, namely, one can forgive even without humility because forgiveness is a human thing and especially when one sees the other suffering. The human conscious cannot allow one to see the other in a situation of suffering no matter how coarse his or her heart is. The case in point is that of the closure of the borders to immigrants due to terrorism. When a baby boy called Alan Kurdi slipped from its mother’s hands in 2015 and was washed away by the current and landed on a Turkish beach, it sent shock waves and borders were opened for the immigrants. I agree to the fact that forgiveness is part of human nature. God has implanted it into every human heart. When we talk of sisterhood, brotherhood, freedom and indeed all the fruits of our nature and enterprise, they are all present to human nature in a mystery. For us, they are revealed in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and will be brought into full flower when the Lord returns (class notes on Grace). But there is more to why forgiveness hinges on humility. For me it is not only biblical/spiritual but also productive and positive.

The Christian aspect of forgiveness.

My spiritual director once asked me that when someone has insulted you or told you that you are a fool or stupid, who has to apologise? Off the cuff, my answer was: “the one who had insulted me”. To my surprise, he said no! You are the one who has to go and ask for forgiveness or reconciliation. You need to go in humility and ask him or her where you went wrong. This is being Christian. You need to go and ask to your brother or sister and say: my brother/sister, forgive me, I saw you angry with me. This will change your brother or sister’s heart who wronged you or insulted you. This is biblical as scripture says;

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5:24).

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil (Rm 12:17). Carefully, consider what is right in the eyes of everybody.”

“If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone.” (Rm 12:18).

This is the crux of the matter and why forgiveness calls for humility. It is Christian in the sense that it is not him who wronged you who should ask for forgiveness but it is you who was wronged, who needs reconciliation or to make peace.  We instead wait for the other person who has wronged us to come and apologise. If he or she does not come to me, I will never talk to that person. This can happen to priests, Church elders, leaders of lay groups such that they have never talked to each for ages because something happened between them. Such kinds of hatred have even brought divisions in the Church but people pretend not to bother.

But by taking the first step in humility (and as a Christian) you emulate God who took the first initiative to come and save humanity at the time when we had sinned. St. Paul writes: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die” (Rm 5: 7). We did not go to him but he came to us.

However there are stumbling blocks to this, taking into account our human insecurities, pride and fear. There are fears that others will manipulate me or think that I am too cheap. Additionally, fear in the sense that other people look for the mistakes or weaknesses in other people so as to blow them up. The attitude of blowing up mistakes of others is a sign of insecurity. Likewise the fear of revealing one’s weaknesses is a sign of insecurity. There are insecurities on both sides. Insecurity also in the sense that others may take it as my weakness when I have already built up my self-esteem and I cannot bring myself so low.  But I have also a sense that humility is a feeling of courage when others are pigeonholing you without shaking. Humility is daring to listen to feelings, comments, shameful and awful aspects of oneself which probably I have denied and repressed from my life. This attitude I believe can move me to the level of self-acceptance and wholeness. I would like now talk about the positivity or productivity of humility.

Positivity of humility.

In communities, we live with people whom we do not like and those who do not like us. But how do you feel especially when you are not talking to each other and you have to face each other every so often? The world becomes small having to avoid them all the time. But when you forgive and reconcile you feel free and healed. Someone told me that forgiveness is like swallowing a bitter pill but it heals you. A grudge, on the other hand, sickens and kills you psychologically in the sense that you need a lot of negative energy or emotions to keep it going. You cannot go for a long time before it suffocates you. But if you let go with a lot of pain- if you go to that pain of letting go rather than avoid it, the Kingdom of God comes.

Humility helps to reach out to others strongly. The letter to the Philippians is a prime example of the positivity and productivity of humility of our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 2:5-11). It says; “though he was God he did not cling to his divine nature but assumed the nature of a slave and through that he reached out to many people.” You know your rights and your importance but as a Christian, you forgive because you want reconciliation and reach out to other(s). It is much easier to talk and write about humility but quite hard to practise it in one’s life. Other people have responded to me by asking and challenging me saying; “what about the humility and forgiveness of you, Patrick”? In other words, I should not only write or talk about humility and forgiveness but I should put it into my life. Let me also talk about what humility is not.

Humility as different from low self-concept.

Humility actually builds up and elevates the self-image. Spiritual masters always tell us that the one who says I am sorry for my wrong doing, builds up self-esteem instead of being proud or putting up a wrong/false façade. Humility does not involve thinking less about yourself or having a negative view of yourself. When you forgive, it does not mean that others are much better than you. When you forgive you also respect the person you have forgiven. Humility involves letting go wholeheartedly and that is freeing. It is also composed of sacrifice, self-denial, fasting and going an extra mile or giving more than what was asked of.

Let me also quote another Bemba proverb about humility. It says that; “tobela tobela akafye inganda.”  The literal translation is that; “endless arguments leave people nowhere.” There needs to be at least one who gives up his or her position or each one of you moves half way so as to bring up peace.  Sticking to one’s position without any movement will not solve any problem. It requires one to relinquish his or her position. For example, one can say; “I am the president” and another says, “I do not recognise your presidency”. If the two sides perpetually stick to their positions, nothing will materialise in terms of peace or reconciliation. Whereas humility is attractive, arrogance is repulsive. You cannot feign humility just as a drunkard cannot feign sobriety.

Therefore, humility does not mean that you look down on yourself. But humility is different from low self-concept, esteem or low locus of evaluation. Forgiveness is not completely due to the realisation of human contingencies or that I am a sinner therefore I need to forgive; this is self-pity. Realisation of one’s contingency or sinfulness could be a step towards forgiveness. Jesus was not a sinner but he forgave those who killed him.

Do not intimidate the offender.

Is it not right to say that preventing humiliating the offender breaks the circle of violence? In being offended we carry with us a lot of anger in our chest believing that the offender must be punished, crushed and feel the pinch of his or her offence. But what actually are we doing to them? Haven’t we created a psychological warfare or created a spirit of vindictiveness in them which will never end? It is part of human nature that even if people have sinned or offended they should not be intimidated but need respect and experience softness in order to foster the attitude of change. Besides there are some people who may not be ready even to relinquish their pride. They would prefer to die with their pride other than swallowing it while others may be shy or find it humiliating by being forgiven.

Les misérablesYou remember in that film “Les misérables” how the pursuant asked his enemy why he did not kill him but forgave him. In other words, he was telling him: “who told you to forgive me”. Sometimes, I am led to think that it is the poor and the humble who appreciate forgiveness. In this world where people have acquired a variety of statuses in forms of richness, education, political mileage, etc. humility to accept forgiveness will be hard to come by. It is up to the victim or the offended to be humble to forgive.

Humility in valuing others or seeing goodness in others.

There was a woman who came to me and said she lent a lot of money to her friend and for many years she asked for that money but to no avail. Her friend always told her that she would give it back to her but she did not. In the end, she just gave up her pursuit of that money for the sake of friendship. There are similar examples of that nature such as giving up the debts, the land, and property helplessly. But is this forgiveness? Wouldn’t it be much better to tell the other one that I have forgiven you, so that the other does not look down when you meet face to face?

Scripture says that humility consists in valuing others above yourself. I quote: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit but rather think of others as better than you.(Phil 2:3). St. John of the Cross said that rejoice in the goodness of others as if it were your own, desiring that they be given precedence over you in all things. In other words, try to see goodness in other people. This is very difficult especially when you are at loggerheads with them. It is even harder to see goodness in people who pride themselves.

I would like to quote a Bemba proverb or a tale which says something about humility. It says that friendship started by ‘help me look for my arrow’ = Icibusa catampile muli mfwailako umufwi. In the process of helping the other to look for his arrow, the two boys became friends. If it was not for loving humility, the other boy would have gone home and not have spent hours looking for the lost arrow.

Barak Obama PNGLet me also talk about another side of humility. Probably other people may find some truth or meaning in it. There is one thing I liked about Obama’s character. When people talked ill about him such as calling him a nigger and what, he just smiled and laughed. I found that healing instead of having to defend oneself and arguing. If you know who you are, why should you worry about negative remarks people make about you? (ukukuntikilwa = to worry about negative remarks.) We are very quick at defending ourselves whenever people say something negative about us. When I was doing the course of psychotherapy there was a day in a week which was strictly dedicated to each person. Fellow students would point at each and every defect they have known about the person and the person is supposed to keep quiet. Knowing one’s weakness in humility is also empowering. But some students would end up crying all day thinking that others do not like them.

There are some people in this world, when you meet them, you feel like a human being, empowered and magnanimous. This is not pretence or that they are putting up a façade but it is just the way they are. I also believe that we can heal people simply by the way we are. It is the phenomenon which the psychologists call ‘participation mystique’ = when what we are experiencing from inside is in resonance with what is happening from outside. You are truthful to other people in your relationship and forgiveness.

CarlRogersI like what Carl Rogers said which I think is related to healing and it comes from conscious forgiveness. Rogers said: “If only I can be real, if only I can be transparent, if only I can get in touch with my inner self so that the other can see through me that I am not holding anything back, then process of therapy can begin to take place” (Rogers, 1959). In this case forgiveness is coupled with honest and respect of someone, and honouring of that person (hyperecho to elevate/hold above in Greek). It is not pretence or demeaning of someone like; “I have forgiven you, little mosquito”. People are not fools, they can see through whether you have forgiven them or not. If you haven’t, they will always walk with a guilty conscious and will never look into your eyes.

In conclusion. 

We are born in different settings with different upbringing and humility may not be part of our life. Some people are lucky by being born with humility. But if we can train for transformation we can as well train or learn to be humble. We can start by appreciating others; delight in the success of others. All in all, in my view, forgiveness is positive and hinges on true humility.

THE POSITIVITY OF HUMILITY1

Souvenir of a very special meal.


pere-jacques-hamelBy Christophe Boyer, M.Afr

End of April 2017, I was back from holidays in France where the islamo-christian dialogue has improved a lot since the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel during mass in a church. Of their own initiative Muslims have come to Church to show their opposition to violence and intolerance.

Toni RowlandI was wondering what could be done here in South Africa. One day I received a phone call from Toni Rowland who is in charge of the family apostolate at the South African Catholic Bishops Conference. She asked me to advise her about a Muslim invitation since I am a contact person for islamo-christian relations at the SACBC. I was lifted up by this answer to my question.

We went together to meet Ayhan Cetin the CEO of the Turquoise Harmony Institute. He told us that this year the Institute invites people motivated to inter religious dialogue to share the breaking of the fast in a Muslim family. Toni had already gone with the Institute to visit Turkey. We said it is a very good project and emailed the invitation to Catholics who might be interested. Toni went to such an iftaar and was delighted meeting such a diversity of people. So I asked Michel Meunier of Canada and George Okwii of Uganda, my two fellow priests in Edenglen if they would be interested in such an invitation. They answered without hesitations.

Then I registered on the Facebook page of the Institute and received an answer within the week with the professional assistance of Ayhan and his secretary. The 12th June at 17:30, we arrived at Sermin and Turker Isler’s flat not far from Nizamiye mosque. We were immediately warmly welcomed by them and three neighbours. I gave in an envelope the message of the Vatican for the Feast of the Sacrifice at end of the Ramadan and a small box of mint green tea. We sat with our three male hosts. The food was tasty and rich. We closed the meal with black tea.

Nizamiye mosque 2The conversation was lively: our respective lives, work, politics, soccer… One and the other went for a prayer at the end of the meal. Finally, after thanking the mistress of the house we moved at the invitation of our three male counterparts to the beautiful pastry parlour of the mosque. On the way we could admire the illuminated mosque in the night.

We were happily surprised to meet Uncle Ali, the builder of the mosque and the boss of the pastry who sat at table with us. There was another round of very refined Turkish delights one of them being hot ice cream…  The conversation became more spiritual. We need such table fellowship to anticipate the one at the end of the world when there will be universal love without discrimination of religion, race, gender, wealth or culture. We promised to follow up with other similar encounters even with the youth and during worship. We parted with a precious new memory in our hearts.

Souvenir of a very special meal

Link: Visit of Nizamiye mosque on Tuesday 5th July 2016.