Interview with Luc Antaya

Interview with Luc Antaya, 19th & 22nd October 2012 in Kasama.

It is a pleasure to meet you for the first time. Can you tell me more about you?

I was born on the 3rd September 1940. I am a Canadian of mixed origin. As a matter of fact, I am of German and Irish decent on the side of my mother and Algonquin and French on my father side. As you may know, the Algonquin are a tribe of the First Nations of Canada. Actually, my name Antaya is an Algonquin one meaning “ce coureur des bois”, in reference of the first French explorers who came in the early 17th century in the so called “Nouvelle France”. They were “running in the forest”. I identify myself primarily as an Algonquin.

I pronounced my oath on the 25th June 1964 in Eastview, Ottawa, and was ordained priest in Sorel on the 26th June 1965. I arrived in Zambia for the first time by plane at the International airport of Ndola on the 19th December 1965. Soon after, I went to Ilondola to learn Chibemba. Then, I went to Samfya, Kabunda, Nsakaluba, Lufubu which became Kazembe, Kawambwa, Kashokishi, Kasaba, Lubwe and Kasamba with Louis-Philippe “Pady” Girard and Jean-Louis Godinot till 2009. I am now appointed to Kasama up to 2014.

I got my official initiation into the White Fathers Club at the foot of the tree where Bishop Dupont put his tent in Chilubula. My master of initiation was Joseph Fayet (1886-1976), a Frenchman who spoke only his mother tongue and Chibemba. He pointed his finger and said: “Ici, Motomoto a planté sa tente”. Father Fayet came in Zambia before 1910 and knew Bishop Dupont (1851-1930).

Therefore, you have been in Zambia for the past 47 years.

This is right.

How would you describe yourself?

I dislike travelling. So, I stay where I am and never go back to where I was. I simply give 100% of myself wherever I am appointed. Today, I can say that I enjoy very much my knowledge of Chibemba. I spend a lot of time listening to people. If I could give an advice to the young generation of confreres, I would encourage them to spend time listening to the people. Don’t we have two ears and only one mouth? People appreciate it even though I do not solve their problems as such. But my experience shows me that listening brings healing.

What major challenge are you facing as Parish Priest of St. Annie’s New Town?

First of all, I thought that my turn for being a PP was over. But, I have been told that St Annie’s New Town is an easy, small, urban Parish. It might be true on paper but there are so many things going on that it makes me laugh a bit. As for your question, I think that the biggest challenge at the moment is the expansion of Pentecostal Churches. Quite a few of our youth are attracted by them. Some say that the Catholic Church is for old people. As I said, it is a big challenge. Some even see it as a danger.

What could explain this phenomenon?

Recently, I went to visit elderly and sick people in an impoverished area of the town. I discovered that a majority of young people are living with their grand-parents. Either their parents are dead or divorced. The generation gap is a tragedy whereby the grand-parents, coming from an old mentality, are lost or unable to cope with the changing times. Moreover, the young generation is cut off from the tradition and is facing tremendous difficulties to make a living.

As a Christian community, we are not able to find an answer to this social reality. We are losing touch with many young people. This is why I am thought-provoking my pastoral team to reflect and to do something about it. Fortunately, we have a good team for youth apostolate, including young confreres like Camille Konkobo and religious sisters. This is taken up also by the four parishes in Kasama town.

Thanks to you Luc. We wish you to remain an inspiring witness for all of us in years to come.

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3 thoughts on “Interview with Luc Antaya

  1. Mathias

    Bonjour Serge,
    Merci pour la lettre circulaire avec toutes les nouvelles de votre basse-cour qui me font sentir de nouveau parmi vous. Je regrette seulement que pendant ton voyage de découvertes dans le Bembaland tu ne sois pas allé à Malole où Moto-moto a mis une autre fameuse tente sur la route menant à Chitimukulu. Il voulait absolument rencontrer le Grand Chef et établir la mission dans son village royal mais celui-ci refusa et lui barra la route. Moto-moto pensait pouvoir gagner les cœurs de Babemba avec son obstination même si on essayait de le dissuader par le proverbe « ukukokola pa nengo – malole » (attendre devant le terrier d’un fourmiller c’est la perte du temps). En effet, il a dû partir sans pouvoir rencontrer le Grand Chef lorsque ses provisions furent finies. Mais quelques dizaines d’années plus tard, la mission était établit. La maison construite juste au milieu de la route où Moto-moto a mis sa tente (pour se rendre à Chitimukulu il faut encore faire un petit détour devant la maison) et la mission a été appelée Malole. Aujourd’hui, c’est une paroisse florissante. Ainsi, on ne peut pas dire que les efforts de Moto-moto aient été du temps perdu. C’est une histoire formidable pour un missionnaire parce qu’elle lui rappelle que sa vertu principale devrait être la patience. En effet, la mission n’est pas la sienne mais celle du Seigneur. Tu n’y trouverais ni «museshi tree», ni une plaque commémorative mais plutôt la maison au milieu de la route et le nom « Malole ». Hélas la plupart de confrères ne se souvient plus de cette histoire haute en couleur. Avec une salutation fraternelle et un sourire plein du soleil.

  2. Claude St-Martin

    Grâce à un Père Blanc vivant actuellement à Québec, j’ai été informé de la présence de Luc Antaya à Malawi en Afrique; selon l’interview, il exercerait sa pastorale à Kasama.
    Mon nom est Claude St-Martin, un confrère qui a fait ses études classiques à Sorel (Externat classique) et St-Hyacinthe (Séminaire) en même temps que Luc Antaya entre 1952 et 1960. Depuis quelques années, plusieurs confrères de la promotion 1960 au SSH se réunissent pour partager de bons moments et se souvenir du temps de nos études. Une liste des anciens a été constituée.
    Nous n’avons pu à ce jour retracer les coordonnées de Luc. Nous savons qu’il fait partie des P.B. et qu’il exerce son ministère en Afrique. Cette interview (octobre 2012) nous remplit d’espoir de le retracer et surtout de pouvoir éventuellement avoir de ses nouvelles et de lui transmettre aussi les activités de notre regoupement actuel (Les anciens de 1952-60 à L’externat classique de Sorel et au Séminaire de St-Hyacinthe).
    Notre intention est d’obtenir les coordonnées actuelle de Luc Antaya, adresse de correspondance, adresse email ou autre.
    La lecture de cette interview nous remplit d’espoir de pouvoir comminiquer avec lui.
    Claude St-Martin

  3. Pingback: Jubilee of Oath in SAP Province – 50 years | Missionaries of Africa – SAP Province

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