Based in South Africa, Merrivale is our Forth Phase Theological Studies aiming at the formation of new missionaries. Time is distributed between studies at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, personal and community prayer, apostolate and various community activities. Here is how Tomasz Podrazik is witnessing his life experience. I appreciate the fact that our studies are taking place in the context of adaptation into a new milieu, a new country and culture. We get to know people through our apostolates, by reading newspapers, watching news and meeting personal friends. In this way, we begin to see the situation of the people from a different angle. Their life story marks their hearts deeply. As a missionary candidate, I see the importance to learn from the people. A confrere who went back to his native country told us recently that he was still searching for a deeper understanding of the local culture up to his final departure. Indeed, the mission of Jesus Christ is an unending one. No matter how little my contribution might be, it is precious because of being part of a global mission which is the establishment of the Kingdom of God. At the moment, we are unable to foresee the future of our missionary life. Few days ago, someone showed me two photos. One was taken in 2005 in St Peter’s Square after the election of Benedict XVI. The other one was taken last month after the election of Pope Francis. The first photo portrayed the people waiting for the announcement of the new Pope. But, on the second one, every person had a stretched arm trying to take a picture using a mobile phone. It was a crowd of cell phones. Technology is only one example of changes which is taking place. Similarly, in a fluctuating world, we have to make an effort to be ready to adjust to unforeseen situations. Every possible future appointment will bring challenges which we are not able to anticipate. In that regard, life at Merrivale can be stressful as we are precisely exercising in a spirit of openness our capacity of adaptation by facing for instance new commitments related to swooping duties within the community. The question is not only about being open towards future challenges but also about exercising the ability to leave the past behind and move forward right here in our formation house. Tomasz Podrazik St. Joseph’s Theological Institute has been registered with the South African Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1977 (Act No 101 of 1977). The Institute is home to more than 200 students and 40 staff members, comprising a mosaic of different cultures from more than 20 African countries, with frequent representation from Asia, Europe, South and North America. Apart from the cultural richness of our members, we are also blessed with the rich diversity of charisms with most students coming from more than 20 male and female religious congregations within the Catholic Church.
Standing from the left: Fr. Raphael Gasimba /DRC; Douglas Momanyi Ogato /Kenia; Fr. Francis Novienyeku /Togo; Br. James Calder/Canada; Konrad Millanzi /Tanzania; Ryan Contamina /Philipines; Alphonce Byishimo /Rwanda; Amani Bulambo Dieudonné /DRC; Fr. Quinbert Kinunda /Tanzania; Harrison Banda /Zambia; Tomasz Podrazik /Pooland; Antony Alckias /India; Claver Mutombo /DRC.