20 years after the death of Fr. Jean-Loup Calmettes, M.Afr


Kasisi Retreat, January 2014
How have I experience God’s love in my missionary life? How do I express it in my ministry, in my community? Those are a sample of questions proposed by Venerato Babaine, the preacher of the retreat, inviting the confreres to reflect and pray on their unending transformation of life in their journey across borders. Aware of our weakness and limitations, the missionary acts with charity and prudence searching for dialogue in partnership. Can we see the good in others in order to achieve meaningful sharing? Inevitably, the journey of life ends in time.
From left to right: Marc Nsanzurwimo, Halen Kerketta, Élie Nyembo Sango, Frédéric Abétertovo Somda, Jean-Paul Basikaba Evi, Pawel Dominik Mazurek, Dieudonné Rizinde, Raphaël Patrick Sebyera, Dave Hugh Cullin, Felix Kamunenge, Robert Lavertu, Venerato Babaine, Jonas Michael Mensah, Reinhold Bloching, Victor Sambari Sanou, Joe McMenamin, Emmanuel Mambwe, Jean-Luc Gouiller, Jules Roy
From left to right: Marc Nsanzurwimo, Halen Kerketta, Élie Nyembo Sango, Frédéric Abétertovo Somda, Jean-Paul Basikaba Evi, Pawel Dominik Mazurek, Dieudonné Rizinde, Raphaël Patrick Sebyera, Dave Hugh Cullin, Felix Kamunenge, Robert Lavertu, Venerato Babaine, Jonas Michael Mensah, Reinhold Bloching, Victor Sambari Sanou, Joe McMenamin, Emmanuel Mambwe, Jean-Luc Gouiller, Jules Roy
The final journey leads us back home. On the afternoon of the 19th January, all the participants went to pray at the tomb of Father Jean-Loup Calmettes to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his tragic death in a car accident on the Great North Road. Jean-Luc Gouiller read a tribute to Jean-Loup surrounded by the confreres who sang the “Sancta Maria”. See the pictures below.
Once more, we are grateful to the Retreat Centre of Kasisi, the personnel and the Sisters who welcome us in their beautiful surrounding. 

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20 years after the death of Fr. Jean-Loup Calmettes, M.Afr
(At the occasion of a visit at the tomb of Fr. Calmettes on the 18th January 2014 in Kasisi Mission, Zambia.)
By Jean-Luc Gouiller, M.Afr (Former Regional of Zambia at the time of the accident of Fr. Jean-Loup Calmettes)
Jean-Loup was born in December 1938 in Nancy. He first entered the Major Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris (cf. Lavigerie). Then he joined the M.Afr at the beginning of the 19sixties. He took the Oath in 1964.
His first appointment in Africa was in Mbala (now Mpika) Diocese. There, he must have followed closely the development of the Lumpa Church started by Prophetess Lenshina. Subsequently, he went for studies in anthropology whereby his thesis was on the Lumpa Church.
Back in Zambia, he followed closely the issue of ‘scientific socialism’ in its Marxist way, which had been introduced in Zambia by the first President, Dr K. Kaunda, who thought he could blend it with Christian principles. Among other initiatives, Jean-Loup well prepared the participation of the Zambian Episcopal Conference and the dioceses to a National Conference on scientific socialism at the Mulungushi Conference Centre. The Catholic Church in Zambia, together with other main Churches, definitely had an impact on the issue which was afterwards abandoned by the Government.
Later on, while living in Kabwata Parish in Lusaka, Jean-Loup was asked to start the Office of Social Awareness at the Zambian Catholic Secretariat. It is from that Office, in the 198ies that Sr. Theresa Walsh coordinated the “Training for Transformation” programme based on Paulo Freire methodology. Some M.Afr got involved in its diffusion. In collaboration with the Bishops of Zambia, he worked on starting methodologically the Justice & Peace work. He got a helper in the name of Mr. Samuel Mulafulafu, whom he trained so well that he is still in the Office of Caritas Zambia up to now. A small library was also started with the help of a student called Phelim Malumo who later joined the M.Afr.
Jean-Loup’s Office was also very active at the time Zambia returned to multiparty democracy and chose a new President; Dr Frederic Chiluba. Several important National Conferences were held. One of them being on agriculture. Helped by Jean-Loup, a member of CARYM, the Catholic Rural Youth Movement presented a paper at this Conference.
The same Office closely followed the development of the country under the new political leadership.
On the afternoon of 6th December 1993, Jean-Loup was coming back by car from visiting some Parish Justice & Peace Committees in Chipata Diocese. Probably tired, he got an accident at some 140km before Lusaka. At a curve of the road, his car left the road, run on a small side path and was stopped by small trees. Soon, the farmer living nearby and good Samaritans on the road came to help him. He was taken to Mpansya Hospital, 40km back. However, seeing his situation, the Sisters took him to the U.T.H. in Lusaka.
Kasisi retreat Jan 2014 15cFrom Woodlands, we went toward Mpasnya as soon we heard about the accident to hear that Jean-Loup was already in Lusaka. On 7th in the morning, I visited him at the U.T.H. He was well able to speak and even jovial. He had already been visited by the Hospital Chaplain, Fr. O’Loughen. However, when Brother Paul Donders went very early on the 8th, he learned of Jean-Loup’s death of an internal injury probably due to the steering wheel of the car. The family’s members have been contacted but nobody could come to Zambia for the burial.
Jean-Loup was buried at the age of 54 in the middle of many missionaries in the Jesuit Cemetery of Kasisi Mission, not far from the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
See Video:
20 years after the death of Fr. Jean-Loup Calmettes, M.Afr 
 
Kasisi retreat Jan 2014 26

One thought on “20 years after the death of Fr. Jean-Loup Calmettes, M.Afr

  1. Pingback: History of the beginning of the Catholic Church in Zambia in Chipata, Eastern Province. – Missionaries of Africa – SAP Province

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