About the death of the mother of Claudio Zuccala


Claudio Zuccala 2013We have received a great number of messages from all over the world. Thanks for your prayers. Only that a slight misunderstanding might have occurred. Indeed, the one who died is the mother of our confrere Claudio Zuccala even though the news appeared on my personal Facebook page which is posting the news appearing on the Southern Africa Province (SAP) Blog. Please, look also at the following link:
https://mafrsaprovince.com/2014/10/26/death-of-the-mother-of-claudio-zuccala/
As indicated below, the funeral is taking place today the 30th October. I have forwarded to Father Zuccala all your kind words of sympathy. May God bless you all for your kindness and love!
On behalf of Father Claudio Zuccala, I am grateful for your prayers and words of encouragement.
Here is the message of Father Zuccala sent yesterday night:
I arrived yesterday morning (28th October) on a beautiful late autumn day, with the sun brightening the snow-capped mountain tops and a touch of frost on the ground.
The sun was shining bright by the time I reached the village perched on a mountain top where my mum lived. She looked very serene, almost smiling and I felt a sudden rush of consolation in spite of the deep sadness which had nested in my heart since I heard the bad news.
It’s been very hectic at home with lots of friends, family members and acquaintances coming to say a prayer and to pay their last visit to mother and to express their condolences to my sister and me. Her gentleness, simplicity and readiness to help which have been the trademark of all her life has produced this kind of overwhelming response.
Tomorrow (30th) we’ll celebrate her funeral and lay her to rest in the tiny parish cemetery overlooking the valley below.
United in prayer,
Claudio Zuccala, M.Afr

Death of the mother of Claudio Zuccala


Mother of Claudio Zuccala copieIt’s with great sadness that I let you know about my mother’s death which occurred this morning as I was praying for her at Mass in a community of Sisters where I was giving a recollection.
Mum was taken to hospital on Friday morning by my sister (there is just the two of us in our family) because of some persisting vomiting. The doctors found an intestinal obstruction which they proceeded to remove on the same day. Yesterday she had a quiet and restful day. Something went wrong in the early hours of this morning and she passed away peacefully. She turned 82 last September. I am flight tomorrow for the funeral.
Keep us in your prayers. Claudio Zuccala, M.Afr

News from Emmanuel Chisanga Mubanga, M.Afr in Mali, West Africa


Emmanuel Mubanga Chisanga
Emmanuel Mubanga Chisanga

Kindly be informed that I reached Mali safely and that I am now well settled in Faladie, 80 kilometres from Bamako, where the language Centre is situated. We are seven students pursuing to immerse ourselves in the famous Bambara language and culture. The people of Faladie are very much used to welcoming students for about half a century now and our teacher has the experience of teaching Bambara in this same Centre for thirty five years. We are in class in the morning and in the afternoon we go into families to practice what we learn in class. As you all know, learning another person’s language and culture demands humility and dedication, accepting the other in his or her own worldview. My inspiration remains Jesus who let himself be immersed in a particular culture and setting with all its strengths and limits. We shall be in this Centre till the end of December when we shall go for our Christmas break in our respective communities. At the beginning of January, we shall come back to the Centre to be allocated different villages where we shall go and stay in view of becoming ‘one of the Bambara.’ It is indeed a time for learning and adapting oneself.

So far so good, you might have heard about the confirmed Ebola case in Kaye. The authorities are trying their best to contain the situation. The victim was coming back to Mali from Guinea with her grandmother. We keep our fingers crossed as the Ministry of Health try to put up measures to avoid the spread of this deadly disease. Life continues as before though people think twice before going to Kaye. The usual Annual National Pilgrimage to Kaye, which was scheduled to take place next month, MAY have to be put off. This is a very important event for the Catholics of Mali and the whole of Mali at large. With the Ebola virus confirmed to exist in one person in Kaye, the Episcopal Conference of Mali may have to think twice about this year’s pilgrimage. May ‘Notre Dame du Mali’ who, every year, gathers all her children in Kaye, guide and protect the inhabitants of Kaye and indeed all the people residing in Mali.
Emmanuel Chisanga Mubanga, M.Afr

50th Independence Anniversary Honours and Awards.


Golden Jubelee MedalAccording to the exercise of powers contained in Article 44 (2) (f) of the Constitution of Zambia, Lusaka Province Minister Philip Kosamu, on behalf of His Excellency the President Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, conferred the 50th Independence Anniversary Medals to 1356 freedom fighters, ex-service chiefs, traditional leaders and other Zambians and distinguish individuals. This First Ever Special Single Class Golden Jubilee Medal function took place on 23rd October 2014 at Mika Convention Centre.

Among those who received a medal are five Missionaries of Africa:

  • Bishop Adolf Joseph Paul Furstenberg, German (1909 – 1988)
  • Father Jean Jacques Corbeil, Canadian (1914 – 1990)
  • Father Bernard Poisson, French, born in 1926, currently in Billère, France
  • Father Claude Galmiche, French, born in 1925, currently in Tassy, France
  • And Bishop René Pailloux, French, (1903 – 1988)

Father Oswald Mallya received the medals on behalf of our confreres. With them, we are honored and grateful to the Government of Zambia for this recognition.

Bernard Poisson 2014Claude Galmiche 2014 B copie

Distinction Poisson

Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia


The campaign is going on for quite some time. Videos are now accessible through the Facebook Page of the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution in Zambia by clicking on https://www.facebook.com/grandcoalitionzambia
See the video of Father Cleophas Lungu
Video Fr Cleophas LunguCoincidence or not, the Draft Constitution was released on the 23rd October, eve of the 50th Anniversary of the independence of Zambia. See below the Jubilee Pastoral Statement from the Christian Church Mother Bodies:
Constitution of Zambia Technical Committee – 23rd October, 2014 (PDF File 226 pages)
Joint Pastoral Statement on the occasion of celebrating ZAM BIA’S fifteen Anniversary of Independence – The Golden Jubilee (19 pages)
A Shorter Version of the Joint Golden Jubilee Pastoral Statement from the Three Church Mother Bodies (5 pages)

Happy Zambian Golden Jubilee!


Golden Jubilee Zambia 3Happy Zambian Golden Jubilee! 
A united peace and loving Zambia with people of vision, hardworking and discipline will make all Zambian loving peace call it ONE ZAMBIA ONE NATION!
From Bro. Chimpali Mutale Clenerius (Folela), M.Afr
Happy Golden Jubilee to motherland Zambia.
We pray for Zambia and its people. It has been a blessing and we thank God.
May god bless Zambia always will peace, justice and good governance!
In prayer!
From Camille Konkobo, M.Afr
Happy Golden jubilee to Mother Zambia and to you all my brother. May the same peace Zambia has enjoyed prevail in our hearts and MAY OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE MALI know such peace.
United in prayer.
From Fr. Kambole Remmy, M.Afr
Pretoria, 24 October 2014
Dear fellow country men and women,
Today marks a mile stone in the history of our great Nation mother Zambia- a country that was a corner stone for liberation to other African countries especially those in the SADC region. The tenacity shown by our leaders to rally us behind our national motto One Zambia One Nation made it even possible for us to foster unity, peace and prosperity. Today indeed is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it, let us celebrate, rejoice and commemorate all our unsung heroes and sung heroes. Most of our leaders that played a huge role are no longer with us the likes of Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Nkumbula, mama Chikamoneka to mention a few may they rest in peace and to those that are still alive today who were under the charismatic leadership of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda may they too be blessed.
To our former leadership that brought us into a second phase the late Dr. Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa SC may they rest in peace and may the Lord forgive them for any wrong they may have committed on this earth either in executing their duties or living with other people. May the Lord bless our former 4th democratically elected President Rupiah Banda and bless our current 5th democratically elected President Michael Sata and those serving under his leadership that they may put the interest of serving our people first so that the gains of our forefathers and mothers should not go in vain.
This is the time to foster unity of common purpose to strive towards uniting Zambians in the country and those in diaspora. We have come a long way and indeed we have been blessed with peace and we know a lot still needs to be done a country wherein Zambians shall be able to live and access good health care, education, food security, water and sanitation, employment etc. Our country had shown determination and good will in assisting other countries in our SADC region to be liberated and this calls to mind that we should now take our country into the 3rd phase that is to become an economic hub in SADC region and later in Africa and the world, we should strive towards achieving long sustainable economic development programs that shall be reflected in the lives of the citizenry. My fellow country men and women let us take charge and become part of building our country from where our forefathers and mothers had left it.
We cannot dare forget our unity in diversity so wherever you are as a Zambian please play an active role in continuing that motto One Zambia One Nation we cannot afford to be divided and our country to become unstable so together as true patriots we shall indeed make our nation a beacon of hope to other countries as it was during the liberation days.
May the Lord our God continue blessing our country and we pray. Let there be peace and prosperity in our great Nation mother Zambia.
Happy golden jubilee
Shalom
From Rev. Fr. Peter Chungu
Parish Priest & Diocesan Youth -ACTS Chaplain
St. Jude Catholic Church, King William’s Town, South Africa

News from two or our former stagiaires – Canisius Bindaba and Stephen Kajay


Canisius Bindaba 2014Canisius Bindaba was celebrating recently his 31st birthday and sent us a word from Burundi. He made his apostolic training (stage) in Kasamba, Zambia, in 2010 up to 2012. Here below his message from home.
 Thank you a lot ba Father. 
It is a great pleasure to receive a message from your part of the world, especially from my great White Fathers family. I am in Burundi since I left Zambia. I got a job in the telecom as a corporate Supervisor. I also initiated a wide program for setting up youth communities with the aim of creating development community projects. The vision is intended to sustain social cohesion, peace consolidation and integral development based on tangible and concrete initiatives.
I intend to create a vocational job training centre where those guys could come for Internet research or get some practical courses to respond to the requests of the created youth communities. It sounds a bit silly but I pray hard to see my dreams coming true one day.
Even though I have left my formation with the Missionaries of Africa, I am always moved from within when I find news about the missionaries.
May the Good Lord be with you all!
Please pray for this dream of mine so that God may be praised in what I wish to achieve for the rest of my life. I really want to do something that would make a difference in a similar way as I was expecting to do with the Society of the M.Afr.
Lesa atupale amate!
Best regards!
Canisius Bindaba
Stephen Kajay was a stagiaire in Mua, Malawi, in 2008. He is now married with Amala Jothi and happy to be the father of a beautiful girl called Julie Vimal. The family lives in Chennai, India.
“I am writing this mail to inform you about the baptism for my daughter that was held on 14th September 2014. I am very thankful to Father Johnson Singarajan, M.Afr who baptised my daughter. Years ago, we joined together the M.Afr although we are traveling now in different directions. He is the one honouring the old promise that we made when we were at S.O.L.A. Candidates’ House in Bangalore. He really made the Sunday celebration wonderful and we had a long exchange. It was really nice spending time with him. I have attached the photos of the baptism. Once again, thank you for your prayers.​”
Stephen Kajay

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Mafrwestafrica – Lettre du 19 octobre 2014


cropped-mafrwestafrica-02.jpgAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site www.mafrwestafrica.net :
Dans la rubrique « Actualités » :
« Les confrères présents dans la P.A.O. » : le 1er octobre 2014, il y a dans la Province 93 confrères, 89 pères et 4 frères, ainsi que 26 stagiaires. Cliquer sur le lien suivant pour consulter cette liste mise à jour, par ordre alphabétique. (lire la suite) 
« Le livret du personnel» : cet article complète le précédent puisqu’il permet d’avoir accès au livret du personnel de la Province, réparti par communautés et par secteur. Il fournit également un lien internet pour avoir accès à la liste des confrères originaires de la Province, qui vient elle aussi d’être mise à jour. (lire la suite) 
« Le nouveau Conseil Provincial » : la liste des Missionnaires d’Afrique qui ont été élus par leurs confrères pour les représenter (3 personnes par secteur) – Le dit conseil provincial est d’ailleurs en réunion lors de la publication de cette lettre. (lire la suite) 
« Le Synode sur la famille » : un lien avec le dossier du journal « La Croix », ainsi que l’opinion d’un théologien africain originaire du Congo. Ceci en attendant d’avoir dans le futur des comptes-rendus plus détaillés de ce que cette rencontre a apporté à l’Église (lire la suite)
Dans la rubrique « Vu au sud, vu du sud » :
« La confiture de lait » un article paru sur le site www.abcburkina.net et qui décrit quelques expériences faites par des éleveurs pour mettre à profit leur production de lait en fabriquant une pâte à tartiner qui a l’avantage de se conserver longtemps. (lire la suite) 
Dans la rubrique « Dialogue interreligieux » :
« Dialoguer, une nécessité bienfaisante » cinq articles parus dans le dernier bulletin (n° 92) de l’ARCRE (Action pour la Rencontre des Cultures et des Religions en Europe) et qui permettent de prendre ou reprendre conscience que le dialogue existe bel et bien, malgré l’actualité préoccupante par sa violence et son intolérance. (lire la suite) 
« Mon cheminement de musulman ». L’expérience de Sani Suleiman, dont le désir était de mieux connaître le catholicisme et qui est venu à Rome dans ce but pour étudier. Il était hébergé chez les Missionnaires d’Afrique. (lire la suite)
Dans la rubrique « Justice et Paix » :
« Vie difficile des enfants africains » un des textes parus dans le dernier numéro de « Voix d’Afrique » (n° 104) paru en septembre 2014 (lire la suite) 
Dans la rubrique « Témoignages » :
« Deux mois à Jérusalem », un texte dans lequel le Père Georges Paquet, qui était à l’accueil des pèlerins à Jérusalem en été 2014 partage ce qu’il y a vécu, et les réflexions venues de cette expérience. (lire la suite) 
« C’est le prêtre qui t’a flatté ? » ou la nécessité de participer véritablement et intérieurement à l’eucharistie, et de se laisser transformer par l’Esprit. (lire la suite)

The Fingers of Thomas in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia


Fingers of Thomas for Blog Oct 2014 22The Fingers of Thomas, a group linked to FENZA under the leadership of Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven are continuing their good work of enlightening Christian communities on the issue of witchcraft. Four of them – Philip Lupiah, Michael Chanda, Evarist Manya and Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven – accompanied by Fr. Romaric Bationo of FENZA, stepped away from their personal jobs and busy schedules, to facilitate two seminars in Chikowa and Lumimba parishes, Chipata diocese,  from the 1st to 11th October 2014. These seminars were the initiative of Fr. Bwezani Phiri, the Episcopal Vicar for the Luangwa Valley.
The first three-day seminar took place at Chikowa Parish from the 1st to the 4th of October. It attracted 51 church leaders from various outstations, the priests of the parish and 2 Comboni novices. In Lumimba Parish, it is 32 lay leaders with their 3 priests and the M.Afr Stagiaire who attended the workshop from 6th – 10th October.
The Fingers of Thomas: Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven, Evarist Manya, Michael Chanda, Philip Lupiah and John Zulu from Caritas Chipata were the featured presenters. The Fingers of Thomas expounded on the fundamental issues of witchcraft which are beliefs in evil spirits, magic, the reality of fear, the recourse to traditional medicine. Their presentations struck a chord with the participants, when the Fingers elucidated the realms of witchcraft; explained clearly that fear is at the core of black magic; unravelled some of the manipulatory tricks of witch-finders. John Zulu talked about the Witchcraft Act. Each day was well winded-up with a prayerful liturgy at night around the theme of the day.
Ultimately, the seminars stressed clearly that no matter the causes and forms of witchcraft, and amid its mysteries and disorders the power of God through Jesus Christ overcomes witchcraft. Christ is victorious and true faith in Him and being at the service of His Kingdom brings freedom, healing, justice, peace and reconciliation.
The issues tackled, the well-articulated presentations, the joy, the approbation and the gratefulness of the participants at the end of every seminar are a clear indication that the Fingers of Thomas are doing a remarkable and well appreciated work of JPIC-ED. Their next outreach will be in Mansa Diocese!
Reportage from Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

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BNB and JCTR Press Release on the Proposed 2015 Budget


JCTR Website LogoGreetings from JCTR,
We are happy as always to share with you the 2014 September Basic Needs Basket for Lusaka and accompanying Press Releases about our pre and post 2015 budget position. We hope this information is helpful for you.
To get more on this and other JCTR activities, please visit our Website. We also invite you to visit our well stocked resource room for your research and other information needs.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, requests or comments. We always appreciate your feedback on how you are using the Basket.
Mwiinga Shimilimo (Miss)
Media and Information Officer
Basic Needs Basket for Chipata
Basic Needs Basket for Kasama
Basic Needs Basket for Kitwe
Basic Needs Basket for Mongu
Basic Needs Basket for Ndola

JPIC-ED Bulletin No 16 – October – November 2014


Bulletin Oct-Nov 2014Pilgrimage Spirituality. A Journey into Liminarity
The feast of Eid-ul-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), the feast par excellence for the Muslims (Eid-al-Kabîr), in remembrance of the Sacrifice of Abraham, was celebrated on the 4th October 2014. Thousands of Muslims from all over the world made a pilgrimage (al-hajj) to fulfil one of the five pillars of Islam. What a blessed coincidence that it fell on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a saint for the promotion of interreligious dialogue!
Today, many believers living in multi-faith contexts are searching for a spirituality that can help them to ‘come closer’ to their fellow human pilgrims and in a special way to believers of other faiths with whom they share so much in common. Pilgrimage spirituality which is taught and practiced in different religions could be a major contribution to such a spirituality promoting inter-faith peaceful and constructive co-existence.
Speaking about pilgrimage, the anthropologist V. William TURNER says: “A pilgrimage liberates a person from the obligatory everyday constraints of status and role, also from our personal stories, our personal triumphs and defeats, and we are enabled to become ourselves again in a new model of human brotherhood. It is a journey into LIMINARITY, where we will acquire new insights about life, about mission, about God, others and ourselves.”
Is this ‘journey into liminarity’ not the journey that Abraham, our father in faith, obediently took in response to God’s command as narrated in the Bible: “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house for the land I will show you.” (Gen 12: 1)? Isn’t it the same journey we have to take in order to build a ‘new model of human brotherhood’ in our globalised indifference and violence?
Nnyombi Richard, M.Afr
Content of the Bulletin: Click on this link
News from the Society and Elsewhere
World Day of Peace 2015
The UN of Religions (4th Sept. 2014)
African Interfaith Initiative on Post-2015 Development / United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC)
First text – PDF file
Second text – PDF file
Synod on the family (5th – 19th October 2014)
Visit of Pope Francis to Turkey (28th – 30th November 2014)
Lire le Bulletin en Français en cliquant sur : Spiritualité du Pèlerinage. Un Chemin vers la « Liminarity »
Faith Leaders Position
Statement
 

Departure of Francis Kangwa to Katakwi in Uganda.


Katakwi Uganda 01Francis Kangwa 04Francis Kangwa has left Lusaka this morning going to Uganda, more specifically to Katakwi in the Diocese of Soroti. It will be his first experience in that part of the world. Being asked what would be his mission over there, he answered: “It is a challenging one first and foremost the language will be new and the environment seems tough. But I am ready as it is really missionary area.”
We wish him good and fruitful mission in his new home at Katakwi. Francis was the Vocation Director in Zambia for the past six years. Many thanks to you Francis for your wonderful work done in your home country as many youths were touched by your joyful faith. We hope to hear from you again soon.

Namushakende – Home Coming for Frs Christian Muhineza and Alfred Awogya


Namusahakende, home coming for Christian and Alfred 03bGreat joy marked the Sunday celebration (5th Oct 2014) where the Christian community of St. Gabriel’s parish, Namushakende, warmly welcomed back Christian and Alfred.
Christian is newly appointed to Namushakende after his priestly ordination on 12th July in Burundi. He had his pastoral experience (Stage) here in Namushakende from 2009/2011. And so being appointed to Namushakende was a beautiful home coming for him. The Christians greeted him with great joy amidst singing and dancing. When Christian greeted the people at the end of Mass in Silozi, which he learnt during his period of stage, the Church cheered with joy and ululation. Christian will spend a short moment of re-introduction to the Silozi language and culture in Limulunga and then take full residence in Namushakende. We wish him a very fruitful and fulfilled ministry. Alfred, on his part, returned back to Namushakende after three months of home leave in Ghana.
Fr Robert Chipumbu presided at the Mass. It was a delight to have Fr. Oswald Mallya, the Delegate Superior of Zambia with us at Mass. We are grateful to Oswald for accompanying Christian and Alfred from Lusaka to Namushakende, ‘Western Power,’ he calls us. The liturgical celebration was also coloured by the celebration of the rite of acceptance into the order of catechumen, an initial step in the RCIA journey.
Namushakende community was started in 2002. It lies at the edge of the awesome Zambezi flood plains in the Western province of Zambia in Mongu Diocese. The community at the moment is composed of Robert Lavertu, Robert Chipumbu, Christian Muhineza, Joseph Kakule and Alfred Awogya.
Written by Alfred Awogya

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Ongoing construction at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia


IMG_20140925_162431About 80 workers are working hard at Chipata to build the Preparatory Centre. Here some pictures showing the progress being done. Threes were also planted under the supervision of Jaya Bordhan and the amazement of Filiyanus Ekka and Richard Dery from Mzuzu, Malawi.
See the link: 
Ground work at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia

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Mafrwestafrica – Lettre du 5 octobre 2014


Mafrwestafrica 02Aujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site www.mafrwestafrica.net :
Dans la rubrique « Actualités » :
« Nouvelle année académique à Abidjan » : c’est le 19 septembre 2014 que la Fraternité Lavigerie à Abidjan a ré-ouvert ses portes. Un texte et quelques photos ont été envoyés par le comité de communication de la communauté. Il y a maintenant 37 étudiants en 4ème étape à Abidjan. (lire la suite)
« Lettre de Ghardaia, septembre 2014,» : le message mensuel de Mgr Claude Rault, évêque de LaghouatGhardaia en Algérie. (lire la suite)
Dans la rubrique « Vu au sud, vu du sud » :
« Un accord de partenariat non souhaitable » un article paru sur le site http://www.abcburkina.net et qui remet en cause l’accord de « partenariat » économique entre l’Europe et l’Afrique (lire la suite) 
« L’or blanc de l’Afrique », un texte extrait du dernier numéro de « Voix d’Afrique » (n° 104) qui parle du coton, une culture qui permet à beaucoup d’Africains de vivre. Mais il faut cependant faire face à un certain nombre de défis.(lire la suite)
Dans la rubrique « Dialogue interreligieux » :
« L’Etat islamique, qu’en est-il ? » cinq articles parus dans le dernier bulletin (n° 91) de l’ARCRE (Action pour la Rencontre des Cultures et des Religions en Europe) et qui fournissent des informations par rapport à ce sujet tellement préoccupant. (lire la suite) 
« Programme IFIC 2014-2015 ». L’institut de Formation Islamo-Chrétienne à Bamako vient de publier le programme de l’année 2014-2015. (lire la suite)
Dans la rubrique « Justice et Paix » :
« Pape François, migrants et réfugiés » la lettre que le Pape François vient de publier en vue de la journée des migrants et réfugiés, dont la date est le 18 janvier 2015 (lire la suite) 
« Relais Maghreb, octobre 2014  », un texte extrait du dernier numéro du bulletin de la Province du Maghreb, et qui décrit la situation préoccupante de jeunes filles venues de Côte d’Ivoire pour travailler comme « bonnes » en Tunisie. (lire la suite)

Synod on Family and the Threat of Alcoholism Today


Baptiste-Mapunda-2014By Fr. Baptiste Regina Mapunda (M.Afr), Wa Diocese-Ghana
Pope Francis’ convocation of the marriage and family synod is timely as the institution of family is facing many difficulties today. The modern understanding of the Church is now described as “the first school of love and life” the source of life for every human being. Saint John Paul II in his encyclical “Consortio Familiaris” points out that “the life of every human being passes through the family.” The question at stake is how has this family today become the birthplace of every one of us?
This institution which is very fundamental to our life, Church and the society at large is facing a lot of threats for the time being from married people themselves, families, Church teaching on marriage, addictions, financial hardships and good parenting among others. The convocation of the upcoming synod on marriage and family is a clear sign for me that the Pope understands the sufferings and struggles of families today which need the attention and healing from the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit “go to every house and announce the Kingdom of God, eat and drink but don’t forget to heal the sick” (Luke 10: 1-12).
The situation of our families today is calling for great care and good pastoral ministering as well.  Evangelization of families poses a huge pastoral challenge in our modern Church today all around the world. The family has become a place of “evangelization and healing” to put in the language of Jesus Christ who became flesh through Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:14). The Church cannot afford to avoid families today, because they are the ‘domestic or first Church’ that prays and live together’ united by the love of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Reflecting upon the challenges that face families today one cannot fail to notice the big threat that come from alcoholism. Today alcohol is found in many families as sometimes our families act as a bar, alcohol is found in our religious houses, parish houses, formation houses, in offices, in our car boots and even in our pockets. It is to say that alcohol is cunning, powerful and baffling. Alcoholism is a reality and has become normal to our life. But in truth alcoholism is an addiction better described as a sickness by the medical department and the alcoholic anonymous fellow men and women. While alcohol sounds a beautiful beverage to be consumed but experience teaches us that alcohol must be taken sensibly and without excess. Medical and recovering alcoholics have testified that ‘too much consumption of alcohol is harmful’ it actually leads into sickness and ultimately premature death.
Alcoholism becomes an addiction due to the fact that in finally analysis it becomes a physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substance which is alcohol. When it becomes an addiction alcohol is able to alter ones brain and behavior without the awareness of the person concerned. This is where alcohol becomes a suffering to many couples and families. It brings madness and creates dysfunctional families and societies around the world.
It is important for the synod members to understand that alcoholism is the most common of all the addictions because it coexists with human beings, yet alcohol kills many family members silently. In fact alcoholism is a human sickness which has no race, religion or a continent to be referred to like Ebola or malaria. Often than not, alcoholism is described as a disease of progressive nature characterized with denial. An alcoholic denies that he drinks too much; he denies that his or her life is in a mess and so forth. Salvation comes only once one accepts his sickness.
To most families very often when faced with an alcoholic family member the question is always ‘what can we do’ to help him or her? What can the Church do to help addicted Christians today? The first thing is to get proper information about the alcoholism as a sickness. As a communicator I think that through  advocacy and effective communication only can this demon  called alcohol  we have to live with can be efficiently caged. Without accurate information of this killer disease of alcoholism and the inherent dangers of alcohol will continue to violently rape and destroy our families which is the foundation of our Church and the society at large.
It is in this sense that alcohol has become the worst enemy of our families today, the Church and the world at large. Alcohol is causing suffering, pain, family stress, crime, marriage breakups (divorce), incest, rape in families and society, violence, fatal accidents, dysfunctional families, bad parenting and breeds immoral behavior in the society. Finally alcoholism creates irresponsible and alcoholic citizens who will die prematurely.
All in all, the question is what can the Church do to save the deteriorating situation before it is too late. It is here that the notion of ‘smelling the sheep’ notion of Pope Francis must be put into reality.
This upcoming synod on marriage and family is the proper place to look critically into this problem of alcoholism. What are the felt effects of alcoholism in our families and the Church of today? Is the Church close enough to the people (families) to be able to discuss, give advice and render help to the suffering members? Are the Bishops and priests well informed about this acute problem that eats up their Church members? I believe that the Church can be of great help to render help and treatment to the suffering family members today if it takes seriously these issues.
Catholic Church can wisely adapt the (AA) Alcoholic Anonymous program in parishes as a pastoral method to help the addicted Christians. In Europe and America the presence of AA is already there it is a matter of finding the healthy way of integrating it into our family healing ministry in a parish. I would like to  believe that Jesus’ ministry is basically of healing as he put it rightly himself that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and that  he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor and healing the broken hearted” (Luke  4:18-19). I believe that among the broken hearted are the suffering alcoholics.
It is my belief that if Catholic Church will advocate the use of the 12 steps of the Alcoholic Anonymous as the recovery program for suffering family members it will be of great advantage. This program is a spiritual program that believes in higher power which is God in finally analysis but as you understand Him in your heart. Alcoholics Anonymous is described as a” fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to overcome their  alcoholism.”
Finally let us continue to pray with the Holy Father and the whole Church for the success of this upcoming synod on marriage and family in October 2014. In a more practical way the Catholic Church needs to establish what I call ‘family healing ministry’ and apply as a pastoral tool in the evangelization of the families today. In a special way let us pray for the flourishing of the healing ministry in our Church today as the focal point in the ministry of Jesus Christ using the serenity prayer:
“Oh Lord grant me the Serenity to accept the Things I cannot Change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to Know the Difference, Amen.”
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