To the bishops of Mozambique: always live among the faithful


Episcopal Conference of Mozambique at the VaticanVatican City, 9 May 2015 (VIS) – The bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique were received this morning by the Pope at the end of their “ad Limina” visit. In the written discourse that he handed to them during the audience, he first recalls Jesus’ question to the apostle Peter: “Do you love me?”, and before the latter’s affirmative response He asked him to be the shepherd to His flock. Christ, Who made Himself poor for us, requires of the bishops the same love for their own flock, along with their full availability and complete commitment. He calls them to set aside false presumptions in order to “wash the feet of those the Lord has entrusted to us”.

Francis goes on to emphasise that in the pastoral ministry of the bishops, priests occupy a very special role as “if God sends us to love our neighbour, the closest neighbours of a bishop are the priests, indispensable collaborators”, for whom they must always keep their “heart, hand and door” open. “Time spent with them is never wasted”, he remarks. The Pope also comments that the fruitfulness of the episcopal and priestly mission cannot be measured by the number of collaborators, the prestige of the institution, or the quantity of resources available. Instead, what counts is “being pervaded with Christ’s love, allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit, and grafting one’s own existence onto the tree of life, which is the Cross of the Lord”. From St. Paul, “insuperable model of the Christian missionary, we know that this means trying to conform to Jesus in His death to participate in His resurrection”. In his ministry the apostle “experienced suffering, weakness and defeat, but also joy and consolation”. “Jesus’ paschal ministry is the heart of the mission of the Church”, affirms Francis. “If you abide in this mystery, you will be protected both from a worldly and triumphalist vision of the mission, and the disappointment that may arise when faced with trials and failures”.

“However, will there continue to be missionaries like Paul, men and women holding on to Christ’s cross, denuded of everything so as to be able to embrace the Whole?”, asks the Pope. “We must rejoice for these men and women totally consecrated to Christ”. He highlights that the witness of men and women religious in Mozambique, who devote themselves to assisting the poor, to the education of abandoned children, and helping those experiencing all kinds of hardship. He also praises the “heroic dedication” of many doctors and nurses, priests and nuns, who work in clinics and hospitals, and he invites the bishops to thank them, underlining the importance of the inclusion of religious communities in diocesan life. “They are not merely reserve material for the diocese, but rather, charisms that enrich”, he stressed.

Episcopal Conference of Mozambique in MOZThe Pope exhorts the prelates to live among their faithful, also in the peripheries of their dioceses and in particular in the “existential peripheries”, where there is suffering, loneliness and human degradation, as “a bishop who lives among his faithful keeps his ears open to listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches and to the voice of his sheep”. He also notes the importance of the diocesan bodies which have the task of advising the bishops and assisting them “through the promotion of loyal and constructive dialogue: presbyteral council, pastoral council, council of economic affairs. It is unthinkable for a bishop not to count on these diocesan bodies. This also means being with the people. I also think at this point of your duty to reside in the diocese: listen to what your people want, what they want to see in their bishop, walk with them, stay close to them. You need this presence to live and, in a certain sense, to breathe”.

“The pastors and the faithful of Mozambique need to further develop a culture of encounter”, the Pope observes. “Jesus asks only one thing: that you go out in search of the neediest”. Among these, he mentions the victims of the natural disasters that recently sowed destruction, suffering and death throughout the country, thus increasing the number of displaced persons and refugees. “These people need us to share in their suffering, their worries, their problems. They need us to look upon them with love and you must reach out to them, like Jesus”.

Finally, the Pope offers an overview of all Mozambique, where the tensions and conflicts of recent years have undermined the social fabric, destroyed families and jeopardised the future of thousands of young people. “The most effective way of opposing the mentality of arrogance and inequality, as well as social divisions, it to invest in the field of education, which teaches the young to think critically, and offers a path towards maturity in values. In this sense, it is appropriate to raise awareness among leaders in society and to revive pastoral ministry in universities and schools, combining the task of education with the proclamation of the Gospel. The needs are so great that they cannot be satisfied simply through individual initiatives or by a union of individuals educated in individualism. Community networks are needed to respond to social problems. There is a need for a union of forces and unity of direction: in this, the Episcopal Conference may help as it has among its functions the unitary dialogue with the political authority for the whole territory. In this respect, I encourage a decisive implementation of good relations with the government, not of dependency, but rather of solid collaboration”.

“Dear bishops”, he concludes, “spare no efforts in supporting the family and in the defence of life from conception to natural death. In this sense, remember the options appropriate to one of Christ’s disciples and the beauty of being a mother, accompanied by the support of the family and the local community. The family must always be defended as the main source of fraternity, respect for others and the primary path of peace”.

Fazenda Da Esperança (Farm of Hope), Philippines


fazenda-esperancaBy Fr Phelim Malumo M.Afr, (12/05/2015)

A few people, including our students in formation and confreres, having been asking me what Fazenda da Esperança mean, its purpose and Mission: in other words; its programs and spirituality.

Thus I have decided in this article to give you briefly what Fazenda is, its Charism and Mission. I shall later, write a bit more in details about what it does concretely.

  1. Fazenda spirituality and mission. “You must be ambassadors of hope”, Pope Benedict XIV during his visit to Brazil, Fazenda, 12th May, 2007. Fazenda Charism and Spirituality is based on the inspirations of St Francis and Chiara. Thus Franciscan Spirituality of Prayer, Work and Community Living and Chiara’s Spirituality of Unity and Mutual Love (Christian).
  2. Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (for boys and girls). Fazenda Da Esperança is a Drug and Rehabilitation Center (Farm), based on 3 main principles: Spirituality, Community Life and Work.
  3. Conditions and requirements. Personal and free decision from the client. Admittance and acceptance that one has a problem and needs help. Family and Community support. Since it does not depend so much on professionals, the Centre can’t help in cases of serious mental or psychological problems.
  4. Duration of the programme. It takes one full year, with the presentation of a certificate of having followed successfully completed the Rehabilitation program under Fazenda. From there, they become connected to Fazenda, Group of Living Hope (GLH). GLH meetings of Exs are once a week, and with their families monthly. This helps them in case of temptations, relapse or need to share and encourage one another. All are encouraged to attend GLH meetings, even those who did not complete the program but stopped along the way. They are also encouraged to participate and attend Mariapolis (Focolare) and living the Word of life on daily basis. In case they relapse, they are always welcome again in the farm for refresher sessions of one month or more. In fact the farm is always open to welcome Exs members whenever they would like to visit the farm or have experienced relapse repeatedly and need help.
  5. Who manages the farm. The Farm is ran by members of the Family of Hope consisting of lay people, married, religious priests and sisters, single people and missionary volunteers.
  6. Who are admitted into the farm and the scope of Fazenda Mission. The center admit youths, adults and even older people, boys and girls, lay people, religious, priest or nuns, non-Christians, people of other faith and works of life. It is open to all. But due to its spirituality, most of those coming or admitted are Catholics or Christians. The Farm receives people who have issues different kinds of addictions and related issues such as: Drug addicts and those in networks with drug Lords, involved in serious crimes, Alcohol dependents or abusers, abandoned teenagers, victims of human trafficking, those with some behavioral problem in society, victims of prostitution, homeless youth, school dropouts, Internet and pornography addicts, Gamblers, sexually abused youth, pregnant teenagers without support of families, prisoners, those reflecting on Vocation, Priests and religious with problems in Ministry etc. In other places, Fazenda runs schools; they help the sick e.g. AIDS patients and orphans, awareness of human rights, helping the poor, assisting victims of human and natural calamities and catastrophes like typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and helping Small Christian Communities in the local Church they find themselves. They also collaborate with other groups and religious congregations in mission e.g. Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Dombe mission, Mozambique, Southern Africa.

Many groups visit the Farm for retreats, recollections, camping, meetings, Mariapolis, weddings, tourism, for purchasing and buying Fazenda Products; others come and learn new skills such in farming, milk processing etc. It is a well-known place and famous for daily products, especially fresh vegetables, milk, rice and Cattle rearing. Our place is about 260 Hectares of Land, used for farming, grazing, irrigation, accommodation, ponds, gardening, piggery, Orchards etc. It is a quiet place where immediately you arrive near the Farm you experience quietness, fresh breeze from the sea, beautiful mountains, free of pollution and ideal place for silence, peace, prayer and discernment. We are far from the pollution and noise of the city, about 30km from Masbate City.

  1. Conclusion. Fazenda da Esperanca believes in Gods Providence. They are somewhat flexible, adapting, trusting and hopeful instruments of God’s love. Indeed living in a Farm of Hope requires openness, patience, greater and sacrificial love, non-judgmental spirit and trust in Hope and to be a personal with a deeper relationship with Jesus. A person who gets his energy from prayer and Word of Life-daily Gospel reflection. This is what I am growing into day by day. You have to be definitely compassionate and forgiving. You have to show the boys and girls that God still loves them; that they are still beloved children of God (especial in Confession), and that God is waiting for each and every one of them to come back home (Prodigal Son experience) so that they may experience life, and life in its fullness and abundance (Jn 10.10). They need to experience joy and happiness and change of life. Also we have to be the link with their families so that eventually they reunite with them and start again, with HOPE. “Fazenda…where Hope and Life begins Anew…” Bishop Joel Baylon, Diocese of Legazpi, the Philippines (Chairman of the CBCP Commission on Youth)
  2. Website: http://www.fazenda-ph.org/

Links:

Celebration of the 8th December 2014 in Dombe, Mozambique

It is a great abundance from God to have a Priest in the Farm of Hope.

Searching for the identity of the Missionaries of Africa in Dombe

Death of the elderly sister of Sylvester Chimenge


Sylvester-Chimenge-2015Dear Confreres and Friends,

I regret to inform you that Sylvester Chimenge lost his elder sister Mary Chansa Chanda in Kitwe (Zambia) today. This comes at a difficult time as Sylvester prepares for his oath and diaconate this coming weekend in Nairobi.

May the soul of Mary rest in perfect peace.

Christopher Chileshe, M.Afr, SAP Provincial

2015 Celebration of Oath and Diaconate – Jubilee and Renewal of Oath, Nairobi, Kenya