My dear Friends, Greetings! I hope you are well.
This month has been quite busy, as usual! I guess it has been the same for you too. But let us always take some time to stop and relax and pray. This is important if we want to listen to God who whispers to us mostly in stillness.
In the last two months we were very fortunate in the Southern Africa Province to have two ordinations to the priesthood: one in Malawi and one in Zambia. If you like to see beautiful pictures and read about those events, you can go to our blog at mafrsaprovince.com. I am sure you will find plenty of other interesting news as well.
On Monday 10th, Fr. Seán O’Leary, M.Afr, left us. Fr. Seán has been in South Africa for over 30 years! During the apartheid era, he was even jailed because of his opposition to the oppressive regime. After many years of work in different parishes and then at the Bishops’ Conference – where he was in charge of the Bishop Hurley Institute –, he is now appointed to Ireland, his native country. He will be the Sector Bursar as well as coordinator for all matters of Justice and Peace for the M.Afr throughout our European province. We wish him all the very best and accompany him with our prayers. Thank you, Seán! You will surely be missed and you will miss South Africa, we are sure! This is the lot of missionaries: we come and go!
Now that Fr. Seán is gone, Fr. Christophe Boyer, the South Africa Sector Bursar, and I are alone here in Edenglen. Without counting all the pastoral commitments (helping around in parishes and schools, giving retreats and sessions to various Movements like Cursillos, CWL, St. Vincent de Paul, etc.), we are often running to the airport and bus stations to receive and send off visitors, and preparing evening meals for them.
As mentioned last month, most of our new candidates arrived to start their theology studies in Cedara, near our Formation House of Merrivale in KZN. Finally, on 12th August, Hallen and Shiby arrived from India; they were happy to stay with us overnight and board the bus for Pietermaritzburg the following day. The next Sunday, Francis from Nigeria arrived also at OR Tambo airport and took the bus on Monday morning. We are still expecting the two from D.R. Congo; they are still waiting for their visa! We hope they’ll be here soon because their school year has already started three weeks ago! At the moment, in Merrivale, we have thirty one theology students.
There, our students are very busy; first of all, with their studies, of course; this takes a great part of their time. Then their life of prayer takes surely a good chunk of their day. And especially on weekends, they are occupied with all kinds of pastoral work in the nearby parishes. Some of them are particularly involved in our own parish of Henley (more on this, next month). We have also some who are members of the KZN Pastoral Care of Vocations: with seminarians of other congregations as well as Sisters, they regularly visit parishes for their Sunday Masses and meet with the youths afterward. We hope and pray that they may in this way plant the seed for some vocations to flourish from those parishes.
Our only candidate from this Sector, as you know, is Patrick Kadima. He is still on holiday with his family, but preparing to go for his noviciate early next month in Zambia.
Let us continue strong in our faith and confident that the Good Lord is still calling many of us to be his true missionaries. God bless you all!
Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr