Greetings! I hope you are keeping well and that this month has been an occasion to reflect and pray more on your vocation. On April 17, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church celebrated the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This year’s theme was: “The Church, Mother of Vocations”. Pope Francis wrote: ‘Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus.’ The Church – and don`t forget: you/we are the Church – is where vocations take their root. Pope Francis also writes in his message for Vocation Sunday: Vocations are born within the Church… Vocations grow within the Church… and… Vocations are sustained by the Church. If you belong to a lively and prayerful parish, you can discover your vocation in the context of that community: get involved in it and have regular contacts with your priest. Are you active in your parish community? Are you committed in helping its growth in one way or the other? If you find that your parish is not lively enough, talk with your priest and with elders of your community, get other youths together and DO something about it! This is a good way to be a missionary!
From 25th to 27th of this month, I went to Thohoyandou in Limpopo to enquire and learn more about the life and death of Blessed Benedict Daswa. Indeed, last year when he was beatified on 13th September 2015, I was not able to go. I was very lucky to stay over with Blessed Benedict’s cousin who knew him very well. On the second day, we were joined by Sister Claudette, who, with a team of lay people, worked very hard to promote Benedict’s beatification. With the two of them, I had the chance to visit all the places where Benedict lived, taught and became a headmaster. We celebrated Mass in the small church which he built with the help of his learners and the local Christians. I met also many members of his family, some of his children and especially his dear mother who is now 90 years old. Blessed Daswa left a very memorable souvenir in the minds and hearts of most people not only of his area, but also of the whole of South Africa. He was a real saint who lived his catholic faith to the end, even to accepting death. He always fought for truth, and we all know that he died for having opposed witchcraft which causes so much harm in society.
What is interesting about Benedict is that he was a very ordinary boy who grew up in a remote village of Limpopo in a very loving family; he was baptised as a catholic only when he was 17 years old he became a teacher, got married and fathered eight children. He became a real leader in his village, always guided by his catholic faith in action, and not only in words. He had a great love for all people, especially the youth whom he trained to become real good Christians and citizens. He can be a real inspiration and role model for each one of us. Pray through his intercession; ask him to help you discover your Christian vocation.
Keep well and keep smiling! God bless you! Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr