Chakwela makumbi rainmaking ceremony of the Soli: A faith event.


patrick_mumbiBy Patrick Mumbi, M.Afr (FENZA)

The literal translation of chakwela makumbi is ‘pulling down the clouds’. At this time of the year in Zambia, the earth is dry parched, people are thirsty and therefore hankering for rain. In some places, animals have begun to die. It is why Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II, through the ancestors, intercedes to God for a good rainfall. The seeds of sorghum, maize and other ones are brought to her. While at prayer, she shells maize, pumpkin seeds and squeezes sorghum into the gourd and mixes them. She raises eyes to heaven and cries to God.

I heard her prayer; “God of my ancestors, of heaven and earth, open your heavens and pour down rain to us. To whom can we go except to you our Father? I am your creature and you created me and you can take my life if you want.” After a lengthy prayer and while kneeling, she begins to sob and threw herself prostrate to the ground. This is a reminiscence of the psalmist distress; “I cry aloud, I cry aloud to God that he may hear me,” Psalm77, 142.

Women worshippers began to wipe away her tears. This was a moving prayer and I felt tears in my eyes too. I then saw some dark clouds forming in the sky. I could not help but think that God has definitely listened to such powerful prayers. I sensed a deep concentration on the side of the people as they implored God. I also could not help but notice the humility of people as they clapped their hands to God.

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Also, prominent among the people, were a group of women worshippers, whom some people may call babinde, dressed in black symbolising the dark rain clouds. I was told that, in former times, the people chosen to go and pray were erecting some shelters in the forest. These were special people like diviner rain makers or cousin clan members (abena mfula na bena bowa). While they were in the forest, they would pray for rain and it would immediately pour down. During yesterday’s prayers, I saw some herbs and a black chicken placed on a black cloth within the same area of prayer. In the background, there was a chanting invocation song; “Twakabomba kuli mwami, mukamambo, katiye tulumbe,” meaning “we are saying thank you to the Chieftainess Mukamambo II. Let us go and say thank you.”

A woman worshipper dressed in black came and snatched away the black chicken, swung it and threw it at the other women seated nearby. This act was a symbolic gesture showing that our ancestor did not go empty-handed when approaching God. They would offer sacrifices to God in their supplication.

As Clifford Geertz said, the power of symbols lies in the ability to transform experiences by constructing a sacred reality upon which everyday events of life are grounded. Symbolic gestures reflect unconscious wishes, longing desires and even desperation. When people communicate through their ancestors with symbols, their prayers are addressed to God. They are speaking to God and not to a mountain, a big tree or the waterfalls. These are just spiritual symbols to solicit God’s power and benevolence.

chakwela-makumbi-rainmaking-ceremony-of-the-soli-03The second part of chakwela makumbi ceremony was the planting of seeds by the Chieftainess. At this time, she lights the fire within the cleared bush and burns a heap of stalks of maize. She then plants sorghum, maize, pumpkin seeds, etc. while people were again imploring God in a solemn song; “ilaloko, ilaloko kuli babinde, twebene mandondo, twebene imfula ilaloko ilaloko katuna tubyala. The language of this song is quite ancient. But the literal translation could mean; “it has rained, the raindrops are there, the rainmakers are praying the owners before the planting season.” This song implies that it would even rain at time before the planting season. But it could also mean that before the chief plants crops no one is supposed to do it.

Kings, Chiefs and Chieftainesses possess sacred powers over the land and there are the ones to sanction the planting season. This also corresponds to the sanctioning of gathering caterpillars among the Bemba people of Northern Province. Before the Paramount chief of the Bemba offers sacrifice to God, no one is allowed to gather caterpillars or else something worse will befall him or her. If this order is ignored, these are times when we hear that someone has been swallowed up by a python.

Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II herself is a Catholic Christian. For that reason, the ceremony begins with a solemn inculturated Mass. People know that she goes to sweep and clean the premises around the church. According to them, this should not what a Chieftainess should do. When people try to stop her sweeping and taking away weeds around the church, she answers them saying; “in heaven, there are no Kings or Chiefs. We are all the same!”

Venue of the event: Chongwe

chongwe-zambia

Newsletter South Africa No 68 – 27th October 2016


newsletter-south-africa-no-68-titlenewsletter-south-africa-no-68-ordainedGreetings! Surely, a very important event which took place on 1st October is the ordination to the diaconate of 6 of our students in Merrivale. Being at the end of their third year of theology in Cedara, they were ordained deacons. They are Alfred and Daniel (both Rwandese), Amorain (Togolese), Anthony (Ghanaian), Eric, (Mexican) and Theophile (Burkinabe). On the same day, eleven candidates of second year received the order of acolyte, their first step toward priesthood. They are Philippe (Malian), Christopher (Zambian), Martin, Robert and Victor (all Burkinabe), Éric and Pierre (both Congolese), Ryan (Filipino), Silas (Burundian), Dominic (Indian), and Francis (Nigerian).

Our deacons ordained last year – now in their fourth and last year of theology – will, in the coming weeks, go to their respective home-countries to be ordained priests and take a well-deserved holiday with their families. After two or three months’ rest, they will go to the missions where they have been appointed. They are Robin (Zambian, appointed to Tunisia), Damian (Ugandan, appointed to DR Congo), Alphonse (Rwandese, appointed to Burkina Faso), Albert (Burkinabe, appointed to Tunisia) and Konrad (Tanzanian, appointed to South Africa). CONGRATULATIONS to all! We place you all in our prayers that you may be good and faithful missionaries. These are really good news to celebrate Mission Month!

As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our foundation (1868-2018), we rejoice in having so many young Africans joining our ranks! At present there are 492 students in our formation programme (all in different African countries); 90% of them come from within Africa. During the first hundred years of our existence, our candidates came from Europe and North America. In Africa, our priority was to promote the diocesan clergy, and not our own missionary Society; we wanted first to establish a strong local Church. Only in the last 30 to 40 years have we started to recruit in Africa for our own. At present, 284 of our members are African. Our new Superior General and 2 of his 4 assistants are from Africa. Thus, we are starting to fulfil the wish of our founder: the initial work of evangelisation would be done by European and North American M.Afr., but it would be continued by the Africans themselves! Yet, we are still waiting and hoping for some South Africans to join us!

newsletter-south-africa-no-68-pdf-coverThis month, Patrick, our only candidate, wrote from Ghana. Here is a short excerpt from his email (in the box to the right). As you can see, we put a lot of emphasis on the learning of the local language, so we may be closer to the heart of the people we work with. Also, I had a chance to visit Pascal (see last month’s Newsletter) on 13th October in Assisi; he is really working hard on learning Zulu! Keep it up, Pascal! In Henley, they are waiting for you!

God bless you as his missionary. Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

Learning a New Language


thierry-jawiyambe-uyirwoth-2016_jpegBy Thierry Uyirwoth, Stagiaire at St. Lawrence, Lusaka

I struggled to improve my English and learn few words in Chibemba at my novitiate in Kasama last year. Now, I have just completed ten weeks of Chichewa or Chinyanja, as it is called in Zambia. I am very happy as I am building a foundation for my future missionary life. As Frank Smith said: “the limits of my language are the limits of my world”. Ludwig Wittgenstein also said: “A different language is a different vision of life.” By learning new languages, I feel that I am opening myself to the world. It is really a special gift that I am receiving from the Society of the Missionary of Africa.

In return, I do my best in learning new languages. As a group, we started after a session offered by FENZA called “Welcome to Zambia” which gives a general view of Zambia. It took me some courage and conviction but I am able now to speak some basic Chichewa/Chinyanja.

I am overwhelmed with joy when I interact with people. They are happy to see that I am putting efforts to learn their language with enthusiasm. I feel challenged when I see people like me who have learnt and speak a foreign language. Soon, I will be fluent in Chichewa/Chinyanja.

learning-a-new-language-03We had a nice group of students. We were united in the struggle and work together. We found means of supporting each other. As a Chichewa/Chinyanja proverb says, “Mutu umodzi susenza denga”, meaning “one head does not carry a roof”. Hence, we were motivated to work together. This spirit of togetherness helped me a lot to go ahead. We were really a family though coming from different countries such as the USA, DRCongo, Kenya, South Korea, India, Ireland and Togo.

Of course, it has not been always easy. At times, I was discouraged as I could not see much progress. Perseverance is the key. As we were saying, “pang’ono pang’ono ndi mtolo”. This proverb was for us a motto. Literally, it means; ‘a bundle of firewood grows gradually.’ In other words: ‘gradual and persistent attempts reach their objective’. That proverb helped me by concentrating my efforts.

Most missionaries I have encountered have been telling me that knowing languages is the key for a fruitful mission. Therefore, I am putting all my efforts in view of enjoying the mission. Today, I can agree with them, when you know the language, you find yourself part of the people to whom you are sent. It is really a nice experience. After learning the structure and grammar of Chichewa/Chinyanja, we now have to go into the field and practice. May God help us always to give our best in the mission which we have been entrusted.

Thanks be to God for giving us this opportunity through the Society of Missionary of Africa. A special word of thanks to FENZA community for their hospitality, to the teachers, all the students, especially my fellow stagiaires; Chandan Nayak, Emile Baguma and Emmanuel Kopke with whom we had a good time.

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Link: 10th Year of Cinyanja/Cicewa – Cibemba Class in FENZA

Blessing of children at Chudleigh House School, Lusaka, Zambia


chudleigh-house-school-oct-2016-27In the aftermath of its 20th anniversary which took place in 2013, Mrs Petronella Chisanga asked the Missionaries of Africa to bless the school. Father Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr did so by blessing all the children from Pre-School, Primary and Secondary School. Over 600 students were blessed individually knowing that the Lord has already blessed them in so many ways; the gift of life, the support of families, teachers and friends. With the help of their teachers, the classes drew a picture where the names of the pupils were written to symbolise the unity in diversity. Boys and girls as much as grown-ups are all children of God. Our prayer is to remain blessed by showing our mutual love and respect.

chudleigh-house-school-website-logo-20_jpegChudleigh House School, situated in one of Lusaka’s residential areas called Chudleigh, was officially opened by then University of Zambia Chancellor Mr John Mupanga Mwanakatwe on the 16th July 1993. The school was the brain child of Mrs Petronella Chisanga and was joined by Mrs Lalita Money, Mrs Dorothy Kasanda, Mrs Lucy Musonda and Mrs Maud Moonzwe as promoters.

Chudleigh House School is a multinational and inter-denominational school. The school aims at producing a well-rounded person after 12 years of learning. There are a total of 17 classrooms, a computer room, two science laboratories, a library, e-learning room, music room and home economy room. The school has a canteen on campus which serves hot healthy meals every day. The school has three sections; early learning Centre, Primary school and Secondary school.

Chudleigh House School is an examination Centre for Grade 7, 9 and 12 levels. The pass has been consistently above 90% at all levels in the last 20 years of its existence. May the blessing of the Lord upon the children and teachers makes it be the same for years to come.

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Cliquer sur le lien suivant pour la traduction en français.

Bénédiction des enfants de l’école de Chudleigh, Lusaka, Zambie.

Death of Petronella Mubanga, sister of our confrere John C. Mubanga.


john-mubanga-2015-jpgYesterday afternoon, 21st October, around 16:30 when I was just preparing to go for Mass, I received a call from home that my sister Petronella Mubanga (Bana Chitoshi) passed away at 13:30 in Mandevu, Lusaka, Zambia. She was the first born in the family and when I was growing up, she contributed a lot to making sure that I finish my school since our parents were not working then. She contributed also a lot during my ordination in Zambia even though she was very sick at that time. Petronella has left four children. 

Remember her in your prayers. May Almighty God in his infinite goodness welcome her in his Kingdom. Amen.    John C. Mubanga, M.Afr

10th Year of Cinyanja/Cicewa – Cibemba Class in FENZA


p1140903bToday marks the 10th Graduation ceremony at FENZA. From August 15th till this day, two students spent their efforts learning Cibemba together with ten others who learn Cinyanja/Cichewa. They are from nine different countries; Burkina Faso, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Ireland, Kenya, South Korea, Togo and the United States of America.

Songs, plays, dances, power-point presentations, speeches, certificate presentation and food made this 10th Graduation ceremony a great event.

Thanks to all of them and in a special way our stagiaires Emile Baguma, Emmanuel Kokpe, Chandan Nayak and Thierry Levinas. We wish you to improve even more your knowledge of languages and feel at home in your new country Zambia.

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Interviewed (in French) on KTOTV in France about the cult of ancestors with the participation of Norbert Mwashibongo, M.Afr


Norbert Mwashibongo was in Edenglen, South Africa, for some months. He has been interviewed on KTOTV in France about the cult of ancestors.

norbert-mwashibongo-2016-youtubeAjoutée le 9 oct. 2016

Dans la Collection Vie de l´Église. Vous avez été nombreux, lors d´une précédente émission, il y a un an, à vous interroger sur les cultes traditionnels et le regard que porte sur eux l´Église. Une interrogation qui concerne certes les continents africains et sud-américains, mais pas uniquement : avec les échanges, les diasporas africaines et américaines sont venues aussi en Europe et ce sont des questions qui concernent tous les continents, tous les pays. Qu´est-ce donc que ce culte des ancêtres ? Est-ce uniquement du paganisme ou de l´animisme, comme on le disait naguère ? Quel regard l´Église doit-elle porter sur ces religions traditionnelles ? Pour en parler, Pierre Diarra, responsable formation aux Œuvres pontificales missionnaires et auteur du document épiscopal sur le culte des ancêtres et père Norbert Mwishabongo, Missionnaire d´Afrique de la congrégation des Pères Blancs.
La Foi prise au Mot du 09/10/2016.

Durée de 52 minutes.

Official Entries into the Society of the Missionaries of Africa at the Spiritual Formation Centre in Lua-Luo, Kasama, Zambia.


official-entry-sfc-2016-01bBy Théogène Nshimiyimana

This day, Thursday 29th September 2016, will always stand out in our memory as our ceremonial official entry into the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. There was no immediate official entry form, no pompous rituals. It was simple yet prayerful and inspiring right from outside the chapel. It was very symbolic for many of us as we entered through the door of our beautiful chapel, crossing the threshold into a spiritual journey of self-discovery and gradual knowledge and attachment to Christ our Lord and his Gospel. As Saint Paul says, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14, 7-8).

The ceremony was presided over by Fr Michael Mawelera who started by reminding us that, as we celebrate the official entry into the Society on the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, our names will be officially written in the book of the Missionaries of Africa. He did not mention though the fact that it was also his feast day.

The mass began at 11: 00. Michael was surrounded by the staff members, Francis Bomansaan, Leonard Hategekimana, Clenerius Chimpali and Justin Sebakunzi. Through his homily, Father Michael reminded us that, as Lavigerie said, we ought to “be apostles, nothing but apostles”. We become apostles, because we are sent forth by someone to someone and for a particular mission. He continued by highlighting that all this needs to be accompanied by faith, prayer, courage and commitment to the mission.  

During this mass, each candidate received the Bible and the book of the “Constitutions and Laws” of the Missionaries of Africa. The Bible will help us to deepen our relationship with Christ; the Word of God. So we are entrusted with the Sacred Scriptures for us to read, to live by and to share. The book of the “Constitutions and Laws” will inculcate in us a familiarity with the texts which govern our missionary society. He went on by reminding us that each one of us has been called by his name, to follow Jesus through the Society of the Missionaries of Africa and that the journey we have already started goes on. He promised to pray for us candidates and for the staff members who are tasked to accompany us on this journey of life.

All of us students, from eleven nationalities, were grateful to God, to the Society, to our staff and to many other people who contribute directly or indirectly to our wholeness. May our Lady Queen of Africa and her Son Jesus Christ continue to guide and protect us all in our missionary vocation.

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Mafrwestafrica lettre du 18 octobre 2016


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« Décès de Mr Francis Konkobo », père du Père Camille Konkobo, Burkinabè et Missionnaire d’Afrique en Zambie (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Serment et diaconat à Merrivale » maison de formation des Missionnaires d’Afrique en Afrique du sud (lire la suite)

« Le Frère Jan Heuft témoigne » : ce frère Néerlandais a passé de très nombreuses années en Algérie (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Un conte Bambara » mis à notre disposition par le père Charles Bailleul qui a passé de très nombreuses années au Mali (lire la suite)

« Norbert Mwishabongo sur KTO » le chemin d’accès à une émission sur les religions traditionnelles africaines (lire la suite)

« Mgr B. Auza à l’ONU » Aucune raison de peut justifier le terrorisme, dit cet évêque Philippin à l’ONU le 5 octobre passé (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Le Pape François à Bakou, Azerbaidjan » avec le texte de son discours à cette occasion (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Burkina Faso, coalition de l’opposition » tout ne va pas pour le mieux pour Mr Roch Marc Christian Kabore (lire la suite)

« Côte d’Ivoire, référendum à venir » à la fin de ce mois d’octobre 2016, au sujet de la nouvelle constitution (lire la suite)

« Au Mali, rentrée des classes difficile à Kidal » avec un retard de près de trois de semaines (lire la suite)

« Niger, attaque contre une prison repoussée » sans doute la prison la plus sûre du pays. (lire la suite)

Death of the father of our confrere Jacek Rakowski in Poland.


Jacek RakowskiOnce again this month I am a bearer of sad news. Today, I have received a message from our confrere Jacek Rakowski that his father Aleksander Rakowski has passed away at the age of 77 at his family home. Mr Aleksander died after a long struggle with cancer. As Mr Rakowski’s health was deteriorating, Jacek went back to Poland last week. We wish him our condolences and we pray for Mr Rokowski and the entire family.

With fraternal greetings, Father Paweł Mazurek, Delegate M.Afr in Poland

Installation of Rev. Fr. Norbert Renatus Nkingwa, M. Afr, as Parish Priest of St. Annes’ Parish, New Town, Kasama.


installation-of-rev-fr-norbert-renatus-nkingwa-05b2By Mike Mawelera, M. Afr

On Sunday, 16th October, 2016, in a colourful and joyful atmosphere, His Grace, Archbishop Ignatius Chama of the Archdiocese of Kasama, Zambia, celebrated Mass with the Catholic community at the Ordination Square within the premises of St. Anne’s Parish.

During the celebration, 124 people from St. Anne’s Area alone (the parish has three areas plus a semi-autonomous sub-parish) received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Prior to that, immediately after his homily, Archbishop Chama installed our confrere, Norbert Renatus Nkingwa as the latest Parish Priest of St. Anne’s Parish, New Town, Kasama. Both the Confirmation and the installation were met and received with great jubilation from the people. Fr. Lawrence Tukamushaba and Fr. Michael Mawelera, M. Afr were also officially presented to the faithful by the Archbishop as collaborators of Fr. Norbert. Among those who attended the Mass were Hon. Kelvin Sampa, MP of Kasama Central Constituency and the District Commissioner of Kasama Disrict. After a hearty lunch the Archbishop met with the Parish Executive.

I am happy and well pleased to mention that the transition period and the eventual handover of St. Anne’s Parish administration from Fr. Luc Antaya to Fr. Norbert Nkingwa were done professionally and transparently. A lot of time was given to look into the nitty-gritties of the life of the parish.

We now look to the future with faith, hope and love. May God continue to bless our Mission.

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A Pilgrimage of Mercy: St. Gabriel Parish, Namushakende, Zambia.


pelgrimage-namushakende-06_modifie-1By K. C. Mukamba, Secretary, Namushakende Parish.

St. Gabriel’s Parish in Namushakende has not been left out in answering the Holy Father’s Pope Francis call to celebrate with joy the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On Saturday, 1st October, 2016, a total of 58 parishioners, male and female, young and old, accompanied by our Parish Priest, Alfred Awogya and Alain-Christian Muhineza, his Assistant, embarked on the long awaited spiritual journey. This pilgrimage took us to Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Mongu where the door of mercy has been opened for all Christians. The cathedral is about 25 km from our parish centre in Namushakende. The aim was to pass through the door of mercy; to encounter and celebrate the mercy of God so that to become the visible signs of God’s mercy to our brothers and sisters. The day was filled with prayers and fasting as well as talks and sharing.

Mr Mbikusita Lewanika led us in a deep reflection on God’s mercy and our Christian responsibility towards all people. He enlightened us on the seven corporal works of mercy being: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and burying the dead (Mt. 25: 35-40). He also talked about the seven spiritual works of mercy: to admonish the sinner, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries and to pray for the living and the dead. This reflection was very touching and challenging. We still have a lot of work to do in our Christian journey! We pray for spiritual strength.

Father Francis, the Parish Priest of St. Lawrence, Limulunga, prepared us for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation by helping us understand and meditate on Luke 15:11–32; the parable of the prodigal son. At the end of his inspiring and challenging reflection, we all felt that we have gone astray like. We all need to return to the merciful father who is always ready to receive us. Confessions lasted for two hours.

We concluded our pilgrimage of mercy with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided over by Father Francis and assisted by our Parish Priest.

We thank God for the wonderful experience of faith and his boundless love and mercy. We, the parishioners of St. Gabriel, Namushakende, feel that we have been charged with a responsibility; a mission to go and proclaim God’s mercy but above all to be visible instruments of mercy in places where we live and to be MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER.

We thank Pope Francis for awakening in us the fire of God’s mercy. We feel commissioned to spread the good news of the mercy of God. We left the cathedral happy and re-energised, glad to have had the privilege to celebrate the mercy of God in our lives. We returned home rejoicing!

PDF file of this article.

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Speech of the Superior General during the inauguration of Matema Parish, Tete, Mozambique


bishop-inacio-saure-tete_jpegTete, 8th October 2016

My Lord Bishop Inácio Saure, Fr Felix J. Phiri, Provincial of the Missionaries of Africa, Fr Boris Yabre, Provincial Delegate of the Missionaries of Africa for Mozambique, Reverend Fathers and Sisters, distinguished guests, distinguished members of the newly erected parish of Matema, brothers and sisters. It is with great humility that I stand before you today to thank and praise God Almighty for the grace of witnessing to the birth of a new parish in Tete.

The Society of the Missionaries of Africa, also known as the White Fathers, was founded in 1868 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie in North Africa, in Algeria. This means that soon, in 2018, we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the foundation of our congregation, and I take this opportunity to invite you to accompany us with your prayers as we draw closer to this important event for our congregation. In the past 150 years, members of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa left their homelands in Europe and North America to bring the Good News to many parts of Africa. Today, there are more and more Africans ourselves who are doing missionary work among our fellow African brothers and sisters. bishop-francisco-silota_jpegOne of the bishops of Mozambique, Bishop Francisco Silota of the diocese of Chimoio, originally from Tete, is a member of our congregation, the current Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, and as was his predecessor, is an African. The words of Pope Paul VI when he visited Uganda in 1969, that Africa will be evangelized by Africans, are being fulfilled today, not just because of African missionaries, but more importantly because of the vitality and vibrancy of lay involvement. The official inauguration of the parish of Matema here in Tete is yet another testimony that the Kingdom of God is indeed growing among the people of this Town.

The Missionaries of Africa first came to Mozambique in 1946 and opened their first parish in Murraça, in Beira. Since then, over 100 members of our congregation have served as missionaries, at different moments and in different parts of the country. They conducted their ministry mostly along the river Zambezi. This is the fourth parish that we have opened in the diocese of Tete. In the early fifties, parishes were opened in Inhangoma and Charre in the district of Mutarara, and a parish and the seminary of Zobue along the border with Malawi were started too. In 1967, the Centre of Nazare in Beira was founded as a catechetical and pastoral renewal Centre. Following the events of 1971, our predecessors were expelled from the country by the Portuguese, only to come back after the Independence of Mozambique. In the 1980s we restarted the Major Seminary in Matora, Maputo, where Don Inácio was once a seminarian. 

During our long stay we have started up new parishes and handed over some, mostly due to the expulsion of our members from the country. At present we are still working in the diocese of Chimoio, in the parishes of Sussundenga and Dombe, and we are also continuing with our commitment in Nazare Centre where one of our confreres Fr. Fidel Salazar is also the Chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission for the diocese of Beira.

Our long stand missionary experience in many parts of Africa has brought us closer not only to the joys but also the pains of the African people. As our founder once said: “I am a man, and nothing human is foreign to me.” It is in this spirit and at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of our presence in this country that we felt challenged to come back to the diocese of Tete where we once were some years back.

We rejoice with the people of Tete for the peace and rapid development being experienced at the moment. As we all know, development cannot be measured only in terms of material gains; more cars in our streets or more new shops. Satisfactory development has to be integral, taking into account all the dimensions of the human person, the respect for human rights and dignity, equal accessibility to opportunities of life. Similarly, the preaching of the Gospel cannot just limit itself to getting more people into our church buildings, counting their numbers, administering to them the required sacraments. As missionaries, we are called especially to reach out to those that the so called prosperous society has no time for; the poor, the neglected, those whose rights are trampled upon because of the greed of a few. We are also to bring spiritual solace to those who appear to ‘have it all’ and yet inside of themselves they are empty, yearning to give true meaning to their lives, to experience the mercy of God.

We are grateful to Don Inácio for welcoming us back to this diocese and to the town of Tete where we hope to be his faithful collaborators. We look forward, together with all the other members of the Church, and by the grace of God to render the message of the Gospel a reality in the day-to-day life of the people. As Missionaries of Africa, we emphasize on working as a team in our pastoral undertakings. It is to be expected that Fr Pierre Lukusa, the newly installed Parish Priest, will promote this Missionary of Africa spirit and collaborative ministry approach. We thank him and Fr Julian Kasiya for having accepted to take on this great responsibility. We would like express our gratitude also to the Comboni Missionaries who welcomed us in Martyrs of Uganda Parish, Matundu, and from which is born this new parish of Matema. The encouragement and support that we have received from the Christians of the parish of Matema re-assure us that we will not walk alone. May Our Lady Queen of Africa intercede for us so that we may remain truthful and faithful to the Good News of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

stan-lubungo_jpegStanley Lubungo (M.Afr), Superior General

Link: Matema Parish, Tete, Mozambique

 

PDF Speech of the Superior General

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Canonical inauguration of the ‘Paróquia nossa senhora das Gracas’ Parish in Tete, Mozambique – October 8, 2016.


inauguration-of-parish-tete-04By Dimitri Yampa, stagiaire in Dombe Parish.   

From Sussundenga, the Nazare Centre in Beira and Dombe, the Missionaries of Africa together with Mozambican aspirants and stagiaires, went to Tete escorted by the ‘coluna’ because of the war affecting this area of Mozambique. Our new Superior General, Stanley Lubungo, and our new Provincial, Felix Phiri, came by the road from Lusaka, Zambia. On October 8, the mother parish of the Saint Martyrs of Uganda of Matungu in Tete gave birth to a new child; the ‘Paróquia nossa senhora das Gracas’ Parish.

The new parish was erected canonically by Bishop Inácio Saure of Tete Diocese. The ceremony started with a procession followed by the opening of the church’s doors, the ointment of the altar together with the walls inside the church. On that same occasion, Pierre Lukusa, M.Afr, was officially installed as Parish Priest.

Bishop Inácio Saure concelebrated Mass with many priests like the Missionaries of Africa, the Combonians, the Salesians, the Jesuits and diocesan priests. The Bishop invited the new Parish Priest to a collaborative ministry by carrying out his mission with joy while visiting his parishioners in their families and small communities. Symbolically, the keys of the church were given to Father Lukusa after the homely of the Bishop.

The Christians were thankful for the presence of so many Missionaries of Africa coming from abroad. Stanley Lubungo made a speech in English underlined the history of our missionaries in Mozambique, which was moderated in Portuguese by padre João de Deus (Jean de Dieu Bukuru), M.Afr. The new M.Afr community of Tete was given the mission to spread the spirit of the Society in their ministry by living in a community enriched by its values of openness and interculturality.

A fraternal meal was provided at the house of the Sisters of São José of Cluny. Everything was well organised by the Christians of the new parish. Gifts were offered to the Bishop as a sign of unity. The party ended at 17:30 by the benediction of the Bishop. May God bless this new mission and the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. 

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Canonical inauguration of the ‘Paróquia nossa senhora das Gracas’ Parish in Tete, Mozambique – October 8, 2016.

80th Birthday anniversary of Reinhold Bloching, M.Afr


reinhold-bloching-80-cFrom Northern Province:

“Happy Birthday Fr. Reinhold Bloching. Hammy more happy returns”. Michael Mawelera, M. Afr, Kasama.

From Eastern Province:

“Dear Reinhold, happy birthday on Thursday. God is good. I will follow you soon on 23rd November”. Jean-Luc Gouiller, M.Afr

From Canada:

“Greetings from Quebec. Many thanks for the invitation but unhappily I will not be able to be present at the birthday party of Reinhold. I will be with you all because your kind invitation brought about happy memories of birthday parties in Woodlands. I will pray for Reinhold who is still with you in Zambia. Reinhold and I started theology together in Ottawa; he read the Gospel at my first Holy Mass and he is a friend of my family. I wish him good health and happiness in his service at Woodlands. You are all in my thoughts and in my prayers.

P.S.: Greetings and good wishes from Jules Roy, Jean-Marie Béliveau, Ray-Marie Fortin.” Jacques Bédard, M.Afr

From United Kingdom:

“To Reinhold, wishing you many blessings on your eightieth birthday, especially that you settle down happily there in your new community and that you may continue to be good news to the confreres and many others as you were in Ndola”. Dave Cullen, M.Afr

From Quebec:

“It is with pleasure that I come to wish you, Reinhold, a happy anniversary birthday. So you are entering in the group of OCTO (octogénaire) congratulations. I wish you a good party. Good health and a happy retirement”. Jean-Marie Beliveau, M.Afr

reinhold-bloching-80-bFrom Mozambique:

“Fr. Bloching, happy birthday. May the Lord continue to bless you and reward for the many good things you have done to people and your confreres. Stay well and happy shikulu!” Dimitri Yampa.

From France:

“Venerato, Please convey all my best wishes to Reinhold. I thank the Lord with him for the excellent missionary work he did all these years in Zambia and in Ndola. I was happy to live few months with him. Enjoy the celebration. Union of prayers”. Patrick Bataille, M.Afr

From South Africa:

“Dear Reinhold, unfortunately I cannot make it for the party but I wish you a very happy 80th birthday; I have good memories of the boisterous Reinhold and I am sure that age hasn’t diminished your commitment. Everything of the best from Bethlehem!” Fons Vanden Boer, M.Afr

From Kigoma – Tanzania

“Dear Fr. Reinhold Bloching, Happy Birthday, “80″ wonderful years and smashing indeed! As I was part time a member of Zambian Regional/Province at that time, I remember you very well working in the Northern Province. I join you in thanking the good Lord and may the creator grant you more years of good health, joy and peace. I hear of barbecue, waooooo! If I had plane I could fly there. I wish you well. Haa haaa, the bottles! Those are legal pleasures of apostolic life and human desires! I am here with Br. Theodor Call, M.Afr. J.B. Mapunda Mpundu Kasakulamasonde, M.Afr, Kabanga Parish community, Kigoma diocese.

From: Niger:

“Greetings from Zinder parish in Niger. Happy 80th birthday dear confrere Reinhold Bloching. We celebrated a thanksgiving mass for the gift of your life at the service of your fellow brothers and sisters of the African world. We are very happy and proud of you. May God grant you generously many more happy years through Christ our Lord! Amen! Chaka chabwino chopambana zedi! Joyeux anniversaire! Joyeux anniversaire! Barka da sallah! Yours, fraternally, Joseph Francis Makoka, M.Afr, Paroisse de Zinder – Niger

From Dublin:

“Lieber Reinhold. Gratulation zum Zwischenstopp… mach einfach weiter so“ . Karl Kaelin, M.Afr, Dublin 

From 1 Mwapona Road:

Dear Reinhold, we shall gather around you on the very day in prayer and the good things we shall share. The years of age, the years of mission, your long history and presence in missions especially in Zambia are a gift of God to you, a gift of your family to us. We rejoice and are glad.

 “Ubuta bwa mukote: bulashila pa kapanda.  Happy birthday mensch“! Venerato Babaine, M.Afr

Death of Francis Konkobo, father of Fr Camille Konkobo, M.Afr


mr-francis-konkobo-father-of-camilleWith sorrow, I announce the death of the father of our confrere Camille Konkobo, M.Afr (our Vocation Promoter). His father, Francis Konkobo, Burkinabe, passed on yesterday morning in Ouagadougou. The late Francis leaves behind eight children and a widow. Camille is the third born of the eight children. Francis died a day after his birthday anniversary on 05/10/2016. He was 70 years old. He has been diabetic for a few years which has been under management by clinicians.

Camille left Chipata this morning (October 06). Now, Camille is airborne on the way to Burkina aboard ET Airlines. The burial will be on Saturday.

Camille go with our fraternal prayers and heart-felt condolences. May the soul of Francis meet St. Francis who will introduce him to the banquet of the Lord where good ones of the Lord go.

Venerato Babaine, M.Afr, Provincial Delegate of Zambia

Southern Deanery monthly Jubilee Year of Mercy Mass – Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa


southern-deanery-monthly-jubilee-year-of-mercy-mass-copieBy Mark Kisogloo

The Southern Deanery’s monthly Mass for the Jubilee of Mercy produced an enthusiastic turnout as it so happened to fall on the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It was hosted by the parishes of St Thomas, Lenasia and St Joseph, Mayfair. Mass was celebrated by Fr Raymond McQuarrie, assisted by Fr Mathieu van Vlierden, as well as Fr Laszlo Kapati, Fr John Thompson and various other priests.

The evening began with adoration, benediction, reciting of the Rosary and litany of the saints and Mass. It was extremely special since parishioners of St Thomas presented candles to the statue of Our Lady after every reading from the Rosary, as well as offering, before Mass, a garland for all the priests in attendance.

Before the reading from the Gospel took place, it was presented to the community and accompanied by a liturgical dance performed by parishioners of St Thomas in traditional dress. It was a holy, but joyous, occasion.

A birthday cake was served to all in attendance at the end of the evening to commemorate the birth of Our Lady.

AD News – A publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg,

October 2016, volume 31 No 6 – adnews@catholicjhb.org.za

We need to listen to Pope Francis’ appeal.


Venerato Babaine 2016_JPEGBy Venerato Deus Babaine, M.Afr

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation, which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges… All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvement and talents” (n°14).

The earth is “our common home” is a beautiful statement. The word home, simple as it is, tells a great story about the life of any living creature. It provokes the sentiments of belonging, tranquillity and joyfulness revealed in Sacred Scripture in the book of Genesis “Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden…. and he placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad (Gen. 2:8-9, The African Bible). The themes in this short text are clear: the presence of a person on earth endowed with dignity, the soils that sustain vegetation, plenty of food and trees that provide an aesthetic milieu, abundance of life and possibility to discern the authenticity of life.

laudato-si-pope-francisWhen the Pope makes this appeal, he is deeply aware of some of the debates at various conventions held since the 1970s that have led to declarations and policies. These debates have seen shifts in the emphasis laid on certain topics. At the beginning, the stress was on development and its sustainability. The stress has now come to be on the earth itself and the impact that human action has had in these last centuries of industrialised development. This shift has forced a number of states to formulate polices regarding the environment and ecology and some have enshrined them in their national constitutions. Techno-science has given us more information. Religions are more aware of the material world. Inevitably, this has affected human consciousness and made it reflect seriously on the issues and to take action without exclusively basing themselves on faith or scientific grounds. Occurrences of floods, the melting of polar-ice or snow on some mountain tops in Africa, expansion of desserts, air and water pollution, rapid extinction of some fauna and flora species, depletion of bog-lands and wetlands, irregular seasons, all trigger despair and debate among housewives, herd boys , sailors, policy makers and techno-scientists. These events affect the safety, security and happiness of humanity.

It is said that our common home has enough for everybody’s need but not everybody’s greed. The Pope calls for a conversion to be more responsible and concerned about others. The encyclical mentions that the resources of the earth has been exploited to satisfy the greedy at the expense of the needy. It calls for a balanced life-style and moderation of human passions, which Hippocrates had mentioned before the era of Jesus. One important point, does not feature strongly; the population explosion. There are too many feet treading the earth and too many stomachs to fill. There is a remarkable population increase in every country. The more population grows the more facilities we need; more food and space are required. The animal population has also multiplied and they need more space and feedstuffs. Consequently, lamentations rise instead of praises. We need more space for living as well as for more food and water. In a long run, more rubbish will be generated leading to more pollution. The human population seems to claim more rights over the other members on the block.

If we are still inspired by the ‘Genesis concept’ of Eden, where it was all good, we have to design policies, adapt our catechesis and change our habits and create awareness among the earth’s inhabitants.

“This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set-out on the long path of renewal (n°202) Commitment to ecological concerns without the promotion of the human dignity is futile. The earth needs to be a home for all creatures.

We have to engage in matters of justice, advocacy for equal opportunities, provide a home for refugees and migrants. We need to respect and appreciate people’s cultures and traditions. We need to promote basic rights such as food, shelter and gender equality. Among us there should not be any segregation based on anything.

We need to cultivate a fascination for landscapes, vegetation, water, animals and fish. We have to contribute towards harmony in “our common home” by conserving or planting trees, cleaning our streets, or closing a water-tap. We have to engage neighbourhood communities in biodiversity protection campaigns by using modern media. We need to know more about the natural sciences to be able to pass it on to others and get a better understanding about the natural world.

 See: Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and human ecology.

PDF file: We need to listen to Pope Francis’ appeal

PDF file: Il nous faut écouter l’appel du Pape François.

Oath and Diaconate in Merrivale, October 1, 2016


oath-diaconate-2016-45St. Joseph’s Parish church was packed on Saturday morning to celebrate the Oath and Diaconate of six Missionaries of Africa students. The broadcast was pretty grim with rain but gave way to a mix cloudy and sunny day though hailstones fell heavily at the end of the day. With them, two Sacred Heart candidates from DRCongo were also ordained Deacons together with eleven M.Afr students who received the ministry of Acolyte.

Were also present our Superior General, Stan Lubungo, our Provincial, Felix Phiri, Neil Frank , President of St. Joseph’s Theological Institute and Bishop Emmanuel Kerketta of the Diocese of Jashpur in India[1]. The main celebrant was our confrere Bishop Jan De Groef. Many other priests, religious and relatives or friends were present at this joyful feast sang in various languages; English, French, Ndebele, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, IsiZulu, Lingala and Latin.

Refreshments were offered after Mass in the parish hall and a meal in our formation Centre in Merrivale, about fifteen minutes away by car from the church.  

Brief presentation of the new Deacons.alfred-nkundimana-2016_jpeg

Born in 1984, Alfred Nkundimana is Rwandese. He began his preparatory year in Burundi. He was then sent for three years of philosophical studies in Bukavu, DRCongo. He made his spiritual year in Burkina Faso and was sent in South Africa for his pastoral experience. He is a qualified nurse. He joined Merrivale in 2014.

daniel-iraguha-2016_jpegBorn in 1986, Daniel Iraguha is Rwandese. He began his formation with the M.Afr in Burundi from where he went to Bukavu in the DRCongo for three years of philosophical studies. He then went to Burkina Faso for his Spiritual Year and made his stage in Gao, Mali.

amorain-wayikpo-2016_jpegAmorain Wayikpo (Kwami) is Togolese and was born in 1981. After completing his studies in geography, he began his philosophical studies in 2007 in Ouagadougou and then went for his spiritual year in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. In 2011, he was sent to Rwanda for his two years pastoral experience. He joined Merrivale community in 2014.

anthony-wie-2016_jpegBorn in 1980, Anthony Wie Batieka is Ghanean. After a few months of preparation in Nigeria, he did his philosophical studies in Ghana. In 2010, he was sent for spiritual year in Burkina Faso. He then went to Burundi for his pastoral experience.

erick-balderas-vega-2016_jpegErick Balderas Vega is Mexican and was born in 1981. After studying philosophy in a diocesan seminary, he spent two years in our house of formation in Mexico. He was then sent to Zambia for his spiritual year and his pastoral experience which he made in Kabwata Parish in Lusaka.

theophile-sam-2016_jpegTheophile Pegwedewende Sam is Burkinabe, born in 1984. He did his philosophical studies in Ouagadougou and his spiritual year in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. In 2011, he was sent for pastoral experience in Uganda and, after two years of pastoral experience, he joined our house of formation in Merrivale.

[1] Three M.Afr originate from his Diocese: Filiyanus Ekka, Erus Kishor Tirkey and Anand Kujur. Bishop Kerketta is very proud of it.

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Also the following students received the ministry of acolyte: Philippe Dakono (Malian), Christopher Nkandu (Zambian), Martin Somda (Burkinabe), Victor Sanou (Burkinabe), Éric Kambale (Congolese), Ryan Contamina (Filipino), Silas Nsabimana (Burundian), Robert Ouedraogo (Burkinabe), Dominic Shiby (Indian), Francis Eze (Nigerian) and Pierre Chanel Ulama (Congolese).

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Click below to read the translation of this article in Italian thanks to Luigi Morell, M.Afr:

Giuramento e Diaconato a Merrivale: 01 Ottobre 2016.

Aussi en français:

Serment et diaconat à Merrivale

Death of Mr Zygmunt Perfikowski, the father of Marcin Perfikowski, M.Afr


Marcin PerfikowskiThe father of Marcin Perfikowski has passed away early this morning (04/10/2016).

He was taken to the hospital on Sunday with a breathing difficulty. He was then transferred to the ICU on Monday. Marcin and his mother were with Mr Perfikowski till late in the night. Let us keep Marcin and his family in our prayers asking God to receive the soul of Zygmunt in his eternal kingdom.

Let us keep Marcin and his family in prayers during this time of grief.

Pawel Mazurek, M.Afr