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