Newsletter South Africa No 69 – 29th November 2016


newsletter-south-africa-no-69-titleGreetings! I hope you are well and that you have fully entered into the beautiful time of Advent! Yes, this is an occasion for each Christian to prepare to receive the Lord in a missionary way. Which means to involve others in this great hope and expectation of Jesus who is coming at Christmas. On the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis reminded us that “The Gospel is not trying to frighten us, but to open our horizons to further dimensions, giving meaning even to everyday events.” This is an invitation to open our hearts and minds to others, thus to live as missionaries wherever we are. The Pope adds: “we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes at the hour which we don’t expect.” He concludes by saying that this time is “an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready…” On 14th November, I went to Malawi. The first night, I stayed at Mua Parish where I started as a young missionary in 1970; a long time ago! As part of the Parish life, Fr. Claude Boucher, M.Afr, from my home diocese in Canada has established an art school and a museum to help keep the Malawian culture. I suggest you visit their website at kungoni.org. You can see the museum and different aspects of his work with his team of artists. Then, from 15th to 21st, I was in Salima, on the shore of Lake Malawi. There, I did my yearly retreat in the house of retired bishop Rémi Sainte-Marie, bishop emeritus of Dedza Diocese and archbishop emeritus of Lilongwe arch-diocese. He welcomed me warmly and respected my times of prayer and silence. It was a good spiritual experience.

From the 22nd to the 26th in Chipata Pre-Formation Centre (Zambia), we held our meeting of Vocation Directors of the Southern African Province. We were from the four Sectors of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

vocation-directors-in-chipata-nov-2016This new Centre in Chipata currently has its second intake of 18 aspirants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia (nobody from South Africa!). From October to May, they are spending time discerning their vocation, exploring their self-knowledge with psychological assessments, in order to understand better their deepest aspirations and desires in the light of God’s call. They also study the Bible, Church history, liturgy, the missionary dimension of our lives as Christians, and how to reach out to people, especially the poor, and how to share with them the Good News. They also have activities such as manual work, sports, etc. After this intense period, if they are still decided and if they are accepted, they will be called to go to the First Phase of their formal training: three years of philosophy in Balaka, Malawi.

This month, our aspirant Patrick Kadima wrote an article for our Provincial blog. To read it, go to our blog at mafrsaprovince.com.

 Wishing you all the best for a blessed Christmas! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

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Lavigerie memorial day celebration in Malawi on the 26th November.


lavigerie-memorial-day-celebration-in-malawi-bBy Landry Busagara, Stagiaire.

Under the theme of “flourishing communities”, the M.Afr and MSOLA gathered at Chezi, about 50 km from Lilongwe, to celebrate the memorial of Cardinal Lavigerie, our Founder.

First, a recollection centred on the philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am because we are”, helped each one to recognise that our interdependence and interconnectedness as women and men missionaries is essential to our mutual survival.

Then, with the leadership of Jos Kuppens, we had a time of sharing on flourishing communities. We recalled the high-point life involvements we had in the past as missionaries; our best moments in partnership. We found that those exciting situations were so nice that we would like to live them forever. We saw that flourishing MSOLA and M.Afr communities are “positive, alive and life giving. They are inclusive, integrative and collaborative. They create space for everyone to connect with self, with others and the whole creation, with God. They respect and affirm the freedom of everybody to live in dignity, security, peace, harmony and solidarity.”

As M.Afr and MSOLA, we value a sense of common belonging when caring for each other. We mutually gain by being non-judgemental, positive and open minded. A welcoming spirit bring more unity, mutual acceptance and create occasions for sharing.

Flourishing communities of consecrated women and men as we are is best demonstrate around the table of the Lord through the Eucharistic celebration which actually ended the recollection. It was a moment of gladness for all the wonders of the Lord.

We ended our day by sharing some drinks and food, happy to sit side by side and being all children of Lavigerie.

Priestly Ordination of Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr, at St Monica parish in Kabwe, Zambia.


robbin_simbeyeBy Camille Konkobo, M.Afr

On the 19th November, the Diocese of Kabwe celebrated the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the priestly ordination of Father Robbin Simbeye, M.Afr. The celebration was colourful and joyful in a crowded church. Sixty priests, among them seventeen Missionaries of Africa, were present.

This ordination was quite appropriate for the closing of the Year of Mercy as Bishop Clement Mulenga, SDB, emphasised on the attitude of all priests to be merciful. He encouraged them to collaborate and seek advice unceasingly.

The Provincial, Felix Phiri, M.Afr, thanked the Bishop and his clergy for this timely feast within the diocesan calendar. He also thanked the parishioners of St. Monica and sent Robbin officially to his mission in Tunisia. He then invited all the M.Afr present to come around him for a solemn blessing by singing the Sancta Maria.

The first Mass took place at the same parish the following day. The church was vibrating from the beginning till the end. The family members of our newly ordained priest were full of joy and we could see it on their faces. It was a bright and appropriate time for missionary awareness. At the end of Mass, the Vocation Director, Camille Konkobo, made an appeal for more vocations.

Robbin Simbeye studied philosophy in Arusha, Tanzania, made his spiritual year at Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, his apostolic training of two years in Rwanda and his theology at our Formation House in Merrivale, South Africa.

Let us unite our voices and prayers for his mission and for the parents of Father Simbeye.

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