The young confreres in the second term of mission had a three-week meeting at the Retreat Centre of the Sisters of Little Servants of Mary in Kasisi, Lusaka, Zambia, from the 2nd till the 23rd July, 2017.
The participants were almost of the same generation. It was a great occasion offered by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa to encounter one another once more after years of separation due to various involvement in different countries. Through sharing of various missionary experiences, the participants could recharge their batteries in order to take off once more with a new missionary spirit and zeal.
Joys, excitement as much as discouragement and difficulties over the years were the focus of our sharing done spontaneously in openness and mutual trust. We sympathised, encouraged or even amiably confronted one another. Despite some few painful experiences, none ever regretted to have been a member of the Society but felt rather more fortified and convinced of our missionary calling amidst the challenges.
Different moderators, including two Sisters from Lusaka, let various sessions on sexuality, addictions, spirituality, pastoral ministry, leadership, Justice & Peace, religious encounter, media and finances. The session on community life was given by Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Southern Africa Province (SAP).
It was not business all through. We also had wonderful moments of relaxation together, outings to interesting places around Lusaka, celebration of birthdays and missionary oath anniversaries. We also visited M.Afr communities around Lusaka and joined parishes for Sunday liturgies. A barbecue was prepared in our honour by FENZA community where we had the chance of interacting with most confreres around Lusaka, together with former novices who were on their way to join their various countries for their apostolic stage.
The participants had the great joy of witnessing the historical celebration of the 125th anniversary of the evangelisation of the Church in Zambia by the White Fathers and other missionaries. This was a national feast and the White Fathers were highly recognised by the Zambian Church authorities for the greater role played in planting the seed of faith in this country. Our Superior General, Rev.Fr. Stanley Lubungo was present at this occasion and he paid us a courtesy visit at Kasisi Centre. We had the privilege of fraternal sharing with him on some key issues concerning the future and vision of our humble Lavigerie family.
Prayer was never left out. The whole group was divided into teams and we celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Eucharist.
We are highly indebted to the leadership of the General Council for such memorable opportunity offered to us to meet, learn, encourage one another and re-energise ourselves. We appreciate the good organisation, simplicity and wisdom with which our two elder brother facilitators, Timothée and Bernard, accompanied us throughout the session. Our sincere gratitude goes to the leadership of SAP; Felix Phiri, the Provincial, Venerato Babaine, his Delegate in Zambia and John Itaru, the Provincial Treasurer. We thank the little Sisters of Mary and the whole personnel for the pleasant accommodation and feeding.
We are indeed well refreshed, equipped and ready to go back to our missionary stations with more enthusiasm to serve. May Our Lady of Africa precedes us, Amen!