Youth Ministry in St. Lawrence Parish – Lusaka “Walking and Working Together”


By Patrick Sebyera, M.Afr

Patrick SebyeraIntroduction

St Lawrence is a relatively young parish that used to be an outstation of the Good Shepherd parish (Kabwata). It became an independent parish in 2011. It has twenty Small Christian Communities which are divided into five areas. The largest part of our parish is Misisi compound, I would say 80%. Misisi compound “is a shanty town, which is located in Lusaka, Zambia. Misisi has been identified as one of the five worst slums in Sub Saharan Africa. Due to a lack of resources there has been poor record keeping, but according to best estimates, there are between 80 and 90,000 people living in the area”. Of the twenty Small Christian Communities, 16 of them are in Misisi compound and four others are in Kamwala South. Therefore, the majority of our parishioners, our young people, come from poor families and this also has an impact on the youth ministry in our parish. Nevertheless, St. Lawrence youth ministry is seemingly strong, though more needs to be done. In this article I will present some of the activities and challenges that confront us and I will sum up with a short conclusion.

Activities

In St. Lawrence’s Parish, the youth ministry is composed of four branches, namely the Holy Childhood (5 to 12 years), the teenagers (13 to 18 years), the senior youths (19 to 25 years) and the young adults (26 to 35 years). Here in Zambia, youth is defined as all those who are under the age of 35 years. These four different branches are spread in different groups: such as the Stella, Holy Childhood, the Altar Boys, the TOM (Teens On the Move), the Xaveri, the Vocation group, the Junior Franciscans, the Junior Actio, the Junior Pioneers and, the Junior Legion of Mary. Apart from these different groups, there are different choirs mainly composed of young people.

PatrickThe young people make their own programmes following the guidelines of our diocese. They are very active in social programmes but less active when it comes to spiritual programmes. On Wednesdays we have started a Mass in the evening at 17:00 in order in try and help our young people embrace and grow in their spiritual life. Social activities such as outings, tours, youth camps, fundraising ventures, workshops, pilgrimages, retreats and recollections are organised at different periods of the year in order to bring our young people together. The retreats and recollections are mainly organised by the different groups themselves.

Every year, there are sports activities organised at deanery level and our young people participate, but they don’t score high because of lack of commitment and regular raining in those sports.

In union and communion with their fellow young people around the world, they celebrate the Youth Day. On this day different activities take place. This year, they had Mass and after Mass different singing and sports activities took place. It was also an occasion to fundraise by selling tickets and food in order to get some funds for their future plans. On this day, 12th March 2019, I celebrated my first Youth Day Mass.

I am still new here but I am slowly getting to know the parish and getting involved in its different activities, of which the youth apostolate is one, so that I can also bring my contribution and help them to improve in some areas. I expected a big number of young people to turn up for Mass but the number was rather small. To my surprise in the afternoon the numbers grew considerably.

Patrick 2In my homily, I focused on the readings taken from Gen 1: 26-31; 2 Thes 3: 2-16 and Mt 25: 14-30. I emphasised the fact that we are all created in God’s image and likeness. This has an impact on our life and on our behaviour regarding God, and on our brothers and sisters as well as all of creation. God created man and woman. He blessed them with responsibilities, five of them: be fertile, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over all living things on earth. Further on in Gen 2: 8. 15 God planted a beautiful garden. He placed man and woman in it in order to cultivate it and to care for it. This is linked with St. Paul’s exhortation in 2 Thes 3: 2-16 where he invites us not to stay sluggish and busy with other people’s problems, forgetting our own. We, the young people of St Lawrence, do we know our problems? And how can we overcome them? The first step is to identify them, and then we have to walk together and work together. St. Paul is inviting us to go on working and earning our own bread to avoid being a burden to others, to our parents or to the church, thinking that they have to do everything for us.

I therefore encouraged them to walk and work together, to avoid laziness and the attitude of being spoon-fed; always having their hands outstretched to receive what is provided for them. Living with such a mindset and approach is to behave like the third servant in the parable, who instead of making the one talent, which he had received from his master, bear fruit, hid it in the soil (cf. Mt 25: 15. 18. 24-25). At this juncture

I invited our young people not to put their talents to sleep nor bury them in the earth or in selfishness and laziness lest the master come back and rebuke them saying ‘you wicked and lazy servant (youth) … throw this useless servant into darkness outside’ (cf. Mt 25: 26. 30). It is therefore our responsibility as young people here at St. Lawrence to walk and work together and to put our energy and talents together in order to overcome the different challenges we encounter. I then finished by encouraging them like the Apostle “do not be remiss in doing good” (2 Thes 3: 13).

Challenges

Most of these challenges were provided to me by the youth chairperson at the parish, Mr Nestor Bwalya, who knows the parish and the youth better than I do.

Our challenge has been to organise the youths in our parish. In some sections many young people are neither active nor committed to the programmes and the meetings. This means that some programmes have failed because of poor attendance. It is difficult to find young adults willing to participate because they think they are already elders. Those that we have are still around because they hold some positions in youth ministry.

Another challenge is finance. This generation is used to an easy life and things for free and they don’t pay or contribute when needs arise. They like things free of charge and every time they are asked to pay or contribute, they answer ‘ndilibe ndalama’ or ‘shikwete mpiya’, in Chinyanja and in Chibemba, both meaning ‘I don’t have money’. To get anything from them, you have to push them hard; but if you invite them for an outing where everything is pre-arranged, many turn up. This attitude shows a certain lack of enthusiasm and generosity.

Technology has contributed to the lethargy of our young people. They are not active in church programmes because they are so busy with worldly things like: drinking, T.V., Sex, Media (WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.). Sex is killing our young people. They are so much involved in things concerning sex and relationships. It hurts to see girls being impregnated by young boys at a very tender adolescent age. Recently, a young girl of 12 years was impregnated by an altar boy. The church has become an alien for them because in church we tell them that sex before marriage is a sin, which is true, though even after marriage, sex outside marriage is still and remains a sin. So they run away from the church and find themselves in difficulties. How can we help this generation?

The church should take steps to reach out to these young people at their level, listen to them in their daily struggles and then move with them slowly to bring them back to the way Jesus Christ wants to lead them, with a message of hope, because many of our young people are losing hope. This crisis of losing hope and not being able to cope with some problems means some young people go so far as to take their own lives.

A case like this happened just few days ago; a young man, 22 years old, could not cope with some problem that he had, so he decided to take poison and he died straightaway. How can we help the young avoid going to such extremes? Pope Francis in Christus Vivit states: “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, and full of life … Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!” (Pope Francis, Christus Vivit, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation To Young People And To The Entire People Of God). We should be close to our young people and encourage them to follow the way of the living Christ, who at all times wants to renew their lives.

Drugs and beer are another harmful issue. It is rare to find youths who are not involved in some way in such things, especially in the Misisi compound. Another challenge is that many young people are alone and have to fight to earn their daily bread. This means that some of them even have to work on Sunday and cannot go to church.

Patrick 3

Not all the parents manage to send their children to school because of poverty. This has been the root of the many problems our young people meet. In such cases some parents will even push their children to marry early or young people themselves will enter an early marriage without the consent of parents. Otherwise girls beget children outside mariage and are then forced to stay at home with their parents. This means that they stop seeing their friends and begin to feel very isolated.

Conclusion

With these challenges and others that are not listed here, I am challenged and you my fellow confreres are also challenged to make contact with young people and see how best we can help them in their daily struggles. The way will be long and certainly there is a lot to be done.

Young people need to be approached at the level where they are. We bring them the message of hope and not so much the teachings, laws and decrees, though they are important in themselves, but sometimes they seem detached from the reality on the ground. As the Pope once again reminds us, we should approach them with tenderness and love showing them that Christ is in them, with them and he never abandons them. However far they may wander, he is always there. He calls them and he waits for them to return to him and start over again. He is always there to restore their strength and their hope (cf. CV 2). Therefore we should encourage young people to know that they are not meant to become discouraged; but rather they are meant to dream great things, to seek vast horizons, to aim higher, to take on the world, to accept challenges and to offer the best of themselves to the building of something better (cf. CV 15). Let this be a challenge to me and you as we strive to work and help our young people grow into becoming more human and to turn into better persons in tomorrow’s society and above all to become good Christians.

Source: Petit Echo 2019 / 05, No 1101

Henley Parish Youth ministry


By Faustin Kerumbe, M.Afr

Introduction

Faustin KerumbeToday, we believe that through Youth Ministry – in other words the Pastoral Care of the Youth – the Church can offer to young people something for their spiritual growth and human development. The Youth Apostolate is an investment in its own right for the future of the Church and society. As we once asked ourselves the question about what are we going to do or to be in life, in the same way, there are also many young people who are asking these same questions but without finding answers. Consequently they fall into despair. Can our Youth Ministry help them to find answers and offer hope? The mission is imperative: “Duc in altum!” (Launch into the deep)

Where are we?

Henley Parish is our field of pastoral work. It is in the Catholic Archdiocese of Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. I arrived at Henley Parish in December 2014. The Parish had been reopened in 2012 by Fr. Philippe Docq after more than twenty years without the presence of priests due to social and political conflicts. In 2015, Fr. George Okwii took over from Fr. Philippe but there was not, as yet, a proper parish structure. The five outstations that currently form Henley Parish were functioning independently. In December 2015, the 1st Parish Pastoral

Council was formed. I personally took over from Fr. George Okwii in 2016.

What is being done regarding Youth Ministry?

When I took over, Fr. Philippe Docq had already trained the altar servers in all the outstations. Martin Somda, a stagiaire, was also organizing the youth in two of the five outstations. In 2015, Fr. George Okwii introduced the Xaverian Movement. However everything had to be reorganized at all levels. Looking at the young people and taking into account the lengthy absence of priests, I was totally gripped by compassion at finding myself as a shepherd in the middle of lost sheep “…because they were like sheep without a shepherd...” (Mk 6:34b). I strongly felt the need to introduce Youth Ministry as part of our pastoral commitment as a matter of urgency. I was handed the job of youth chaplain by the community. In collaboration with the Parish Pastoral Council, the Youth Ministry was launched in April 2016 with the election of Youth leaders in each outstation. The chairpersons of these five outstations form the Parish Youth Executive. There are Patrons and Matrons representing the parents of the young people and the Parish Pastoral Executive is involved in all youth activities. From that time we started working together as a team. The first task of the Parish leaders was to build unity in the parish and to work together in collaboration with Parish Pastoral Council Executive members. Among the youth groups, we have different organizations such as the Xaverian Movement and Children of Mary Sodality.

The Altar Servers are also part of the Youth ministry. All the youth movements including the Xaverian movement, the Children of Mary and the Altar Servers fall under the responsibility of the Parish Youth Executive leadership. Together they form the youth of Henley parish. Different outstations have different problems but each outstation is encouraged, to adopt the activities of the parish and implement them at local level.

What is being done now is to keep the young people interested through various activities such as leadership training and skills development.

Some youth leaders are already members of the local Church Executive and are fully participating in Church activities. In that way we see our Youth Ministry as an investment project for the future of the Church and society at large.

Henley ParishYouth activities

All the youth activities are carried out in line with the yearly plan drawn up by the Parish Youth Executive. The primary aim is to bring the young people of Henley parish together and make the Church a welcoming environment for their spiritual growth and human development.

New Year events:

At the beginning of the year we have a special Mass for young people. All the intentions ask God to bless the young people and their families, to guide and to protect them throughout the year. On the last Sunday of January we have a motivational program for education under the theme: “Go back to school and shine.” This event is run by some qualified teachers who talk to the young people about the challenges of life and the importance of education.

Lenten Season activities

We can summarize our youth activities during the Lenten season under St Benedict’s principle, “Ora et labora.” Every second weekend of Lent we have a parish youth recollection day that starts with the Way of the Cross on a hilltop called KwaSabelo. The fourth weekend of Lent is the day of charity work at a school for blind people called “Bawinile Centre.” This event is organized in order to help young people enrich their spiritual life through prayers, contemplation and works of charity, to develop their sense of empathy, to sacrifice their basic needs for the benefit of the unprivileged or needy, to encourage young people to reach out and to put their faith into practice. During this period of Lent, the members of the Xaverian Movement and the altar servers select a poor family and then go and help them by cleaning and cooking.

July and August activities

On the first weekend of July, we have the Parish Youth Council. This is a moment where the young people come together to evaluate their activities for the past six months. It is also an opportunity for them to develop a spirit of communication and of listening to one another. In the second week of July we have the “Youth Winter camp”. This is the most successful event in the Parish. It is full of activities that young people like. It was introduced in 2016 at the parish level but for the last two years it has attracted numbers of young people from other parishes. So far the youth camp is the most important activity for young people as it brings them together and even non-Catholics come along. On their arrival they are given a team number and all the youth camp activities are conducted by teams. Each team with its leader coordinates the activities.

It gives them a chance to know each other and to overcome their differences as well as helping them to accept one another and to learn from one another. Furthermore, it helps them develop a spirit of teamwork and service, etc. On Saturday morning all the teams go to different families with a Gospel inspired theme and to witness to what the theme is inviting them to be by doing something practical. In the evening, they give a feedback on their mission. On Sunday afternoon they are given a talk on the Church and its mission; the place and the commitments of young people and vocations in Church. It is also a time to answer some of the questions the young people are asking about the Church especially about vocations and faith. In the evening before the departure day, the young people are put in two groups: boys and girls separately. They are given a talk on education to life under the topic: “men to men; women to women”.

In August we have the skills training for liturgy like keyboard training, singing and public reading. A fun walk and sports are also organized in August for young people to help them keep fit and for fundraising purposes in order to try to be self-sustainable financially knowing that many of our young people are still studying and unemployed.

December and summer activities

YoungOn the second weekend of December we have the second Parish Youth Council to evaluate the activities of the past year and to prepare plans for the coming year. The third weekend is the weekend for our summer outing to allow our young people to socialize, to relax and to meet their curiosity by discovering some interesting places. So far, our young people have toured to the Drakensberg Mountains, the Roseland Reserve and Richards Bay. The last weekend of December we have a closing Mass of Thanksgiving to God for everything He has done for the young people during the past year.

Synod on the Youth

Henley Parish 2The Synod on the Youth was successfully launched at the Archdiocesan level. However, there is a lack of communication between the Diocesan Youth Office, the Deanery and parishes in terms of follow up and implementation of the guidelines proposed for youth activities in parishes. Our deanery is suffering from the absence of a youth chaplain, as a result we continue with our own parish plan for the year.

In general the young people make their presence felt in our parish. We are thankful for their response and their participation in Church activities despite some challenges we encountered in the course of the year due to the school calendar. But there is hope and the future is bright. We started as a small group but today it reaches out beyond our parish. The unity among the young people, their active presence in Church and their participation in the Church’s outreach activities is a visible sign of the impact of our Youth Ministry. By throwing out our nets, we are gradually catching more young people. We hope that this growing tree that we are watering today will bear much fruit tomorrow for the benefit of the Church and its mission.

Source: Petit Echo, 2019 /05 – No 1101.

Catholic Youth for Christ


By Lawrence Tukamushaba, M.Afr

Lawrence Tukamushaba

In line with the call of Pope Francis to devote the 2018 Synod of Bishops to young people, the Archdiocese of Kasama decided to dedicate the whole year to them. Catholic Youth for Christ was the theme that was chosen to guide the year. The Year of Youth was launched with Solemn Mass in a packed Cathedral by young people from all parts of the Archdiocese.

The adolescence young adult stage is a critical time in the life of young people. It is a stage where they are searching for their place in the Church and society. It’s a time when they need to be grounded in their faith. Role models, mentors, spiritual guidance, counsellors are much needed at this critical stage. When not much attention is paid to young people then there is the risk of losing some of them to new religious denominations and new ideological movements.

Youth organizations in St. Anne’s Parish

In St. Anne’s parish, pastoral care of young people is one of the most important ministries. Our parish has a large vibrant youth group scattered over our 15 outstations but the majority of the organisations are to be found in the central parish area as this is in town. Most of the young people belong to lay groups such as Xavarians movement, Young Christian workers, Junior legionaries, Stellas (Liturgical dancers), Alter boys club, Senior youth (those transiting from youth to Adults). Besides this, the young people have their own Small Christian Communities where they meet every Sunday afternoon to share the word of God. They also hold a youth council once a month. We also have Youth Alive and Young Christian Students. With so many groups, one cannot just leave them in the hands of Parish Priest. There has always been a tradition in the Parish that the curate and stagiaire give special attention to young people. Each lay group and Small Christian Community for the youth has a youth leader who accompanies them and works together with the youth chaplain and promoters. Without praising ourselves, this system has always worked well and as a result it has become the practice in the diocese that a priest, stagiaire, and a sister are assigned to youth ministry in the Parish.

Parish Activities

Lenten retreatAt the beginning of the year, all youth groups meet in the Parish to plan the activities for the coming year. The activities range from the spiritual (retreats, pilgrimage to the old mission of Chilubula, biblical and doctrinal quizzes, spiritual talks), to charitable works such as visiting the sick and homes of the physically challenged, plus social activities, sports, cultural and talent shows, youth day celebrations, career guidance, sensitization on social issues like drug and substance abuse, issues of Justice and Peace, youth camps, among others. Some activities are organized at the centre level, parish, deanery or diocesan level. At the parish level the program is done by the parish executive together with the chaplain. Every time there is a Church council or Parish council the youth organisations also give their report.

One annual event that attracts many young people is the pilgrimage to Chilubula, the Cathedral in Zambia where our confrere, Joseph Dupont, the first Bishop of the region is buried. The pilgrimage to Chilubula was started by our predecessors in the Parish. Now it has become an annual event in the deanery. Last year in October 2018, I accompanied 400 young people of whom half was from our parish, on a 35km journey on foot. It was an enriching experience for me walking with them, singing and praying, giving talks at various stations and especially celebrating the Eucharist for them at Besnar Centre, 5 km from Chilubula.

Some challenges for youth ministry today

Religious pluralism.

A number of our young people come from families with different denominations among its members. Unlike in the past where you would find that the whole family was Catholic; today, with the coming of Pentecostalism, the situation is different. Some have defected to these churches. You find that in a family of five some are Catholics, others are evangelicals or Pentecostals. This affects the faith as Catholics tend to shy away from expressing their faith, in fact at times, they belittle their faith. For example one youth shared that his siblings, who are no longer Catholics, laugh at him when he makes the sign of the cross.

It’s easy to notice that most of our young people’s way of praying is influenced by these religious movements whose leaders have a big following on social media. This confuses them and leads them to question their faith in Catholic doctrines.

Family breakdown in modern times.

NurseA good number of our young people are raised by single parents; others have been orphaned at a young age and were brought up by their grandparents. Some have never met their fathers. Dealing with such young people needs care and attention which cannot be solved by Mass or the administration of sacraments. It needs spending time to listen to them and counselling them. Peer counselling is a skill that is needed.

The widening gap between Urban and Rural Youth

There is a growing gap between young people coming from urban and rural setups. St. Anne’s Parish has a small section of the parish in town while the other, bigger part, is in a rural setting. Young people living in the countryside are more disadvantaged as they have limited access to social facilities. We have some outstations where getting to school is a challenge. In some areas, children have to walk 10 km on foot to reach the nearest primary school. In the rainy season, roads get really bad and some bridges are washed away. Added to that, the grass grows tall so that it becomes risky to walk in the bush and on top of all that some villages are widely scattered. In such areas it is difficult to find someone who has finished secondary school. This poses a challenge of leadership in the Church. It also increases a vicious circle of poverty.

YouthAs a result, there is high incidence of school drop-outs, early marriages, and teenage pregnancies. In the year 2017, I baptized 17 adults among whom were 8 school girls aged between 14 and 18 years of age who had dropped out of school. Later I discussed with their parents and church council how to ensure that they go back to school. As pastoral agents it is our task to take a keen interest in the formal education of our Christians if our ministry is to be transformative.

Conclusion

Youth ministry has always been part and parcel of our priority as witnessed by some of the lay movements which our confreres started in various countries, by the youth centres we still run and by the big number of young people that have been educated by the Missionaries of Africa. Today we need to invest more in this noble ministry because it is by starting with young people that we can be assured of continuity in the Church and mission. Pope Francis rightly says “youth are the now of God”. I believe so. They are not only the future leaders but the present hope of the Church today.

Source: Petit Echo, 2019 / 05 – No 1101

A short history of the Centre for Social Concern at the occasion of clocking 15 years.


Several chapters of the society of Missionaries of Africa put increasingly greater stress on the link between mission and justice and peace, mission and dialogue. The chapter of 1998 speaking in the language of objectives and planning proposed to all the members that they should integrate justice, peace and the integrity of creation as an essential dimension of our lives as missionaries and to promote dialogue with those who are different in religion and culture. In Malawi during the post-capitular assembly the participants put this chapter decision into practice by evaluating all our commitments with as criteria: in which commitments (parishes) can we best apply the above-mentioned objectives. This led to a recommendation that we should both plan to handover some of the parishes we were running then, but also start new projects with the specific intention to respond to the challenge posed by the 1998 chapter. The Missionaries of Africa already had a centre dedicated to culture in Kungoni so we saw the need for a new venture, which would dedicate itself to Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation. This became the Centre for Social Concern. It took about three years of deliberation before we actually were ready to commence. Kanengo was chosen as the location, next to St. Francis Parish.

The infrastructure was first on the list. A house for confreres to live and an office block with a small library. We hired our first personnel. There was a small group of Missionaries of Africa who guided the process. The CfSC needed to find its niche in the ecclesial and national landscape. The CfSC also needed to find the funds to run it. Since the director had experience of working with CORDAID this Dutch co-financing organisation became the first partner to the CfSC. At the same time because of existing contacts with some members of GTZ, the centre was asked to assist in a project to research whether there is a link between (self)-marginalisation and violence. It was the time after the bombing of the World Trade Towers in New York and the project proposed to research this thesis. The CfSC was asked to do this. It led to our inter-religious dialogue project. Because what we found out was that there seemed not to be a direct link, but that even mainline religious groups were becoming more fundamentalist so that the normal ‘dialogue of life’ was not deemed sufficient to cope with this hardening of opinion and increase in prejudice. The conclusion was that a greater effort needs to be made to tackle prejudice and promote greater religious tolerance. The method followed was to do first a fairly in-depth appraisal to find out what is happening in a specific area and based on that to start some interventions, which lead to greater tolerance.  The centre bundled the lessons learned in Karonga and Nkotakhota in a book and at its launch, it was asked to tackle the tense situation that had arisen in Mangochi. Following the method proposed a team of researchers from different religious backgrounds started with the in-depth appraisal. The subsequent action was done by the ‘Forum for Dialogue and Peace’.

Promoting Critical Thinking

The library proved very popular and burst out of it seems. The room earmarked was far too small and new building was added to our infrastructure. It housed both a large meeting room and a library with reading room. In the meantime, the Centre employed an economist who was heading the economic governance desk and it embarked on its first strategic plan. It advocated for debt cancellation and used as a channel for this work the faith community leaders. It was at this time that the basic needs basket research was shaping up and being done in the four main cities in Malawi. Other donors came on board like OSISA, TROCAIRE and Misereor. While the first strategic plan was produced in 2005, there was need for a follow-up plan in 2008. This was the first plan for which the CfSC hired a consultant. 2011 and 2014 followed. In that way the CfSC tried to stay focused, refine its mission and adjust its vision according to changing circumstances. What helped it to focus were some of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching like: the option for the poor, the common good and the integrity of creation.

The Poorest of the Poor

One of the groups of people that deserved the attention of the centre were and are the tenants on tobacco farms. They are the forgotten ones but with their sweat they produce the crop that brings in a large amount of the foreign exchange which is needed to keep the economy going and cover the imports which Malawi needed to survive. Our cars, little do we realise that it is because of the sweat of tenants that we can drive them. But they themselves even today are oppressed. The much-touted Integrated Production System has only lifted the old system to another plain: now the landlords have become the tenants of the tobacco companies. Many of them still use the bonded labour, because of lack of sufficient liquidity to pay salaries on a regular basis. Without these interventions by Justice and Peace groups and the Centre for Social Concern, they would truly have belonged to the forgotten of the earth.

Human Trafficking

The centre started bringing to the attention of the nation those who were being subjugated to new forms of slavery: those who were trafficked either within or to outside the country. This work was in line with the work of the founder of the Missionaries of Africa, Cardinal Lavigerie, who played an important role in the abolishment of slavery in the eighteen seventies. Today human trafficking is the new slavery. The centre cooperated with women’s groups at first within the Catholic Church but later also with others, creating awareness about this modern scourge and training women to recognise human trafficking when it was occurring in their areas and to report it to the centre, which was taking further action. This was several years before Norwegian Church Aid made money available to several NGOs and supported action against human trafficking to the point of assisting the nation to draft legislation which made it easier to punish this heinous crime.

Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching

The centre did a survey in how far it is true that Catholic Social Teaching is our best kept secret: in other words, in how far does this body of teaching influence Catholic Christians. This was to prepare a project which was trying to introduce a value-based approach to policy debates. The idea was that the country needs not only sound economics but these economics must also be ethically sound. This in turn was part of the ‘active citizenship’ pillar of the 2014 strategic plan. In earlier strategies the centre referred to ‘building human capital’: An indication that the CfSC was recognising that integral development, justice and peace can only be realised when citizens themselves take to heart their own human development.

From ‘advocacy for’ to ‘advocacy by’                                                                                                          

Empowerment has also been underlying the efforts of the centre in its advocacy strategy to move from advocacy for to advocacy by. The centre started basic needs advocacy groups. These were trained in identifying the issues concerning their lives, their rights. They learned how analyse them, and how to link them to their rights as rights holders. With the help of the centre they had interface meetings with the duty bearers where they raised the issues. This led to duty bearers realising they could not just do business as usual. They had to account and become transparent. It also led to remedial action, like improving health services, school buildings, and the provision of clean water. The citizens started to realise that they did have power. If duty bearers did not respond the media helped by bringing the problems to the attention of the whole nation. This ‘rights-based approach’ to development has proven to be a powerful tool for empowering communities to take their own lives in their hands and do the needful to rise out of poverty.

Up and Downs

In our history we met, of course, with ups and downs like changing priorities among the donor partners. Working with people at the grassroots takes time and often the demands were for short-term results. While generally the CfSC can pride itself on a dedicated staff, this was not always the case. But all considered, the centre thought it was right that it celebrates 15 years of existence. The whole staff did so in the presence of some of our volunteers, partners, and well-wishers. It is gratifying to hear it confirmed that the basic needs basket is fulfilling a need and is eagerly awaited by many; that even if very slowly taxation justice is becoming a bit more of a reality; that networking has helped the tenants so that their cause is not forgotten; that the revival of the monster of unsustainable debt is at least brought to the attention of all stakeholders; that youth and adults find good literature and a conducive environment for study in our library; that people realise that they are the rights holders and can proudly refer to good developments in their areas because they feel they are equipped to for interface meetings with duty bearers; that so many people have been empowered with knowledge and graduated from being a victim of circumstances to agent of their own development. In other words, there was reason to celebrate. This was done on the 22nd of November 2018 through an open day. In the presence of Archbishop Tarsizius Ziyaye and colleagues from civil society, donor partners and co-operators, volunteers and beneficiaries the CfSC thanked God and showcased its work in the areas of social conditions research, economic governance, inter-religious dialogue and active citizenship. It was a great celebration like a crown on 15 years of learning, operating, implementing our vision and mission.

The Future

One thing we learned as an organisation is that development is a slow process. It needs an awakening of those at the grassroots, who are experiencing the problems often not of their own making. It needs dedication and commitment. It needs the contribution of all, especially those in power be they politicians or technocrats, NGOs or donors. Malawi is still one of the least developed countries. It is still referred as a country with one of the lowest GDP in the world. But the CfSC does not think that this is preordained. Charting its course into the future it wants to assist its clients to build on strength, to discover their potential and make it work for them and for the common good. This means that there is still plenty of work to be done. Reinforcing the rights-based approach. Continuing to bring together those who are different in religion and culture, to discover what unites and to make religion one the forces for the common good and against division. It needs the contribution of the Centre for Social Concern.

2017-01 CfSC Press Review

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Chinsapo becomes a fully fledged Parish, Malawi


Vitus Abobo 2018 (2) copie copieBy Vitus Abobo, M.Afr

Until the 90s, Chinsapo was an outstation of Likuni Parish under the care of the Missionaries of Africa, namely Fr. Roger Bélanger and Fr. Angelo Belloti who developed interest in the area. When the Missionaries of Africa handed over Chilinde and Kawale parishes in 1998, Chinsapo became a possible place to establish a new parish.

Already, Bishop Felix Eugenio Mkhori foresaw that Chinsapo would become a parish. Fr. Martin Onyango initiated the whole process while being curate of Likuni Parish. Together with the Christians, he bought the plot with financial support from the Missionaries of Africa, the people themselves and Bakili Muluzi, President of Malawi between 1994 and 2004.

Fr. Martin Onyango, Fr. Jacques Pallas, Fr. Piet Van Hulten, and Fr. Julio Feliu worked in Likuni until it was handed over to the diocese in 2003. Fr. Jacques Pallas, chaplain of Likuni hospital, though staying at the sector house in town, went to Chinsapo regularly.

The idea of Chinsapo becoming a Parish came back in 2008. Fr. Piet Van Hulten together with Fr. Louis Blondel sent Fr. Julio Feliu, who was then the Parish Priest at Mua, to Chinsapo. Earlier on, during a confirmation ceremony of 200 Christians, the people of Chinsapo asked Bishop Rémi Sainte-Marie to make Chinsapo a parish.

Fr. Julio arrived in Chinsapo in February 2009. He put his heart into the pastoral work. Though the official status of Chinsapo was not clear, Fr. William Thurnbull, then the Sector Delegate for Malawi, and his team kept supporting Julio. Finally, Chinsapo became a quasi-parish on 3rd June 2009, the Feast of the Martyrs of Uganda and named after St. Denis.

The infrastructural developments currently in Chinsapo started with the construction of the sports ground which in the beginning was the crossroad of many roads. Afterwards the Christians built a fence at a cost of about four million kwacha. Then the catechist’s house, Home Base Care (HBC) also known as the Rainbow Centre was constructed with support from a Spain-based NGO, followed by the Justice and Peace office.

In 2010, Chinsapo received some financial help through Bishop Rémi from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome to build the Parish residence. It has taken six years for the building project to be completed.

Unfortunately, Fr. Julio fell ill due to back problems and had to go home for treatment. During that time the future of Chinsapo became very dim as there were even plans of having it over to the Silesians or the Jesuits.

Then Fr. Felix Phiri, the new SAP Provincial, realising the situation of Chinsapo, requested Fr. Julio to ask the confreres at the Sector house for support. From that time, Fr. Paul Namono, Fr. Michel Sanou, Fr. Africano Mucunguzi kept giving Julio a helping hand in the Pastorals at Chinsapo.

Around the middle of this year 2018, the Province/Sector decided to establish a Missionary of Africa community at Chinsapo and make Chinsapo a project of the Missionaries of Africa. After discussions between the Missionaries of Africa and the current bishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Chinsapo was raised from to status of quasi-parish to a full parish.

Chinsapo blessed with a Parish and Missionaries of Africa community.

Chinsapo 04On the 26th of August, 2018 Chinsapo was blessed with the erection of not only a new Missionary of Africa Community, but also the raising of its status from quasi-parish to a full-fleshed one. The Bishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Most Rev. Tarsizio G. Ziyaye, made the declaration at the end of a Eucharistic Ceremony.

The Provincial Superior, Fr. Felix Phiri announced the coming of three confreres and a stagiaire. All new community members were present; Fr. Piet van Hulten, Fr. Julio Feliu and the stagiaire Crepin Kombate Moiyikitie. Yet to come Fr. Pawel Patyk from Poland.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop, announced the good news to all present declaring that: “I myself, in conjunction with the Superiors of the Missionaries of Africa, we have given this Parish to the Missionaries. These our parents in faith will be in charge of this parish and Fr. Julio Feliu is to lead it.”

The declaration was greeted with a lot of ululations and clapping of hands. The Bishop then handed the official letter which he had signed, raising Chinsapo from a quasi-parish to a fully-fledged parish, to Fr. Felix Phiri, the Provincial Superior of Southern African Province.

The Bishop thanked Fr. Roger Tessier who came from Kenya to visit Malawi, before returning to Canada for good. He knew Fr. Roger when he was the manager of Likuni Press, back in the 70s.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop blessed the house where the new community will be housed, amid melodious songs from the children’s choir.

Both Fr. Piet and Fr. Julio see very great opportunities in the areas of Justice and Peace, Inculturation and Interreligious dialogue. There are about 32 different Christian denominations already at Chinsapo. Also, there is a good relationship with the Khadra group of Muslims, the Anglicans and the Lutherans. They foresee a great challenge in the area of Integrity of Creation, and population density as many people continue to settle in the area. The population is estimated to be about 800,000 people.

Chinsapo 01The focus of Chinsapo as a Parish will be in the area of youth apostolate as almost 70% of the population are below 25 years old. Luckily, some Sisters are expected to arrive in Chinsapo, and they will be of great help in caring for the youth.

Conclusion

This day was a very colourful day, not just because of the sacrament of confirmation that took place, but also because on this day the dream of many confreres and Christians of seeing Chinsapo as a parish was realised. On this same day, God also blessed this new parish with the presence of the Missionaries of Africa community. The questions, doubts and worries of many people about the future of Chinsapo have been laid to rest.

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Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Missionaries of Africa in Chipata, Zambia.


Father Dave Cullen wrote an article recently about the celebration at Mphangwe which took place on September 8, 2018. Here below is the testimony of Jacob Maasang, stagiaire in Zambia.

By Jacob Maasang, originally from Ghana

Ahead of the official beginning of the 150th anniversary of the Missionaries of Africa which will take place on December 8, I had the opportunity to attend this celebration at Mphangwe Prayer Centre in the Diocese of Chipata on the feast day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 8th September 2018 under the theme: “serving God’s people in Africa”.

Apart from members of our Missionary Society, there was a number of men and women religious congregations present as well as a number of lay faithful from the Katete Deanry. Rt. Rev. Bishop Benjamin Phiri, the auxiliary bishop of Chipata Diocese, was the main celebrant.

For Fr. Felix Phiri, our Provincial, the gathering was a blessing moment to commemorate 150 years of service to the people of God in Africa and the African world. He used the opportunity to explain the mission of the Missionaries of Africa through a brief history of our founder and our Society. He recorded the early struggles our first missionaries met in Africa and the activities done by our confreres in Zambia up to now.

According to Bishop Benjamin, it was not a thanksgiving Mass for the missionaries alone but also for the people of Zambia, especially the Diocese of Chipata. He gave acknowledgement to some elderly confreres, still present, who worked utterly in that diocese. For him, it was an opportunity for the people to appreciate the work of evangelisation done by the missionaries of Africa in that part of Zambia.

After the Eucharistic celebration, all the Missionaries of Africa introduced themselves. To my surprise, I was the only one to do so in icibemba while others did it in cinyaja. Messages of congratulation and gifts followed. To my amazement, there was even a cow offered by the Katete deanery.

Done in a very simple manner, everybody had something to eat and drink. This, I felt, was part of our charism as our founder insisted on simple lifestyle and moderation in everything. I was very happy and privilege to be at this 150th anniversary celebration of our foundation as Missionaries of Africa, serving the people of Africa and the African world. Mission continues.

Celebration at Mphangwe of 150 Years of the Foundation of the Missionaries of Africa, September 8th, 2018


By Fr Dave Cullen Dave Cullen - Chipata Hospital 2014 06 copie, M.Afr

Bishop George Lungu, the Ordinary of Chipata Diocese, graciously offered to commemorate the foundation of the Missionaries of Africa 150 years ago with two Masses in the diocese, one at Chasera where the missionaries first arrived, but for a very brief period, and the second at the first parish established by the Society in 1913 at Mphangwe. It was at there that we celebrated Mass on the Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th.

It was Katete Deanery that both prepared the celebration and, together with some help from other deaneries, funded the expenses involved. The Montfort Fathers, who are in charge of Mphangwe Prayer Centre, had put a great deal of effort to ensuring that the event was fittingly celebrated. Tarpaulins had been put up to enable almost everyone present to be shielded from the sun. Radio Maria was present to record the Mass and ensure that the loudspeaker system was in good order. A considerable number of the diocesan clergy concelebrated the Mass, together with a Comboni Missionary and several other priests, one coming from as far away as the United States on visit in Katete. Likewise, there were representatives from the various Religious Congregations, Sisters and Brothers. Parishioners from Mphangwe itself had also come in large numbers.

ZAMBIE 2The Mass was presided by the auxiliary bishop of Chipata Diocese, Benjamin Phiri. Before the Mass began, the bishop invited our Provincial, Fr Felix Phiri, to give a brief history of the work of the Missionaries of Africa in Chipata Diocese. It was, in fact, the Missionaries of Africa who founded the Church in the Eastern Province. In 1937 the Prefecture of Fort Jameson was established with Fr Fernand Martin as the priest in charge. At that time there were 3 missions in the care of ten Missionaries of Africa, strangely enough, precisely the number still doing apostolic work in the diocese today. However, those original ten eventually increased to fifty-five.

It was Fr Firmin Courtemanche who succeeded Fr Martin in 1947. He was ordained bishop and named Prefect Apostolic of Fort Jameson in 1953. The first diocesan priest in the Prefecture was Fr Zakaria Kapingira, ordained in 1939. The number of White Fathers, as they were then known, having been given that name in North Africa where they were distinguished by the white habit they wore, increased in the diocese during the Second World War that began in 1939, and many new mission stations were opened up by them. After the war, the number of diocesan priests gradually began to increase, foremost among them being Fr Medardo Mazombwe, ordained bishop in 1971 of what had now come to be named Chipata Diocese. He would later be transferred to Lusaka Archdiocese and be made a Cardinal.

As the number of parishes increased Bishop Mazombwe sought the help of other Missionary Societies, the Comboni Missionaries, Missionaries of St Patrick, known as the Kiltegan Fathers, Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, the Montfort Fathers and the Carmelites. Not only did the number of diocesan clergy begin to increase, but also Religious Congregations of Sisters, some from other countries, others from locally founded Congregations, caring for the sick in hospitals, teaching in schools and sharing in the apostolic tasks in a number of parishes.

Felix Phiri 03Fr Felix Phiri finished his presentation by giving thanks for those who had gone to the Lord as also by asking blessings on the Priests, Brothers and Sisters still offering themselves for the spread of the Kingdom of God in Chipata Diocese today.

After this introduction, before beginning Mass, Bishop Benjamin introduced to the congregation the Missionaries of Africa present, four of whom he described as our ‘Senior Citizens’, first of all Fr Henk van Kessel who, the previous day, had celebrated his 92nd birthday and is still very active as the diocesan archivist, Fr Joe McMenamin, Fr Toon van Kessel and Fr Dave Cullen, all of whom had given many years of service in the diocese. He then began the Mass which was offered prayerfully with the well-rehearsed contribution of the choir and Stellas.

After communion gifts were offered to the Missionaries of Africa, first by Bishop Benjamin, then by many of the clergy and Religious present, as also by many of the laity. As something of a finale, a group of Missionary of Africa students who were present at the Mass, together with a Missionary of Africa priest from Zambia itself, swaying rhythmically to the singing of the choir, brought a gift to the bishop. Coming from various countries in Africa they, together with the ‘Senior Citizens’ and the several other Missionaries of Africa present, witnessed to the international and multiracial character of the Missionaries of Africa.

After Mass all present were invited to a meal that had been prepared for us by our hosts and shared in the dining halls that the Montfort Fathers have had constructed for such events as that of today. From there we all departed in thankfulness and peace to our communities and homes.

ZAMBIE 1

2018 Kungoni Cultural Festival


Kungoni_Open_Day_2018By Robert Kalindiza

As Malawi prepares to conduct a tripartite election, Father Claude Boucher Chisale decided to pass the message of elections in this year’s cultural performances.

Before different dances, there was a traditional Mass. The preacher was Bishop Montfort Sitima of Mangochi diocese. Over six priests accompanied Father Boucher including Father Michel Sanou as the official representative of the Missionaries of Africa in Malawi. Many people from different parts of the world were also in attendance.

Over thirty dances were showcased.

Recent death John Michael (Ben) Henze and Melvin Doucette, former missionaries in Malawi and Zambia.


Michael HenzeJohn Michael (Ben) Henze on Monday the 7th May 2018 at Ealing Hospital (London – UK) at the age of 84 years, of which 57 years of missionary life in Zambia and in the United Kingdom.

Milestones of Father John Michael Henze’s life

John Michael was born on the 6th May 1934 in North London, in the neighbourhood of Edmonton. He was living in the Diocese of Nottingham when he entered the Noviciate (Spiritual Year) on the 7th September 1956 in‘s-Heerenberg. He then continued his studies of theology in Totteridge, in North London, where he took his Missionary Oath on the 13th July 1960 and was ordained to the priesthood on the 3rd February 1961. John Michael was better known as Ben.

In Malawi: 01/11/1967; Lilongwe. In Zambia: 04/06/1968; Chikungu, Chipata. 18/01/1969; Chipata, St. Anne’s. 01/04/1977; Solwezi, Solwezi. 01/04/1979; Mufulira, Ndola. 01/05/1983; Religious Education Adviser at Mufulira, Ndola. 01/01/1992; Kitwe. 01/09/1992; Ndola. 01/06/2003; Sabbatical. 01/05/2004; Ndola. 01/06/2007; C.U.Z.-Lecturer at Ndola. 01/07/2011; appointment in Great Britain.

Melvin DoucetteMelvin Doucette on Wednesday 27th June, 2018 at Tignish (Canada) at the age of 79 years, of which 51 years of missionary life in Zambia and in Canada.

Milestones of Father Melvin Doucette’s life

Melvin was born on March 2, 1939 in Tignish, a small fishing village on the northern tip of Prince Edward Island, Canada. He entered the Novitiate (Spiritual Year) of the Missionaries of Africa on August 31, 1963 in Franklin, USA. He then continued his theological studies at Totteridge (London, UK) where he took his missionary oath on 25th June 1967. He returned to his native village to receive priestly ordination on June 22, 1968.

In Zambia: 01/09/1968; Ilondola. 01/01/1969; Lwena, Kasama. 01/01/1973; Lwena. 01/10/1974; Chilubula. 01/09/1979; Chilubi, Kasama. 01/09/1982; Monastic experience at Nanyuki in Kenya. 01/10/1983; Lubushi and Mulobola. 01/11/1986; Malole. 01/04/1987; Chilubula, Kasama. 28/02/1990; Jerusalem Israel. 01/09/1991; Malole, Kasama. 19/04/1999; appointed to Canada.

Father Dominic Kapatamoyo’s Priestly Ordination in Chezi, Malawi – July 7, 2018


19 Dominic ordiBy Vitus Danaa Abobo, M.Afr

On the 7th of July, the parish of Chezi in Malawi witnessed an unforgettable event as our confrere Dominic Kapatamoyo was ordained priest. There was a big crowd of people present to this memorable event, the first of its kind in the parish. Sisters, Brothers, Fathers and students in formation from Balaka, all members of the Lavigerie’s family, were present in their numbers together with other religious congregations, diocesan priests, various religious denominations, family members and friends as well as parishioners. Also present were Archbishop Tarsizio G. Ziyaye and our confrere Bishop Emeritus Remi Sainte-Marie.

A priest is another Christ chosen and sent out to serve and console the people of God in order to show them what the Kingdom of God entails. Archbishop Ziyaye agreed with the invite of Cardinal Lavigerie to his missionaries “to be apostles, nothing but apostles”. Being apostles should become our being. Ending his homily, the Archbishop invited everyone to pray for the priest to be ordained, that the Lord may give him all the graces that he needs.

The Archbishop was touched by the fact that Dominic is the son of a long-serving catechist, Mr Kapatamoyo. He was also happy that Dominic was ordained priest as a Missionary of Africa adding that “they are like our parents”, being the first missionaries to bring the gospel in that part of the world. He was happy about the good organisation of the event and active participation of the people, seeing it as a golden opportunity for vocation promotion.

The Provincial Delegate in Malawi, Father Michel Sanou, expressed his gratitude and happiness to the parishioners of Chezi for the good organisation. This remarkable event is a golden opportunity to call other youths to follow the example of Dominic to answer the call to missionary life.

At the end of the Mass, Father Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Southern Africa Province (SAP), emphasised the missionary nature of the work as Missionaries of Africa. Like the missionaries working in Chezi Parish, originating from other African countries, Dominic will be working away from his home parish. On that note, he announced that the newly ordained priest is sent to Mingana in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he already spent two years for pastoral training during his initial formation.

14 Dominic ordiThe Provincial added that the presence of representatives from Protestant churches shows a sense of solidarity among the Christians of different denominations. The event of the day is also a visible fruit of the Missionaries of Africa celebrating its 150th anniversary of foundation. He remarked how the work and faith of Dominic’s father as a catechist has been a pillar for Dominic’s vocation journey.

Filled with joy, Father Dominic expressed his gratitude to God for the gift of his priestly ordination, seeing it as a humbling honour. He was impressed by the sacrifices the parishioners, confreres, family and friends made since December 2017 to ensure the success of the event. He was also overjoyed by the presence of so many people, two bishops and friends from Zimbabwe, France, Ireland and Kenya to witness his ordination. For Dominic, the presence of all these people from far and near is a sign of the Church’s unity. In a sense of gratitude, he asked God to be with him in his priestly calling.

The ordination of Father Dominic was for the Missionaries of Africa a time of coming together to support, pray with and thank the Lord. It also became for the parish of Chezi a moment of working together to support and pray for and with their own son. For the parents of the newly ordained, the celebration was the answer to their prayers since their son started his formation with the Missionaries of Africa.

May God richly reward you all for the support rendered to us to make Dominic’s ordination a success.

 

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Death of Fathers Harrie Vernooy and Jean-Pierre Pickard, former missionaries in Moçambique and Malawi.


Father Piet Buijsrogge, Provincial Delegate of the sector of the Netherlands, informs you of the return to the Lord of Father Harrie Vernooy on Tuesday the 3rd October 2017 at Geesteren (Netherlands) at the age of 91 years, of which 64 years of missionary life in Malawi and in the Netherlands. Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Milestones of Father’s life:

Harrie was born on the 30th December 1925 at Cothen, in the Diocese of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. He began his spiritual year with the Missionaries of Africa on the 1st September 1949 at‘s-Heerenberg in the Netherlands, where he continued his theological studies and pronounced his Missionary Oath on the 22nd July 1953. He was ordained to the priesthood on the 10th June 1954 at Monteviot, in Scotland.

In Malawi:

01/10/1954: Bembeke, 06/07/1955: Mtendere, 01/01/1959: Dedza, 01/01/1960: Mua, 01/01/1963: Dedza, 06/09/1963: Mua, 01/01/1970: Ntcheu, 01/01/1976: Ganya, Dedza.

Father Jean-Pierre PickardFather Luc Putzeys, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Belgium, informs you of the return to the Lord of Father Jean-Pierre Pickard on Friday the 29th September 2017 at Evere (Belgium) at the age of 91 years, of which 67 years of missionary life in Portugal, Mozambique, Malawi and Belgium. Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Milestones of Father Jean-Pierre Pickard’s life:

Jean-Pierre was born on the 18th September 1926 in Schaerbeek (Brussels), in the Diocese of Mechelen-Brussels. He joined the Spiritual Year on the 21st September 1946 at Varsenare (Belgium) and then went on studying theology in Heverlee (Belgium) where he took his Missionary Oath on the 22nd July 1950 and was ordained to the priesthood on the 24th March 1951.

In Moçambique

01/05/1953: Manga, 26/01/1954: Zobue, 18/07/1954: Manga, 01/01/1956: Murraça, 01/01/1957: Charré, 09/09/1958: Zobue, 01/04/1964: Lundo, 27/07/1964: Manga, 31/12/1964: Munhava, 01/01/1968: Munhava, 25/05/1971: Expelled from Mozambique.

In Malawi

01/03/1972: Katete, Mzuzu, 01/05/1972: Rumphi, Mzuzu, 15/05/1973: Lilongwe, 01/01/1977: Chilinde, 10/11/1992: Kawale, Lilongwe.

Mafrwestafrica lettre du 5 octobre 2017


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

« Leaders africains » Depuis 2014, l’Institut Choiseul établit un classement des 100 premiers décideurs économiques africains de moins de 41 ans (lire la suite)

« Colloque des intellectuels musulmans » Cette rencontre est le fruit d’un travail de plusieurs mois qui a permis de réunir des intellectuels musulmans d’horizons divers (lire la suite)

« Manifestations au Burkina » pour dénoncer les nombreux appels à la libération des prisonniers incarcérés dans le cadre de l’enquête sur le coup d’Etat de septembre 2015 (lire la suite)

« Octobre interreligieux » les dates importantes dans le mois d’octobre 2017 pour les différentes religions de par le monde (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Migrations en Afrique du Nord »  ce qu’en dit le père Johan Miltenburg, qui a vécu la mission dans de nombreux pays. (lire la suite)

« Témoignage Michel Delaunoy au sujet du Père Sarti » ce que celui qui est actuellement délégué à la Coopération Missionnaire du Diocèse de Châlons tient à dire sur ce Père qu’il a connu au Burkina. (lire la suite)

« Michel Ouedraogo à Marseille » un texte tiré de Voix d’Afrique de ce Missionnaire d’Afrique Burkinabè en mission à  Marseille (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Le mois le plus long » Dans ce livre plutôt volumineux, François Georgeon nous invite à le suivre dans sa découverte de la coutume musulmane du ramadan (lire la suite)

« Qu’y a-t-il dans le Coran ? » un petit livre mais un grand ouvrage écrit dans un langage courant par un islamologue, Rachid BENZINE  et un réalisateur scénariste Ismaël  SAIDI. (lire la suite)

« Laïcité en France ? » Si la charte de la laïcité de 2013 précise les contours de l’étude des textes religieux dans les écoles, la question reste encore sensible (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Atelier Justice et Paix au Bénin » les objectifs de cet atelier qui s’est tenu à Cotonou-Calavi au Bénin, du 16 au 29 juillet 2017 (lire la suite)

« Le pape et le Congo (RDC) » le pape François ne prévoit pas de se rendre dans ce pays avant la tenue d’élections (lire la suite)

« La migration vue de la Mauritanie » un texte de l’évêque de Nouakchott, Mgr Martin Happe, paru dans le « Petit Echo » (lire la suite)

 « Mgr Gallagher à l’ONU » “Mettre l’accent sur les personnes : lutter pour la paix et pour une vie décente sur une planète durable” (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Problèmes d’écoles au Mali »  ou comment l’opposition turque et le pouvoir en place à Ankara s’affrontent pour posséder les écoles Horizon (lire la suite)

« Politique au Tchad » L’ébauche de ce que sera la prochaine Constitution du Tchad indique qu’à partir de 2021, le chef de l’Etat sera élu pour un mandat de sept ans, renouvelable une seule fois (lire la suite)

« Cacao en Côte d’Ivoire » Comment rendre le cacao durable ? C’est l’interrogation de la filière cette année pour la journée mondiale du cacao (lire la suite)

« Le Togo sous tension » qu’il s’agisse de la rentrée scolaire ou des manifestations contre le régime en place (lire la suite)

« Métro prévu à Abidjan » C’est l’un des projets emblématiques du moment dans la capitale économique ivoirienne, qui permettra le transport d’environ 300 000 personnes par jour (lire la suite)

 

Mua Parish Celebration in Dedza diocese, Malawi.


Mua 08
Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Saulos Chilima making a speech.

By Robert Kalindiza

On Saturday the 23rd September 2017, Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi, Right Honourable Saulos Klaus Chilima, attended an important celebration at Mua parish which was celebrating 115 years since its establishment. At the same occasion, Father Claude Boucher Chisale celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood while the catechist Simon Panyani celebrated his silver jubilee.

Highly attended, the Kungoni troupe dance formed some twenty years ago by Father Boucher, gave a great performance. Mgr Emmanuele Kanyama, Bishop of Dedza diocese, enhanced the occasion with over twenty diocesan and missionary priests in attendance. Even Juliana Lunguzi, Member of Parliament for Dedza East who happens to be a Christian of Mua parish, was present.

During his speech, Father Felix Phiri, Provincial of the Missionaries of Afrika commended Father Claude Boucher for planting good seeds in the hearts of Mua people and elsewhere through the preservation of African culture. Nowadays, few missionaries can expect to remain for very long at the same place. Father Boucher is one of the few. But, as he says; “an old tree cannot be replanted, otherwise it will die.”

The Vice-President also commended the work of Father Boucher Chisale thereby urging other people to do the same. He also advised the gathering to take care of the environment in order to avoid contributing to faster climate change. The celebration ended with a great feast at the Fathers’ house.

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SAP Blog has reached 140 000 hits.


140 000 hitsSAP Blog has reached 140 000 hits since its beginning in January 2013. Over 60 visitors a day with an average of 100 hits, SAP Blog is consulted widely in the Southern Afrika region, especially in Zambia, but also all over the world, mainly in the United States of America.

Thanks for your support. Let the people know that a mine of information is available on SAP Blog. You are following this blog, along with 534 other amazing people. Your comments are always welcomed.

Thanks for your support.

140 000 hits2

Death of Father Henri Langlade, formally missionary in Malawi from 1952 till 2000.


henri_langlade copieHenri Langlade died on the 2nd September, 2017, in Billère, France, at the age of 92 years of which 67 of missionary life in Malawi and in France.

Birth: Aimargues, 03/09/1925

Spiritual Year: Carthage, 25/09/1946

Oath: Thibar, 27/06/1950

Priestly ordination: Carthage, 24/03/1951

29/03/1952 Arrival at Mzuzu, Nyasaland (Malawi). 22/08/1952 Curate at Mzambazi. 18/09/1953 Curate at Nkhata Bay. 12/02/1955 Curate at Karonga. 07/10/1956 Catechist School Rumphi. 22/05/1961 Retreat at Villa Cavalletti Italia. 22/08/1962 Chaplain at the Training Teacher College, Katete, Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi. 01/12/1966 Chaplain at the Rosarian Sisters at Rumphi. 26/09/1979 Session- Retreat at Jerusalem. 01/01/1984 Curate at Nkhata Bay. 01/01/1986 Chaplain at the Rosarian Sisters at Rumphi and Seminary, Malawi. 04/11/1988 Back to France. 31/07/1989 Chaplain and teacher at Nkhata Bay, Diocese of Mzuzu, Malawi. 01/07/1991 Chaplain and teacher at Mzuzu, Secondary School, Malawi. 01/07/2000 Back to France. 02/07/2000 Residence in Billère, France. 13/09/2000 Session in Roma, Italia. 02/09/2017 Death at Billère.

Priestly ordination of Fr. Paul Donnibe, M.Afr, july 2017 in Ghana.


BISHOP MATTHEW ORDAINS THE FIRST SMA PRIEST FROM THE DIOCESEBy Patrick Kadima, stagiaire from South Africa.

Three ordinations are to take place in different Dioceses in Ghana in 2017; in Sunyani, Bolgatanga and at the Diocese of Wa. One of them has actually taken place: the priestly ordination of Paul Donnibe.

His ordination took place at St. Mary Help of Christians Parish, Sunyani on Saturday 22nd July 2017, by His Lord, Most Rev Matthew Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani Diocese. I personally travelled on Friday. On our arrival, one could observe that people were arriving from different parts of the country and across the borders with Burkina Faso to witness the event.

At the venue, it looked like nothing was taking place when we first arrived. But it did not take long when parishioners, family members, friends, priests, sisters, and religious men and women started to show that something great was about to unfold.

The District Commissioner of Sunyani, one of the chiefs and most especially the Bishop, were introduced. The Bishop likewise welcomed the whole assembly. He emphasised the importance of the day and the reason of the gathering. He mentioned that our brother Paul was set apart and reminded the people to pray for him and his family.

While congratulating our Brother Paul, the Bishop mentioned that the whole parish and the diocese of Sunyani were proud of him. Paul is the first fruit of the Missionaries of Africa in the diocese. In a manner of advising Paul, the Bishop pinpointed in his homily the good examples Jesus sets for us. He reminded Paul that Jesus was a servant for others illustrated by the washing of his disciples’ feet. The priesthood is a journey of service for others just like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The bishop emphasised that a good priest finds joy in his duties. Since God loves a cheerful giver, if our brother Paul, as a priest, gives himself to God’s service by doing what a priest is supposed to do, indeed he will be a joyful servant of God in his priesthood. The bishop ended his homily by reminding our brother that he was also sent as a missionary to be an ambassador of the diocese of Sunyani wherever he will be.

Before Mass ends, our brother Paul gave his first and fresh blessing as a newly ordained priest, first to the Bishop, then the Provincial followed by all the religious men and women and then his parents and his relatives, lastly to all the faithful who were present. Finally, he expressed his gratefulness to all of us and to special people who made his ordination possible including some of his former teachers who were present and the District Commissioner of Sunyani.

After Mass we were invited for some refreshment at the parish house. We had supper together with Paul’s family and some parishioners. On Sunday, Paul said his first thanksgiving Mass at 7h00. After it, we took the road to go back home. It was good to be part of Paul’s ordination and very interesting to see how people celebrate life.

25 years Chezi Parish (Lilongwe, Malawi) & Catechist Chagwa, 50 years Jean Arnaud who also bye to Africa – 12 August 2017


Chezi 01By Brother Landry Busagara

On the twelfth of August, Chezi Parish had a great joy of celebrating 25 years of its existence. We were so happy on that day. We have been preparing for it for more than a year. Then when the day arrived we were really excited to celebrate it and to welcome all our guests who came to help us to live in that big event. We started with Mass which was presided by his lordship Archbishop Tharsicius G. Ziyaye.

During the celebration, just at the beginning of Mass, our Parish Priest Father Simeon Kalore welcomed everyone and wished them a good time at Chezi Parish. Then, we listened to the history of the jubilant parish which started in July 1992. Before its establishment, there were only centres which were really far from each other in other parishes. This made the work for the priests and Christians considerable. The distance was very long and the Christians could not receive sacraments frequently. That is why the Bishop of that time allowed the parish to start. Chezi Parish is called so because of its location, it is at the mountain of Chezi. Now The parish has more than 13,000 Christians.

Something that I did not mention yet here but so important is that we were also saying ‘’good bye’’ to Father Jean Arnaud who has been working in that parish for 18 years. He is leaving for good very soon for another apostolate in Lyon-France. We were also celebrating 25 years of service of one of our catechists who has been working in the Parish since 1992. At the beginning of Mass, we also had an opportunity of hearing their history of service in the parish. Moreover, in this mass more than 100 young boys and girls received the sacrament of confirmation as new witnesses of God.

When the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe started Mass, he could not hide his joy. He said that this is a time of praise, a time of celebrating all the wonders of the Lord, all that the Lord has been doing in Chezi Parish. He thanked God for the gifts of Father Yohane and the catechist in the Parish. Even in his homily, he came back on that joy as he told us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are really visible in the Parish. God gives to each one of us his own gifts, then on our turn, it is up to us to use them fruitfully. There is no gift or talent to be neglected, even the smallest one is so important if it is used well and with love. What we believe in has to be shown by our works, by our way of serving our brothers and sisters because all that is for the greater glory of our Lord.

Before we finished Mass, Father Jean Arnauld talked to us to express his great joy and how he was so grateful for the warm welcoming of Malawians for all the years he has been working here in this country. He still believes that though he is going far away from Malawi, one day we will meet again, here on earth or in heaven. He said: ‘’A moyo salekana’’. Father Simeon Kalore, the Parish Priest also thanked again everyone for the support, especially the Archbishop to have chosen to come to Chezi in spite of all the duties that he has. He said ‘’ Zikomo kwa mbiri’’. He thanked all the people of Chezi Parish, each one in his place for the responsibility taken so that the celebration goes well.

Our Provincial Father Felix Phiri was present and when time was given to him so that he says a word, he said that, he, too, was so grateful to the Bishop, to Father Jean Arnaud for his devotion to the mission in Malawi, for the years he worked in Malawi as Missionary of Africa. The Society will always be grateful. The Provincial also welcomed Father Christian Munyaneza, M.Afr who has just arrived in the country and will be working in Mua Parish. He ended his speech by calling all the Missionaries of Africa who were present and the MSOLA as well to come to the altar and sing our hymn ‘Sancta Maria’.

The Archbishop, his Lordship, Tharcisius G. Ziyaye, before he closed the Mass also said that he is so happy and was so impressed by the improvement of Chezi Parish. He did not forget to mention that it is Father Jean Arnaud who taught him how to ride a motorbike when he was a young priest. He said that all his words are to say thanks.

As we concluded our Mass, we were all invited for a meal which was shared to everyone with great joy.

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Mafrwestafrica lettre du 15 août 2017


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

« 77000 euros remis à la police » une histoire forte, celle d’un homme qui n’a pas voulu s’approprier une telle somme. (lire la suite)

« Blanchiment d’argent en Afrique » Deux des affaires marquantes évoquées dans le dernier rapport de la cellule chargée de lutter contre la criminalité financière, publié fin juillet, ont directement trait à l’Afrique. (lire la suite)

« Pesticides au Burkina » Les producteurs maraichers de la capitale, ou les agriculteurs en milieu rural, utilisent des pesticides et herbicides dont ils ignorent la qualité ou la composition. (lire la suite)

« Attaque terroriste à Ouagadougou » une attaque terroriste a fait 18 morts à Ouagadougou, lors de l’attaque d’un café restaurant dans la nuit du 13 au 14 août 2017. (lire la suite)

« Résultats élections au Kenya » les résultats proclamant la réélection de Kenyatta ont été publiés mais l’opposition de l’accepte pas. (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Réaction au décès du Père Charles Sarti » un message reçu d’une personne qui a beaucoup échangé avec lui. (lire la suite)

« Journée missionnaire mondiale 2017 » le texte du pape François pour la journée missionnaire mondiale à venir, le 22 octobre 2017. (lire la suite)

« Biographies des pères Forgues et Boinot » ces deux Pères Blanc qui ont vécu la mission en Afrique de l’Ouest et sont décédés l’un en 2015, l’autre en 2016 – textes tirés du Petit Echo. (lire la suite)

Dialouge interreligieux

« Psychologie et Islam » Al Razi, grand médecin perse des IXème et Xème siècles, est le fondateur du premier établissement psychiatrique au monde. (lire la suite)

« Mosquées en Algérie » il y a plus de 20 ans que l’état essaie de contrôler l’espace religieux, sans beaucoup de succès. (lire la suite)

« Formation pour prêtres et imams » une suggestion du secrétaire du Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux. (lire la suite)

« Message du pape pour la paix » Le pape François invite les religions à « prier et travailler ensemble pour la paix », à l’occasion d’une rencontre interreligieuse organisée au Japon. (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Nouvelles de l’AET Ségou » le dernier bulletin de cette association qui œuvre pour les enfants en situation difficile. (lire la suite)

« L’Afrique change-t-elle ? » un texte du Père Maurice Oudet qui pousse à réfléchir sur cette question fondamentale. (lire la suite)

« Lutter ensemble contre l’esclavage moderne » Il existe un lien entre l’exploitation de la nature et l’exploitation de la vie humaine. Il existe également une corrélation directe entre la migration et le trafic humain. (lire la suite)

« Migrants encore jetés en mer » 180 migrants africains qui avaient pris place en bateau ont été jetés par-dessus bord par des passeurs au large du Yémen. (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Alassane Ouattara en Côte d’Ivoire » l’actuel président de ce pays affirme qu’il ne se représentera pas pour les présidentielles de 2020. (lire la suite)

« Burkina : Bassolé inculpé pour trahison » l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères est finalement inculpé de “trahison”. Ses avocats disent qu’il n’a rien à craindre dans ce dossier”. (lire la suite)

« Fonctionnaires fantômes ? »  Au Burkina, la bancarisation des salaires a pour but de lutter contre les fonctionnaires « fictifs », un problème qui existe aussi en Côte d’Ivoire, au Nigéria et dans d’autres pays africains. (lire la suite)

« Résultats référendum Mauritanien » certains sénateurs refusent de tenir compte des résultats du référendum constitutionnel : le oui l’emporte très fortement. (lire la suite)

« Fosses communes à Kidal au Mali » au moins deux fosses communes ont été découvertes par la Mission des Nations unies au Mali (Minusma) dans la région de Kidal, dans le nord du Mali. (lire la suite)

Words of thanks from Fr. Martin Kasongo, M.Afr


Martin Kasongo 09By Martin Kasongo, M.Afr

Dear Confrères!

Join me first of all in thanking God for the love and for all the mercies he lavished upon me by allowing me to be ordained priest to serve in his vineyard. Dear confreres, I write to you more especially to thank you for your support before, during and after ordination. Each and every one of you, near or far, in one way or another, contributed to the preparation and the success of my ordination. I really appreciate your spiritual, material and moral support. Your support was very strengthening to me. I was very privileged and blessed by your presence during ordination and thanksgiving mass. This gesture was very encouraging and assuring to both my family and the parish. Unity and support are the echoes I receive from my family, from the parishioners of Kabundi Parish (St. Stephen) and from all the people who participated in my ordination and thanksgiving Mass. The parish and my family testified and affirmed that I have people around me.

Allow me also, dear confreres, to thank the community of Ndola (Shinde Street), Didasio and Francis in particular for the energy they put in to welcome confreres and prepare for the reception in Ndola. Dear Didasio and Francis, I am very grateful for your help and support. 

To all of you dear confreres, I say thank you very much and may God bless you. I also invite you to come in number and give the same support to our friend and confrere Frederick Mulenga Chungu on his priestly ordination this coming Saturday. May God bless us all and our families; may he make fruitful our life and our mission. United in prayer!

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Twenty- Five Years of Missionary Priesthood of Malachy Oleru, M.Afr


Malachy Oleru 25 years 2By Malachy Oleru, M.Afr

My final journey to Beira was safe, except for my luggage that arrived 48 hours late and a somewhat clumsy and inconsiderate air ticket booking from Raptim. Cheap things are not always cheap! The services of Kenya Airways leave much to be desired too, but that is a topic for another day. The presence at the airport, of the Missionaries of Africa led by Boris, was gratifying. For me, a new mission has started in Mozambique after a 25 year spell elsewhere.

I started my language learning about a week ago and still wonder why at my age, I have to be saddled, beside English and French, with the learning in Africa, of another colonial language – Portuguese! But Missionary life is “For better, for worse”, right? So nothing will becloud the hopes of this nascent divine mission to the “African world”.

Homily under a car park.

My ordination anniversary date, August 8, came up within two weeks of my arrival. The Delegation insists on a celebration, at least to water the seeds of my new mission. 25 years is not a joke, they said. It is akin to what a diocesan priest at home called “Priesthood with hard labour”. Hear! Hear!! And before I could say ‘Obrigado’, Boris Yabre, with M.Afr students at home was up and doing. Rafael Gasimba ‘sailed’ from Dombe land with the stagiaire. Frank Mbala Kalala and Florent Sibiri Sawadogo with another C.A.T. ‘flew’ in from Sussundenga. Fidel Salazar del Muro and ‘senior apostle’ stagiaire Olivier, ‘astral-travelled’ from Centro de Nazaré, just less than five minutes’ drive away! Friends, brothers and sisters from the other mothers, made the day at the Delegation House as Julian Kasiya and Pierre Kabwe Lukusa from Tete Mission, could only participate – electronically.

Anointed, (literally and metaphorically) to preside over the Eucharistic celebration, the car park of the house was the best temporary house of God. The students did a good job of cleaning. Being the memorial feast of the great preacher of the Word, St Dominic, the readings were taken from the references for the day. My reflection was on Luke 9:57-62.

Three calls, three men, one mission: “follow me”,

The rule of three does not always elicit a Trinitarian response. “I will follow you wherever you go”, appears generous, spontaneous, and immediate but also simplistic, if not frivolous. It sounds like playing to the gallery, not counting the cost, bordering on presumption. Jesus, the ‘Novice Master’ ‘remembers’ St Ignatius of Loyola’s discernment of the Spirit (Go on, argue for anachronism!): “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”. Jesus brings the dreamer to the reality of the mission. It is not for the feeble-minded, not for dreamers (even if sometimes we dream at the General Chapters!). You must count the cost. You must become aware of the challenges. You must evaluate what you are leaving behind. You must be ready for sacrifices. There is no guarantee for easy life and assurance for security: “Certified for martyrdom, do you agree?”

Even when the initiative comes from the Master (it always does), “Follow Me”, the response is hesitant, like coming from one who is not ready, who is more worried about family duties than concerned for the mission. A natural realist, his response is to first go and do his natural duty: “Lord, let me first go and bury my father”. Yes, there is a duty to perform and the best way to avoid responsibility is to say “I have responsibilities”! And Jesus’ response is simple: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God”. You are not the saviour, not even of your family, for it is not your duty that saves. You have your path to follow. Be detached from the accidentals of life to re-focus on the essentials. Remain resolute and vigilant.

The third encounter and dialogue in vocation discernment is like the first. The attachment is not as serious as the first. He only needs to “…first say farewell to those at home”.  “No one who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”, was again Jesus’ response. Mission is about being resolute and ‘staying fit’ for the kingdom of God.

Conclusion: indefectible, not infallible.

Grace is mine to say that in more than 25 years, I have journeyed with Jesus through these three stages of call-response paradigms. I delayed for five years, my missionary vocation to attend to family and personal needs. Then, when I thought I was ready, I also thought that I could shift those family responsibilities to my brother in USA. Well, he got murdered a year before my Missionary oath, and I said ‘zut alors!’ – whatever that meant. Then I understood that I must follow Jesus ‘naked’; re-engineer my assurances and security packages to fit into his plan so that “no one takes this honour on himself…”  Ever since I did, passing through thick and thin of the mission, I have been sustained by this word of the Master in response to Peter’s prevarications: “Anyone who left father, mother, sister, brother… on account of my word, shall receive a hundred fold…and in addition, eternal life”. I have, believe me; for God lives in an eternal now, and I am satisfied. And I know that if I have not stayed infallible, I have remained graciously indefectible.