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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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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“Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”


KULEMERA SIKUFIKA, KACHIRAMBE ANAOMBOLA MALAWI, CHIKHALIDWE CHATHU CHIBWERERE = “Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”.

Malawi is not to be considered as a poor beggar who keeps stretching the hand but is very rich of spirituality that can be shared with the rest of the world especially with regard to our common humanity.

The play browse over a Bantu and Yao tale that feature a redeemer in the person of Kachirambe.

The story developed the theme of the land and its people that has been swallowed by a nasty monster in the form of a giant pumpkin. All except a young girl and her mother who escaped and lived hidden in the forest.

As the monster moves from village to village, it keeps getting bigger and stronger by swallowing people’s good behaviour and devouring the best of the people’s life and traditions. It destroys people’s humanity and change them into greedy creatures deprived of mercy, humanity and freedom. As the story unfolds, Malawi becomes the prey to corruption, greed, injustices, famine and even the murder as it is recently the case of albinos.

Albinos in MalawiChiefs are corrupt; they are bribed and cases are not resolved fairly. They are selling land to rich investors while the custodians of the land are left with little or no land to cultivate. Hospital staff are irresponsible and lack commitment; patients are not given much attention and are asked to pay money to be assisted. ADMARC staff are corrupt and greedy; if people don’t have money to bribe the officials, they are denied access to food supply  while the government deny of famine and proclaim that there is plenty of maize available. The most horrifying is the killing of people with albinism, apparently for money in exchange for their bones. Poverty grows daily and those who are poor are denied rights of speech and are prevented to access to the legal system in order to claim their rights. Greed has gripped Malawi. People’s humanity have been swallowed by the monster pumpkin.

The only survivors in our tale are a young girl called “Ndasiyidwa” (meaning; I was spared) and her mother called “Ndapulumuka” (meaning; I have survived). Ndasiyidwa was expecting a child. One day while Ndasiyidwa was busy collecting mushrooms in the forest, she took by accident a hyena’s egg and brought it home. The mother of Ndasiyidwa destroyed the egg by throwing it in the fire. The next day when the girl was collecting wild vegetables, she encountered the hyena for the first time and it asked who took its egg. Ndasiyidwa acknowledged that she was the one took the egg and that her mother had destroyed it in the fire. The hyena threatened that it will eat her. Ndasiyidwa told the hyena that she was expecting a baby soon and that it should eat the child instead of her. The hyena complied. Ndasiyidwa delivered her child, fully grown and equipped with weapons of a hunter. Her grandmother called him Kachirambe Mlera khungwa (meaning; the guardian of the people). Ndasiyidwa informed the hyena on her first trip to the forest that she had conceived her child, but that the child was so clever that the hyena could not come to term with it and that the hyena would fail to eat him. The hyena tried again and again to grab Kachirambe but failed. Instead Kachirambe killed the hyena and delivered his mother and grandmother from their common enemy.

One day as Kachirambe was chatting with his mother, he asked her what had happened to his dad. Ndasiyidwa told him that his father was devoured by the monster pumpkin called Mgalika mwambo (meaning; the swallower of tradition). Kachirambe swore that he will get rid of the monster pumpkin as he did with the hyena and enquired where the monster was hiding. Ndasiyidwa told him that it was hiding in the lake. The hero over the hyena Kachirambe, went for it and fought it with all his strength. He weakened it with his arrows and in the end he cut it open with his father’s dagger and freed all those who had been swallowed. His father on behalf of all the other victims, acknowledged that he had been greedy and selfish. He promised that he would return to the tradition and become more human. He would take seriously the advice of his ancestors. Money does not ultimately fulfil all of human aspirations.

The play ends with the great mother of the Chewa “Kasiya maliro” who condemns those who have gone astray through greed and lost their humanity and their own tradition. One has to live from his own values and not imitating the behaviour of others. Kachirambe portrays the power of Malawian culture over and against other influences that can disrupt Malawian culture and tradition if one is not deeply rooted into his own. Once Malawi has lost her own humanity, it has also lost the privilege of being called Malawian.

kachirambe_JPEGAccumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for

Article about Kungoni Centre for Culture and Art published in the magazine The Eye, March – May 2016, Malawi.


Kungoni Theeye March 2016 01By Richard Hewitt, Kamuzu Academy

Later this year, on 2nd November, Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art will celebrate its fortieth anniversary. Mua Mission (between Salima and Balaka / Mangochi, just off the Lakeshore road), where Kungoni Centre is situated, dates further back, to 1902: its church, mission house, schools (including a deaf school) and hospital are significant institutions in their own right. However, it is Claude Boucher, now in his seventy-sixth year, and originally from Canada, who has made Mua distinctive among other religious missions in Malawi, and a necessary part of the itinerary of any visitor to Malawi with cultural and artistic interest.

Claude Boucher (himself an artist) attracted to Mua a number of artists (mostly carvers, but also painters and potters) to form what is now Kungoni Centre. The quality and invention of their work have won just renown, not only throughout Malawi but also across Africa and the world. It is in many styles: Christian and traditional (Chewa, Ngoni and Yao), offering not least a cheerful and satirical, sometime insightful, commentary on life in rural Malawi; but it is perhaps most stimulating to observe the attempt to translate ideas learned from missionaries into local idiom. Christ of the Kungoni Centre is definitely an African! The artists’ work is available for sale either at Kungoni Centre’s art gallery and showroom or at Lakeshore lodges and outlets in Blantyre and Lilongwe. Commissions are also accepted.

Kungoni Centre is famous also for the Chamare Museum, which must count among the most insightful ethnographic museums in southern Africa, and for its cultural troupe, which performs traditional dance not only for visitors to Kungoni Centre but as far afield as the Nc’wala Ceremony in Zambia. Last August Kungoni Centre came to national attention when, as part of its annual Open Day, it staged a play, incorporating Gule Wamkulu, which related the environmental devastation that is being worked in Malawi to the Chewa myth of creation. If you have not made the journey to Kungoni Centre, come to see what it has to offer; and be sure to spend a night at Namalikhate lodge, where the chalets are themselves works of art!

As Kungoni Centre began to reflect on forty years of achievement, it seemed right for a small body of friends to attempt the record of what will otherwise be lost together with its oral memory: we call this work the Kungoni Art Project. We have (thus far) collected the biographies of over 220 artists who have lived and worked at Kungoni Centre (incorporating often several generations of the same family); and have recorded some 3500 examples of their work throughout Malawi and in over twenty other countries. The variety of subject and approach is extraordinary, but time is running out! On the night of 15th November 2015 the church at Nyungwe (between Blantyre and Zomba) burned down: it was a fine example of Kungoni work dating back to the 1980’s; and it contained paintings by Claude Boucher and his (now deceased) collaborator P. Tambala Mponyani. It is fortunate that we had already recorded Nyungwe, but there is other work that is known only from old photographs or can be reconstructed only from Claude Boucher’s written notes and memory; and time, neglect and theft have all too often exacted their toll on what remains.

Our purpose is to create an archive of material, which will extend from Claude Boucher’s earliest artwork in his native Canada in the 1950’s, through his arrival in Malawi in 1967 and his encounter with the men who would become Kungoni Centre’s first artists, to the four decades of activity, each with their own emphases, that succeeded the establishment of Kungoni Centre in 1976.  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE – PDF FILE

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A Dangerous Divide. The State of Inequality in Malawi.


Please find a report from OXFAM on the growing and worrying inequality in Malawi. This was published in November and give a very good picture of the divide between the rich and poor. Bill Turnbull, M.Afr

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 02

rr-inequality-in-malawi-261115-en

By Oxfam in Malawi’s Country Director, John Makina

Economic inequality has worsened significantly in Malawi in recent years. In 2004, the richest 10 percent of Malawians consumed 22 times more than the poorest 10 percent. By 2011 this had risen to see the richest 10 percent spending 34 times more than the poorest. Yet even this shocking statistic is likely to be a significant underestimate1. Anyone who has seen the many large mansions springing up on the edges of Lilongwe and Blantyre, and the plethora of new shopping malls being opened, knows that conspicuous consumption amongst the richest is dramatically growing. Malawi’s Gini coefficient, the key measure of inequality, also shows the extent to which robust economic growth is benefiting the rich whilst leaving the poor behind. In seven years of impressive growth, the Gini has leapt up from 0.39, on a par with Cameroon, to 0.45, on a par with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 05This study modelled the link between inequality, growth and poverty in Malawi over the next five years. In 2015, 8 million people – 50 percent of the country’s population – live in poverty. Yet if inequality continues to rise as it has in recent years, by 2020 1.5 million more Malawians will be poor3. Even if inequality stays broadly at the level it is now, there will still be 400,000 additional people living in poverty in Malawi by 20204. Unless Malawi acts now to reduce inequality, even rapid economic growth will fail to reduce poverty in the country.

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Conclusion

Inequality is not an accident, nor is it inevitable; it originates from policy choices. Consequently, some policy choices can worsen inequality while others reduce it. As is aptly pointed out by UNRISD, ‘Without deliberate policy interventions, high levels of inequality tend to be self-perpetuating. They lead to the development of political and economic institutions that work to maintain the political, economic and social privileges of the elite.

This study has identified a number of factors driving inequality in Malawi, and made clear that poverty reduction in Malawi will be faster if inequality decreases. But reducing inequality will not be a benign by-product of growth under trickle down assumptions. It will only happen as a result of deliberate joint policy efforts, which all Malawi’s government and civil society must unify behind.

Priestly ordination of Remi Nyengere in Malawi


05-Presentation-of-the-son- - CopyOn Saturday 16th August, Christians gathered together in the compound of Lilongwe Cathedral to celebrate the Jubilee of three diocesan Priests and witness the priestly ordination of five deacons, among them one of our confreres; Remi Nyengere. With songs of praise and thanksgiving, people came to welcome their new pastoral leaders. A good number of Missionaries of Africa, MSOLA, the delegation of Zambia and some visitors from Spain were present to support him in his new commitment.
In his homily, the Archbishop of Lilongwe, Most Rev. Tarcisio Ziyaye, explained the importance of prayer in the life of a priest. “Prayer, he said, is like an engine of a car in the life of a priest’’. He also invited parents to offer their children to the Church for the sake of salvation. The six hours Mass ended with a reception organized in the bishop’s house for all religious.
Remi celebrated his first Mass the following day in his home Parish at Mponela which is about 55km north of Lilongwe. Remi is the first Missionary of Africa from his Parish. “His ordination, said Monsignor Sonkani, Parish Priest of Mponela, is the opening door of missionary vocations’’. During this celebration, the family members of our confrere expressed their gratitude to the entire family of Missionaries of Africa for accompanying Remi during his formation journey.
Remi is appointed to Katakwi Parish, Soroti, in Uganda. We wish him all the best!
Etienne Ngoma – Stagiaire at Chezi Parish, Malawi

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Lightning Strikes Twice – Lilongwe, Malawi


William TurnbullFor the second time in two and a half months we had visitors at the Sector House in Area 3, Lilongwe. This time they broke into three cars: mine, Julio’s and Denis-Paul’s old car. One more than last time and using the same methods.
Only a few Kwacha was taken from my car after they removed a window.  I have not replaced what was stolen in May. Julio had his stereo, battery, jack, and tyre wrench taken after removing a window in the canopy. They took the battery, jack and tyre wrench from Denis-Paul’s car but left the car intact. The problem now comes with replacing the window rubber seals that, from experience, can take up to three weeks just to find second hand ones.
It looks as if the robbery was carried out by the same people as before and that we are running a self-service for thieves in Area 3. So much for Malawi being a peaceful country when such thefts, often with violence, are occurring and often with violence.
Once again thank God that no one was hurt and the thieves did not enter the house.
All this on the eve on the AMECEA Plenary meeting.
Bill Turnbull M.Afr

Death of relatives of Paul Namono, M.Afr


Paul NamonoDear All,
At the moment Paul Namono is attending the Session for Confrères in their Second Term of Mission, in Kumasi, Ghana. 
Over the last few days, when Paul was on his way to the meeting, he sent us very sad news. Paul’s cousin Namono Bienvenu was in Form 4.  A month ago he complained of stomach pains but despite all the treatment he received it did not help and he passed away the 4th July and was buried on the 5th. Then yesterday Paul gave us news of the death of Namono Pele, his uncle and younger brother of his father.  Pele had lived in Ivory Cost for a long time.  Before leaving Lilongwe Paul phoned Pele and he did not mentioned anything about his sickness. Then when Paul was on his way to Kumasi he received a message from his sister that Pele was very sick. Two days later on the 9th July he died. 
Please let us remember Paul and his family in our prayers.  Maliro nkulirana!
May Bienvenu and Pele rest in peace.
Yours in Christ,
Bill Turnball, M.Afr

The Official Launch of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish – Mzuzu- Zolozolo- Malawi.


Zolozolo July 2014 07_modifié-1“Fumu Yane na Chiuta Wane (My Lord and My God) Jn. 20-28.” This particular sentence of St. Thomas the Apostle in the Gospel according to St. John moved all the Christians of Mzuzu diocese with happiness as they received the new born baby St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.
Two Bishops Rt. Rev. Joseph Mkasa Zuza the chair of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi who hails from Mzuzu Diocese and Rt. Rev. Martin Mtumbuka the Bishop of Karonga were vividly present to launch the new St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. The Sector superior of Malawi sector Fr. Bill Turnbull was present to witness launch and supported the confreres in various ways. Many Christian faithful from different Christian denomination were actively present for the launching liturgical celebration for the feast agape. Various Christian denominations made contribution in cash and kind to support the new parish.
The official Launch of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish was the special event for all the Christians of Mzuzu Diocese that is why there were representatives from various parishes, the mother cathedral parish St. Peter was extremely happy because the new St. Thomas the Apostle parish is her begotten child. All the Christians from St. Peter’s parish came to support us. It is the sign of great UNITY of all the parishes in Mzuzu Diocese.
 The City Council of Mzuzu, The Defence Army, Malawi Police and various media (Malawi T.V. and Radio) were present to give the good example of solidarity and unity. We thank God Almighty with sincerity of heart for giving us the great gift of new parish. 

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Tony Benn RIP advice – Message from Malawi


Tony BennAs you may heard, two people were killed recently in Malawi in political unrest. Elections are taking place soon in a volatile atmosphere. Here is a message from William Turnbull helping us to reflect about the meaning of democracy. Let us also pray for Malawians by asking the blessing of the Lord upon all of them in this turbulent moment.
Dear All,
Tony Benn, the British politician, died last Friday at the age of 88.  The attached picture gives an idea of what he lived by and is relevant for us in Malawi as we approach the 20 May elections.
Yours, Bill.

Strengthening the Vision of Our Destiny – Malawi


Episcopal Conference Malawi LogoGeorge Buleya 1Rev. Fr. George Buleya, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, is proposing a Lenten reflection aiming at guiding priests to prepare their sermons in view of the forthcoming Tripartite Elections in Malawi.
Find in the first PDF file the message of Fr. Buleya.
The second PDF file presents the guidelines for the first Sunday of Lent.
The third PDF file presents the guidelines for the second Sunday of Lent.
The document has three objectives. Firstly, it acts as an inspiration to the clergy as they prepare to disseminate God’s Word during this period of Lent and the celebration of Easter.  Secondly, it provides critical reflection notes and questions for discussion in such groups as the Small Christian Communities, Justice and Peace Meetings, Youth Groups, Lay movements, and various other Election discussion fora. Finally and above all, this document is intended to inspire people towards personal reflection, prayer and conversion in this Lenten and Easter Seasons. This is a pastoral initiative intended at motivating Christians during this period to think about their positive role and engagement in shaping the future of this nation.