CfSC Strategic Plan Launch


CfSC’s staff and other partners witnessed the launch of its 2020 – 2024 strategic Plan launch. The event took place on 18th June 2020 at its offices. Below are the highlights of the event.

The Centre for Social Concern

The Centre For Social Concern (CfSC) is a project of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). In line with their vision and mission, the CfSC seeks to promote Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Interfaith Dialogue in Malawi and beyond. The Centre was started in 2002 and in its short history has been working on issues like:

  • A monthly review of the cost of living through the Basic Needs Basket survey.
  • The international debt burden, its causes and debt cancellation.
  • The linkage between the international trade system and poverty and the rising cost of living in Malawi.
  • The plight of the tobacco tenants and the promotion of the passing of a bill regulating tobacco tenancy labour.
  • A survey on how people who have very low salaries cope with the ever-rising cost of living.
  • Marginalization of religious communities and (the lack of) participation in development.
  • Dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church on their social teaching.
  • Conflict management and mediation, mainly in conflicts involving religion.

Project List

The Centre for Social Concern in its analysis has established that poverty the factor that impacts most on human dignity of Malawians. It has therefore developed the following programs:

The Social Conditions Programme examines the poverty situation with reference to local conditions and causes.

  • This has as main recurrent activity the Basic Needs Basket (BNB), which is simple way in calculating the cost of living.
  • It does occasional research coming from the data collected through the BNB survey.
  • Another activity is Social Protection monitoring.

The Economic Justice Programme looks at the international contributing factors of the persistent poverty in Malawi. It examines the international trade relations and imbalances and how they impact on the cost of living.

It monitors the spending of funds freed through debt cancellation. It promotes tax justice through studying the present tax system and proposing a more equitable way, where the stronger shoulders carry the bigger burden.

The Human and Social Capital Programme works at assisting youth and others to be better prepared through information sharing for their tasks in society.

  • The library and resource centre assist especially youth and young students through providing study facilities and books.
  • The Press Review offers information about how the press reported the events month by month and so forms its readers to be critical.
  • The Awareness Programme on Human Trafficking helps people to understand the evil of this modern form of slavery and combat it.

The Religion as Transformation Programme helps making religion a positive force for change in society.

The furthering of Catholic Social Teaching wants to make this “best kept secret” better known so that it can influence people to contribute better to the transformation of society.
The Interfaith Dialogue project studies how the faith dimension contributes to both the betterment of society as well as to conflict.

Administration assists in the implementation of all activities.

For further information about CfSC Projects please contact The Director

Serving and living with God’s people.


By Hervé Tougma

Proud to be a member of our Society by my missionary Oath, I was ordained in and for the Church. I am a Missionary of Africa priest in the Church who is mother and educator. Since my ordination, the Society has granted me the grace and privilege to live in a parish in Mozambique.

In this semi-urban and semi-rural parish, my desire is to live a very active apostolate in which the collaboration between the pastoral team and the Christian faithful is felt and lived. This desire, which is a reality in our small and young parish, is the subject of a sharing on “the life and the participative management of our parish”.

Encounter with the right key

Hand in hand, we will build up the Church as God’s family. As a Missionary, I am aware of my contribution but the strength of the building will depend on the people who receive the Gospel, and allow it to penetrate their lives and be its life-giving source. In Mozambique, every confrere who arrives for the first time in this “Glorious Land” becomes a small library which is once again enriched with two languages: Portuguese and the local language. Taking to heart the invitation of our founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, learning the language brings us into the reality of the people and brings us closer to them. As Missionaries of Africa, speaking the local language remains a priority for the sharing and incarnation of the Good News, for breaking down barriers of communication and for coming into contact with and understand the local culture. Speaking the language already gives this joy of walking together.

In his missionary sending, Jesus said: “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations, (…) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20a). To make disciples of them and to transmit what the Lord Himself has commanded me, knowledge of the language is the key that allows me to be a happy and fulfilled missionary.

The Apostolate of collaboration, baptized and sent

Invited by the Bishop because of our charism, we have responded by taking a parish as a starting point for our apostolate of Justice and Peace and of Integrity of Creation JPIC). In the same perspective and taking advantage of our presence, the Bishop also asked us to join his pastoral team to initiate ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue with the growing number of Muslims in the region. The cosmopolitan reality of Tete calls for an integration of our specialisation with the pastoral needs of the Diocese. In this mining town and crossroads of travellers from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, we observe the intermingling of races and human mobility as ordinary realities. As Missionaries of Africa, managing a parish that responds to our vocation as ordained for the Church, the particularity of our charism propels us to respond to pastoral needs starting from the parish that serves as a springboard.

With very few diocesan priests, the Diocese counts on different congregations each with its own approach to mission, based on its Charism.

The absence of permanent catechists in the Diocese of Tete was a surprise to me. This reality provides for a very close collaboration with lay people and pastoral agents. For catechesis in our parish, we work with volunteer catechists. We have the presence of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the Ministers of Hope. The Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist assists the priest in the distribution of the Eucharist and brings communion to the sick. He also accompanies the priest at the appropriate time for visits to the sick. The Ministers of Hope collaborate through being close to the sick. In case of decease, the Minister of Hope leads the prayers for Christian burial when the priest cannot be present.

Within the framework of these two extraordinary ministries, each group is being prepared and trained before being sent out for witnessing to their faith through their ministry.

As pastors, we visit the communities for Masses and in the absence of the priest we count on their leaders for the celebration of the Word every Sunday. According to St. Paul “How could they call upon him, if they had not believed in him? And how could they believe in him without hearing him? And how can they hear him if no one proclaims him?

And how can they proclaim him unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-17). This responsibility is shared and the most important thing is to empower these lay leaders through prior preparation. The training and meetings allow us to journey with the members of the different groups and movements towards a precise horizon. We keep an eye on the organization and the life of the basic Christian communities. We visit these communities from time to time so as to accompany them and to remain in touch with the faithful. We also encourage them to practice solidarity in their daily living.

The reality of the mission in the field educates and teaches us. After a long time of formation, I discovered the necessity and importance of pastoral collaboration. In addition to the collaboration with the Pastor of the Diocese and his pastoral agents, I have learned to appreciate collaboration with the laity so as to live the apostolate of closeness in view of rooting the Gospel in the life and culture of people. The preparation I have received is being contextualised and teaches me to delegate, to share my experience and know-how with close collaborators for the building up of the mystical body of Christ: the Church.

Source : Petit Écho de la Société des Missionnaires d’Afrique, no 1109, 2020/03

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

Monseigneur Étienne-Benoît Larue: The Founder of Child Jesus Sisters.


ChilongaBy Douglas Ogato, M.Afr

Recently, in the wee morning hours, I passed by the convent of the Child Jesus Sisters in Chilonga for a short visit. No sooner had I arrived, the Sisters welcomed me into their house for breakfast. I spotted a portrait of a man hanging on the wall. He was wearing a gandoura and a rosary around his neck. From a distance I could see that he was a White man with a long beard. I saw a name scribbled on the base of the portrait: Monseigneur Etienne Larue. Below were the following words: Our Founder. I asked the sisters: “Who is he?” In unison they responded: “He is our founder.”

Étienne-Benoît LarueAccording to her narration, the seed of the Congregation of Child Jesus Sisters was born when a White Fathers was preaching in Ipusukilo, Kitwe. A girl came to see him after Mass to share her wish to become a priest like him. The story came to the ears of Monseigneur Etienne Larue who heard a similar story from another girl. It became crystal clear to him that the Spirit was at work. God was calling these girls to religious life. So, he saw an urgent need of founding a local religious congregation of Sisters that will be admitting Zambian girls wanting to devote their lives in serving the Lord. This is how the congregation of Child Jesus Sisters came into existence.

Monseigneur Larue requested the White Sisters to help in admitting the first group of girls into the novitiate and to assist in forming and training them. By doing so, Monseigneur Larue applied a similar method to that of Cardinal Lavigerie when he asked the Jesuits to help in forming and training the first group of candidates he had just recruited for his missionary Society he had founded.

As I ardently listened to the Sister narrating their foundation story, my heart throbbed with nods. The Bemba people rightly say: Umwana uushenda atasha nyina ukunaya (a child who does not travel or visit other places praises her mother for her wonderful cooking). Initially, I had thought that the Child Jesus Sisters had been founded by the White Sisters. My stop over at their convent in Chilonga educated me about their foundation. Had I not stopped over, I was going to remain in ignorance about this rich and important moment of evangelisation in Zambia. Indeed, this is some of the history that we need to cherish and celebrate as we are commemorating 125 years of evangelization in Zambia. May the Spirit of Monseigneur Etienne Larue continue engulfing his daughters so that they may continue serving the Lord in truth and charity!

Bishop Étienne-Benoît Larue, M.Afr

Death of FATHER LÉOPOLD LALONDE, M. Afr.


Léopold Lalonde_JPEG “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. ” John 11, 25

 Friday, March 10, 2017

Father Gilles Barrette, Provincial of the Americas, informs you of the death of FATHER LÉOPOLD LALONDE, M. Afr. He died on March 10 2017, in Sherbrooke, at the age of 89 years of which 62 of missionary life in Zambia and Canada. Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

Missionnaires d’Afrique, 1640, rue St-Hubert, Montréal, H2L 3Z3  mafrsecr@mafr.net


  PLACE COUNTRY

1956-10-01

Arrival Mambwe

Zambia

1961-01-17

Teaching Abercorn  

1961-05-17

Curate

Mambwe

 

1962-12-05

Foundation Kantensha  
1963-07-01 Supérieur

Isoka

 

1969-01-18

Retreat Villa Cavalletti  

1978-03-03

Session-Retreat

Jerusalem

 
1978-10-01 Supérieur

Mambwe

 

1980-03-01

Regional Councillor    
1984-01-01 Curate

Isoka

 
1986-01-01 Parish Priest Isoka – Mbala

Zambia

1988-04-13

Home leave/Prov.>18.09.88    
1992-05-01 Home leave /Prov.>00.09.92    

1994-09-01

Sabbatical Italy/Canada   Canada
1994-10-31 Focolarini, Loppiano Incisa, Val d’Arno

Italia

1995-05-17

Home leave /Prov.>10.12.95    
1995-10-01 Ministry to the sick Kasama, St Joseph’s

Zambia

1998-05-13

Home leave /Prov.>14.08.98    
2001-07-21 Home leave /Prov.>08.11.01    

2004-05-27

Home leave /Prov.>06.09.04    
2010-11-01 Back to Canada  

Canada

2017-03-10

Death Sherbrooke

Canada

Léopold Lalonde medalSee the link: The President’s Insignia of Mercy attributed to Léopold Lalonde

Also: PDF file: The President’s Insignia of Mercy attributed to Léopold Lalonde