Meeting of Young Confreres in the Second Term of Mission in Kasisi, Lusaka, Zambia.


Young Confreres 2nd term Kasisi Zambia 01bPhilip Meraba, M.Afr

The young confreres in the second term of mission had a three-week meeting at the Retreat Centre of the Sisters of Little Servants of Mary in Kasisi, Lusaka, Zambia, from the 2nd till the 23rd July, 2017.

We were 13 participants from different countries across Africa and Asia with two facilitators; Rev Frs. Timothée Bationo and Bernard Ugeux, M.Afr working in Zambia & DR. Congo respectively.

The participants were almost of the same generation. It was a great occasion offered by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa to encounter one another once more after years of separation due to various involvement in different countries. Through sharing of various missionary experiences, the participants could recharge their batteries in order to take off once more with a new missionary spirit and zeal.

Joys, excitement as much as discouragement and difficulties over the years were the focus of our sharing done spontaneously in openness and mutual trust. We sympathised, encouraged or even amiably confronted one another. Despite some few painful experiences, none ever regretted to have been a member of the Society but felt rather more fortified and convinced of our missionary calling amidst the challenges.

Different moderators, including two Sisters from Lusaka, let various sessions on sexuality, addictions, spirituality, pastoral ministry, leadership, Justice & Peace, religious encounter, media and finances. The session on community life was given by Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Southern Africa Province (SAP).

It was not business all through. We also had wonderful moments of relaxation together, outings to interesting places around Lusaka, celebration of birthdays and missionary oath anniversaries. We also visited M.Afr communities around Lusaka and joined parishes for Sunday liturgies. A barbecue was prepared in our honour by FENZA community where we had the chance of interacting with most confreres around Lusaka, together with former novices who were on their way to join their various countries for their apostolic stage.

The participants had the great joy of witnessing the historical celebration of the 125th anniversary of the evangelisation of the Church in Zambia by the White Fathers and other missionaries. This was a national feast and the White Fathers were highly recognised by the Zambian Church authorities for the greater role played in planting the seed of faith in this country. Our Superior General, Rev.Fr. Stanley Lubungo was present at this occasion and he paid us a courtesy visit at Kasisi Centre. We had the privilege of fraternal sharing with him on some key issues concerning the future and vision of our humble Lavigerie family.

Prayer was never left out. The whole group was divided into teams and we celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Eucharist.

Young Confreres 2nd term Kasisi Zambia 03bWe are highly indebted to the leadership of the General Council for such memorable opportunity offered to us to meet, learn, encourage one another and re-energise ourselves. We appreciate the good organisation, simplicity and wisdom with which our two elder brother facilitators, Timothée and Bernard, accompanied us throughout the session. Our sincere gratitude goes to the leadership of SAP; Felix Phiri, the Provincial, Venerato Babaine, his Delegate in Zambia and John Itaru, the Provincial Treasurer. We thank the little Sisters of Mary and the whole personnel for the pleasant accommodation and feeding.

We are indeed well refreshed, equipped and ready to go back to our missionary stations with more enthusiasm to serve. May Our Lady of Africa precedes us, Amen!

SAP Stagiaires Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, Bethany Retreat Centre, Lilongwe, March 20 to 27, 2017.


By Chandan Nayak and Thierry Uyirwoth.

We all traveled safely to Lilongwe, Malawi, for our Southern Africa Provincial Stagiaires meeting: one came from South Africa, four from Mozambique, six from Malawi and eight from Zambia.

We were warmly welcomed by the Provincial Delegate of Malawi, Fr. Michel Sanou, and our two Stagiaires Coordinators Fr. Simon Kalore from Malawi and Fr. Camille Konkobo from Zambia who at the same time helped us to animate the meeting. Fr. Jean de Dieu Bukuru, Stagiaires Coordinator of Mozambique accompanied attended a few sessions.

It was a joyful encounter between brothers after many years of being away from each other. Our opening recollection helped us to surrender ourselves to God and to experience his presence in our meeting. The facilitator, Sister Teresa Mulenga, drew our attention to meditate on Mark 6, 30-31; “Come to a lonely place”. Indeed, we need time reflect on our lives.

We remained faithful to our tight program throughout the week with daily morning and evening prayers with Eucharistic celebrations. Attentive, thoughtful and open-minded, we listened carefully and honestly shared our experiences. We were reminded to be committed, passionate, dedicated, prayerful and always having hope with an appreciative discernment. We looked at our expectations, we heard the experiences of others and to learn from them.

We are happy with this third phase of formation which is helping us to build a foundation for our missionary life by looking into our different apostolates. We have been privileged to learn new languages and experience international community life.

We also visited two M.Afr communities; Chezi and Kanengo on our way to Salima were we enjoyed a picnic on the shore of the Lake.

The last day of our sharing, the Provincial Delegate came for an official visit. He shared with us his experiences and encouraged us. We appreciated very much his presence. We shared supper together with other confreres from Lilongwe.

Truly, we had a fruitful and effective meeting. We are grateful to God and also to those who made it possible for us to experience such a helpful and enriching moment; the Provincial Council, the Provincial Delegates and the Stagiaires Coordinators. Thanks to all who have contributed to this memorable experience.

SAP Stagiaires meeting 2017 bParticipants: Emile Baguma, Congolese, Kasamba, Zambia, Landry Busagara, Congolese, Chezi, Malawi, Patient Cimanuka, Congolese, Lusaka, Zambia, Jean-Marie Vianney, Congolese, Namushakende, Zambia, Olivier Ngizwenimana, Rwandese, Beira, Mozambique, Dimitri Bobloinde Yampa, Burkinabe, Dombe, Chimoio, Mozambique, Thierry Jawiyambe Uyirwoth, Congolese, St. Lawrence, Lusaka, Zambia, Paul Sanogo, Malian, Kanengo, Lilongwe, Malawi, Pascal Sambi, Burkinable, Henley-kwaMphumuza, South Africa, Lazare Ndagijimana, Rwandese, Zolozolo, Mzuzu, Malawi, Chandan Nayak, Indian, Lusaka, Zambia, Valentin Muzi, Congolese, Mzuzu, Malawi, Jean de Dieu Meda, Burkinabe, Chezi, Malawi, Innocent Matata, Congolese, Lumimba, Zambia, Pascal Mare, Burkinabe, Chimoio, Mozambique, Benoit Kouakou, Ivorian, Sussundenga, Mozambique, Emmanuel Kokpe, Togolese, Kasama, Zambia, Augustin Kambale, Congolese, Kanengo, Lilongwe, Malawi, Innocent Manjune, Congolese, Serenje, Zambia, Fr Simeon Kalore, Ethiopian, Parish Priest of Chezi, Malawi, Fr. Camille Konkobo, Burkinbe, Vocation Director of Zambia.

Joy-filled Gospel Renewal Session June and July 2016


Alex MandaBy Alex Manda, M.Afr

Greetings from Korhogo in Ivory Coast. I was in Tanzania in June and July to take part in the first session of the new program called ICOF (Inter-Congregational Ongoing Formation) initiated by four congregations; Missionaries of Africa (M.Afr), Congregation of the Holy Spirit (C.S.Sp.), Society of African Missions (SMA) and Missionaries Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA). We were thirteen participants from six different congregations and from nine different countries.

The session took place in the Spiritan Hotel called Stella Maris in Bagamoyo situated  75Km from Dar-es-salaam. Bagamoyo is the ground where the first missionaries landed from Zanzibar. Thus it was a nice place for renewal and reflection on our vocation. This two-month renewal program is entitled “Joy – Filled Gospel Service.”

Stella Maris in BagamoyoDifferent modules were given aiming at a holistic formation as an individual, consecrated person and pastoral agent. It covered the four aspects of our lives; human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual. Openness among the participants facilitated group sharing, meditation, spiritual direction and time of integration aiming at discovery our life-giving spirit under the motto: rooted in Christ we rediscover ourselves for the joyful witness of the Gospel.

The session helped me to remember the call of Christ in today’s situations and to try to respond to the voice of the Lord joyfully. My vocation is no longer a “work” but a “service” with the Lord. Many modules helped us to increase our awareness related to our strengths and weakness. So often, we try to avoid talking about our weaknesses. We put them in the breath case though they influence our everyday lives. Opening that breath case helps to understand its elements in order to transform them into life-giving contents. Weaknesses are not sins but part of us and can bring growth since “there is a crack in everything”. We need those cracks so as to bring light in our inner closed house. This awareness increases self-responsibilities in acquiring good and healthy relationships.

The session empowered me also as pastoral agent working in a globalised world. It empowered me with new skills in leadership and better management in pastoral counselling. The proclamation of the Gospel has to take into consideration today’s world challenges such as ecology, economy, finances, justice and peace. The session updated me in some important current theologies and documents of the Church. It has been a very enriching experience. It has also increased my self-awareness and improved my relationship with Jesus Christ together with my brothers and sisters. This session has given me hope for a better and joyful ministry. It came to be a graceful opportunity for taking care of myself. Indeed, how can I care for others if I don’t care for myself? Adding to it, as Pope Francis says, an evangeliser has to be aware that he always needs to be evangelised and to be converted.

Rooted, we bloom!I felt that something has improved in my life because of this session. Whatever we do or say in our ministries, let us be Christ centred in giving joy to the world while, at the same time, witnessing the Gospel. Thus, in our mission, let us have courage to stop a bit, taking a break, leaving our great apostolates for a while so as to listen to our inner-self.  I am grateful to my province PAO for giving me that chance of being among the first beneficiaries of that beautiful experience. Rooted, we bloom!   ICOF ARTICLE

ICOF logoICOF Program – Joy-Filled Gospel Service

Alfred  Weyirane Awogya, M.Afr, was also a participant at the session. He is sending his own experience an a few pictures:

During the two months’ renewal journey, we had lots of facilitated sharing in small teams acquiring new skills and getting updates and refreshers on various subjects such as: emotional intelligence and resilience, dangers of various addictions, challenges of faith in contemporary Africa, financial administration and management, gender issues, pastoral counselling skills, justice and peace and Christian responsibility, scripture and mission, graceful transitions in life, interreligious dialogue, leadership and management, trauma awareness, bereavement, stress management and inner child work. The focus was not on academic excellence by any means but geared towards helping us to get in touch with our inner self more deeply together with the world surrounding us. ThRodrigo Mejía copiee aim was also to rediscover the fire of our faith and vocation and to continue to bear joyful witness of the Gospel in our missionary assignments. We were also blessed with a serene moment of eight days retreat preached by Bishop Emeritus of Soddo (Ethiopia), Rodrigo Mejía, SJ, on Evangelii Gaudium: the Joy of the Gospel.

In all I would say the program was very relaxing. Besides the inputs and group work, we also had ample time to explore the beautiful coastland of Bagamoyo, and for many participants, learn how to swim. Enjoying sea food and coconut was all part of the renewal! We also had a day of picnic/visit to the historic sites of Bagamoyo, a town founded at the end of the 18th century. It was the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast.

The closing Mass/celebration was very colourful. We were blessed to have a representative from the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference and other priests and sisters. We also had two special guests from Rome, Fr Francis Rozario, a member of the General Council of the SMA who is at the same time the Secretary of the ICOF steering committee in Rome and Fr Joseph Shio, CSSP, also a member of the Spiritan General Council. Fr Rozario presided over the liturgy while Fr Shio preached urging us to celebrate the renewal we ourselves have undergone with our brothers and sisters. In his own words, to “change their water into wine” and not the vice versa, meaning to be instruments and signs of joy and happiness in the lives of the people we minister to. Fr Rozario reiterated the vision and dream for founding ICOF. He presented each participant with a certificate of attendance and congratulated us for being the pioneers to put into flesh the dream of the joint General Councils. He expressed their intention to continue this program annually. You will not regret enrolling for the next Joy-Filled Gospel Service!

Alfred_AwogyaDuring the same closing Eucharistic celebration, representing the whole group, I presented a palm seedling, a symbol of our journey of renewal and explained its significance. After Mass, all the participants, the animators and invited quests had the joyful pleasure to plant the palm seedling in the beautiful lawn grounds of Stella Maris Hotel where we stayed during the program. I am happy and grateful to have had the privilege to go through this journey of renewal.  Indeed, the seed has been sown and it has sprouted; we pray that we may continue to blossom where we are planted in joyful witness to the Good News of Christ.

By Alfred Awogya, M.Afr, Namushakende in Zambia.

Climaxing the Year Dedicated to Consecrated Life in Ghana.


John Mubanga in KumasiBy Fr. John C. Mubanga (M.Afr) – St. Benedict’s Parish – Wa.

From the 20th till 23rd January, 2016, John Mubanga, Dieudonné Amani, Dominic Apee, Gaspard Cirimwani, Gazena Haile, and Erus Tirkey celebrated the climax of the Year Dedicated to Consecrated Life on behalf of the Missionaries of Africa in Ghana/Nigeria Province in Kumasi, the second largest towns in Ghana. The theme was the one given by Pope Francis: “Wake up the World.” Views and sharing helped the participants to find ways to bring peace, joy and love to our contemporary world as religious men and women.

Gabriel Justice Yaw AnokyeThe celebration was organised by the conference of Major Superiors of Religious in Ghana whose president is Dominic Apee (Provincial of M.Afr Ghana/Nigeria). In his opening remarks, he welcomed everybody and most especially Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu, SVD, Bishop of Ho Diocese, and Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye of the Archdiocese of Kumasi. Dominic reminded each one of us that “consecrated life is a gift given by Christ who chooses a person to respond to his great love in a special relationship. Consecrated life is a vocation in which men and women give witness to Christ by following his teaching. Consecrated life is most often shared in a community which is united in living out a common mission.” Indeed, as Dominic pointed out, we are called to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ without remaining at that level of imitation by allowing him to penetrate our lives in order to “Wake up the World!”

As consecrated men and women, we are called upon to wake up ourselves first by having faith, holiness and hope. Looking at us, people expect holiness. However, we know too well that we are sinners. Hence, we need to keep on striving to be holy. Archbishop Gabriel called each one of us to find time to “bisect and digest the challenges of discerning our vocation as Christians with the help of good and educated formators in cognitive true love through sincere joy”.

Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu pdfIn his presentation, Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Kofi Fianu recognised the fact that our diversity in the Church is very rich. “Hope is deeply rooted in our lives. (Thus), if only we live in despair, we will not be able to wake up the world. Three points are vital: encounter, communities of communion and religious creativity. God encounters us using our wounds, our brokenness, […] and our weaknesses. Still, God loves us. Consequently, loving our neighbour shows that we love God who loves us. If only we keep this spirit of loving one another as consecrated men and women, at the end of the day we will come to realize that something is really deeply rooted in our lives.” The Bishop could not understand why consecrated leaving together could start “a third world war” among them. “The mission is not theirs but belongs to Christ.”

He added to say that there are “many forms of apostolate though we are all involved in similar apostolate; education, caring for the sick and pastoral work. We are called to be in the front line of imagination and creativity in order to carry out the inspiration of our founders.” Furthermore, Bishop Fianu called each one of us “to name what we see: ignorance, if so, instead of poverty. All over the world, people are crying in silence. We have to listen attentively if we want to bring some consolation. Let us share their cry and anguish. Waking up the world is possible through our given charism.” Otherwise, if we fail, as one Sister pointed out, we may end up “defeating the purpose of our community or congregation.”

Ghana map_modifié-1We had a good time in Kumasi. I kept one question: How can we then make ourselves visible in our places of apostolate? Our interaction and sharing with other Religious Congregations gave us eagerness to continue our ministry. We are not alone carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ.

We ended our celebration with the Holy Mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish located in South Suntreso, Kumasi. Mass started with a candle light procession by all consecrated people presided by Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, Archbishop of Kumasi. The day ended with a common meal.

Click on the right to read the PDF file: Climaxing the Year of Consecrated Life

ICOF Program – Joy-Filled Gospel Service


ICOF logoInter-Congregational Ongoing Formation Program

Founding Congregations: · Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) · Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) · Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA) · Society of African Missions (SMA)

GENERAL INFORMATION (see attached brochure) + Founding Congregation

​For Catholic priests and religious in Africa. Two months of professionally facilitated sharing of experience, skills and practical knowledge, leading to enrichment of the participants’ professional, human, pastoral, spiritual and academic lives.

Place: Marian University College (MARUCO), Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Dates: June 1st – July 31st, 2016

COURSE CONTENTS: The program covers the four areas of formation: personal renewal (human), spiritual deepening, pastoral empowering, and academic update.

The program will cover the following: · Bearing joyful witness to the gospel through my particular vocation · Challenges of faith in contemporary Africa · Dangers of various addictions · Emotional intelligence and resilience · Ethical issues in ministry (boundary issues, financial administration) · Evangelii Gaudium: the Joy of the Gospel · Exploring different ways of meditating · Gender issues · Graceful Transitions in Life · Interreligious dialogue · Introduction to pastoral counseling skills · ‘Laudato si’ · Justice, peace and Christian responsibility towards the Integrity of creation · Appreciative Discernment · Leadership and Management · Ministering in a globalised world · Retreat (8 days) on the Joy of the Gospel · Scripture and mission · Signature Strengths for mission · Trauma awareness, bereavement, stress management & inner child work.

Vision: Integrated priests and religious in Africa giving joyful gospel witness in their personal, spiritual and pastoral lives.

Mission: To provide Catholic priests and religious in Africa with opportunity, space and time for personal renewal with a view of better service of the Gospel in the concrete reality of Africa today.

Objectives: 1. Provide skills and opportunity for addressing personal challenges. 2. Provide space and time for reflecting on and integrating their lived experiences. 3. Training in pastoral skills. 4. Academic updating on Scripture, current trends in mission in the context of Africa and on the latest magisterial documents.  

Methodology: The methodology includes input sessions, one-on-one accompaniment and working with growth groups. There will be multicultural community living and team working.

Fees and scholarships: The full cost of the program is 2136 US Dollars. Candidates who will qualify for scholarships will pay only 900 US Dollars. This covers: Full board, tuition, accompaniment fees, library and Wi-Fi for internet connection.

Qualifications for applicants: · Being Catholic priest or religious · Being approximately 10 · 20 years in ministry · Those in transition from one ministry to another will find it beneficial · Being recommended by one’s superior / bishop · Having a reasonable mastery of English · Willing to be open to share oneself with others for mutual enrichment and growth. 

Application deadline: April 30, 2016

CONTACTING US: Inter-Congregational Ongoing Formation (ICOF) Program, C/o Marian University College, P.O. Box 47 Bagamoyo, Tanzania. – Tel.  Tanzania: +255 787 795 033 / 766 075 219 – Kenya: +254 727 729 146 / 731 673 305 – Uganda: +256 752 508 284 /+256 786 842 292 – Email: icofprogram@gmail.com. Founding Congregation1                Blog:  http://icofprogram.blogspot.com

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Workshop for Consecrated People in Solwezi Diocese, Zambia


Solwezi-06-2015-38The Catholic Diocese of Solwezi invited the Zambian National Joint Committee (NJC) for the Year of Consecrated Life to animate a day recollection and a workshop of two days. Father Serge St-Arneault, member of the NJC, and Sister Nsofwa Chanda accepted the invitation. Situated in the North-West part of Zambia, Solwezi is at 10 hours drive from Lusaka. Neglected over the years, the Government has signed recently a contract to rebuild the road between Chingola and Solwezi.

The workshop gathered about 60 priests and religious, women and men, who took time to read and comprehend the apostolic letter of Pope Francis dedicated to all Consecrated people. The article entitle “Consecrated Life in Africa: Chances and Challenges” written by the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa, Father Richard Kuuia Baawobr, was also presented to the participants who got an opportunity to familiarise with the concept of unification as a way to bring together African and Gospel values whereby unity of Christian identity and African identity are manifested by the internal value of love made evident externally in acts of sharing.

Solwezi 06-2015 46As priests and religious, our joy is expressed in authentic fraternal communities of self-giving where service brings lifelong personal fulfilment.  

Many thanks to Bishop Charles Kasonde who heartened this initiative.

On his last day, Father Serge took advantage of being in Solwezi to give an interview on Radio Kabangabanga (meaning the star) opened on June 28, 2014 belonging to Solwezi Diocese.

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Session for Secretaries and Archivists in Rome – March 16-20, 2015


1. Pello Sala 2. Jozef Vleugels 3. John Aserbire 4. Michel Groiselle 5. François Richard 6. Pascal Durand 7. Bill Moroney 8. Aloïs Schmid 9. Luc De L'Arbre 10. Gerry Murphy 11. Juan José Osés 12. Marc Beaudry 13. Romaric Bationo 14. Richard Kinlen 15. André Schaminée 16. Damien Watine 17. Serge St-Arneault 18. Bernard Lefebvre 19. Jean-Marie Amalebondra 20. Alain Fontaine 21. Jacques Poirier.
1. Pello Sala 2. Jozef Vleugels 3. John Aserbire 4. Michel Groiselle 5. François Richard 6. Pascal Durand 7. Bill Moroney 8. Aloïs Schmid 9. Luc De L’Arbre 10. Gerry Murphy 11. Juan José Osés 12. Marc Beaudry 13. Romaric Bationo 14. Richard Kinlen 15. André Schaminée 16. Damien Watine 17. Serge St-Arneault 18. Bernard Lefebvre 19. Jean-Marie Amalebondra 20. Alain Fontaine 21. Jacques Poirier.

The session animated by André Schaminée, Pello Sala and François Richard took place in the renovated section of the Generalate while some repairs are still going on in other places such as the rooms above the dining room.

A total of 21 participants came from various parts of the world to learn the so called ‘Rudi’ software program which contain the overall database system of the Society; names of confreres, their appointments and other useful data. This will hopefully enable the Secretaries to share data while centralising them in the Office of the Secretariat in Rome.

The second topic on the agenda, meaning the archives, was presented by François Richard. The participants were given the chance to visit the documentations including old pictures and the first manuscripts signed by the Cardinal Lavigerie who is buried in the crypt under the main chapel.

A Gule Wamkulu sculpture from Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art, Mua, Malawi is in full view in the archives rooms making sure that everything is well kept!

Many thanks for this first ever session which as long overdue. Everyone was pleased to learn something new and to enjoy good food.

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