Month: March 2016 Page 1 of 2

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

MIMSAF Calendar – April 2016 – Kasamba Parish, Mansa, Zambia

2016-MIMSAF-Calendar-102016 MIMSAF Calendar April

Mission Church, Ngoniland, Malawi, ca.1930

Bembeke Mission 1930Mission Church, Ngoniland, Malawi, ca.1930

This picture was taken from the USC Libraries of the University of Southern California. It is only one from many more pictures on display. You may have a look on their Website by clicking HERE.

Description as shown on the Website: “Bembeke Mission Church. Roman Catholic Church Ngoniland, N of Nyasaland”. Interior view of the church looking along the central, columned, nave to the altar. The Catholic mission of Bembeke is situated east of Cape Maclear. Originally established as a sanatorium it became a White Fathers mission in 1930. From a Photogram Album of the Blantyry Mission, Nyasaland (Malawi) and the Mihecani Mission, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique).

Publisher (of the digital version): University of Southern California.

Invitation to the Oath and Diaconate in Nairobi, Kenya.

Aouth & diaconte 12016 copieThe Balizi Forth Phase Formation House is glad to invite you all to the Oath and Diaconate Ordination of their six brothers, which will take place on April 30th, 2016 in Nairobi. Thank you for your prayers and support for the success of that event. 

Thank you and may God bless you. Fraternally, Mugalihya Macara Fidel.

Note from the Webmaster: Fidel was a stagiaire in Kasama, Zambia. As SAP Province, we are also particularly proud of Moses Sense Simukonde. Welcome to them all into the family of the Missionaries of Africa.

2016 Holy Week at the Monastery St. Clare, Lusaka, Zambia.

By Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr

I was privileged to take part of the celebrations which took place at the Monastery of the St. Clare on Holy Week. Brother Thomas Greer presented and historical view and meditation on the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning.

Brother Thomas Greer text PNGClick here to open the PDF file on this meditation.

Here below few pictures of the Stations of the Cross, Easter Vigil and Sunday Easter Mass which I presided. Alleluia!

Newsletter South Africa No 61 – 28th March 2016

Newsletter no 61 logoGreetings and Joy in the Risen Christ! I hope you had a wonderful Lenten journey. Yes, today, we celebrate Easter, the very core of our Christian life. “If Christ is not risen, then our faith is useless” (1 Cor. 15: 14). Therefore, it must show in our lives by the way we smile, help others, behave well, speak well of others, etc. Joy is contagious and can change our world for the better.

John 11-25-26On 28th February, about fifteen youths gather for the day at the Johannesburg Cathedral for a vocation discernment day. Many of them have very good intentions, but the difficult part is to take the plunge! To resolve to give one’s life totally to God is a difficult decision to make for most of them. It is much easier to follow the stream of ordinary life with all its worldly attractions than to devote one’s life to become an apostle. In a letter to young people participating at the 2015 European Meeting of Youth (August 2015), Pope Francis encouraged them “not to conform themselves to a mediocre1 life without aspirations.” One day, a missionary priest was asked why he had chosen this vocation; he simply answered “to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable”. And for this, he had left the comfort of a good family and many friends, and the possibility of having a very good profession and raising his own family. Most importantly, he always reflected the joy of the Gospel!

This month, most priests have been busy with the sacrament of reconciliation in many parishes around. We feel that there is a return of people to receive this beautiful sacrament of the mercy of God. Most people come with a real and sincere desire to improve their lives as regards their relationship with God and their neighbours. For us, priests, it is a very enriching experience allowing us to enter the hearts of our Christians. We really fall in admiration in front of the humility and honesty of the penitents. Each person is sacred and bears the image of God implanted in their inner self. On Wednesday 16th March, Fr. Christophe and I have the pleasure to receive a new member in our community in the person of Fr. George Okwi, M.Afr. Fr. George, a Ugandan, comes with a vast experience of different countries of Africa and Europe where he also did some studies. Welcome, Fr. George, we are happy to have you in Edenglen to help us share the work!

The Easter Season is here, and I would like to wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER! Surely, it is a time of renewal in the Risen Lord, a time to feel more and more how much he is with us and wants to transform our lives so we may bear his image in us and be a source of inspiration for others. Let us ask Mary – who surely was the first to receive her son’s visit after his resurrection – to inspire us in living as “resurrected people”. Let us “ask the Virgin Mary, the silent witness to the death and resurrection of Her Son, to make the joy of Easter grow in us.” (Pope Francis’ message, Easter 2015) The Holy Week was surely marred by acts of terrorism in many places in Europe and Africa, and violent demonstrations and crimes in South Africa; on the other hand, this month, there were five elections and referendums in different countries of Africa; this is a clear sign of hope: democracy is growing. Jesus came to destroy death and bring new Life. Let us be signs of this new Life of our Risen Lord in each one of us.

God bless you! Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr

A Night to Remember. Thieves in Chipata, Zambia.

Joe McMeninmem 2014 JPGBy Joe McMenamin, M.Afr

It all began at 23:30hrs on Friday 11th March 2016. I was awakened from sleep by what you could call thunderous banging on my bedroom door which was locked (the thieves didn’t have the manners to knock!). At first I thought the roof of our house was collapsing then, one wakes up to the reality, I realised it was at my bedroom door.

It all went so quickly. Suddenly the door was flung open, the light was switched on and I am face to face with two sturdy men (no masks). One was brandishing a steel bar called a crowbar the other had a knife. The command was given (they spoke in English) “money, money, we want your money, all your money”. I came out of the bed and went to put on my trousers. They ordered me, “get back, just sit there and don’t move”. They took some money that was on the table. Then they took the wallet from my trousers in which there was money. Again they demand “more money, more money” I told them I don’t have any more money, luckily there was very little money in my room at the time.

Then began the ransacking of everything in the room rifling through the cupboard, the filing cabinet and shelves opening drawers throwing all the contents on the floor. They picked through everything,  taking anything that they thought could be of value, some clothes, shoes, phones, watch, travel bag for putting in the stolen goods even a cross, etc. When I saw they had taken all the backups to my laptop computer, two external hard drives and memory sticks, they then went for the computer. I said, “no, don’t take my computer”. I pleaded until, to my great surprise, they put it back again on the table.

When all this was going on I could hear voices in Fr Dave’s room next door and I realised he was going through the same ordeal. Once over (20 minutes of humiliation), I went to console Fr Dave from whom they had taken everything of value in his room. Then, I thought of the watchman, is he OK? Has he been harmed? I kept calling him at the entrance to his little house. After some time, he eventually woke up oblivious of all that was going on. It was indeed “a night to remember” and also a lesson to be learned as the Bible puts it “be on your guard because you will never know when the thieves break in and steal”.

My version of our unwelcome visitors. By Dave Cullen 2014 PNGDave Cullen, M.Afr

This is what happened: we had a midnight visit from the thieves who broke into our house through the kitchen window, bending the security bars back and entering in. Suddenly the light was switched on in my bedroom and two young men with weapons in their hands (not guns) came in. I just stayed in bed and pointed to the drawer where there was some money. There came in two others who had found that Joe’s door was locked so it took them a bit of time to smash it open. Besides the money they also took my laptop, phone, watch, camera and a few other items. All my drawers were opened up and everything poured out all over the floor as also some clothes from my cupboard lest I was hiding something there. They also looked behind my pillow and mattress again searching for hidden treasures. Our watchman slept through it all! Anyhow we thank the Lord that we suffered no physical harm. We are in the process of hiring a more reliable security system and hope we will not have a repeat performance.

Thieves in Chipata - news March 15, 2016 copie

Death of Father Pierre Genest, M.Afr.

Pierre Genest_JPEG

Father Gilles Barrette, Provincial of the Americas, informs you of the death of Father Pierre Genest, M.Afr.

He died on March 22, 2016, in Montreal (Canada), at the age of 92 years of which 65 of missionary life in Malawi, Philippines and Canada.

Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

In Malawi, Father Genest lived in Mua (1952), Kasina (1955), Guillemé (1960), Dedza (1961), Mtendere (1976), Nsipe (1990) and Lilongwe (2001).

Edition of OUR MISSION – March 2016, No 7

Capture JPEGWe are in Holy Week and the final days before the celebration of the central feast of our faith as Christians – The Resurrection of Jesus! This is an important moment for us to take time and reflect on what Jesus’ Resurrection means for us, each one personally, in particularly in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Jesus took the pilgrimage to Jerusalem aware that this was the journey of His passion and death but also trusting that He would rise from the dead after 3 days, victorious over sin and death and having fulfilled the plan of Salvation of His Father for all humankind.

Each of us is on their own specific pilgrimage of life—a journey that will not always be easy, and times maybe exceptionally difficult and death also awaits each one of us. It may be a so called ‘natural death’, it may be a death caused by sickness or a tragic accident, it might be martyrdom like experienced by 4 Sisters of Charity in Yemen (see page 3). We don’t know what this Missionary Disciple journey holds in store for us. However we do trust in the promise of Jesus as to what the final destination of our journey will be — our own resurrection and eternal life with our loving God.

Both Easter time and this Jubilee Year of Mercy are opportune moments for us to renew (or begin to take up) our responsibilities related to our Baptism and to live as Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord whom we have promised to serve. The Universal Mission of the Church is the responsibility of each of the baptized and a calling to witness Jesus and His liberating message of Good News to all. Nobody is excluded from the New Life and mercy that Jesus offers!

Risen ChristThe Risen Christ is inviting us to be His witnesses to all those whom we encounter. We cannot be a true Christian and at the same time be indifferent to the reality of those who live without hope, joy, dignity and God in their lives. These too have the same Heavenly Father as you and me. They too have been redeemed through the Precious Blood shed by Jesus Christ our Lord and Brother.

These too have the same Heavenly Father as you and me. They too have been redeemed through the Precious Blood shed by Jesus Christ our Lord and Brother.

We need to live our Christian calling and vocation as Missionary Disciples and be instruments in the hands of Jesus. The joy, hope, peace and mercy we have received we need to pass on to those around us, those who journey with us in one way or another in this pilgrimage of life. We manifest our Missionary Discipleship by our prayers for the missions, missionaries, the suffering and needy of the world, by our daily witness through concrete actions of mercy and charity, through our presence and through kindness in word and deed to those who are most abandoned and excluded in our society.

May the Spirit of the Risen Lord set us alight with passion and joy in bringing His message of Good News to all! A very Joyful and Blessed Easter to all of you!

Fr. Gordon Rees mccj, National (Missio SACBC) PMS Director – South Africa, Botswana & Swaziland

Headlines: Attackers kill 16 people, including 4 nuns, inside Catholic facility established by Mother Teresa’s charity in Aden. Pope Francis ‘shocked’ by attack on Yemen care home.

Sisters killed in Yemen JPEG

New Bishop for Mpika Diocese, Mgr. Justin Mulenga

Bishop Justin Mulenga consecrated Bishop and takes Episcopal possession of Mpika Diocese.bBy Stanley Lubungo, M.Afr

On the 12th of March 2016, the town of Mpika became for a day the centre of ecclesial life in Zambia as scores of Catholics converged to the City to witness the ordination of Fr Justin Mulenga as new Bishop of Mpika Diocese. Bishops, priests, religious and the laity came from different parts of the country and from neighbouring Tanzania to be part of the event. The President of Zambia, various government officials and opposition party leaders also graced the occasion with their presence! We do not have communities in Mpika Diocese anymore but the Missionaries of Africa were represented by ten Confreres from Lusaka, Ndola, Serenje and Kasama.

The liturgical assembly that gathered on green Mpika Cathedral grounds on that cool Saturday morning celebrated its faith, dancing with joy to the sound of traditional drums and music from the renowned Babuomba choir. Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, who administered the Diocese for the last four years, presided over the beautiful ceremony as Principal consecrator. He was assisted by Bishops Georges Lungu and Bernard Chisanga of Chipata and Mansa Dioceses respectively.

In his speech, the new Bishop, Justin Mulenga who is originally from Kasama Archdiocese thanked the many people who had in one way or another contributed to the spiritual journey that brought him to where he is today. On his long list of names also figured those of three confreres whose lives particularly inspired him: Reinhold Bloching, Guy Lefebvre (1927-2009) and Joseph Stumpf (1931-2006). We may not have communities in Mpika Diocese but through them and many other confreres the legacy of the Missionaries of Africa lives on. With the Church of Mpika Diocese we give thanks to God for the gift of a shepherd.

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