Xaveri movement in St. Gabriel’s parish, Namushakende, Zambia.


xaverian-movement-01By Pearson Salu, Coordinator.

Members of the Xaveri movement from different parishes in the Diocese of Mongu gathered in Namushakende for a three-day camping between the 15th and 18th December 2016. This camping brought together 66 Xaverains from 7 parishes of the Diocese namely: St. Michael’s, Kalabo; St. Lawrence, Limulunga; St. John’s, Katongo; Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, Mongu; St. Agatha, Kapulanga; St. Francis, Malengwa and the host St. Gabriel, Namushakende.

These days of camping were very exciting and entertaining, full of learning, discovery and adventure. We had a variety of activities which included sports such as soccer and volley ball, road runs every morning, drills, bible quiz, drama and sketches as well as debates. We also had inputs on the rosary and the role of Mary in our lives, and an input on the liturgy of the Church. During these days, the members also animated the daily liturgical celebrations with vigour and enthusiasm and creativity.  

xaverian-movement-02All the activities culminated in the big celebration on Sunday where 16 new Xaverians were commissioned while 10 made their Xaveri promise. The Mass which was well animated by the Xaverians was presided over by Fr Alfred Awogya, Parish Priest, assisted by Fr Marcin Perfikowski, M.Afr. In his homily, Fr. Alfred stressed the need for all Christians to emulate the courage and faith of Joseph the husband of Mary who listened and welcomed the will of God in his life. He urged particularly those to be commissioned to remain committed and, like Joseph, seek to do the will of God in their particular vocation in the Church as Xaverians. During the same Mass, the parishioners of St. Gabriel welcomed their new priest, Fr Marcin, who has just arrived to start his priestly ministry in the parish.

xaverian-movement-03The young men and women dressed in their neat Xaveri uniforms of red and white (with green sashes for others) put up a splendid and colourful parade after Mass to the cheer of the Christians who had gathered outside the church to watch. Even the slight down pour could not deter the vibrant young soldiers of God to exercise their duty. Fr Alfred was called upon to inspect the august parade. It was a beautiful experience. We give thanks to God for the growth and the spread of the Xaveri movement in our Diocese. We thank Fr Alfred and his team for the warm hospitality. May God bless the new commissioned Xaverians and all Xaverians throughout the world.

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xaveri-logo Link: Short Presentation of the Xaveri Movement

A Pilgrimage of Mercy: St. Gabriel Parish, Namushakende, Zambia.


pelgrimage-namushakende-06_modifie-1By K. C. Mukamba, Secretary, Namushakende Parish.

St. Gabriel’s Parish in Namushakende has not been left out in answering the Holy Father’s Pope Francis call to celebrate with joy the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On Saturday, 1st October, 2016, a total of 58 parishioners, male and female, young and old, accompanied by our Parish Priest, Alfred Awogya and Alain-Christian Muhineza, his Assistant, embarked on the long awaited spiritual journey. This pilgrimage took us to Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Mongu where the door of mercy has been opened for all Christians. The cathedral is about 25 km from our parish centre in Namushakende. The aim was to pass through the door of mercy; to encounter and celebrate the mercy of God so that to become the visible signs of God’s mercy to our brothers and sisters. The day was filled with prayers and fasting as well as talks and sharing.

Mr Mbikusita Lewanika led us in a deep reflection on God’s mercy and our Christian responsibility towards all people. He enlightened us on the seven corporal works of mercy being: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and burying the dead (Mt. 25: 35-40). He also talked about the seven spiritual works of mercy: to admonish the sinner, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries and to pray for the living and the dead. This reflection was very touching and challenging. We still have a lot of work to do in our Christian journey! We pray for spiritual strength.

Father Francis, the Parish Priest of St. Lawrence, Limulunga, prepared us for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation by helping us understand and meditate on Luke 15:11–32; the parable of the prodigal son. At the end of his inspiring and challenging reflection, we all felt that we have gone astray like. We all need to return to the merciful father who is always ready to receive us. Confessions lasted for two hours.

We concluded our pilgrimage of mercy with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided over by Father Francis and assisted by our Parish Priest.

We thank God for the wonderful experience of faith and his boundless love and mercy. We, the parishioners of St. Gabriel, Namushakende, feel that we have been charged with a responsibility; a mission to go and proclaim God’s mercy but above all to be visible instruments of mercy in places where we live and to be MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER.

We thank Pope Francis for awakening in us the fire of God’s mercy. We feel commissioned to spread the good news of the mercy of God. We left the cathedral happy and re-energised, glad to have had the privilege to celebrate the mercy of God in our lives. We returned home rejoicing!

PDF file of this article.

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pelgrimage-namushakende-08-agnellusmirror

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.

Visit to the Queen of the Lozi kingdom, Zambia


Mongu-Nov-2014-03St. Gabriel’s Parish, Namushakende, Mongu, Zambia

Wednesday the 19th of November was a memorable day for our Namushakende Parish. That was the day when we had organized a visit to the Queen of the Lozi kingdom, the female Litunga or as she is refereed to, the Litunga of the Southern Lozi land, at her palace in Nalolo, across the great Zambezi River. Litunga means the owner of the land. We the staff of St. Gabriel’s Parish, Namushakende, accompanied by Fr. Venerato Babaine who was visiting at that time, two religious Sisters working in the parish, a few leaders of the Parish, and a group of the Catholic Women’s League from some Parishes in Mongu and some from the Centres in our parish. We were all together 36 people.

We started off from Namushakende around 07:00 hours, drove to Machapa Centre just at the edge of the Zambezi plains, and from there drove 15 km through the Barotse flood plains to the bank of the Zambezi. The boat “driver” took us in 3 loads across the river, and from there we walked to Nalolo village and the palace of the Queen amidst great jubilations and excitement.

The Manduna (the traditional elders and council of the palace) and the staff of the palace received us well and organised the place where we could celebrate Mass with the Queen, in front of her royal palace. It is interesting to note that almost all elders (Manduna) and the court of the Queen are not Catholics. In the presence of the Queen, our choir was mainly made up of the Catholic Women’s League who offered us a good and prayerful liturgy. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Robert Lavertu who was to offer his farewell greetings during the same visit, and he was accompanied by Fr. Alfred Awogya. We seized the opportunity of our visit to introduce to the Queen Fr Christian Muhineza and Joseph Kakule who have arrived to work in Namushakende,

After the Mass, we were allowed inside the palace to meet the Queen in two groups, first the Priests and the Sisters, then the CWL and the other lay people. It was a warm welcome that was offered to us, and the Queen offered us delicious snacks of her own. In our conversation, the Queen, who is a committed Catholic, emphasized how much she appreciates to be visited and to pray with groups like ours; she invited us to visit her again. After a long time at the Palace, we made our way back to the river to be taken across in 3 trips as previously.

The whole ceremony and visit was coloured by deep cultural reverence and display. For us as missionaries working here, it was a great lesson on culture and insertion in the rich and profound deposit of the Lozi cultural heritage. We had a great day, and all the participants expressed their joy and satisfaction, and their desire to repeat the visit some time later.

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Namushakende – Home Coming for Frs Christian Muhineza and Alfred Awogya


Namusahakende, home coming for Christian and Alfred 03bGreat joy marked the Sunday celebration (5th Oct 2014) where the Christian community of St. Gabriel’s parish, Namushakende, warmly welcomed back Christian and Alfred.
Christian is newly appointed to Namushakende after his priestly ordination on 12th July in Burundi. He had his pastoral experience (Stage) here in Namushakende from 2009/2011. And so being appointed to Namushakende was a beautiful home coming for him. The Christians greeted him with great joy amidst singing and dancing. When Christian greeted the people at the end of Mass in Silozi, which he learnt during his period of stage, the Church cheered with joy and ululation. Christian will spend a short moment of re-introduction to the Silozi language and culture in Limulunga and then take full residence in Namushakende. We wish him a very fruitful and fulfilled ministry. Alfred, on his part, returned back to Namushakende after three months of home leave in Ghana.
Fr Robert Chipumbu presided at the Mass. It was a delight to have Fr. Oswald Mallya, the Delegate Superior of Zambia with us at Mass. We are grateful to Oswald for accompanying Christian and Alfred from Lusaka to Namushakende, ‘Western Power,’ he calls us. The liturgical celebration was also coloured by the celebration of the rite of acceptance into the order of catechumen, an initial step in the RCIA journey.
Namushakende community was started in 2002. It lies at the edge of the awesome Zambezi flood plains in the Western province of Zambia in Mongu Diocese. The community at the moment is composed of Robert Lavertu, Robert Chipumbu, Christian Muhineza, Joseph Kakule and Alfred Awogya.
Written by Alfred Awogya

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