Declaration of Intent of Innocent Matata Foto, Lumimba, Zambia

declaration-intent-lumimba-jan-2017By Fr. Mathew W. Banseh, M.Afr

Innocent Matata Foto renewed his Declaration of Intention to pursue his formation with the Missionaries of Africa on the Feast of the Epiphany at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Lumimba. From early hours, the Holy Childhood children group was singing and practising for Mass. 60 of them brought animation in the liturgy presided by Father Brendan O’Shea together with Father Camille Konkobo, representing the Provincial Delegate of Zambia, and Father Mathew W. Banseh.

In his homily, Fr. Brendan exhorted parents to take care of their children as they are a precious gift from God. He also asked the children to be obedient and respectful towards their parents just like Jesus was. He also invited Innocent Matata Foto to remain focused in his vocation journey and allow the signs of God to lead him like the Magi did in today’s Gospel. He used the occasion to explain the meaning of the habit of the Missionaries of Africa Innocent had put on; the gandura and burnous originally from North-Africa.

The declaration was pronounced in Chichewa and signed on the altar followed by a song of praise. A gathering followed in the evening to mark this joyful event animated by various dances and sharing of stories. It is our prayer that the Lord will guide Innocent on his vocation journey.

Official Opening of the SAP Pre-Formation Centre in Chipata, Zambia.

chipata-formation-centre-01bBy Timothée Bationo, M.Afr

The story started in Beira, Mozambique, in 2012 with a meeting of the Vocation Directors. They were looking for ways of improving their relationship between the four Sectors of the SAP Province and the Formation Centre in Balaka, Malawi, where our candidates make their studies in philosophy.

The creation of a Pre-First Phase was then proposed to the Provincial Council and forwarded to the General Council in Rome. A green light was given to build a centre in Chipata situated in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The town is surrounded by hills and is about 20 kilometres from Malawi and less than 140 kilometres to the Mozambican border. Therefore, the three countries could easily get involved in following the progress of their respective students.

Father Jean-Luc Gouiller started looking for a piece of land and the ground work started in 2014. The buildings were completed in December 2015. We entered into the centre in the second week of January 2016 with an initial number of 18 students from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. They remained up to June 2016. The second academic year started on October 12, 2016. The Formation Centre currently has once more 18 students together with three staff members, namely Brother René Garand, Father Camille Konkobo and Father Timothée Bationo.

The SAP Pre-Formation Centre was officially blessed by Bishop George Lungu on November 18, 2016. Mass was presided by the Bishop outside the premises as the church building would have been too small to contain the crowd. The Bishop was pleased to see that the official opening was just two days away from the closure of the Year of Mercy. Consequently, the official opening of the Formation Centre coincided with the closure of the Year of Mercy at the diocesan level.

Various committees from Saint Athanasio Parish were established to take care of the catering, liturgy, security and reception. By 05:00, they were already setting up everything before the arrival of the Christians and the Bishop at 7:00. Some members of the Provincial Council were delayed a bit at the border with Malawi.

Leading the procession, Bishop George Lungu and Father Felix Phiri, the Provincial, cut the ribbon at the main gate of the centre to symbolise the official opening of the Formation Centre while the diocesan choir sang a Thanksgiving song. In a colourful procession, the Bishop blessed the chapel and other buildings. At Mass, the Bishop praised the work done by the missionaries in the past, what they are doing today and what is to come. He was grateful to the Society for building a Formation Centre in his diocese. He encouraged the Formation House to open its doors to people who would like to have retreats. The Formators are welcomed exercising their apostolate all around Chipata.

The Provincial blessed each student with a symbolic cross representing the beginning of their formation.

All the missionaries, Fathers and Sisters, came together to sing the Santa Maria song. Few speeches were conducted at the end of Mass including Father Gouiller, Father Felix Phiri, Father Timothée Bationo, the Bishop, the DCL President and a Government Official. Finally, the Master of Ceremony, Father Kamanga, invited everybody to share a meal. A final blessing came at the end of the day with the first rain of the farming season.

Members of staff at the formation house will ever remain grateful to the people who took part in the organisation and preparations of the official opening of the centre. We will always remember you in our prayers as we preach the Word of God.

Merry Christmas to you all and a Prosperous New Year in 2017.

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Links: Lavigerie Formation Centre, Mchini Parish, Chipata.

Death of Francis Konkobo, father of Fr Camille Konkobo, M.Afr

mr-francis-konkobo-father-of-camilleWith sorrow, I announce the death of the father of our confrere Camille Konkobo, M.Afr (our Vocation Promoter). His father, Francis Konkobo, Burkinabe, passed on yesterday morning in Ouagadougou. The late Francis leaves behind eight children and a widow. Camille is the third born of the eight children. Francis died a day after his birthday anniversary on 05/10/2016. He was 70 years old. He has been diabetic for a few years which has been under management by clinicians.

Camille left Chipata this morning (October 06). Now, Camille is airborne on the way to Burkina aboard ET Airlines. The burial will be on Saturday.

Camille go with our fraternal prayers and heart-felt condolences. May the soul of Francis meet St. Francis who will introduce him to the banquet of the Lord where good ones of the Lord go.

Venerato Babaine, M.Afr, Provincial Delegate of Zambia

90th Birthday Celebration of Fr Henk Van Kessel in Chipata.

feast-henk-03Article and photos by Fr Camille Konkobo, Vocation Promoter.

Fr Henk van Kessel has clocked 90 years old of age on the 7th September 2016. The Missionaries of Africa in Chipata organized a celebration for him on September 11. Close to 30 people gathered around him; religious men and women and lay people.

Prayers and a meal were shared including the raising of a glass for a toast in his honor lead by Fr G. Nyoni, diocesan Pastoral Coordinator in Chipata. Being asked his secret of his longevity, he simply replied; “Do not stop breathing!” On behalf of the Missionaries, Fr Jean Luc Gouiller spoke kindly about Fr Henk who himself encouraged each one to remain disciplined and moderate in our way of life. “The secret of reaching 90 years is regularity, discipline and prayer”. He added: “I am happy to celebrate this moment with you all”.

feast-henk-01Fr Henk took the opportunity to thank everybody who made it possible for him to be who he is today. He expressed gratitude to Fr Camille Konkobo for being instrumental in organizing and inviting all the communities within Chipata for the event.

In return Fr Camille thanked also the invited guests and all the confreres who sent a message of best wishes to Fr Henk. Those messages were read at the great amazement of each one. The day ended with the blessing of Fr Henk.

feast-henk-02The psalmist says in Ps 90. 10: “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if you are strong.” Where can we put Fr Henk? Has he not challenged the psalmist? Reverend Fr Henk, ad Multos Annos!

Henk van Kessel appointed Knight of the Order of Orange, Chipata, Zambia.

End of construction of Chipata Pre-First Phase

Chipata Pre-First Dec 2015 05b_JPGThe Pre-First Phase Centre in Chipata is already operational since the 19th November 2015 when five candidates came from Mozambique to perfect their English while waiting for the official opening of the Centre on January the 15th with the coming of more candidates from Malawi and Zambia. This first year program will end in June 2016 when the candidates will be going to Balaka for their philosophy. The formators are Timothée Bationo, René Garand and Camille Konkobo who has just arrived from his home leave in Burkina Faso.

The Mozambican candidates are Texeira Manuel, Messias Carlos, Manuel Pedro, Hilario Junior and Bernardo Ana. We wish them all good luck in their studies.

Below some recent pictures of the Centre.

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Ground work at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia
Ongoing construction at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia
Ongoing construction at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia Updates November 2014
Ongoing construction at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia Updates December 2014
Updates in pictures of the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia – April 2015


World Meeting of Young Consecrated People – September 2015

Camille Konkobo - Rome 201501Vatican City – 15th to 19th September 2015

By Camille Konkobo, Vocation Director, Zambia

I was invited to take part to a meeting organized by the Vatican for the young consecrated people across the world. The meeting started on 15th September with a vigil prayer. 4000 people were expected but we ended up with 7000 participants.

The gatherings took place at St Paul VI Hall each morning while the afternoons were set aside for group discussion in various places in Rome, according to languages. A Mass was celebrated at the end of the day followed by visits of Vatican touristic sites.

In line with the theme of this event “Wake up the world”, the Pope encouraged us to build-up joyful communities that unite all the members into one family of trust and love. The Pope asked us to throw our nets into deep waters by promoting vocations and helping the youth to discover or experience de love of God. A Congregation that doesn’t promote vocations is subjected to death.

We got a lot of encouragement from Pope Francis telling us that we should take up the challenge and cultivate a spirit of creativity hence bringing together or being a channel between generations within our own communities.

We were five missionaries of Africa present from different Provinces: Joseph Giday from Ethiopia (EPO), Camille Konkobo from Burkina (SAP), Prosper Harelimana Mamadou from Rwanda (GhNgr), Adrien Sawadogo from Burkina Faso (PAO), Jean-Pierre Mbiringaniné from Congo DR (EAP)

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Happy Zambian Golden Jubilee!

Golden Jubilee Zambia 3Happy Zambian Golden Jubilee! 
A united peace and loving Zambia with people of vision, hardworking and discipline will make all Zambian loving peace call it ONE ZAMBIA ONE NATION!
From Bro. Chimpali Mutale Clenerius (Folela), M.Afr
Happy Golden Jubilee to motherland Zambia.
We pray for Zambia and its people. It has been a blessing and we thank God.
May god bless Zambia always will peace, justice and good governance!
In prayer!
From Camille Konkobo, M.Afr
Happy Golden jubilee to Mother Zambia and to you all my brother. May the same peace Zambia has enjoyed prevail in our hearts and MAY OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE MALI know such peace.
United in prayer.
From Fr. Kambole Remmy, M.Afr
Pretoria, 24 October 2014
Dear fellow country men and women,
Today marks a mile stone in the history of our great Nation mother Zambia- a country that was a corner stone for liberation to other African countries especially those in the SADC region. The tenacity shown by our leaders to rally us behind our national motto One Zambia One Nation made it even possible for us to foster unity, peace and prosperity. Today indeed is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it, let us celebrate, rejoice and commemorate all our unsung heroes and sung heroes. Most of our leaders that played a huge role are no longer with us the likes of Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Nkumbula, mama Chikamoneka to mention a few may they rest in peace and to those that are still alive today who were under the charismatic leadership of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda may they too be blessed.
To our former leadership that brought us into a second phase the late Dr. Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa SC may they rest in peace and may the Lord forgive them for any wrong they may have committed on this earth either in executing their duties or living with other people. May the Lord bless our former 4th democratically elected President Rupiah Banda and bless our current 5th democratically elected President Michael Sata and those serving under his leadership that they may put the interest of serving our people first so that the gains of our forefathers and mothers should not go in vain.
This is the time to foster unity of common purpose to strive towards uniting Zambians in the country and those in diaspora. We have come a long way and indeed we have been blessed with peace and we know a lot still needs to be done a country wherein Zambians shall be able to live and access good health care, education, food security, water and sanitation, employment etc. Our country had shown determination and good will in assisting other countries in our SADC region to be liberated and this calls to mind that we should now take our country into the 3rd phase that is to become an economic hub in SADC region and later in Africa and the world, we should strive towards achieving long sustainable economic development programs that shall be reflected in the lives of the citizenry. My fellow country men and women let us take charge and become part of building our country from where our forefathers and mothers had left it.
We cannot dare forget our unity in diversity so wherever you are as a Zambian please play an active role in continuing that motto One Zambia One Nation we cannot afford to be divided and our country to become unstable so together as true patriots we shall indeed make our nation a beacon of hope to other countries as it was during the liberation days.
May the Lord our God continue blessing our country and we pray. Let there be peace and prosperity in our great Nation mother Zambia.
Happy golden jubilee
From Rev. Fr. Peter Chungu
Parish Priest & Diocesan Youth -ACTS Chaplain
St. Jude Catholic Church, King William’s Town, South Africa

Formation training of Camille Konkobo in Kinshasa, DRCongo

Camille KonkoboBy Camille Konkobo, M.Afr
On the 25th October, I went to Kinshasa, DRCongo, to follow a training course for formators. This training took place at CTV Mbudi Centre which is run by the Scheuts’ Fathers. Among other sessions, they also offer retreats and recollections together with many other facilities for religious and the clergy. I was impressed to see the numbers of religious Sisters, fourteen of them out of eighteen people from all over Congo except me from Zambia.
The training consisted in providing basic materiel and knowledge about the right spirit by which a formation house is led. We reflected on the life of formator or animator of community; which type of formator the candidates expect to get, what is helping us to manage adequately anger and other feelings and so on. Some practical exercises on spiritual and vocation discernment opened our minds. There was also a session about the charism of religious Congregations. To finish, we ploughed through the canonical law trying to understand few things concerning formation.
It is a good training course for those who cannot afford to attend a full year course. I don’t pretend to be a fully qualified trained formator but, at least, I have discover how to pursue my personal training.
Thank for all you who have helped me, prayed for me and encouraged me before and during my learning experience. 

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