Notre-Dame du Congo d’Aru Parish handed over to the Diocese of Mahagi-Nioka.

aru-handing-over-ceremony-01By Humphrey Mukuka, M.Afr

I received my first appointment as a Missionary of Africa to Aru Parish in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). Aru was something that made me so proud and zealous to begin my ministry as a Catholic Priest. Despite some issues that were affecting our community, I was so courageous and zealous to live my priestly ministry according to what I had acquired during my formation. It is for this reason that I invested so much in learning the local language and the culture in order to live this missionary vocation fully and be in contact with the local population as a missionary. As I kept on integrating myself into community life and other pastoral activities, three months after my arrival, I had the confirmation that our Parish, Notre-Dame du Congo d’Aru, was to be handed over to the Diocese of Mahagi-Nioka.

aru-handing-over-ceremony-06This decision was already taken some two years ago. I accepted this decision with a lot of pain and regret. It was not yet official but I had to carry on with my pastoral activities as though nothing was happening in my heart. I kept asking myself questions like: “Why was I appointed in a parish that was soon to be handed over to the Diocese?” “Why the Society of the Missionaries of Africa does keep transmitting parishes and other institutions to Dioceses and yet there is a good number of candidates in the initial formation?” “Can we find other means than handing-over M.Afr Parishes to Dioceses as it has been done traditionally?”  I am very concerned as a young confrere.

The Parish of Our Lady of Congo was first handed over to the Diocesan Priests in 1978.  Then, it was handed over again to the Society of Missionaries of Africa in 1993. The parishioners and the local population still remember the mismanagement of the parish that they had observed during the time of Diocesan Priests. For this reason, they are worried about the ‘retransmission’ of Our Lady of Congo Parish. This is why we have been preparing them so that they accept the situation though it seems difficult for them to bear.

I have been serving as a young missionary priest in Aru Parish since October 2015. My missionary experience during this period has been very rich and significant. It is for this reason that I feel sad leaving this dynamic parish. In addition, my new appointment was not yet known since the handling over on September 25. May the Lord grant me courage and strength to face this challenge positively! I started my missionary ministry during the month of Our Lady of Congo, after which the parish is named, I therefore ask our mother Mary to intercede for this parish, to intercede for me so that I can find joy on the unknown “road to Emmaus” so that my heart can aflame again.

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My first missionary appointment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

By Humphrey Mukuka, M.Afr

Humphrey Mukuka DRC 2015 01My journey to Aru.

 My decision of passing by Lubumbashi, situated in the southern part of the country near Zambia, to go to Aru, next to Uganda in the North-East, was a bit adventurous. Everyone was advising me to pass through Kampala in Uganda and then enter to DRCongo by road. Being in Zambia, I wanted to go to Lubumbashi to see the families that had welcomed me and my friends Robbin Simbeye, Sylvestre Chimenge, Mathew Kalumba and Joseph Mulenga for a French course in 2008. One in particular, Papa Kabangu and Mama  Annie, came to witness my priestly Ordination in Kabwe last year on the 27th June, 2015. It was so nice to see them again.

I heard that flights from Lubumbashi to Bunia was risking due to negative experiences of local airlines. Anyhow, I thought to myself, “Let me accept it the way it will be. Besides, it will be a learning experience.” Guess what! I was very surprised to find a very well-organised airline called CAA. We travelled safely only that we had to stop over in many places.

République Démocratique du Congo - Carte GoogleUpon my arrival in Aru, I soon discovered deep tensions between some youth and the missionary community. I was wondering how I will integrate myself in such an environment. What will be my participation in the rebuilding mutual trust? Then, I remember what I learned during the Spiritual Year: “An ideal community does not exist but we try by all means to build our community according to the model of an ideal community where we are sent as missionaries.”

Fortunately, things have largely improved since my arrival. We have worked out our “community project”, meaning the way we wish to live as a missionary community. We have regular fraternal meetings and a monthly recollection.

Pastoral Activities

The Parish Notre Dame du Congo is a very dynamic one based on primary evangelisation focussing in visiting outstations in various villages. The warm hospitality the Christians help us to forget the bad roads. Those visits are more intensively made in November and December. I have already visited some outstations but still need much more time to know them all. This is really a wonderful experience.

I have been designated to look more closely to various parish groups such as the Mass servants, the Kizito-Anuarite association, the Bilenge ya mwinda or Youth of the light group, the “Mouvement Sacerdotal Marial”, “Les mamans catholiques” and the sick. For the later, I came to understand how deeply most of them are in need of the sacrament of reconciliation and receive the Holy Communion as quite a few have been waiting for a long time to welcome a Priest in their homes.

My difficulties and challenges.

The misunderstanding between some youth and our community is still being badly felt. But we are seriously working to rebuild confidence with a high sense of creativity so as to encourage everyone to remain joyfully active.

The state of poverty in Aru and its surroundings is unfortunately very high. Consequently, solicitation for financial assistance is constant and can become a form of harassment.

With so many spiritual needs to cover and leadership responsibilities, my time as much as my energy is running out quite often. However, I remain confident with the help of my fellow confreres and God.

Remember me in your prayer!         Click here to read the PDF file of this report.

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God call me to be at the service to others – Father Humphrey Mukuka

Humphrey Mukuka ordination June 2015 07 bSunday Mail July 19, 2015

By Kalunga Musonda,

Kabwe, Zambia

“Christ called me to be at the service of others by preaching his word,” this is the conviction of Humphrey Mukuka a catholic priest. His dream was to become a medical doctor or an engineer but his ambitions changed when he decided to join the vocation club at St Mary’s Parish in Kabwe.

He was in grade nine at Kalonga Secondary School at the time. He says it was during this time that he was exposed to different subjects concerning life and God’s mission in the world.

Fr Mukuka 31, is the fourth born in a family of seven and was brought up in a Catholic home. For his secondary education, Fr Mukuka was sent to Serenje Technical High School where he was inspired by the way Missionaries of Africa (the White Fathers) lived their lives.

“The mission of White Fathers is to serve in Africa and outside Africa where there are Africans serving as God’s messengers specifically to promote justice and peace.” he says.

Fr Mukuka says the missionaries work with other Christian denominations to spread God’s word through evangelism in Africa’s remote areas.

While still at school he visited the priests’ community regularly at St. Peter’s Parish in Serenje which was run by the society of the Missionaries of Africa. And with these interactions his desire of becoming a medical doctor or an engineer waned as he now wanted to be sent as a missionary wherever there was need to proclaim God’s message of love.

“I was deeply touched by their way of life demonstrated through an inter-cultural and simple life style coupled with service to the poor and oppressed in society,” he says. This inspired Fr Mukuka to become a priest and join the Society of the Missionaries of Africa.

“Before going for priesthood”, he says, “I met very good friends who were very committed to the scripture union – a prayer and Bible sharing gathering. The vocations club was equally raised during our time at school which motivated me to be what I am today.”

In 2006 Fr Mukuka began his journey to priesthood as a candidate Missionary of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania where he studied philosophy and psychology for three years. He was then sent to Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso in 2009-2012 and also did pastoral experience in Bandiagara in Mali from 2010-2012.

“When I completed pastoral experience I came home for a three months holiday to see my family,” he says.

Fr Mukuka was then sent to study theology in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from 2012-2015. He recently came back to Zambia for his priestly ordination which was held on June 27 at St. Veronica’s Parish in Kamushanga area in Kabwe. For his first mission appointment as a Catholic priest, Fr Mukuka has been sent to Aru in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Serving as a Catholic priest is very challenging, however, the Lord who called me to serve him will see me through difficulties and challenges; I firmly believe that God will never let me down.”, he said.

One thing Fr Mukuka knows for sure is that to be a successful and happy priest he needs to embrace prayer and the love for people.

See PDF file of the article from the newspaper

Warm greetings from Kabwe, ordination of Humphrey Mukuka, June 2015

Warm greetings from Kabwe, ordination of Humphrey Mukuka, June 2015

Humphrey-Mukuka-ordination-00Warm greetings from Kabwe, particularly from myself and all my family members and friends. Here we are very fine thank you. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you all fellow confreres and to all those who in one way or another contributed to the success of my Priestly Ordination and my First Mass respectively on 27 and 28 June 2015. Special thanks to MIMSAF from Lusaka who came in big numbers to render support and encouragement. May our loving God richly bless each and every one of you. I am very touched by the warm support received from you all. Let us continue supporting and encouraging one another in this way as our commitment to serve our Lord continues. Thank you so much once more to every one of you. 

Fr. Humphrey Mukuka (M.Afr)

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Invitation to Priestly Ordinations of Humphrey Mukuka and John Chomba Mubanga

The Missionaries of Africa, St. Mary’s Parish, Mr and Mrs Mukuka’s family and relatives are inviting us to the Priestly Ordination of their son Deacon Humphrey Mukuka on 27th June 2015 at 9 hours at St. Veronica’s Parish (Kamushanga) Kabwe by his Lordship Clement Mulenga (S.D.B), the Bishop of Kabwe Diocese, Zambia.

The Missionaries of Africa, Mr and Mrs Mubanga and the intire community of St. Mary’s Catholic Church at Twatasha, Kitwe, are inviting us to the Priestly Ordination of Deacon John Chomba Mubanga by his Lordship Alick Banda, Bishop of Ndola Diocese on the 8th August at Christ the King Cathedral in Ndola at 9:00 hours.

Humphrey Invitation card 2015John-Mubanga-Invitation-Card-2015