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.

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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Links: 

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

 

Death of the brother of Brother René Garand, M.Afr


René-Garand-2014 JPGDear confreres,

I like to inform you that my brother Michel Garand pass away at Victoriaville Canada on 5th November 2015. He has been suffering of a cancer since many months, he was 73 years old. His wife died also of a cancer two years ago when I was on home leave he has four children, three boys and one girl. I do not know yet when the funeral will be?

Please remember him in your prayers, Bro René Garand, M.Afr

Kalongwezi community as it has been during the last years


Kalongwezi community 2014Henk van Kessek 2014 JPGDuring the last years, we have most of the time been four or five members in the Kalongwezi community. Henk van Kessel, Dutch, 88 years old, is the unwearied and uncontested Archivist of the Diocese. He has also been the Chicewa/Chinyanja language professor for quite a long time, a job which regularly bounces back.
Dave Cullen 2014 PNGAfter the departure of Edgar Pillet in 2012, at 78, for retirement in France, Dave Cullen, English, of the same age, came to replace him as Chaplain of the Regional Hospital nearby, and, like Edgar also, he gives a help to the Marriage Encounter groups. He also does some visits to the local Prison. Both Henk and Dave go to St Monica’s Secondary School for Masses during the week.
Jean-Luc Gouiller 2014 JPGJean-Luc Gouiller, 78, French, who is linked with some groups of the Christian Agricultural and Rural Adult Movement. He has also been asked to update the demarcations and the title deeds of the various places held by the Diocese of Chipata throughout the Province, a work very much tied with the delicate land issue. He also takes part in some vocation work as do the other members of the community.
Joe McMeninmem 2014 JPGJoe Mc Menamin, Irish, 74, joined us after several years of missionary animation in Ireland. He replaced Edgar Pillet who was also a curate at the Mary Mother of God Parish of Nabvutika, a big compound of Chipata. After some time Joe became and still is the Parish Priest of that very parish.
Halen Kerketta  2014 JPGThe stagiaire Halen Kerketta, from India, is finishing his first year of Stage. He has some activities with the Youth Team of the Diocese and some others in Nabvutika Parish.
René-Garand-2014 JPGBrother René Garand, coming from South Africa, is joining the community and will supervise or follow up the construction work on the site of the new Preformation Centre.
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