Documentary Video: The Earth Our Home – conservation for integrity of creation


Documentary Video LaunchBy Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

FENZA organised and hosted the launch of the documentary video “The Earth Our Home: conservation for integrity of creation” by Fr Venerato Babaine, the Provincial Delegate of the Missionaries of Africa in Zambia. The event was held at FENZA multipurpose hall on 28th October 2017 from 14:00 to 16:30.

The launch was attended by dozens of people, including Missionaries of Africa, some religious, friends of FENZA and people who heard of the event. Considering the publicity that preceded the launch, and the invitations that were extended to various people and organisations, the attendance was rather below expectation. Among the distinguished guests there were Fr Thomas Banda, the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator of Lusaka Archdiocese, and Fr Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Missionaries of Africa in Southern Africa, who was also a keynote speaker.

In his opening speech, Fr Babaine spoke of the events that inspired him to embark in the production of the video. He disclosed that it is a combination of his childhood experience in Uganda, his missionary journeys in many countries of Africa and Europe, and the “cry of the Earth” that led him to the making of the documentary. He also said that he drew inspiration from the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”. In his speech, Fr. Babaine explained the purpose of the documentary. He said that the purpose of the video is to show the beauty of nature in Zambia, and to alert people on the devastation of this beautiful countryside due to human activity and lack of care. He said that the exciting thing about the documentary is that it exposed the exemplary efforts of conservation that are undertaken by many people and organisations in parts of Zambia.

Fr Felix Phiri in his address expanded on the place of creation in the Christian faith teaching and tradition. He explained how the integrity of creation has gained attention in the Church’s mission in the last decades and that it cannot be overlooked anymore today. He cited examples of concerns for the earth and creation from other religions. He concluded by commending Fr Babaine for producing the documentary, which he said is timely and would be another contribution to the care of the earth.

The producer of the video, the Catholic Media Services (CMS), was also given an opportunity to address the audience. Speaking on behalf of the director of CMS, Mr Mwamainda said that the CMS was delighted to produce yet another documentary for the Catholic pastoral work. Helping the Catholic Church, and pastoral workers to evangelise through the media, he said, is their vocation; and they are looking forward to being called upon for more such endeavours.

After these speeches, the video was ceremoniously launched; and the audience could view the documentary. This was followed by a short discussion. Most contributors welcomed the video and recommended it to be used in gatherings, schools and various forums as a tool to promote the care for creation. One intervener suggested that the content of the video to be put on other media such as YouTube for a wider reach.

It was another interesting event at FENZA, attended by concerned and supportive friends of the earth. “The Earth Our Home” is a short and easy-to-watch movie which combines a show of the beautiful nature in Zambia, a public education on the environment and a presentation of laudable works of conservation, which aims to inspire people to care for the earth, our home.

The DVD is available for purchase at FENZA and at the Missionaries of Africa Provincial House, for K50.

Venerato Babaine, M.Afr, DVD Producer – November 01, 2017.

The Beginning of the 2016-2017 Academic Year at the Fraternité Lavigerie of Abidjan.


abidjan-sept-2016By Michael Miles Mpindo, Malawian, 3rd year student in Abidjan.

The new academic year at the Fraternité Lavigerie campus started on September 16, 2016, with the welcoming of 8 new members. Among them, 2 are originally from SAP, namely Levison Goodwell Joseph Wallard, Malawian, and Domingos Mirembwe, Mozambican. Altogether, our community consists of 43 members of 20 different nationalities; 38 candidates and 5 formators.

This year’s opening day took place after a three-day session aiming at coming up with this year’s community project entitled “témoins de l’amour du Christ, bâtissons une communauté joyeuse et miséricordieuse.” Our community project is beautifully symbolised with the colourful painting of the African map. Father George Jacques, the Rector, presided the Eucharistic with the presence of two confreres from SAP; Timothée Bationo and Romaric Bationo, who are on home leave.

The official inauguration of the “Institut Catholique Missionnaire d’Abidjan” took place on Monday 19 and was marked by the declaration of intention of 13 second-year students. Brian Gerald Banda, Zambian, was one of them. They made their declaration after a 30-Day retreat. A fourth-year program was added this year.

We wish our community of Fraternité Lavigerie a joyful and successful 2016-2017 academic year. We pray that the Lord helps us to build a JOYFUL community in order to be true witnesses of Jesus Christ’s good news.

Lire la traduction en français de cet article intitulé “Rentrée académique à Abidjan”.

SAP JPIC-ED Coordinators Meeting, Beira 2016


The annual meeting of the JPIC-ED coordinators of SAP, was held at Nazare Centre in Beira, Mozambique from the 22nd to 23rd June 2016. Due to some travelling complications that one or the other encountered on the way, we had to start the meeting a day later. There were the 4 of us: Christophe Boyer (South Africa), Philip Meraba (Malawi), Romaric Bationo (Zambia) and Fidel Salazar (Mozambique).

JPIC-ED Beira 016bBecause of the many reshuffles that happened in the province last year, this meeting could not take place as per planning. So it was imperative that we come together, get to know each other and do some planning this year. The objective of the meeting was threefold:  1) to make known to each other what is happening in our respective sectors, 2) to review the resolutions that were made in previous meetings and 3) as a result, to design some follow-up and planning.  

From our sharing, it was evident that in our province we are involved in various JPIC-ED undertakings although our commitment in ED seems weak. Despite this variety of involvement there is little sharing and discussion about them. We seem not to know how to tell our stories. It was also noticed that in every sector the JPIC-ED team is trying to establish itself and get to animate the sector.

Considering the present various endeavours and situations, and the plans that were decided by the previous meetings, we resolved to prioritise or revive our commitment to fight the new forms of slavery, our care for creation in line with “Laudato si”, our effort to promote reconciliation and empower the impoverished. We should do all this in the spirit of Encounter and Dialogue. In addition, we believe that the increasing presence of Islam in Southern Africa that is causing apprehension, fear with prejudices among some Christians, calls us to take a lead in the encounter and dialogue with Muslims. The provincial Coordinator and the sectors JPIC-ED teams will make every effort to animate and stimulate our M.Afr communities in these areas.

After the meeting, we had a guided tour of Nazare Centre and the city of Beira. Everything considered, it was a good meeting; not only did it give a kick-start to our SAP JPIC-ED team that had stalled for some time, but it helped us to pick things up where our predecessors left them, and draw a roadmap that will guide us . It is our hope that with the collaboration of every confrere and community we will be able to implement the resolutions taken.

Many thanks to the staff of Nazare Centre for hosting us and making our stay enjoyable.

Romaric Bationo, M.Afr, SAP JPIC-ED Coordinator

Official launching of the “Unseen Worlds” – 27th February 2015 at FENZA, Zambia


Romaric BationoBy Fr. Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

The latest FENZA book “Unseen World” by Bernhard Udelhoven was launched to great compliments at an event organised and hosted by FENZA on Friday 27th February 2015. The book launch attracted good number people; well-wishers, friends and partners of FENZA. Among other attendants, there were the archbishop of Lusaka, Bishop Telesphore Mpundu; the German Ambassador to Zambia, his Excellency Mr Bernd Finke; the ZEC secretary general, Fr Zulu; the secretary of the Apostolic Nuncio, Fr Marco Formica; the National Pastoral Coordinator, Fr Justin Matepa; and the Provincial of the M.Afr in Southern Africa, Fr Christopher Chileshe.

Radio Yatsani represented by its director, Fr Singini, was there to record the event for a later broadcast.

Launching Unseen Worlds Feb 05The featured speakers were Bernhard Udelhoven the author of the book, Fr. Thomas Banda, the Diocesan pastoral coordinator for Lusaka archdiocese, and Chuma Peter Mfumu, one of the “Fingers of Thomas”.  Fr Bernhard explained succinctly how the book came about and its contributors. Fr Thomas spoke powerfully of the book. He commented that the book makes the case for urgent pastoral intervention gives hope and provides pastoral insights to deal with cases of witchcraft, Satanism and spirits possessions. He concluded with a glowing tribute to the book as sensible and a “must-read”.

After the interventions of the panelists, the audience was given the opportunity to comment on the book or ask questions. Many shared their experience and struggle to come to term with the issue of witchcraft. Others expressed their happiness that the book will elucidate the overwhelming issues of witchcraft and Satanism. Most of them congratulated Bernhard and FENZA and commended the book as timely. As the observations of participants sparked off a lively discussion, Mr Denis Wood, a contributor to the book urged all to buy it, read it, use it and promote it.

Unseen Worlds 01Several copies of the book were sold out, picked like hot cakes even before the opening of the launch. At the end of the launch many of the participants complimented FENZA for a memorable event.  Of this book launch, Fr Bernhard commented that it was “FENZA at its best”.

“Unseen Worlds” is available at FENZA, in the Catholic Bookshop of Lusaka and soon it will be available in other bookshops at K80. You can also buy it online at www.fenza.org

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The Fingers of Thomas in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia


Fingers of Thomas for Blog Oct 2014 22The Fingers of Thomas, a group linked to FENZA under the leadership of Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven are continuing their good work of enlightening Christian communities on the issue of witchcraft. Four of them – Philip Lupiah, Michael Chanda, Evarist Manya and Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven – accompanied by Fr. Romaric Bationo of FENZA, stepped away from their personal jobs and busy schedules, to facilitate two seminars in Chikowa and Lumimba parishes, Chipata diocese,  from the 1st to 11th October 2014. These seminars were the initiative of Fr. Bwezani Phiri, the Episcopal Vicar for the Luangwa Valley.
The first three-day seminar took place at Chikowa Parish from the 1st to the 4th of October. It attracted 51 church leaders from various outstations, the priests of the parish and 2 Comboni novices. In Lumimba Parish, it is 32 lay leaders with their 3 priests and the M.Afr Stagiaire who attended the workshop from 6th – 10th October.
The Fingers of Thomas: Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven, Evarist Manya, Michael Chanda, Philip Lupiah and John Zulu from Caritas Chipata were the featured presenters. The Fingers of Thomas expounded on the fundamental issues of witchcraft which are beliefs in evil spirits, magic, the reality of fear, the recourse to traditional medicine. Their presentations struck a chord with the participants, when the Fingers elucidated the realms of witchcraft; explained clearly that fear is at the core of black magic; unravelled some of the manipulatory tricks of witch-finders. John Zulu talked about the Witchcraft Act. Each day was well winded-up with a prayerful liturgy at night around the theme of the day.
Ultimately, the seminars stressed clearly that no matter the causes and forms of witchcraft, and amid its mysteries and disorders the power of God through Jesus Christ overcomes witchcraft. Christ is victorious and true faith in Him and being at the service of His Kingdom brings freedom, healing, justice, peace and reconciliation.
The issues tackled, the well-articulated presentations, the joy, the approbation and the gratefulness of the participants at the end of every seminar are a clear indication that the Fingers of Thomas are doing a remarkable and well appreciated work of JPIC-ED. Their next outreach will be in Mansa Diocese!
Reportage from Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

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