Word of Gratitude form Lebombo Parish, South Africa


Lebombo Parish logoOn behalf of the Parish Pastoral Council and Fr. Crispin Vungwa, I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for the great support shown to us on the occasion of the untimely demise of Father Sebastien Ndrutsomi.   
Thank  you  for  the  gift  of  your  love,  sacrifice,  time  and  your  commitment  to  show solidarity and comfort to us.  Happiness is not found at the end of the journey but it is found as we plough along day after day with what God puts on our path.  The Parish was very united during these trying times and it is with renewed vigour that we will continue with the building of the Kingdom of God in our Lebombo community.  
May  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  His  Blessed  Mother  hold  you  their  loving  embrace and bless you abundantly.  

Jean-Pierre Le Scour

 

You remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Fr. JPM Le Scour, M.Afr

Priest-In-Charge

Message from our Superior General to Bishop Sandri, South Africa


Letter Sup Gen to Bishop SATo: Bishop Giuseppe Sandri, MCCJ,
Diocese of Witbank, South Africa
My Lord,         
Greetings of peace for the New Year 2014!
I   write  on   behalf   of  the   General  Council    of  the   Missionaries    of  Africa,  to  thank    you wholeheartedly   for  message   of   condolences   and   for  the   accompaniment   you   offered   to   our confrères in Lebombo as they mourned the sudden and tragic loss of our confrère, Fr. Sébastien Ndrustomi.   Fr.   Philippe   Docq,   the   Delegate   Superior,   did   keep   us   informed   of   the everything that was going on and we could see your pastoral care to them in these trying moments.
Thank you for the consoling and challenging homily you gave at the funeral of Fr Sébastien and for   welcoming   him   to   rest   with   his   fellow   pastoral   workers   in the diocesan cemetery. We do appreciate this final gesture that seals his belonging in a unique way.
May God continue to bless you in your ministry.
We keep you in our prayers and thank you in advance for yours for us.
Sincerely,
Fr. Richard Kuuia Baawobr, M.Afr
Superior General
Reply of the Bishop of WitbankBishop Joe Sandri
 

Sermon for the funeral of Fr. Sébastien Ndrutsomi


Bishop Joe Sandri_modifié-1Dear Fr. Philippe,
I hope you have reached Merivale safely.
Once again my condolence to Fr. Christopher, to you and all Missionaries of Africa for the passing away of Fr. Sébastien Ndrutsomi.
Thank for your presence in our Diocese. Pass my condolences also to your Fr. General and his Council.
Please find attached my Homily of the Funeral Mass.
We remain in touch and pray for each other.
+ Giuseppe (Joe) Sandri MCCJ
SERMON FOR THE FUNERAL OF FR. SÉBASTIEN NDRUTSOMI
Maria Trost 11th January 2014-01-09
We are gathered here before the altar of Christ to entrust to his Father’s love and mercy our brother and fellow priest Fr. Sébastien Ndrutsomi, so suddenly and tragically taken from us.
Brothers and sisters I warmly welcome all of you to this sad, painful and yet hopeful celebration. I welcome in a special way Fr. Christopher Chileshe, Provincial of The Missionaries of Africa of Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, Fr. Philippe Docq, the Delegate Superior of the Missionaries of Africa in South Africa, Fr. Crispin Vungwa and Fr. Jean Pierre Le Scour who lived together with Fr. Sébastien and all the Missionaries of Africa present and the Catholics of Lebombo Parish. You and all of us in the Diocese of Witbank share in the same shock, sadness and grief as we look at the body of Fr. Sébastien in front of us. 
We come to this church from many parts of South Africa and beyond, because, in spite of such a painful experience of death, we believe in life and in the life of Jesus Christ. To him we offer Fr. Sébastien and ourselves. We ask the Lord to welcome Fr. Sébastien in his kingdom. We ask the Lord to console us and all the bereaved. FULL TEXT
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A lot of emotion but dignified and well prepared ceremonies. Warm  support from the Bishop and the Comboni. The whole presbyterium of the  Diocese was present at Maria Trost and a sizable congolese community:  there are four congolese priests in the diocese and three communities  of sisters originating from Congo.
Seba will have a nice resting place but what a gaping hole is left in  the Sector!
Thanks for uniting and crying with us, let us pray and hope that there  will be somebody to pick up his spear and continue the fight!
Didier Lemaire

Obituary – Sébastien Ndrutsomi


Sébastien Ndrutsomi 2013BVery early on Sunday 5th of January, Father Sébastien left the parish station of Kamhlushwa – a huge location situated in the triangle between Swaziland, Mozambique and the Kruger Park – to assist a friend who was in trouble with his own car. Normally, Father Sébastien would have gone from there to serve the Christian Communities that he had been assigned to for that day. But somewhere along the way and for a reason that is not known, Father Sébastien lost control of his car, which rolled over several times outside the road. It took some time for the police to be alerted and for an ambulance to reach the scene. Father Sébastien was eventually taken to Tonga Hospital but passed away on arrival. His two companions, back in the parish station, Father Chrispin Vungwa and Brother Samuel Affoumane, had a very stressful morning as the first news they got let them believe that Father Sébastien had only been hurt, and when they did not meet him at the emergency ward, they wanted to verify at the mortuary, but nobody was there to let them in.
Father Sébastien Ndrutsomi was a Missionary of Africa, a Catholic Missionary Society that has been very active in planting the Church in many countries of Africa. He was born in North East Congo (DRC) some 37 years ago. He had done his pastoral training in the region of Siyabuswa (Pretoria) before finishing his 4 years of theological training and being ordained a priest some three and a half years ago. After his ordination, he came back to South Africa and was appointed as curate in the area of Kamhlushwa, known in the Diocese of Witbank as Lebombo Parish. 
Sébastien was a very dynamic, convinced, bold missionary, who was very fluent in the Zulu / Swathi language. He obviously had the fire – like the one of Pentecost – in his heart and in his life. He always said the truth with a smile, but never compromised. He was loved by the people he served and will be dearly missed. On Friday evening the 10th, the parishioners will spend the night in a vigil of thanksgiving and prayer for our brother Sébastien and, early on Saturday morning the 11th, they will accompany his body to Lydenburg where a solemn mass of funeral will be presided by Right Reverend Bishop Giuseppe (Joe) Sandri MCCJ assisted by Father Christopher Chileshe M.Afr, Provincial Superior of the Missionaries of Africa. Father Sébastien will be laid to rest in the cemetery of Maria Trost, where many priests and religious of Witbank Diocese were buried. We are expecting many priests and religious from the diocese who had come to know and appreciate Father Sébastien. Together with his brothers from the Missionaries of Africa and the parishioners of Lebombo Parish, they will thank God for the short but intensive missionary life of Father Sébastien. 
Go well my brother, hamba kahle. 
Philippe Docq, M.Afr
Delegate Superior for South Africa
Photos de l’ordination Sacerdotale de Sébastien Ndrutsomi le 21 septembre 2010 à Bunia, en République Démocratique du Congo. Il a été ordonné par Mgr Dieudonné Uringi, évêque du diocèse de Bunia.
See the Profile of Father Sébastien on this PDF file
Voir la note nécrologique du Père Sébastien sur ce fichier PDF

Funerals of Father Sébastien Ndrutsomi in South Africa


Bishop Joe Sandri_modifié-1According to Jean-Pierre Le Scour and Chrispin Vungwa, it was the will of Sébastien that he should be buried on the Parish grounds in Kamhlushwa near the grotto, would the unlikely event of his death occur. Unfortunately, it has happened. But after consulting with the Sector Council of South Africa, the Provincial of SAP Christopher Chileshe and the Bishop Joe Sandri, the programme for the burial of Sébastien has been re-arranged as follows.
On Friday evening the 10th January and through the night, there will be a Prayer Vigil for Sébastien at Kamhlushwa. At around 5am on Saturday morning, a memorial service will be held. The body will then be taken to Maria Trost Diocesan Centre where a solemn Funeral Mass will be presided over by Bishop Sandri, assisted by our Provincial if he can make it, at around 10am. Sébastien will then be laid to rest in the Diocesan cemetery. The people from the community of Kamhlushwa who wish to accompany Sebastien to the cemetery are invited to hire a bus. A financial contribution could be asked from the people but the Missionaries of Africa are willing to pay to the costs. 
Dear Jean-Pierre, Chrispin and Samuel, we keep you in our prayers. We are all affected by the sudden death of our brother Sébastien but you are certainly more affected than anybody else. Be strong. 
Philippe Docq 2012The provincial from PAC, Placide Lubamba, is in communion with us. A memorial
Mass will take place in DRCongo at the same time as our funeral Mass meaning at about 9am local time in Congo. A message using SMS will be sent at the very moment when Mass is starting.
Let us continue to thank God for all that Sébastien was for many people, being the zealous missionary we know of him. Let us pray for his family back in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Let us pray for our confreres of Lebombo who will feel bitterly his absence. May he rest in peace!
Philippe Docq, M.Afr
Raymond McQuarrie 2Latest news from Raymond A. McQuarrie, M.Afr.
Yesterday evening at 5pm we celebrated Mass in St. Kizito church in Kamhlushwa in memory of our dear brother Sébastien. The church was completely full, and one could see and feel the real sense of loss and sorrow among the people.  Many local priests attended and the Mass was presided over by Fr. Protas Zwane, the Vicar General in Witbank Diocese.
The Community of Lebombo asked me if I would be able to do the homily for the Memorial Mass. I felt truly privileged to be asked to do this and I thank the Community for affording me this honour.
As we celebrated our Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection in the Memorial Mass, we also celebrated the life of our dear brother Sébastien, despite the deep sadness and grief we all felt. Emotions were very high.
We read out some of the beautiful words of consolation from Bishop Sandri’s e-mail as we celebrate the Epiphany, the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ among us. He offered this comfort that our brother Sébastien now experiences, in the peace of Christ, that great vision.
The Confreres and entire parish are in shock, but people are rallying together around their priests in busy preparation of the ceremonies for our brother Sébastien’s final farewell.
With every good wish and God bless.
On behalf of the Southern Africa Province
Our condolences to all our confreres of South Africa, especially Jean-Pierre Le Scour, Affian Samuel Affoumane and Chrispin Vungwa of Lebombo.
Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr, Provincial Secretary
Other news: 

Tragic car accident of Sébastien Ndrutsomi in South Africa

Tragic car accident of Sébastien Ndrutsomi in South Africa


Sebastien_Ndrutsomi_02By Philippe Docq, M.Afr
We do not know too much of what really happened. Apparently, Sébastien went out very early on Sunday morning, responding to a call from one of his fellow Congolese friends who was in trouble with his own car. On the way, Sébastien lost the control of his car, which rolled over. Sébastien was later transported to hospital but was declared dead upon arrival to hospital. The body will only be released by the police after autopsy, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.
The funerals are likely to be on Saturday.
Thank you for your support. Very much needed. Very much appreciated. Philippe

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Here is a photo taken at our Quarterly Meeting in March last year. Sébastien is the 4th from the left.

So called Zone of Primary Evangelization!


The first missionaries of Africa arrived in South Africa in 1972 in view of ministering to Malawian mineworkers who needed pastoral and spiritual care. Over time, our missionary vision developed into parishes and a formation house in theology.
I consider myself working in a zone of primary evangelization. Many friends of mine think that I am sent to people who do not know Jesus yet, thus to people whose beliefs do not reflect Christian faith or in the midst of non-Christian believers. To make clear, I am sent amongst people who, in large majority, are Christian believers.
Those Christians belong to many hundreds of different churches whereby Roman Catholic Christians are a little minority. Even 80 % of our Catholics come from these other Christian Churches. Some of them belonged to one, two or three other churches before discovery the Catholic Church.
Many women become members of our Church by joining the religion of their husband. This is underpinned by cultural rule. Some who feel cheated, disappointed and confused by the leaders of their former Church also decide to join us seeking hope and newness. A good number is helped by friends to find their way to our Church.
Sebastien_Ndrutsomi_02Therefore, it is difficult to assess the knowledge or understanding of the Catholic faith of our followers. It is quite common to see young people coming to join our Church being the only member of their family to do so. I baptize many children without considering the faith and Christian life of their biological parents, but rather the faith of their grand-mothers who belong to our Church. Paradoxically, I am surprised with the pride of some catholic families. Though they may not practice their faith, they strongly affirm that they are Catholics. We also see children who were baptized in our Church going to pray elsewhere. Few old and young men are found in our Church.  Finally, many of our families are made up of single mothers and children. I also see some lapsed members coming back to be reintegrated. Who is supposed to receive Holy Communion and who is not? Only God knows!
Our challenge is to find the proper way to teach the Catholic Faith to Christians who are coming from other Christian doctrines. How do you ensure that the catechesis offered to them is carried throughout the life of a single Catholic member in the midst of other church goers? How can you expect to have catechists and community leaders to remain faithful to the teaching of the Gospel as presented by our Church taking into account their very shallow and mixed knowledge from previous churches? In our parish context, the primary evangelization is foremost a process of teaching and empowering the Catholic little minority in order to be loyal to Jesus Christ through a life of faith, hope and love.
Various seminars are organized for this purpose to enable the members of our Church to deepen their relationship with Christ, gain confidence and a sound sense of belonging. These formation days are strengthened by regular visits of communities and individuals. The aim is to cultivate a pedagogy that allows dialogue through sharing and debate with previous faiths in order to guide it through the clear doctrine of the Catholic Church. We are glad to see that the local Church is following this approach.
This has less to do with going to convert non-Christian believers, but it is positively to preach Jesus by revealing and professing the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. Primary evangelization becomes a ministry to encounter the members of many Christian churches who want to believe in Jesus Christ, to celebrate and live his Gospel in the way our Church believes, celebrates and lives it. It is an internal dialogue between a Christian with a Catholic Christian. You may better think that the one who wants to embark on a catechetical journey with you is not a full Christian, but you may not change his mind; he knows that he is a Christian.
And what if he repeats: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all… (Eph.4:5-6)

Sébastien Ndrutsomi, M.Afr