Newsletter South Africa No 68 – 27th October 2016


newsletter-south-africa-no-68-titlenewsletter-south-africa-no-68-ordainedGreetings! Surely, a very important event which took place on 1st October is the ordination to the diaconate of 6 of our students in Merrivale. Being at the end of their third year of theology in Cedara, they were ordained deacons. They are Alfred and Daniel (both Rwandese), Amorain (Togolese), Anthony (Ghanaian), Eric, (Mexican) and Theophile (Burkinabe). On the same day, eleven candidates of second year received the order of acolyte, their first step toward priesthood. They are Philippe (Malian), Christopher (Zambian), Martin, Robert and Victor (all Burkinabe), Éric and Pierre (both Congolese), Ryan (Filipino), Silas (Burundian), Dominic (Indian), and Francis (Nigerian).

Our deacons ordained last year – now in their fourth and last year of theology – will, in the coming weeks, go to their respective home-countries to be ordained priests and take a well-deserved holiday with their families. After two or three months’ rest, they will go to the missions where they have been appointed. They are Robin (Zambian, appointed to Tunisia), Damian (Ugandan, appointed to DR Congo), Alphonse (Rwandese, appointed to Burkina Faso), Albert (Burkinabe, appointed to Tunisia) and Konrad (Tanzanian, appointed to South Africa). CONGRATULATIONS to all! We place you all in our prayers that you may be good and faithful missionaries. These are really good news to celebrate Mission Month!

As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our foundation (1868-2018), we rejoice in having so many young Africans joining our ranks! At present there are 492 students in our formation programme (all in different African countries); 90% of them come from within Africa. During the first hundred years of our existence, our candidates came from Europe and North America. In Africa, our priority was to promote the diocesan clergy, and not our own missionary Society; we wanted first to establish a strong local Church. Only in the last 30 to 40 years have we started to recruit in Africa for our own. At present, 284 of our members are African. Our new Superior General and 2 of his 4 assistants are from Africa. Thus, we are starting to fulfil the wish of our founder: the initial work of evangelisation would be done by European and North American M.Afr., but it would be continued by the Africans themselves! Yet, we are still waiting and hoping for some South Africans to join us!

newsletter-south-africa-no-68-pdf-coverThis month, Patrick, our only candidate, wrote from Ghana. Here is a short excerpt from his email (in the box to the right). As you can see, we put a lot of emphasis on the learning of the local language, so we may be closer to the heart of the people we work with. Also, I had a chance to visit Pascal (see last month’s Newsletter) on 13th October in Assisi; he is really working hard on learning Zulu! Keep it up, Pascal! In Henley, they are waiting for you!

God bless you as his missionary. Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

Our Mission Newsletter Edition No 8 – South Africa


MISSIO LogoHi dear friends of OUR MISSION!

The annual General Assembly of all the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio) took place in Rome from 30 May to 4 June 2016 and was well attended by the majority of the 116 National Directors, (representing many more countries as some of the directors represent more than one country) unfortunately some few directors were unable to attend because of visa issues.

The Assembly grants a wonderful opportunity to share experiences, challenges and the realities of the specific countries in which we work. It is so special to meet those who represent Catholic life and mission in countries which normally receive less exposure like: East Timor, Taiwan, Indonesia, Iran, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, amongst others. It opens one’s mind to the amazing universality of the Church and its particular mission activity in places where Catholics and other Christian churches are often tiny minorities.

We are thankful to the Lord that this year once again, through the generosity and sacrifices of the faithful throughout the world we were able to distribute in a just manner help for thousands of projects originating in over 1150 dioceses mostly in Asia and Africa. The challenge that we are facing over the past few years is the reality of a constant decrease in funds from donations and an ever increasing need by young Churches for help to properly train local priests, Religious and Lay leaders to evangelise the people as well as to provide much needed help in the precarious situations of the local people in these regions.

General Assembly of all the National DirectorsOur biggest challenge is to promote the Universal Missionary activity of the Church in such a way that all the faithful feel involved, enthusiastic and committed and realise the urgency of the evangelisation process throughout the whole world and the need for their active participation and collaboration.

All, without exception, are called to be involved in this missionary activity whether they are from so-called donor countries or from young churches. The Catholic Church in Africa and Asia are going to have to become ever more protagonists in the missionary activity of the Church as increasingly European and other so-called developed countries become more and more secularised and their people declare themselves as belonging to no faith.

The Church in Africa urgently needs to become ever more self-supporting and self-reliant—we need local clergy and Religious. We also need to become truly missionary by sending Priests and Religious as missionaries and by supporting financially the new mission territories of the world. The time is ripe for the Catholic Church in Southern Africa to take up the challenge and live her Missionary responsibility!

Fr. Gordon Rees mccj, National (Missio SACBC) PMS Director – South Africa, Botswana & Swaziland.

Click here to open the PDF file of the magazine.

The Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in South Africa 1970-2015


Coffe Table logo

However, soon the need for chaplains to serve other miners extends the work of the Chaplaincy and becomes known as the Catholic Mine Chaplaincy. The bulk of the work takes place in four Dioceses (Archdiocese of Johannesburg and the Dioceses of Rustenburg, Witbank and Dundee). Over the following twenty years, the responsibility to serve the mines becomes more and more entrusted to the local Church; gradually, the handover to local parishes is done between 1992 and 1994. 

At the same time, as the M.Afr become more known in South Africa, we see new requests for more Missionaries to come. In rather quick succession, communities are established in Phuthaditjhaba, and later on in Bohlokong, both in Bethlehem Diocese; Tweefontein and Siyabuswa in Kwandebele, and Diepsloot, all in Pretoria Archdiocese; Kamhlushwa and Malelane in Lebombo, and later on, in Kwaguqa, all in Witbank Diocese. 

In 2008, the M.Afr start a Formation Centre in Merrivale, near Cedara St. Joseph’s Theological Institute, in Durban Archdiocese. Our most recent insertion in this archdiocese is Henley parish, close to Merrivale. This gives a chance to our candidates in formation to get some practical pastoral experience.

Presence in Johannesburg Archdiocese

In 1987, the M.Afr take three parishes in Soweto: Zola, Zondi and Emdeni. In 1992, they start a new Parish in Protea North. These four parishes are handed over to the local clergy in 1996.

On 1st January 1994, the M.Afr open the Orange Farm Pastoral Region, which is to become a real hive of active development projects. Eight churches are served systematically in this area, until its handover in April 2012. From 1998 to 2004, three M.Afr served in Lumko Institute.

In 2003, the M.Afr, who specialize in dialogue with non-Christian religions, take over the parish of Lenasia where we find a dense population of Muslims and Hindus. 

A Community House in Edenglen, Johannesburg, opened in 1998, assumes the administration of the South African Sector. Many confreres from different countries pass through this guest house. The resident priests of this community offer much appreciated service to local parishes and religious communities in that area. They also have helped celebrating Mass at Radio Veritas every week since 2008. 

The Mission Continues

The Missionary of Africa presence in South Africa over the years has tried to respond to the requests of the local Church, and in particular, to requests of building a vibrant local Church, especially where the Church was not established. This has happened in the areas mentioned above, territories now served by local priests. Dwindling vocations, old age and a loss of two confreres at the hands of assassins, coupled with a policy of eventually handing over to the local Church, has resulted in a reduction of parish commitments to Malelane, Lenasia and Henley.

As needs are deemed to be greater in other parts of Africa, for the time being there is no plan to extend our presence in South Africa – unless we get more vocations, thus increasing our personnel -, but rather to consolidate our actual commitments. The M.Afr have tried to be true to their vocation: establishing a vibrant missionary Church, handing over and moving on!

Note: this short article was written in view of a ‘Coffee-Table Book’ published by the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. Each community/parish/Institute was invited to write one page size in that book.

Few days in Edenglen, South Africa


Serge St-Arneault Filya 2 - CopieBy Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr
I was privileged to spent few days in South Africa and be welcomed at our house in Johannesburg, South Africa. Better known as Edenglen house, every confrere is warmly received by Didier Lemaine, Michel Meunier, Didier Michon and Seán O’Leary.
I enjoyed to accompany Michel to Radio Veritas where he is celebrating Mass from time to time at exactly 12:30. This Catholic radio station is quite close to Edenglen house.
Many thanks for helping all of us to feel at home. The following pictures give a glance of the outside building while, in the kitchen, you can recognised Jos Van Boxel cooking and serving wine alongside with Seán. Jos attended the ordination to the diaconate of Antony Alckias and Tomasz Podrazik in Merrivale. Norbert Angibaud was also there coming from Mozambique on his way back home to France for good after forty years of missionary life in Malawi and Mozambique. Norbert was welcomed by Didier Michon at O.R. Tembo International Airport which is at ten minutes’ drive from Edenglen.
In the chapel of Edenglen House, a special corner is dedicated to the confreres who worked in South Africa but died, two of them in brutal circumstances: Georges Bodinier (24th Sept. 1941 – 3rd Feb. 1985), Francis Carey (20th Sept. 1938 – 5th May 2010), Josef Stumpf (29th Nov. 1930 – 19th August 2006), Raymond Bourque (6th Jan. 1931 – 30th June 1978) and Louis Blondel (14th June 1939 – 7th Dec. 2009). May they rest in peace!

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Ordination to the Diaconate of Antony Alckias and Tomasz Podrazik


Tomasz Podrazik 2013Antony Alckias 2013The ordination of Antony and Tomasz took place on the 14th December 2013 at Saint Raphael Parish, Kwa Mzimba, Archdiocese of Durban, South Africa. His Eminence Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban confer the diaconate to our new confreres. The location of the church is also known as Henley where our confreres are ministering, Philippe Docq being the Parish Priest.
The liturgy was well prepared with songs mainly in isiZulu but also in English, Kiswahili and Lingala. Many confreres were present including Fr. Jos Van Boxel from Rome and Bishop Jan De Groef of Bethlelem Diocese in South Africa.
The Christian Communities of KwaMzimba – St. Raphael, Enthembeni – St. Pius, KwaDeda – Our Lady of Fatima, KwaGezubuso – St. Veronica, and KwaNgubeni – St. Joseph congratulate the new Deacons.
The Missionaries of Africa, Merrivale Formation House Community, thank wholeheartedly also all those who responded to the invitation to this ordination and in a special way those who have contributed to prepare this celebration.
Our Lady, Queen of Africa
Pray for us!

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 Also:

Missionary Oath of Antony Alckias and Tomasz Podrazik in Merrivale, South Africa