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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Links: Lavigerie Formation Centre, Mchini Parish, Chipata.

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”.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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