Newsletter South Africa No 70 – 28th December 2016


newsletter-south-africa-no-70-titleGreetings! We are still in the Christmas Season and, hopefully, in the Christmas spirit! But this Newsletter will be short because, as you read in my special message “A FREAK ACCIDENT”, I am now reduced to the use of only one hand; it is an awkward way of typing!

newsletter-south-africa-no-70-michel-meunier-with-justinOne good positive point, following that unfortunate accident, is that I have a very good “private driver and helper”. Indeed, Justin Ramde, a Burkinabe, going into his third year of theology in Cedara and living at our House of Formation in Merrivale, has been here since last Friday. He takes some weeks from his holiday to come here to help me. He has been very good, not only driving me safely here and there for different pastoral commitments, but also helping me during Mass (like holding the ciborium so I may distribute Holy Communion with my healthy hand), and showing himself very much of service for doing various things requiring both hands!

He was very happy to take part in the Christmas Eve Mass at Mother Teresa’s Home; the small chapel was packed with surely more than 100 poor and sick residents, adults and children, together with the Sisters. They sang wholeheartedly for the birth of Jesus and everybody was in a festive mood. After Mass, each one received a present from the Sisters. On Christmas day, we were at City Deep for the francophone community. The church was full and the choir was really good.

After Mass, four doctors from the congregation gave me a free medical consultation! They told me that the healing seems to be taking its course well. Thank you also for all your prayers!

I want to wish you all a very good Christmas Season and a Happy New Year!

Fr. Michel, M.Afr. Vocation Director.

Our Mission Newsletter Edition No 10 – South Africa


our-missionFr. Gordon Rees mccj,  National Director, Missio SACBC / PMS -South Africa, Botswana & Swaziland

Dear Friends,

As we come to the end of 2016 we look back with gratitude to the Lord for all the graces and blessings that we have received. The National Directors of Missio / Pontifical Mission Societies are extremely thankful to know that millions of people have been helped spiritually, physically and intellectually through the solidarity and generosity of our donors throughout the world. We ask God to bless and protect the Missionaries who dedicate their lives to bringing Jesus’ new life, forgiveness, mercy, hope and healing touch to all Nations.

joseph-and-mary-jpegIn this our 10th edition of OUR MISSION we also give the official statistics relating to the Catholic Church in the whole world. The number of bishops, priests and deacons have increased slightly, the number of Religious have decreased. Unfortunately the average age in all categories has increased. We all should work in promoting vocations to Priesthood and Religious life along with our regular prayer for new vocations and for all our serving pastors and leaders in our Church.

Sadly with the numerous scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years, one can become blinded to the so many dedicated and good persons who serve and labour in the same Catholic Church throughout the world helping millions of students, orphans, sick, elderly and abandoned persons. The Catholic Church certainly does more than any government, NGO, other religious group or charitable organization, in reaching out to and serving in situations of suffering, exclusion, discrimination and injustice throughout the world irrespective of whether those concerned are Catholic or not.

As we look forward to the celebration of Christmas and the beginning of a New Year, let us commit ourselves as Christians living in South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland to be more open to the Universal Mission of the Catholic Church. To move from a self-absorbed and self-interested view—only the needs and challenges of my parish and diocese— to a truly catholic vision where we become concerned also about the needs and extreme challenges that our brothers and sisters face in other parts of the world, in particular in areas of first evangelization and where the Church is persecuted and struggling to survive and grow.

I wish you and yours abundant blessings, joy and peace from the Christ Child in this Christmas season! Let Jesus dwell in your life in order that you may be transformed ever more to make Him present to our world!

PDF file: our-mission10

Newsletter South Africa No 69 – 29th November 2016


newsletter-south-africa-no-69-titleGreetings! I hope you are well and that you have fully entered into the beautiful time of Advent! Yes, this is an occasion for each Christian to prepare to receive the Lord in a missionary way. Which means to involve others in this great hope and expectation of Jesus who is coming at Christmas. On the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis reminded us that “The Gospel is not trying to frighten us, but to open our horizons to further dimensions, giving meaning even to everyday events.” This is an invitation to open our hearts and minds to others, thus to live as missionaries wherever we are. The Pope adds: “we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes at the hour which we don’t expect.” He concludes by saying that this time is “an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready…” On 14th November, I went to Malawi. The first night, I stayed at Mua Parish where I started as a young missionary in 1970; a long time ago! As part of the Parish life, Fr. Claude Boucher, M.Afr, from my home diocese in Canada has established an art school and a museum to help keep the Malawian culture. I suggest you visit their website at kungoni.org. You can see the museum and different aspects of his work with his team of artists. Then, from 15th to 21st, I was in Salima, on the shore of Lake Malawi. There, I did my yearly retreat in the house of retired bishop Rémi Sainte-Marie, bishop emeritus of Dedza Diocese and archbishop emeritus of Lilongwe arch-diocese. He welcomed me warmly and respected my times of prayer and silence. It was a good spiritual experience.

From the 22nd to the 26th in Chipata Pre-Formation Centre (Zambia), we held our meeting of Vocation Directors of the Southern African Province. We were from the four Sectors of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

vocation-directors-in-chipata-nov-2016This new Centre in Chipata currently has its second intake of 18 aspirants from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia (nobody from South Africa!). From October to May, they are spending time discerning their vocation, exploring their self-knowledge with psychological assessments, in order to understand better their deepest aspirations and desires in the light of God’s call. They also study the Bible, Church history, liturgy, the missionary dimension of our lives as Christians, and how to reach out to people, especially the poor, and how to share with them the Good News. They also have activities such as manual work, sports, etc. After this intense period, if they are still decided and if they are accepted, they will be called to go to the First Phase of their formal training: three years of philosophy in Balaka, Malawi.

This month, our aspirant Patrick Kadima wrote an article for our Provincial blog. To read it, go to our blog at mafrsaprovince.com.

 Wishing you all the best for a blessed Christmas! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

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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 9 – South Africa


captureOctober is the month that the Church dedicates specifically to the Missions. We begin the month celebrating the feast of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1 Oct), she along with St Francis Xavier are patrons of the Missions.

During this month the faithful in all parishes should be informed about the realities of the Church’s mission activities throughout the world. It is the responsibility of each and every priest and pastoral agent to explain to their parishioners the immense needs and poverty, both physical and spiritual, of so many Catholic communities throughout the world, particularly in so called “Mission Countries”.

monja-isabel-sola-matasEvery Catholic should be well informed as to the tremendous necessity that remains for the missionary activity of the Church in so many parts of the world. Billions of people still have not received the Good News of Jesus Christ. In too many countries small Christian minorities live in situations of poverty, alienation and even persecution. This past year we have experienced the abduction and/or killing of numerous missionaries — priests, religious and laity. This past week a Spanish missionary, Sr Isabele Sola Matas was shot dead in Haiti.

There are over 7 billion people living in the world, about 2,2bn are Christians, of which, just over half are Catholics meaning that only about 16% of the world’s population are Catholic. Sadly 1,1 bn people claim to have no religion whatsoever. If we are committed Catholics then we have to be Missionary Disciples and these statistics should move us to action. A true Christian cannot be indifferent to the plight of billions who live without the liberating message of Jesus Christ.

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Newsletter South Africa No 66 – 28th August 2016


Newsletter South Africa no 66 titleGreetings! I hope you are well. I just received this letter here, on the right) from Patrick who explains where he is now and where he will stay for the coming two years. Enjoy reading it.

Dear Brothers and Sisters Greeting from afar!!! Ghana, Tamale in Nyankpala, where I am appointed for pastoral experience. I arrived in Ghana on 19th July, and so far I am just observing. Let me give you first an idea of what this period of pastoral experience is all about and then update you with what I have been doing so far, and what I will do, before I start swimming fully in these two years of pastoral experience.

The aim of these two years is to train me and prepare me for missionary life. These are years when the apostolic and pastoral components (working with youth, community development, various visits to the local people, catechism classes, to mention but a few) are predominant. The main task is for the apostolate, as well as a time of discernment. It will be a time of test to see if I have the necessary qualities to live a missionary life. This is by being a disciple of Jesus in the society of the Missionaries of Africa. Moreover, it is still a period of confirmation of the choice I made during my spiritual year. Briefly, those few lines give you a picture of what the period of pastoral experience is all about.

So far I have been assigned to a community in Tamale, Nyankpala. It is made of four members, two confrere-priests, John Amona (Ghana) and Gazena Haile (Ethiopia) and one who is in his second year of pastoral experience, Martial Kedem (Burkina-Faso). The four of us, from different parts of Africa, form a community of Missionaries of Africa in Nyankpala.

Newsletter South Africa No 66  FrFrom September 4th I will be going for my cultural classes (to learn the culture of the local people). This will last for a month. Thereafter, I will be sent to one of the families in the village, to learn the local language and to deepen my knowledge of the local culture. Last Sunday I went to the Ordination of Fr. Mathew Benze in Bolgatanga. This is where initially I was appointed (my appointment was changed to Nyankpala when I arrived in Accra). I was so happy to meet the big family of the M. Afr. I met Serge Boroto and Amani Dieudonné (who both did their theology in South Africa), and Timothée Bationo (who is in charge of Formation in Chipata, Zambia).

I will update you more as time goes by. I ask for your prayers that I may constantly listen to God’s voice and continue trusting Him in my life. I too, will keep you in my prayers. Happy new month of September! May Christ’s peace be with you all. Your Brother in Christ. Patrick Kalonji Kadima.

Here, we just received a M.Afr student, who will be in South Africa for two years as well, for his pastoral experience. He is now with us in Edenglen, but next week he will go to KwaZulu Natal to join his community in Henley. But before starting to work there, he will go spend at least three months in Assisi, near Port Shepstone to learn IsiZulu. He is from Burkina Faso, and his name is Pascal Sambi. He spent one year with Patrick in Kasama, Zambia, for his novitiate. Welcome, Pascal!

On Saturday, 27th, in St. Patrick’s Parish, Larochelle, a Lay Leaders’ Conference gathered more than 200 people from all parishes of Johannesburg Archdiocese.

Our Missionary Group was given a chance to explain that we must be missionaries not only “ad intra” (among ourselves), but also “ad extra” (outside our own country). I gave a talk in that sense, and also Bishop Jan DeGroef, M.Afr spoke abundantly in this same line. The people were very interested and promised to do their best to foster missionary vocations in their parishes.

We continue to pray for missionary vocations. Our Lady of the Assumption, (whom we just celebrated last Sunday) please, pray for us and with us for more young men to answer generously the call your Son. Amen! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

Newsletter South Africa No. 66 August 2016

Newsletter South Africa No 65 – 31st July 2016


Newsletter South Africa no 65 titleMy dear Friends, Greetings! I just arrived from my leave in Canada on Thursday noon. Two night flights with only 2 or 3 hours’ sleep, and the jet lag (6 hours’ difference) make me feel very sleepy and I often doze off at any time of the day. Then I wake up in the middle of the night without being able to sleep again until the morning hours! Those two long flights (6 hours and 11 hours respectively) and 12 hours in Paris, took me back here without major incident or accident. Thank God! In this day and age of terrorism, one never knows what might happen! In Paris, I had the chance of meeting Fr. Didier Michon, who was here in South Africa for a good number of years. He just turned 81 and seems to be quite well. My 2 months’ holiday went by very fast! I met very many people, first my family then many friends. At the Provincial House, I met a young man from my home town who shows some interest in joining the M.Afr. He has worked in various well-paying jobs, but he wants to do something deeper with his life. He is soon going to one of our missions in Africa to build up an experience of being a missionary.

Newsletter South Africa No 65 ANewsletter South Africa No 65 BOne day I went to a Trappist (1) Monastery for a short visit and a quiet time of prayer. There, I met a former neighbour of mine (Brother Bruno). He is 8 years younger than me, therefore I did not know him very well when I was young. But when he was 21 years old, after some years playing the drums in different rock bands, he joined the Trappists, wanting to give his life to God in a deeper way. He is now 64 and, with a permanent smile, he looks so happy and serene! We had a good chat together. I was hoping to rest after my arrival, but there were so many requests for Masses and Confessions! All three of us (Fr. Christophe Boyer, Fr. George Okwii and myself) have been fully busy replacing Priests who are gone either on holidays or to the World Youth Days in Poland.

Patrick Kadima wrote some short messages saying that he had arrived in Ghana, diocese of Tamale in the north, for his 2 years of pastoral experience. I presume he is now starting to learn the local language. Hopefully, he will send more news for the August Newsletter.

I wish you a very good month. Do not forget the important feast of Our Lady of the Assumption (15th August, but celebrated here the following Sunday, 21st August). She is the Patron Saint of South Africa. Pray Mother Mary to help our country, especially to foster more peace and understanding; let us ask her to intervene to God on our behalf for a quiet and peaceful election day. Also, ask her to enlighten you on your vocation.

God bless you all! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

(1) The Trappists are one of the most strict order of monks; they spend most of their time in silence, praying and working.

Newsletter South Africa No. 65 July 2016

Newsletter South Africa No 64 – 20th June 2016


Newsletter South Africa no 64 titleThis Newsletter comes to you earlier than usual, because in the next ten days I will be on a long trip with some friends in a part of Canada that I have never visited: we will be touring the Magdalen Islands, in the far eastern part of the country, between the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Look on the map!

Newsletter South Africa No. 64 June 2016 Magdalen IslandsAs you can see, this Newsletter is also quite short. I am out of the South African context and also I am kept quite busy with my relatives and friends, without mentioning many M.Afr confreres whom I am meeting here after many years; we have so many stories to tell one another and a lot of news to catch up on. The most important piece of news this last month has been the election of our new General Council in Rome. Last month, I already told you about the new Superior General, Fr. Stanley Lubungo. This time, I simply send you an attachment introducing all five members of the new General Team. You surely will notice that they are men of great experience, having lived in different countries and worked in various fields. This is what we expect of Missionaries of Africa. Hopefully, reading about the background of each one will inspire you.

Newsletter South Africa No. 64 June 2016 Circus people introduced their tiger to Pope FrancisI just want to add one remark about Pope Francis’ approach to people during this JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY. I am so struck by his very down-to-earth way of interacting with people, just like Jesus who went about, meeting people where they were. Pope Francis visits people, especially the poor and unsophisticated. And he invites them to come celebrate the Year of Mercy at the Vatican, whoever they are, whatever work they do, the sick and healthy alike. Recently, he met with people working in circuses and encouraged them to continue bringing joy through their entertainment. He often focuses on joy (see his beautiful exhortation The Joy of the Gospel); a Christian is someone who lives in the joy of the Risen Lord.

In the midst of our unsettled and struggling society, may we give more joy and hope to the people we meet! This is surely a very good way to be a missionary!

God bless you all! Fr. Michel Meunier, M.Afr

New General Council 2016

Newsletter South Africa No 62 – 29th April 2016


Newsletter South Africa No 62 titleGreetings! I hope you are keeping well and that this month has been an occasion to reflect and pray more on your vocation. On April 17, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church celebrated the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This year’s theme was: “The Church, Mother of Vocations”. Pope Francis wrote: ‘Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus.’ The Church – and don`t forget: you/we are the Church – is where vocations take their root. Pope Francis also writes in his message for Vocation Sunday: Vocations are born within the Church… Vocations grow within the Church… and… Vocations are sustained by the Church. If you belong to a lively and prayerful parish, you can discover your vocation in the context of that community: get involved in it and have regular contacts with your priest. Are you active in your parish community? Are you committed in helping its growth in one way or the other? If you find that your parish is not lively enough, talk with your priest and with elders of your community, get other youths together and DO something about it! This is a good way to be a missionary!

From 25th to 27th of this month, I went to Thohoyandou in Limpopo to enquire and learn more about the life and death of Blessed Benedict Daswa. Indeed, last year when he was beatified on 13th September 2015, I was not able to go. I was very lucky to stay over with Blessed Benedict’s cousin who knew him very well. On the second day, we were joined by Sister Claudette, who, with a team of lay people, worked very hard to promote Benedict’s beatification. With the two of them, I had the chance to visit all the places where Benedict lived, taught and became a headmaster. We celebrated Mass in the small church which he built with the help of his learners and the local Christians. I met also many members of his family, some of his children and especially his dear mother who is now 90 years old. Blessed Daswa left a very memorable souvenir in the minds and hearts of most people not only of his area, but also of the whole of South Africa. He was a real saint who lived his catholic faith to the end, even to accepting death. He always fought for truth, and we all know that he died for having opposed witchcraft which causes so much harm in society.

Newsletter South Africa No 62 picturebWhat is interesting about Benedict is that he was a very ordinary boy who grew up in a remote village of Limpopo in a very loving family; he was baptised as a catholic only when he was 17 years old he became a teacher, got married and fathered eight children. He became a real leader in his village, always guided by his catholic faith in action, and not only in words. He had a great love for all people, especially the youth whom he trained to become real good Christians and citizens. He can be a real inspiration and role model for each one of us. Pray through his intercession; ask him to help you discover your Christian vocation.

Keep well and keep smiling! God bless you! Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr

Newsletter South Africa No 60 – 26th February, 2016


Newsletter South Africa no 60 titlelentGreetings in this season of Lent! By the way, do you know what the meaning of the word “Lent” is? Here is a definition from a Catholic website: “The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon lencten, meaning “Spring”, and lenctentid which literally means not only “Springtide”, but also was the word for “March”, the month in which the majority of Lent falls” (Catholic Education Resource Centre). Of course, here in the southern hemisphere, the time of Lent does not fall in spring, but at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. So, the meaning of new life brought in nature through the spring flowers, plants and leaves, is not so obvious. Therefore, let us ourselves be signs of this new life brought to us by Jesus through his passion, death and resurrection. May this Lenten season be an opportunity for each of us to give life through our prayer, acts of mercy and self-sacrifice.

I think the big news for this month is that our Superior General Fr, Richard Baawobr (Ghanaian) has been chosen by Pope Francis to become the Bishop of his home diocese of Wa in northern Ghana! This appointment comes just at the end of his term at the helm of our Society. Indeed, he will be ordained bishop on 7th May, and on 13th he will preside our 28th General Chapter (held every six years) when a new Superior General will be elected. Congratulations!

In the same line of thoughts, another good piece of good news: the appointment of Fr. Duncan Tsoke, Vicar General of Johannesburg Archdiocese, as Auxiliary Bishop. We are very pleased with the choice. Fr. Tsoke, as a young priest, spent more than one year with us, M.Afr, for his training in pastoral work. We are happy as well to consider Bishop Abel Gabuza (Kimberley Diocese) and Bishop Peter Holiday (Kroonstad Diocese) as our good friends because they too spent some time with us in their training as young priests. Fr. Duncan will be ordained Bishop on 30th April in Regina Mundi, Soweto. Congratulations!

Jones Kawisha 2016B_JPEGAnother important piece of news: a young M.Afr has just arrived in South Africa to be a staff member in our Formation House of Merrivale and to teach at Cedara. A few years ago, in our Provincial Blog, he introduced himself: “I am Jones Kawisha from Kabwe, Zambia. I was ordained priest in 2008 and appointed to the Maghreb province. I am in the community of Tizi Ouzou in Algeria since 2009. Encounter has been my priority and my main apostolate. My experience has been positive and rich. In September this year, I will be going to Paris to study Theology of Religions in order to have a broader understanding of different religions to enrich my encounter apostolate….” In 2011, on his way to Zambia, for a well-deserved holiday before going to Paris, Fr. Jones spent a few days with us in Edenglen community. On 9th July 2011, some of you aspirants had a chance to meet him during a Come & See in Koinonia. There, he gave us a very interesting talk on his vocation and his work as a missionary among Muslims in Algeria (See Newsletter No 6, 25th July 2011). Fr. Jones did his noviciate in Burkina Faso. Fr. Jan De Groef, M.Afr, was then one of his formators, and is now bishop of Bethlehem Diocese in the Free State.

Only One RaceThis month, we engaged on an anti-racism campaign called “Only One Race, The Human Race”. We printed fifty thousand leaflets which we distribute in parishes, schools and any other public areas. The need for racial harmony has never been so urgent in South Africa since the end of apartheid. Let us pray for a better understanding and love among all people. Please, pray also for those who paid for the printing of these leaflets.

Wishing you all a good Lenten journey and a happy ascent to Easter!

Newsletter South Africa No 60

Pre-First Cycle Formation Centre, Chipata, January to June 2016 In-Take.


Propaedeutic 01_modifié-1By Fr. Camille Konkobo

The Southern African Province has made it possible to have their own ‘Propaedeutic’, meaning a Centre that welcomes young men of between 20 and 26 years of age. They have heard the call of God and want to confirm it through community, prayer and human life. The Centre is situated in Chipata, Eastern Province of Zambia along Malawi Road, about 6 Km from town.

We have received 18 students, 6 from Mozambique, 7 from Malawi and 5 from Zambia. We had our official opening Mass on the 17th January and have started our program.

Formators: Fr. Camille Konkobo, Fr. Timothée Bationo and Br. René Garand

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Newsletter South Africa No 57 – 26th November, 2015


Newsletter South Africa no 57 title (2)My dear Friends, Greetings! I hope you are well. Today, as you receive this NEWSLETTER, most of us M.Afr are travelling to Merrivale, our house of formation, for two great celebrations. Indeed, six of our candidates will take their Missionary Oath tomorrow, Friday, and thus become fully fledged Missionaries of Africa. The following day, they will be ordained deacons! After their last year of theology, sometime toward the end of next year, they shall be ordained priests in their respective parishes of origin. But this being such an important occasion, some of their relatives have travelled to attend these two great events. Already yesterday, the parents and a nephew of our Tanzanian deacon-to-be, Konrad, arrived from Dar-es-Salaam. This afternoon, I will be driving with them to Merrivale. The others are Albert from Burkina Faso, Alphonse from Rwanda, Robin from Zambia, Damian from Uganda and Douglas from Kenya. I hope that we will have one or two good photos of them in the next Newsletter. You may be asking yourself “What is a missionary oath?” Well, here is a short explanation. We, Missionaries of Africa, are not a “religious congregation” as such. We are a “society of apostolic life” and we also live the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience; but we do not take vows. We promise to live a simple life style (poverty, or freedom from things), obedience to our superiors (freedom to serve), and chastity (freedom to love) in our missionary oath – which is a solemn promise on the Bible. Here is an extract of the text of our missionary oath: “… I promise and swear to the Superior General of the Society fidelity and obedience… to observe celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom.” I therefore ask you to keep in your prayers these six new Missionaries of Africa.

Newsletter South Africa no 57 titleI hope this month has been a blessed one for each of you. In spite of all the upheavals happening in the world, the students’ strikes and violent demonstrations, we can see some positive signs of life here and there in our society and throughout the world. Pope Francis is now in Kenya since yesterday. His coming to Africa – his first one – is under the sign of hope and peace to our broken world. Everywhere he goes, he brings a refreshing touch of joy, the joy of the Gospel. Let us pray that his visit in Kenya, then in Uganda and finally in the Central African Republic will sow seeds of peace among these nations of Africa and at the same time, be an inspiration to the rest of the world.

Today is “Lavigerie Day”: yes, for us Missionaries of Africa and Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA), we celebrate this as our FOUNDER’S DAY. Please, pray for us and for vocations. Thank you!

In a few days, we shall start a new liturgical year, the year of the Church. The time of Advent is really an occasion for opening up to Jesus and our neighbours. Many people nowadays like to wish us “happy holiday” and they have forgotten the reason for the season: Jesus! When they greet you like this, be proud to answer firmly and proudly: HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Wishing you all a prayerful Advent and a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr

No. 57 November 2015

Missionary Congress, Johannesburg, South Africa


EnlargeBy Michel Meunier, M.Afr
25th – 26th October 2014
On Saturday and Sunday, from 9am to 4pm, around 250 people came from fifty (50) different parishes (out of 120 parishes in the whole archdiocese). Not bad, for a first time! But we got the quality, if not the expected quantity: we had aimed at five delegates from each parish, which would have amounted to 600! The M.Afr who took part were Jan DeGroef (Bishop), Didier Michon, Christophe Boyer, Martin Somda (stagiaire), Seán O’Leary and Michel Meunier.
The AIMS of the Congress were:
  • to explore ways for us, the Church, to fulfil our vocation of proclaiming the Gospel / Mission
  • to move from maintenance to being on mission (enlarge our tent)
  • to celebrate our baptismal call together
  • to take back to our parishes the motivation to move forward on mission

FULL TEXT PDF FILE

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Link: Missionary Congress in October 2014 in South Africa

Ongoing construction at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia


IMG_20140925_162431About 80 workers are working hard at Chipata to build the Preparatory Centre. Here some pictures showing the progress being done. Threes were also planted under the supervision of Jaya Bordhan and the amazement of Filiyanus Ekka and Richard Dery from Mzuzu, Malawi.
See the link: 
Ground work at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia

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Missionary Congress in October 2014 in South Africa


Enlange the space bannerEnlargeGreetings in our Lord!
“The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature” (Vatican II)
Indeed, this striking statement is found in the Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes, No 2. This should propel us into action with the realisation that such is our Mission in the Church: to go out of our sacristies and our rectories together with our parishioners and reach out to those at the peripheries, to use a favourite expression of Pope Francis.
About two years ago, a group of Missionary Congregations/Institutes started to meet together in order to prepare the annual Mission Month (October). This year, with the approbation of his Grace Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, we have started planning for a Missionary Congress to take place on the last weekend of Mission Month, (Saturday & Sunday, 25th & 26th October). It will take place at St. Benedict’s School in Bedfordview.
We have decided to use the theme of this year’s Lenten Season: “Belonging to Christ Committed for Mission”
Missionary Congress Oct 2014 bOur confrere Bishop Jan DeGroef has been a real source of inspiration for many aspects of the Congress (he is the Bishop in charge of the Department of Evangelisation for the Bishops’ Conference). Seán O’Leary will also give a conference on the situation of South Sudan.
“Enlarge the space of your tent” (Isaiah 54:2) will be our main sub-theme. We shall base our presentations (talks, group discussions, liturgies, testimonies, PowerPoint/films, etc.) on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. We will have very interesting and fiery testimonies by Missionaries (religious and lay) who are already very committed in their parishes here in South Africa or outside (ad extra).
For the time being, I think these few pieces of info will give you an idea of what we are planning. I will write more later on.
Michel Meunier, M.Afr

Ground work at the Preparatory Centre in Chipata, Zambia


Site for the new and first Pre-First Phase Center (0a)At about 600 km from Lusaka to the east of Zambia and 20 km or so from the Zambia-Malawi border, is situated “one of Zambia’s most beautiful towns”, Chipata, ‘decorated’ with escarpments and mountains.
And it’s in this beautiful, quiet and prayerful environment, and at the foot of one of its mountains, that the Southern Africa Province has thought it right to put up the Preparatory Centre with a view, as its name indicates, to welcoming and preparing our missionary candidates for the first phase of formation, philosophy.    
It’s a big project! The Centre, being built on the plot of about 18 hectares and currently monitored by Father Jaya, the assistant provincial bursar, has just seen its foundations being put up not more than two weeks ago. The Centre will comprise, at its completion, the house for Formators, two dormitories endowed with 10 rooms each for the total number of 20 candidates, a dining hall, two conference rooms, a chapel, a playground, and of course a garden and an orchard. The Centre is expected to be operational by September next year, with the enrolment of the first in-take.
Maybe the question that may come to one’s mind is: why in Chipata, a town so far away from the Capital city, Lusaka? The reason is that the Centre is meant to welcome all the candidates originating from the Province, meaning candidates coming from Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. In this case, Chipata qualifies as the best location, for it is the centre.
We wish courage and God’s blessings to the Province of SAP in this and many other projects for Mission’s sake!
See PDF file
By Albert Chilufya, M.Afr

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