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