Louis Blondel : ten years already

Memorial Service for Louis Blondel

Ten years ago already…. Our colleague Louis Blondel was murdered in the prebytery of Diepsloet, a township in northern Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, a Youth Centre has been built in his memory. On Sunday a “Memorial Service” will be celebrated on site. You can follow its progress in streaming. Here’s how it works:

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The Voice of Diepsloot is on the Main Page
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The Voice of Diepsloot is on the Main Page
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Oath & Declaration of Intent in Jerusalem

Oath & Declaration of Intent in Jerusalem

On Tuesday, 26th November, our Confrere Michael Cardinal Fitzgerald, received the Final Oath of Patient Balma and Nelson Ekeh, as well as the renewal of the Declaration of Intent of Audace Niyibigira, Belito Jose Joaquim, Isac Kinda and Thierry Uyirwoth in the new Chapel of St. Anne’s in Jerusalem. Congratulations to all.

Grace upon grace…

Grace upon grace...

The beginning of the month of October was very intense in Rome. Launching of the extraordinary missionary month on the 1st of October , commemorating and reviving the very strong missionary appeal made by Benedict XV in his Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” a hundred years ago. 

“Baptised and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world.” To speak today of the ones baptised and sent means that each baptised person, at his or her level, can be a missionary, can be the instrument of the proposal that God wants to make to Man, through his or her personal witness, prayer and offering.

Three days later, on the feast of St. Francis, the Pope took part, in the Vatican gardens, in a cultural event to celebrate the end of the Season of Creation 2019 and to consecrate the forthcoming Synod on Amazonia. 

But even nearer to our heart and identity was certainly the creation of 13 new Cardinals taken for a great part from missionary institutes, among whom our confrere Michael Fitzgerald. A lot has been written about the event. The General House was full of guests, between the 25 family members and friends of Michael Fitzgerald and a few of the Congolese Bishops who had come to celebrate the creation of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa. 

The Pope had called a Constistory for Saturday the 5th of October at 16 hours to elevate the 13 new Cardinals. For that occasion, all the Cardinals of Rome were present to welcome their new brothers. A few minutes before 3 in the afternoon, “Cardinal Fitzgerald to be” appeared in his scarlet cassock but without the scarlet zuchetta and biretta, both of which he would receive from the hands of the Pope himself during the ceremony. You will recognize on the left side of the photo our confreres, Bishop Willy Ngumbi, and Martin Wullobayi, professor at the Pisai, chose by the new Cardinal as his personal secretary for the ceremony.

The following video is the part of the consistory when the Pope is inviting the “Cardinals to be” to profess their faith, when he wears them with the scarlet zuchetta and biretta and when the new Cardinals are welcomed and congratulated by the College of Cardinals present. This extract of the ceremony just lasts 24 minutes. If you want to see the full video (1h15), follow this link.

After the ceremony, each of the new Cardinals were given a space where they could be met and congratulated by their family members and friends. Back to the house around supper time, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald still founds the energy to come and share a bit of the evening time with the confrères of the Services and a few others. This shows how simple and fraternal Michael is with his “family”. 

On Sunday, the new Cardinals were concelebrating with the Pope the morning mass on St. Peter’s Square for the big celebration inaugurating the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region.

At one o’clock in the afternoon, all the ceremonies and liturgies were finished. It was then time for celebration. In his congratulating speech, Father Stan Lubungo, superior general, commented on the “Coincidence” of this honour given to Michael but also to all of us and remembering the beatification of our 4 confreres martyred in Algeria and the proclamation of an extraordinary missionary month this October, all occurring within our Jubilee Year, he preferred speaking of a “wink” of God… as we are harvesting “Grace Upon Grace”!

Bp Antoon Grauls, Missionary of God in Burundi

The Congregation of the Bene-Yozefu brothers of Burundi presented for the first time a film made on the occasion of their 75th anniversary, in the Lavigerie Hall of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome, on 29/09/2019. This film is about the congregation of the Bene-Yozefu brothers and more particularly about its Founder Antoine Hubert Grauls.

Indeed, in this film, we highlight the characteristic features of Bishop Antoine Hubert Grauls, his intelligence and his apostolic zeal. He was truly an apostle who listened, consulted and welcomed; an apostle who was always close to the Burundian people to whom he had been sent.

Bishop Antoine Hubert Grauls is known as Father of the Church of Burundi, an apostle who worked body and soul so that this Church could grow and consolidate itself. He was an extraordinary person, his motto “Everything in a charity without feint” was well lived. He undoubtedly confirmed that in Burundi, there were no pagans but rather non-baptized people. He collaborated with both the poorest and the richest. He healed both hearts and bodies. He founded hospitals, printing plants and cooperatives for the development of the region. He was truly a gift to the Christians during the 30 years he lived in Burundi.

He made a quality leap on the issue of education so that Burundi would have its own schools, according to him, “the issue of schools is for all causes that want to last a matter of life and death”. He gave a great boost to primary schools, particularly through the foundation of the Bene-Yozefu Brothers Congregation, which is a huge success for Burundi, given their contribution to human and social development in the country.

In short, Bishop Antoine Hubert Grauls is one of the country’s great builders, a great promoter of the Burundian intellectual elite, thanks to the national unity he has beaten, the Burundians will always be grateful to him.

Frère Innocent Manirakiza, Bene-Yozefu

(Brother Innocent resides with the Missionaries of Africa in Rome during his studies in the educational sciences)

Below is an excerpt from this very beautiful film directed by Armand Isnard of KTO. The DVD containing the entire 52-minute film (in French) is available at the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa for a contribution towards the production costs or from the Bene-Yozefu Brothers in Burundi.

Talitha Kum General Assembly

Talitha Kum General Assembly

The General Assembly of TALITHA KUM began in Rome on Saturday, 21st of September 2019.

Many guests came for the opening ceremony. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Talitha Kum, the Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving took place in St. Peter’s Basilica and was presided over by H.E. Card. Peter Turkson.

To mark the support of the Missionaries of Africa, Fathers Martin Grenier and Andreas Göpfert participated.

We share the common commitment against human trafficking. We are concerned to promote collaboration and the exchange of information and to set up effective structures in the various African countries.

National networks are already operational in several countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Tunisia,… while other networks are being created, for example in Tanzania.

For more information, please visit Talitha Kum’s official page:

https://www.talithakum.info/

The eucharistic celebration is presided by H.E. Cardinal Turkson and concelebrated by... Martin Grenier

World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees (5)

World's Day of Migrants and Refugees (5)

IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT MIGRANTS… The 29th of September is World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees. An opportunity to change our hearts, our ways of thinking… and to enter into the logic of God. NOT JUST ABOUT THE MIGRANTS… IT’S  ABOUT PUTTING THE LAST AND LEAST IN FIRST PLACE.

“On this sixth anniversary of the visit to Lampedusa, my thoughts go out to those “least ones” who daily cry out to the Lord, asking to be freed from the evils that afflict them. These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary.

In the spirit of the Beatitudes we are called to comfort them in their affliction and offer them mercy; to sate their hunger and thirst for justice; to let them experience God’s caring fatherliness; to show them the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues! This is not just about migrants.”

Pope Francis

The Church has been celebrating World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees ever since 1914. It is always an opportunity for her to express concern for the most vulnerable people, who have to move for one reason or another; it is also an opportunity to pray for the challenges of migration and to raise awareness of the opportunities it offers.

For 2019, Pope Francis has chosen the theme “It is not only about migrants” to help remove our blinders and to ensure that no one is excluded from society, whether they are long-term residents or newcomers.

IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT MIGRANTS

World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees (4)

World's Day of Migrants and Refugees (4)

IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT MIGRANTS… The 29th of September is World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees. An opportunity to change our hearts, our ways of thinking… and to enter into the logic of God. NOT JUST ABOUT THE MIGRANTS… IT’S ALSO ABOUT NOT EXCLUDING ANYONE.

“Today’s world is increasingly becoming more elitist and cruel towards the excluded. Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets. Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which then refuse to accept the refugees produced by these conflicts, are unwilling to take them in.

Those who pay the price are always the little ones, the poor, the most vulnerable, who are prevented from sitting at the table and are left with the “crumbs” of the banquet.

The Church which “goes forth” can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast whom we ourselves as a society are excluding. Real development is fruitful and inclusive, oriented towards the future.”

Pope Francis

The Church has been celebrating World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees ever since 1914. It is always an opportunity for her to express concern for the most vulnerable people, who have to move for one reason or another; it is also an opportunity to pray for the challenges of migration and to raise awareness of the opportunities it offers.

For 2019, Pope Francis has chosen the theme “It is not only about migrants” to help remove our blinders and to ensure that no one is excluded from society, whether they are long-term residents or newcomers.

IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT MIGRANTS

Steven Kambuku becomes a priest

Priestly ordination of Fr. Steven Kambuku

On the 20th of July 2019, the Missionaries of Africa and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in the Malawi Sector witnessed the ordination of Fr. Steven Kambuku (M.afr) and Fr. Joseph Palasa (Diocesan). It was a colourful and beautiful ceremony. The ordaining minister was the Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Archbishop Tarcisius Zizaye. Present also was the Retired Archbishop Remi Joseph Gustave Sainte-Marie. There were a lot of priests (missionaries from different congregations and diocesans) and religious men and women who also graced the occasion, as well as parishioners from almost all the parishes with the Diocese of Dedza and the neighbouring dioceses.

Rev Fr. Steven Mark Damiano Kambuku who was ordained that day, was born on 30/07/1988 to the family of Mr. Damiano Hamilton Kambuku and Mrs. Calorina Anastazio Chiputula. Fr. Kambuku was the second of four children in the family; three boys, one girl. He did his secondary school education at Bandawe Boys Secondary School, Nambuma Community Development Secondary School in Nambuma, Unity Private and Army Private. In the year 2009 he started his formation at Kanengo pre-formation house in Lilongwe, Malawi. Later he was sent to Balaka for his philosophical studies. After his studies in Philosophy in 2012, he was appointed to Kasama for his novitiate. After his novitiate in 2013, he was sent to Burkina Faso for his pastoral experience (Stage). He was later appointed to Kinshasa in DRC for theology. While in theology, he took his perpetual oath on 9/12/2018. On the same day he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Placide Lubamba (M.afr) from DRC.

The priestly ordination ceremony took place in a village called Matumba, at the Holy Angels Parish under the Diocese of Dedza. The officiating Archbishop was from the neighbouring Archdiocese (Lilongwe) as the hosting diocese is currently without a chief shepherd. On a personal note, the choice of the place of ordination was a good one because it shows the Church’s preferential option for the poor and also allowed the simple people in this village who are without a means of transport, an opportunity to witness this Holy and Sacred ceremony. If the ordination was to be done in town, many of these people would have found it difficult to witness it. The participation of the local people in the order of the mass made the celebration very colourful. There were the Angoni traditional dancers, little girls and boys, and the catholic women organisation members who throughout the mass were using their various dance styles to praise God while the Choir sings. The choir was a combined group of choir members from all of the outstations of the hosting parish, and they sang wonderfully.

The homily of the Archbishop Tarcisius Ziyaye was centered on love. He started by saying that even though Isaiah offered himself to be used for the mission of God, he wasn’t the one who made himself into God’s prophet and servant. Rather, it was God who made Isaiah into His prophet and sent him on a mission. God through His mercy and love always calls someone from among the faithfuls to serve Him as a priest in the Church.

The Archbishop went on to say that, the priesthood we receive is not a human thing, but rather the priesthood of Christ himself, and that is why the Church always affirm that a priest is another Christ. Therefore, he encouraged the candidates to be ordained and all priests present not to take their priestly ministry lightly, not to forget the holiness and honour of the sacred priesthood and to always strive to live their lives like Christ did.
He further emphasized that, the service of the sacred priesthood is to be rendered with all humility, respect for God’s people, total devotion and love. For the sacred priesthood is not a profession or a part time job, it is a lifelong service, he added. He buttressed this point by making reference to the teachings of Mother Theresa of Calcutta who when advising her sisters said “when doing your examination of conscience at night before you go to bed, do not ask yourselves, what have I done today? But rather ask yourselves, all that I did today, have I done them with love?”
He rounded up his homily by reminding everyone present that our life is a life of love, a life centered and guided by love. Because God is love and Christ Jesus died for us because he loved us. We must also not depart from love, but remain steadfastly rooted in love.

After the homily of the Archbishop, the vocation director of the diocese Fr. Emmanuel Chuma called forward the ordinands for the rite of ordination. The two ordinands answered from where they were sitting among the crowd “Ndilipo” meaning Here I am. The two ordinands then came forward gleefully, accompanied by their parents and a troupe of traditional dancers – it was a very touching moment. During the litany of the saints, the two candidates lay down in total submission to God and the choir sang the litany in a way that moves the heart, one could feel the presence of the saints. After the rite of ordination, all the priests, brothers, sisters, seminarians and family members congratulated the newly ordained, and they (the newly ordained) in turn blessed the archbishops, the priests and religious and all the faithfuls present. 

They are now priests forever according to the order of Melchizedek!!

The ceremony continued as normal till after the communion when the choir sang the Magnificat. This was another moment that stood out; there were three little girls who came out and danced beautifully to the hymn. One was dressed as Mary and the two others as angels – it was quite a sight to behold.

During the speeches, Fr. Kambuku expressed his profound gratitude to God for the gift of vocation to serve Him as a priest. He also thanked all members of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, his parents, all friends of the Missionaries of Africa who have lived with him and all those who have helped him in various ways to reach the Altar of God.

The family members expressed their profound joy in the speech that was given. They thanked God for the honour he has bestowed on them by considering their families worthy of giving Him priests to serve in His vineyard. They also expressed their profound gratitude to all those who partook in the formation of their children, and also all those who came to witness the ceremony.

The Archbishop in His closing remark reemphasized on the focal point of his homily, that is, Love. He encouraged the newly ordained priests to serve with love and complete devotion, to be humble and to be Christ like. He also urged them to be obedient sons of the Church and to follow the teachings of the Church.

Okunola Michael Olatude
Stagiaire at St. Francis Parish, Kanengo, Malawi

Ordination to the Priesthood of Bipin Kerketta

Here are some pictures of Bipin Kerketta’s ordination and first mass in northern India. The photos are of confreres who were present. Some photos come from Georges Jacques’ Facebook account, who had attached the following words to it:

“Here is a sample of this beautiful celebration of the ordination of Bipin Kerketta in India. We were 4 confreres to accompany him in addition to Felix, an abbot of Ste Marie d’Aguetto (Abidjan). But also the large crowd in the village! Beautiful cultural traditions. Unforgettable moments for Bipin and for each of us.”

SOA – Ordination sacerdotale

Dn. Bipin Kishor Kerketta

The delegate superior of the Section of Asia (SOA), Father John Gould, has the pleasure to announce the imminent ordination of Deacon Bipin Kishor Kerketta this coming Sunday 9th of June at Sacred Heart Parish in the diocese of Simdega by Rev. Bishop Vincent Barwa. Following, you will be able to visualise the area where Bipin comes from, the invitations he sent out, as well as photos gathered from his Facebook account. Seeing him in various  environment might help you to pray with us for him, that he may find hapiness and peace in his ministry.