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.

EAP – Forthcoming ordinations in East Africa

2019 Ordinations in East Africa

The Provincial Superior of East Africa, Fr. Aloysius G. Ssekamatte, is pleased to announce the ordination to the priesthood of four confreres of the East Africa Province. Following on this page is a map with the four places where our confreres will be ordained. Then you will find, for each one, a short curriculum and a few pictures mainly taken from their Facebook accounts.

Recommendations to use this map : Click ONCE on each red circle to read the details. You will move the map by persistent left click and move in any direction. You will zoom in or out by clicking on + or – (bottom left) or by scrolling the mouse wheel. On selecting the top right square, you will see a full view and, zooming in, you will be able to see distinctively the churches where our confreres will be ordained. Enjoy.

Edwin Obare Oduor

Born in 1984 in Kenya, Edwin did his spiritual year in Kasama, his stage in DRC and is completing his theological studies in Nairobi where he pronounced his missionary oath on 23rd November 2018. He will be ordained at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Karen, Nairobi (Kenya) on 29th June 2019 by Bishop David Kamau.

Alex Akankwasa

Born in 1986 in Uganda, Alex did his spiritual year in Kasama, his stage in DRC and is completing his theological studies in Abidjan where he took his missionary oath on 8th December 2018. He will be ordained at Kiabi Parish, in the Archdiocese of Mbarara (Uganda) on 29th June 2019 by Archbishop Paul Bakyenga.

William Thomas Budotela

Born in 1984 in Tanzania, William did his spiritual year in Kasama, his stage in Ghana and is completing his theological studies in Nairobi where he took his missionary oath on 23rd November 2018. He will be ordained at Ilemela Parish, in the Archdiocese of Mwanza (Tanzania) on 2Oth July 2019 by Archbishop Renatus Nkwande.

Joshua Masive Musyoki

Born in 1987 in Kenya, Joshua did his spiritual year in Bobo-Dioulasso, his stage in DRC and is completing his theological studies in Kinshasa where he took his missionary oath on 9th December 2018. He will be ordained at Machakos (Kenya) on 31st August 2019 by Bishop Norman King’oo Wambua. 

JPIC Promoters’ meeting in Rome

The monthly JPIC promoters meeting was held on the 20th of February 2019 at the headquarter of UISG in Rome. This meeting was organised by the African Working Group and focused on the topic “State of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa: providing keys for better understanding of the expansion of Islam”.

After the opening prayer prepared by Sr. Ignatia Asoh (TSSF) and Sr. Caroline Njah Bongnavti (SUSC), and the presentation of the 20 participants of various Religious congregations and institutes, Fr. Mariano Tibaldo (MCCJ) introduced the speaker. Fr. Felix Phiri is former Director of the Islamic studies in the Tangaza University of Nairobi and former Professor and lecturer at Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamology Studies (PISAI). He is at the moment actually in charge of the Southern African Province of the Missionary of Africa.

At the beginning of the conference, Fr Phiri explained the territorial expansion of Islam in its early existence. Next, he focused more on the Islam in sub-Saharan Africa showing how Islam spread in Africa. The speaker then stressed the conceptual frameworks underlying the Islamic expansion. He offered comprehensive explanation about “Da’wah” which refers to Islamic missionary activities in modern period. He stressed the different types of “Jihad”, the inner and outer jihad, and its extremist forms which are actually spreading out in various African Countries such as Nigeria, Mali and Kenya.

The Da’wah movement is encouraged by several agents of Islamic propagation, such as Islamic governments, Muslim International Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and individual Muslim Initiatives. The Islamist infrastructure worldwide relies heavily on “zakat”, the mandatory charity demanded by Islam, usually 2.5 percent of one’s annual earnings.

The agents of Islamic propagation explore various strategies such as media, schools and universities, social welfare projects as well as funding of mosques, Islamic centres and madrassas. There are also different ways used to national politics, economy, society, family life, education, language and daily cultural habits.

Fr. Phiri concluded by saying that although a religion with a universal outlook, Islam foresees a coexistence with other religions. In its expansionist thrust, Islam needs no one’s permission, emphasised Fr. Phiri, on the contrary Muslims would gladly see Islam become more accepted in society. (click here for the content of the conference)

During the second part of the conference, the participants asked questions on cohabitation of Muslims and Christians. The answers given by Fr. Phiri were clear and realistic. He encouraged the participants to live their witness through authentic Christian life in coherence to the message of Jesus. To the question about Pope Francis’ landmark visit to the United Arab Emirates, the speaker underscored the important gesture of encounter, the coming as a friend, the importance of collaboration between Muslims and Christians.

At the end of the conference, the moderator, in the name of all participants, expressed deep gratitude to Fr. Felix Phiri for his very interesting and impressive conference on Islam in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before concluding the meeting, Sr Sheila (executive secretary) gave some information about the future events organised by the JPIC commission.

Andreas Göpfert (MAFR) and Mariano Tibaldo (MCCJ)

Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church

Please watch the video announcing the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church, which will take place from 21st to 24th February at the Vatican.

Do also read the interview of Stéphane Joulain by Vatican News, posted yesterday (restricted to M.Afr. and MSOLA).

Interesting as well, the joint statement of UISG & USG before the Summit.

n.b.: UISG stands for Union of the International Superiors Major (Feminine) and USG stands for Union of the Superiors Major (Masculine).

And finally, do pray for the best outcome possible of this summit and follow the proceedings on

International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking: 8 February 2019

On February 8, 2019 let’s turn on a light against trafficking of persons, to celebrate the 5th edition of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking whose theme this year is:

“Together against human trafficking.”

The first edition of the IDPT was celebrated on February 8, 2015, by the will of Pope Francis, who in 2014 entrusted the International Union of Superiors and Superiors General (UISG / USG) with promoting this day. In these years, gathering in prayer has facilitated collaborating and overcoming the boundaries within which we operate, dedicated to our projects that, although very important, could lead us to cut ourselves off from the others. The great tragedy of trafficking urges us to overcome every barrier to join forces and collaborate for the common good.

This requires us to coordinate our actions and unite our strengths.

“Together against human trafficking” is the invitation addressed to everyone, each according to their own possibilities.

Download here the text of the prayer vigil

Download the prayer card

Visit also the website of the prayer against human trafficking


Workshop with the Magazine “Africa Rivista”

The famous magazine of the Italian sector still belongs to the Missionaries of Africa, even if it is mainly professionals in the information sector who do most of the work. Evidently faithful to Africa, the Magazine organized a workshop in Milan on November 24 and 25 on : “Dialogue on Africa – to understand, know and discuss”. This short video will involve you from afar at a few selected moments of this workshop. If you have an Italian confrere or an Italian-speaking confrere on hand, he will certainly be happy to translate for you. After all, it only last 2:29 minutes.

Return to the Source : Day two

La Marsa (Tunis), 13th December 2018. This is the second day of our pilgrimage to the source. Technically, it’s the first day because yesterday we arrived from all over the world. We are about 45, White Fathers and White Sisters, and also some sisters from the MSOLA family and a former Polish White Father candidate who came to report on the 150th anniversary for a Polish Catholic magazine. The organization is excellent: the two leaders are Fr. Markos and Sr. Spesioza for logistics, but many will provide various animation services, among others.

An excellent little booklet was distributed to us, which includes the programs, schedules, common prayers, and especially historical and even spiritual contents following the circuit of our pilgrimage. The confreres and sisters who prepared everything did not cheat us. I will make this booklet available to you as soon as I get a PDF copy, so you can follow the same pilgrimage, minus maybe the local colours, the smells and the Tunisian kindness.

“This first itinerary is intended to be both a discovery and a spiritual journey in the footsteps of the ancient Church of Africa, Lavigerie and the White Fathers and White Sisters in Tunisia.” This introduction describes well what we will do throughout the day.

As some of us live in La Marsa, about thirty kilometres from the City Centre of Tunis, and the others live in the Diocesan House in the city, we met at around 9am. We “registered” and chose one of the four badge colours available. We were then invited to meet by colour, now part of this “sharing team” defined by the chosen colour. Everyone could express their prayers of expectation for this pilgrimage. Already, hearts were opening to a grace that would be abundant.

We boarded a large bus that will take us from one place to another in the suburbs of La Marsa and Carthage where we have seen and sometimes visited places rich in culture, the history of Christian martyrs from antiquity and the modern establishment of a Church… which will not succeed in convincing a Muslim world very proud of its culture. All of this was imbued with the strong and radical words of “Lavigerie”, our founding Father who, with Mother Salome, realized many of his visions, many of which were often very audacious.

We start by discovering the places where we live: the Chapel Lavigerie, Villa Odo, first residence acquired by the Cardinal, which has now become the Charles de Foucault monastery, and the first building built by the Cardinal, which will quickly become a junior seminary and has now become the property of the diocese, which rents the first floor to a local primary school.

The bus will stop several times to show us the Perret Institute, the many archaeological discoveries of Bishop Delattre, including the remains of the Majorum Basilica, as well as the amphitheatre of Carthage where the saints Perpetua and Felicity and their companions were martyred. It is in a cave in the amphitheatre, where the prisoners were probably waiting for their “entrance on stage”, that we meditate on the story of their passion. We discover to what extent Bishop Delattre was instrumental in uncovering the Christian remains, now Tunisia’s heritage.  We criss-cross Carthage, stopping at the Chapel of Saint Louis and the Basilica of the same name. We will visit it on Saturday.  We arrive at the former high school of the White Sisters where, for the first time, it seems, the headmaster of the state school comes to meet us and invites us to enter, taking us directly to the old chapel which has been converted into a library. Some quotes in English on the walls impress us (see photos). A second school will open its doors to us, the former Franciscan Sisters’ school, where we were also invited to enter the old chapel, converted into a conference room, but where the original stained glass windows are intact, a sign of Tunisia’s great respect for its cultural heritage, will later tell us our confrere-bishop, John McWilliam. We meet many high school students, very friendly and smiling, not hesitating to chat with one or the other of the “elders” or even to pose with Josef de Becker whose Burkinabe hat obviously impresses! We will pass through many other places and end with a visit to our well-preserved “cemetery” where many white fathers and sisters rest in peace. We find, among others, our famous archaeologist Bishop Delattre. We each place a small lit tea light on a few tombs and recite a decade of rosary.

We return to La Marsa where we exchange, in our sharing teams, the feelings that inhabit us. This sharing will be followed by the Eucharist presided over by Fr. Francis Barnes, General Assistant of the Missionaries of Africa. He will note the many open doors we had during the day and the obvious spiritual fruits gathered by the participants in this pilgrimage day. This will make him say that, truly, everything is grace.

You will take interest in read the PDF of the booklet as soon as I put it on this site. It is a very well done work by Sister Cécile Dillé, I think.

Philippe Docq, M.Afr.

And here is the booklet (the full version of the animator) realised by Sister Cécile Dillé.

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140 years of presence in Jerusalem

This is an article from the site of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, dated December 11. The original post is here. The text was translated quickly with online help. In case of doubt, please refer to the original French.

On December 8, 2018, the Missionaries of Africa invited, as they do every year, the faithful and friends to come and celebrate with them the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This year, in addition to the Marian celebration, there was also the launching of the festivities for the jubilee of the 150th anniversary of the congregation and the 140th anniversary of its presence in the Holy Land.

The Mass of December 8 is traditionally celebrated with fervour among the Missionaries of Africa – also known as the White Fathers – because the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is the patron saint’s feast of this Society of priests and also the women’s congregation, the Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. This is also the date of the annual consular mass [1] and on this occasion the Deputy Consul General, Mr. Rémy Bouallègue, joined the ceremony.

But this year, the mass of December 8 was also celebrated in union with the mass for the beatification of the 19 martyrs who died for their faith in Algeria, including four White Fathers murdered on December 27, 1994 in Tizi Ouzou. Finally, this Mass on December 8 celebrated two important jubilees: the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of the White Fathers and the 140th anniversary of the presence of the Missionaries in the Holy Land.

Fraternity beyond cultural differences

It is the date of the opening of the first novitiate, October 18, 1868, which was chosen as the date of foundation of the Society of the White Fathers. For the founder, Bishop Lavigerie, the Missionaries of Africa must be “all things to all people” and adapt to the way of life of those to whom they are sent to spread the Gospel. For this reason they ask them to wear the local habit, to eat the same food as the inhabitants and to speak the language that allows them to open themselves to the culture of the country. Founded in North Africa, the society has developed in a large part of Africa. Today, there are still 1200 White Fathers, most of whom are in Black Africa. At the service of parishes and dioceses, they are as close as possible to the needs of the population and actively participate in interreligious dialogue. Also present in Europe, they bring their missionary experience to the dioceses of rich countries, to help welcome migrants and broaden the Church’s vision of the world.

Missionaries of Africa in the Middle East?

To find a congregation that has been mainly oriented towards Africa in the heart of Jerusalem for 140 years may seem questioning at first sight, but it would then be to not know the history of the founder. Charles Lavigerie before being the Archbishop of Algiers and the founder of the Society of the White Fathers was the first ecclesiastical director of the Work of the Schools of the Orient (now the Work of the Orient) and it is in this context that he had known, like a revelation, the Eastern Churches. This memory will come back in a flash when France, which became the owner of the church of Sainte-Anne, sought a religious community to keep it. Arriving in 1878, the White Fathers set up a seminary there in 1882 to train the Greek Melkite Catholic clergy. This seminary operated for 85 years, until the June 1967 war forced its transfer to Lebanon. Since then the White Fathers have continued, in various ways, to work for the Churches of the East, their unity and mission, and the service of the Church of Jerusalem in the fields of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and action for justice and peace. Thanks to the biblical training sessions, organized in Sainte-Anne since 1976, the Church of Africa is now coming to Jerusalem to pray and recharge their batteries.

Cécile Klos

[1] Each year, the Consul General of France officially visits each of the national domains belonging to France and certain religious communities of French origin, by taking part in the celebration of a mass.

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