Oath and Diaconate in Merrivale

It is in Saint Joseph’s Parish, in Howick, that 5 students of Merrivale became Missionaries of Africa by pronouncing their solemn missionary oath in the presence of Fr. Francis Barnes, first assistant of the superior general.

They are from left to right:

  • Bimal Lakra, from India
  • Habtamu Aloto, from Ethiopia
  • Guélord Mahongole, from DR Congo
  • Alain Sossou, from Ivory Coast
  • Joseph Zunguluka, from DR Congo

On the same day, they were ordained deacons from the hands of our confrere Jan De Groef, bishop of Bethlehem (South Africa).

Following the photos, you will find the text of the homily pronounced by Francis Barnes on that occasion.

I would like to address these few words to you Bimal, Guelord, Joseph, Habtamu and Alain. Through the oath you have taken today you have consecrated yourselves until death to the Church’s mission in Africa and you have promised fidelity and obedience to the apostolic life as well as swearing to observe celibacy for the sake of the kingdom.

Wow! That is quite something and in today’s world you would have to either be out of your mind or be truly of a sound and discerned mind to add your signature to such a document. I presume that you are all truly of sound mind. The oath we take does not mention poverty or simple lifestyle as we call it – for it is supposed to be part of our specific identity. We are not religious and so we don’t take vows and yet the oath is surely just as binding. I would dare to say that in today’s world such an oath is more than controversial even counter-cultural. Celibacy in today’s world where everything is hypersexualised is surely counter cultural and so often can become for many a source of great tension and stress or, worse still scandal. What about obedience then in a hedonistic world where we want to celebrate the freedom to do, to say and be whatever we want? And fidelity? Yes, it takes courage and hard work to be faithful to the promises we make and we know just how easy it is to stray from the path we have desired and chosen. Then there is simple lifestyle though not mentioned in the oath we take it as expected of us. Yet so many of us will be tempted along the way by the lure of money and be caught up in our desire for more comfort and ease in our ministry. Yes, the oath is definitely counter cultural but then so is discipleship as it always has been.

Are we worthy of such a calling, are we capable of such a calling? – most likely not and yet despite our own frailty and powerlessness, the love of God is able to break forth into our lives with its transforming power. Hopefully, today you are the ones who choose not to walk the path of power but the path of powerlessness, who choose not the road of success but the road of servanthood. With the grace of God, you will choose willingly not to walk the wide road of praise and popularity but the narrow one of giving oneself so that others might have life in abundance. Know that it will mean often accepting to walk into darkness, to take risks, to walk into the unknown and to accept all the suffering that such a choice entails.

Yes, you and I, today’s disciples know we are fragile human beings; we don’t have all the answers and yet hopefully we allow ourselves to become instruments in the hand of God; hopefully like children we will have a spirit of sheer receptivity, utter dependence and a radical reliance that does not come from ourselves but from the spirit of Jesus.

Therefore, deep down we know that:

  • if we were to live in imitation of Jesus
  • if we dared move beyond our self-concern
  • if we truly desire to reach out in compassion to all our brothers and sisters no matter whom they are  
  • if we were so counter cultural that we no longer thirsted for status, power or possessions

then we would indeed transform this little Society of ours and even the world and the parish communities where we serve.

The world doesn’t need more dogmas and creeds– the world needs maybe just a handful of brave disciples who would be as salt and light- who by the authenticity of their commitment and generosity would be a spectacular sign of the transforming power of the gospel, the transforming power of love.

Fidelity in the final analysis is all about walking the road we have chosen with the Lord, it is our life poured out so that others might have life and it is about struggling if we have to until the very end.

So with you I praise the Lord for this wonderful missionary vocation that is yours. I praise the Lord for the beautiful gift of yourselves to our Society and to Africa. And we praise the Lord for your families and friends who have and are very much part of this wonderful calling that is yours.

Francis Barnes M.Afr.

How to help the Mozambique Sector

Some communities seem not have received the letter from Mozambique sector requesting help :

Dear confreres and Friends and Benefactors and People of Good will, greetings from Beira.

The cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique on the night of 14th -15th March 2019, left the people of the Central region of the country with pain and helpless: hundreds of people reported dead.   

People around us have neither food nor shelters as their houses have been damaged. Our parish community in Dombe is in the worst situation. More than 600 people there are taking refuge at the parish school. Our workers and neighbours in Beira have no houses. Sussundenga is not better.

In the Sector house, we lost part of our wall and part of our house.

At Nazaré Centre of Formation, a good number of structures are left roofless.

Our confrere Raphaël Gasimba escaped death as he fell into waters that crossed and split the road, with his car on a journey to Dombe where he is serving. The Toyota Hilux Double Cabine which he was using and some of his personal belongings are lost.

Grateful to God for the safe lives, we are calling upon your generous support in any of the areas mentioned. We thank you for your concern and prayers. Will update you on how the general situation unfold.

Details of our Bank

Missionários de África
Account in US Dollars: 20877214
Account in MZN: 4370627
Swift code: BIMOMZMX

Yours sincerely,

Boris Yabre, M.Afr.
Sector Superior


Update on the Mozambique situation

We have just received the following message from Boris Yabre, M.Afr., Provincial Delegate for Mozambique.

Dear confreres and Friends and Benefactors and People of Good will, greetings from Beira.

Six days ago, I sent you a SOS message sharing with you about what we are living on the ground and appealing for help.

We want to thank each and every one of you for your constant prayers and growing concern. Some of you have already sent your contributions to alleviate the pains of the people around us; others are still looking for the ways and means to do so. We wholeheartedly say thank you.

On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Beira called for an urgent meeting of the pastoral agents of the archdiocese. About hundred people or so were present. we shared about the current situation of the people at the various places of the diocese.

Putting aside the lost lives, people are in extreme need of food, drinking water and shelters. Some incidents occurred by which the population went and broke some shops in order to get food without fearing the police presence.  There is no guaranty and certainty if the humanitarian aid is reaching everywhere. Bureaucracy, protocols, greed can be a hindrance to that.

The majority of the parish churches, chapels and schools are down or roofless. Many convents and presbyteries suffered.  The archbishop suspended all the pastoral planned activities until further notice. The urgency of the time is to be with the people, share their pains and give them hope regardless of their religious, political and ethnical affiliation. We were reminded not to lose sight on what the Lord may want to tell us through this calamity.

This 4th Sunday of Lent celebration is dedicated to pray for the victims of the cyclone Idai all over the archdiocese of Beira. Each parish will make special collection today to help its most affected people.

The sad reality is that in the market places the prices of essential products have gone higher. The price of iron sheet and cement have gone up in a moment where people are in dire need. The lusalite (asbestos) sheets cannot be sold to ordinary people. It is reserved for government use in order to fix first the public structures: Government offices and schools.

In the Sector house and Nazaré Centre of Formation, what occupied the mind these last days was to make some cleaning up: gathering the iron sheet left here and there by the wind, clearing the ground as most of the mango and coconut trees were down, in order to give way and protect ourselves. So far there is no electricity. Only the ‘chosen few” have access to it. At least, the Central Hospital have electricity and the Health Centres are using generators. Right now, the city of Beira is running out of generators on sale. To have one there is need to order it from Chimoio or Tete.

Sussundenga has no electricity neither. Those who lost their houses are given only tents by the Red Cross. The fields are swept away by the waters giving way to despair and the imminence of a year of hunger.

In Dombe there is rising need of food, shelters, and drinking water. For whatever reason, it is one of the forgotten places of the country. The fields got flooded and the crops are gone.  Our community chapels in some villages which partly fell are where some families are living.

On the estimates you can add ‘we shall try to come up with so concrete figures by the end of this week for what our Confreres may need for their missions and in order to contribute to helping the needy…

So far, we cannot give any estimate of what could cost the reconstruction of our structures: Nazaré Centre of formation, the Sector house. It seems to be too soon to have clear references, giving the general chaos we are in. We shall try to come up with so concrete figures by the end of this week for what our Confreres may need for their mission and in order to contribute to helping the needy.

The families of our candidates which we managed to contact are safe. They do also have some challenges like anybody else. Our confreres and stagiaires are doing well. They continue to be close to the people and to face with them the test of time.

Boris Yabre, M.Afr.
Provincial Delegate

  • The big chapel of Nazaré
  • Desolation in Nazare
  • Desolation in Nazare
  • Dombe, what remains of maize fields
  • Dombe camp of tents for the homeless
  • Maize fields swept by water in Sussudenga.
  • Some people trying to regain their villages after the flood for a new giving with almost nothing in Matarara- Dombe
  • The remaining of a community chapel serves as a shelter for this family
  • Improvised homes
  • Drinking water has to be supplied...

Cyclone Idai – News from Hugh Seenan (Facebook)

Thanks to all who have been worried about me here in Malawi or worried about Beira, getting in touch with me or my family. Where I am in Malawi, where I’ve been for the last year, we have had good weather. I was in Beira for 10 years before that. It’s been devastating seeing the reports. Over the years I’ve been in all the places from Beira to Chimanimani in Zimbabwe, even in Buzi where you see everybody on top of buildings without food. It is only in the last couple of days that I started getting news from friends and former neighbours. Slowly they are clearing up trying to repair their homes. It’s good to hear. Nazaré Centre , Beira Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, where I worked, was badly hit. Some pictures follow. They have started cleaning up but it will be a while before they can receive groups. All going well, I will go there for Holy Week. Thanks for remembering me. Pray for everyone affected and the relief teams. God Bless,

Hugh Seenan, M.Afr.


Kungoni Cultural Centre Open Day

Here are a few photos, courtesy of Bro. Vitus Abobo M.Afr, of the 2018 Kungoni Cultural Centre Open Day.

If you would like to view all the photos, follow this link


Otherwise here are a few samples :

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”28″ gal_title=”Kungoni Cultural Centre – Open Day 2018″]

Please note that all the photos are copyrighted 

© Missionaries of Africa 2018

Fr. Jos Kuppens’ Jubilee

On August 11th, Father Jos Kuppens, M.Afr. was celebrated for his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood at Maula Cathedral, in Lilongwe. Together were two diocesan priests celebrated for their own jubilees. Here are some photo samples, but you can view all of them following this link. All the photos, courtesy of Brother Vitus Abobo, M.Afr.


[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”27″ gal_title=”Fr. Jos Kuppens Jubilee”]

Please note that all the photos are copyrighted 

© Missionaries of Africa 2018

South Africa: Mission in social context

There are regular stories of racism in the media: insults, violence, discrimination… This is especially true between Blacks (80.2% of the population, especially in the East) and Whites (8.4%) but also with Métis (8.9%, located mainly in the West) and Asians (2.5%). The Catholic bishops distributed questionnaires to be discussed in small groups in all the parishes of the country. One of us printed anti-racist images. Continue reading “South Africa: Mission in social context”

Ordination of Dominic Kapatamoyo

On the 7th of July, the parish of Chezi in Malawi witnessed an unforgettable event as our own confrere Dominic Kapatamoyo was ordained a priest in this parish. All the roads led to Chezi parish on that day. There was a big crowd of people present to witness this memorable event as that was the first of its kind in the parish. The Lavigerie family comprising of Missionaries of Africa, Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of African, and our students in formation were present in their numbers to pray with and support Dominic Kapatamoyo. The other religious from different congregations, diocesan priests and representatives of other religious denominations, family members and friends of our confrere, as well parishioners graced the occasion. Also present were the ordaining bishop Tarsizio G. Ziyaye, Archbishop of Lilongwe and our confrere Bishop Emeritus Remy Sainte-Marie.

During his homily, Bishop Tarsizio affirmed that a priest is another Christ, who is chosen among the people and sent out to serve, console, preach, and baptise of the people of God. Teaching the people to know what the Kingdom of God entails. He agreed with Cardinal Lavigerie’s invitation to his Missionaries “to be apostles nothing but apostles”. The Bishop said a priest is to help others become apostles and that being apostles should become our being.

Ending his homily, the Bishop invited all to pray for the priest to be ordained, that the Lord may give him all the graces that he needs. Also, to pray that we may get many more Priests, Sisters and Brothers to serve the Church, since the harvest is rich but the labourers few.

Later on in an interview, the Bishop said he is touched by the fact that Dominic is the son of one of the long serving catechists of Chezi parish, Mr. Kapatamoyo. He was also happy that Dominic was ordained as priest in the Congregation of the Missionaries of Africa, adding that, “they are like our parents” since they were the first missionaries to bring the gospel to the Archdiocese of Lilongwe. He was happy about the good organisation of the event and active participation of the people, seeing it as a golden opportunity for vocation promotion.

Looking at the event, the Provincial Delegate Fr. Michel Sanou expressed his gratitude to the Christians and parishioners of Chezi for the good organisation. He expressed so much joy as to see the joy of the people especially the parents of Dominic as they gave their son to the Catholic Church. As Dominic comes from a place where there are only missionaries, the Delegate saw that as something remarkable and a challenge to other youth to give themselves to the mission too.

At the end of the Mass, the Provincial emphasised the missionary nature of our work as Missionaries of Africa, saying that like the confreres working in Chezi Parish, Dominic will mostly be working away from his home parish. On that note, he announced that the newly ordained priest is sent to Mingana, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he spent two years for pastoral training during his initial formation.

In an interview, the Provincial Fr. Felix Phiri did not only express his joy at how well the celebration was organised and well attended. According to him, the presence of others from the protestant churches, shows a sense of solidarity among the Christians of different denominations.

The Provincial also saw the event in the sense of the 150th Anniversary celebrations, which is a visible fruit of the work of the Missionaries of Africa as Dominic is from Chezi parish, which has been under the care of the Missionaries of Africa since its beginning.

Fr. Felix remarked how the work and faith of Dominic’s father as a Catechist has been a pillar for Dominic’s vocation journey, sustained him throughout his years of initial formation. The Provincial expressed hope of getting many more vocations from the parish to join the Missionaries of Africa, with the support of the confreres in Chezi parish.

Talking with the newly ordained priest, Fr. Dominic filled with joy expressed his gratitude to God for the gift of his priestly ordination, seeing it as a humbling honour. He was impressed by the sacrifices the parishioners, confreres, family and friends, among others made since December 2017 to ensure the success of the event. He was also overjoyed by the presence of some many people, two bishops, friends from Zimbabwe, France, Ireland and Kenya, confreres, priests, sisters and brothers, and parishioners to witness his ordination. For Dominic, the presence of all these people from far and near is a sign of the Church’s unity. In a sense of gratitude, he asked God to be with him in his priestly calling.

In short, the ordination of Fr. Dominic was for us the Missionaries of Africa, a time of coming together to support, pray with and thank the Lord for the vocation of Fr. Dominic. It also served as a means of vocation promotion as a lot of us were present in our Ganduras. It also became for the parish of Chezi a moment of working together to support and pray for and with their own son. For the parents of Fr. Dominic, the celebration was prayers answered, as they have been accompanying their son with prayers since he started his formation with the Missionaries of Africa. As Missionaries of Africa, we cannot but join our confrere in thanking God for his calling, and also in thanking all those who have supported us before and during the organisation of this ordination. May God richly reward you all for the support rendered to us to make Dominic’s ordination a success.

Vitus Danaa Abobo, M.Afr.
Communications SAP

Google has deprecated the Picasa API. Please consider switching over to Google Photos


“Sex Festivals”: the bishops of Zambia mobilize

The Zambian Episcopal Conference alerts the public against the development of “sex festivals”: high-risk practices that are increasingly disturbing.

Read the article in French on https://en.aleteia.org


Read also (in English) :

70 ‘empty teens’ in sex party (Zambia Daily Mail Limited)

Sex party pupils released after paying K22.50 admission of guilty fee  (Lusaka Times)

Ndola school suspends 6 pupils over sex parties  (Open Zambia – The Voice of Zambia)



Ordinations of the confreres from Abidjan

We are happy that we are able to communication the dates of ordination and thanksgiving masses of our young confreres who are completing their theological studies this year in Abidjan. We shall do the same with the other centres of formation should we receive the information.

You can also find the same information on the page Official communications > Calendars > Formation Centers

– Ordination : 13 July 2017, at Our Lady of Fatima, Urambo-Tabora, Tanzania, par Mgr RUZOKA Paul, Archbishop of Tabora
– Thankgiving Mass : 14 July 2017 at Tegemeo B Kasisi

– Ordination : 8 July 2017 at St Mary Parish, Kibondo – Kigoma, Tanzania, by Mgr Joseph Mlola, Bishop of Kigoma
– Thankgiving Mass : 9 July 2017 at the Kumhama outstation

– Ordination : 22 July 2017 at St Thomas Parish, Mzuzu, Malawi, by Mgr John Alphonsus Ryan
– Thankgiving Mass : 23 July 2017 at St Augustin Parish, Mzuzu Luwinga
30 July 2017 at Ekwendi outstation of St Augustin Parish

– Ordination : 22 July 2017 at Mary Help of Christians Parish, Sunyani-Odumese, Upper Western Ghana, by Mgr Mathew Kwasi Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani Diocese
– Thankgiving Mass : 23 July 2017 at Odumase-Sunyani
15 August 2017 at St Peter’s Parish, Lawra

– Ordination : 16 July 2017 at the Adoration Sanctuary of Goma, RD Congo, by Mgr Théophile Kaboy
– Thankgiving Mass : Parish OL of the Rosary at Rugrari on 23rd July 2017
[wpdm_package id=’5373′]

– Ordination : 4 August 2017 at the Cathedral Church of Ndola, Zambia, by Mgr Elick Banda, Bishop of Ndola
– Thankgiving Mass : ? at Our Lady of the Rosary’s Parish, Lugari

– Ordination : 19 August 2017 at St. Paul’s Parish in Kashikishi, Zambia, by Mgr Patrick Chisanga
– Thankgiving Mass : ?

– Thankgiving Mass : 16 July 2017 at St Joseph Luszi Parish, Malawi