• The Society of St. Peter Apostle
  • The Society of St. Peter Apostle
  • The Society of St. Peter Apostle
  • The Society of St. Peter Apostle
  • The Society of St. Peter Apostle
  • The Society of St. Peter Apostle

Going in the Right Direction

 

Throughout the Missions, local priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay catechists offer concrete help – and the compassion and hope of Jesus to the poor and most vulnerable. Through our prayers and sacrifices, we too reach out to the poor and suffering – and keep our faith journey on track, “going in the right direction” as we answer our Lord’s call to be His missionaries in our world of need.

On the pages to the right, make a missionary journey with National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI to Zambia. You’ll read about young men preparing to serve as priests, helping to “point to Christ – for strength, for hope.” You’ll learn about the work of local Sisters with HIV / AIDS orphans, as well as children with physical disabilities. And you’ll meet catechists – men and women telling our mission family in Zambia about God’s great love for each one of us.

So get this mission trip started… keeping mission in focus as we get ready for the journey of Lent.

 

Going in the Right Direction PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
Going in the Right Direction
Day One in Zambia – Thinking Radio City Music Hall
Just the Facts...
Forming Signs of Hope...
A Healing Mission
Reality and Solidarity...
Sisters, Sisters...
With a Mother's Love...
More Hope in the Making...
Home of Joy
All Pages

A Mission Visit to Zambia


A country of orphans. A place of extreme poverty. In four decades of independence, Zambia has found peace, but not prosperity. Some two-thirds of the population live on less than a dollar a day. The economic challenges have been compounded by one of the world’s most devastating HIV / AIDS epidemics. Zambia is one of seven hardest-hit countries in that regard on the African continent: one in every six adults is living with HIV; some one million children are AIDS orphans.

But there is hope amidst the suffering and poverty – local Sisters who care for the sick and for children who would otherwise be alone; catechists who announce the “Good News” of God’s great love for each one of us; young men preparing to serve as priests, to help point to Christ for strength, for hope.

Accompanying those Sisters, catechists and priests, through our prayers and sacrifices, we too reach out to the poor and suffering – and keep our faith journey on track, “going in the right direction.”


Day One in Zambia – Thinking Radio City Music Hall

 

Less than a mile from the National Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in New York City is Radio City Music Hall, the iconic structure that has welcomed millions through the years, with performances that bring great joy – including the annual Christmas Show, complete with the living Nativity.

Built in the wake of the depression, Radio City Music Hall would be part of a complex of buildings – a project its architects wanted to stand as a symbol of optimism and hope.

An ocean away, in Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI, visited another building project in the works – one similar in so many ways to the one completed on a Manhattan street almost a century ago.  The poor on the streets of Zambia – like the poor in New York at that time – would surely find hope in this building – but the hope that saves.

Mary Immaculate Parish is building a new church – the current structure, just a bunch of tents – and Father Andrew met the builder and his daughter on the first full day in Zambia.  He also met the priests serving the parish, the pastor and his associate, both hoping for a roof. 

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith has provided for the building of five parish churches in the last three years – buildings where the Christmas and Easter stories are retold, with their joy and promise, buildings that every day bring to the poor the presence of our Lord, and the hope and love He offers in abundance.

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Just the Facts…

 

As National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI continued his mission visit to Zambia the week of January 21, he met with Father Cleophas Lungu, Secretary General of the Zambian Episcopal Conference.  It was time to talk facts and figures.

The 11 Catholic dioceses in Zambia serve some 14 million in total population, about 3.5 million Catholics (about 25%).  The newest diocese, Kabwe, located some 100 miles from Lusaka, was established in October 2011.  Here 43 priests, 70 religious Sisters and 25 religious Brothers serve some 140,000 Catholics, about 13% of the total population.  Overall, in addition to parish ministries and catechesis, Church outreach includes health care, education and social ministries.  

Beyond the facts and figures, Father Andrew continues to discover on his journey the heart of the missionary church of Zambia – priests who help point to Christ, for strength, for hope; Sisters who care for the sick and for children who would otherwise be alone; catechists who announce the “Good News” of God’s great love for each one of us.   And our prayers and sacrifices through the Pontifical Mission Societies help us to be missionaries on the journey with them – keeping the faith journey for us all moving in the right direction!

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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Forming Signs of Hope…

 

Just before his ordination in the summer of 2007, Father Ignatius Lubasi Muyunda Chanakila spoke of the origins of his vocation to the priesthood.  Once the manager of a local supermarket, he started thinking about the Lord’s call in the Gospels, especially the command to “proclaim the Good News to the whole world.”  “These words eventually compelled me to go to the seminary,” said Father Ignatius, now pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Limulunga, one of 13 parishes in the Mongu Diocese.  “My role as a priest would be to point to Christ – for strength, for hope; to be a sign that Christ is present in the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of life.”

Father Aaron Kapunula, now pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption in the Diocese of Chipata, was ordained along with Father Ignatius.  “I am becoming a priest above all to serve,” he said at the time. “I want to be a sign of the love of God for all.  In the Eucharist especially the broken connect with Jesus and His love.  It will be my privilege to celebrate the Eucharist among my own people.”

Both Father Ignatius and Father Aaron prepared for the priesthood – for lives of pointing to the Lord, of service – at St. Dominic’s Major Seminary in Lusaka.  National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI spent the day at St. Dominic’s on January 23, visiting with the 167 current students, and seeing the help provided to this seminary and these future priests through contributions to the Society of St. Peter Apostle, the Pontifical Mission Society responsible for providing support for the formation of seminarians and religious novices in mission dioceses. In addition to providing some $700 for each student’s annual studies, help from the Society of St. Peter Apostle was sent to put a roof on the seminary and to add an annex to the library.

As Father Andrew assured students and staff of the continue prayers of all in this “one family in mission,” the same promise was offered back for all who make their studies possible, and eventually their work and witness among the poor and suffering in Zambia.

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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A Healing Mission...

 

According to the website of the Catholic Church in Zambia, the Church’s provision of health care services to the poor happened from the very start of its mission in the country in the 1890s.  Initially, basic health care came from clinics in small Christian communities. This developed over the years into larger, more structured health care institutions, as well as community Home Based Care Programs. Currently 60 percent of health care services in rural areas of Zambia are church related.

On his third day in Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI spent time at Cardinal Adam Memorial Hospital in Lusaka.  Named for the former missionary archbishop of Lusaka, the facility was part of the overall plan of the Bishops of Zambia to offer a fully integrated approach in caring for the sick in their homeland. Being developed in stages, the first phase, which is almost completed, includes administrative offices, as well as a pharmacy, laboratories, dental room, eye clinic, radiology and ultrasound departments, a small operating theater, and consultation / treatment rooms. The second and third phases – which will begin with the availability of funds – will include pediatric and maternity wards, a convent for the Sisters on staff, and small homes for lay volunteers.

In Zambia and throughout the Missions, the Pontifical Mission Societies offers support not only for the all-important and central evangelizing mission of the Church, but also for her healing mission. That includes the efforts of this hospital in Lusaka, as well as some 9,000 clinics caring for the sick and dying in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and parts of Europe and Latin America. 

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI with Sister Stella who will administer the hospital. Sister Stella belongs to the religious community, the Society of Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, an Apostolic Society founded by Father J.E. Arul Raj, OMI – a fellow Oblate of Mary Immaculate for Father Andrew, proving again we’re all part of this “one family in mission”!


 Reality and Solidarity...

Invited to speak to the Bishops of Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI did so on his third day there, January 24.  Noting the reality of decreasing support available from the Pontifical Mission Societies, he expressed our solidarity with the Church in Zambia and throughout the Missions through prayer – our being bound together by prayer and our unity as “one family in mission.” 

Having visited the Catholic hospital immediately before his presentation to the Zambian Episcopal Conference, Father Andrew emphasized what he had just seen in action – a maintaining of our Catholic identity through all such important humanitarian and development efforts. 

As Father Andrew wrote in MISSION after he visited the Church in Bangladesh:  “We are to meet the other, especially the person who needs to see and hear about the Person of Jesus Christ; the one who, when poor, homeless, hungry or in prison, shines with the eyes of Jesus Himself in a special way.... That’s the missionary Church, like the Lord Himself, not waiting for us to turn to Him in need, but finding Him rushing to us.” 

The Pontifical Mission Societies supports these efforts in the Church in Zambia and throughout the Missions – the 9,000 clinics caring for the sick and dying, and the 10,000 orphanages, providing a place of safety and shelter.  All of these operate in those 1,150 mission dioceses, where the poorest of the poor receive an education and health care, while experiencing the loving heart of the Lord through the service of priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay faithful.

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI addressed the Bishops of Zambia gathered for a meeting of the Zambian Episcopal Conference on January 24.


Sisters, Sisters...

Almost 1,600. That’s how many religious Sisters currently serve the Church in Zambia – and ultimately bring their loving care through education, social services and outreach to the poor and vulnerable in our mission family here. And that’s almost three times the number of priests in Zambia. 

During his mission visit to Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI met with leaders of these religious women – including Sister Dominica Mwila of the Zambian Association of Sisterhoods (who is now going to serve our mission family, leading Missionary Childhood Association efforts in Nairobi, Kenya) – and saw their work in health care (Cardinal Adam Memorial Hospital), as well as in outreach to children with disabilities and orphans. Sisters in Zambia also manage HIV / AIDS programs, and staff schools and parishes. They care for the sick and for children who would otherwise be alone – a source of hope amidst the suffering and poverty, the hope that only Jesus can give.

The Pontifical Mission Societies offer a spectrum of related support for these Sisters. Through the Society of St. Peter Apostle, religious novices – almost 60 last year – who will be those signs of hope among their own people in the future, serving in various ministries. Through the Missionary Childhood Association, help is sent for the outreach to children in schools, health care facilities, orphanages, and other programs – often a partnership between these Sisters and local priests and lay leaders. Last May that support reached some 250,000 children, thanks to the prayers and sacrifices of children here at home. And finally, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith – with your donations – was able to send support to build two chapels in existing convents, to build two brand new convents, and to enlarge a third. 

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI met with Sister Dominica Mwila of the Zambian Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS). She has just been reassigned to serve our mission family in Kenya – as leader of the Missionary Childhood Association in Nairobi.


With a Mother’s Love...

When Margaret Mweshi was growing up in Zambia, she heard about a place where miracles happened, and she wanted to go there. Now Sister Margaret, she, along with other Sisters in her Religious Community, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi, runs that “place” – the Cheshire Home – making miracles of their own happen, with God’s loving heart. 

Caring for children with disabilities, these Sisters, many of them doctors or nurses themselves, provide medical treatment and physical therapy. They also offer these children an education, and three nutritious meals a day.  But from the beginning Sister Margaret realized the secret of service at the Cheshire Home – the loving heart of Jesus.  “I soon realized that I had to do more than provide medical help for these children,” Sister Margaret reflected.  “I had to be a mother to them too. I knew that I had to show these children the kind of love that comes from a good mother.

“I give all I do my very best,” she added. “As St. Paul wrote to the Colossians: ‘Whatever you do, do from the heart.’”

On the fourth day of his missionary journey in Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI met Sister Margaret, along with the Sisters and lay professionals who work with her at the Cheshire Home. And he also met Peter Mashaka – the little boy whose story had captured his heart, and whom he wrote about in the Summer 2012 MISSION magazine. Father Andrew also told Peter’s story on Catholic radio, in one of his Mission Lessons messages.

Last year, as in recent years, the Missionary Childhood Association sent assistance to the Cheshire Home for its hope-filled service to children in need – help that reached Peter and continues to help the Sisters here reach out to the children in their care. More help is always needed, especially for prostheses for children at the home.

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI and his friend Peter Mashaka with one of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi who staff the Cheshire Home.

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Sister Margaret Mweshi:  “I knew that I had to show these children the kind of love that comes from a good mother.”


More Hope in the Making...

Prayer under the statue of our Blessed Mother.  No better place. 

This seminarian, a student at the Emmaus Preparatory Seminary in Lusaka, takes a prayer break. His studies – along with those of his 55 classmates – are made possible with contributions to the Society of St. Peter Apostle. In fact, last year, almost 1,000 young men – in minor, major and preparatory seminaries – were able to prepare for the priesthood with such support – your support. In addition, help was offered to restructure one seminary, add a library to another, and provide additional dorm rooms for students at a third. These future priests will, as one seminarian once offered, “point to Christ – for strength, for hope.”

See more photos from Father Andrew’s “Mission Visit to Zambia” on our Facebook page.

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Home of Joy

On the last day of his mission visit to Zambia, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI visited the Home of Joy, a Catholic orphanage supported by the Catholic Church in Zambia, with help from the Missionary Childhood Association, and the Sisters of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception.

Finishing his visit, perhaps Father Andrew feels as the House Mother at Home of Joy Helen Flaherty did: “Here I found my own piece of heaven.”

And found too, helping to form that heaven, was each supporter of the Missions through the Pontifical Mission Societies — prayers and sacrifices writing stories of hope for the poor of Zambia.

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