Of Stagiaires (Zambia South Sector)
In Lumimba, in Chipata Diocese
Monday 23rd - Tuesday 24th April 2012
The meeting of stagiaires took place in Lumimba from Monday 23rd to Tuesday 24th April 2012. This meeting was specifically for the stagiaires coming from the Zambia South Sector.
The participants were:
1. Erick Balderas Vega (from Mexico, first year of stage)
2. Ernest Katembo Ngeta (from Congo DR, first year of stage)
3. Humphrey Andibah Lyubah (from Kenya, first year of stage)
4. Joseph Prabhu (from India, first year of stage) and
5. Jimenez Mendivil Maralf (from Mexico, second year of stage)
Fr. Francis Kangwa chaired the meeting. He is also the coordinator of stagiaires for Zambia South Sector and the Vocation Director. He presented a draft timetable, which was revised and adopted.
The morning hours of Monday 23rd were spent in recollection and personal reflection. This recollection led by Fr. Kangwa took as theme; 'God's Love and His Faithfulness.' In this recollection, we were invited to reflect on the love of God and his faithfulness in our vocation journey, especially the period of stage and generally in our day-to-day life. This helped us to deepen our knowledge of God, who is Love, and who invites us to share in his love. The passages for personal reflection were Psalm 41, Psalm 139 and Acts 27:9-24. At midday, we celebrated the Eucharist and shared our reflections.
In the afternoon, we began our meeting with personal sharing where we introduced ourselves to one another and shared a little bit more about ourselves and our families. This was continued on Tuesday morning. Later, we began sharing exclusively on our experiences of our 'stage.'
Sharing the Experience of the'Stage'
This was done following these guidelines: pre-'stage' preparation and expectations, transition from the novitiate to 'stage', apostolic-pastoral work, community life, spiritual life and social life - in and outside community. It was interesting and encouraging to learn that most of us are going through similar challenges, but experiencing them differently. Therefore, despite all this bringing our spirits down at times, it gave each one of us support and energy to keep the missionary fire burning. Generally, most of us find joy in our areas-places of 'stage' from the encouragement of our communities and parishioners. We have adapted to the places. The care and help from the confreres give us the feeling of belonging to the community. Birthday celebrations, outings and recreations in communities are good times of relaxation. We find the apostolate enriching.
For those in rural parishes (Namushakende and Lumimba), going out to centres
and spending four or five days with the people is 'an added advantage', because
we are able to mingle with the people and learn more about them and their
culture. Spiritual accompaniment is another source where we recognise the
love of God and his presence in our life. These are some of the things that
give us energy and have helped us to keep going.
On the other hand, we also found that there are some other things that are discouraging. For example, some priests consider stagiaires as though they were young garden boys. They sometimes do things to test the obedience of the stagiaires; these may witness conflicts among confreres and have difficulties in learning the language. The transition from the novitiate to stage was at times hard. This is because the theory we had received during the preparation for the 'stage' was found to be different from the reality, in some places. However, most of the stagiaires accepted the challenges and took up their responsibilities.
We found the meeting helpful and encouraging, especially the coming together and sharing of our experiences. After this sharing of the difficulties we came across, most of us seemed to have found peace of mind. We discovered that we are not alone on the way and though we are facing some difficulties, we do not lose hope. The openness and trust among us helped us to share deeply. Moreover, the inputs were also highly appreciated.
We thank Lumimba community for accepting to host us. We also thank Fr. Francis
for being with us and facilitating our meeting and the sharing. He too shared
about himself, something that was encouraging and exemplary. Finally, our
gratitude goes to the stagiaires from Zambia South Sector for their presence
May Almighty God bless you all!
Report compiled by
Lyubah Humphrey Andibah