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11.11.2021 15:49:00 5531x read.
Provincial Conference of Malawi (day 2) reported by Bro. Pascal Mtuwana

Provincial Conference of Malawi

Today is Tuesday, 9th.November,2021. Today is the second sitting of the Provincial conference of Malawi. The brothers from Maryview and Mzedi shall resume commuting to Bethel community, the venue of the meeting. Bethel is the Provincial house of the FIC brothers in Malawi and the only community in the city of Blantyre, nearest to the archbishop.

It is only six o’clock in the morning and the sun has already started roasting creation. The weather has dominated our conversation these days. Although it is early morning, our bodies are dripping with sweat. This obviously is a strange weather and we are told to call this climate change and not global warming. I must confess, I have rudimentary knowledge about these geographical tendencies. The fact is, this weather could have waited. We are now fervently reminded that man is the architect of his own ruin. We wantonly have cut trees and burned fossil. The warning of Pope Francis in Laudato si, is real across Malawi.

Today, the community of Mitengo is in charge of all the prayers. They shall lead the prayer service at 7 o’clock this morning, take charge of prayers at meal times and lead the songs and readings   at mass in the evening. Our topic still remains, “What is my contribution towards the growth of the province and the congregation.” Bro. Mike Mbato is the prayer leader at the prayer service and has opted for article 80 from the FIC constitutions on being completely available for the Prayer service.

Article 80 addresses brothers directly to avail their physical and mental faculties, talents and expertise, time and energy and indeed all creativity to the service of the congregation. The sharing following the reading of the article, evoked numerous positive responses. It is true that contribution to the life of a brother in the congregation involves availability. This article befits our occasion as we retrospect the service we have given to the congregation. It is possible to expend all the energies elsewhere but the congregation.

As we leave the chapel, we all troop to the dining room. Here, we take our choices of this sumptuous breakfast from the new cook of Bethel Community. It is surprising that this breakfast does not douse us to sleep. We seem all alert. I think the spirit was with us or we might have been full of spirits. In order to appreciate the food, we laughed heartily. Afterall, laughter is not costly and we needed to find a few holy words to help us laugh better. This was a happy atmosphere and I may reliably confirm that no brother became a victim of any holy joke. This is a time to appreciate each other. We coined a maxim, give the brothers good breakfast, and they will take in all the jokes you unleash on them.

The facilitator later arrived from his 35km away parish called Lirangwe. Our facilitator is a father Kasitomu, the same one as at the Provincial chapter of 2018. He is Comboni and is Vicar of all religious in the Archdiocese of Blantyre. He is a man of wisdom and advises wherever necessary. We knew that at a conference like this, we needed to be attentive or else the wisdom of this holy man of God would surpass us.

Today, our facilitator will give a reflection on the theme. His reflection pointed to the quality of the services that we give to our congregation. He advocated hard work as a virtue while over working as a disaster.  He asserted that no person has ever died of hard work. People die of over working. Hard working is a virtue. We must work hard to sustain the virtues of the congregation. Founders of the congregation worked hard to bring the congregation to us. They were ambitious of accomplishments. We must endeavour to give quality service.

There is adequate literature that supports hard work. Anthony Griezeman, adores hard work and effort, we can achieve anything with hard work. He is complemented by bishop Casandaliga Brazil who says that, work and you will get what you need, work harder and you will get what you want. Moreover, it is relevant to note that plans are only good intentions but unless they immediately degenerate into hard work, Peter Ducker. We may not be amazed that great things come from hard work and perseverance.

In order to achieve values of the congregation, brothers need to unite. We may be a small group but unity of purpose can take us steps high. Unity is the major issue that we ought to observe. In 2 Corinthians 13; 11, the Lords says that we ought to encourage one another and strive to know the limitations of each other. Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace. Romans 14:19 adds that whatever we do in word or action, let us do it in the name of the Lord.

Unity is also necessary for achievement of any group or organisation. Winston Churchill once said, when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. Unity is a binding force of any society. Chinua Achebe poignantly puts it this way, when spiders unite, they can even tie down a lion. It must also be considered that you don’t get unity by ignoring the questions that have to be faced, John Sobrino.

The rest of the day was devoted to a discussion on the General chapter resolutions. The conference observed that the Malawi province got massive support and edification from the General council. The province was able to make donations to the nearby hospitals through a provincial committee that was set up with the donation. The lives of domestic staff and families of brothers and collaborators were reached. Malawi received letters of encouragement and directions from the General council. During the covid-19 pandemic, the province felt one with the General council. Those with disabilities got a better treatment by the renovation of their structure. We cannot take all without profound gratitude.

At 17.30 pm, we went back to the chapel, this time for mass. The readings of the mas tallied the theme. It was the feast of the dedication of the basilica of Rome. The stone on which the basilica was built unites Catholics to prayer. The people go back to the roots. They ruminate a past that was not so positive but became a beacon of hope. The church survived.  It was God that united his church despite pitfalls.

The brothers through the provincial conference are going back to their roots. They are being reminded that the work of God is alive in the congregation and this ought to be upheld. Although the negatives may surpass the positive, it is a rule of the thumb to rejoice over the few positives.

After supper at 19.30 pm, the brothers of Mzedi and Maryview, left for their respective communities in their creaking jalopies thanking God it all went well.


A group photo of the Brothers, the Facilitator, Fr. Kasitomu MCCJ (standing: fourth from left) and the Provincial Secretary (standing: first from right)

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