A sign of hope from Africa
Brother Bruno from Malawi makes his final consecration and is a harbinger of internationalism
Making a promise for life is a serious matter. Thus, during his perpetual consecration with the Pallottines in Friedberg, Bavaria, Brother Bruno Khumburani Mukhupa did not at first show the cheerfulness that is characterizing him normally. Afterwards, however, he laughed even more. Provincial Father Helmut Scharler was happy about the profession as a “sign of hope”. He was grateful to welcome a young confrere “in our midst.” on Thanksgiving Day.
Brother Bruno from Malawi is a harbinger of the fact that the community in Friedberg will become even more diverse. The Provincial announced that it will be home to an international student campus from this coming fall. This will enable young Pallottines from Africa and India to improve their German and learn about German culture before setting off for their theology studies. Seven students will be accommodated in the guest house. A couple of them has already arrived and provided the celebration with African songs and drums – thus perfectly matching their confrere from Malawi. This country located in Africa’s Southeast is characterized by poverty.
Brother Bruno’s plans are to return to his home country at a later point in time. He plans to build up an agricultural cooperative and thus also provide work for young people. Brother Bruno is now preparing for this by studying agriculture at the university of Weihenstephan. Despite all these good intentions, there was a downer. Bruno’s father and sister weren’t allowed to enter Germany from Malawi for the festive service, although the Pallottines wanted to make this possible. “There’s an absolute necessity of improving the way they deal with people who want to come to our country” the provincial criticized.
“The Gospel knows no national borders,” Father Scharler said in his homily. In it, he addressed the topic of vocation in today’s world. Using the bestseller “Homo Deus” (Man is God) by Yuval Noah Harari, the Provincial pointed out that the idea of God is increasingly receding into the background. What once seemed like magic is now made possible by man-made technology, he said. “For too long, the Church has needed God to explain things like why the world turns or natural disasters happen,” Father Scharler said. As a result, he said, for the first time in history, there is an opportunity for a new story of relationship with God. “Man’s longing for a relationship with God remains,” the Provincial said. And God is relationship through and through. Commenting on the reading text from the Gospel of John about Nathanel, which Brother Bruno had chosen, Father Scharler said, “In Jesus, God looks at me. With a gaze that knows about my history and my having become. God provides me with repute.” In the technological world, God is needed to animate people. And for that, in turn, witnesses are needed. “Dear Bruno, you are such a witness,” Father Scharler said. He assured his young confrere, in the name of the Pallottines, too, that they would continue to be there for him and his homeland, Malawi.
During the solemn profession ceremony, Brother Bruno promised to consecrate himself to God and definitively join the Pallottine community. His witnesses came from Nigeria and Bavaria: Father John Ndidi Nwaocha, former delegate in Nigeria, and Maria Berger from the Provincial Office in Friedberg.
About Br Bruno
Bruno Khumburani Mukhupa (born in 1991) was born in Malawi. After high school, he first studied mechanical engineering. From 2014 to 2015 he did his postulancy in South Africa, where he studied “General Philosophy” until 2017. He started his novitiate in the Pallottine community in Queenstown/South Africa (2017 to 2018). His first profession took place in South Africa in 2018. He has taken on studies in agriculture.
Missed the sermon?
Someone once said, “For the first time in our history, it is possible to no longer need God.” We no longer need him as an explanation. And for the first time, he means, we have become free to love God for His own sake. For in this love, it becomes clear that God is relationship. It is not a matter of explaining how the world came to be, but we believe in God, that he loves people and that he is love.
We need this promise from infinity: “I love you. I see you. I do not forget you.” To discover this and bring it close to us would be the task of the Church: God is relational through and through. God himself and in himself is relationship via his Trinity. That is what the talk of the Trinity wants to tell us. That God is relational through and through. In himself, in his personality. God is relationship for us. This longing remains.
Report & Images: Andreas Schmidt
Translation: Steffi Ettenberger