Two Pallottines were ordained priests in Malawi
Our mission in Malawi is growing
Francis Chibota’s and Richard Nyasaland’s ordination to priesthood took place on July 11th 2020 at the Chitedze Catholic parish in the archdiocese of Lilongwe. The Chitedze parish is in the outskirts of the city of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. It is a new parish alongside with our own Kaphatika, it’s patron saint is St. John Paul II. Within this parish our postulants are residents in a rented house.
Initially, our Provincial Fr. Helmut Scharler had requested the archbishop, the Most Reverend Tarcizio Gervazio Ziyaye, DP, to ordain our confreres as he would be ordaining the diocesans as well and the celebration was scheduled for July 18th, together we could have 7 deacons to be ordained priests, one coming from the Capucchins.
Due to the corona pandemic, the Episcopal conference declared the suspension of church celebrations that in their nature attract many faithful to attend such as ordinations or confirmation. Hence, this ordination was suspended. The Malawi government directed that religious gatherings, funerals or other meetings should not have more than 100 participants. The archbishop later called every community with deacons for an option: to ordain the candidates in their private community house with no more than 100 people attending each sitting in a distance of 1m from the other.
We welcomed the idea and agreed to have it on July 11th. The postulancy is housed on a rented land and so we couldn’t have it there. We considered that deacons Francis and the postulants were known in this parish and upon the acceptance of the parish priest Fr Innocent Mtapaonga we took the ordination there. We couldn’t have it at our parish for two reasons: we couldn’t manage to restrict the number of people attending at our own parish in a way which would meet the archbishop’s request and secondly it could be a challenge for Francis’ relatives of to reach Kaphatika as they are coming from Blantyre. We limited the number of people from the Kaphatika Pallottine Mission joining the ordination.
We had a choir from Kaphatika comprising 25 people only, or else they could be up to 75, altar servers 8, liturgical dancers 10, and other representatives, so we met the requested conditions.
Fr Nyasaland comes from the Mchinji district, not far from Lilongwe while Fr Chibota comes from the Blantyre district southern part of Malawi. Fr Francis was appointed to be postulants’ master by the Principal Rector. He will stay with the postulants there in Lilongwe hoping that when the house is ready at Kaphatika, the whole community will be relocated to Kaphatika. Fr Nyasaland will be an assistant priest at the St. Vincent Pallotti Parish Kaphatika mission.
The current life of the Pallottine Mission in Malawi is still settling. Being a new mission, it is lacking in many aspects, though with a promising future. The province is constructing the parish priest house and the postulancy house in Kaphatika and we are grateful for this. After having been renovated the parish church at Kaphatika may now host approximately 400 people while the old church could only accommodate around 150 people. The faithful have contributed bricks to the two projects showing their welcome and support to the Pallottine mission.
The community has secured land in Balaka with an intention to have a scholasticate for philosophy, joining other religious communities whose students have already started studying at a nearby institute. The community has also secured a land in Lilongwe hopefully to have a community house there and finally there is also a land in Thyolo in the archdiocese of Blantyre. We are grateful to the Province for all these initiatives that promise a growth of our mission in Malawi.
Report: Fr Jones Wellos, Kaphatika
Pictures: Br. Barnet, Fr. Wellos