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Marist Bulletin - Number 247

 

Novitiate of Matola - Mozambique
18/05/2006

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From the Marist Novitiate Newsletter Team


Exodus of the novitiate from Kutama to Matola
By Alexander Chimera (2nd year Novice, Malawi)

It was Saturday, 15th January, 2006, when the Novitiate was finally shifted from Kutama, Rothwell Farm in Zimbabwe, to Matola, Maputo, in Mozambique. Dogs barked and cocks crowed. It could be read from the faces of local people that they disapproved of the Novitiate´s change of location.
Parishioners were taken aback when they saw us leaving without hope of coming back. The presence of the Brothers at Rothwell Farm meant a lot to the people especially the services rendered. It is quite true to say that a word of farewell is difficult but we faced it.
Exactly six o’clock in the morning, “Challenge mes chers freres”, Bro. Raymond Denis cheered up the Bro. drivers. Traveling at the speed of pigeons, we left Kutama heading towards Maputo. Bro. Dostie Fernand and Aaron Mazhambe challenged the distance by their constant speed. The sun became tired of illumining the earth and went to bed. After covering a distance of 450 km, we put up in Chimoio, one of the towns in Mozambique.
The following morning, early enough, the seatbelts were fixed ready for Maputo. Feet were planted on the accelerators traveling at the speed of whirlwind towards Maputo. This speed did not take us very far as the road was having many potholes. The coconut plantations kept us awake. I was very surprised to see such kind of coconut forest along the road that joins Maputo and Beira. We appreciated the beauty of the country seen in the evergreen plantations.
To mention the number of 1,100 km, it seems to be exaggerated, a bit easier to say that it took us a good 22 hours to reach the promised land Matola from Chimoio. “We have finally arrived my dear Brothers”, Arcanjo Domingos, one of the Mozambican Novices declared. Despite the fatigue of the two days´ journey, we were very happy to see the beautiful place and the warm welcome gave us strength. The former Matola Postulate was officially opened as Matola Novitiate of the Province of the Southern Africa two weeks later.
At this point in time, we are settling down slowly with Portuguese language as the main challenge.


The journey to Matola desert
By Passmore Tenga ( 1st Year Novice, Zimbabwe)

If we were in a plane, we could have heard the air hostess saying “Tighten your belts”, but since we were not, the hooter draw out attention .Looking at the watch, it was 5am and we left Kutama Novitiate on January 27, 2006. We were thirteen young men from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The two Brothers; ( Succeed Nyuke who was with the commuter omnibus and Axensio Dickson with the Mazda pick-up)drove down south of the country Zimbabwe .Everyone was imbued with confidence that we were going to Matola, after waiting tirelessly for the visas to come out. The sun came up in a sky brilliant with red orange flames of fire when we were in Chivhu. From Chivhu to Masvingo, where we bought food, it took us one and a half hours. We drove out of the town and had our breakfast. The region is hot and the majority were dozing, only the Brothers had no option .We were hoping for a change in terms of temperature but the lower we went the hotter it became. As we were not able to sustain this, we took a refreshment at Elephant Hotel in Matebeleland Province. Along the way people were fast asleep and some were day-dreaming lying along the beach speaking Portuguese. We arrived at Beitbridge border post at around 3 p.m.
At around three we were hearing another language and the vegetation could tell us that we were in another country. As the Brothers were speeding along Johannesburg road, everyone was awake, admiring the green carpet which was lying on the land and the panoramic view after Messina. To cut the story short, I can describe this country as Canaan, but had we known that it was a land of danger disguised as a blessing, we could not have gone through this country.
The sunlight danced among the green shadows of the grass and the trees when we were at San`bonani lodge where we put up. After off loading our bags from the cars, some took a shower, others were preparing to cook and those who are prayerful were meditating upon the wonders of God that they had seen along the road. As the Brothers took time to come back everyone was showing gloomy faces as the stomachs were complaining, not knowing the hell they were encountering. When those who were enjoying the cool breeze outside started to move towards the house we believed that our prayer had been heard. The Brothers came into the room where we were gathered and Br Nyuke explained how they had been robbed in daylight. Upon finishing narrating the story, we briskly dashed to our rooms and remained dumb until Saturday morning.
We left that place at half past six and arrived at Peitersburg at around nine. We took a heavy breakfast to revenge the lent season we had experienced the previous night. As we were approaching Pretoria we experienced a heavy downpour which entertained our eyes as we were admiring the vivacious countryside of South Africa. We enjoyed the cool breeze which kept us awake until we reached Ressano Garcia border post at 6 pm. From there to the Novitiate, it took us only an hour. Thank you, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, for protecting us. Glory be to God.


Official opening of the Marist Novitiate
By Billy Mustafa (1st Year Novice, Malawi)

“This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it”. It was on 2nd February, 2006 at nine o´clock in the morning. It was happening right here in Matola, one of the city centres in Maputo, the Capital City of Mozambique. Actually, it was the official opening of the Marist Novitiate which accommodates novices from the southern part of Africa. The occasion was graced by Br Christiano Da Costa, Fr Manolo and Sr Nocoletta. The guest of honor was the Provincial himself, Brother Lawrence Ndawala, representing the whole Marist Brothers´ Province of Southern Africa.
The function started with the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Américo of the Marianhill congregation. Soon after communion, Br. Godfrey Mbawa, the Master of Novices, invited Br Ndawala to deliver inaugural speech of the opening of the Novitiate. After him, Fr. Manolo of the Congregation of the Servites, and our parish priest for St. Gabriel Parish made few remarks to underline his happiness in having Marist Novitiate in his Parish. To crown it all, the main celebrant, Fr Américo said expressed his happiness in being the chaplain of the new Novitiate but underlined the difficulty of celebrating Mass in English. After the Holy Mass, people congratulated one other with joy as smiles were on each and every face present at the ceremony.
People wouldn’t go without “pão e água”, so they were invited for lunch in the dining hall. Delicious food, and drinks were served while soft music was spicing the celebration. No one dared to go home without seeing the full stop of everything, because goodies were coming like manna. Frankly speaking it was a colorful ceremony.


Warm sweet Mozambique
By Tererai Marcellino Gijima ( 1st Year Novice, Zimbabwe)

The “ BEMVINDO À MOÇAMBIQUE” banner welcomes you as you enter the sweet quiet country. Long branches of the coconut wave and hiss as you pass. The warm oceanic breeze soothes your perspiring face driving you to softly doze despite your feeble efforts not to. Apart from the charming view of nature around, the people of Mozambique are friendly and gentle. There is, of course, a unique way of life that is worthy to know more about.
Situated to the bottom west of the Southern African map is the beautiful cumulonimbus cloud shaped country of Mozambique. Her inland boundary borders six countries namely Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland while the remaining side swims in the depths of the Indian ocean that supplies the people with all varieties of fish and crowns Mozambique with a wonderful trim of sandy beaches.
There are ten provinces and the capital city is Maputo which is in southern part of the country. Three great rivers, Save, Limpopo and Zambezi flow across Mozambique towards the ocean. There are also other big and small rivers all over the country.
Northern Mozambique is a highland where intensive agriculture is practised. The central region is especially for commercial plantations of tea, citrus fruits, paw-paws and pine apples. Coconut and cashew nut plantations increase as you go south. Wildlife reserves are scattered all over the country containing vast species of animals. Crocodiles and hippos are plentiful in the rivers and lagoons.
Mozambique is a former colony of Portugal. Portuguese culture and language still dominate every part of the country to the extent that some young people in town do not even know and speak their mother language. Meals are prepared in the Portuguese style. Unlike most African countries South of the Sahara, nsima/sadza is not the favourite dish but pasta and rice. Despite all these differences, Mozambicans are a friendly people. They are eager to learn from foreigners and teach them their lifestyle and of course their official language, Portuguese.
From my little experience, Mozambique is a beautiful rich country worth visiting and witness the bright, warm, and sweet environment. God’s mighty works displayed amaze you in every direction you may look.


The first birthday party at Matola
By Symon Chiona ( 1st Year Novice, Malawi)

Since the arrival of the Second- Year Novices at Matola Marist Novitiate on 16th January 2006, and the First- Year Novices on the 28th of the same month, the first birthday celebration was held in March, 2006. It was on the 4th of March when we all gathered to celebrate the birthdays of one Brother and four Novices.
The Brother to whom ‘Happy Birthday to You’ and ‘Akhale Moyo’ was sung with a grin in the face was Br Angel Mansoa, our Vice Master of Novices. Born on 21 February, 1935, Br Angel had clocked 71 years.
The four Novices who on the 4th of March also celebrated their days when they first saw the blazing sun, or the drizzling rain, or the shadow of clouds, or the dark of night as the great works of God, were Arcanjo Pires, born on 23rd January, 1981, now 25; Richard Dumbo Chidothi, born on 19th February,1982, now 24; Alexander Chimera, born on 1st March, 1078, now 28. The youngest to celebrate the birthday in this group was Tererai Gijima, born on 3rd March, 1986, now 20.
The party was spiced up by poems, comedies, jokes and dances. Each celebrant received a beautiful T-Shirt as a gift.
The Masters of Ceremony (MCs), Jamal Mualinqué and Eugene Chimba made sure that the party was breathing with life. The party started with a prayer and finished with the singing of the Salve Regina.


Official acceptance day
By Reuben Lungu Banda (1st Year Novice, Zambia)

It was not until Monday 6th March, 2006 at 17:00 hrs when we were accepted as Marist first year Novices. Before this ceremony, we were still postulants or pre-novices. Not only were we accepted: the same day we received the longed for cassocks and the copies of Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Little Brothers of Mary (Marist Brothers). Could you imagine how colourful that ceremony was?
It all happened in our small community chapel in the presence of Br .Antonio Sanasana the Provincial Councillor for the Sector of Mozambique who represented Brother Provincial. No sooner had the second year Novices, including our Formators started the entrance melodious hymn than the Master of Novices, Bro. Godfrey Mbawa, in conjunction with Br Sanasana, started calling each one by name following the alphabetical order to go in front. Upon reaching near the altar, one had to genuflect before the Lord, face the Brothers and make a simple self introduction of not more than three sentences. Believe me that not one amongst the fifteen of us wavered. The reason behind was that everyone had morale and was longing for this miraculous day.
Following the same criteria, after some words from Br Councillor, we started receiving our cassocks. In fact, they were well washed, ironed and nicely folded. Immediately after receiving it, we had to get into the sacristy, dress up and come out. They fitted us as if we were measured before sewing them. Meanwhile the Brothers were singing a joyful acceptance song while we lined up along the altar looking like angels sent to proclaim the second coming of Christ. In the same vain, Bro. Eugene was busy taking photos. So serious was he, that he wanted the longest toe and the longest hair of the head to fit on the snap.
Having been given the constitutions, I remembered my greatest wish whilst at Mtendere Postulate that “Come rain, come thunder or come what may, one day, I shall be in a cassock.”


Life in the new novitiate at Matola
By Benjamin Machinga ( 2nd Year Novice, Zimbabwe)

The former Postulate at Matola was turned into the Novitiate this year in January. After the “Great Trek” from Zimbabwe ,the staff-members and the 2nd Year Novices waited for the arrival of the Postulants. Meanwhile, everybody in the new Community busied himself with the cleaning up and maintenance of the new home. On the night of the 28th of January, the Postulants arrived in the company of Brothers Auxensio Dickson and Succeed Nyuke, but this time through South-Africa. The first group had come through Chimoio.
Who said Religious Life is only about Prayer and Work? There is also time for real fun. Marist Brothers live in love, peace and harmony just like their Model; The Holy Family at Nazareth. It was all smiles on the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord when Brother Adrien’s Path was officially inaugurated. The event started with Br Antonio Pisco cutting the ribbon to open the way for three competitors of a fun-race. These competitors were drawn from different age groups from twenties up to the late eighties. Samson Mahlangu , Br Godfrey Mbawa and Br Adrien were the ones to sprint and sprinting they did! The race was won by the oldest , that is , Br Adrien Beaudoin. The whole community was in stitches when Br Adrien gave a word of exhortation to the young ones not to look in different directions, but focus their attention on their Vocation. The greatest fun of the day was when the three competitors were Crowned by Br Angel Mansoa and were given a ride by Paddington Chakabva in the activator. Everybody laughed his lungs out, but what was behind all this? It was building up our novitiate community life with joy on this great day of the Annunciation while at the same time, encouraging ourselves to use the footpath that we had made.


The old novitiate
By Crisple Tom Mkwani (2nd Year Novice, Malawi)

The novitiate had been in Zimbabwe from 1989 up this early January this year whe finally it has been moved to this Portuguese speaking country, Mozambique. Our novitiate in this province has been subjected to a series of changes since its establishment. It was first taken from Malawi to Zambia. Thereafter Zimbabwe was thought of being the better place for its survival. In Zimbabwe it was located a kilometer away from the Robert Mugabe road about 7km away from Kutama College. Its buildings were constructed some time back and were once used as a formation centre for the Archdiocese of Harare. These buildings lie inside Rothwell farm which is the property of the Archdiocese Harare.
Right there we had a number of activities which were organized besides the programme followed in the novitiate. This is the issue of our interest here. Clearly stated by the Constitutions, Article 100.19, the locality was isolated, full of silence and helpful for prayer. Indeed, its countryside- ness provided an ideal site for the novitiate.
At Kutama we had a number of activities which were organized besides the programme followed in the novitiate. This is the issue of our interest here. The master of novices used to organize solidarity projects that were done outside the novitiate for a period of not more than two weeks. We were often sent out in three groups to various places within the city of Harare. Usually the places were St. Marcellin Children’s Home, Emerald Hill Children’s Home and a destitute home in Mbare. Out there, we did charitable work that reflected our solidarity with the needy people. At St. Marcellin’s Children Home, we had a wonderful experience with the kids infected with H.I.V. Those were really moments of personal encounter with Jesus in a suffering World. Yes, gone are the days when we used to cherish those moments with little boys and girls who are in most need of parental care and love.
When Advent and Christmas were drawing closer, the entire staff of Fr O’Hea Mission Hospital was eagerly waiting for our long promised and always fulfilled help at their popular and only reliable hospital around the radius of Kutama. Our services, or simply charity work, rendered to that hospital were simple and unprofessional in nature. The services were like mopping, visiting the sick, praying with them personally or as a group, organizing a celebration of Mass with them. We, nevertheless, were rewarded with a dozen of expressions of gratitude, sometimes, more than deserved. Surely it’s a proof of a wise saying which I love most, “It is not how much you give that counts, but rather the love that generates the feeling of giving.” Will this experience reappear in the new novitiate? Let the future tell us as it unfolds before our eyes!


An official visit by Br. Antônio Ramalho
By Br. A. Mansoa (Formator, Spain)

Just two months after our arrival in Matola, Mozambique, we were honoured by the visit of one of the Councillors of our General Administration in Rome. His name is Br Antonio Ramalho. His surname is pronounced “ramalyou”.
Br. Ramalho was with us for a week. He is touring around the Marist world (76 countries), visiting the houses of formation: seeing what is being done, encouraging and advising on some possible ways of improving our Marist formation at all levels.
Br. Ramalho, a Brazilian Brother, had meetings with the staff and the novices, in groups and with each one in particular (at least half an hour with each of us). As we were 4 members of staff plus 24 novices, these meetings kept him quite busy for five full days. He informed us of what is happening in the Marist world and we informed him of what we are doing here at Matola. Out of all that, the Councillor will be able to draw an accurate report – we hope - for the benefit of us all.
As a person in charge of formation at the level of our Marist Institute, Br. Ramalho has to see to it that the candidacy and pre-postulancy programmes go well in each Sector (country) and that the same happens with the postulancy and novitiate, at the level of each province, and the post-noviciate, at the level of the whole of Africa. In our Province of Southern Africa, the postulancy (one year) is in Malawi and the novitiate (2 years) in Mozambique; the post-noviciate formation (4 years) is in Nairobi, Kenya.
Br. Ramalho had come here after visiting Madagascar, and from here, he was proceeding to Malawi and later to Nigeria. Madagascar and Nigeria, with Southern Africa and Central-East Africa are the four Marist Provinces in the continent of Africa, with 348 professed Brothers and 38 novices.


The life in the Pre-postulancy and the Postulancy at Matola
By Felizardo João Celestino (1st Year Novice, Mozambique)

The pre-Postulancy at Matola welcomed thirteen candidates to Marist life: eight after Year 12 and five after Year 10. The candidates were welcomed during the second week of January 2005 coming from different places in the country: one from Tete, four from Zambézia, two from Maputo, two from Beira, three from Nampula and one from Inhambane. All arrived enthusiastic and creative, according to the words of their formator, Brother Zeferino.
From time to time, we have had times of relaxation in order to highlight better our community life. Thus we have had the chance to get to know the District of Bilene, the place of the Marist school of Namaacha near the border of Swaziland and South Africa. We were served a special meal during which we were able to fraternise happily and which left pleasant memories for all those who had taken part.
We have started our journey in religious life by dreaming of being Marist Brothers. Each one has his story, his family, his way of being, but we all share one same ideal: “To serve God and to work for his Kingdom.”

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