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Towards the Priesthood a young Zambians call……

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Towards the Priesthood a young Zambians call……

Our Parish has developed a strong link with Zambia, Our priest Father Christopher  and one of our parishioners in particular Mrs Maria Amesbury have visited our adopted church and witnessed its work at first hand. The following is an article sent by one of the young men of Zambia who has responded to the call God has given him and it is an account of his spiritual journey of his vocation so far………………….

In the year dedicated by Pope Benedict to Priests, it is good to hear this story of a young man’s journey to the priesthood from Zambia with which our parish has a close link.

 

 

From PATRICK B.S.KAMBOMBI Zambia

 

 

This is the story of my vocation and my journey to Priesthood. To write such an account means to be still while moving. It is also an opportunity for me look back from where I have come from, see every experience in the light of faith, and above all see how God has been faithful to his promise of unconditional love to me. Every time I think about the story of my vocation, I cannot help thinking also about certain people who have played a very significant role in helping me respond to God’s call. Let me begin by saying something about my family.

 

My Family…

 

I was born in April 26, 1980. Am a second born in the family of eight. I have a brother and six sisters. I grew up in a little village few kilometres from Lake Kariba. Until my father died in 2004 he worked as a veterinary officer and my mother had already died nine years before. My elder sister Sylvia is a nun in the local congregation of the Hand Maids of Blessed Virgin Mary. My immediate young sister is working, she is married and she has two kids. The rest of my young sisters and my brother are being kept by the same sister.

 

The Seed is Sown…

 

As a young boy, I always followed my mother to church. That is the only day and time I remember dressing smartly-when we were going to Church on Sunday. Our house was not very far from the Parish-St Kizito Parish, Lusitu,  Siavonga. The first missionary to settle in this village was an Italian Priest, now the Bishop of Monze Diocese to which am incardinated. And since the late 1960s my parish has been run by the Italian Priests from the Arc-diocese of Milan (Abrosians). The Priests were very good to the local people. I never new Bishop Emilio Patriarca (1st Parish Priest of Lusitu St Kizito Parish) because by  early 1980s he had gone back to Italy and another Priest had come to replace him by the name of Fr Mario Papa. I knew and I know Fr Mario as a very humble Priest, and very Prayerful. He remained in my parish for about 12 years after that he went back to Italy. But another Priest by the name of Fr Angelo Vigano came in 1992 a year before Fr Mario went back to Italy. I admired the Priest working in my parish very much…and as a young boy I couldn’t imagine myself being anything apart from being a priest. During the next couple of years my friends and I spend a great deal of time at the parish and often times we followed Fr whenever he  went to the outstation. Little did I know then that the more time I spent with him the more I wanted to be like him even without knowing it….  It is only now that I realise how much his life had influenced my own…meanwhile I continued studying hard at school.

 

I did my junior high school in government school. But in grade ten I went to a Catholic School, Mukasa  Minor seminary and I remained their until the year I completed 1999.  WHAT NEXT?

MAJOR SEMINARY

 

The following year 2000, I applied to go to the seminary. In October the seminary opened wide its gates to receive 49 young men from all the ten Dioceses in Zambia to begin their journey to priesthood. Now in Zambia due to limited places, each diocese is allowed to send only five students per year. But it happens often that some dioceses are not able to send five then others are free to send more.

 

FORMATION

 

The formation system is made up of three stages. But the whole period of formation takes eight years. However, a few dioceses have added a few more years…

1. The first part begins in Lusaka, Emmaus Spirituality Centre. Here the programme is designed in such a way that students have sufficient time to pray, to discern, to recreate, to reflect on their life. A few courses however, are offered such as:

I. Human Sexuality/development

II. English

III. Scripture

IV. Basic Christian Doctrine

V. Liturgy

VI. Spirituality

2. The second stage is Philosophy. After spending one year at Emmaus Spirituality Centre those that are recommended go to St Augustine’s Major Seminary for philosophy for a period of two years. Unlike at Emmaus Spirituality Centre here the programme is very busy and a lot of seriousness and hard work is expected. By exposing the students to different philosophers, it is hoped that students will be helped to have a better understanding of issues in the parish in which they will serve as priests.

 

3. The last stage of formation is in Lusaka. After two years of philosophy students go to St. Dominic’s Major Seminary for Theology for four years. After two years of studying theology there is one year of pastoral experience in the parish. Each student is assigned to a parish in his home diocese to help him integrate his studies with real and practical issues in the parish set up. At the end of the pastoral year students return to the Seminary to continue with their theological studies and formation and with the completion of the third year they are ordained deacons for one year. And at the end of the fourth year deacons after writing their final exam they go back to their respective diocese where they are ordained Priests. Basically these are the main three stages recognised by the Zambia Episcopal Confreres (ZEC).

 

Monze diocese is one of the dioceses that has added another two years for its students. This means that apart from the 8 years spent in the seminary, we are expected to spend two more years in the diocese. The major reason for the increase is to give us further time for discernment.  It is hoped that at the end of the two years a student will have grown in his understanding and appreciation of the Priestly vocation.

 

DEACONATE ORDINATION

This policy was introduced at a time when we were preparing ourselves for a deaconate ordination. I shall never be able to forget how sad we felt when the bishop told us, I regret to inform you that this year there will be no ordination…. At first it was really hard to accept it but with time we have healed and accepted it. Indeed there is always a silver lining in every cloud and this is particularly true with me. Lets face it Fr, I wouldn’t have met you and Maria if things had remained the same. Now more than ever I have leant to be open to life and sometimes just to let things flow… And am sincerely grateful to God for this time and for all the meaningful experiences I have gone through…

 

I remember so clearly that a few times I complained about the way I was being treated by the Parish Priest. I felt and still feel it was very unfair and unfortunate to treat each other like this… but I thank God for the grace of perseverance during those moments when life was so hard for me.

 

9th AUGUST 2009 A HAPPY DAY

 

Finally the long awaited date and occasion came. I was ordained deacon in Siavonga parish on 9th August 2009. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. I remember feeling somewhat anxious and nervous about my deaconate ordination. I knew without any shadow of doubt that the step I was making was a very serious one. After all that is the reason why the bishop had decided to add two more years to help us realise that becoming a deacon and later on a Priest was not a joke. Though I felt a certain amount of fear within but at the same time I was aware that God was with me. A few priests had come to witness our deaconate ordination despite being a Sunday. The bishop wanted to make it as simple as possible but neither my friend nor I shared in his opinion. But we consoled ourselves by saying to each other that what was more important was not the number of people but only a validly ordained bishop to lay his hands on our heads. This he did and what a joy I felt on that day!

 

All my sisters and my brother were present. A good number of people from my home parish had come witness my ordination. How happy I was to see them. Most of them had known me since childhood and they showed great joy to see me make such a significant step towards priesthood. On this day I thought a great deal about my mother and father, and I wished they had been there as well to witness my deaconate ordination… but am sure they were watching and celebrating with u from heaven.

 

I vividly remember the homily the bishop gave on that day. He emphasised that the commitment to celibacy was a perfect sign and response of love to Jesus who is asking us “Do you love me more than these”?

 

I always remember with affection and gratitude the many people who have encouraged me a lot on my journey. A timely word of encouragement to a discouraged and broken heart can help someone to keep going even when the going gets tough. I just couldn’t have made it alone without loving and caring people that God had placed and continue to put as I journey towards the holy alter. Good things come to those who wait-when I think and reflect on these words I think about you Fr Christopher, these words have been my source of great consolation. In short I can say my deaconate ordination was really good. After my ordination I had two weeks holiday. I had a good time with my family and friends. Back to the parish, things are getting on well. And since I came back as a deacon, I’ve been involved in the following activities in the parish:

v  Youth Ministry

v  Hospital Visitation

v  Home Visitation

v  Catechesis every Saturday

v  Funeral Services

v  Marriage Celebrations

v  Baptising

v  Counselling

v  School of faith

v  Meetings with lay-groups

v  Small Christian Community meetings

v  Holy communion to the aged and sick in homes

v  Out-station visitation

v  Serving at the Alter

Bur my pastoral programme can be summarised in the following:

 

PASTORAL PROGRAME FOR DEACON PATRICK B.S.KAMBOMBI

 

 

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

MORNING

MASS 8:00 ENGLISH

10:00 TONGA

 

PASTORAL TEAM MEETING.

HOME VISITATION

HOME BASED CARE

HOME VISITATION/

HOLY COMMUNION

OUTSTATION VISITATION

MASS 7:30 CATECHISM-INFANT BAPTISM

LUNCH

12:30H

LUNCH

12:30H

LUNCH

12:30H

LUNCH

12:30H

LUNCH

12:30H

AFTERNOON

2:30 P.M YOUTH MEETING

 

OFFICE WORK

LEGIONARIES,

NAZARETH GROUP

HOSPITAL VISITATION

16-17HRS

SCHOOL OF FAITH, S.C.C VISTATION

S.C.C  VISITATION

 

 

 

 

16:30 MASS

 

 

 

  • NOTE. S.C.C –Small Christian Community
  • Week day Mass is always at 06:30 hrs except on Wednesdays and Saturday -07:30hrs.
  • Monday is always a day off.
  • SUPPER 7:30 P.M.

I hope this will give you a picture of what am doing in the parish. Like I said at the beginning I am happy to have been asked to write something about my journey-for it has been prayer because it has helped me to become more aware of the many blessings I have received from God many of which I had taken for granted.

 

I would also like to thank you for everything, especially for the encouragement and support you gave me each time I called on you. I feel I have come to the end of my journey now. Bye for now.

 

Our Lady of Assumption Parish

Catholic Church

P.o Box 224

Mazabuka-ZAMBIA.

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