In the Village
I was born on 24th April 1969, first born son in a family of eight, five girls and three boys. I come from the very southern part of Malawi in Chikwawa district. My village is called Muonda. I was born in this village, not at a hospital, with the help of traditional birth’s attendants.
In October 1976 I started primary school education. The primary school was four kilometres away, next to the Catholic Out church where we went to pray on Sundays. Some villages were even further away from the school and church. We all went to school and church on foot on dusty roads and foot paths. Our homes were made of mud and thatched with grass, usually with three small bedrooms, one for the parents, one each for the boys and girls.
After my first communion in 1977 on 25th December, I became an altar boy. We had a Dutch Montfort Missionary as our Parish Priest. He lived 27 kilometres away. We had Mass only once in a month, because there were many out-churches in the parish for him to drive to.
The Minor Seminary
In November 1980, a minor seminary, known as “Mzimu Woyera”, (“Holy Spirit”) was opened in the diocese with the assistance of the Society of St Peter the Apostle. It began only with two classes, standard 6 and standard 7 but developed up to Form 4. The Bishop really wanted the Diocese to have its own seminary because there were only two diocesan priests at the time – the rest were foreign missionaries.
On 7th October 1981, I and four other boys from my parish, after successfully passing the entrance exams, entered the minor seminary, I was 12 years old. We were 56 in the class. It was my first experience of being away from my home as the seminary was about 80 kilometres away.
The school fee per term was equivalent to 6 British Pounds. This was a lot of money for my parent. Malawi’s population at present is about 13 Million and 85% of these people live in the rural areas, and exist by subsistence farming. So they could not meet all seminary costs. The Society of St Peter the Apostle gave a huge subsidy and kept the seminary going. Thanks to the good heart and humble spirit of all the benefactors and donors who funded me and still are sharing with us.
I completed my Primary School education in 1985. There were 33 remaining in our class. Some went onto the State secondary school and 20 of us stayed on. In 1986 I had my first chance to witness the ceremony of ordination to the priesthood. One Deacon, who taught us in the minor seminary for one year, was being ordained, so we got a chance to go. This was the moment I really made a decision that I should follow the Lord’s path as a priest. Everything that happened at this ordination ceremony penetrated my heart and made me more resolved. In 1988 I finished my Secondary school education and out of a class of 10, six of us decided to go on to the Major Seminary Kachebere to study Philosophy, Social Sciences and Liberal Arts.
The Major Seminaries
In the Major Seminary, we had students from all over the country. This is a seminary for all the seven dioceses of Malawi. It was an opportunity and an experience to meet other students from all over the country. People of different tribes and languages, but brought together by faith and the will to serve God as priests one day. These were challenging years, but prepared me for the great task of serving God’s people in many and different situations. We were 52 in our class.
After three years of Philosophy, 22 of us made it to St. Peter’s Senior Seminary another national seminary where we had four years of Theology. In January 1995, 10 of us were ordained Deacons. We were two from my diocese, Chikwawa. On 16th July 1995, the Bishop who opened the minor seminary “Mzimu Woyera”, (“Holy Spirit”) 15 years ago, ordained us priests in the grounds of the seminary as the Cathedral was too small to contain all the people.
The Major Seminaries
My first appointment as a new priest was to teach in the minor seminary where I was once taught. I was teaching Mathematics, Latin and Biology. I stayed at ‘Mzimu Woyera’ Seminary for four years; in 1999 I went to a Parish, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, where I served as curate for two years, I was also appointed Diocesan PMS Director in this year. In the year 2001 I was made Parish Priest and moved to one of the remotest parishes in the Diocese. I replaced the Missionaries, St. Patrick’s Fathers from Ireland. I was the first indigenous priest to be at the Parish. I was alone and this was not an easy task.
The same year I was appointed Diocesan Pastoral secretary and things became really touch and challenging. The Parish, Our Lady of the Poor has 21 out-churches, the furthest being 38 kilometres away reached on my motor bike. I served this parish for seven years until in 2008 when I was appointed by Rome as the National PMS Director and the Bishops appointed me as the National coordinator of the Youth and Laity in the Pastoral Commission. I had to move the same year to the Catholic Secretariat, away from my Diocese, to take up these new posts, and that’s where I am serving at present. My journey continues.
The Pontifical Society of St Peter the Apostle was founded to:
- Promote Vocations in the Church.
- To make Christians aware of the need for local clergy and religious in the emerging Church — the Missions.
- To contribute funds and resources to enable seminaries to be founded.
- To assist male and female candidates be formed for the consecrated life.
- Currently SPA supports over 900 seminaries and hosts of religious formation houses in the Missions.