Friars of the Vicariate of South Africa

Each year, the Vicariate General of Southern Africa holds an Annual Assembly at La Verna Retreat Centre in Vandelbiljpark, south of Johannesburg. This year the Assembly took place from 27 to 30 January 2015, and the brothers reflected on the Year of Consecrated Life. As usual, the Assembly was an opportunity to celebrate the clothing of the new novices, the first and final professions as well as the renewals of profession. Brothers Myke Mwale and Edward Murambwa give us the full story of these celebrations.

On January 27, 2015 during Vespers, three novices received the habit of the Order of Preachers from the Vicar General, fr. Sikhosiphi Mgoza and started their canonical year. They are Brothers Francis Nana Amponsah and Piet Chauke (Vicariate of Southern Africa), Francis Kawooya (Vicariate of Eastern Africa). The trio has been since joined by the two other novices, Stephen Sese Okoth and Alfred Agon’g, both from the Vicariate of Eastern Africa.

The feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas on January 28 was marked by the solemn profession of Brother Neil Mitchell and the simple profession of Brother Ernest Mwape. The ceremony took place during Vespers and was presided by fr. Sikhosiphi Mgoza. Besides the Dominican and Franciscan brothers, also present were Brother Ernest’s friends and Brother Neil’s brother and close friends. Brother Ernest has begun his studies at Saint Joseph’s Theological College and Brother Neil continues his studies and the formation courses for the permanent deacons in the diocese of Kroonstad as he prepares for his diaconate ordination.

The following day, 29 January, Brothers Godfrey Chikaura, Isaac Mutelo and Kelvin Banda renewed their profession also during Vespers in the hands of fr. Sikhosiphi Mgoza. The three have since commenced their first year studies in Theology at Saint Joseph’s in Pietermaritzburg. All these joyous and grace filled professions, clothing and renewals were warmly graced by the ever present, Franciscan brothers, close friends and relatives. The singing was celestial with the voices of the young and older brothers interlaced in the euphonious chants of the Divine Office. It was all smiles and hugging as the older brothers, family and friends congratulated the eight brothers.

Also present was fr. Gabriel Samba, the Socius for Africa who was doing the follow up of the canonical visitation of the Vicariate. He encouraged the young brothers in their commitment and gave some input on the passage to the statute of a Vice-province. Delicious supper and cold drinks every evening, to appease the heat of the day and foster our fraternity, marked all the three illustrious celebrations. It is indeed a time of hope as new brothers commit themselves to the Order and the future does look bright since the young brothers are a sign of God’s blessing to the Vicariate, to the Order and to the Church. This is encouraging, especially as we prepare for the jubilee of the Order, sent as we are to preach the Good News.

frs. Myke Mwale and Edward Murambwa, O.P.


(23 February 2015)