The Vicariate General of Southern Africa Reflects on its Heritage and Future

The Vicariate General of Southern Africa

This is the main focus of the Annual General Assembly of the Vicariate held at La Verna Retreat Centre (Diocese of Johannesburg), from January 27-31, 2014, prior to the canonical visitation. Thirty-three brothers took part in this important fraternal meeting which was a great moment of brotherhood and friendship.

The elder brothers told the story of the Vicariate from their experiences in the communities where they lived with the friars of the Province of England who arrived in South Africa in 1917, and with the brothers of the Province of Netherlands who arrived in 1931. The two provinces came together and gave birth to the Vicariate General of Southern Africa in 1968.

The brothers also rallied the history of the Dominican presence in this southern part of Africa since the arrival of the first Dominicans over three hundred years ago. From Stellenbosch (Cape Town), Welkom (Diocese of Kroonstad, Free State) to Springs and Johannesburg via Maseru (Lesotho). It is a rich story filled with many sacrifices, joys, and disappointments. It reflects the changes that have taken place in the society, the Church, and the Order.

In telling this story, the brothers seek to preserve their historical heritage, to transmit it to the present and future generations, and to learn from their past in order to prepare adequately for the future. This initiative also responds to the request of the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré who is asking all provinces in the context of the celebration of the 800 years jubilee of the confirmation of the Order, to revisit and write the history of their province.

Brothers Dominic IZZO, Socius for USA, and Gabriel SAMBA, Socius for Africa who conducted the canonical visitation of the Vicariate immediately after the assembly, had the privilege of attending the memorable occasion. They were asked to present the Salamanca Process in which the General Chapter of Trogir encouraged the participation of all friars.

The assembly was a privileged moment to celebrate some joyful events of the life of the brothers. On Tuesday 28 January 2014, feast of St Thomas Aquinas, at evening prayers, brothers Edward MURAMBWA (Zimbabwean), Fredrick MULUBWA and Moses FITALIANO (Zambians) made their simple profession, and brother Myke MWALE (Zimbabwean) his solemn profession. On Wednesday 29 January, at also at evening prayers, there was the clothing of new novices: Ernest MWAPE (Zambian), Guide MARAMBANYIKA (Zimbabwean), Boiketlo MOHLOKOANE (South African). The assembly ended on Friday 31 January with the ordination to the diaconate of Brother Damazio Ngoma (Malawian) by His Lordship Peter HOLIDAY, Bishop of the Diocese of Kroonstad (Free State), South Africa.

Before the assembly, on January 25, 2014, brothers Dominic and Gabriel had the opportunity to join, though briefly, the gathering of the Dominican Family of South Africa (FEDOSA) at the St. Vincent School for the Deaf administered by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, King William’s Town.          

Br. Gabriel Samba, op.

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(27 February 2014)