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EDITORIAL

SEEK THE THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE


In this Paschal time, it is important to reflect on Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you have been raised with Christ seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right handoff God” Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”

            Let us pray for a “seeking heart”. A seeking heart is nourished by the Eucharist. We need to celebrate the Eucharist daily.
We needed a priest to celebrate Mass

            Let us therefore pray for more vocations to the priesthood. May we urge young people to raise up their hearts to Christ and hear and follow the word of Christ  “Come and follow me”
                     

   Fr. Jimu Muleya

THE PRIEST AND THE JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY

The jubilee year of Mercy is a year of special grace for the Church and the entire people of God. It comes at a time when the world needs the intervention of God in every aspect of people’s lives. This was the scenario when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. There was a lot of suffering and neglect of the poor and marginalized. Jesus shifted the world view of the day and brought a new way of life which was to be accepted only by those who were willing to follow Jesus to the end. “Do you also want to go?” Jesus asked his disciples. Today this question still comes to us. How are we following Christ?

Priests are called to be like Jesus. They are called to be radical in the way they face and tackle the challenges people are facing in this world. The priests are called to be the visible presence of Jesus Christ in the life of the people. In the Acts of the Apostles the disciples of Jesus tell the elders and the leaders of the people that it is better to obey God than to obey men. (cf. Acts 5:12-42) On this occasion the disciples showed courage and proved they were willing to suffer for the sake of their ‘Lord and God’ and the Gospel. This is what is expected of the Disciples of Christ today especially his anointed who are called to be His visible face in the world today.

So in this Jubilee Year of Mercy priests are invited to be messengers of mercy. They are invited as the Jubilee prayer for mercy states, to “feel compassion for those in ignorance and error.” Their duty is to make sure that all who encounter them may “feel sought after and forgiven by God.” To be fully capable to tackle this task, St. Paul’s words would be of great importance, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Rom. 12:2)  This is an enormous task that needs humility and faith in the merciful God.

So the priest is invited in this year to make concrete the love their Christian communities. The priest lives in the person of Christ. Pope Francis says, “In union with Jesus, we seek what He seeks and love what He loves. In the end, what we are seeking is the glory of the Father, we live and act ‘for the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6). (Evangelli Gaudium, 267) Thus may all the priests give their lives for the most merciful God, and be the visible instruments of His mercy.

This applies also to all seminarians. They are invited to live this life in anticipation to the ministry they seek to embrace in the future. They are not suppose to wait until they are priests but are called to live this life ‘hic et nunc’, here and now; For it is said, such a seminarian, such a priest. May this year of mercy, be a source of true discernment for all those who seek to be priests.

By Rev. Deacon Kudakwashe Fitzgerald Chipangura

TEST OF HONESTY

Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him 25 cents too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You'd better give the 25 cents  back. It would be wrong to keep it.' Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it, it's only 25 cents . Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet.
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the 25 cents to the driver and said:

- 'Here, you gave me too much change '.
The driver, with a smile, replied:
-  Aren't you the new preacher in town?'
- 'Yes' he replied.
-  'Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change I'll see you at church.'

When the preacher stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said:
- 'Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.'
Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a beautiful example of how much people watch us as Christians, and will put us to the test!

                                              MY VOCATION
Fr. Thomas del Barrio
“He went up the mountain and summoned those who He wanted”.  Mk 3:13  

I came from a very religious family, my father was a teacher (my first teacher). He had a brother who was a priest and one sister who was a nun. My father had been training to become a priest and after six years he gave up the training. I am sure he was not wanted to be a priest. No wonder his first born wanted to be a priest and after four years of training he gave up. He had not been chosen to be a priest.

I was the third born but the second boy in the family. I was very naughty. So much so that people in the village used to say I would never become a priest. The one who influenced my life was my father. We saw him praying every night after we all had gone to bed. He was a heavy smoker and yet he never smoked a cigarette on Fridays. He said: “How can I smoke on the day Jesus suffered for me?” Neither he nor my mother ever told me to become a priest. I think they prayed that I may be “chosen” but never said a word. I remember them saying: if that is what you want do it but think and pray to find out.

The amazing thing is that I entered the Seminary the same year my eldest brother gave up. I was a bit afraid; if he who was so good had given up, what was I trying to do?
In those days we had to be boarding in the seminary: Discipline very strict, conditions very hard. In the second year some of us seminarians got pneumonia and I was sent home to be treated by the family doctor. After two or three weeks my uncle, who was a professor at the seminary, said I was losing too many lessons and I had to go back. So I went but I was not well and within a few months I was getting worse. I was feeling tired and I lost my appetite. So they took me to the hospital and the X-rays showed I had TB. I was told to have complete rest. For three years I was not allowed to board in the seminary and had to be at home attending lessons when I could. The family doctor told me that I had to give up the studies to the priesthood as it was clear sign I had no vocation. When God calls he gives the means to achieve it.

But I did not give up. It was during this time when I heard a priest speaking about the shortage of priests in South America. I started thinking of offering myself to continue the studies in a special seminary for Foreign Missions. After a couple of years still under the same situation I told my parents about my intention. I don’t think they took me seriously; after all I was sick, thin and I could not even eat; though my parents used to buy the best for me I loathed food.
I think it was during the summer holydays of 1949 that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Spain. I think it was a one day’s visit. When my father heard of it he looked for me, to take me to Madrid to pray in front of the image and ask the Mother for a cure; but he never found me. He was very disappointed and when I came home in the evening he told me; but then to their surprise I was hungry and from that time on I have never lost my appetite.

Before I started Philosophy I was taken to hospital for X-rays. and they showed I was all right. They said I was cured. I did the next three years normally and at the end I was allowed to go to the Seminary for Foreign Missions. Neither my parents nor my uncle ever said a word to discourage me but some priests friends of my father and uncle spoke to them and called me to tell me that I was out of my mind. Apparently I was throwing away a great opportunity at home. I knew what they were thinking but I went as I thought God called me and I completed my studies and was ordained priest 0n 8 July 1956.

Since 1956 Fr. Thomas worked in Kana Mission, Hwange and Victoria Falls. Now retired in Spain)

Thinking to become a priest?
Contact your Parish Priest or     
Fr. Jimu Muleya
Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary
P.O. Box 16  DETE
Cell phone: 0712792925

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