DIOCESAN PRIESTHOOD: discerning fire in our midst.

Nothing can truly beat the value of prayer, and he who helps others to pray should pray himself. A priest falls in that trench of thought for at every moment, he must be a model of prayer. But as practice makes perfect, a priest’s own life should be solely marked with the beacons of spiritual nourishment among them fast to mention is the recollection.

Mpulula Pastoral Centre in Balaka Parish hosted Mangochi Diocesan clergy on 19th May 2018 at a recollection whose aim was the same; to let the preacher be preached to, a man who helps others to pray be himself at prayer. It was truly a precious moment graced by a recollection master who mastered his material; Fr. Charles Kaponya.

The preacher rolled and scrolled about and within diocesan priesthood at the moment. In his very introductory sentences admitted the fact that priesthood is not a white collar service and that there are today so many challenges facing the ministry. His challenges ranging from Financial to Moral stand point were mentioned as some of the facets of hard pinnacles tossing a priest at the middle of nowhere. He encouraged men of his own caliber to joyously cherish the challenges and allow them to speed up our growth while finding ways to curb their transmission to the next generation.

The reflection was made on the life of the Master as of how he was spending the day as presented by Saint Mark in his gospel 1:29-39. Following such a coruscating example Fr. Charles invited his fellows to emulate such values surrounding the life of Christ. As Jesus was deeply immersed in restoring the life of the people in their physical as well as spiritual dimensions, a priest should in every way possible aim at doing the same for he is another Christ. He among other things said that, central to the life of a priest must be that zeal to render his presence in the midst of the sheepfold.

Our longing for holiness will usually play a greater role in assisting the people to also strive to achieve it. Holiness in Fr. Charles’ words is not a work of a clever priest but God’s own gift to those who humbly strive for its attainment. The routine-schedule fulfillment, can be done by anyone but a true spiritual nourishment requires those who are well connected to the divine.

Fr. Kaponya said, ‘fetch for a priest in fetching for the answers to their daily problems. We priests therefore should display an intense solid moral uprightness so that we may stand as reliable pillars for the troubled souls.  This alone calls for our maturity in faith so that we should not wither in aligning ourselves to the concrete life circumstances‘.

In part of his concluding remarks Fr. Charles kept repeating that a priest is a doctor of souls. He should therefore at every moment dispel the selfish impulses which may hinder the blossoming of his pastoral services to the flock entrusted to him by Christ Himself. He then encouraged priests in attendance, to keep on holding to their moral uprightness which when attacked reveals a deep spiritual crisis.

He concluded by thanking his fellow reverends for being a listening audience. Priests went into the Sacrament of reconciliation and then the Mass followed which was presided by Fr. Charles. After Mass the fathers gathered for dining and afterwards dispersed.

Story by Fr. Kondwani Matupa