From January 31 to February 4, 2022, the Provincial Custody of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Tanzania conducted its Annual Spiritual Retreat. The event took place in Lushoto Town, Tanga Region, Tanzania, and was organized by the Custodial administration. The retreat was preached by Friar Joseph KACHELEWA, a formator from the Seraphicum in Rome, and an associate of the General Secretariat for Formation (SGF). The theme of the retreat was: “Being Called and Formed to Announce God’s Kingdom of Peace.” Thus, emphasis was placed on first giving witness in our communities and apostolates before reaching out to the world around us.
On February 5-7, 2022, the Guardians and pastors took part in a three-day, ongoing formation program. The program was held at the same location in Lushoto Town. This program gave the participants an opportunity to learn, to rekindle their zeal, to be revitalized and to spend some fraternal time together.
The three-day program was led by Friars Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK, Maximilianus SEMBIRING and Joseph KACHELEWA—all members of the SGF. They spoke on the following topics: “The Role of Authority and Service in the Life of the Friars”; “The Friary Chapter as the Privileged Moment of the Formation of the Friar”; “Fraternal Life as the Theophany of God’s Presence”; and “Conflict Resolution in the Friaries and our Parishes.”
Each day began with Mass and Morning Prayer and ended with Office of Readings and Evening Prayer. The Angelus and Midday Prayer were included as well. There was also time for some fraternal interaction. At the conclusion of the formation program, the Guardians and pastors expressed their gratitude for being able to participate. The friars thanked God for the fraternal time they shared together.
On February 7-11, 2022, the SGF members visited all four friaries of the Custody. They gave extra attention to Arusha, the site of the novitiate; and Morogoro, the site of the postulancy program. Before arriving in Arusha, the SGF members spent a night at Mwanga, the place where our first friars in Tanzania (Dominic and Peter) resided. Special thanks to the Guardian and the community in Mwanga for their hospitality and fraternal love. The SGF members were given a tour of the grounds and were amazed by the dedication and love shown by the friars.
On February 8, 2022, the SGF members arrived in Arusha, accompanied by the Custos, Friar Yeromini Miku MUNISHI, and the Custodial Secretary, Friar Stivin Richard KASHINJE. During Mass at the novitiate, the message of the homily was about our need to be formed in order to authentically live our fraternal life and Franciscan charism. The friars urgently need to safeguard their vocations and be less concerned with the number of vocations and more concerned with the quality of formation that they give and receive. The members of SGF, together with the Custos and the Novice Master, conducted a fruitful discussion with the novices and exchanged experiences.
After lunch, the SGF members departed for Morogoro, passing Mwanga on the way. While in Morogoro, they met all of the postulants in the presence of the Director of the Postulancy Program. The SGF members were able to give the postulants a wider view of formation in the Order. The postulants, for their part showed willingness to learn more about the reality of the Order in matters pertaining to formation. Time was provided for each postulant to meet with individual members of the SGF. Then, the SGF members visited Jordan University, in Morogoro, which the friars run. The Custody is working towards erecting a post-novitiate formation house in Morogoro, where members of that community might also study at the aforementioned University.
Finally, on February, 11, 2022, the SGF members stayed at the Custody’s friary in Dar-es-Salaam, in order to fly back to Rome.
Special thanks to the friars of the Custody for their hospitality and fraternal affection. Thanks also to the Custos and the entire Custodial administration; their kind attention was very much appreciated.
Friar Joseph KACHELEWA
Friar Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK