On Thursday, January 24, 2018, Friar Joseph BLAY, the Delegate General for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (GPIC), arrived at Kilimanjaro airport to give a seminar to the novices in Arusha, Tanzania.
The Novice Master, Friar Denis NTABO, gave Friar Joseph a warm, fraternal welcome as he picked him up to take him to the novitiate. The novitiate has eight novices: one from Uganda, three from Tanzania and four from Kenya. Friar Francis MUMBURI is the guardian and also assists in the formation of the novices.
The St. Anthony of Padua novitiate and friary at Arusha is situated on twenty-four square acres of land, located at the foot of Mount Meru, the third highest mountain in Africa. The western border of the novitiate property is flanked by a beautiful river which springs from the mountain. Upon entering the novitiate, practically everything indicates that the friars are real sons of St. Francis, the Patron Saint of Ecology. There are big forest trees planted by the friars, different tropical fruit trees, a banana plantation, a vegetable garden, a maize farm, a field for fodder, a cattle and goat ranch, a pig farm and a fish pond. All this confirms a copious amount of “Franciscan DNA” – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (GPIC) –in the formation bloodstream of the novices. At table, about eighty percent of the food comes from their farm produce.
The seminar took place on Friday, January 26. Friar Joseph integrated the seminar with the natural environment. He underlined how issues of justice, peace and integrity of creation form the core of our Franciscan charism and way of life. On Saturday, Friar Joseph accompanied the novices to the Usa River. They hiked about seventy meters [230 feet] upstream. It is relevant to note that not a single piece of plastic waste was found in the river. This is a big credit to the Polisingizi people who live along the river. To the novices, it was a time for fun, awe and contemplation. Surprisingly, it was also the first time some of them had ever stepped foot in that river. At one point, the Delegate and the novices sat on the rocks and contemplated the trickling flow of water. They prayed Psalm 148 and sang the praises of God. They also prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet and asked the Lord’s intercession for the care of creation, justice and peace in our world.
On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Delegate General for GPIC departed Tanzania for Kenya.
Friar Joseph BLAY, Delegate General for GPIC