On November 10-11, 2021, the Province of the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia celebrated an Extraordinary Provincial Chapter at the Franciscan Centre in Ndola, Zambia. The Chapter was conducted in two parts. The first part was carried out as a day of prayer and the second part was devoted to discussing and voting on the acquisition of some farmland in the Minsundu area of Ndola.
Friar Anthony Bezo KUTIERO, the Assistant General for the African Federation of Conventual Franciscans (AFCOF) was present and facilitated the day of prayer. He also presided over the opening Mass, which was celebrated at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, also in Ndola.
During the day of prayer, the Assistant General gave a presentation to the Capitulars on two themes: “The Story of Emmaus: The Journey of the Two Disciples” (Luke 24:13-35); and, “How Good and Pleasant It Is When Brothers Dwell in Unity” (Psalm 133:1).
Starting with the aforementioned scriptural texts, Friar Anthony encouraged and challenged the Capitulars. He stated that our Conventual life and our Chapters should be seen as “being at table.” Being at table, friars discuss and engage with each other, even in dark moments, so that, recognizing that Jesus in their midst, darkness is overpowered, differences are buried and sins are forgiven. Healing and restoration are generated once again in the life of the friars. Being at table entails a place of sacrifice, where we recognize not only Jesus Christ but each other as well. It is where brothers dwell in unity and God imparts His blessings.
In his conclusion, Friar Anthony left the Capitulars with three important questions from Scripture to consider before they would go on to make decisions during the second part of the Chapter: a) Genesis 3:9: “Adam…where are you?” Meaning, where are you as a Province? b) Genesis 16:8: “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” Meaning, where are we coming from and where are we going as a Province? and, c) 1Kings 19:9-13: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Meaning, what are the Capitulars doing at the Chapter.
He also reminded the Capitulars that the Chapter was a time of discernment, in which friars discover the will of God in their lives and in their journey with Him.
Friar Mathews KASONGO, Provincial Secretary