On Saturday, July 14, 2018, Friars Elias Mutale CHIMFWEMBE and Francis MULENGA professed their solemn vows amid great joy. The ceremony took place under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was held in the Franciscan parish of Kitwe, in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province.
Both friars professed their solemn vows into the hands of their Minister Provincial, Friar Richard Francis CHIMFWEMBE.
Friar Elias will complete his theological studies this year at Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya. Friar Francis will complete his theological studies next year at the Seraphicum in Rome, Italy.
In his homily, the Minister Provincial spoke before the assembly of the faithful and reminded both friars that they were professing the solemn vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They had not been employed nor assumed any particular office but instead, they responded to the voice of God and committed themselves to live the life of the Friars Minor Conventual.
The Minister Provincial reminded the professing friars that their vowed life was not about their taste or desire; it was about our Order, the Church and our Province. He emphasized that they ought to be obedient, that they should obey the will of God in everything and obey authority at all levels: Church, Order, Province and friary. He told them they needed to live in active and responsible obedience. He re-echoed that through the vow of poverty, they were relinquishing their birthright of ownership. However, from now on, they would own everything in common and not as individuals. Even if they happen to draw a salary from their apostolates one day, that salary will not be theirs as individuals, it will belong to the community. He further stated that the vow of poverty entails also taking sufficient responsibility and care of our communal goods. Above all, the friars should live their consecrated lives in imitation of Christ. He cautioned them to avoid any kind of private ownership.
He reminded them that through the vow of chastity, they needed to embrace and live chaste lives for the sake of the Kingdom of God. We are celibate for the Kingdom of God. We are called to be pure of heart, and as such, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is vital in purifying ourselves from every stain of sin. He urged them not to compromise on chastity, but rather, strive to keep the vow of chastity through fervent prayer, contemplation of the mysteries of God and by becoming zealous in their apostolic activities.
He urged them not to presume upon their own strengths. He urged them not to be segregative in their relationships but to be respectful and courteous as they follow the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.
Last but not least, the Minister Provincial encouraged the professing friars to always rely upon prayer. He told them that in order to be effective friars, they must lay the foundation for prayer now and not tomorrow.
Friar Mathews KASONGO, OFM Conv., Provincial Secretary