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Kenyan Religious Brothers Set to Pioneer New Mission in Zambia Alongside Native Confrere

Brothers of the Congregation of our Lady, Mother of Mercy (CMM) who have been selected for the new mission in Zambia. Credit: cmmbrothers.org.

Three Kenyan-born Religious Brothers are preparing to leave for Zambia alongside their confrere who hails from the Southern African nation, as pioneer members of their Congregation in the country. 

The four members of the Congregation of our Lady, Mother of Mercy (CMM) are set to travel on January 25 after taking part in a four-day spiritual retreat, the Provincial Superior of CMM in Kenya told ACI Africa in an interview. 

In the Thursday, January 13 interview, Br. Leo van de Weijer said that four Brothers who have been offering their services in Kenya were selected to pioneer the new Zambian mission in a virtual meeting, which the Congregation organized.

“We settled on four names…we asked them, are you ready? They said yes. We settled on January 25 when they will fly from Nairobi to Lusaka then to Mansa then to Kawambwa,” Br. Weijer said.

The native of the Netherlands who has been serving in Kenya since 1982 said that the four Brothers were selected on the basis of their possession of technical and vocational skills that are required in the new mission.

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They are to be received in Kawambwa community in Zambia’s Mansa Diocese, Br. Weijer said, adding that the new community will be named after St. Joseph, the husband of Mary.

He explained, “The name of the new community goes back to the CMM tradition. The first house, the Motherhouse, had St. Joseph as its patron Saint. Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary, will be the name of the new community in Zambia.”

The CMM Regional Superior in Namibia has been tasked with the responsibility of receiving the four Brothers at the Lusaka airport, and accompanying them to their new community, Br. Weijer told ACI Africa, adding that St. Joseph Kawambwa community will be overseen by CMM General Board in cooperation with the Congregations Namibia Region and the Province of Kenya.

The four CMM members whose primary apostolate will be teaching include Br. Videlis Minyega, Br. Daniel Nyakundi Nchoga, Br. Peter Mutuku, and Zambian-born Br. Alfred Kaluba.

“The main work of the Brothers in Kawambwa will be teaching in primary, secondary and technical education. They will reopen a technical school for carpentry and tailoring,” the CMM Provincial Superior in Kenya told ACI Africa during the January 13 interview, adding that the facility to be reopened is St. Mary’s Vocational Training Centre. 

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In a Wednesday, January 12 interview with ACI Africa, Br. Kaluba said that he considers his selection to serve in his native country as an opportunity to evangelize his own people.

“I think the faithful in Mansa expect us to build a true missionary community that is inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ… to respond to God's call by bringing merciful brotherhood to the mission by living together and in the service of others,” Br. Kaluba said.

The people of God in Zambia, he went on to say, yearn for a missionary community that will participate in the building up of the local church through education and community development activities.

The Zambian CMM member said that he intends to help the Congregation grow by engaging actively in vocation awareness programs and organizing youth seminars.

“I intend to help my Congregation grow in vocation awareness programs like going to the parishes, schools and also organizing seminars to teach the youths about Religious Brotherhood,” Br. Kaluba told ACI Africa January 12.

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He added, “Over the past years, we've had many young people who really wanted to join us but couldn't manage to process the documents, which were required of them because normally we begin our formation in Namibia.”

“My message to all those youths who wanted to join us is that they are all welcome,” Br. Kaluba said, and added, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. We still need more young men to join us.”