The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has commended the administration of the St. Anthony (Kachebere) Major Seminary located in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe for the strides so far made after the reopening.
Speaking on the occasion of the 2021 Cassock’s day celebration on Saturday, 17 July 2021, ECM’s Bishop Chairman responsible for Seminaries and Education, Rt. Rev. Martin Mtumbuka was thankful to the Sulpician priests who are providing administration services at the Seminary.
The ceremony of conferring cassocks to the seminarians marks the beginning of the first step of their journey towards priesthood as they also commence their philosophical studies.
“Thanks to the Rector Fr. Patrick Simutowe and your fellow Sulpician priests for transforming Kachebere Major Seminary. In 2018, the seminary had to close due to shortage of members of staff and formators. When you, Sulpicians from Zambia were contacted, you gladly accepted to come and assist. Your presence means a lot to the Church in Malawi and it was good that we had such challenges that we see what Kachebere is now,” said Bishop Mtumbuka who is the Ordinary for the Catholic Diocese of Karonga.
He however, emphasized that as the Sulpician priests are not there to stay for good, the local clergy in Malawi should appreciate their good work at Kachebere as a transitional process. He therefore thanked the local clergy under the Episcopal Conference of Malawi who are working in collaboration with the team of priests of the Society of St. Sulpice to run the seminary and give formation to the seminarians.
“To you my fellow Malawian clergy who are working with our brother priests the Sulpicians, I salute you. I also extend our episcopal blessings for your kind gesture that is defined in your spirit of humility and hard work. We urge you to keep up the spirit so that together we may achieve the objectives of the Seminary,” added Bishop Mtumbuka.
The Seminary welcomed 46 young men who received their cassocks. His Lordship Bishop Martin Mtumbuka applauded the first-year seminarians for having taken a step further on their journey towards priesthood. He encouraged them to respond to the Lord positively as Samuel did (1 Samuel 3:1-11).
In his homily, Bishop Mtumbuka drew from Jesus’ Gospel teachings and life that seminarians ought to have a spirit of detachment from worldly things if they are to become good and effective priests in future. Here he referred to material things and bad behaviors.
“Jesus died on the cross naked. He accepted to die such a humiliating death in order to save humanity. He did not cling to his glory as son of God. So, learn to be like him,” preached His Lordship.
He emphasized the point that the Church needs priests whose lives can have an impact on the people they are ministering.
Rt. Rev. Mtumbuka also pointed out that when seminarians encounter problems, they need to turn to Jesus himself the owner of priestly vocation.
Of the 46 seminarians, 8 are from the Diocese of Chikwawa; 10 are from the Archdiocese of Blantyre; 6 are from the Diocese of Dedza; 3 are from Diocese of Karonga; 8 are from the Archdiocese of Lilongwe; 3 are from the Diocese of Mangochi and 8 from the Diocese of Mzuzu with none from the Diocese of Zomba.