‘Glorify the Lord with me; together, let us praise his name.’ (Ps. 34:4)
LENTEN MESSAGE 2019
Dear brothers and sisters
Greetings and blessings of the Lenten season. “Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf.Pope Francis Homily, 8 January 2016).”
Dear friends, it is this time of the year again whereby, we the people of God and people of good will are given the opportunity to introspect ourselves in the spirit of self-mortification, acknowledging our frailty and weaknesses in this earthly life. This is the time whereby every human person most especially the Christians are called to participate in the pascal mysteries of Christ our saviour, that is the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. It is the time that we die to our sins so as to gain newness of life in Jesus Christ. We are called during this time to observe the three important and fundamental pillars of this season, namely; to fast, to pray and to give alms.
It is indeed the preparation time, time to check on our spiritual life in relation to those three pillars. Do we live our lives in relation to the Trinity and in the spirit of the season? This is the time to seek the Lord, and to feel his nearness to us. It is the time to walk with him during this 40 days. During this season of Lent we are called to cultivate our relationship with God and with our neighbours. We are called to soften our hearts and let the spirit of God penetrate and take possession of us, in order for it to reveal to us our vulnerabilities. In doing so fellow Christians, we will be able to amend our ways and merge them into Christ’s way.
While meditating on the paschal mysteries of Christ and observing the three pillars I have mentioned above, we are also called during this time to forgive each other, to reconcile with our brothers and sisters and accept them as our fellow human beings who share in the same salvation history brought to us by the divine plan of God. In this way we are repenting from our wrong-doings and vices and are ready to acquire the newness of life. We must not forget fellow Christians, that all these can only be made manifest in our lives through the working of the Holy Spirit who is our consoler, advocate and paraclete.
To those of us who think, it’s all well with us, we do not need the involvement of the Trinity, this is the ample time that we realize our ignorance and recognize the presence of Christ who is knocking every day at the doors of our hearts. This is the time to open our “doors.” If we do so, it will of course brings a lot of happiness and joys in our lives. I say to you brothers and sisters that, this is the time to come to our senses and tell ourselves that we cannot do anything without the help of the Trinity. This is the time to maintain our relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This maintenance is done through our daily engagements with the Lord, be it our prayer life, our relationship with our neighbours, our works of charity among fellow human beings and so forth and so on. In doing those little gestures, we are actually manifesting the love of Christ among his people. We are contributing to the building of God’s kingdom here on earth.
My dear friends, let me also remind you that this Lenten Season is also the moment of embracing God’s creation for we share the common home. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our sister, mother earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colourful flowers and herbs (Laudato Si Para.1) Paying respect to mother nature will always draw us closer to God, the author of creation, who is seen in the wonders of his created beings. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share,” (Laudato Si, 13). What I want to emphasis here fellow Christians is, we have to respect and protect our nature which was given to us by the loving Lord to live on it and to preserve it within the framework of God, for example planting more trees then cutting them down.
Furthermore, fellow Christians, in order to have a wonderful faith experience during the Lenten Season, we have to engage ourselves to the tangible activities of our life, “So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead,” (James 2:17). In our Diocese we have adopted the five years strategic plan, themed, “Marriage Preparation and Family life,” during this time of lent we are called again and again to walk with those families that are experiencing myriad of difficulties in their family life. We have to find mechanisms that will bring about forgiveness, peace, love and harmony into the families. We have an obligation to pray for each family to have the spirit of reconciliation and embrace each other in the spirit of fraternal love. This is the duty of every Christian and this is our baptismal call. Drawing attention to the same theme, in our own parishes, some parochial arrangements can be made to address the needs of our families. We have to remember that it is in the families that all of us are being fashioned and made true humans and true Christ-like. Therefore we start in the families encouraging the family members to reflect the true sign of Christ and live a life worthy of God. As families we are called to promote unity, peace and justice in our surroundings and indeed extend these qualities beyond. “”It is by granting and receiving forgiveness that the traumatized memories of individuals and communities have found healing and families formerly divided have rediscovered harmony,” (AM 21).
We are challenged by the changing society. We have noticed that our society has moved away from what is truly human, -that is, living in the spirit of altruism-, to the spirit of egoism (self-centered). The vices of greediness, selfishness, corruption, hatred have crept in and are harming our society. In this situation fellow Christians, we have to act prophetically, just to make sure that these vices that put our society at risk are minimized and new way of life is created, a life of sharing, of hope, of equality, of accountability, of stewardship, of transparency, of love, of forgiveness, of mutual caring and so forth. Pope Francis reminds us that, “The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love (2015). This is what we are urged by the church to do during this Lenten season.
We have to remember dear friends, that during this time of Lent the church continue to remind us that we are all called to be holy, “ So be perfect , just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Mt 5:48), and we are all called to that “universal call to holiness, as it is emphasized in the Papal Dogmatic Constitution on Church- Lumen Gentium (Pope Paul VI, Nov 1964), which is one of the principal document of Second Vatican Council. This is the time dear fellow Christians and people of good will to come closer to the Trinity asking to purify us and make us new creatures, the creatures who are ready and prepared to share in the mysteries of Christ here on earth and to witness to the wonderful gospel of Christ for the salvation of all.
Lastly dear friends, I sincerely would like to wish you a meditative, faith filled Lenten Season, and a season filled with Christ’s love, who through that same love has sacrificed his life to reconcile us to the Father.
Happy Lenten Season to everyone and Happy Easter in advance.
NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS
1. Priestly ordination:
o Dc Eusebius Munhu was ordained as a priest on the 01/12/2018 in St. Peter Canisius Parish, Anamulenge, in the presence of 26 priests, 9 Deacons, number of religious and lay faithful. Congratulations and enjoy the challenging ministry within the contemporary world.
o Dc Gabriel Simon was ordained to the priesthood on the 15/12/2018 in Christ the King Parish, Okatana. The celebration was attended by 32 priests, Deacons, religious and a large crowd of the layfaithful. May God bless and accompany you in this sacred priestly ministry.
o Deacon Joseph Nakakuwa OMI is scheduled to be ordained to priesthood on the 08/06/2019 at Okatana, Christ the King Parish at 9h00.
o Deacon Petrus Kambanda OMI will be ordained to the sacret priesthood on the 14/09/2019 at St Peter Canisius Parish, Anamulenge at 09h00.
2. Diaconate Ordination
o Br Jakobus Ananias OMI will be ordained as Deacon on the 18/05/2019 in St. Boniface Parish Pionierspark, at 09h00. This was announced by Fr Kapena Shimbome OMI, the Provincial Superior. Br Jakobus OMI is originally from Oshikuku pastoral region.
3. Confirmation in the Archdiocese of Windhoek
All parish priests are reminded to confirm with my office regarding to the dates they are intending to have the confirmation celebration in their respective parishes.
4. Profession of Vows: temporary/final
4.1 Final vows
– The following Benedictine Sisters of Oshikuku celebrated their final vows on 06/01/2019 at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish- Oshikuku:
o Sr. Saima Hifilonya Twamoneni OSB
o Sr. Paulina Shihwameni Shivolo OSB
o Sr. Rachel Kaunapawa Haashepo OSB
o Sr. Isabella Ndalindatila Kashona OSB
The event was spiced with African traditional flavour. Congratulations and continue to persevere in your vocation.
5. Jubilee Celebrations
– Fr Erastus Kapena Shimbome OMI with some priests colleagues (ie Bishop Evans Chinyemba OMI ( Zambia); Fr Patrick Chiso OMI (Zambia); Fr Mbheki OMI ( South Africa); Br Max Mwakacheya OMI (Zambia); Fr Freeborn Kibombwe (Zambia)), celebrated his silver jubilee of religious life on the 17/02/2019 and 23/02/2019 in Walvisbay and Oshikuku, respectively. The attendance was indeed highly appreciated both by Priests, Deacons, Religious, family members and friends. May the Lord give you many more years full of joy and fulfilment in your priestly/ religious life as an Oblate.
– Silver Jubilee celebration of the creation of the Church Province of Namibia will take place on the 02 June 2019 at St Mary’s Cathedral Parish, Windhoek, 09h00. The Apostolic Nuncio to Namibia- His Excellency Peter Wells will be the main celebrant. All are invited to thank God for his graces upon us over the past 25 years.
6. Church Blessings
7. Transfers and Appointments
As I promised in my last pastoral letter; having consulted all stakeholders involved, hereunder follow the changes on our personnel:
7.1 WESTERN DEANERY
– Fr Rufus Nekongo OMI is appointed an acting Parish Priest for parishes at Walvisbay and Swakopmund districts – with Fr Patrick Katobo OMI (First assistant parish priest) and Fr Johannes Hausiku OMI (Second assistant parish priest). They are to work as a “team” in serving this coastal area.
– Fr Vitalis Johannes OMI is transferred to Anamulenge Pastoral region.
– Furthermore Fr Rufus Nekondo OMI will be acting as a Western Deanery co-ordinator while awaiting the appointment of a Dean.
These appointments is effective as from 1 March 2019.
– Fr Wilhelm Eita has been appointed the parish priest of the parishes of Usakos and Corpus Christi, Wanaheda with his assistant parish priest Fr Eusebius Munhu (moves on 01/05/2019 to his new duty station). This is effective as from 06 July 2019.
– Fr Raymund Shikesho OMI, when he return from his refresher course during May/June 2019 will be posted to assist Fr Rufus Nekongo OMI in Walvisbay.
7.2 CENTRAL DEANERY
– Fr Apolinarius Martin is the new acting parish priest for Otjiwarongo Parish pastoral district- effective the 04/02/2019.
– Fr Patrick Katobo OMI is transferred to the coastal parishes but his move is delayed until at the later stage.
– Owing to the unexpected departure of Fr Jomes Thekkemuriyil OFM-Cap because of health reasons, Fr Antony Kattuppara OFM-Cap has been appointed as the parish priest of St Michael’s parish pastoral district with Fr Jose Chettaniyil OFM-Cap as his assistant.
7.3 NORTH-WESTERN DEANERY
– Fr Vitalis Johannes OMI has been appointed as the assistant parish Priest to Fr Albertus Sheehama OMI. Fr Timothy Hausiku OMI will join the team during 2020 after his high studies in Kenya.
– Fr Gabriel Simon has been appointed to be a second assistant parish priest to Fr John-Paul Nghikevali – as from the 02/03/2019.
– Fr Mathias Tshithigona OMI, has been transferred from Okatana and appointed as the St Mary’s Cathedral administrator – effective 06/07/2019. Fr. Linus Ngenomesho OMI, the NCBC Secretary General will assist whenever he is available.
7.4 OMAHEKE DEANERY
– Fr Bonaventure Iipinge OMI has been transferred from Epukiro to a newly created Okongo mission (All Siants Catholic Mission) Parish pastoral district, formally part of Ongha Pastoral District. He will be assisted by Br Jacobus Ananias OMI. This is effective as from 01 June 2019.
– Fr Jean-Pierre Lwele OMI has been transferred from Otjiwarongo and appointed as a parish priest of Epukiro parish, effective 01 April 2019.
– Fr Clemens Tsita OMI has been transferred from St. Boniface Pre-novitiate and appointed as an acting parish priest of Gobabis parochial area – stationed at Guniquas R.C. Mission. He is to be assisted by Dc. Joseph Nakakuwa OMI. This appointment is effective as from 01/04/2019.
Fr Simon Shikongo OMI will be available to assist from Dӧbra if the need arises.
– Fr Benjamin Sheelongo is temporarily the acting dean of Omaheke Deanery with immediate effect.
7.5 WINDHOEK DEANERY
– Fr. Marek Fischer is transferred from Corpus Christi (Wanaheda) and appointed as parish priest to Our Lady Help of Christians Parish- Khomasdal effective from 06 July 2019.
– Fr Veranus Shiimi has been appointed parish priest of St. Peter Claver – Okahandja – effective 01/05/2019.
– Fr Joseph Hatutale OMI has been transferred from St. Mary Cathedral parish and appointed as parish priest of Okatana parish pastoral region effective as from 6 July 2019. Fr Joseph Sheelekeni OM will be his assistant parish priest.
– Fr Johannes Shalongo OMI is appointed as acting parish priest of both parishes of St. Boniface Parish, Pionierspark and Dӧbra quasi parish effective as from the 01 June 2019. He will also be part of the formation team at the Oblates Pre-novitiate.
NB – For all those affected by these transfers, please make sure to introduce your in-coming brother priest sufficiently before leaving the parish (brotherly handover process).
– I would like to thank all the priests affected by this move for your willingness and collaborative spirit during this process of transfers and appointments.
8. General information:
– WYD –Panama (19-28 January 2019) – The Archdiocese has been represented by 33 delegates comprising: priests, religious and youth. According to the feedback received, it was a good experience of the sense of belonging to the universal church. The duty of the delegates is now to report to the parishes and be engaged with the young people – sharing the fruits of the encounter with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The delegation was headed by Fr Kapena OMI. Next WYD is scheduled for Portugal.
The NYD will also take place on 16-18 August 2019 in the Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu.
– Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting. The theme of “Marriage preparation and Family life” should be taken seriously in our parish communities. Animate the couples to prepare well for a married life and not merely for a wedding day. Take sufficient period to prepare the couples, do not rush.
– 2019 – Spiritual Pilgrimages
o Holy Land Pilgrimage will take place as from 27 July – 08 August 2019, costing -+ N$ 33 322-00 per person, inclusive.
o Advent Pilgrimage to Rome (Italy) will take place as from 01-10 December 2019 costing -+N$ 33 640-00 per person, inclusive.
I hereby encourage the whole Diocese (priests, religious, deacons and lay faithful) to participate and register if you are interested with Fr Kapena OMI (Cell: 081 3396 172) – it is worth investing.
– Fr Joseph Oronyo from Kenya, who was here to renew our faith through parish mission preaching has return safely home. On behalf of the Archdiocese, I would like to express my heartfelt sincere gratitude for sharing his spiritual insight with our Archdiocese. Fr Joseph, thanks a million.
– Fr Lukas Mosemedi OMI – the outgoing Provincial Superior of the Oblates, as I was informed, will take his sabbatical year this year. Let us keep him in our prayers.
9. Prayer for the sick
Let us continue to remember all our collaborators and relatives who are ill for the Lords’ healing touch.
10. In memoriam:
We commend all our deceased brothers and sisters whom the Lord has taken away from us – fellow co-workers, relatives and friends:
– Sr Ingrid Oletti MSC – who worked for many years in Namibia – passed away on the 25 December 2018 in Germany. She arrived in Namibia during 1970 as a “missionary” – worked in Tses, Mariental, Otjiwarongo, different hospitals, CHS director and St Vincent de Paul Society ( Katutura) helping the poor – returned to Germany in 2002 until her death. Her work in building up of the local church is hereby acknowledged and appreciated.
– Mrs Mariana Tshikonekeni Nashenda (my sister) passed away on the 08/12/2018 in Oshikuku hospital. She was born on 22/09/1946 and is survived by 5 siblings, her husband, 7 children and many grandchildren. She was buried at her parish community of Eparara on the 17/12/2018.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in God’s eternal peace.
At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, he went into the desert reflecting and praying in order to prepare well for his mission. However, he was also tempted/tested by the devil who wanted him to lose his focus – of doing the will of his Father. Moreover, through this desert experience, he grew to love solitude and made a habit of seeking it at difficult moments in his life. (Luke 4:1-13)
Like Jesus, we too need to embark upon this dessert experience during this Lenten season, meaning that we need a lonely place for personal reflection and self-examination regarding our relationship with God. Where do I stand with my God?
Often we get our priority wrong – we are driven by unhealthy desires – selfish habits – surrounded by noise and constant activity – unwilling to be alone, to be silent, to be still.
In the context of the above, we need solitude to help us to find ourselves in God like what the hermits did. This will lead indeed to real inner happiness and peace. Thomas Merton, a famous spiritual writer puts it this way: “only in solitude and silence can I find gentleness with which I can love my brothers and sisters”
Let us all try, during this lent to do likewise and you will see the difference.
May the Lenten season be fruitful for all of us.
Sincerely yours in the vineyard of the Lord.
+Most Rev.Archbishop Liborius N. Nashenda OMI
ARCHDIOCESE OF WINDHOEK/ NAMIBIA