Mission Trip to Malawi
Father Joseph Kimu of Mangochi, Malawi, in Central Africa is an amazing, holy, humble priest, although he will disagree with a hearty laugh if you tell him this. (He laughs a lot, for he is full of the joy of the Lord.)
He is the Director of Radio Maria Malawi and the founder and General Manager of about 20 charitable projects, serving the population of about 120,000 people, most of whom are very poor.
In July of 2004, I traveled to Malawi to teach two courses at St. John the Baptist Major Seminary: ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA (On the Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church) and ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE (Rosary of the Virgin Mary). Afterward, they were broadcast to a million listeners of Radio Maria!
The Lord opened the door to make it possible through an unsolicited, surprise grant that was offered to Good News Ministries and because of donations from the readers of my daily Good News Reflections (praise God). In addition to providing these courses to the seminarians and their professors, Mons. Joseph Kimu (at that time, the seminary rector and vicar general of the diocese) invited priests, religious, catechists, and interested lay Catholics from his diocese and neighboring dioceses. In all, there were 125 participants.
The Church in Africa “has specific problems that require adequate and appropriate solutions in keeping with the African context. It must overcome certain challenges, such as sects, Muslim extremism, at least in certain countries, and economic underdevelopment,” without neglecting the fact that “for a profound evangelizing mission, it is important that the Church in Africa resolve the thorny problem of financial resources and implement an incisive pastoral program.” (Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, 15 July 2004)
The seminary is in Mangochi (see red star on map).
The national language is Chichewa. English (British) is the official language and is used widely in commerce and education.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries with around 60% of its population living below the poverty line. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has devastated the country. Close to 15% of the adult population is infected and life expectancy is now less than 40 years.
At the time of my missionary trip, Christians were 75% of the population, with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic Church the strongest in the country: 55% Protestant, 20% Roman Catholic, 20% Muslim, and the rest are traditional indigenous religions (there is freedom of worship in Malawi). Christianity is often mixed with paganism, so the need for more faith formation is vital. There is a lot of belief in superstition. The seminary’s rector Mons. Kimu says, “It’s a pity to see that even priests, nuns and religious brothers, after a long formation in the Christian faith, remain ‘baptised pagans’ so to say.”