Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Year, New Team, New Novices

It is not common that all the formation team in a novitiate are changed at the same time, but various circumstances have conspired to bring this about at Tamale this year. The previous director, Br. Vivek da Silva, has moved to a well-earned sabbatical, Br. Henry McGann is providing his experience to the new novitiate team at Stellenbosch in South Africa, and Br. Denis Vaughan is part of a new community at Yambio in southern Sudan.

In their places have come Br. Tony Shanahan from East Africa, as Director; Br. Kevin Delaney, also from East Africa; and Br. Con Cerejo, well-known in Tamale from his previous role as Principal of the Catholic Mission school at Kanvili.

Following the first profession of the previous group of novices last November, we have welcomed a group of 14 new novices. While most are from Africa (Zambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone), two have come all the way from Papua New Guinea, continuing a tradition that began in Tamale with the very first group of Christian Brother novices in 2001, when three young men from PNG did their novitiate training here.

Below you can read about the formal reception for the new novices on February 19, and you can also meet each of the new novices via the photos and short introductions below and in the Archive section.

Reception of Novices

Our fourteen new novices arrived at the Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre in Tamale on February 6, but their formal reception into the novitiate did not take place till February 19. This marked the official start of the novitiate experience that will unfold over the next 21 months, culminating in the first profession of vows in late November, 2012. For two weeks the new arrivals were introduced to a new country and place (none of them are Ghanaians), new companions and mentors, and the particular way of life that goes with a religious novitiate. Two weeks is not enough for a complete introduction to so many new things, but at least heads had stopped spinning, and feet were more-or-less on the ground, for the ritual that signaled the beginning of this special time.
We were delighted to be joined by Christian Brothers from the Choggu community, and a cross-section of our religious brothers and sisters from congregations in Tamale, to witness the young men asking for admission and being accepted. The novices were presented with symbols of the journey ahead – a candle of encouragement and some of the basic sources of nurture and challenge for them on this journey - the Bible, the Constitutions and the 2008 Congregation Chapter document.
In the photos above (from top left going clockwise) we see Br. Tony, the Director, speaking at the Reception; Br. Kevin presenting the Bible to the novices; Br. Con pouring a libation for the ancestors; and the final blessing of the novices by the assembled community.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Victor Piniau

I am Victor Piniau and I come from the Duke of York Islands in East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. I am the first of six siblings and both parents are both still alive. I also have an uncle who is a Christian Brother, Br. Joachim ToRavit. I am a teacher by profession and have been teaching for three years before coming to the novitiate. I have been in contact with the brothers as a candidate for about ten years. I lived with the brothers in community for three years - in Golgobip Community in the Western Province for one year, and for two years in Vunakanau Community in East New Britain Province.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Septimus Sama

Sama Septimus Paul is my name. I was born in 1981 in Blama, of the Mande tribe, in Sierra Leone.
When I was five years old I was baptized and was given the name Paul. I am the firstborn in a family of six, four boys and two girls. My late father was from Bo District in the southern part of Sierra Leone. My favorite hobbies are soccer, fishing and singing.
The Brothers rendered great support, spiritual, moral and financial, to my family and others during the time we were displaced in the war. The call to follow the way of selfless service and love of others has inspired me to join the Brothers. I look forward to knowing more of the life of Brothers during this time of novitiate.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Nature Busiku

My name is Nature Joseph Busiku and I am 26, and I come from Zambia. I am the fourth-born in a family of eight, five female and three male. I was born in the southern part of Zambia in the city of Livingstone, the tourist capital of Zambia.
My mother and late father are both from the south and they were not well educated. My father passed on when I was about ten year of age and was in grade three. I missed my father very much. Four years later I was baptized, and a year after I was confirmed. I joined a number of groups in the parish (youth, liturgy, vocations, English choir) and for eight years I’ve been an altar boy and catechizer. In the parish I’ve also been doing small jobs like decorating and projects for the parish. I like cooking, singing and art.
Having completed school, I joined Youth Alive Zambia in Livingstone as a volunteer facilitator. We were looking after the poor, people living with HIV/AIDS in communities and the elderly. We used to conduct programmes for behavior change in schools of different denominations, institutions and colleges. I also did a Certificate programme in Hotel & Catering Management for two years.
I came to know the Christian Brothers when I was still at school and in 2009 I was invited for a workshop and the Come and See programme. I was accepted for postulancy in 2010, and now here I am in Ghana trying to discover my vocation in the footsteps of Jesus and Edmund Rice.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Lewis Musonda

I am Lewis Musonda and I was born in 1987 in Mansa, the capital of Luapula province, Zambia. I am the first-born in a family of five, four boys and one girl. I started my grade one in 1994 at Chembe Basic School. I did my Junior Secondary at St. Charles Lwanga Minor Seminary and I completed my Senior Secondary from the same school in 2005 with division one. In 2007 I did a computer course at St. Raphael’s printing project in Mufulira where I came to know the Christian Brothers. In June, 2008, I started studying marketing management at the Institute of Commercial Management. I completed my Diploma in May 2009 with a distinction and worked for two months before entering the Christian Brothers Come and See in August 2009. This was followed by postulancy in 2010.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Lamin Tholley

I was born on the 11th of August 1978 and am the second-born son of Mr. and Mrs. Ibrahim Tholley. I have two younger sisters and one brother. I belong to the Temne tribe. My home is in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone in a town called Mile 91, so named because it is 91 miles from the capital city, Freetown.
My primary and secondary education, from 1984 to1998, was all in Catholic schools. Much later, in 2008, I attained a Teacher’s Certificate (TC) in the Northern Polytechnic (Makeni Campus). The subject I like teaching is Physical Health Education and also I am a skilled carpenter.
I have a patch of land at home where I cultivate rice, cassava and potatoes as food crops. I have also planted palm trees, mangoes, bananas and jack-fruits trees. I also maintain a fish pond. My hobbies are reading and writing. I enjoy a game of volleyball. I have organized concerts with children.
I am now with the Christian Brothers, in their novitiate in the city of Tamale, Ghana.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Amos Kutwa

My name is Amos Kutwa Sibo. I am 27 years old and I am the second last child from a family of six children. Mombasa, on the coast of Kenya, is my place of birth. It is the most beautiful city in Kenya and is known for its tourist attractions.
I started my discernment journey as a postulant in the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 2010 in Arusha, Tanzania. During that period I had a chance of getting new horizons of learning, community and ministry. Working in a special needs school was a new experience for me. I really enjoyed it.
We started our novitiate journey on 5th February this year. The novitiate community comprises of people from Zambia, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, India and Australia. This gives me an opportunity to live cross-culturally. The most challenging thing so far is the hot weather of Tamale, but there is not much difference from the climate where I grew up. Coming to the novitiate is, for me, a more intense way of discerning my vocation.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Jonethan Vandy

My name is Jonethan David Vandy and I was born in 1984 in Bo District, in the south of Sierra Leone. I am Mende by ethnicity.
My parents also come from the southern part of Sierra Leone. My primary and secondary Schooling took place in Bo, and I obtained the West African Certificate on successful completion of Junior and Senior Secondary Education.
I have four Brothers and three sisters and I am the fourth born in a family which is strongly Catholic by religion. I was an active member of St.Theresa’s parish choir in the Bo District. Singing is one of my hobbies, others being reading and watching movies.
It was through former Vocation Director Brother Prince Tarawalie that I came into contact with the Christian Brothers in 2005, and it was his encouragement that inspired me to seek more about the Christian Brothers.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Christian Hazeley

My name is Christian Hindolo Hazeley and I am a Sierra Leonean by nationality. I was born in 1982 in Bo in the southern region of Sierra Leone.
I attended the Catholic primary school in Bo from1988 to1993, and then studied at Christ the King College, Bo, from 1994 to1997. From there I went to Port Loko Catholic Secondary School in the northern region where I sat my West Africa Senior Certificate examination in 2002. I entered Port Loko Teachers’ College and gained the Higher Teacher’s Certificate Secondary.
I came in contact with the Brothers through the Edmund Rice Network, when I was invited for a series of workshops in which I was touched by the life of Edmund Rice. I was accepted into the Pre-Novitiate for 2010 and am now in Ghana for my novitiate.
I like reading religious books and political magazines, and playing football and volleyball.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Elly Sakwa

My name is Elly Sakwa and I was born in 1988 in Busia district, which is in the western part of Kenya. I’m from a family of eight and am the fourth-born in the family.

I did my O-level examination in the year 2007. After my O-level, I did teaching in two primary schools as an untrained teacher - in 2008 at Nambale Urban Primary School, and in 2009 at St. Paul Primary School in Nairobi.

I came to know Christian Brothers in the year 2007 through vocation promotion by Br. Peter Cole and three other Brothers who had come to our parish. Now I am in my journey of discernment to become a Christian Brother.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Daniel Phiri

My name is Daniel Phiri, and I was born in 1983. We are 12 in my family and I am the seventh-born of eleven boys and one girl. I am a Zambian by nationality and Chewa by tribe, from the eastern part of Zambia. I did my primary education at Chifwani Basic School from 1995 to 1999, and my secondary education at St.Francis High School from 2001 to 2003. I also obtained a Diploma in Social Work at the University of Zambia between 2005 and 2008.

I came into contact with the Christian Brothers in 2008, attended the Come and See program in 2009 and did my postulancy in 2010. I am now in Tamale, Ghana as a novice. It is my prayer to continue discerning my call to become a Christian Brother and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and blessed Edmund Rice.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Romano Rambu

My name is Romano Rambu, and I was born in 1978. I come from Meru County in Kenya’s Eastern Province. I am second-born in a family of four, and I have two brothers and a sister.

I did all my education in Kenya up to the level of a Diploma in accountancy, completed in 2002.

From 2004 to 2009 I worked with BAT (K) Ltd., then was an auditor of funds for Free Primary School Education, and finally worked at St.Francis of Assisi Parish, Mitunguu, as well as being a volunteer at Shalom Home for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Meru County.

My Hobbies are reading, travelling, watching movies, and making new friends.

I came into contact with the Christian Brothers in the year 2008 through The Seed magazine and Vocation Promotion by Brother Peter Cole. I went for my Come and See in July, 2009, and joined the Postulancy programme last year in Arusha, Tanzania.

I am happy to be here in Tamale and I pray the will of God be done in me as I continue to discern my vocation.

Meet Our 2011 Novices - Blaise Junior Semoso

I was born in 1981 in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. I come from a province called the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. I am the last-born in my family of four male children. I did all my education in my home province. I graduated with a Diploma in Primary school teaching and a Bachelor of Special Education at the Divine Word University (PNG). I was very young to experience life in the field and last year was my sixth year of working with people with disabilities. I am a specialist in teaching sign language for hearing-impaired people, advocating for in the community for people with disabilities etc.

Meet the 2011 Novices - Belamino Muunga

I am Bonaventure Belamino Muunga, and I was born in 1989 in the Northern part of Zambia. We are eleven children in our family, three girls and eight boys. I started my primary school in 1997 in the central part of Zambia. When I qualified to grade eight, I went to Kapiri basic school until the end of 2005. In 2006 I started secondary school at Ituna High school where I obtained my secondary school certificate.

After completing school I did a certificate in computers. During this period I was in a Vocations Club and already in contact with the Christian Brothers. In August 2009 they invited me for the two months Come and See programme at Moreau House in Mazabuka. The prayer life, pastoral work, community living and other activities at Moreau House deepened my understanding of the Christian Brothers. In January 2010 I started my Pre-Novitiate, and in October 2010 I applied for the Novitiate and I was accepted and assigned to do my Novitiate in Tamale, Ghana. And here I am as a Novice, looking forward to learning more as I am discerning my vocation of being a Christian Brother.