Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Season of Workshops

Since the official start of the novitiate, about seven weeks ago, three workshops have been a prominent part of life here at Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre.
Immediately after the Reception, Fr. Mike Heap of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) led us in Basic Communication Skills, an appropriate way to begin our learning programme.   Listening skills received much attention, and his descriptions of the way certain “types” of person don’t listen and hinder effective communication seemed to echo with the experience of many of us.

A few weeks later we were at the Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS), conducted by the Divine Word Missionaries, having a week of Cultural Orientation.  A variety of interesting presentations on Ghanaian life and culture were complemented by excursions.  These included visiting the local chief; seeing the characteristic garment of the Dagomba people (the smock) being woven; sharing a meal with a local family in a village compound near Tamale; and sampling the local brew (‘pito’).  There was much comparing and contrasting with the novices’ own cultures in matters of food, hospitality, welcoming and other customs.

Pito Brewer Distributing Pito Brew
Having a taste of the Traditional Brew - Pito
Cephas, Emmanuel and Paul look on as young apprentices
demonstrate how to weave a Smock.

A Visit to the Chief
Final Day at TICCS and Ghanaian Ladies from Tamale
 putting out a Traditional Dance.
In Easter week we joined Divine Word seminarians, Presentation and FIC Brother novices, and FMM and MSOLA Sister postulants, for a workshop on Psycho-sexual Development.  This was presented by a Ghanaian, Sister Rejoice.  She was able to open up an area of life that is so important but often not much openly talked about.  She gave us a ‘vocabulary’ for talking about sexuality, and provided information and raised questions that have ensured that the discussions continued long after the workshop finished.
The workshops were each quite different, but all were rich and valuable and helped provide a foundation for what we will be doing during this two year journey of novitiate.




Orientation time is over and the core work of the novitiate has begun.  On Saturday, February 23, the nine new novices completed orientation and were formally received into the novitiate.  They were received on behalf of the Africa Province by the Formation Team – Br. Tony Shanahan (Director), Br. Conrad Cerejo and Br. Titus Kallon.
The reception was witnessed by an encouraging attendance of the other religious from Tamale, especially those in our own parish neighbourhood.
In the photos here we see the novices in the chapel during the reception; Br. Titus presenting copies of the Constitutions of the Christian Brothers to each of the novices; and some of the novices, Brothers and guests at lunch after the ceremony.
Novices In Chapel During Reception
L-R: Emmanuel Nonde, Philip Kwena, Desmond Taboeya and Paul Kakulunda

Novices In Chapel During Reception
L-R: Martin Fofanah, Cephas Bwalya, Francis ToLiman, Lawrence Aglo and Dominic. K. Kargbo
Formator, Br. Titus Kallon (Right) presenting the Constitutions to Novices during the reception.
Looking on is the Formation Director, Br. Tony Shanahan (Second from Right).

Religious around the Parish enjoying the
Recreation and Lunch after the Reception


Another journey begins

Following the profession last November of the ten novices who completed the novitiate journey of 2011-12, we have received a new group of nine novices from Africa and Papua New Guinea.  The novices of 2013-14 are from Kenya, Sierra Leone and Zambia within Africa, as well as PNG.

Here we give you a first, brief introduction to the nine new arrivals:

I am Cephas Bwalya from Kasama, a town in the northern part of Zambia. I was born in 1986 in Kasama and I came to know the Christian Brothers in 2009.  My interest grew and I was accepted to do pre-novitiate at Moreau House in Mazabuka last year.  Now I have been accepted for the two years of the novitiate, and so I am here in northern Ghana, at Tamale.

My name is Desmond. TABOEYA and I am from Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia. I’m happy to be in Tamale and believe it will be a home to me for the two years of my discerning process during novitiate. Meeting new friends among the other novices is a great blessing, as it`s knowing people from other parts of the world. May the spirit of brotherhood lead us through these two years of Novitiate?

Dominic Konkoro KARGBO
I was born Dominic Konkoro Kargbo, in August, 1988, in a small village called Kamakobor in the Bombali District of Northern Province in Sierra Leone.  I am Limba by tribe but am also fluent in Temne.  I attended St. Augustine Senior Secondary Agricultural School. At present I am at Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre, in Tamale, Ghana, for my two year novitiate programme.  I came to know the Christian Brothers through Br. Solomon Jojo Karimu and Abu Steve Kargbo who is presently a novice in Lusaka, Zambia.

Emmanuel NONDE
My name is Emmanuel Nonde from Zambia and I was born in 1989. I came to know about the Christian Brothers when I was young, during my kindergarten at St. Anne’s parish. The people who are in charge of the school are Dominican Sisters. I interacted with a good number of Christian Brothers who worked at this pre-school during my time. When I went to the secondary school I was privileged to be taught by the brothers. I did my pre-novitiate in the southern part of Zambia in Mazabuka. I am in Ghana (Tamale) doing my novitiate programme.
Francis ToLiman
I’m Francis ToLiman from Papua New Guinea (Oceania Province). I first came to know the Christian Brothers when I was in Secondary School in my home province, East New Britain. I was attracted to the Congregation through reading about the life of the Founder, Edmund Rice, and then getting to know the Brothers and learning about their various charisms and ministries, so I became a Candidate. After completing university studies, I was teaching Religious Education and Science in one of the prominent secondary schools, and then worked as a scientist in one of the largest gold mines located in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. After pondering about the life of a Christian Brother, I decided to take the next step into further discernment of Religious Life by coming to the Novitiate here in Tamale, Ghana. Through these coming two years of discernment, I pray that by the grace of God, I may find my true call and also become a good brother to all. 
Lawrence AGALO
I am Lawrence Agalo, 26 years of age, and am at Br.Paul Noonan Formation Centre, Tamale, where I am stepping into the novitiate programme to help me discern my vocation by further experiencing the life of Christian Brothers.
Born in1986, in Kisumu, Kenya, I attended both primary and secondary schools within the locality. In 2007 I enrolled for a two-year teaching course at International TTC, Nairobi. It’s at this college that I first came to know about the Christian Brothers through Br. Cole, the East Africa Vocation Director, and his team who came for vocation promotions.

In February, 2012, I began this journey as a postulant in Arusha, Tanzania. The programme ended well and I was accepted to proceed into novitiate training.Though I am only a few weeks old in Tamale, I am very enthused that I am settling in smoothly and hope sooner than later to adapt to the various unfamiliar things such as weather, important places in the town, culture and more. 
With open mind and heart I’m looking forward to a successful exploration into finding new expressions of Edmund’s Charism. ‘N puhiya’ (‘Thank you’ in Dagbani, the local language).
Philip KWENA
 My  name is Philip  Kwena and I  was  born  in 1987  into a  family of ten  children, nine   boys  and  one  girl. I completed  my  primary  level  of  education  in  the  year  2005  and  my  high school level   in  the   year  2009. I  came  to know  about  Christian  Brothers in the year  2010, through my neighbour  who  was  a Seminarian at  Consolata Seminary in Nairobi. I was attracted  to them  so  much  that  in  the 2011  I went for  Come  and  See and I was  accepted  to join  pre-novitiate in 2012 in  Tanzania. After pre-novitiate I was accepted to join the Novitiate programme in Ghana. I am happy to be here in Ghana to continue with my discernment. May the almighty God be with me always..
Paul Kakulunda is my name and I come from Zambia. I was born into a family of six children, two males and four females. By God’s grace I am the second born in the family. I grew up in the parish of Sancta Maria in Lukulu, where I met the Christian Brothers first, and later again at St Columba’s secondary school where I was educated.  I did my pre-novitiate in 2012 at Mazabuka and am happy to be here in Tamale for novitiate.