Our Abbey was founded in 1979 by the Monks of Hanga Abbey. The community has 102 members including postulants and novices. We have three dependent houses, where monks live and serve God through various pastoral and social activities. We generally live monastic life, concretizing the gospel of Jesus through prayer and work. As our way of reaching out, we offer social services to people in fields of health, education and other life infrastructures. Together with pastoral services in parishes and at Pilgrimage Centre in Pugu-Dar es Salaam, we have a special apostolate to women and vulnerable children of the villages around the Abbey.
Despite other economical projects to sustain the monastery and our apostolate; at this time, we are embracing some new ways of evangelisation. We broadcast the Liturgy of the Hours, mainly chant vespers through Radio Maria. This is a very remarkable and well appreciated apostolate. At the moment, we are starting a Marian Shrine at Mvimwa Abbey. This will serve as Pilgrimage centre, to which people can come from different parts of the country for various spiritual services. Our current mission is to bring the Church closer to people and bring people closer to the church. To accomplish this, we need various Spiritual infrastructures. Such infrastructures will facilitate more our reaching out as Benedictine Missionaries. Join us in any way you can.
We seriously embrace afforestation as part of our response to Laudato Si. We involve people from around the Abbey in this great project, by bringing to them the theme of environmental protection. The response is quite remarkable on this project. Forest burning is greatly reduced and some individual people and families have started planting trees as response to afforestation but also as an investment for their future. Environmental protection is an ongoing project that needs to be extended in its multiform.
I see the goal
Abbot Pambo Mkorwe
In 2014, when I was a student in Rome, I was blessed for the first time to hear and know about the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. During my holidays, I planned to visit and see the esteemed reality of the famous Camino. On my way to Madrid, I planned to visit father Walter Jukowil, a former missionary, who was sick in Trier, Germany. I took the famous cheap flight by Vueling Airlines, with three different stops and with long waiting hours. Unfortunately, on changing flights in Barcelona, my luggage got lost. I had only my laptop, passport, my tickets and a book to read with me. This was my first serious experience of losing luggage. I remained, as I was: helpless.
Reaching Trier, I explained my misfortune to father Walter Jukowil. He generously gave me some of his shirts and took me to the supermarket to by some necessary amenities. I learned and appreciated the kindness and generousity of this old missionary and of the white fathers in Trier. It was a misfortune to me. But what a learned was about the goal of my misfortune. Sometimes, such things happen to us, so that we learn that we need each other. Sometimes, misfortunes come along our way in order to teach us humility.
After three days in Trier, I proceeded to Rabanal del Camino, via Madrid. I tried to trace my bag in all possible ways, but all was in vain. The company seemed very reluctant. I got many tantalizing words from airline officials which produced nothing. Yes, I learned that in life it is not necessary that everybody cares about your problems. Believe in God, believe in yourself, stand on your own feet and appreciate much those who help you in any way. There are people and events put on our way, just to make us strong. There are people and events placed on our way to show us God’s love. In my loss, there was a goal.
Traveling by bus from Madrid to Astorga at night was such a particular experience. From Astorga, I walked on foot to Rabanal, just following the signs. I made an intention not to ask anybody but just to follow the visible signs. I finally arrived at Rabanal, Monte Irago monastery. I met Father Pius OSB who welcomed me in Swahili words and offered me the best of hospitality. The feeling I had soothed my tiredness and calmed the distress of the loss of my luggage. He showed me a room and gave me a tour of the little monastery. And then, he himself, an old benedictine priest and missionary to East Africa got in the kitchen and prepared a nice meal for me. All this transposed my mind. I felt good and almost forgot the pain of the loss. From this, I learned that despite all our tribulations in life, God prepares people on our way to sooth our pain, to remove our worries and encourage us, and show us the way that leads us to the goal.
In whatever befalls you personally, there is a goal. Keep going. Look where you are going and go, where you are looking. You will reach the goal.
Staying at the little Benedict monastery at Monte Irago for four weeks was one of the precious moments in my life, whit in it two priests living and saving the pilgrims, fascinating. The amount of cooperation, the undeserved dedication to serving the pilgrims, their tireless hard working to make the mission of the monastery goal, just superb. They were two and only two. But they did all the necessary work: the monastic liturgy, the cooking, the cleaning, pastoral services in neighboring parishes, administration of the little monastery, etc.
The volunteers would come from far away, just to offer a helping hand at the monastery. Some use their vacation time, even their monetary resources and other material properties to support the mission. While poor me was grieving and making a big noise for the loss of my one bag, others used a lot of their savings, to serve others and still remained happier and healthier. In Rabanal I got a life lesson and I believe: that was the goal.
Above all, from talking t the pilgrims coming from different nationalities, and with the different backgrounds and with the different motives for the Camino, I came to learn that in spiritual live, there are different spiritualities. Other struggle a lot for their search of God, until they find him. But lucky me: I never struggled for my faith. I was born and grew up in the catholic faith, in a calm way, while others keep searching in pain and tears, for the whole of their live.
Now, as I lead a big community, I look back and see: The Lord helped my arm and led me through hills and valleys, so that I can learn something for myself and for others. I apply such even painful experiences to encourage others to keep going. I use my own experiences to show others the way leading to their goal.
Whatever comes in our way has a purpose. Just keep calm, and listen carefully to what the Lord wants to tell you through happening that come along your way. Ask for the grace of tranquility and the docility to the will of God. In everything, I see the goal.
Let us conclude this reflection by reading a scriptural passage from the book of Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 2, 1-6. The Word of God says:
My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. Set your heart right and be steadfast. And do not be impetuous in time of calamity. Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous. Accept what befalls you. And in times of humiliation, be patient. For gold is tested in the fire and found us acceptable in the furnace of humiliation. Trust in him and he will help you. Make your way straight and hope in him.
Keep going, and you will reach the goal.
O Merciful God, who journeyed with the chosen nation towards the promised land, graciously listen to our prayer. You protected your people and guided them to the goal. Be with us now and always. May the present tribulations never make us stray from the right paths. Give us wisdom to discern the truth that helps us to keep going in the right way; and courage to embrace the truth that leads us to the goal. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Thank you for joining us “in Camino,” for being a part of our humble project, for your prayers, for your assistance and for your company.
With your support you will contribute with food bags, sanitary material, water supply, cleaning kits…
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!