The two retreats preached in mid-July saw the closure of the first novitiate year and the beginning of the new one. Fr William Guri preached the end of the novitiate retreat to the three novices who are due for their professions. The three novices are Dominic Kofi Ampomah a man from Ghana, but a novice of the Province of South Africa, Kenneth Temba and Brian Tonderai Manyenga (The two belong to the Region of Zimbabwe). Their retreat was by the sea coast in the Bluff area in Durban at a Dominican House called ‘Ukuphila.’ The name of the retreat place literally means ‘living.’ After the retreat one of the novices jokingly said they could not have gone to a more appropriate place. At the house of life they prayed and reflected about life’s fundamental questions and the life they were giving themselves to as Redemptorists.
The three Novices began their novitiate in July in 2011. At the beginning of their novitiate year there were four and it did not take long for one of their colleagues to discover that there was a strong pull drawing him to a different life. At the end of their novitiate year one could not help it, but recall the journey we had undertaken together, the distance covered the many curves that had to be negotiated and the crossroads that saw the pilgrims many a times presented with many challenges pause and ask the question: ‘Why go on?’
The other retreat was preached at the Novitiate by the Novice Master to a group of six novices. The six are drawn from different parts of the world giving the novitiate a feel of what it means to belong to an international Congregation. They are Dan Weston of the London Province, Peter Chitabanta a Zambian who is of the South African Province, Cornel Omondi Oredo and Titus Mutiku Wambua of the Kenyan Mission, Kudakwashe Muparabasa and Lennon Rusike of the Region of Zimbabwe. There is a seventh novice who will be joining the 2012- 2013 group of novices. He is Massimiliano Mura of the Roman Province; he is at the moment busy processing his documents so that he can join us some time in August.
For the next few months the novitiate stretches its arms wide open to welcome several confreres. In the not so distant future we will be welcoming the newly ordained Fr Julius Masaiti who will spend a few months in the KZN novitiate helping out till the new Socius Fr Augustine Mugambi arrives in September. We eagerly await Augustine’s coming and that of Massimiliano to complete the group and give us a perfect number- seven.
It was such a marvel to watch the two groups of novices come together after the retreats, filling the not so long ago empty novitiate House with a group of young men full of youth and enthusiasm raring to go. The whole experience was that of new beginnings. With the old novices getting ready to begin their lives as Redemptorists and the new novices begin a journey that will see them become Redemptorists.