Capuchins Brothers serve the Tribals


Blessing of Garo Village Chapel in Khasi Hills




About 40 Capuchin friars who were participating in the ongoing formation program at the headquarters friary of Nirmala Matha Custody at Guwahati, Assam-Meghalaya, descended on the non-descript village of AMPHANGGRE on 10 December 2017 for the blessing of its newly built chapel and for the Holy Mass, giving a festive mood for the occasion. Obviously the villagers were overjoyed at the presence of a large number of Capuchins in their small hilly village. Children and elders alike heartily welcomed each one with a broad smile, warm hand shake, and the JISUNA RASONG (‘Praise be to Jesus Christ’) greeting on their lips, which are customary among  Garo tribe in the north-eastern part of India.

Retreat with Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa Ofm Cap

God blessed the Curia members with the possibility to spend quality time with our Br. Raniero. It was a time of inspiration for the participants. He based his sharing on the Letter to the Romans and made it alive with insightful and humorous wisdom saying and stories out of his 83 years of living the faith.

The following are some of the points and themes which touched us we share this to you so that they may touch and inspire you also.

Continuation…. Of the talk… FORMATORS AS VESSELS OF CLAY

(Recollection Talk by Br. Augustine Mwape OFM Cap, Custos of Zambia)

Vessels of clay

“But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us”

In the above text, St. Paul uses the symbol of clay to explain the ordinariness of the carrier of the good news. Clay is made of dust. It is earthy or earthily. It is also fragile, brittle, feeble, easily broken or shattered, cracked or delicate.

A clay vessel is easily replaceable (as opposite to being indispensable). It is not very expensive or pretty as compared to the golden, silver or brass vessel. Yet it is serviceable and useful to the owner. This is exactly the story of each and every formator. The formator has his own history, his limitations, weaknesses and strengths, talents, gifts, anxieties, wounds, brokenness, imperfections, biasness, political affiliations, tastes, likes and dislikes, cares, glory and shame, ups and downs, dark moments, crosses or discouragements. A formator has not yet arrived. There is an earthiness that not even ordination or profession is able to delete. The formator in this context always remains part of the history of sin and grace; and always part of the Fall.

The task and the good news

The major task is for each and every formator to be aware of his own history. He should not deny, negate or even delete his history. It could be a history of his own personal brokenness. Here there is a call to also be aware of one’s scars. These could be physical or emotional scars. As clay, a formator is also a very fragile being. He is subject to sorrow, grief and tears; anger and need for vengeance, unforgiveness, frustrations, depression, loneliness, need for love, attention and affection; pain and suffering; obsessions, attachments and addictions. The good news is that though fragile we are yet God still calls us to this noble task. Our call is to remain open to God’s grace (“the divine operation”). It is only God who can transform our weaknesses into strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). Our weaknesses can become an occasion for the power of God.


Brother Augustine Mwape OFM Cap

3rd June 2018

Lusaka, Zambia.


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