By Leah Nyondo
From 7th to 9th September, 2019, sixty staff Karonga Diocese staff members rested from their usual cares and retreated to Nkhatabay Pastoral Centre for their annual spiritual retreat.
This is usually a special moment where staff members renew their commitment to God, examine their priorities in life and make concrete and practical resolutions to shape the direction of their lives. Retreats also allow people to rekindle their relationship with Christ.
The preacher of the retreat, Father Martin Kumwenda, carefully selected the theme “The New Happy Family” and focused on the importance of unity at all levels.
Preaching during the retreat, Father Kumwenda stressed that God wants his children to gather as family. He made biblical references to the families of Noah, Abraham, and political alliances in the Bible which gathered people together as a family.
Making reference to Jesus’ sacerdotal prayer in John 17:1-24, where He called for unity among believers, Father Kumwenda said Jesus wants all of us to be in one happy home.
“We are invited to this new happy family. As members who work together at the Curia, we are also a family. Do we individually have any sense of having a family? Where are we on this God given task of gathering families?” asked Father Kumwenda.
Father Kumwenda also highlighted vices that lead people to break away from one big family such as addction, selfishness and unhealthy competition.
He said addiction is really a disease and it emanates from how we utilize goods of the earth. He said addictions on money, alcohol and drugs and others if not controlled can make us powerless. He then spent time to outline the steps towards recovering from addictions to regain our position in one happy family.
Silence, which is a key companion of spiritual retreats, was emphasized as a catalyst to deep spiritual reflection. Spiritual reading, Sacrament of Confession and Mass formed part of the days of prayer.
Lastly, staff members thanked the Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, who apart from encouraging professional growth and high standards of performance among his staff members, he also promotes their spiritual growth. They expressed gratitude to the Bishop for providing the necessary resources to conduct the retreat.