Time has passed, time has flied. But the memories refuse to fly, and petch on the shoulder of resignation.
A shoulder so soft one nearly falls. But the hope of meeting Father McXencious Nyongani, long gone, in the course of the Lord's work, makes it a little light and fair.
Fr. Nyongani remains an insipiration to me. He showed me the way, as he served mass at Salima Catholic Parish. He was a father, as his name truly suggested.
He had worked for it, deligently, and earned it.
And, then, in a motorcycle accident, to die. It was so painful because the accident that claimed this good man occurred right at the junction to Salima Catholic Parish- the place he so loved to serve. The place he grew to like.
That is why the years between 1997 and 2000 were not good for me. I remember Father Nyongani clearly, the day the Chairperson of the Salima Catholic Parish Church Council announced, for no apparent reason, that I was no longer Chairperson of the St. Stephano Group, also called Altar Boys.The reason: I did not finish cutting palm trees for the Corpus Christi.
Well, the truth is that I took leave of the rest of the boys because I was sick.
Father Nyongani said, in his judgement, I did nothing wrong, and said the status quo remained. That Sunday, I served the then Lilongwe Diocese Bishop, Tarcizius Ziyaye. Actually, I was the one carrying his Chipewa.
It was a sweet victory. And I loved the church dearly.
Then, death came again and took Father Julius M'mbulu from us. It was a car accident.
Actually, it happened two weeks after I and Andrew Nazombe had gone to Kanyenyeva Out-station with him- alongside Sister Phiri- in a Toyota Hilux that was to kill him.
This fateful night, he was coming from an outstation around 7 pm, and tried to 'over-take' a stationary truck thinking it was in mobility.
The impact was devastating. Father M'mbulu was no more.
No more, from a tour of duty- serving the Lord's flock.
That is why I can't forget the years between 1997 and 2000.
So painful to lose these youthful fathers; men of the Lord.
Today, refusing to forget, I remember them. Not that I wish I could forget; I wish I could remember them. Everyday.
Rest in Peace Fathers; men who were so committed to the work.
But, now, before I finish, let me update you abit, my beloved fathers- priests of the Lord.
The Arch-Bishop now, for Blantyre Arch-Diocese, is Tarcizius Ziyaye.
And things have changed. The President is now a Catholic: Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.
He is also Chairperson of the African Union.
I wish you could see for yourselves. But time could not allow.
What has not changed, oh faithful Fathers, is that you continue to rest in peace.
This, at least, soothes my soul. And all those Salima Parishoners. Family and Friends.
Till we meet again.