Building Oblate Ministries in Zambia

Posted by on June 16, 2016

One of Bro. Max's first assignments was to build a garage where the Oblates' fleet of vehicles is reparied.

One of Bro. Max’s first assignments was to build a garage where the Oblates’ fleet of vehicles is repaired.

For the past 25 years Bro. Maximillian Mwakacheya, O.M.I. has been building – sometimes literally – the Oblate missionin Zambia.

Brother Max was one of the first Zambians to become a Missionary Oblate when he joined the community in 1989. He was working as an auto mechanic, but felt called to serve his fellow Zambians in a more consequential way.

One of Bro. Max’s first assignments was to build a garage where the Oblates’ fleet of vehicles is repaired. He was also instrumental in the construction of Radio Liseli, that broadcasts religious and secular programming throughout the Western Province of Zambia.

Brother Max also helped build the Zambian mission through nine years of parish work. He spent much of that time on the road, traveling to isolated communities where a priest might be able to visit only once or twice a year. During his visits Bro. Max would bring the Eucharist, teach catechism and perform other pastoral duties. He also provided basic medical care, especially to people suffering from HIV/AIDS.

“Many of the people in these small villages have very little knowledge of the Catholic faith,” said Bro. Max. “For example, some people didn’t even know that the Pope was human. They were shocked when Pope John Paul II died.”

Brother Max has helped build the Oblates’ formation program. He spent nine years at St. Joseph Scholasticate in Cedara, South Africa mentoring Oblate seminarians along their journey to religious life.

“As I was forming them, I was also being formed,” said Bro. Max. “We are growing in our number
of vocations and that is a source of great pride.” There are currently about 30 Zambian men in the Oblate formation program.

At the present time Bro. Max is overseeing construction of a parish house and office complex at Mary Immaculate Parish in Lusaka. The complex will include a printing press so the Oblates can produce their own books, pamphlets and prayer cards to help generate some revenue for their ministries.

At the age of 50 Bro. Max is considered an “elder” in the Zambian mission. But he doesn’t have much time to reflect on his 25 years as an Oblate. He’s too busy planning to build an even stronger Oblate presence in Zambia over the next 25 years.

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