“My vocation is a journey of valued little decisions that can best be contemplated as a whole and can only be beautiful if seen from a panoramic view”, says Fr Collins Mweshi a Zambian Comboni missionary working in Karamoja, Uganda. Fr Collins shares his vocation journey with us.
When I became a Christian, I actually did not know what I was doing, it was my parents who decided so, and hence started the life of a Christian convert in 1986. I am the fifth born child of Paul Mweshi and Brenda Namfukwe’s nine children. I was born on 14th June 1982.
Initially, we lived in Matero, a suburb, west of Lusaka, Zambia, but relocated to George compound in the same vicinity. As a child, I loved hunting birds and playing football. I also loved school. But I had overlooked the desire to know and had taken to playing football.
I went to Edwin Mulongoti Primary School in Lusaka for a year. In 1997, I began my junior secondary school at Kabulonga Boys in Lusaka, where I studied for the next five years. While in grade eleven my ambition to pursue science coupled with a strong desire to evangelize, mushroomed. Consequently, I decided to be active in one of the youth groups at church. A friend and classmate, Sunday Maseko, advised me to join the vocations group.
In my first vocations group meeting, I burned with zeal to know what vocation was. The secretary at that time, Martha Kambuzuma, told me, “Vocation is a call from God”. Absolutely! But how could I understand the meaning of this?
After my high school in 2001, I became a peer educator on drug and substance abuse for a year. Then I worked as a clerk at a Milling Corporation for eight months. It was at work that the desire to become a priest grew even stronger.
In 2003, at the first religious profession of Fr Andrew Bwalya, a priest from my home parish and his companions, I sat in church facing a picture of St Daniel Comboni under printed, ‘A thousand lives for the Mission’. The preacher, a Comboni missionary mentioned that there were young people in the church that had the zeal to join the work of evangelization as Comboni missionaries.
The enthusiasm with which I decided to quit my job in order to become a religious priest was as if priesthood were a day’s journey. Yet eleven years of formation followed. I spent a year as an aspirant under the direction of Fr Dawit Wubishet, the vocation promoter then. I studied philosophy at the Postulancy in Balaka, Malawi, from 2005 to 2008, followed by two years of novitiate in Namugongo, Uganda.
I had the joy of making my first religious profession on 1st May 2010, in the Basilica of the Martyrs of Uganda, a holy place. From 2010 to 2014, I studied Theology at St Peter’s Regional Seminary, Pedu, in Ghana, while continuing my missionary formation at Sts. Peter and Paul Scholasticate. I did a year of missionary service in Malawi. On 10th July 2015, I made my final religious profession at the Provincial house in Lilongwe.
On 22nd August 2015, I was ordained deacon at Msamba parish by Most Rev. Archbishop Tarcisio Ziyaye. Finally, on 28th May 2016, I was ordained priest by His Grace Telesphore Mpundu of Lusaka Archdiocese, at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus.
My journey has been an ordinary story of events led by the hand of God. It is a journey of valued little decisions that can best be contemplated as a whole and can only be beautiful if seen by a panoramic view at the end.