Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) Secretary General, Fr. Cleophas Lungu has urged Seminarians in Zambia to be disciplined as they prepare for life as future priests.
Zambian Seminarians’ Cassock dayFr. Lungu told seminarians that Catholics in the country need to see seminarians who are disciplined.
“We want seminarians who are disciplined, seminarians who will not be swept away with anything that passes before them,” he said.
The Secretary General said this at Emmaus Spirituality Centre in Lusaka when he celebrated the investiture Mass with Cassocks for seminarians who are in their first stage of formation.
“The Cassock doesn’t just come with a white gown, a Cassock comes with a sash, so every day as you go for your liturgical celebrations you will be tying yourself, you will be putting on a sash. Let that be a reminder to you that as you put on that beautiful Cassock you must tie yourself with discipline” he said.
He said a Cassock should just be a confirmation of that which is in the heart. “The quietness we see in the Cassock must be a radiation of that which is in the heart. If indeed you clothe your heart, not just your body, you clothe your mind, not just your head, you clothe yourselves with the Gospel then you will be a walking Gospel,” Fr. Lungu said.
The ZEC Secretary General explained that a cassock on its own is no protection and that seminarians must be convinced in their hearts and minds of their decision to go for priesthood.
Fr Lungu said the Church has suffered enough from priests who pretend to be priests but in their hearts lacked the necessary commitment.
“That’s why when St. Paul says clothe yourselves; he is not talking about any combat. Clothe yourself with compassion, clothe yourself with humility and clothe yourself with meekness. Let your vocation come from the heart, priesthood must start from the heart,” he explained.
Referring to Pope Francis when on Vocation Sunday, used the metaphor an ‘exodus’ to show that every vocation is an experience of an exodus, Fr. Lungu told seminarians that an exodus experience is that of coming out of Egypt by the people of Israel. Fr Lungu also gave an example of Jeremiah who went through his own exodus experience.
“Gentlemen you have the Promised land but first of all you must come out, don’t remain where you are, don’t remain with the same values, same habits, the same life, you must come out,” he said.
Fr. Lungu advised seminarians to aim higher like an eagle. “Today you have touched heaven, today you are beginning the journey of this perpetual encounter with God. Your aim should always be higher. Don't settle for what is ordinary, don’t settle for what is mediocre, set your aims higher. Aim to be a better person, aim to be a good seminarian,” Fr. Lungu emphasised.
Meanwhile, Emmaus Spirituality Centre acting Rector, Fr. Peter Kwaleyela said the Cassock day is a very important stage for seminarians as they embark on the journey to the priesthood. He said in Zambia diocesan priests begin their formation programme at Emmaus which is a spirituality Centre, where they stay for a year of introduction to the spirituality of a diocesan priest and later move on to another stage at Mpima Major Seminary where they do philosophy and finally St. Dominic’s for Theology.
This year, 37 seminarians received Cassocks.