The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

When Is a Priest Not a Priest?

The real answer to the title question, of course, is never. Once ordained, a priest is marked by the sacrament of Holy Orders forever.  He embarks on a life of service to God’s people, taking him on a path known only to God.

When a man is a priest in the missions, however, he is faced with many tasks along that path that men in the western world may never encounter.  I learned this lesson anew when I met Fr. Aaron Kapunula     at the parish of St. Mary of the Assumption in the Diocese of Chipata, Zambia.  Fr. Aaron and his co-pastor, Fr. Moses, formed a partnership beyond the symbolism of their biblical names to lead their people to a greater love of God.  In doing so, they needed to step far beyond what   we consider the “normal” realm of priestly duties.

First, a church needed to be built, so Fr. Aaron became an architect    and a contractor, designing and overseeing the building of a simple but beautiful structure that could fit the local Catholics for worship and faith formation.  While this was in process, Fr. Aaron became a farmer,         clearing the church- owned land to plant crops to sustain himself and other priests that would come after him – there is no local grocery store   to run to when the eggs or milk run out!  The priests also raise chickens, rabbits, maize (corn) and avocados among other things to keep themselves fed. 

At his ordination in 2007, Fr. Aaron knew that a life of hard work and constant service was his future – he likes to quote Mother Teresa,        saying, “God did not call me to be successful, but faithful.”  He lives that motto daily, leading his people by example.  Although the parish lacks the funding – about $1000 US – to purchase an outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother, the name sake of their parish, they are building the grotto to house it, trusting that someday their prayers will be answered.

In the mean time, Fr. Aaron and all the priests of the Chipata are        forever grateful for the Mass stipends provided through this office by    our donors.  Boston parishes that have excess Mass offerings and individual donors who use our Mass cards and make an offering allow     us to provide what is sometimes the only support for priests in the missions who receive no salary as they serve the poor.

For more information on our Mass cards, go to our website: and click on the Mass Cards/Enrollment page for The Society for the Propagation of the Faith or call us at 617-542-1776.
-Maureen Crowley Heil 

SVILUPPO: After the publication of this story, a donor came forward to  ensure that the good people of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in the Diocese of Chipata, Zambia would  receive their statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, their patroness.  Once again, the prayerful generosity of the people of the Archdiocese of Boston towards the missions is shown to be reliable and true. 

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