On 13 June 2015, in the multicultural ceremony of song, dance and ritual Brothers Mike Mwale and Damazio Ngoma were ordained priests and Brother Neil Mitchell, a deacon. The ordination by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, Archbishop of Johannesburg, took place in the Cathedral of Christ the King.
The three brothers come from three countries of southern Africa. Brother Mike hails from Zimbabwe; Brother Damazio from Malawi and Brother Neil from Johannesburg. A large number of guests from their home countries attended and celebrated the occasion. The colourful ceremony in several languages demonstrated the richness of the music and cultures of southern Africa. Practically every Dominican brother of our vicariate was present. The Bishop of Kroonstad, Peter Holiday, also concelebrated.
Ordination generally marks end of a brother’s formation and the beginning of his apostolate. In the case of our three brothers they are already heavily involved in ministry. Brother Mike is the assistant novice master, Brother Damazio a lecturer in moral theology at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute at Cedara and Brother Neil is heavily involved in the training of deacons the diocese of Kroonstad where he is also assisted by Brother Mike. Brother Neil is well known in Johannesburg where he was a teacher for many years before joining the Order. He and Brother Damazio are presently working on their doctorates. Brother Mike is a skilled writer and journalist and has written much during his years of formation in Pietermaritzburg and has also won several writers awards.
The backgrounds of our brothers are also interesting. Brother Damazio studied philosophy in Malawi and then migrated to Johannesburg where he worked for several years as a gardener before knocking on the door the Order. He did his novitiate in Nairobi where he also continued his studies in moral theology. Brother Mike initially tried his vocation with the Carmelites in Zimbabwe before joining the Order. Brother Neil was very active in the struggle for democracy in South Africa as a conscientious objector and was a teacher for most of his working life. Since his 40s he had a hankering for religious life and priesthood and so his decision is one which has matured over the years.
The Dominican Order is blessed in having three such talented brothers who are already making a significant contribution to the life and ministry of the Order in southern Africa.