Missioners Serving in Our Diocese:
To read more about Fr. Zawadi, you can find more of his story in our newsletters. Look in Spring 2021, Spring 2023.
Fr. Kambale Sambya Zawadi Jean-Marie, OSC - Crosiers of Onamia
Father Zawadi was born in Democratic Republic of the Congo. In his life, he will never forget the time when he was a kid, his father used to say to him, “you have to work very hard, to dream big and not stop trying.’’ After he asked him what he wanted to be in the future, spontaneously he answered, ‘ I will be a priest’’ He didn’t not know at the time that this is what was meant for him. His first contact with the Crosier Fathers and Brothers was in Kyondo when he was 17 years old and Fr. Jan Koopman, OSC, told him about Crosier religious Life. He became a solemnly professed member of the Order in 2010 and ordained priest in 2012 by the Most Rev. Monsignor Melchizedek Paluku Sikuli, Bishop of the Diocese of Butembo. In the Congo, he was the formation director for Crosier postulants in Mulo and financial secretary at the Center of listening and Psychological accompaniment. He was also one of the leaders of ADIMIRU ( Agence de Developement Integral en Milieu Rural), an agency established to promote the culture of peace and development. He is now living in the Crosier Priory in Onamia MN, and is serving as Development Director for the Crosier Fathers and Brothers. He has been working hard to fundraise for a new school that is being built in Butembo. He is pictured with school girls in Butembo.
Fr. Oswaldo Roche - Diocese of St. Cloud
My name is Fr. Oswaldo Roche. I am part of the Diocesan Partnership between my Diocese of Maracay in Venezuela and the Diocese of Saint Cloud, in Minnesota. My mission here began in October 2012, serving the Hispanic community at St. Joseph's Parish in Waite Park, Assumption in Morris, St. Boniface in Cold Spring, and St. Mary's in Melrose. Since then, I have been able to attend other communities, such as St. Leonard’s in Pelican Rapids, and currently, St. Andrew in Elk River and Immaculate Conception in Rockville. As for the English-speaking communities, I am currently the Parochial Vicar of the ACC “Together as One” in the parishes, St. Michael, St. Joseph in Waite Park, St. Peter and Saint Paul, in Saint Cloud.
Jesus Christ, missionary of the Father, came to announce the Good News of salvation to all peoples. In this month of the missions, all humanity must receive the message of love, brotherhood, charity, forgiveness and reconciliation that Jesus left us on the Cross.
At this time the prayer of the Holy Rosary, with a missionary sense, helps us to meet other cultures, opening our hearts to others who are different from us, with other languages and customs. I can bear witness to what I have seen and heard. I have seen people with great faith, surrendered to divine providence; sharing the faith, going to mass, asking for the sacraments. I have also heard the cry of hearts, who suffer to see that their families are separated, that there are many who want to help their families who live in other countries and have many needs.
Being a missionary has taught me to live with people very different from me, in race, food, language, customs. My first challenge was the cold, in my hometown, the highest temperature is 115 ° F and the lowest is 65° F. When I started to feel that the highest here was -10 ° F, I said that I would not live through it. Then the food, the hot pepper is optional and many times it remains complete on the table. When I got here, and ate the first bite, I thought it was hell, (of course every missionary should eat whatever they put before him) even if he spent three days in the bathroom. The last challenge was to understand not only the different language, in this case, English, but also the idiomatic nuances of Spanish, since when I spoke, not even Hispanics understood me. It is not the same to say "torta" in my country, which means "Cake", than to say, "Torta" in Mexico, which means "Sandwich."
The mission is just beginning, there is still a long way to go for the whole world to know and love Jesus, let's take the gospel everywhere. I can't stop talking about what I've seen and heard, that Jesus is in everyone's heart.
To read more about Mama Hellen, you can find more of her story in our newsletters. Look in Summer 2022.
Mama Hellen Lotara - South Sudan
I am Hellen Lotara. In 2013, I founded the Mama Hellen Lotara Nursery and Primary school in Abara, a remote village in South Sudan with little access to education. Mama Hellen’s School prepares children and youth to be responsible citizens by providing them with quality education and promoting values that can bring about positive change in South Sudan and the world. I am passionate about making education accessible to all students, especially girls, students with limited financial resources, and those who have been traumatized by war and conflict. The motto of Mama Hellen’s School is: Enter to learn…Depart to serve.” In 2017, after moving to Minnesota to join other family members escaping from conflict and violence, I connected with community leaders, business professionals and dedicated volunteers to form “Mama Hellen’s Team.” Our Team in the United States works with closely with school administrators, teachers and parents at the School in South Sudan to provide students the best possible education. We are also very grateful for our collaboration with the St. Cloud Mission Office. The impact of working together is remarkable – students at Mama Hellen’s School are achieving high test scores on national exams and continuing on to higher education; and parents are working with the administration and teachers to make improvements to the school facilities. There is much more to be done…Many hands make light work – Please join us! https://mamahellenschool.com