Fr. Stanley Lubungo has been the superior General of the Missionaries of Africa since 2016. He was born in Zambia, Masala Township in Ndola province, the provincial headquarters of the Zambian Copper belt. He was born in 1967 in a family of seven. Sadly, his parents died but his brothers and sisters live in Zambia and are married, with children. Fr. Stanley went to Kilengwa Primary school for seven years and Masala Secondary school for five years of O-level. After secondary, he joined the seminary. Besides the small Christian communities he was part of in his neighbourhood while growing up, Fr.Stanley says grew up in a staunch and committed Catholic family; which shaped his desire to serve God.
These Christian communities would visit his house and share the gospel readings. They would then discuss how to implement it in daily life, how to visit the sick, prisoners, new born babies in the village among other things. He then joined the youth choir for four years. While in Secondary school, he joined the YCS group and they would go for weekend recollections. These activities contributed so much in shaping him.
The recollections were happening at a location run by the Dominican sisters. Fr. Stanley remembers that during the recollections, he developed and discovered a personal relationship with Jesus through silent meditation, which was taught to him by the religious people he was close to. As a young man, he visited this place three times a year during holidays, and every time he went, he took a friend with him.
In the third year of this experience, a sister belonging to the Dominican sister’s congregation asked him if he had considered taking a priestly vocation. Fr. Stanley said one weekend at a diocesan gathering; they were given pamphlets from different congregations. It is here that he came across a pamphlet representing the missionaries of Africa, read it keenly and he was moved by the charism; to evangelise areas where Christ was not known. He was attracted to the congregation immediately.
With his Christian background, he was not sure if there were some parts of the world which did not know Christ. He decided that if those places existed, he wanted to take Christ to them. He began to communicate with the Vocation Director who directed him to another office in his home town. He journeyed with them for three years till he was selected to join the formation in 1988.After three years of philosophy and one year of spiritual training in Zambia, he was sent to Democratic Republic of Congo for two years of pastoral experience. He was then sent to Toulouse in France where he studied theology for three years.
In 1997, Fr. Stanley was ordained Priest in Zambia and immediately appointed back to DRC, this time to Bunia diocese where he began his missionary experience. In Bunia, he worked in a rural parish which was 40 km from Bunia town. Being a young Priest, he was in charge of the youth, and coordinated nine schools which he was following closely. He also taught music, religious education and English. He added that his new Parish had nine centres and ten churches.
While in DRC, he was faced with a challenge of tribal killings. This he said devastated him, yet it seemed normal to the people of his parish who considered him an outcast. He served in DRC for five years, before going for further studies in Rome for three years. In 2005 after he completed his studies, he was appointed to a formation house in Abidjan as a formator, where he served for seven years. In 2012, he went for further studies in France for three years.
After this, he was appointed the Provincial Superior of the Southern African Province. He worked as Provincial Superior for nine months, which coincided with the time for the General Chapter which he attended. At the General Chapter, he was elected the Superior General. This, Fr. Stanley said was a surprise for him as he had never been a leader.
Being the Superior General has taught him many lessons, one being humility. “The first lesson I learnt from my election was humility. I never thought I could be elected, I very quickly realised I could not resolve all the challenges, I learnt to count on the support of my confreres,” said Fr. Stanley. “I am privileged to witness the marvellous things they have accomplished, in that is the spirit at work in different confreres to see how courageous they can face different challenges,” added the soft spoken Superior General.
He noted that being Superior General is not about him but about where the society wants to go. His mandate is to guarantee their Charism, and remain missionaries upholding their founder’s desire.
His dream is to continue dialogue with Muslims to whom they are attached, since the congregation was founded in Algeria, a Muslim country. The Superior is grateful to God for all the years of existence and for keeping their vocation alive all over the world.
Note: This article is from the Archives of the year 2020