Sustainability of the Spiritual core of Mustard Seed Communities
The spiritual and pastoral well-being of the residents, staff, and volunteers of MSC permeates every aspect of MSC’s activities and informs the path for development and survival of the organization. MSC’s commitment to sustain and develop the spiritual core of MSC is demonstrated through the establishment of St. Andrew’s House of Formation.
MSC is establishing a Canonical body called Missionarii Grani Sinatis (Mustard Seed Missionaries)—a “Society of Apostolic Life”—to guide and promote the spirituality of the organization.
St. Andrew's House of Formation at Jacob's Ladder in Jamaica, opened in May 2019 and includes accommodations for 12 brothers, conference and training rooms, a library, and chapel. There are currently five men who reside at the House of Formation, two seminarians, and three novitiates.
Father Francis Philip Omondi
Fr. Philip is from Zimbabwe and was ordained at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Jamaica on September 7, 2018. Father Philip is the third priest to join Mustard Seed and the first since Father Garvin’s ordination in 2011. Fr. Philip oversees the spiritual welfare of the children and staff at MSC throughout Africa.
Brother Ernest Chikwata – Seminarian, fourth year
Brother Ernest Chikwata is originally from Zimbabwe and started coming to Mustard Seed first as a youth choir member, then to help with the feeding program. His leadership is often sought from fellow Brothers and staff members at Jacob’s Ladder. He always looks forward to working with people to better the lives of the residents and to always put a smile on their faces.
MSC has been a blessing in his life in many ways. “[Mustard Seed] has made me realize things I didn’t know about myself, it has helped me to always stay positive, and has also impacted how I treat and deal with different people,” he said. He enjoys listening to music, singing, playing instruments, and playing sports.
Brother Bekithemba Maseko - Seminarian, fourth year
Brother Bekithemba “Beki” Maseko is from the township of Pumula North near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He first became involved with Mustard Seed by volunteering at one of the feeding programs in Pumula. One of his roles while living at St. Andrew’s House of Formation is working in the maintenance department at Jacob’s Ladder. Mustard Seed has brought many blessings to Brother Bekithemba. The blessings include spending time with MSC residents like Yasanya at My Father’s House, meeting different people, and constantly learning new things. One of his greatest blessings has been discovering his many talents. During his free time he enjoys reading, watching movies, walking around the villages, and playing video games.
Brother Brighton Chitende - Novitiate
Brother Brighton Chitende is from Zimbabwe. He found out about Mustard Seed through a friend from Bulawayo, where MSC Zimbabwe is located. In 2018, after graduating from the University in Malawi, he spent a year working at MSC Zimbabwe before coming to Jamaica.
He describes St. Andrew’s House of Formation as a welcoming community furnished with love, joy and lessons. Living at Jacob’s Ladder has also instilled him with more zeal to continue discerning his vocation to the priesthood as a Mustard Seed Missionary. He has been involved with construction and plumbing at Jacob’s Ladder and also works with the residents in Bethany village.
“I always feel a more intrinsic encounter with God whenever I converse or interact with the residents,” he said. “The residents are the source of my joy and motivation, and thus I feel compelled to continue to impact their lives in a more profound way.”
Brother Richard Hines - Novitiate
Brother Richard Hines is in his second year of novitiate with the Mustard Seed Missionaries. He is from Portmore, St. Catherine, Jamaica. He first became affiliated with Mustard Seed through his church’s summer camp, which was at Jacob’s Ladder in 2011. He later did service hours at Jacob’s Ladder for his last year of high school.
In the apostolate, he works alongside the Spirituality Coordinator and the Maintenance department. Brother Richard enjoys singing and can be heard as part of the choir at Mustard Seed Masses.
“I honestly don’t think I can just yet or will ever be able to make a mark as indelible on Mustard Seed, as it has done and continues to do in my life,” he said. “One of my greatest goals is to really try to give to everyone that comes to us whether it be staff, residents, volunteers, persons who participate in our many outreach programs, a sense of identity and purpose—a purpose and identity that was given to each of us by God, but we all so often, lose track of it. The same sense of purpose and identity Mustard Seed has given me.”
Brother Obiano Jeremiah Somtochukwu - Novitiate
Brother Obiano Jeremiah Somtochukwu is from Nigeria and is currently in his second year as a novitiate. He first became involved with Mustard Seed during a visit to MSC Zimbabwe where he volunteered with the feeding program, taught catechism, and taught French. At St. Andrew’s House of Formation, he is in charge of the community garden. He also works in the maintenance department at Jacob’s Ladder. Spending time at Mustard Seed has taught Brother Jeremiah to serve the poor and the vulnerable and to have compassion.
Brother Jeremiah has found joy in serving the residents at Jacob’s Ladder’s Corinth village. He has helped to feed residents and soon formed a close bond with Laura. After meeting her and spending time with her, Laura will sometimes refuse to eat unless Brother Jeremiah is the one feeding her. Laura’s heart is so filled with love. In his free time, he loves reading and writing motivational articles and watching movies about Catholic Saints.
The spiritual core of Mustard Seed Communities is vital to the development and survival of the organization and could not be sustained and developed without your support.