MEET FR. RAPHAEL-Fr. Raphael Mkuzi is a Catholic priest from the Southern part of Malawi in the Diocese of Mangochi. The country is located in the South-East of Africa, bordering Mozambique to the South and East, Zambia to the West and Tanzania up-North. It is a country that counts 80% Christians and 20% Muslims, with Catholic, being the most powerful and influential Church.

I was born June 13, 1977 into a family of seven siblings; 2 boys and 5 girls, myself being in the middle and the last born being also a boy. Both of my parents are small scale farmers, and the whole family is Catholic and based in Malawi, my home Country.

I received my primary education at a public school up to the 8th grade. I felt a call to priesthood in the 6th grade after meeting a Montfort Missionary priest from Italy, who was the pastor of my home parish. After the 8th grade, I went to a Seminary high school, and joined the major Seminary called St. John the Baptist from 1995 to 2002, where I studied philosophy and theology. I was ordained to priesthood on September 28, 2002 in the diocese of my origin as a diocesan priest.

After my ordination to priesthood, I was appointed to be a teacher and formator at St. John the Baptist Major Seminary. I was sent for further studies in theology at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Kenya for 1 year, and Leuven Catholic University in Belgium for 2 years.

Coming back to the diocese in 2010, I was appointed a parochial Vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish in my diocese of origin while serving at the same time as Diocesan communication secretary and pastoral coordinator. For the last two years, I have been working in the Diocesan Chancery as Bishop’s Secretary.

It came as a surprise on March 3, 2016, when my bishop, Rt. Rev. Montfort Stima, told me he was considering appointing me to minister in the Archdiocese of Seattle. In disbelief, I gladly accepted knowing that it is an opportunity for me to serve in the same One Catholic Church, but in a different context and culture.

When I said good-bye to my family, I would be travelling to a far country. This is my vocation that I am called to do. I arrived in Seattle on the 27th of May 2016 for my orientation with the Archdiocese of Seattle. I arrived in Woodland on July 1, 2016 for my assignment to St. Philip Parish, Woodland, St. Joseph Mission, Kalama, & St. Mary of  Guadalupe Mission, Ridgefield and now look forward to my assignement as parochial vicar for St. Jude and Holy Innocents