When Gordon Brown was making an internal bid within the Labour Party to take over from Tony Blair as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2005, he talked a lot about the need to ‘restore the moral compass’ of the Labour Party.
Brown went to the extent of talking about his own ‘moral compass’ as something that would help him restore the moral compass of his much-loved Labour Party which he had joined while a teenager. The son of a church minister had and remains with many great and adorable values.
That set of values forms the moral compass that Gordon Brown has often referred to as key ingredients of his success in life—which also made him a champion for the issues of the third world and poor countries.
We all need a moral compass of some sort to do well. To be good citizens, to be good people and to do well in whatever we choose to do in life. One of the great examples of the people that have kept their moral compasses for years is Fr. Michael Albert Muwowo of Mzuzu Diocese.
Fr. Muwowo was ordained priest in 1985 and has served as a priest with total commitment, dedication and passion for 33 years. For nearly 20 years, Fr. Muwowo was a trusted ‘nduna’ or Vicar General of the late Bishop Zuza.
Pope Francis recently honoured Muwowo with the title of Monsignor. This weekend, there will be a big event at Mzambazi Parish near Euthini in Mzimba within the Diocese of Mzuzu where Bishop John Ryan will be installing Muwowo as Monsignor. This is a rare honour and very few Malawian priests have been given that honour directly by the Pope. This comes as no surprise to many that have known Monsignor Muwowo for a long time. I have had the privilege of knowing him all my life.
When I was growing up in rural places of Rumphi, Fr. Muwowo often visited us. He was one of the priests that greatly inspired me and he encouraged my early vocation for priesthood which inspired me to go to St. Patrick’s Seminary where I got a good foundation that has made me the kind of citizen that I am today. His exemplary life helped many of us to try and form some moral compass—even if not perfect but at least we have the awareness and conscience to try and follow a compass of some sort, which is a good starting point.
When I was a young boy, I used to carry bags of Fr. Muwowo from the school where he parked his motor bike or car to his home village which was some four kilometres across Runyina River—without a proper bridge at the time. His humility, passion for what he did and discipline were all clear all the time. Through contact and dialogue, he preached to many that met and experienced his life. I remember a very remarkable day—after I completed my college studies, Fr. Muwowo said: “There is nothing that makes me happier than my faith, my Catholicism and my being a priest.”
Perhaps this is what has been and remains the True North of the moral compass of the now Monsignor Muwowo.
We can learn a lot from this historic event. Not just for Christians or Catholics. Like Gordon Brown—Monsignor Muwowo has achieved a lot in his chosen vocation or ‘career’ because he has kept his moral compass.
Have you discovered your moral compass? What is your moral compass? Do you remain true to your moral compass? As Fr. Muwowo is being installed as Monsignor Muwowo this week, let us all step back and reflect on our lives—as businesspeople, as career professionals— to take stock on our moral compass.
Let us define or review our moral compass and chart the way forward that makes us remain true to our moral compass.
This way, we will attain and sustain the kind of peace and tranquillity and we will touch as many lives as Gordon Brown and Monsignor Muwowo have done. Good luck!