Statement on the Current Political Situation in Zambia, T-G Mpundu, PRESIDENT – ZAMBIA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS (ZCCB)


IF YOU WANT PEACE, WORK FOR JUSTICE (Paul VI)

“Let Justice flow, … down like a river that never dries …” (Amos 5:24)

Statement on the Current Political Situation in Zambia

ZCCB LOGO copieTo all Catholic faithful and all people of good will in Zambia.

This is Easter Tide when we celebrate the great feast of Easter till the feast of Pentecost. My greeting to you is in the words of St. Paul: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:2-3; and Ephesians 1:2).

PREAMBLE

  1. As Shepherds of the Church, it is our honour, privilege and duty to teach and guide the faithful through instructing them in matters of faith and morals. It is also our duty to enlighten them concerning the issues confronting them in their daily lives in the light of our faith and the teaching of the Church as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) so succinctly put and expressed it: The joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.[1]
  2. The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us in Chapter 22 verse 16 that we cannot claim to know God if we fail to respond to and confront the injustices in our society because to know God means to do justiceand to do justice is to know God.” Therefore, knowing God cannot be separated from doing justice and from what we do or omit to do to our neighbour. Consequently, people who inflict pain and suffering to their fellow human beings cannot claim to know God, let alone be “Christian!
  3. The unfortunate incident that happened in Mongu during the Kuomboka ceremony has since been followed by the arrest and detention of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema followed by the slapping of a treason charge on him. We do not in any way condone illegality. We nevertheless deplore the massive, disproportionate and entirely unnecessary force with which the Police acted in apprehending him. Would it not have been much more civilised and professional to deliver a summons to him containing a charge and ordering him to appear before the police to answer charges of alleged law breaking? The brutal way in which the Police acted has only served to heighten the already considerable tension in the nation particularly between supporters of the UPND and PF. The peace that we wish for you and the nation at large in the words of St. Paul is not mere absence of war or strife. Peace means harmony, understanding, respect for and acceptance of others, respect for and even defence of divergence of opinion, wishing others well no matter who they are and what they do for a living. This peace comes from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. This peace right now is in short supply in our nation. Why?
  4. The continuous tension between the UPND and PF has affected the lives of many other citizens in the country who are living in fear and are not going about their business of life freely. We as Shepherds of the Catholic Church in our country are deeply saddened by the incidents of unprofessional and brutal conduct of the Police Service, the damage to the innocent citizens’ property by suspected cadres, the arbitrary arrests of and horrific torture of suspects as well as the careless, inflammatory and divisive statements of our political leaders. All these are indications that our democratic culture is yet to be firmly planted, nurtured and promoted to enhance the respect for human dignity and rights. Our democratic credentials which have not been much to go by at best of times have all but vanished in this nation that loudly claims to be “God-fearing,” “peace-loving” and “Christian.”
  5. It is our considered view that as a nation, we have lamentably failed to robustly address a number of recurrent snags including those that stem from our previous elections. The current political predicament directly flows from deep-rooted problems we have failed to fix or resolve, notwithstanding four constitutional commissions of inquiry. As we have stated before, “The political environment in Zambia, today, is characterised by manipulation, patronage and intimidation of perceived government opponents. We urge the government to stop using state security institutions to intimidate its own nationals. The police service in particular must be professional and impartial in carrying out their duties of maintaining law and order. Too many of the nation’s resources and time are wasted on politicking at the expense of real development. This culture must change for the better.”[2]
  6. Ideally, the period immediately after such a divisive election as was held in August 2016, our political leaders should have embarked upon a programme of national reconciliation, building and fostering dialogue by keeping old channels in good repair and creating new ones more suited to the new situation. Unfortunately, the Judiciary, the arm of government responsible for adjudicating between individuals and between institutions and delivering justice did not do much, if anything, to engender a mutually acceptable solution.
  7. We are also convinced that the big part of the problem is that politics in Zambia are still reeling in the hangover from the pre-independence political struggle for independence which was reinforced in the One-Party-State. This hangover derives from the wrong perception that political competition is aimed at annihilating or totally silencing political opponents at all costs and by all means available! This is the root cause of intra and interparty intolerance and violence. However, a democratic dispensation that cherishes the parliamentary democracy we would like to build and consolidate demands respect for divergent views and for the rights of individuals and political parties to organise, associate and assemble without any undue restrictions and intimidation. We are again disappointed when we review the events that marked the run up to the August 2016 elections. The democratic principles we have come to know have been violated left, right and centre so that instead of going forward and consolidating our still fragile democracy, we are retrogressing and not so slowly! The political party in power is in the driving seat of the political game on the political field.

We therefore demand from the government of the day to put in place concrete measures to reverse this worrying and dangerous trend.

OUR HOPES AND CONCERNS FOR 2017

Political Situation

  1. We applaud and praise those Zambians on the political playing field who, in spite of all sorts of provocation, are committed to peaceful means of doing politics and refrain from any violence, verbal or physical. These are the people who give us and the nation hope of holding on to a functional democracy in a multiparty scenario where there is more than ample room for citizens’ participation through organised groups although there is tremendous pressure to the contrary. Such people are martyrs of true democracy and must be emulated.
  2. We decry the bad habit which political parties in power assume immediately they make a government of using the Police Service to settle political scores and prevent their political rivals from organising, campaigning and therefore selling their vision of the country and nation to the electorate. It is the same story from one administration to the other and the present government is no exception, if not one of the best examples of the misdeed just mentioned! As a result of brutalising the people through the Police Service, the general public is reduced to fear so that the order of the day is corruption and misuse of public funds. Anyone who criticises the government for wrong doing is sure to have the police unleashed on him or her.
  3. We have always been concerned about the selective application of the Public Order Act by the Police. It is quite disgraceful that a quarter of a century after the return to plural politics and more than half a century of political independence from Great Britain, our governments which we put into power through our votes use the Public Order Act to oppress political opponents and prevent them from organising and assembling together political rallies and to openly express themselves instead of protecting the rights and liberties of the very people who put them into power. Paradoxically, each political party in opposition goes through the biased use of this notorious Act but once in power, they find it so useful that they do nothing to modify or repeal it. Disgraceful indeed! We hope and pray that this law will be revised and if not, then the Police Service must be required to apply it professionally and without targeting opposition political parties only.

The Judiciary

  1. It is an open secret that the Judiciary have let the country down by failing to stand up to political manipulation and corruption. How can one explain the failure of the Constitutional Court to hear and exhaustively conclude a presidential petition? We reiterate what we said before: “For some time now, there has been a persistent discourse on the state of the judiciary in Zambia with respect to its independence and impartiality. This situation has undermined public confidence in this institution. There is need to restore confidence in this important arm of Government. There are also many unresolved questions of public interest that have been left hanging and unanswered by the Executive.”[3] Where is the Judiciary to call the Executive to attention?
  2. We also strongly denounce attacks on the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and the government’s plans to undermine it. We believe that given optimum conditions, LAZ could play its rightful role as one of the most effective checks and balances in a true democratic dispensation. The plans to kill LAZ are discreditable and we hope and pray they will fail. Together with the Judiciary, LAZ is the last defence of citizens particularly in respect of excesses by the Executive.

A Police Service or Police Force?

  1. What a pity that all the efforts and financial resources our government and the donor community spent to reform the Police from a British South Africa Company and British Colonial Administration Police Force to a modern one of being a Police Service have paid little, if any dividends at all. It is sad to see the police being used and acting like political party cadres. Police officers are supposed to and must be exemplary in following the rule of law since they are in-charge of keeping law and order. We strongly appeal to the Police Service Personnel to be professional in their conduct, impartial and scrupulously fair in the manner that ensures and is seen to ensure that citizens’ rights are respected, protected and not violated. We call upon the government to depoliticise the Police Service forthwith and leave them to do a professional job they have been trained for. Almost immediately after independence, the politicians took over the Police Service as they told them whom to arrest and prosecute and who not to touch!

Culture of Silence

  1. There is fear and trembling among the people shown in the way they are afraid to speak out against injustices. This is due to several actions by government which were meant to instil fear into and intimidate the masses. One does not need to belong to a political party in order for him or her to speak out on the misdeeds happening in the nation. Furthermore, we are witnesses to what transpired during the run-up to the August 2016 general elections when several media houses were harassed and finally closed. The recent happenings were not reported by several media houses because of the heavy presence of the Police. Our country is now all, except in designation, a dictatorship and if it is not yet, then we are not far from it. Our political leaders in the ruling party often issue intimidating statements that frighten people and make us fear for the immediate and future. This must be stopped and reversed henceforth.

Call for Genuine Dialogue and Reconciliation

  1. As hinted earlier on, the process of national healing and reconciliation after last year’s election should have been priority number one for the government as the institution in the driving seat. Unfortunately, the Executive missed this chance. It has been opined that the Church Mother Bodies should have continued their arbitration role as evinced by the Holy Cross Cathedral Meeting before Easter last Year. That initiative was taken on the appeal to ZEC (ZCCB) of the President on 12th March 2016 on the occasion of the ordination of Bishop Justin Mulenga of Mpika Diocese. The Church Mother Bodies did their best but immediately after the meeting, the resolutions which had been taken and agreed to by the participating political party leaders were broken particularly by the ruling party. The Church Mother Bodies were not allowed to succeed! We believe strongly that now that the political party in power because it is now in a strong position and has nothing to fear by way of electoral defeat must be in the driving seat. The Church Mother Bodies, if called upon, are ready to come along.
  2. The politicians especially those in the ruling party must realise that the nation they are governing is deeply divided between those who voted for UPND and those who voted for PF in the last elections. Let the politicians of both parties take it from us since we always have our ears close to the ground that our country now stands on the edge. It is no use playing an ostrich game by burying our heads in the sand thinking that the storm will pass away. It will not, at least not before it has done great harm to this nation. The use of force and intimidation are not the solution whatsoever. Only genuine and sincere dialogue aimed at national reconciliation is the long-term solution. This reconciliation must be firmly rooted in the Christian values of Truth, Forgiveness, Peace, Unity, Social Justice and Freedom. Let us learn to burry our immediate past and rise again to new life.
  3. To the Church and other Religious Leaders, we appeal to them to be instruments of peace, reconciliation and unity. They must urge the entire membership of their flocks to be collectively and individually channels of peace and reconciliation thereby living to our Lord’s call to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Shepherds and the faithful together must be committed to preaching messages of peace, reconciliation and love in word and in deed. Our nation is much larger and transcends our present and future individual or collective political fortunes.

Issued and signed on 23rd April 2017 (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Mpundu signature

 

 

 

T-G Mpundu

Archbishop of Lusaka

PRESIDENT – ZAMBIA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS (ZCCB)

[1] Vatican II Documents, Gaudium et Spes – Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #1.

[2] Cf. Pastoral Statement of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Issued on Thursday, 23rd January 2015, #5.1

[3] Cf. Act Justly and Walk Humbly with your God, A Pastoral Statement of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Issued on 27th January 2013, #8.  

IF YOU WANT PEACE, WORK FOR JUSTICE – pastoral letter Mpundu April 2017

Mafrwestafrica lettre du 19 avril 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« Nouveau provincial d’Europe » en la personne du père Gérard Chabanon, qui a déjà eu de nombreuses responsabilités chez les Pères Blancs (lire la suite).

« Que devient le franc CFA ? » des nouvelles prises sur ‘Jeune Afrique’ et qui remettent les choses à leur place (lire la suite).

« Nouvel évêque de Laghouat-Ghardaia » des nouvelles déjà connues sur ce sujet, mais quelques précisions intéressantes (lire la suite).

Témoignages 

« Une femme se déradicalise » la recension d’un livre écrit par Laura Passioni, où elle raconte son évolution, son parcours en faveur de Daesh, et l’abandon de cet engagement (lire la suite).

« Décès du Père Francisco Hellin », le 14 avril en Espagne, à l’âge de 78 ans dont 50 ans de mission, au Burkina, au Mali et en Espagne (lire la suite).

« 70 ans de serment missionnaire » pour le père Jean Fisset, présentement à Bry sur Marne, et qui a vécu la mission en Algérie (lire la suite).

« Les M.Afr africains bien présents en France » leurs noms sont donnés, ainsi que leurs engagements en communauté ou en paroisse (lire la suite).

Dialogue interreligieux

« Le pape en Égypte » il y a 17 ans que Jean Paul II y était allé, en février 2000. Suite à l’attaque terroriste contre les églises coptes, ce déplacement est d’autant plus significatif (lire la suite)

« Journée mariale islamo-chrétienne » qui se passera à Alger, le 29 avril prochain, sur le thème ‘Écologie et spiritualité’ (lire la suite).

« Dialogue islamo chrétien au Sénégal » où il n’y a que 5% de chrétiens, ce qui n’empêche que la Pâque sera célébrée par tous (lire la suite).

Justice et Paix

« Côte d’Ivoire, procès en cours », suite aux attaques à l’hôtel Novotel d’Abidjan, 5 militaires risquent la prison à vie (lire la suite).

« Jugement à venir pour Blaise Compaoré ». Même si ce dernier est toujours en Côte d’Ivoire, la Haute cour de justice du Burkina a annoncé que l’ancien président et les ministres de son gouvernement seront jugés à partir du 27 avril (lire la suite).

« Dialogue entre l’état et les étudiants au Niger ? » le chef de l’État, le président Issoufou, a rencontré les dirigeants des étudiants mécontents (lire la suite).

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Nouveau gouvernement au Mali » Le nouveau premier ministre Abdoullaye Idrissa Maïga a rendu publique le 11 avril la liste des membres du nouveau gouvernement malien (lire la suite).

« Famine en Afrique » Le nombre de morts provoqués par la famine en Afrique s’accroît de plus en plus. Il faut une aide urgente. La guerre est un facteur déterminant de cette situation (lire la suite)

« Financer les entrepreneurs au Burkina ». L’exécutif burkinabè a décidé de fournir des fonds à ceux qui veulent se lancer. La somme prévue est de deux milliards CFA par an sur 5 ans (lire la suite).

« Fin de grève dans la santé au Mali » Le mot d’ordre de grève est levé, parce que nous avons obtenu satisfaction, a déclaré secrétaire général adjoint du Syndicat national de la Santé (lire la suite).

Monseigneur Étienne-Benoît Larue: The Founder of Child Jesus Sisters.


ChilongaBy Douglas Ogato, M.Afr

Recently, in the wee morning hours, I passed by the convent of the Child Jesus Sisters in Chilonga for a short visit. No sooner had I arrived, the Sisters welcomed me into their house for breakfast. I spotted a portrait of a man hanging on the wall. He was wearing a gandoura and a rosary around his neck. From a distance I could see that he was a White man with a long beard. I saw a name scribbled on the base of the portrait: Monseigneur Etienne Larue. Below were the following words: Our Founder. I asked the sisters: “Who is he?” In unison they responded: “He is our founder.”

Étienne-Benoît LarueAccording to her narration, the seed of the Congregation of Child Jesus Sisters was born when a White Fathers was preaching in Ipusukilo, Kitwe. A girl came to see him after Mass to share her wish to become a priest like him. The story came to the ears of Monseigneur Etienne Larue who heard a similar story from another girl. It became crystal clear to him that the Spirit was at work. God was calling these girls to religious life. So, he saw an urgent need of founding a local religious congregation of Sisters that will be admitting Zambian girls wanting to devote their lives in serving the Lord. This is how the congregation of Child Jesus Sisters came into existence.

Monseigneur Larue requested the White Sisters to help in admitting the first group of girls into the novitiate and to assist in forming and training them. By doing so, Monseigneur Larue applied a similar method to that of Cardinal Lavigerie when he asked the Jesuits to help in forming and training the first group of candidates he had just recruited for his missionary Society he had founded.

As I ardently listened to the Sister narrating their foundation story, my heart throbbed with nods. The Bemba people rightly say: Umwana uushenda atasha nyina ukunaya (a child who does not travel or visit other places praises her mother for her wonderful cooking). Initially, I had thought that the Child Jesus Sisters had been founded by the White Sisters. My stop over at their convent in Chilonga educated me about their foundation. Had I not stopped over, I was going to remain in ignorance about this rich and important moment of evangelisation in Zambia. Indeed, this is some of the history that we need to cherish and celebrate as we are commemorating 125 years of evangelization in Zambia. May the Spirit of Monseigneur Etienne Larue continue engulfing his daughters so that they may continue serving the Lord in truth and charity!

Bishop Étienne-Benoît Larue, M.Afr

Brother Moses Sense Simukonde, M.Afr


The Missionaries of Africa, Sector Zambia, are proud to invite you to participate at the festive celebration in honour of Brother Moses Sense Simukonde, M.Afr, who recently made his Missionary Oath in Nairobi. Let us unite in this event as our family of missionaries is once again increasing. Praise the Lord!

The event will take place in Kasama on Sunday 7, Mai 2017, in the morning, at St. Anne’s parish.

Here is the journey made so far by Brother Simukonde:

 

Justice and Peace Statement on Stay Away (7th April 2017)


Catholic Arch of Johannesburg logoThere seems to be a stigma of challenging and critiquing an elderly person or any hierarchical authority in the African context. This could be due to a cultural background within which the respect of an elderly person or hierarchical authority is instilled in one’s mind at a very young age of one’s upbringing.

The area of concern with such a stigma is, serious erroneous decisions may certainly be made by an elderly person in the society or by any hierarchical authority, should that happens, how could the society convey a message of concern to any hierarchical authority so that any erroneous decision which cripple the society/country could be reconsidered or rather reversed.

In the political arena, mass protest is one of the means which the society uses to express its grievances to the government. The mass protest in itself as a means of the society voicing its concerns to the government with the expectation of being heard is not a bad gesture. Unfortunately, such a gesture often comes with a pack of a double aged disastrous outcome.

On one hand, the disastrous action may come from the protesting group who may end up showing its anger by burning hospitals, schools and university computer labs.  Such a gesture is certainly to be condemned through and through for it brings no human transformation to the society but rather cripples the society from bad to worse. Furthermore, we urge the leaders to refrain from using violent language which insinuate public violence.

On the second hand even if the mass protest is done peacefully, unnecessary shootings which claim the lives of people may follow as the outcome. Such a gesture is also to be equally condemned.

The country is now faced with a very crucial moment whereby Friday the 7th of April South Africa is encouraged to shut down as a means of communicating a serious message to the government. The Catholic Church in Johannesburg (Justice and Peace) urges a peaceful demonstration or stay away whereby people express their concerns to the government without causing any calamitous way which destroys the country’s environment, people’s lives and property.

The Catholic Justice and Peace Department of Johannesburg urges the South African government that it hears the massive cry and concerns of the people; discern these concerns and ultimately come up with decisions which transform the country.

Issued by Episcopal Vicar of Justice and Peace Department of Archdiocese of Johannesburg

Fr. Innocent Mabheka scj

http://www.catholicjhb.org.za/departments/justice-and-peace/

Honorary Doctorate Degree in Culture and Social Anthropology awarded to Father Claude Boucher, M.Afr


Philip MerabaGreat Works Attract Great Admiration and Recognition.

By Philip Meraba, M.Afr.

Our Confrere, Fr. Claude Boucher, founder of the popular Kungoni Centre for Culture and Arts under Mua Mission in Malawi, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Culture and Social Anthropology by the Malawi Campus of the United Kingdom based Share-World University in 2014 during a colourful graduation ceremony.

Mzuzu a dHistory repeated itself this year when on the 24th of March 2017, Fr. Claude Boucher, M.Afr, received his 2nd Honorary Doctorate Degree in the same discipline by the University of Mzuzu at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi. The 18th Congregation (graduation ceremony) of the Mzuzu University that lasted for four hours drew thousands of people from various part of the country. 851 graduated with Diplomas, first Degrees, Masters and P. HD in different fields.

Fr. Claude Boucher was honoured alongside two other hardworking and exemplary Malawians; Mr. Napoleon Dzombe with Doctorate in Entrepreneurship (Honoris Causa) and Mr. Felix Mlusu with Doctorate in Business Leadership (Honoris Causa).

Mzuzu 3b

The enriching heroic profile of our confrere about 40 years of intensive research in the Malawian Culture and languages attracted a lot of applause from the crowds and feeling of amazement and curiosity at the same time as the whole hall stood up to catch the glimpse of this unique cultural Priest not confined   in the sacristy. Mrs. Mercy Kaunda Chinula who read out the biography and presented him afterwards to the Vice-Chancellor of the Mzuzu University, Dr. Robert G. Ridley to confer on our confrere the award stressed that Fr. Claude Boucher well deserved the merit because of his love and respect for Malawi, her citizens, culture and languages, combined with the tireless research on blending culture with religion. This was an encouragement and a challenge to the newly graduates not to excel only in academics but to prove efficient in the field, putting into best the knowledge acquired during long years of intellectual formation and contribute their quota for the growth of the Nation. ‘‘Hard work pays, therefore, graduates of today, work hard and the society shall admire, recognize and honour you like Fr. Dr. Claude Boucher’’, said one of the organizers.

The ceremony was climaxed by interviews on different topics patterning to culture with the new Doctor of Culture and Anthropology. Fr. Claude recurred and narrated to his confrere who represented the White Fathers at the function when many years back he was requested by his Superiors to pursue further a Doctorate Degree in Culture and Social Anthropology after obtaining his M.A. and his reply was, he shall do the Doctorate in the field. This is a dream come true, with two Doctorates in the field. Big congrats Dr. Dr. or Dr² Claude!

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SAP Stagiaires Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, Bethany Retreat Centre, Lilongwe, March 20 to 27, 2017.


By Chandan Nayak and Thierry Uyirwoth.

We all traveled safely to Lilongwe, Malawi, for our Southern Africa Provincial Stagiaires meeting: one came from South Africa, four from Mozambique, six from Malawi and eight from Zambia.

We were warmly welcomed by the Provincial Delegate of Malawi, Fr. Michel Sanou, and our two Stagiaires Coordinators Fr. Simon Kalore from Malawi and Fr. Camille Konkobo from Zambia who at the same time helped us to animate the meeting. Fr. Jean de Dieu Bukuru, Stagiaires Coordinator of Mozambique accompanied attended a few sessions.

It was a joyful encounter between brothers after many years of being away from each other. Our opening recollection helped us to surrender ourselves to God and to experience his presence in our meeting. The facilitator, Sister Teresa Mulenga, drew our attention to meditate on Mark 6, 30-31; “Come to a lonely place”. Indeed, we need time reflect on our lives.

We remained faithful to our tight program throughout the week with daily morning and evening prayers with Eucharistic celebrations. Attentive, thoughtful and open-minded, we listened carefully and honestly shared our experiences. We were reminded to be committed, passionate, dedicated, prayerful and always having hope with an appreciative discernment. We looked at our expectations, we heard the experiences of others and to learn from them.

We are happy with this third phase of formation which is helping us to build a foundation for our missionary life by looking into our different apostolates. We have been privileged to learn new languages and experience international community life.

We also visited two M.Afr communities; Chezi and Kanengo on our way to Salima were we enjoyed a picnic on the shore of the Lake.

The last day of our sharing, the Provincial Delegate came for an official visit. He shared with us his experiences and encouraged us. We appreciated very much his presence. We shared supper together with other confreres from Lilongwe.

Truly, we had a fruitful and effective meeting. We are grateful to God and also to those who made it possible for us to experience such a helpful and enriching moment; the Provincial Council, the Provincial Delegates and the Stagiaires Coordinators. Thanks to all who have contributed to this memorable experience.

SAP Stagiaires meeting 2017 bParticipants: Emile Baguma, Congolese, Kasamba, Zambia, Landry Busagara, Congolese, Chezi, Malawi, Patient Cimanuka, Congolese, Lusaka, Zambia, Jean-Marie Vianney, Congolese, Namushakende, Zambia, Olivier Ngizwenimana, Rwandese, Beira, Mozambique, Dimitri Bobloinde Yampa, Burkinabe, Dombe, Chimoio, Mozambique, Thierry Jawiyambe Uyirwoth, Congolese, St. Lawrence, Lusaka, Zambia, Paul Sanogo, Malian, Kanengo, Lilongwe, Malawi, Pascal Sambi, Burkinable, Henley-kwaMphumuza, South Africa, Lazare Ndagijimana, Rwandese, Zolozolo, Mzuzu, Malawi, Chandan Nayak, Indian, Lusaka, Zambia, Valentin Muzi, Congolese, Mzuzu, Malawi, Jean de Dieu Meda, Burkinabe, Chezi, Malawi, Innocent Matata, Congolese, Lumimba, Zambia, Pascal Mare, Burkinabe, Chimoio, Mozambique, Benoit Kouakou, Ivorian, Sussundenga, Mozambique, Emmanuel Kokpe, Togolese, Kasama, Zambia, Augustin Kambale, Congolese, Kanengo, Lilongwe, Malawi, Innocent Manjune, Congolese, Serenje, Zambia, Fr Simeon Kalore, Ethiopian, Parish Priest of Chezi, Malawi, Fr. Camille Konkobo, Burkinbe, Vocation Director of Zambia.

Death of the mother of our confrere Paul Kitha, M.Afr


Mother of Paul Kitha
Maman n’est plus, sans nous dire au revoir! Paix à son âme ! Mama, Teleza Kayuni you don’t even say goodbye. May your soul Rest in Eternal Peace!

The Provincial Delegate of SAP in Malawi sent us a message through WhatsApp announcing the death of the mother or our confrere Paul Kitha who is currently in Burkina Faso as a missionary. Thereza Kayuni passed away yesterday in Mzuzu. She died peacefully as she was having her midday meal. She dropped her plate and felt on the side. The program of her funerals and burial is not yet final. Let us pray for Paul’s mother and also for Paul and the entire family.

SAP Provincial Council, March 2017, at FENZA, Lusaka, Zambia


SAP Provincial Council March 2017 05SAP Provincial Council gathered on the third week of March at FENZA, Lusaka, for its first meeting of the year. As usual, the four Sectors of the Province were represented by their Provincial Delegates and their Councillors. From Rome, Francis Barnes was also present with his usual sense of humour. A word of thanks was given by the Provincial, Felix Phiri, to Serge St-Arneault who will be ending his mandate as Provincial Secretary in few months from now. He has been appointed as Director of the Afrika Center in Montreal, Canada. Michel Meunier will replace him from July 2017.

SAP Provincial Council March 2017 02bSAP Provincial Council March 2017 03b

Centre Afrika logo

Death of FATHER LÉOPOLD LALONDE, M. Afr.


Léopold Lalonde_JPEG “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. ” John 11, 25

 Friday, March 10, 2017

Father Gilles Barrette, Provincial of the Americas, informs you of the death of FATHER LÉOPOLD LALONDE, M. Afr. He died on March 10 2017, in Sherbrooke, at the age of 89 years of which 62 of missionary life in Zambia and Canada. Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

Missionnaires d’Afrique, 1640, rue St-Hubert, Montréal, H2L 3Z3  mafrsecr@mafr.net


  PLACE COUNTRY

1956-10-01

Arrival Mambwe

Zambia

1961-01-17

Teaching Abercorn  

1961-05-17

Curate

Mambwe

 

1962-12-05

Foundation Kantensha  
1963-07-01 Supérieur

Isoka

 

1969-01-18

Retreat Villa Cavalletti  

1978-03-03

Session-Retreat

Jerusalem

 
1978-10-01 Supérieur

Mambwe

 

1980-03-01

Regional Councillor    
1984-01-01 Curate

Isoka

 
1986-01-01 Parish Priest Isoka – Mbala

Zambia

1988-04-13

Home leave/Prov.>18.09.88    
1992-05-01 Home leave /Prov.>00.09.92    

1994-09-01

Sabbatical Italy/Canada   Canada
1994-10-31 Focolarini, Loppiano Incisa, Val d’Arno

Italia

1995-05-17

Home leave /Prov.>10.12.95    
1995-10-01 Ministry to the sick Kasama, St Joseph’s

Zambia

1998-05-13

Home leave /Prov.>14.08.98    
2001-07-21 Home leave /Prov.>08.11.01    

2004-05-27

Home leave /Prov.>06.09.04    
2010-11-01 Back to Canada  

Canada

2017-03-10

Death Sherbrooke

Canada

Léopold Lalonde medalSee the link: The President’s Insignia of Mercy attributed to Léopold Lalonde

Also: PDF file: The President’s Insignia of Mercy attributed to Léopold Lalonde

 

First edition of Mansa Diocese Roundup for the year 2017, Zambia.


Mansa Roundup Newsletter Vol. 3 Issue 1 No. 21 logoBy Rt. Rev. Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv., Bishop of Mansa Diocese

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as the Year 2017 Unfolds, I present to you this first edition of Mansa Roundup for the year 2017: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Pastoral Theme that is accompanying our programs this year is: Ba Minshioni ba Lelo Nifwe (We are the Missionaries of Today). This is inspired by the ongoing commemoration, of 125 years, since the arrival of the first Catholic Missionaries into the present day Zambia, and 116 into today’s Mansa Diocese.

On the national level, this Jubilee was inaugurated, on 6th August 2006, at Mambwe Mwela in Mbala District, the very site of first settlement by the pioneer White Fathers (1891). The celebrations will conclude, on 15th July 2017, with the solemn celebration of the Eucharist in Lusaka.

Locally, in Mansa Diocese, the celebrations were launched on 2nd October 2016 at Santa Maria wa Mwelu, near Chibote Mission, where the first missionaries settled in 1900 and intended to establish the first Catholic mission in the Luapula region. The ruins and bricks of the house for priests are still intact up to date – a living sign of the continued sacredness of this site. To this very place we are returning on 7th October for the diocesan solemn closure of this year of celebrating the arrival and works of the pioneer missionaries. This would also be the fitting occasion to consecrate this holy site as a Diocesan Marian Shrine, dedicated to the Queen of Missionaries. Let us all work together towards the success of these events, for Ba Minshioni ba Lelo Nifwe.

Patrick Chisanga, OFM ConvThe beginning of this year has been crowned with significant events in the life of our Diocese and the realization of its Vision. It was very remarkable, for instance, that the very first procession into the Cathedral, for the New Year Eucharistic celebration, was led by a person with special needs who carried the processional cross and served during Mass. Our dear friend, Billy Beddor, who was born with Down Syndrome 51 years ago, came all the way from the US with his sister Sandy and sister-in-law, Coleen, together with Amy Hewitt and her team from the University of Minnesota.

The training they conducted regarding people with disabilities was a great step towards the realization of our Vision of “A Diocese that Embraces Everyone with Christ’s Love.” To this effect, I call upon every parish and diocesan institution to put in place deliberate policies that fosters love, respect and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Another significant blessing at the beginning of this year (5th January) was the Government’s handover of Kabunda Girls Secondary School as a Catholic Mission School with Grand-Aided status. This followed the arrival of the Dominican Sisters in the Diocese (4th January) who have since been entrusted with management of the institution, which on 24th February was re-dedicated as Holy Trinity Girls Secondary School during the solemn Eucharistic celebration. Welcome to Mansa dear Sisters and thank you for taking up the challenge. The needs of this school are immense; let us all contribute to its rebuilding.

A hearty welcome also to members of other religious institutes who have recently come on board to contribute to our mission of giving life in abundance to God’s flock (John 10:10). I thank in particular the superiors of the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate (LSMI), the Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Motherhood (FMDM), the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), the Sisters of St Joseph (Soeurs de Sant Joseph Auxiliatrice de L’Eglise) and our own Sisters of Mercy for the personnel they have made available to serve in the various apostolates of the Diocese in the recent past. Furthermore, I welcome the many lay faithful who have come to our Diocese and are already fully involved in the life of their respective new parishes.

Events such as the foregoing are a source of great hope for our Diocese despite the many challenges we face, especially those arising from the economic crisis that have always haunted our region of Luapula. Let us be united and fight this dehumanising evil of poverty. Let us also demand positive action from all our leaders, especially those appointed to high portfolios of central Government who tend to forget their roots. There shall be no excuse for them not to make a difference.

As the year 2017 unfolds, I invite everyone to pay heed to the Lord’s command, which we have also adopted as the theme for our Diocesan Strategic Plan 2016-2021, to “Let Down the Nets for a Catch” (Luke 5:4). All departments and individuals must strive to implement the strategic goals that pertain to them. Let us be true missionaries of today who pledge not to betray the great sacrifice and works of the pioneer missionaries.

May God bless all our readers of Mansa Roundup. Thank you for your constructive feedback and every support. Have a fruitful Lenten Season.

Click here to open the PDF file of this magazine.

 

Mafrwestafrica lettre du 07 mars 2017


Mafrwestafrica logoAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site http://www.mafrwestafrica.net.

Actualités

« Rencontres littéraires de Niamey 2017 » qui auront lieu au Niger du 20-26 mars 2017. Événement littéraire majeur de la sous-région, ces rencontres ont pour ambition de provoquer la rencontre du grand public avec des auteurs nigériens et des pays voisins (lire la suite)

« Décès du père Joseph-Roger de Benoist » le 15 février à Bry-sur-Marne. Il travailla entre autres au Sénégal, Mali, Bénin, Burkina Faso. (lire la suite)

« FESPACO 2017 » des textes et images parues sur le site de Radio-France-Internationale le 4 mars 2017 (lire la suite)

« Palmarès du Fespaco », informations prises elles aussi sur le site de RFI le 5 mars 2017 (lire la suite)

Témoignages 

« Communauté de Toulouse en France ». L’installation du nouveau curé a été l’occasion de vivre une célébration multiculturelle très appréciée. (lire la suite)

« Message du Pape pour le carême » Le pape y médite sur la parabole du riche et de Lazare, mettant en garde contre l’attachement à l’argent et encourageant à « une conversion sincère » (lire la suite)

« Un jésuite israélien témoigne » dans un ouvrage hétéroclite et foisonnant, le jésuite israélien autour des thèmes qui lui sont chers, notamment la théologie de la Terre sainte et le dialogue interreligieux au Proche-Orient. (lire la suite)

Dialogue interreligieux

« Décès du père Claude Geffré » Si ce prêtre dominicain décédé à l’âge de 90 ans était expert en herméneutique biblique, le pluralisme religieux était également l’un de ses domaines de recherche et de réflexion (lire la suite)

« Que disent les musulmans de Jésus », la recension d’un livre ou Douze Musulmans parlent de Jésus, sous la direction de Fawzia Zouari (lire la suite)

« Karima Berger écrivaine franco-algérienne » et préside l’association « Écritures et spiritualités » a organisé le 4 mars, à Paris, un salon du livre ouvert aux auteurs s’inspirant des grandes traditions spirituelles (lire la suite)

Justice et Paix

« Alep se relève malgré la guerre » le témoignage de Andrea Avveduto le 31 janvier 2017, suite à sa rencontre avec le frère Ibrahim Alsabagh, curé dans une paroisse d’Alep depuis octobre 2014 (lire la suite)

« Meilleures relations entre Burkina et Côte d’Ivoire » La venue du président Ivoirien à la clôture du Fespaco n’est pas anodine et  semble bien signifier une amélioration des relations entre les deux pays (lire la suite)

« Se mobiliser contre l’insécurité », c’est ce que font des peuls du Mali, du Burkina et du Niger (lire la suite)

Vu au Sud – Vu du Sud

« Au Burkina, émotion et colère des enseignants » après la tuerie dans le Soum, le double assassinat du directeur d’école et d’un habitant à Karfayel (lire la suite)

« L’ONU contre Boko Haram » les diplomates ONUSIENS se sont rendus à Ndjamena puis à Niamey pour faire le point de la situation (lire la suite)

« L’opposition manifeste au Niger » pour réclamer plus de transparence dans la gestion des ressources du pays (lire la suite)

« Lutte contre le terrorisme au Mali » les premières patrouilles mixtes entre soldats maliens, groupes armés pro-gouvernementaux et ex-rebelles relancent timidement les espoirs de paix dans le nord du Mali (lire la suite)

Nice story of Sister Vickness in Paris, France


vickness-namgogo-b-2015BY Sister Vickness Nangogo Muleya, MSOLA.

On the 26th February, five days after my arrival in Paris, Sister Agnes, who once was my Novice mistress, and I went to visit our Sisters in Sceaux where we were invited for lunch.

When I had heard about the invitation, I was not sure whether I really wanted to go because I did not know how to speak French. I told myself not to trouble the elderly Sisters when I cannot speak French and they cannot speak English! I wondered to myself what it would be like and as I thought of it, I said to myself, “I won’t go but would propose to Agnes to go there when I could speak French!” Indeed, I tried to propose to her as, so far, since my arrival she has been so kind to show me around the place also because she can speak English easily. However, when I proposed to her to inform the Sisters that I would go there sometime later in March and not then, she did not agree with me. She believed that it would be no problem and that the Sisters did not mind at all even though I did not believe her. Mmmmnh! My plan to escape could not work.

However, on that particular Sunday, after Mass, we prepared to go. We took a train and in no time, we were there! Inside me I was trying hard to recollect all little words of French I had heard or learnt before but to no avail!

We arrived in time before lunch so that I could greet the Sisters and be introduced to them and vice versa. Upon arrival, we found Sister Marie Cécile waiting to welcome us with a big smile on her face! I told myself ‘now what to say Vicky’ and before I knew it, I was also beaming with a smile, we hugged and said our “bonjours” and that was all, I was mute, my French was finished! Turning around, the Sisters were all there coming one after the other to greet and welcome us.

Nonetheless, surprisingly enough, the Sisters seemed not to mind at all that I could not speak French. What seemed to be more important for them was that a younger Sister, their own Sister, fresh from Africa was there to visit them. They were eager to hear from me the news about where I was coming from, what I was doing and so forth.

Inside myself, there was no question of language anymore but I was only filled with love for these Sisters of mine who were so happy and graceful! They are all old but very serene and happy, grateful for whatever they have been, lived and are in their life.

At lunch, I sat with Sister Françoise de Traversay. We were in the same community during my postulate; Sister Agnes, who had accompanied me, Sister Claire-Michelle, who has worked in Uganda, and Sister Nicole Robion. I leave you to imagine the conversation!

To my happy surprise, after lunch, I saw each Sister getting busy with a little service. Some were cleaning the tables, others were cleaning the dining floor and others offered to place the washed dishes in their respective places! Noticing my admiration, one Sister explained that, in fact, they do most of the simple and sometimes big responsibilities themselves such as bursar, accounts, secretariat and administration! After it, they went for a short nap each to their room while Sisters Marie-Cécile, Francoise and Agnes took me for a walk through the park of Sceaux. A very big and beautiful park.

parc-de-sceauxIn addition to the beauty of the day, at 2:30 pm, all the Sisters gathered in the sitting room where I was to share with them the video about the Thanksgiving Mass and departure of MSOLA from Zambia. This moment was so solemn and created a reflective, appreciative atmosphere among the sisters. They were very happy and grateful that I had shared the video with them. They even proposed to show it to all the other communities I would visit later, in the days to come. At the end of the day we had a cup of coffee together and interacted more, it was wonderful!

Perceptions and conceptions are not always what the reality is. Today I am happy to have a joyful, happy appreciation of our common mission. I was happy to see life among these elderly Sisters, looking at them being so happy and at peace with each other. I felt encouraged and I experienced God very close to his loved ones. With God, life is eternal!

sceaux

Traduction en français de sœur Vickness qui ne fait que commencer à s’exprimer en français. Félicitation!

Une belle histoire de Sœur Vickness à Paris, France.

Le 26 février, six jours après mon arrivée à Paris, Sœur Agnès, qui a été ma maîtresse de Novice, et moi-même, sommes allé rendre visite à nos sœurs à Sceaux où nous avions été invités pour le déjeuner.

Je n’étais pas sûr si je voulais vraiment y aller, car je ne parle pas la langue de Molière.Pourquoi déranger les sœurs âgées si je ne peux pas communiquer avec elles ? J’ai plutôt pensé à m’y rendre seulement lorsque je parlerais le français! C’est ce que j’ai proposé à Sœur Agnès qui était d’ailleurs si gentille avec moi et peu parler anglais. Mais elle n’a pas été d’accord. Elle savait que les sœurs ne se souciaient pas du tout de ce problème linguistique. Mmmmnh ! Mon plan de fuite n’a pas fonctionné !

Toutefois, après la messe du dimanche, nous nous sommes préparés à partir. Nous avons pris un train et nous y étions en peu de temps! Je m’efforçais de me rappeler toutes les petites paroles de français que j’avais entendues ou apprises, mais sans succès!

Nous sommes arrivés avant le déjeuner pour que je puisse être présenté à la communauté. Nous avons trouvé Sœur Marie Cécile qui nous attendait avec un grand sourire ! Je me disais « maintenant quoi dire Vicky ? » et avant que je le sache, je rayonnais aussi avec un sourire. Nous avons simplement dit “bonjours”. C’était tout. J’étais muette ! Me retournant, les sœurs sont apparues pour me saluer et nous accueillir.

Les sœurs ne semblaient pas du tout gênées que je ne puisse parler français. Ce qui leur était important, c’était de voir une sœur cadette venue d’Afrique pour les visiter. Elles étaient impatientes d’avoir des nouvelles de mon pays, ce que je faisais et ainsi de suite.

À l’intérieur de moi-même, il ne s’agissait plus de langage. Je n’étais que remplie d’amour pour mes sœurs qui étaient si heureuses et si gracieuses! Elles sont toutes âgées, mais très sereines, heureuses et reconnaissantes pour ce qu’elles ont été et vécu dans leur plus jeune vie en Afrique.

Au déjeuner, je me suis assis avec Sœur Françoise de Traversay qui a été dans ma communauté pendant mon postulat. Agnès, qui m’avait accompagnée, Sœur Claire-Michelle, qui a travaillé en Ouganda, et Sœur Nicole Robion. Je vous laisse imaginer la conversation ! Après le déjeuner, à mon heureuse surprise, j’ai vu chaque sœur s’occuper d’un petit service. Certaines nettoyaient les tables, d’autres le plancher de la salle à manger, d’autres plaçaient les assiettes et plats lavés dans les armoires! Remarquant mon admiration, une sœur a expliqué qu’elles assument la plupart des responsabilités; économat, secrétariat et l’administration. Puis, elles allèrent faire une petite sieste dans leur chambre tandis que les Sœurs Marie-Cécile, Françoise et Agnès m’ont amené faire une promenade dans le parc de Sceaux. Un très grand et beau parc.

En après-midi, toutes les sœurs se sont rassemblées dans la salle de télévision pour visionner une vidéo sur la messe d’Actions de grâces et la fermeture de notre dernière maison de Lusaka en Zambie. Ce moment a été solennel et a créé une atmosphère réfléchie et appréciative parmi les sœurs. Elles étaient très heureuses et reconnaissantes que j’aie partagé cette vidéo avec elles. Elles m’ont même proposé de le montrer à toutes les autres communautés que je visiterais plus tard. À la fin de la journée, autour d’une tasse de café, nous avons pu poursuivre nos échanges. C’était merveilleux !

Perceptions et préconceptions ne reflètent pas la réalité. Aujourd’hui, je suis contente de pourvoir apprécié notre commune mission. J’ai été heureuse de voir ces sœurs âgées pleines de vie. Elles sont sereines et vivent en paix les unes avec les autres. J’ai senti la présence de Dieu dans celles qu’Il aime. Avec Dieu, la vie est éternelle !

Return to the Lord of Brother Willem (Wim) van Dijk, M.Afr


willem-van-dijkBrother Willem (Wim) van Dijk return to the Lord of on Saturday the 18th of February 2017 at Heythuysen (Netherlands)at the age of 90, of which 30 years of missionary life in Zambia and 36 years in the Netherlands. Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Milestones of Brother Wim van Dijk’s life: Brother Wim van Dijk was born on the 20th of November 1926 at Tilburg in the Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. He began his Spiritual Year at ‘s-Heerenberg on the 7th of September 1946, where he took his Temporary Oath on the 17th of September 1948 and his Final Oath on the 7th of August 1954.

25/03/1960

from Lubushi to Lusaka Zambia

09/09/1963

 

Ilondola, Diocese of Mbala

Zambia

01/01/1968

Parish

Ilondola, Diocese of Mbala

Zambia

01/01/1977

Maintenance

Lubushi Seminary

Zambia

01/01/1987

Maintenance

Mansa, Diocese of Mansa

Zambia

01/01/1988 Services Lubwe, Diocese of Mansa

Zambia

09/03/1990 Services Kasaba, Diocese of Mansa

Zambia

South Africa Sector Post Cap Deliberations – Formation House in Merrivale, KwaZulu/Natal


Spirituality-Charism-Community-Mission-Service

post-cap-feb-2017-01cThe South Africa Sector held its Post Capitular Assembly from Tuesday 14th February till Thursday 16th February. We thank especially Fr. Bill Turnbull, M.Afr., from the Malawi Sector for preparing our documents and for guiding us all through our Post Cap. Bill put a lot of effort into this event.  He focused primarily on our fundamentals and foundation as Missionaries of Africa: our Spirituality-Charism and Community living, then looked at our Mission, with all its complexities of pastoral insertion; placing ourselves at the service of Africa at the existential peripheries; encountering and dialoguing with others, especially other faiths and Islam; addressing issues of poverty, corruption, land, racism and migrants, justice & peace and ecology.  Even though we had three full days, it wasn’t enough to really address and process the issues affecting us in our mission here in South Africa. Despite our very diverse cultures, languages and ages etc., we could sense a real unity of purpose and direction in the spirit of the Chapter. We look forward to the final Provincial Strategic Plan to come from the upcoming Provincial Council to be held in a couple of weeks’ time. 

Father, Son & Holy Spirit Guide Us

At the opening on Tuesday morning, following the Chapter’s example, we held a small ceremony of the lighting of candles which remained lit for the duration of our Post Cap. The candles represented the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Triune God, and we prayed this God guide us, and keep us united, through our sharing’s, discussions and deliberations. Bill composed three prayers which were read out as each of the three candles were lit. Each morning, as we opened our discussions, these candles were lit.

Ecological – ‘Paperless-Digital’ Gathering

One significant change of this Post Cap and the general Sector Meeting, which was held on the Monday before (13th Feb), was that we had a ‘paperless’, or ‘digital’ Post Cap. Basically, the only paper we used was the actual Chapter document itself. This was a first for our Sector and we will continue to be ecologically sensitive to how we run our meetings and gatherings. Everything was done on computer, using flash drives and projecting our documents onto a large screen. Feedback was done by a group spokesperson or secretary who typed up everything onto the group flash drive. This was then given to the moderator and to the Post Cap secretaries. We are happy that during this Post Cap we could begin to implement the call to be more ecologically sensitive.

Nkosi sikeleli Afrika

We pray for our Province of SAP, and we pray for each of the four Sectors. May we each be true witnessing Apostles and good stewards in our mission and service of Africa where we are – and may our Mother Mary, Queen of Africa, guide and direct all our actions to and through her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. May His Kingdom come.

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Bishop’s Lenten Message 2O17 from +Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv


ash-wednesday-pngSpiritual Warfare against Evil Intensified: Ba Minshioni Ba Lelo Nifwe.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

  1. On 1st March we begin the Season of Lent – the intensive 40 days’ spiritual journey towards that great summit of our Christian faith and worship: the annual celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead, the ultimate victory of good over evil.
  2. The Word of God that is proclaimed during the liturgical celebrations of the subsequent five Sundays (Year A) have a particularly rich pedagogical character that guides catechumens towards the waters of baptism and general Christian Initiation on the Easter Vigil. All the faithful must equally endeavour to draw maximum benefit from the wealth of these carefully selected passages, in view of their own solemn renewal of the baptism promises during the same Easter Vigil and in order to be spiritually recharged for the ongoing battle against temptations and sin.

The Sunday Gospel passages that will lead the way during this Lenten itinerary include: (1) The Temptations of Jesus – Matthew 4;7-17, (2) The Transfiguration of Jesus – Matthew 17:1-9, (3) Jesus’ Encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the Well – John 4:5-42, (4) Jesus’ Healing of the Man who was Born Blind – John 9:1-42 and (5) Jesus’ Raising of Lazarus from Death – John 11:1-45.

As you may notice, the last three passages from the Gospel according to John are quite lengthy. However, with adequate preparation, these Readings may be proclaimed using the role-play format, as is done on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The priest and selected faithful could take the respective roles of Jesus and other individuals in the passage. By so doing and, when done diligently, this manner of proclamation enables the congregation to follow with greater attention.

I invite all priests to carefully meditate upon these Readings during this whole period of grace so as to be able to deliver a fitting message to the faithful during the celebration of the Eucharist. Furthermore, in view of the so many Centres that still do not have priests on Sundays, I ask all parish priests to ensure that there is sufficient prior preparation of the prayer leaders and/or catechists who are selected to comment on the Word of God during the Sunday worship in their respective outstations.

In addition, I enclose, with this letter, the Lenten homily notes that the JCTR has graciously shared with us. Let them be further distributed to the Small Christian Communities (SCC), Lay Groups as well as individuals for further reflection and appropriate action that is inspired by the Word of God.

  1. This year’s Lent coincides with the Pastoral Theme in our Diocese according to which we celebrate the ministry of the pioneer missionaries and declare that “We are the Missionaries of Today” (Ba Minshioni ba Lelo, Nifwe). Let us recall the sacrifice, availability and pastoral zeal of our gallant pioneer missionaries and in turn make a commitment to the effect that their works will live on through each one of us. Indeed, the Church, in Mansa Diocese, shall continue to announce the Good News to all creation, in obedience to the great commission of our Lord Jesus (Mark L6: 15).
  2. To rekindle this missionary zeal, the Lenten Season offers us the instruments of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving according to the guidance of Jesus, as proclaimed in the Gospel passage of Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6:1-6,16-18). These three pillars of Lent, when taken seriously, have the capacity to bring about lasting positive change in our lives, especially in overcoming the sinful habits that we repeatedly struggle with. I invite each one of you to pray, fast and give alms with the intention of being liberated from any such demeaning slavery.

Furthermore, in order to intensify our spiritual warfare against evil through combined effort and, in response to the appeals made during the Pastoral Council Meeting last October, I again invite the faithful in all our parishes to observe the “24 hours for the Lord” on the Friday to Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent (24 – 25 March). Let this day be flooded with prayers, songs, Eucharistic adoration, catechesis and actual celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. lt would be fitting that this special day concludes with the joyful Eucharistic celebration of the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on Saturday, 25th March.

I implore you, my dear brothers and sisters in the Diocese, to take the invitation seriously and spare this ’24 hours’ exclusively for the Lord. Bring to this special period of intense prayer the needs of our society and individual members for healing from anger, guilt, unforgiving heart, drunkenness, sexual immoralities, pride, selfishness, etc. Through this prayer, let us also invoke Divine intervention to end the ongoing violence against the sanctity of human life, the values of marriage and family as well as the integrity of God’s creation.

  1. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you. I wish you a fruitful and grace-filled Lenten Season 2017.

Given on this First Day of March in the Year of the Lord 2017, the Ash Wednesday

The role of women in evangelisation and sustainable development in Kasamba, Zambia.


Benjamin-Itungabose-2014
Benjamin Itungabose

By Benjamin Itungabose, M.Afr

We had a gathering of all the leaders of the Catholic Women’s Organisation in Kasamba Parish two weeks ago. Were present the leaders of this lay group from each outstation. Those who came to animate the gathering were from the Diocese. The women shared about their role in the family and the Church. The main point on the Agenda was the “Seminarian Fund.” The leaders from the Diocese explained to them the aim of this Fund and the prime role that women have to feed it. Women have always been at the forefront in the education of children. Hence forming the future ministers of the Church is a responsibility of every Catholic woman. The leaders of the different outstations of our Parish were encouraged to go back to their respective Centres to sensitise all Catholic women to make their contribution. Each Catholic woman is required to pay 10 kwacha ($1). Those who participated in the gathering paid their contribution on the spot.

Besides the Seminarian Fund, the women were also given lessons on entrepreneurship. The diocesan treasurer together with the diocesan chairperson of the Catholic Women’s Organisation in Mansa Diocese taught them how to start and manage a business. Those who attended the lessons were absolutely delighted. The aim of the lessons was to encourage women to work hard in order to care for their families and the Church. At first they were worried about how to find a capital to start a business. But they were reminded that God has already given us the most valuable capital which is the land. This was a revelation which struck all the attendants. They went back home enlightened and ready to start working hard for a sustainable development of their families and the Church.