On the 12th of March 2016, the town of Mpika became for a day the centre of ecclesial life in Zambia as scores of Catholics converged to the City to witness the ordination of Fr Justin Mulenga as new Bishop of Mpika Diocese. Bishops, priests, religious and the laity came from different parts of the country and from neighbouring Tanzania to be part of the event. The President of Zambia, various government officials and opposition party leaders also graced the occasion with their presence! We do not have communities in Mpika Diocese anymore but the Missionaries of Africa were represented by ten Confreres from Lusaka, Ndola, Serenje and Kasama.
The liturgical assembly that gathered on green Mpika Cathedral grounds on that cool Saturday morning celebrated its faith, dancing with joy to the sound of traditional drums and music from the renowned Babuomba choir. Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, who administered the Diocese for the last four years, presided over the beautiful ceremony as Principal consecrator. He was assisted by Bishops Georges Lungu and Bernard Chisanga of Chipata and Mansa Dioceses respectively.
In his speech, the new Bishop, Justin Mulenga who is originally from Kasama Archdiocese thanked the many people who had in one way or another contributed to the spiritual journey that brought him to where he is today. On his long list of names also figured those of three confreres whose lives particularly inspired him: Reinhold Bloching, Guy Lefebvre (1927-2009) and Joseph Stumpf (1931-2006). We may not have communities in Mpika Diocese but through them and many other confreres the legacy of the Missionaries of Africa lives on. With the Church of Mpika Diocese we give thanks to God for the gift of a shepherd.