By Felix Kamunenge, M.Afr
The ordination of Rev Fr. Frederick Chungu Mulenga by his Lordship Rt. Rev Patrick C. Chisanga, OFM. Conv. took place at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Nchelenge – Mansa Diocese, on 19th August 2017 which is a new parish created from St Paul’s – Kashikishi which had been one of the oldest parishes of the M.Afr in the 1980s.
As early as 08:30 am on Saturday morning, scores of diocesan priests from the neighbouring parishes and Missionaries of Africa from afar were getting ready to be witnesses of Frederick’s ordination day.
The ordination proper was punctuated by the solemn profession of faith in St Paul’s Parish in which the ordained publicly, in front of the Bishop, the Provincial Superior and a few priests and lay people, read and signed the creed as a sign of being faithful to the deposits of Catholic faith. The whole ceremony took about 30 minutes.
As soon as this exercise was concluded, there followed an ordination motorcade with a convoy of 20 cars following each to the ordination square in St Peter’s. It is a distance of 3.5kms from the presbytery. Two policemen on a twin police motorbike led the motorcade in front. The whole procession was so well organised that no car was allowed to overtake the other.
The ordination Mass kicked off at 10:00 am with the procession accompanied by the Stella (child dancers aged 5-10), ba Buomba (adult traditional dancers) and all the priests. Frederick was accompanied to the altar by his parents, who later presented him to the bishop and the M.Afr Superior.
The liturgy was lively and inculturated. The singing by the choir and by Buomba at different intervals was well coordinated. The ordination Mass was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life. About 35 priests out of which 13 M.Afr attended the function and a handful of religious Sisters. Here we can say that our Chungu was fully supported.
The homily was short and straight to the point. In his homily, the bishop made it a point to praise the past missionaries of this land and urged the Christians to safeguard the faith deposits planted in the hearts of people. He urged the ordained to be an ambassador of the Church in Nchelenge by being a good example wherever he would be sent. He was tagged as the 125 Jubilee baby of Nchelenge being one of the fruits of M.Afr evangelisation. Citing Jer. 1:4-10, he was encouraged not to be afraid to speak the truth as the cross is part of our Christian identity. He further talked about certain traditional practices like seeking witch doctors as hindrances to real evangelisation.
After the ceremony, all M.Afr gathered in front of the altar to sing the Sancta Maria while the newly ordained priest was kneeling down.