By Landry Busagara, stagiaire in Mua.
Saturday on the 23rd September, Mua Parish was celebrating its 115 years of existence. Mua mission was established by three Missionaries of Africa in September 1902 and has since grown to have 25 churches and about 25 000 Christians. Moreover, it was the golden jubilee of priesthood of Father Claude Boucher who has been living in Mua for more than 40 years. The parish was also celebrating 25 years of service of one of its catechists: Abambo Simoni Panyani.
Many people came from different places to congratulate and share our joy. We were honoured by the presence of the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, the Ambassador of Germany in Malawi, the Provincial of Southern Africa, the MPs, Chiefs, Priests, Sisters, brothers and parishioners who came in large numbers for the event.
The Eucharist was presided by the Bishop of Dedza Diocese, Bishop Emmanuele Kanyama. Time was given to present the amazing journey of Father Boucher Chisale, the founder of the Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art. It was a celebration to remember all the missionaries who contributed to the life of the Christian community over so many years. “Following that example of the bounty of God, said the Bishop, we are called to do the same, we need to love one another, to forget our ego and live together as brothers and sisters without conflicts and quarrels, and to be thankful to God and to the missionaries.”
Being in Malawi for so long, Father Boucher, as he said, became a Malawian and happy to be so. His regret is to see how people are becoming careless about the environment and the culture. As a matter of fact, Father Claude, now 75 years old, has been working and doing research in anthropology and the local culture all his life. He wrote many books and received many awards for his tremendous achievement. He asked the Lord to grant him some more days to continue working in his vineyard.
Father Felix Phiri, our Provincial, expressed his joy and congratulated everyone. In his view, it is rare to see Missionaries of Africa celebrating 115 years of presence in the same parish. Usually, they start a parish and, after some time, move elsewhere. Father Claude Boucher should be a good example for all missionaries for his closeness to the people and his care for the nature and preserving the local culture.
The Vice President Saulos Chilima was also very happy to be present and thankful for the invitation. “We should not forget our beautiful culture in exchange with foreign ones. We were not supposed to wait for missionaries to teach us how to preserve our culture and traditions. We need to keep our identity. Nowadays, he continued, people are more aggressive towards the environment. We are more zealous in destroying than in building. The way we cut trees, the way we use water… and we do not realise that what we are doing will cause us problems in the future.” He also talked about demography in Malawi. If we do not pay attention on how we make children, it will be very hard in the years to come. We should give birth to children that we are capable of raising up.
Before the final blessing, the Bishop congratulated Father Claude Boucher who has sacrificed his whole life for others, caring for the nature, the culture, being one of the people. He asked us to take into consideration that good example.