Editorial of Bishop Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv.; “Ba Mishioni ba Lelo, Nifwe”.

Note from the webmaster of SAP Blog: We are pleased to share with you the editorial of Bishop Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv. of Mansa Diocese published recently in their magazine. A special mention was given to the first missionaries who came to Zambia at Mambwe Mwela in 1891 as the Church of Zambia is celebrating its 125th anniversary. We are particularly touch with the aim of the diocese to enhance the faith and missionary spirit in the Youth.

Editorial of the Mansa Roundup magazine, volume 2, issue 6; Ba Mishioni ba Lelo, Nifwe”.

Rev. Patrick Chisanga Ordi Feb 2014 02bBy Bishop Patrick Chisanga, OFM Conv.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, complements of the season.

Christmas is a festive season that draws our attention to ‘the coming of the Lord’; a season of gratitude for the Lord’s manifold salvific interventions in human history; a time of awareness of God’s continued saving presence; an intense period of preparation and waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We thank the Lord for all the graces we received during the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. As we open this new liturgical calendar, during which the Catholic Church in Zambia celebrates 125 years since the arrival of the first missionaries at Mambwe Mwela (1891) and nine years later (1900) at Lwali near Chibote mission. Let us give a fitting glory to the missionaries who planted the first seeds of faith that has gradually grown into the present day Mansa Diocese. Let us also pay tribute to the ancestors of our land for opening their hearts to receiving the Good News. It is now our turn to assume responsibility and be committed to the continued propagation of the Good News of Salvation, mercy, unity and embracing every one with Christ’s love.

Christ’s love is precisely the Vision we have set as a Diocese in the Strategic plan 2016-2021, entitled “Let down the nets for a catch” (Lk.5:4) which was launched on December 12, 2015, and expressed in terms of a commitment to promotion of spiritual, moral education, health and general empowerment of the people in the diocese through evangelisation using well-coordinated pastoral and integral human development programmes based on three thematic pillars, namely: Pastoral Care; Social Human Development; Financial Institutional capacity and Self sustainability. Thank you very much to all those who successfully realised the goals in their respective departments for the year 2016. Our general evaluation indicates that the Social and Human Development managed 75% of the planned activities, the Pastoral Care completed 54% while the Financial Institutional Capacity and self-sustainability area realised only 15% of the planned activities.

I strongly urge the departments in the third pillar to assess their poor performance and ensure that set goals are realised. I also ask all diocesan departments, institutions and parishes to:

  1. Familiarise themselves with the vision, Mission and Values of the Diocese
  2. Draw from the strategic plan activities which pertain to them and workout an implementation programme.

iii. Ensure that their own local plan realises and enhances the general orientation of the Diocese.

The implementation of the strategic plan will be done in the context of celebrating 125 and 116 years of Catholic Faith in Zambia and Mansa Diocese, respectively. The missionaries did their part; today the ball is in our court, ‘We are the Missionaries of Today’. ‘Ba Missioni balelo Nifwe’ is the theme I therefore propose to accompany the pastoral action of the Diocese with effect from Saturday 17 December, 2016 through to 25 November, 2017, during this period all parishes are expected to:

  1. Set up programmes of missionary formation and catechetical lessons on the history of the Catholic Church in Zambia, in Mansa Diocese and in their respective Parishes.
  2. Enhance the faith and missionary spirit in the Youth and Holy Childhood.

iii. Display banners of the Pastoral Theme and recite the prayer at the beginning of every Eucharistic celebration.

  1. Renovate and beautify the Church buildings and surroundings.
  2. Organise pilgrimages at local or deanery levels to the shrines of Divine Mercy (Lubwe) and or Santa Maria wa Mwelu (Chibote) in honour of missionaries.

As we begin the festive season, let us all be united, repeating with one voice the refrain of the early Christian Community: “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.” Let this be a year of life changing encounters with the Lord, deeper commitment to the vision, mission and values of our Diocese and indeed, a year of celebrating God’s Love and Mercy through the pioneer missionaries to our land. May we all pay heed to the Lord’s command to “Go therefore to the world and proclaim the Gospel to all creations” (Mk. 16:15), because Ba Mishioni ba Lelo, Nifwe”.

I seek your prayers and wish each one of you the grace and peace of the Lord “so that you may have life in abundance” (Jn.10:10). May our blessed Mother accompany us on our journey of faith as a Diocese.

Below; PDF file of the magazine.

mansa-roundup-logoCommunications Office Diocese of Mansa Plot 225, Cathedral Road Mansa, Zambia.

Office Email: communicationssecretary@yahooo.com

Flashback – Missionary feet at Mambwe-Mwela: 125 year ago

Mambwe-Mwila 06-08-2016 01  JPEG

The conference of the Catholic Bishops of Zambia (CCBZ) decided to launch 125 years of Catholicism in Zambia. It was done on August 06, 2016. Present were local people, Christians of neighbouring parishes, representatives of various Catholic dioceses in Zambia, priests, religious, government officials, traditional chiefs, some bishops and the President of the Republic of Zambia and the first lady. It was an inauguration 125 years anniversary of the Catholic Church. It will be concluded next year in 2017, July 15.

Mambwe-Mwila 06-08-2016 05  JPEGMy first time to visit this site was in June 2004 when we scouted for it with a team of journalists to collect footage for a documentary on the history of the Missionaries of Africa in Zambia. When we reached this place, we took pictures and the video cameras rolled measures of tapes. At a point the five of us were in total solitude, sobbing in tears, cleaning the graves, uprooting some grass and shrubs with our hands. This was not our planned exercise on this place. Why did this happen? In our daily reviews we did not discuss this incident. I suppose there is something that hit-hard on each one’s soul. We were standing on sacred grounds and we lived a moment of grace. We were at a gate-way of God’s graciousness to the people of Zambia by establishing the Catholic Church.  

During a seven-hour presence at Mambwe-Mwela yesterday in my mind propped some important issues that help me to relive this missionary memorial moment. I would like to highlight a few:

  1. We are inspired by the courageous missionaries who braved the insecurities of the time to come and establish Catholicism. At that time when a missionary left from Europe to Africa, his family mourned because the chance of his returning was very little.
  2. We appreciate the people who welcomed the first missionaries.
  3. We urge all missionaries and various religious congregations to collaborate closely with the local church.
  4. We commit ourselves to listen attentively to the command of Christ so as to go and attend to his flock.
  5. We ask ourselves what work missionaries are doing today and what issues are their missionary priorities.
  6. It is a time to rekindle the principle of subsidiarity.
  7. We recommit ourselves to core values of the Gospel as emphasized by Christ Jesus and get in touch with the aspirations of the first missionaries to respond the human reality.
  8. We appeal to the local church to foster vocations and form the agents of evangelisation for both the local church and for missionary life.

As Missionaries of Africa and all other missionaries who work in Zambia, we appreciate the people from every tribe, social strata and religion who welcomed us. Hospitality of Zambians is remarkable. We have lived our vocation, responded to the call of God and shared the Gospel among these people. Thanks to traditional, civil and political leaders in Zambia who afforded us human-social and political climate which has been essential part of our missionary work. “Akamana ukupoma: ni pa mabwe!” Jesus’ approach was to send the disciples to people. One factor was essential; that the disciples would be accepted and received by the people; disciples in turn would live among them, share with them the message of the Lord peacefully. If there has been any moment of tension or ungratefulness to the people of this land; the civil, traditional or church leaders, my sincere apologies.

Missionaries of all times are at the service of God among the people to whom the spirit leads them. This is possible in respect and collaboration with Bishops. A spirit of partnership with a local church marked by unity among various congregations makes our vocation meaningful and a sign of witness to the kingdom of God in Zambia. “Twende pamo: te mwenso” also, “Umucinshi wa nseba: kwimina pamo”.  We respect the charism of different congregations and missionary societies in Zambia. The Bishops have their own policies and priorities for their particular dioceses. The people of God live an experience that asks us to act under the inspiration of the Gospel of Christ. In spite of all, we need to cultivate a spirit of a common orientation in our pastoral work and have a common drive in our evangelization enterprise. We are not NGOs or Multinational Corporations in which competition and difference in approach matter. “Akanwa kamo: takomfwa nshama ukupya”, plus “Icilola umo: e caba ubufi”!

We need to listen to Christ so as to attend to His flock. This demands deeper spirit of prayer and discernment, it urges us to be attentive to the reality in which we live, it calls us to be compassionate and exemplary in our lives. The Church is neither a theatre for comedians, a College Debate Club nor a museum for spiritual artefacts. The Church, understood as God’s people on a journey to salvation, needs to be strengthened with hope and create a just world marked by prosperity and a common concern that bears the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The message of Jesus the Christ is an invitation to transform the society; to be light to the nations, salt of the earth, and ‘piripiri’ in the soup. Christian mission is to comfort the discomforted and discomfort the comforted. A missionary, indeed any Christian of today, must be a bridge-builder and has to break any wall that divides people, let it be social, political, economic or gender. In Christ we are “Children of God”. Missionaries in Zambia need to rebrand themselves so as to respond to the situations that are contrary to the Gospel values such as corruption, tribalism, poverty, depletion of natural resources, neglect of the rural people in regard to better education and health facilities, and indeed other basic human rights.

The life of the first missionaries records ambassadors of peace, healing and development. The time at which the missionaries arrived in Zambia, the Ngoni warriors, Bemba warriors, the Mambwe and other bordering tribes were fighting. On their own, the Bemba warriors were the terror of their neighbour, especially the Mambwe. The missionaries negotiated for peace, stopped the situation and defended the weak. They did a lot to alleviate some ailments of people. They started some education and sparked-off development in Zambia. Zambia society came to be known and appreciated in other areas overseas. Bishop Joseph Dupont Motomoto for a time became a senior chief of the Bemba so as to prevent anarchy among the Bemba people after the death of their Chief Mwamba until the contentious issues were settled amicably. Therefore, negotiating for peace, intervening in social-cultural issues or participation in political matters needs to be part of evangelization. How are the missionaries of today responding to the new versions of war, corruption, oppression, corruption, social conflicts, deprivation, slavery, sickness and evil in Zambia?

Zambia after 125 years of Catholicity has reached a mature age given the present epoch. Theologians argue that the Church is not a democracy but rather a communion. Fine! This communion is warranted by the “Principle of Subsidiarity” as emphasized by the Second Vatican Council. The Church dreamt of shared responsibility in the life of the Church so that faith can grow & services are available to the people of God. Church Leaders, the consecrated people and the laity have to lay their hands on the affairs of the Church according to their responsibilities and capabilities. A platform needs to be created on which each member of the church has to own a stake and be responsible for the Church; so as to be a “we” rather than a “they” mentality. Such is a rebirth of creative imagination, more freedom of reflection and action and responsible leadership of listening to one another guided by reason and the spirit of Christ. “Uwaleeta pa nsaka: tonaula”, truly “Cinci wa babili: te cinci uli eka”. The church leadership needs to trust, encourage and consult the laity. Women and youths need to stand-out as great energies for Church life. The church is a family of the people of God.

The Zambia Church needs to reconsider promotion of vocation for the dioceses and missionary orders and congregations. “Mwana wa mupe: tafwa nsala”, validly “Akaboko: kakonka akabiye”. There seems to be less vocation promotion ministry for our various dioceses. Each diocese needs to have an active office in this regard; to explain to the faithful especially the youth, the need and the process for the vocation to religious and priesthood. The task of reviving the Church missionary-spirit and re-evangelizations needs new energies of well formed, trained and good-willed people. “Umunwe umo: tausala nda”. We observe crisis in religious and priestly vocations in Zambia. The root-cause could be partly the recruitment and formation policies. We need bigger numbers in which we can choose a few committed young people to take-up the vocation to religious and priestly ministry. We can count on the providence of God but God counts on our imagination informed by reason and faith in Him. “Lesa afwako: abayafwa”, conversely, “Muuba ukulila: ni pa mafito”.

Mambwe-Mwila 06-08-2016 19  JPEGThe above personal reflection is a petition to God for missionaries and for Zambia. God bless our mission, bless our people, bless our leaders and bless Zambia. May Christ guide us anew to tread the missionary path for the Gospel of Christ in Zambia! When we celebrate the Eucharist today, may the words of Jesus, “Do this in memory of me…”, be alive to us through the missionaries’ history so that we can make it our own story for today.

Venerato Deus Babaine, M.Afr, Lua-Luo, Kasama, Zambia. Sunday, 07 August 2016    –   PDF FILE: 125-anniversary

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