By Lawrence Tukamushaba, M.Afr, Kasama- Zambia
Various activities have been foreseen commemorating the beginning of the Catholic faith in Zambia 125 years ago. The main celebration will be held on August 06 at Mambwe-Mwela situated in the Archdiocese of Kasama where the Missionaries of Africa were the first to settle for good in Zambia. It is important to note that they built this mission on their way from Mponda in Malawi to Tanzania as they took rest because of the illness of Fr Valentin Heurtebise (+1933), one of the pioneers. Fr Achille Van Oost (+1895) was buried in the same area.
The first major activity organised by the Archdiocese was a pilgrimage to Mambwe-Mwela where the first church was built. The ruins of that church are still visible. The pilgrimage started on Friday the 15th and ended up on Sunday the 17th July. Many Christians of Mambwe Parish walked 46 km to reach the site. Our Superior General, Fr Stanley Lubungo, together with Fr Lawrence Tukamushaba and Fr Nobert Nkingwa, joined Fr Edward Mutale, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Coordinator, and Fr Felix Chishamba, the Archdiocesan Communications Director.
Three reflections were given on the way from Our Lady of Angels Kanamwene Centre, three Kilometres from the site, to the pilgrimage site. Fr Stanley Lubungo spoke about the values of pilgrimages while Fr Lawrence Tukamushaba gave a teaching about the sacraments and Fr Nobert Nkingwa spoke about the meaning of discipleship. Native of the place, Fr Patrick Simutowe, Rector of Mpima Major Seminary in Kabwe, animated the recollection.
It was a reenergising faith journey. Much attention was given to the first brave men who chose to leave everything for the sake of the Gospel. They walked long distances in unknown and hostile lands. However, their hard labour has produced abundant fruits. Fr Stanley reminded the pilgrims that the missionaries planted seeds the fruits of which are the Christians of today. As missionaries and Christians of today we are challenged by their deep faith, love of God and self-denial.
On Thursday 14th July, Fr Stanley was hosted on the Archdiocesan Radio Lutanda FM for an interview about the history of the Church in Zambia.