22 February 2018
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Catholic Bishop hails missionaries for initiating development

Written by  Steve Chirombo
Catholic youths release balloons into the air during the celebrations - Pic by Francis Mphweya Catholic youths release balloons into the air during the celebrations - Pic by Francis Mphweya

Chikhwawa, October 15, 2017: Chikwawa Catholic Diocese Bishop, Peter Musikuwa, has hailed early missionaries for contributing positively towards development of the church in Malawi and the nation as a whole.

Speaking on Saturday during the Golden Jubilee celebration of St. Kalemba Catholic Church under Bangula Parish, Right Reverend Musikuwa said the early missionaries, particularly Montfort Fathers, contributed to the establishment of St. Kalemba Church, besides strengthening Christianity.

President Arthur Peter Mutharika presided over the golden jubilee celebration.

“The missionaries that lived among us knew our problems and that is why they worked hard to bring development. They strengthened our Christianity and restored peace among us.

“This should be a lesson to all of us who cannot help others from a distance - we need to be engaged to appreciate the needs of others,” he said.

“We have such landmark infrastructure dating back to the 1960s when the missionaries were here for which we need utmost care. We must appreciate this positive contribution towards the Church and the country,” Musikuwa added.

However, Musikuwa emphasized the need to cultivate a selfless spirit where the common good overrides personal enrichment in line with what the missionaries advocated.

He, therefore, urged the Catholic faithful in the diocese to preach unity, peace and love as well as help one another in deepening their faith.

Earlier, Bangula Parish Father Superior, Fr. Henry Biriwita while commending the country’s leadership for supporting people in the Lower Shire during floods and drought, asked government to assist the parish construct a brick fence around its premises to enhance security.

Father Biriwita also asked the country’s first citizen to assist with a maize mill as an income-generating venture for the parish to be self sustained, an ambulance at the rural hospital and a borehole at Magoti Primary School.

“On our part, we are still striving for the best we can do to complement government in its efforts of improving people’s living standards,” Biriwita said.

Bangula Parish, which harbours St Kalemba Catholic Church, was established in 1967 by Fr. Pierre Robertz, a Dutch of the Montfort Missionary Fathers who lived at Nsanje Parish.

 A maximum of nine people led by Fr. Robertz used to gather to conduct mass during the years before the church developed. He is said to have built the first Father’s House now used as an office for the parish, and then built another which houses priests now.

Literature also reveals that Fr. Robertz also built a hall where members of the church conducted prayers while awaiting the construction of the church. The hall has been given a facelift twice to suit modern times.

Other developments at the parish include a convent for nuns constructed around the 1970s and a clinic which has been converted into a house for the father’s cook.

Bangula Parish’s membership has now reached 80,000 with eleven out-station churches namely Bangula, Magoti, Makhanga, Nyaphembere, Chirimba, Mwananjovu, Lalanje, Chokwe, Ndalapa, Chilunda and Misamvu.

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