Bishop of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, Thomas Luke Msusa has commended members of the Catholic Church in the diocese for demonstrating resilience amidst Covid-19 pandemic.
He made the observation on Saturday at St. Montfort Catholic Institute (CI) Parish during the ordination of five deacons to priesthood which coincided with Silver Jubilee celebrations of three priests in Blantyre.
The five ordained as priests are; Fr. Augustine Chochoma, Fr. Vincent Matewere, Fr. Richard Chikumbu, Fr. Francisco Malata and Fr. Cyril Nkhoswe while those who celebrated Silver Jubilee were Fr. Peter Phiri, Fr. Ignatius Gazani and Fr. Charles Manyenje.
Msusa said that, “I am very impressed with the resilience demonstrated by the Christians in the archdiocese despite the effects of Covid-19. It has brought a number of social and economic challenges which did not spare the church.”
He said it was not easy for the pastoral office to mobilize resources for different activities in the church due to Covid-19 restrictions, noting that the ordination and the Silver Jubilee had been successful, nevertheless.
The Prelate who is Chairperson for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) commended the archdiocese fundraising committee for being instrumental in mobilizing contributions towards the two events.
Msusa appealed to the Catholic faith in the archdiocese to consider supporting the medical scheme initiative for priests, saying the intervention dubbed ‘adopt a priest’ could be embraced by individuals, wards or parishes.
“To this effect, I have written letters to individual members of the church seeking support to the medical scheme of our priests,” he added.
On the establishment of Kuwala Radio by the archdiocese to be airing on FM 101.3, the Bishop said it was necessary to make a lot of noise for Jesus Christ and not necessarily taking over the mandate of other radio stations already in existence like Radio Maria Malawi.
“The objective of establishing a radio station in the archdiocese is to broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ and also to amplify the voices of different organisations of the Catholic Church,” he added.
Earlier, in his homily, Msusa said the ordination of five priests in the diocese was a symbol of growth while the silver jubilee for the three priests was a milestone which called for celebration.
He called for the priests both old and new to remain faithful to the vows of chastity, obedience and celibacy which were the cornerstones of priesthood, saying: “In fact, priesthood is not just about serving God but serving his flock with undivided attention.”
Msusa asked priests in particular and the Catholic faithful in general to strive at emulating the example of Jesus Christ as outlined in John 10:7-14; whereby, Christ teaches on a Good Shepherd.
“From the small Christian community to the parish, we need to have leaders who are organized to lead and direct Christians to salvation,” he said, adding that everyone is baptized and sent to be a good shepherd which is further complemented by the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Blantyre Archdiocese Vocations Director, Fr. Cuthbert Mkwezalamba said despite facing several challenges in the year just ending with Covid-19 ranking highly, it was not easy to organize the ordination and the silver jubilee.
“I will fail in my duty if I don’t mention what we’ve learnt from you (deacons) through your perseverance… the ordination was scheduled to take place in July 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19. Your patience is very outstanding,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fr. Chochoma has been posted to Bangwe Parish while Fr. Matewere will serve at Chisitu as Fr. Chikumbu will be heading to Pius VII Minor Seminary and Fr. Malata will be at Limbe Cathedral.
Fr. Nkhoswe who belongs to the Pallotine Religious Congregation returns to South Africa to complete his studies.