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Archives September 2017

2017 Diocese Lay Movements’ Annual Conferences Commence Well

By Grego Lusale

Every year lay movements have their annual conferences organized at diocese level in different parish centres through the Lay Apostolate Office of the Diocese.

This year, men dedicated serving the Sacred Heart of Jesus had their conference at St Marys Parish in the Diocese of Karonga.

In their less numbers due to its late establishment, at least 91 men convened for the conference this year. The conference started on Thursday 21st September to 24th September, 2017. They had two days of instructions and lessons delivered by different people including priests, Bishop’s Secretariat,  Caritas Commission officers and their own leaders. Lessons included the importance of developing oneself in church, importance of peace among people both in church and communities at large, bible, My Father’s House and so on.

After intensive learning, 72 members took their vows to become full members of this lay piety group.

Among many other spiritual activities that these men do,  the men, since 2016 when the bishop gave them special task of helping fostering peace among families and communities, they have been conducting various meetings and visits to communities known for conflict in the Diocese.  The office of Lay Apostolate would like

New members making their vows

to thank God for this blessing of such a wonderful lay group in the Diocese of Karonga.

Other lay movements are yet to hold their Annual Diocese Conferences. We have Women of Charity gathering at St Ignatius Parish centre and Legion of Mary at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral parish centre both from 28th September to 1st October. The Lay Apostolate Office, a department in the Pastoral Commission, wishes all of them well and successful conferences!

All Priests and Religious Men and Women of Karonga Gather For a Session at Bambo Zutu House.

By Ephraim Nyirenda and Grego Lusale

With financial support from the Aid to the Church in Aid (Kirche in Not) the Diocese of Karonga has organized a three day On-going Formation Session for priests and religious men and women working in the Diocese.  The session is facilitated by Fr Alfred Chaima, Pastoral Secretary of the Archdiocese of Blantyre and Fr Joseph Sikwese, Pastoral Secretary of the Diocese of Karonga.

During the session, participants will reflect on the pastoral implications of the three recent papal documents: Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Laudato Si (On the Care of Our Common Home) and Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love).

In his opening remarks, Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, he called for participants to participate actively during the session, because it will help them in their different apostolates.  He also called priests and religious men and women to work together as a family.

“In our Diocese we do not have many priests and very few religious congregations: Marianist sisters, one missionary Priest (Marianist) and some marianist brothers and rosarian sisters. Let us all work together ,” appealed Bishop Mtumbuka.


This year such training is taking place at Bambo Zutu House, Bishp’s  House, beginning from 25th September to 29TH September, 2017. Such trainings are organized by the Patoral Commission whose secretary is Fr. Joseph Sikwese.

Priests and Religious have gathered for this three days training to reflect and also find patoral implications of the three Church and Papal documents namely:  Laudato Si (On Care for our Common Home), Amoris Laetitia (On Joy of Love), and Evangeli Gaudium (On Joy of Evangelization)

In his Training opening remarks, His Lordship Bishop Anwell Mtumbuka boldly requested participants to be committed during the session as it will help them minister well the people of God. He appealed to the pastoral ministers to rediscover, re-evalauate, and come up with an action plan on the issues that will emanate during the sessions like on the care of the environment, on issues that affect marriage life in the Diocese of Karonga and on evangelization which is the primary vocation of the Church.

The session has brought together 25 participants which include priests, religious men and women working in the Diocese of Karonga. The main objective of the session is to build and strengthen the capacity of the clergy, religious men and women to enhance relevance, effectiveness and efficiency in their ministry in the Diocese of Karonga.


Beekeeping Catalyst of Environmental Management and Income Generation

Elijah Banda, Karonga Diocese

Protecting natural resources pays off in more ways than one “Now people cannot set the forest on fire or cut down the trees because we all benefit from assets in the forest.”

In Northern Malawi in the agricultural district of Chitipa in traditional authority Misuku is John 2 Village which has  a pretty patch of land covered with indigenous forests and exotic trees courtesy of climate change project. In this beautiful grassland bees are buzzing an intervention that enables farmers take care of trees to support this kind of farming while at the same time generating money for their households.

Symon Simkonda is a beekeeper and irrigation farmer under climate change project implemented by the Development Desk-Karonga Diocese in Misuku impact area. As a farmer Simkonda is enthusiastic about forest management and bee production. “Initially I was supported by one bee hive by the project but now the number of hives are growing and providing income for me and my households while facilitating conservation of forestry resources in the area.” he says. “More and more people are taking part in tree planting around the forest where bee keeping is taking place and  are abiding by the by laws set aside to protect the forest.”

When the climate change project was introduced in the area in 2015, before any bees lived in the forest reserve, Simkonda began working with the project on ways to preserve the area’s natural resources while generating income.

“I built one beehive and put wax in it to attract the bees. The bees came. Now people cannot set the forest on fire or cut down the trees because we all benefit from assets in the forest,” says Simkonda.

A litre of honey is sold at MK 3,000 per each harvest and honey is harvested three times a years producing approximately 20 liters of honey. At harvest, which happens three times a year, each hive produces 15 liters of honey. Simkonda family would have an addition income of MK 60,000 from the enterprise at each harvest.

The climate change project’s integrated approach has given Simkonda a new career, more abundant crops and a good return on investment.


CCJP Commissions 65 Members of Justice and Peace Committees to be Agents of Transformation

By Innocent Nazombe

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese conducted a three-day training for transformation (TFT) workshop for Justice and Peace committee members from all five zones (Chisenga, Therere, Thumbo, Wenya, Nthalire) of St. Ignatius Parish from 13th to 15th September, 2017.

The training, which attracted 65 participants, was part of the sustainability (exit) strategies under the Community Managed Women’s Rights Advocacy project which phases in April, 2018.

The training was meant to revamp the Justice and Peace Committees and to align justice and peace work to the holistic evangelization mission of the Church which goes beyond projects or donor funding. Thus the members need to continue with the interventions even in the absence of donor support.

Some of the topics covered during the training were Spirituality of Justice and Peace Work, Principles of Catholic Social Teaching, Transformative Human Development, Human Rights and Constitutionalism and Economic Self Reliance with particular emphasis on Village Loans and Savings.

Speaking during the training, one of the facilitators, Reverend Father John Moyo expressed that real transformation starts from within with mindset change; while religion and government would support the ladders to development, they would only rise if they uphold their own and the dignity of others, work hard and live in solidarity with others.

The Desk Officer for Justice and Peace facilitating a session during the training

Speaking on the sidelines of the training, Justice and Peace Desk Officer for Karonga Diocese Louis Nkhata expressed hope that the knowledge and skills imparted in the participants will go a long way in strengthening Justice and Peace Structures at Parish level as the funding partner, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), is leaving Malawi.

One of the participants hailed the training; “As communities we fail to organize ourselves to overcome our challenges, like lack of potable water, always looking forward to government for aid. We will challenge our communities to develop home grown solutions and work towards uplifting our lives”, said Aaron Ng’ambi.

At the end of the training, zonal and parish committees were chosen. All participants were commissioned to be agents of positive change at personal, family, village levels by fostering practices that respect and promote human dignity.

CCJP Train 220 Community Police Members in Cases Handling

By Vincent Bwinga

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese, which endeavors to create society with culture of respect for human rights, justice and peaceful co-existence where all people are dignified and liberated, has trained 220 community police members in cases handling. This has been done in order to bridge the gap in terms of reporting system of women and girls abuse cases from the community.

The training took place at Chisenga, Wen

ya, Nthalire and Mahowe in T/A Mwenewenya and Nthalire from 6th to 9th September 2017. The training created effective communication and participatory working environment between Malawi police units and community police through which cases and community safety issues will be jointly determined, solution proposed and implemented where appropriate.

The training will further facilitate reporting of cases from different communities to police stations and at the same time strengthening community security and the enjoyment of women and girls right. In his closing remarks after the training, Mr. Nyirenda the coordinator of community policing in Chitipa district encouraged community police member to take a leading role in reporting all cases and not to be involved in corrupt practices.

He promised to support the structures in whatever way possible so that there is a sustainable and collaborative efforts in dealing of crime and abuse. He applauded CCJP for playing a role in revamping these community structure. One of the participants Kalipo Mgala;who is also the CPF chairperson from Mahowe appreciated the training to have equipped him with very important skills which he will use in providing security in the community

This activity was implemented under the Community Managed Women Rights Advocacy Project (CMWRA) which is funded by Catholic Agency for Oversea Development (CAFOD).

Kachebere Major Seminary Re-opens: Karonga Diocese’s Vicar General Among its Lecturers

By Ephraim Nyirenda

After about four months or so since the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s decision to close Kachebere Major Seminary for a while, resulting from  shortage of formators  at the school, on 4th September, 2017 the institution has resurrected.

The vicar genaral of Karonga Diocese Fr Denis Chitete is one of the lecturers the ECM has  assembled to teach at the seminary. Speaking with him while already at the school, Monsignor Denis Chitete expressed his happiness that the Episcopal Conference has reopened Kachebere.

“As I am speaking now we have nine lecturers residing at the campus and one visiting lecturer; a Camelite Priest, who  will be commuting from the nearby parish here in Mchinji,” Fr Chitete said.

He added that the work is very demanding for both lecturers and seminarians as they have to cover up all the lessons that were supposed to be covered in the idle  months.

He therefore asked his fellow teachers and seminarians to be dedicated to their duties and assignments. “Ntchito njikulu ndipo eeeee njikulu nadi”.

Kachebere Major Seminary has 140 seminarians from different Catholic Dioceses and 10 of them are from the Diocese of Karonga.

The Diocese of Karonga Holds on Opening Meeting of the New Phase for the Sunday School Project

By Benjamin Msowoya

The Pastoral Secretary, Fr Joseph Sikwese, giving his opening remarks during the meeting

On 5th September 2017, the Pastoral Commission held an official opening meeting of the new phase of the Sunday School Project.  The meeting took place at Kizito Conference Centre in St Michaels Parish, Chitipa.  Participants were selected stakeholders such as; all priests in the Diocese, all Catechetical Methodology Advisors in the Diocese and some officers of the Diocesan Curia Offices that work on the Sunday School Project and all its related dimensions.

Led by the Pastoral Secretary, Fr Joseph Sikwese, these stakeholders met with the aim of sharing the planned activities and strategies in the new phase of the project.   Participants are,  in turn,  expected to share with their respective pastoral teams on how to implement the planned activities in all parishes of the Diocese.

In his opening remarks, the Pastoral Secretary emphasized that there is need to continuously strike a good balance on the Diocesan efforts to uplift the pastoral and socio-economic welfare of the people using pastoral funded projects (on one hand) and  to ensure that these efforts do not destroy the self-supporting spirit among the same people (on the other hand).

This new phase of the project started on 1st July 2017 and will run up to 30th June 2018.  The Diocese of Karonga has been implementing the project in all its parishes since the second half of 2012. The project is implemented with financial assistance from the Coppel Family of Mexico. The project is basically a more improved/organized effort of the Diocese’s ministry to children.

Initially, the project started with children ranging from an average age of 5 to 13 years. Currently, the project serves children of two categories; children ranging from an average age of 5 to 13 years (called Junior Sunday School) and children between 13 years and 16 years (called Senior Sunday School).

The main goal of the project is to properly form, into Catholic faith, the Catholic Children who are preparing for baptism, first communion and confirmation; making them better Catholic faithful.

During this phase, the planned project activities include:

  1. Weekly Catechetical lessons for children in prayer centres.
  2. Weekly Sunday liturgy for children in all prayer centres.
  3. Monthly collection of statistics for children in all prayer centres; on their enrolment and attendance.
  4. Quiz and Choir Competitions among Junior Sunday School Children.
  5. Quiz and Sports Competitions among Senior Sunday School Children.
  6. Training/Couching of instructors of the children.
  7. Training of Catholic Service Providers of Natural Family Planning Methods (NFPM) as an aid towards responsible parenthood.
  8. Sexual Reproductive Health sessions to students in secondary schools.
  9. Basic English grammar lessons to primary school going children in selected Catholic Schools and on the Diocesan Radio.
  10. Provision of some religious materials for teaching/learning in prayer centres.
  11. Provision of Likuni flour (for porridge) to prayer centres.
  12. Production and airing of various Sunday School Radio programmes on the Diocesan Radio, Tuntufye FM Radio.
757 Members of Lay movements Complete their 2017 Annual Retreat at Kaseye Shrine

By Benjamin Msowoya

During the month of August, the Diocesan Lay Apostolate coordinating office organized annual retreats for the various lay movements and devotional groups in the Diocese.  A total of 757 members belonging to different devotional groups attended the retreats at St Francis of Assisi Shrine at Kaseye on different days as follows:

Devotional Group/Lay Movement Dates Members that Attended % Attendance of all Members at Diocese Level
Wamama Wa Chitemwano (Women of Charity) 2-6 August 331 4%
Legio Maria 6-10 August 281 13%
Wadada Wakutewetera Mtima Utuwa wa Fumu Yesu (Catholic Men Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus) 10-14 August 75 19%
Third Order of St Francis 14-18 August 70 22%

Such retreats for lay movements and devotional groups are now an annual event in the Pastoral Commission since 2016. The Lay Apostolate Desk organizes retreat sessions in order to give more sacred space and time to members of the lay movements to seriously reflect on their lives as they grow in holiness following a particular path or spiritualty.

They also prayed together, including Mass, and they had time to receive the Sacrament of Penance.  During their retreats, attending members of the lay movements reflected on their lives guided by the following thematic areas:

  1. My Father’s House (Kutumbika Nyumba ya Wadada)
  2. Faith (Chipulikano)
  • Responsible Parenthood (Upapi Wahamala Mchikaya)

The Lay Apostolate Office is grateful to God for making it possible this year to have over 700 members attend such retreats.  Though the statistics still show very low percentages of members at Diocese level attending the retreats, the Lay Apostolate Office hopes that with proper coordination efforts among the lay movements, more people will be part of such retreats in future.


Karonga Diocese Curia Staff Conduct their Annual Retreat at Kaseye

By Benjamin Msowoya

From 1st  to 3rd  September 2017, members of staff at the Curia Offices of the Diocese of Karonga had their annual retreat.  The retreat took place at the Diocesan shrine of St Francis of Assisi at Kaseye in Chitipa.  A total of 45 members of staff (32 male and 13 female) attended the retreat which was directed by Fr Lorent Dziko who is Parish Priest of St Stevens Parish and also Diocesan Chaplain for Lay Movements.

The Diocese, through the Pastoral Commission, organizes such annual spiritual exercises for her members of staff in order to allow then have special time for their spiritual stock-taking.  All members of staff, both Catholics and non-Catholics had time for individual meditation, communal prayers including reciting of the Rosary, as well as; time for penance.

On Sunday,

Fr Dziko directing the retreat for the members of staff on the second day at Kaseye

during the closing liturgy for the retreat, members of staff joined the Kaseye local Christian Community for Mass which was presided over by Fr Lorent Dziko, the director of the retreat.   Fr Dziko appealed to the members of staff to continue creating time for reflection in their day to day life.  Following scriptures that were read during the closing liturgy, Fr Dziko urged all members of staff to courageously manage the challenges that come with their respective responsibilities whether at work or in their families because this is what it also means to carry one’s cross and follow Jesus.