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Archives January 2019

Mr Vincent Shaba (left) with the members of the Interplast Team at Chitipa District Hospital
Interplast Team in First 2019 Visit to Malawi

By Vincent Shaba*

A 6 member team of 2 Doctors, 2 Nurses, Anesthetist and a student arrived in Malawi on the 28th of February from Germany. This is the first of multiple Interplast teams to come to Chitipa District in 2019.

Mr Vincent Shaba (left) with the members of the Interplast Team at Chitipa District Hospital
Mr Vincent Shaba (left) with the members of the Interplast Team at Chitipa District Hospital

Interplast Team, is a group of surgical specialists that visit Malawi each year to support with surgical interventions such as plastic surgery (burn scars), cleft palate repair, fractures repair, goiters removal, hernias repair and removal of different kinds of tumours.

The current team is concentrating on goiter removal. The team is led by Dr. Werner Wagner who has been to Malawi three times since 2016. He was very happy and eager to support with surgical services to poor Malawians who suffer due lack of access to surgical services. The team will stay for 2 weeks until the 7th of February before going back to Germany.

Dr. Claudia is a Dentist who joined the team to establish the need for dental services in Malawi and also install some dental equipment at the newly established Kaseye Dental Clinic. Findings on this mission will help the team to organise more support for dental services.

Dr Ted Bandawe receiving the POP cutter from Dr Wagner
Dr Ted Bandawe receiving the POP cutter from Dr Wagner

The Health Desk of the Diocese of Karonga is proud of the Interplast Team to have assisted hundreds of Malawians who otherwise suffer silently in rural communities without access to these surgical interventions and if at all access them in Mzuzu have to cough a lot of money for transport cost and other needs.  Another team of this group is expected to arrive in March this year. Thanks to his Lordship Bishop Mtumbuka for his connection with Interplast Team.

During this visit, Dr. Wagner donated a Plaster of Paris (POP) cutter/ saw to the Director of Health and social Services (DHSS), Dr. Ted Bandawe. These teams bring assorted medical equipment and supplies to the Chitipa District Hospital which are utilised by both the teams during visits and by our local medical professionals while the teams are not available.

In response, the DHSS was very grateful for the timely donation when orthopedic professionals at the Hospital are using a manual saw to remove POP from patients.

“This piece of equipment will reduce time and effort of practitioners in performing their duty,” said Dr Bandawe. “Thank you Dr. Wagner for the kind gesture.”

*The author is the Desk Officer for the Health Desk

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference
The Association of Catholic Teachers of the Diocese of Karonga Conduct the 2018 Annual General Conference

By Phillip Chisi and Remmie Kamanga

The Education Desk of the Diocese of Karonga organized the 2018 Annual General Conference of the Association of Catholic teachers. The conference gathered over 100 teachers from all the nine parishes of the Diocese of Karonga.

According to the Diocesan Education Desk Officer, Mr. Remmie Kamanga, the conference aimed at animating teachers to deepen their faith and grow professionally.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka making a presentation during the conference

“Teachers are gathered to share their experiences and help one another spiritually and professionally. In the conference there are also presentations on pertinent topics from various facilitators”. He said.

During the conference teachers were taken through a range of topics such as; Articles of Catholic Faith, A teacher as an Agent of Evangelization, A Christian approach to issues of Satanism, Child Protection Policy, the role of Catholic teachers in the peaceful tripartite elections and Coping with addictions.

Some of the facilitators during the gathering included the Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga Right Rev. Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, the Vicar General Monsignor Denis Chitete, Pastoral Secretary Fr. Joseph Sikwese, Fr. Bernard Silungwe, the Caritas Secretary Mr. Mwawi Shaba, and the Health Desk Officer Mr. Vincent Shaba.

During the gathering, teachers also shared teaching experiences including best practices in the teaching profession to achieve excellence.

In appreciation to the commitment of teachers in their work in Catholic schools, Bishop Mtumbuka presented awards to head teachers of best performing Catholic primary schools in the 2017-2018 Primary School Leaving Certificate examinations.

The Bishop presented modern mountain bicycles to successful head teachers of the following schools; Mubanga and Kawale primary schools from St Michael’s Parish, Namatubi and Chipwela primary schools from St John Paul II Parish.

He further donated assorted books to all Catholic schools in the Diocese and five assorted books to each of the teachers present during the conference.

This is the third annual teachers’ conference to be held in the Diocese of Karonga since the first one which took place in December, 2016.

Some of the dignitaries third from left Marianists Brother Mfune and after him Father Simon (in grey clerical shirt),
Marianist Brothers Satisfied with their Missions in Karonga Diocese

By Chimwemwe Chisi (TFM)

Marianist Brothers have expressed satisfaction with the way their congregation is carrying out its missions in the Diocese of Karonga by citing among other things the achievements being registered by the institutions under their care.

Part of the liturgical celebration marking the day
Part of the liturgical celebration marking the day

This was revealed on 23rd January when Chaminade Secondary School and Miracle Technical Institute held a joint celebration marking Chaminade Day in honour of their founders Father William Chaminade and Adele Tranquilia.

Speaking in an interview after the celebration, Brother Pachalo Mfune, a Marianist, said Chaminade Day is of great essence to their congregation and the two academic institutions as it helps them reflect on their mission.

“I am very happy on this very day since it is one way of reflecting if our institutions are progressing in accordance with what the founders wanted and am glad that we are moving in the right direction,” said Brother Mfune who is also the Director of Miracle Technical Institute.

“On this day we also pray and remember our departed brothers and sisters of the lay movement,” he explained.

In his remarks, the Head Prefect of Chaminade Secondary School Benedict Mumba stated that they get inspired with the role models that come to their school each time they celebrate the day.

“My fellow students and I have gained a lot through this event because we get inspired by the role models who come to our school. Through their speeches we are encouraged to work hard,” said Mumba.

Some of the dignitaries present during the function: In the middle Marianists Brother Mfune (in suit) and Father Simon (in grey clerical shirt)
Some of the dignitaries present during the function: In the middle Marianists Brother Mfune (in suit) and Father Simon (in grey clerical shirt)

The Head Teacher of Chaminade Secondary School John Island Mtambo said he was overjoyed with the Marianist Brothers because through them their school came into existence.

Mtambo said, “I am pleased with this very day since it is the reason that Chaminade Secondary School came into being and its existence has transformed many lives through quality education it offers as well as employment opportunities it offers.”

Chaminade Secondary School and Miracle Technical Institute are some of the learning institutions existing courtesy of Father William Chaminade among others in the world.

From left to right: Mr Vincent Shaba (Health Desk Officer), Father Edward Kamanga, Patrick Msukwa and TB Volunteer during a monitoring visit
Patrick Msukwa’s Life Saved by Karonga Diocese TB Community Volunteers

By Mwawi Shaba*

Patrick Msukwa is a 45 year old man from Kapoka 1 Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mwenemisuku. He is married and has 6 children. He earns his living by doing smallholder agriculture; growing maize and other arable crops.

From left to right: Mr Vincent Shaba (Health Desk Officer), Father Edward Kamanga, Patrick Msukwa and TB Volunteer during a monitoring visit
From left to right: Mr Vincent Shaba (Health Desk Officer), Father Edward Kamanga, Patrick Msukwa and TB Volunteer during a monitoring visit

For a long while, Patrick has been having unceasing coughing. He has been buying and taking pain killers and cough medicine sold in various open shops at Kapoka.  But the situation only deteriorated; he continuously coughed.

He then started experiencing shortness of breath especially at night and he noted that he was sweating more than he normally did.  It is the seeming loss of weight; which came due to loss of appetite that pushed Patrick to realise that he was in deep health difficulty.

Patrick was however becoming desperate as to what he was to do considering that health care providers were very far from his village. The nearest and most reliable health facility was Chitipa District Hospital; about 15 kilometres away.  Considering that it was December 2018; a farming period that demanded a lot in terms of finances, he run into the temptation of being discouraged and put his life to chance. “Traveling to Chitipa is costly,” So he thought.

On one providential day, while walking to the market, Patrick Msukwa met someone carrying empty bottles which are used to collect sputum samples for TB testing. He expressed his desire to send the said sample and his wish was granted. He was given two empty bottles and given instruction on how he would do it.

John Munkhodya, was the volunteer in question. He, together with 10 others, forms a team of selfless individuals who go house by house education people about TB and where possible, they collect sputum samples for testing. Since the beginning of the project in 2016 they have literately combed the thin and thick of their community providing health education on TB and collecting sputum samples and taking them for testing at various sputum testing centres in the District.

New lease of life
New lease of life

Within two days after John Munkhondya took Patrick Msukwa’s sputum samples the results came out. The result that came indicated that Patrick had TB.  In the morning of Christmas Eve – 24th December, 2018, Patrick Msukwa went to Chitipa District Hospital to commence TB treatment. He was diligent to the treatment and he finished the first dosage on 6th January, 2019. He collected the second dosage.

At the time the author interacted with Patrick on 9th January, 2019, he openly and happily expressed joy and thanks to the volunteers who had helped him.

According to Patrick, “My energy levels have been restored. Chest pains which I used to experience profusely have subsided. Coughing has also reduced”.

“…I have picked up weight greatly. From 54 kilograms before I stated treatment to 59 kilograms when I went for medical review at Chitipa District Hospital.”Msukwa further reported.

Patrick, however, indicated that he is experiencing some increased itching on his skin but he further said the doctors had already warned that he would experience such side effects but should not despair as this will end after treatment.

 Patrick Msukwa is grateful to TB volunteers working in the area for rescuing him. He urged that to be even more vigilant to visit many villages especially those at a distance from Kapoka.

*The author is the Secretary of the Caritas Commission of the Diocese of Karonga

Get well soon: A representative of the Sunday school children presenting something to Misheck
St Anne’s Parish Junior Sunday School Children Cheer the Sick As a Way of Living the Gospel Values

Benedict Masudi Kauteka*

On 20th January, 2019, Junior Sunday School (JSS) children of St Anne’s Parish visited their two colleagues, Patrick Phiri a Standard Four learner who was down with malaria and Misheck Mwaungulu, a Standard Five learner, who sustained a fracture on the left arm. Both are learners at St Anne’s Primary School.

Get well soon: A representative of the Sunday school children presenting something to Misheck
Get well soon: A representative of the Sunday school children presenting something to Misheck

The Junior Sunday school children did this after their Sunday service as one way of putting in practice.  Junior Sunday school children carry out a number of charitable activities in the zone as one way of living the Gospel values. Some of such charitable activities include fetching firewood, water and washing for the aged, and cheering the sick.

In his explanation regarding his fracture, Misheck indicated that he stumbled and fell down on the ground as he was going back home from school.

One impressing thing was that when these children reached the home of each of these two patients, one of them opened with a word of prayer and give some introductory remarks to which the patient would respond by narrating his condition. This followed presentation of a bottle of soft drink and biscuits bought from their own contributions.

Thereafter, a prayer was offered by one of them and they could depart from the home with smiles on their faces after cheering. The patients, in each case, were full of joy also as they felt liberated from the burden of loneliness in their respective homes.

*The author is the Catechetical Methodology Advisor for St Anne’s Parish

One of the facilitators during the training session
150 Youths to Benefit from Community Based Vocational Skills Project

By Chimwemwe Chisi

There are high hopes that socio-economic lives for the youths in Karonga Diocese are likely going to be elevated following a week-long capacity building initiative for the mentors who are expected to discharge a six months vocational training lessons with the youths under Community Based Vocational Skills Development project for the youths.

One of the facilitators during the training session
One of the facilitators during the training session

The development comes following a joint training initiative championed by Education Desk of Karonga Diocese in collaboration with Technical Entrepreneurial Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA) held at Karonga Town Council Chamber which was aimed at equipping mentors with skills and knowledge for training youths.

The project mainly targets young people from violence prone areas of Karonga and part of Rumphi as a way of promoting peaceful coexistence. The project aims at improving the lives of young people in Karonga District and Chiweta in Rumphi District by reducing youth unemployment as they will employ themselves after the training.

Expressing her gratitude, Regional Manager for TEVETA Concepor Kachoka said their office was overjoyed with initiative of Karonga Diocese to partner with them in order to assist in the project they have embarked. She pledged continued support from her office.

She continued by urging the youths who are expected to participate in the training to take the lessons seriously since it is the gate way to their economic independence.

In his remarks, the Field Officer for Education Desk of Karonga Diocese Solomon Manda revealed that the initiative was conceived by Bishop Martin Annuel Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese to curb the political manipulation of the youths in perpetuating violence in various areas of Karonga.

Manda said, “In the process of denouncing the use of the youth in inflicting violence in the district, we thought it wise to equip the trainers so that as they go to their designated areas they should deliver accordingly.”

According to the Desk, the project is being implemented in five areas, namely Pusi-Chakwera, Chiweta, Mpata, Mwenilondo and Mwanjabala and will benefit 150 youths.

The project is being implemented with financial support from the German dioceses of Bamberg and Frieberg to the tune of thirty three million Malawi Kwacha.

The Vicar General (in specs) and Father Simwela distributing communion during the event
Monsignor Chitete Calls for Responsible Parenthood

By Chimwemwe Chisi

Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete has advised parents in the diocese to take full responsibility over their children by safeguarding their material and spiritual well-being for the growth of the Church.

The Vicar General (in specs) and Father Simwela distributing communion during the event
The Vicar General (in specs) and Father Simwela distributing communion during the event

Monsignor Chitete made these remarks when he presided over a concelebrated Mass marking the Solemnity of Epiphany of the Lord at St Anne’s Parish in Chilumba in Karonga District.

“Let all parents take full responsibility over their children since the future of the Church lies in the children,” said Monsignor Chitete.

The Vicar General further advised children to be good and urged them to continue obeying and giving respect to their parents.

Epiphany of the Lord commemorates the manifestation or revelation of the Infant Jesus to the world through the Magi from the East. In a special way, this day is promoted by the Pontifical Missionary Societies Holy Childhood as a day for children’s ministry in the Church.

This year’s Feast of Epiphany was celebrated under the theme, “Baptized and Sent”, meaning children are baptized and sent to evangelise, especially to their peers.

Children led a greater part of the liturgy in terms of reading, singing and giving a reflection on the readings.

In her reflection, a Sunday school child, Theresa Mwambene denounced the evils that children are being subjected to. She also reminded parents and guardians not to abandon their responsibility of raising them into responsible Christians.

Also present at this diocesan event were Director of Pontifical Missionary societies in the Diocese of Karonga Father Mathews Simwera, and Parish Priest for St Anne’s Parish Father Cyprian Ngoma.

Children took lead in liturgy in all parishes of the Diocese of Karonga and it was also children’s day of broadcasting on the Diocesan owned Tuntufye FM Radio Station.

Sr Beatrice Chipeta (in blue habit) stressing a point during the meeting
St Mary’s Parish Youth Hold Planning and Evaluation Meeting

By Phillip Chisi

Inspired by the 2019 Karonga Diocese theme “Year of Missio Ad Gentes” which is a call to evangelization, youth of St Mary’s Parish have been called upon to deepen and live their faith as one way of evangelizing to their friends.

Sr Beatrice Chipeta (in blue habit) stressing a point during the meeting
Sr Beatrice Chipeta (in blue habit) stressing a point during the meeting

Sister Beatrice Chipeta, of the Sisters of Holy Rosary, made these remarks during the one day 2018/19 evaluation and planning meeting for the young Christians of St Mary’s Parish.

Sr Chipeta said young people can only sustain their Catholic faith, amid the growing global religious plurality and confusion, is by deepening their faith.

“Only when you are well acquainted with the teachings of the Church and when you have profound faith that you can fully submit yourselves to the service of the church,” Said Sr Chipeta.

In the spirit of Fides et Ratio  Sr Chipeta urged the young people to work towards understanding their faith for them to be able to live it and defend it.

She further outlined the importance of planning and goal setting saying the goals set help everyone to set standards and also measure achievement.

Further the youth considered ways of sustaining their grouping, planned their activities and calendared the major events of 2019 in advance. Through the annual plans, the youth will have ample time to fundraise and prepare well in advance for effective implementation of the planned events.

During the evaluation, many young people felt the grouping and their Sunday meetings are a catalyst to their spiritual and physical and socio-economic development.

In his remarks, Methodology Advisor for St Mary’s Parish, Philip Chisi, hailed the youth, their leaders and animators for providing positive feedback about their social and spiritual experiences in the year 2018.

The gathering which took place on 4th January 2019 at Lusubilo Conference Hall was organized by Sister Chipeta and over 50 young boys and girls attended. The aim was to allow the youth reflect into 2018 and make proper projection of plan of actions for the year 2019.

New Appointments for Diocesan Priests and Religious

By Wezi Mwangonde

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka has made appointments and transfers of priests in the Diocese of Karonga with immediate effect as follows:

Father Cosmas Mwanjawala is Parish Priest of St Anne’s (Chilumba) Parish in Chilumba;

Father Laurent Dziko is Parish Priest of the newly established St John Paul II (Kapoka) Parish at Kapoka;

Father Cyprian Ngoma is Parish Priest of St Steven’s (Kasantha) Parish.

Announcing these appointments at St Mary’s Parish, where he presided over the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, the Bishop said although these appointments are with immediate effect, the appointed priests are expected to be found at their new places by 3rd February, 2019.

In an interview the Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary, Father Joseph Moloka Sikwese said Bishop Mtumbuka has also appointed Father Charles Chinula as Dean of Chitipa Deanery and Father Cyprian Ngoma as Dean of Karonga Deanery.

The Bishop has also appointed Father Cosmas Mwanjawala as Bible Coordinator. Earlier, the Bishop also appointed Father Bernard Silungwe as Deputy Pastoral Secretary.

He added that Sister Beatrice Chipeta of Sisters of Holy Rosary and Father osalian Sisters and Father Susraji of Francis de Sales have been appointed to be in the Pastoral Commission.

“It is my appeal to all Catholics that may you cooperate with the priests and religious in order for them to perform effectively in their assigned roles’’, said Father Joseph.

During the same Eucharistic celebration Bishop Mtumbuka has also raised Chisankhwa Outstation in Chitipa District to St Mary’s Chisankhwa Sub- Parish.

Know your priests by following the link: http://www.karongadiocese.org/priests.html

Bishop Mtumbuka hails unity among followers of different religions
Bishop Mtumbuka Impressed With Peaceful Coexistence Among Religions

By Wezi Mwangonde

As the Catholic Diocese of Karonga joins the rest of the world in the commemoration of World Day of Peace, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka says he is impressed with peaceful coexistence among followers of different faiths in the jurisdiction of the diocese.

Bishop Mtumbuka hails unity among followers of different religions
Bishop Mtumbuka hails unity among followers of different religions

In an interview, after the Eucharistic celebration of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga Diocese, Bishop Mtumbuka said as a leader of the diocese he has never had any complaint that people are in a conflict due to religion differences and he describes the development as of great importance.

Bishop Mtumbuka highlighted that Karonga Diocese has some parts which are historically known with violent conflicts and said unfortunately these wrangles are caused by poor leadership at local level.

He added that it is very pathetic that in some countries or areas people are not at peace because of differences in faith such as a misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.

“I have observed with great concern that conflicts which occur within the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Karonga are caused by local leaders such as chiefs. As the world commemorates the day of peace, let me thank all the religions within this diocese for excluding themselves from the conflicts,’’ said Bishop Mtumbuka.

The Bishop has further requested all the people to be the ambassadors of peace saying as a leader he will continue raising the awareness among the people especially when the country is heading towards the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

The Bishop further wished all Christians and families a prosperous and peaceful New Year.