On 24th August, 2019, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga consecrated the newly constructed church building at St Ignatius Parish Centre. Here is the consecration ceremony in Pictures.
By Ignatius Mvula
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, on Monday exhorted the youth of the Diocese, who gathered at Chaminade Secondary School for Youth Rally, not to let anyone look down upon them because they are young.
The Bishop, who had a special audience with the young people from all parishes of the Diocese, based his talk on 1 Timothy 4:12 saying Paul’s words to Timothy are still relevant to the youth of this generation.
In this verse, Paul encourages Timothy to be stand firm and not to allow himself to be undermined by people because of his youthful age. Reflecting on this verse, the Bishop said like Timothy, young people are the future of the family, the Church and society.
“I would like to see you, young people, playing some roles in the socio-economic and pastoral areas in the Diocese. We see you as a great blessing, after all you constitute a bigger percentage of the population of this Diocese” said Bishop Mtumbuka.
On Missio Ad Gentes, the Bishop applauded young people for taking initiative in motivating the lapsed and encouraging their fellow youth to come back to Church. The youth have also been engaged in the proclamation of the gospel, works of charity and promotion of justice and peace.
“My children, we freely received the faith we profess, so we must also share it freely. I am filled with sincere gratitude that you have done a lot in helping your fellow youth, the sick, the aged, the underprivileged and those who do not know God,” said the Bishop.
He urged them not to be satisfied with what has been accomplished so far, as it is not the end. He commissioned them further to go to all corners of this Diocese and encourage their friends to come back to God.
Speaking on behalf of the youth, Diocesan Youth Chairperson thanked the Bishop for sparing time to listen to their concerns. He requested that such meetings be held every year.
Some of the concerns raised were lack of sufficient learning and teaching resources in school, limited time to be with priests in their prayer centers, conflicts in families and villages and ‘unfair’ selection of students to Catholic secondary schools in the Diocese.
The Bishop assured the youth that he will address some of the pertinent issues as they touch on the social and pastoral life of the youth.
During the rally the youth group called “Youth to Youth Dancing Missionaries”, instituted by the Bishop five months ago, had their first ever stage performance. They are still in the process of preparing for outdoor activities.
The Youth Rally, which attracted 416 representatives from prayer centers, was held from 24th to 27th August, 2019. The rally opened with Holy Mass presided over by the Vicar General of Karonga Diocese, Mons Denis Chitete. Concelebrants were The Diocesan Youth Chaplain Fr. Cosmas Mwanjawala and his Deputy Fr. Nelson.
After the closing Mass, five girls and five boys graduated from the youth stage. The ten bade farewell to their friends as they will be receiving the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The pairs came from the following parishes; one pair from St Anne’s, another from St John Paul II and three from Immaculate Heart of Mary/ Chisankhwa.
By Kondwani Nyasulu
In July, 2019, Lusubilo received visitors from Malta; a team of three ladies namely Martha, Ramona and Stelvana who have come to spend their precious time with children in the children home of Lusubilo.
The three spent their time taking care of children by bathing, feeding, and playing different games with them as well as providing the much need psychosocial support.
Understanding that Lusubilo works with communities, the visitors felt the need to extend their love to orphans in the communities by supporting them with food items. The package comprised of a 50 Kg bag of maize, 10 Kgs beans and 2 litres of vegetable cooking oil per household.
The visitors have supported a total of 31 households that were identified by CBO members after a thorough assessment on the most vulnerable households.
On the first day, the team went to St Steven’s Parish in Nyungwe where 7 households were given the food support. The needy families were identified from Chipulikano and Njalayamoto CBOs. On the second day, 7 households were supported at St Steven’s Parish targeting Chitemwano and Kakoma CBOs. On third day, 17 households at St Mary’s Parish were given the food support.
The food support will help the guardians to be able to feed the orphan children under their care. This complemented Lusubilo’s efforts in to reach out to needy families. Most of these families keep orphans and others have an elderly person taking care of the family with no means of earning to be food secure. The families and the community are very grateful to the visitors Malta and the support of the food items they have received.
The management of Lusubilo is also thankful for the good gesture the visitors from Malta have shown in supporting the vulnerable households and special thanks to Fr Joseph Sikwese of St Mary’s Parish for bringing us the visitors to support our work.
Lusubilo Community Based Orphan Care works with communities in the Diocese of Karonga to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable people. With support from well-wishers, the project supports orphans and other vulnerable children by providing them with basic needs.
LUSUBILO PILOTS THE USE OF SHOP SEED VOUCHERS TO SUPPORT VULNERABLE WINTER CROPPING BENEFICIARIES THROUGH THE SORT PROJECT
By Tilekeni Kaunda
Poverty and food insecurity has been the main factors affecting economic growth and development in Malawi and most especially those in rural areas. The poor and vulnerable households are the categories of people mostly affected.Poverty and income are closely related and it has been argued that a low income level is a manifestation as well as a strong cause of poverty. And due to the fact that a large majority of the rural dwellers are below the poverty line (are poor) and that their livelihood depends mainly on agriculture, access to farm inputs to increase crop production and productivity of natural resource base (land), is very difficult.
Finding a lasting solution to the chronic food insecurity through increase in productivity has been a major focus of Lusubilo Community Based programs. The organization believes adoption of new agricultural technology, such as high yielding varieties could also generate the desired increase in agricultural productivity for poor and vulnerable households and can help to stimulate the transition from low productivity subsistence agriculture to high productivity farming. However, the lack of access to improved seeds has been identified as one of the major constraints to improved variety adoption. Meanwhile, adoption would not be possible without access to the certified improved seeds.
Lusubilo Community Based Programs, through sustainable Options Recommended for Testing (SORT) project, has been supporting the needy farmers with farm inputs such as fertilizer and seeds of improved varieties to increase crop production and productivity. The system that was used to distribute the farm inputs was through ordinary direct distribution. Although the project registered notable achievement in dealing with food insecurity, there were other implementation bottlenecks and constraints such as a farmer planting a crop variety of their choice.
In order to deal with these problems,The Lusubilo Community Based Organization piloted a shop seed voucher system.The system involves the use of coupons (usually digital) which have a monetary value. Beneficiaries were exchanging the vouchers for seed of their choice at selected agro-dealer shops within their locality. This approach has allowed farmers to get seeds of the crop variety that best suits their soils. Besides this, the use of vouchers for the provision of seed has proved to be straightforward and transparent; it has reduced the cost incurred to transport farm inputs to various places; it is timely in terms of implementation; it offers farmer an opportunity to test modern varieties; and empowers local community.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that cash/ voucher-based approaches can meet beneficiary needs in the most effective and cost-efficient way, by providing beneficiaries with the dignity of choosing preferred goods and services apart from boosting local economies and livelihoods by working through existing market systems.
According to one of the farmers who received a seed voucher, the voucher system has given the farmers another and he is very grateful to Lusubilo Community Based Organization for coming up with this approach.“This system of using voucher to buy farm inputs has given us (farmers) to choose planting materials of our choice and this will strengthen farmer seed systems and local markets” said the farmer.
Since farmers will have access to seed of improved crop varieties that best suits their soil and climate, it is expected that farmers will produce more and earn more income, reducing their propensity to fall into poverty again.
By Vitumbiko Ngwira
Every day, the safety and well-being of some children across the country are threatened by abuse and neglect. Intervening effectively in the lives of these children and their families is not the task of any single person or agency or a manager of child care institution; but rather is a shared community worry and task. This article provides basic tips for managers in institutions that take care of children. These institutions include; orphan care centres, schools and churches. The article provides basic tips for managing these institutions with aim of giving quality care to children and preventing any case of child abuse.
Managers of institutions that take care of children should always make sure that proper documentation is done for all children that are admitted to their institutions. Every child should have their own file which is kept confidential. Thorough research should be done on children being admitted to these institutions. Children should never be admitted for support without prior consultation with the concerned stakeholders. For example, for our case in Malawi, it is always good to consult the social welfare office represented in all the districts. Good documentation paves a way for authentic intervention on the individual case. Verbal admissions should be avoided at all times because information may be lost.
Give attention only to issues that you have capacity to handle. If your institution provides temporary shelter to displaced children, never divert from it because you may not be ready to offer good services. For example, never admit children with special needs when your institution does not have the resources to help. Resources entail; space, personnel, and finances. If you are faced with cases beyond your capacity, kindly refer them to institutions that are better placed, otherwise you will be causing more harm to children.
Creating awareness to children about child protection
You cannot protect children from abuse without creating awareness about child abuse to both staff members and children. It is advisable that all institutions that are taking care of children spend some time in creating awareness on child abuse to both children and staff members. Children should have thorough knowledge about abuse and be able to know where to refer them. It is not obvious that everyone knows child abuse. Managers should always plan and set aside time to share knowledge on child abuse.
Looking for national and global updates
You cannot work in isolation on issues of child protection. Register your institution with relevant bodies so that you are kept updated on what is taking place. The safety of the children that you are taking care of depends on the safety of your institution. So, make sure that you abide by the rules of country in child protection. As managers, encourage your team to join Technical Working Groups (TWGs) so as to learn about what is in the field of child protection. In conclusion, working with children is very delicate, hence the need for exercising extra caution. The above few points are just some of the ways in which institutions in child protection can better render services to children without abuse.
By Paul Mwandira
In order to strengthen the role of youth in the Church,
youth from St Steven’s Parish in Karonga recently visited their counterparts of
St Michael’s Parish (Chitipa Zone) with the aim of sharing experiences on the youth
ministry and appreciate their role in the Catholic Church.
During the two day visit, the youth have learnt a lot on
concerning the youth ministry.
Delivering a talk, one of the instructors from St Steven’s
Parish highlighted the importance of learning and sharing visits which give
young people to interact at various levels and the in the process learn new
ways of doing things. He expressed optimism that after the event, there will be
significant change in the way they do things.
Taking his turn, Methodology Advisor for St Michael’s
Parish, Paul Mwandira, highlighted the demands that the Year of Missio Ad
Gentes has placed on the young people. He further encouraged the youth to utilize
the opportunity that has been given to them by the Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the
Diocese of Karonga to grow in faith and minister to their friends. He said young
people in the Diocese have a special place in the heart of the Bishop, who also
commissioned them to minister to their friends.
Mwandira further urged the youth to reach out to their friends
who have lost their faith to come back to their fold and bring back those who
are no longer active in the youth ministry.
He reminded them that in whatever they do, they should not
lose focus that they do all things for the glory of God and the salvation of
their own souls.
The activity took place at Mubanga Outstation Centre as the
Chitipa Zone Centre was engaged with baptism and conformation.
A total of 130 young people were part of the gathering; 34
from Iponga Zone and 96 from Chitipa Zone.
By Benedict Masudi Kauteka
Forty five (45) junior Sunday school (JSS) children from St Denis Parish in the Diocese of Mzuzu, in the company of their six (6) instructors, visited their fellow children at St Anne’s Parish of Karonga Diocese from 8th to 11th August, 2019. This was a return visit as children from St Anne’s Parish visited them last year. This visit was meant to cement their relationship in Christ.
Speaking on behalf of JSS children from St Denis Parish, Tapiwa Moyo pointed out that their four day visit was enriching as they have exchanged a number of skills, values, attitudes, experiences and knowledge, with their fellow children from St Anne’s, which will help deepen their faith.
“We have learnt a lot from our colleagues here. For instance, a song of peace done just after receiving Holy Communion,” said Tapiwa. She said the song of peace communicates important Christian values worth living.
In addition, Matthews Kaira, one of the instructors from St Denis acknowledged that the children have learnt quite a lot from St Anne’s Parish JSS children, like a new tune of the Creed. He further said they have also learnt the extended version of the Gloria hymn.
Henry Mtonga, a junior Sunday school instructor at St Anne’s Parish also appreciated the activities which are done by junior Sunday school children together with their instructors.
“We have learnt, among other things, the administration monthly tests based on the instruction given to children,” said Henry in his remarks.
Junior Sunday school children from Rumphi perform a number of activities at their parish which include visiting and cheering the sick, visiting the elderly, attending instructions every Saturday, and leading liturgy.
On Liturgy, they do a number of activities which include performing the role of the usher, taking the readings, preaching and leading in singing.
It is the expectation of instructors and children from both parishes to see their relationship growing and enriching each other spiritually. Children were full of joy as they interacted with each other.
Children from St Denis presented gifts to their fellow children from St Anne’s. The presented gifts included items such as plastic cups, plastic plates and plastic bucket as shown on the pictures.
Finally, Rev. Fr. Dr. Steven Bulambo expressed his gratitude for the role played by junior Sunday children from the two parishes in the liturgy as almost everything was done by them. They took the readings, intercessions and led the singing during the service.
In his remarks, Rev. Fr. Dr. Steven Bulambo, the celebrant, advised parents to take care of their children for them to grow in faith and become responsible future and today’s Christians.
“It is the responsibility of every parent to ensure their children assimilate appropriate values, especially the Gospel values, for them to inherit God’s kingdom,” he said with emphasis.
In order to mobilise local resources to support pastoral and development work, the Diocese of Karonga owns and operates a fuel retail site at Chitipa Boma. The Diocese of Karonga bought the site from a businessman who has abandoned it in 2013. Since then, Chitipa Filling Station has been the sole formal supplier of fuel in the District.
The filling station is situated opposite Malawi Revenue Authority Offices and close to Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) offices. This site is nicknamed “The Base” as it was formally Malawi Young Pioneers’ Training Base.
The Diocese started operating the site in 2013 and has been supporting some of the activities of the Diocese through its proceeds. Due to some challenges, like absence of a canopy, it was hard for Malawi Regulatory Authority to fully certify it as a service provider. Puma Energy Malawi Limited was the first supplier of fuel to the Diocese at the site.
Following the recommendations of the regulatory body, the Diocese aligned itself to Mount Meru Petroleum as they promised to develop the place as well. The new suppliers of fuel at the site are now financing the construction of a canopy.
Another development that is taking place at the site is the transferring of tanks to a new site in compliance with MERA requirements.
The new tank has the capacity of 25 000 litres of any liquid. The installation of the new tank will help reduce fuel shortages at the site as there will be adequate stocks of fuel.
Chitipa Filling Station also sells engine oils, for both petrol and diesel. These are manufactured by Mount Meru Petroleum. A small shop for groceries has been opened at the station again to support surrounding communities and motorists.
By Benedict Kauteka
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has on 4th August, 2019 administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 150 Christians at St Anne’s Parish Station in Karonga District.
Out of the 150 confirmands, 103 are Junior Sunday school children an indication that the Catholic Church is growing steadily due to efforts of the Pastoral Commission through the Sunday School Project.
The Sunday School Project is playing a major role in laying the foundation of the future Church, which will have a strong faith base, as the project mainly targets children and the youth who are the future leaders and elders of the Church.
In his homily, the Bishop highlighted the significance of the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, namely; Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
He said the Church teaches that the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation lead us as Christians towards the sacrament of the Eucharist, in which we meet Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
The Bishop therefore admonished the faithful to open themselves up to the sacraments as these help in reconciling them with God.
“The only opportune time we have to reconcile with our God, as Christians, is now when we are still alive. Priests are there to help us receive these sacraments for the attainment of our salvation,” said the Bishop.
He bemoaned the youth, especially girls, who after embracing the Catholic faith leave the Church because of marriage. He advised the youth, particularly the girls, to keep on holding to the faith which they embraced regardless of whatever circumstance they find themselves in.
By Benedict Kauteka
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has taken the opportunity of the blessing of St Martin’s (Fulirwa) Catholic Church to deliver catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer.
In his reflection on the prayer, which is commonly referred to as prayer to Our Father, the Bishop said Jesus that in the prayer, Jesus did not only give us the words to use when praying, but also taught us how to pray.
The Bishop then isolated five themes contained in the Lord’s prayer which are; relating to God in an intimate way as Our Father; praying for the will of God to be done always; praying for our needs as represented by “our daily bread”; asking for forgiveness of our sins and finally asking God to deliver us from evil.
According to the Bishop, the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer are about the establishment of our deep and intimate relationship with our God who is our Creator, and giving him the total respect he deserves as God, the source of our being.
In addition, he pointed out that when praying to God we need to ask for the will of God, and not our will, to be done. He said Jesus set a good example on this one as he asked his Father, in prayer, that his will be done; and God’s will was indeed done to Jesus, his Son.
He also indicated that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we also pray for the food that we need to be taking as we move on towards our destiny as Christians. This food, according to the Bishop, is not limited to bread alone but extends to the Word of God, as it is our spiritual food, which we need to be taking as we journey towards God in heaven.
He also emphasized that in the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to forgive us the sins that we commit in our everyday life as imperfect beings and at the same time we ask God to protect us from the evils of this world.
Finally, he said there are so many principles and ideologies in this world that contradict the values of the kingdom of God and so in this prayer we ask God to protect us from such evil ideologies and principles of this world.