About 150 dry spell survivors from Karonga South particularly of Lemero area have received relief maize donation from the Catholic Diocese of Karonga.
According to the Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary of the Diocese, Father Robert Songa, the Diocese thought it wise to distribute a 50 kilogram of maize to each dry spell survivor because they see people suffering from hunger due to low crop yield which resulted from the dry spell that hit the district.
“The severe dry spell that hit the district gave us an indication that there will be hunger in the district. So as sought for financial support from people of the good will from Germany. They Church in Need responded immediately with a MK 24 million donation which we have used to buy maize which we are distributing in the Karonga and parts of Rumphi, particularly those people affected by the dry spell,” Father Songa said.
Father Songa added that the distribution of maize will be done in phases and each person will receive 50 kg bag of maize.
Father Songa has however urged people of good will to come in the district with any kind of support so that dry spell survivors should not perish due to starvation.
Commenting on the development, one of the beneficiaries Esther Kasimba commended the Diocese for the donation which she termed as timely as her family was already struggling to get food due the prolonged dry spell which hit the district in February this year.
“We are very delighted with the donation that the Diocese of Karonga is offering to us and it is my plea that everyone who has received the donation should not to sell it,” Kasimba said.
The Catholic Diocese of Karonga has asked Christians not to be hand clappers of unrealistic political leaders who only show up when they need votes and varnish when people are in need.
Bishop’ and Pastoral Secretary of the Diocese Father Robert Songa made this call yesterday when he presided over a relief distribution ceremony of maize to people who were affected by the dry spell at Lemero Outstation.
Father Songa said it is pathetic to see people in immense challenges which ought to be solved by leaders they chose to represent them, but they are doing nothing in such areas.
“Its high time we have been hearing and seeing people clapping hands for such leaders promising heaven on earth during campaign times, but when voted into power they do not come back to the people’s rescue,” Father Songa bemoaned.
“Challenges are really hitting people hard in various societies, no medicine in hospitals, prices of goods are soaring every day, farmers cannot afford fertilizer, number of beneficiaries of AIP have dwindled this year, yet we have leaders who can bring solutions but we are seeing nothing at all,” Father Songa added.
He therefore, called on citizens to be vigilant and tell their leaders the truth when thing are not good they not fear them.
“I would want to remind you that the duty of politicians is not buying coffins when someone in your village dies. Do not only dance for them to give you a handouts which will not even sustain you, but tell them to develop your communities. Let them respond to your needs,” he further said.
Meanwhile, Father Songa has assured Christians of continued support from the diocese while advising them to take care of the food items they have received because it takes people of good will to provide such support.
Karonga Diocese with financial support of MK 24 million from Church in Need of Germany has reached out to 150 households which were affected by dry spell, and the distribution will also go to other parts of the diocese.
I enrolled with the Virtue Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF), offered by the University of Dayton in collaboration with the Diocese of Karonga, by the grace of God. My name together with others had been submitted to the diocese. I realized most of the people on the list were teachers from both primary and secondary schools. There were also Catechetical Methodology Advisors for the Catholic schools in the diocese. We were soon invited for orientation since it was the first time for most of us to take online courses.
I remember very well the first five-week course in Images of Jesus started on 28th May, 2017. Since that time VLCFF has not only changed my lifestyle but has transformed my way of living. The studies, reflection writing and the discussions on the board with fellow students from various dioceses have been very helpful to my spiritual formation. The beginning looked so humble that I could hardly realize that I could reach this far. The Images of Jesus, however, gave me hope that the journey would bear fruits.
Some of the courses covered like The Sacraments were practical in nature such that I would, in most of the times, use them either for my daily activities or use them for my students’ lessons. I honestly found some courses quite enriching. For instance, the Introduction to Prayer course was very touching.
I liked the mode of online lesson delivery with very effective and reliable facilitators. There is no time wasted when one gets enrolled with VLCFF. The courses were so motivating that one felt like going on with learning. As a teacher, I found the courses quite helpful. The courses added more information to my old catechism classes to the extent that I was more knowledgeable than before.
As a catechist, there is one particular learning experience that I gained most, lesson planning. I must accept that as a teacher, I am quite aware how important a lesson plan is for the effective delivery of the lesson in class. But to plan for a catechism class, it was like a taboo. I used to have only short notes for the lesson. After going through this course, I appreciate the importance of the lesson plan for the class. It is through the planning that a teacher discovers what resources may be required in the course of lesson delivery. The lesson plan is, therefore, instrumental in soliciting the right materials or resources for teaching.
On discussion boards, I learned a variety of experiences from other ethnic groups but with one Catholic faith. I remember very well to have enjoyed learning from the dioceses that allow their parishioners to kneel when receiving the Eucharist. I liked it because it shows our deep respect for Jesus Christ, who is present in the Blessed Sacrament.
Time management is another area of achievement that I attribute to VLCFF. Being a secondary school teacher with other responsibilities attached to the profession; it was not easy to meet the due dates for the assignments. As if that was not enough, black outs were the order of the day. Above all these challenges, I had to make sure time was respected. There were times when things went beyond my control. These are times facilitators came to my rescue with their proper guidance and encouragement.
My success for my spiritual growth with VLCFF is evident in many ways. My performance as a school catechist is from nothing but VLCFF. The skills gained in planning the lessons help me in delivering catechesis as well as conducting Sunday services in communities outside the school campus during holidays. VLCFF has made it possible that I should reach out the communities. Reaching out such communities is in agreement with the diocese’s motto: “We shall go to them”.
*Benedict Reshas Nyondo was installed Reader on 13th November, 2021. This is one of the two ministries one is supposed to receive before receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. He will be ordained Permanent Deacon in July, 2022.
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga on Saturday ordained Deacon Erick Nyondo to priesthood during a solemn Eucharistic celebration which took place at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral.
The celebration attracted Catholic faithful and people of goodwill from within and outside the diocese. Following his ordination, Father Erick Nyondo brings the number of Diocesan Priests to twenty. Father Erick Nyondo will begin his priestly ministry as a Curate at St Ignatius Parish (Nthalire).
During the same celebration, the Bishop admitted Mr Benedict Nyondo, of Immaculate Heart of Mary (Chisankhwa) Parish, to the Ministry of Reader (Lector), on his journey to becoming a Permanent Deacon next year. This is the first of the two ministries one has to receive on the journey to receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Mr Nyondo completes this journey in July, 2022, and will become the first ever Permanent Deacon in Malawi.During the same event, Bishop Mtumbuka also blessed the cassock of Novice Jeremias Villalba of the Society of St Elijah (a Missionary Society that complements well the Diocese’s Ad Gentes missionary activities) and are working in Chisenga in the Diocese of Karonga.
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has urged officers who work at the Diocesan Curia Offices to pray and do everything within their power to be found worth of paradise at the hour of their death.
The Bishop made this call on 2nd November, 2021, when he presided over Holy Mass commemorating All Souls Day at the Curia Offices which was a departure from the tradition of celebrating the day at Diocese level. This year, Christians celebrated this day in their respective parishes and not at Chaminade Chapel or nearby parishes of St Mary’s and St Joseph the Worker Cathedral.
In his homily, the Bishop observed that the custom of praying for the dead is common in many religions. The Bishop said in the Catholic Church, there are two adjacent days which focus on the dead.
“On All Saints Day, celebrated on 1st November, the Church celebrates people who were triumphant in this life and are now with God as saints. On All Souls Say, the Church prays for the souls of all people who may have died without mortal sin but still in need purification before they are ushered into the presence of the All-Perfect and Holy God.
The Bishop further said that according to what the Church teaches, there is nothing that we can do about those that died in mortal sin and are in hell saying “no number of prayers can redeem them.” He, therefore, urged all officers gathered to pray for their friends and relatives who died because they may need their prayers if they are in the purification process, in Purgatory.
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka presided over the Mass, with Fr Joseph Sikwese (Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary) and Fr Alick Sikwese (Director of Finance, Investment and Administration) as con-celebrants.
About 50 members of staff, Catholics and non-Catholics, working in various departments at the Bishop’s Offices (Curia) and those from Tuntufye FM Radio attended this commemoration of the souls of the faithful departed. Various members of staff presented names of their departed friends and relatives to be prayed for during the Eucharistic Celebration.
As part of preparations for the Synod of Bishops in 2023, the Diocese of Karonga has started collecting views on synodality among the clergy, the religious men and women. Karonga Diocese organised its first sessions of consultations among the clergy and religious on 26th October 2021.
All priests (diocesan and religious) and religious sisters working in Chitipa and Kapoka Deaneries of the Diocese met at St Michaels Parish; while all priests, religious brothers and sisters working in Karonga and Chilumba Deaneries of the Diocese met at St Mary’s Parish for their deliberations.
In their deliberations, they appraised the current status of the Church’s ‘journeying together’ as it is happening today in the Diocese. They were also forward-looking on what needs to be done in order to make this ‘journeying together’ better in the Diocese.
The product of their deliberations (their assessment and recommendations) will be consolidated in a report together with the views of the various groups of the laity across the Diocese; men, women, members of various lay movements and devotional groups, members of Small Christian Communities, the youth, children, members of other faiths that collaborate with the Diocese, officers working in various institutions of the Diocese.
With these first consultations done among the clergy and religious, the Diocese has a clear plan on how to engage further, the various members in the Diocese on similar consultations between October 2021 and March 2022. Before these first consultative meetings started, the Diocese formed a 9-member Diocesan Committee on Synod; appointed by Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka on 21st September 2021. The Diocese also launched the Synod on 23rd October 2021 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, announced that the Synod of Bishops will take place from October 2021 to October 2023. The theme of the Synod is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga today 11th April, 2021 led the Chiweta Catholic Out-Station (St Maria Goretti) Congregation in the celebration of the Divine Mercy Sunday. Chiweta Out-Station is under St Francis De Sales Parish in Rumphi District. The Parish is run by the Missionaries of St Francis De Sales (MSFS), also known as the Fransalians which was founded in Annecy, France on 24 October, 1838 by Fr. Peter Mermier  under the patronage of St Francis De Sales.
In his homily, the Bishop took time to catechize the faithful on the significance of Divine Mercy Sunday to the followers of Christ who are known as Christians, a name given to them at Antioch. Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by the Apostles on the 8th day after the resurrection of the Lord, he said.
According to him, this is one of the reasons why Christians from the time of the resurrection worship God on Sunday, the first day of the week, a day on which Christ rose from the dead, defeating death for our salvation.
He further mentioned that on the first day Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, one of them was not around and after hearing from his colleagues that Christ was risen, he doubted it. He continued to say that on the 8th day after the resurrection, Divine Mercy Sunday, the disciples gathered together again to fulfill what the Lord had commanded them to be doing, that is, to celebrate the Eucharist and share the Word. This disciple was now present and he could not doubt any more about the resurrection after Christ appeared to them again. It was on this day that Jesus instructed his disciples with the words “….do this in memory of me”. Therefore when Christians meet together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist where there is a priest or when Christians meet together on this same day to share the Word of God without a priest, they do exactly what Christ commanded them to be doing, he said.
The Bishop further pointed out that it was difficult for a Christian in the early days of Christianity to stand in the Synagogue among the Jews on the Sabbath day to preach about Christ as the Son of God who resurrected from the dead as some Jews who did accept Christ as the Son of God who had resurrected from the dead. The Apostles, therefore, began worshipping God on the first day of the week, a day on which Christ rose from the dead and appeared in the morning to three women and in the afternoon to some men who were his disciples.
The Diocese of Karonga has appealed to Kolping Family members to collaborate as they are all working towards spiritual and economic elevation.
Father Lorent Dziko, The Chaplain of Lay Movements and a Parish Priest for St John Paul II in the Diocese made the remarks after a three days supervision exercise in four parishes.
In his speech, he urged members to work together and learn from each other so that they can grow together spiritually and participate in agricultural activities to ensure food security in every household.
Father Dziko also appreciated the way families are able to work together to change their lives through the programme. He, however, asked the members to exercise patience as there has been a delay in distribution of some livestock due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with one of the members of Ibanda Kolping Family under St. John Paul II in Chitipa, Robert Kabaghe said Kolping program has helped them in so many ways like, the use of organic manure which is cheaper that chemical fertilizer and they are able to make money from the products made from farm produce and saving of money in their groups.
“Before joining Kolping we couldn’t yield more because fertilizer is very expensive for some of us to afford. But now through trainings that we undergo in Kolping we are able to make manure which we use in our gardens,” Kabaghe said.
Kabaghe also further expressed how much success he has gained in the Kolping Family.
“Through farming I was able to build my own house and now am looking forward to build another one for rent,” he added.
Concurring with Kabaghe, Lucia Gondwe, of Chimwemwe Kolping Family at Thabiro under St Apollonia Parish in Karonga, said this program has improved her life and she is able to find all necessities on her own.
“Now I am food secure. I am able to support and provide for my family. I am also able to honour my contributions to the Church like tithes, annual harvest and other Church offerings without struggles as it was before,” she said.
However, all Kolping Families in all the four parishes visited cited water as the main challenge to their irrigation farming drive. During the visits also included other taskforce members like Father Mathews Simwera and Prosperina Shaba who together toured 7 Kolping Families in Chitipa and Karonga.
On Wednesday, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga responded to the hunger situation of the people around the Bishop’s House at Mwenelondo by distributing relief food assistance and hand washing facilities for COVID-19 prevention.
Speaking during the launch of relief distribution, which took place at Mwenelondo in the area of GVH Melele in Karonga District, where about 35 households received food items and hand washing buckets, the Bishop said he decided to share with them the items to alleviate the challenges they community members are facing.
“As I stay in the same village with you, I see that most of you are poor. I wish you well in these hard times of COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Bishop.
The Bishop further condemned the act of burning houses and killing people just because of being accused witchcrafts. He said he will continue to condemn such acts as it is done to people who are poor and less privileged.
“What has happened to GVH Mwandwanga is very discouraging. But we will continue to condemn such acts because the one to suffer is the less privileged and it is counterproductive,” said Bishop Mtumbuka.
Acknowledging the donation, GVH Melele expressed his happiness as the donation will help his people. He has pledged to see to it that facilities for COVID-19 prevention are used accordingly.
“I am very happy and thankfully to the Diocese and the Bishop of Karonga Diocese as the donation will help my people as they struggle to source for themselves,” GVH Melele.
During the ceremony, the Bishop launched the relief distribution exercise. The donated items are part of COVID-19 response initiative which is being facilitated by the Development Desk of the Diocese of Karonga. The relief items have been donated by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.