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Category Pastoral Commission

A Call to Move Away From “Muzyoka Syndrome”: Reorienting Evangelization And Christian Praxis To Challenge Superstition

By Father Erick Nyondo

Over a period of time, the thrill and muse to write has never hit me. Surely, whether that has been out of choice or merely the focus on the “busyness attitude” that sometimes cripples hobbies, I still cannot describe. But I have been challenged with the discernible superstitious beliefs and conducts among the people I have for a limited time pastored. This has obliged me to coin a simple write up that would aid me evacuate my inner turmoil and disquiet over what I have observed and give suggestion for change.

It is a sad reality that 21st century Christian persons would still be chained in the shackles of superstitious beliefs and still adhere to the so called “witchfinders or witchdoctors”. The question that every reasonable pastoral worker would ask himself or herself in the fronts of these heinous beliefs would be: Has the Gospel of Light been entrenched in our souls? After all this charismatic and kerygmatic proclamation of the Gospel, why is the faith still skin-deep?

The honourable expectation is that with the advent of sophisticated academic progress, the technological and digital acceleration processes and inter-cultural confrontations we should all embrace more radicalized and liberalized mental-paradigm shifts by becoming more and more reasonable and logical. There is need for questioning our life circumstances and events and subject them to a relatively reasoned direction that would foster mental and spiritual maturation. The Gospel has been preached ever since to challenge our different beliefs, customs, attitudes and habits. It has powerfully exposed essential and reified conceptions of life and destiny. What a grace and fortune! To still expect in this “Reign of the Gospel of Light”, the presence of persons stuck in dark reign of superstitious beliefs and other related issues is sadly and worrisomely unfortunate.

To reiterate my pastoral experience and encounters in the couple of months that I have been a priest, I have been confronted with what I have styled in this article “Muzyoka Syndrome”. It relatively entails, the people’s desperate and perpetual recourse to magic, a flawed hope in the efficacy of certain rituals as being capable of unleashing certain hidden realities and intention and also a fatally flawed strategy of life that could decorate one’s fortunes without hard work and sacrifice.

The assumption of this terminology has further been enhanced basically by different sentiments that I have heard most often among the flock that I have pastored. For instance, I once heard someone at a funeral ceremony saying, “Mwana angafwa uli, kalipo kalipo, tamuchima”, literally meaning “How would a child just die? There must be something amiss, we will find out from the herbalist the truth of the cause of death”. Another Christian lamenting over the poor yield of his field uttered these words, “Mpunga wangu ghutacha kanunu, alipo uyo oyawila” literally meaning, “The harvest of my rice or the yield of my rice is not as I expected, there must be someone who has magically tampered with the yield”. These statements were pronounced by people who have been Christians for over twenty years. As a poor novice priest, with months’ experience, I felt deeply embarrassed, wounded and challenged. Deep in me, I felt a wave of unanswered questions. Do we as preachers have a problem? Do we really sow the seed that would yield a hundredfold? Would we ever be successful to engrave the Gospel of Light in the hearts of the people to ignite their credo in dark-moments?

All these unanswered questions led me to propose a better re-oriented approach to evangelization and Christian praxis. The following patterns of apostolate are my humble suggestions. We need to embrace a more mature and Christ-centred catechetical commitment as pastors of the Gospel of Light. This aspect should not be overlooked. It can be of help especially in introducing the young Sunday school children to the fundamental mysteries of life and its usual hiccups and align them to the mystery of Christ’s Gospel of Light which becomes clearer when life moments are precisely turbulent and overwhelming.

I would like to applaud the Diocese of Karonga in introducing Catechisms for instruction and faith formation. These Catechism, named Kasambizgani Mitundu Yose, have truly and continue to shape the faith of the Christians in the diocese. If we would move towards composing a Catechism on the Mystery of Suffering as grounded in the Paschal Mystery and orient the cries of the people to Christ’s redemptive paschal sighs in Garden of Gethsemane, their pains to the atoning thorns of Christ at Cavalry and their life suffocating moments to the hope of Easter Joy, we would eradicate the muzgoka syndromes that usually manifest in people’s dark times.

Secondly, there is a prompt need for the re-evangelisation of culture. What is expected for us ministers of the Gospel of Light in our confrontation with people’s cultural beliefs that are marred with awkward hopes in witchfinders and witchdoctors and their submission to “cleansing” rituals is to emphasize on the transformative power of the Gospel.

Furthermore, we need to make the Table of Sacrifice a “True Ritual” where everyone submitted to the Eucharistic Banquet would realize in their life a mysterious explanation of the life’s tragedies as being answered by Christ who is Broken and Shared to give us all a true meaning and dignity amidst torments. This demands a well-founded mutual intimacy with Christ, a deep rooted spirituality and an aggressive witnessing. We need to let the Gospel of Light radiate in all our parochial circumferences. Each ray of this Gospel must find its destination in a people so apt to transformation.

We all as ministers must fight the muzgoka syndrome so soberly, seriously and aggressively carrying the emblem of Christ’s Pasch.

Catechism quiz contest in progress among the youth of Chendo, Chipalanje and Ibanda
St John Paul II Parish Launches Youth Competitions for Ibanda Zone

By Benjamin Msowoya*

On 30th October 2021, St John Paul II Parish launched Catechism quiz and sports competitions for the youth of Ibanda Zone.  The official launch was done at Chipalanje Outstation by the Parish Priest, Fr Lorent Dziko, in the presence of parents, Church leaders and the youth from Chendo, Chipalanje and Ibanda Outstations.

The competitions are part of the parish’s effort to improve attendance of the youth during their faith formation sessions and other interactive activities that unite the youth and improve their participation in the Church. 

Mr Benjamin Msowoya briefing the youth on synodality
Mr Benjamin Msowoya briefing the youth on synodality

The youth of Ibanda Zone gathered at Chipalanje from Friday, 29 October to Sunday, 31 October.  On Saturday, before the actual launch of the competitions later in the day, the youth organised several activities to mark their day at Chipalanje.  They had a lesson on the Synod of Bishops (2021-2023) and they also gave their voice during the consultations on synodality (journeying together) as they experience it in the Diocese.  They freely shared on how they see various groups ‘journeying together’ better than others in the Diocese.  They also brought forward recommendations that touch on several areas of the Church’s life and mission on how to improve the communion, participation and missionary spirit in the Diocese.

The youth during group discussions on synodality in the Diocese
The youth sharing results of their group discussions
The youth sharing results of their group discussions

The youth were also involved in the acts of charity.  They visited three needy families, cheered them up, prayed with them and shared with them some items (such as soap, maize flour and money).  The people chosen for these acts of charity were all old and frail living within the vicinity of Chipalanje Outstation.

The youth at one hold where they did works of charity
The youth at one hold where they did works of charity

The youth also participated in a quiz competition.  Three teams (each with ten members) from Chendo Outstation, Chipalanje Outstation and Ibanda Outstation) contested in the quiz.  Chipalanje Outstation came first with 17 points (of 20 points), Ibanda Outstation were runners up with 15 points (of 20), while Chendo came third with 14 points (of 20).  Many youths were eager to participate in the quiz competitions.  Out of the 83 youths (38 male, 45 female) that gathered for this event, 30 participated in the quiz as contestants. 

Catechism quiz contest in progress among the youth of Chendo, Chipalanje and Ibanda
Catechism quiz contest in progress among the youth of Chendo, Chipalanje and Ibanda

Later on, all the youth joyfully participated in the football and net ball competitions that followed later in the afternoon.  Also present during this day were the Diocese’s Sunday School Programme Coordinator (Mr Benjamin Msowoya), the Catechetical Methodology Advisor for Kapoka Deanery (Mr Paul Sesa), Catechist for Ibanda Zone (Mr Andrew Mbale) and Assistant Catechist for Ibanda Zone (Mr Gabriel Simwera). 

Fr Lorent Dziko launching the netball competition
Fr Lorent Dziko launching the netball competition
Fr Lorent Dziko launching the football competition
Fr Lorent Dziko launching the football competition
Missionaries with Monsignor Chitete (5th from left) and Fr Mwakhwawa (6th) during the reporting session
Ad Gentes Missionaries Return From Their Fourth Missionary Journey

By Moses Raymond Kamanga

Reliving the Pauline missionary experience of planting and nurturing Christian communities to ‘the ends of the world’ Ad Gentes Missionaries, who have returned from their Fourth, Missionary Journey met at St Mary’s Parish to report on what the Lord has accomplished through them.

The review and planning meeting was graced by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete and the National PMS Director Father Vincent Mwakhwawa. Like the 72 that Jesus sent out two by two, though they did not perform spectacular signs, their journey is equally fruitful though not a walk-over.

One of the Missionaries to Tcharo (Seminarian Mwamulima) reporting on their mission

Of the many experiences, one breath taking include forming stable communities of converts most of whom are children expressing how hard it is to convert adults. Reacting to this, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete, said establishing a Church is not a one-day thing.

“Do not be let down by the adults’ slow pace to embrace the faith. Your joy should be in the increased number of children who come to Church because that’s the future Church.”

Fr Mwakhwawa (near), Monsignor Chitete (middle) and Fr Joseph Sikwese (far) listening to presentation during the review and planning meeting

In a separate interview, Monsignor Chitete expressed a word of gratitude for the missionary task which the Ad Gentes Missionaries have accomplished so far in preparation of the commemoration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October this year.

“We are short of words to God for what He has allowed us to achieve from the time we inaugurated the year of Missio Ad Gentes in February this year. We are happy with the increase in number of new converts, most of whom are children, and the increase in number of lapse Christians that have been reached so far.

Let this be a commitment of each and every Catholic Christian to take part in this as a way of fulfilling their baptismal promises they made with the Lord. Salvation has to be shared with others; it is not an individual affair,” concluded the Vicar General.

In his remarks, the National PMS Director, who came to grace the third reporting session, applauded the Diocese of Karonga for taking this unique approach in preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month. approach in preparation for the commemorate the Missio Ad Gentes month.

“Many Dioceses in the country have taken different approaches on the same but Karonga’s approach is very unique and bold. Sending Lay Christians to evangelise to fellow Christians sounds impossible yet very possible when commitment is applied,” said Fr. Mwakhwawa.

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Karonga commissioned 13 lay people (later 8 more joined) as Ad Gentes Missionaries to hard-to-reach places of Ngana, Lutushu, Ntchechenali, Chenga, Mlowo and Tcharo just to meant a few. In this mission, all seminarians and Deacons of the Diocese were added to the battalion.

Pope Francis declared October, 2019 as Extraordinary Missionary Month, to commemorate 100 years since Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter, Maximum Illud, on the propagation of faith throughout the world. The letter renewed the Church’s commitment to missionary work.

New members of Wamama Wa Chitemwano
307 Profess As Full Members of Wamama Wa Chitemwano

By Sister Margret Luhanga

On 31st May and 1st June 2019, a total of 307 women from all the nine parishes of the Diocese of Karonga made their profession as full members of Wamama Wachitemwano (Women of Charity) in the Diocese.

The profession tevent took place in all the nine parish centres and involved more than 2,500 Wamama Wachitemwano across the Diocese.

Wamama Wachitemwano is the biggest devotion movement for women only within the Lay Apostolate in the Diocese.  The movement exists following Christ’s command in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Their patron saint is Mary our Lady who visited her cousin Elizabeth and helped her.  On the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (31st May), they celebrated together as a devotional movement and inducted the newly initiated members into their movement.

Taking after the example of Mary who visited her cousin, Elizabeth, to serve her, these women serve by evangelizing through action.  They gather for prayers, faith and leadership instructions, and works of charity.

Wamama Wachitemwano Devotion Movement has about 8,440 members.  Every year, new members are recruited and initiated into the spirituality of the movement until they are deemed fit for full membership.

For this year, those that were accepted to full membership are the 307 women from all the nine parishes.  See more details about membership of Wamama Wachitemwano in the Diocese in the table below:

1 St Mathias Mulumba                               1,018                                  130                             23                                         13                    2
2 St John Paul II                                  573                                  275                             30                                         48                    5
3 St Michaels                               1,256                                  575                             74                                         46                    6
4 St Ignatius of Loyola                                  368                                  185                             30                                         50                    8
5 St Francis De Sales                                  217                                     44                               8                                         20                    4
6 St Annes                               2,694                                  355                             55                                         13                    2
7 St Marys                               1,054                                  540                             43                                         51                    4
8 St Joseph the Worker                                  552                                  221                             21                                         40                    4
9 St Stevens                                  708                                  230                             23                                         32                    3
  DIOCESE TOTALS                              8,440                               2,555                          307                                         30                    4
Youth Hold Inter-Parish Vocations Sunday Celebrations

By Benjamin Msowoya

From 10-12 May 2019, the youth of St Joseph the Worker and St Mary’s Parish Centres held joint celebrations of Vocations’ Sunday at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral.

The main aim of this event was to gather large numbers of the youth from the two parish centres and give them some instructions in line with Vocations and Mission.

They gathered at the Cathedral on Friday evening, attended several presentations on Saturday and climaxed with Mass on Sunday.

412 youth from the two parish centres attended the Saturday presentations which included the following areas: Missio Ad Gentes, Peacebuilding by the Youth, Vocations, Youth Stage on Stages of Human Development.

On Sunday over 500 youths attended the Mass which was presided over by the Vicar General, Monsignor Denis Chitete; concelebrated with Fr. Mathews Simwera, the PMS Director.

In his homily, the Vicar General implored the youth to take up the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd and make it their habit to seriously get in touch with him on every serious decision in their lives.

He also challenged them to maintain commitment in their respective prayer centres rather than just showing commitment when they are called for bigger gatherings at Parish or Diocesan levels.

This year, the youth in the Diocese are expected to hold a Diocesan Rally from 28-31 August at Chaminade Secondary School within St Joseph the Worker Parish.

Catechists who were part of the workshop
“The Church Needs Catechists who Can Perform,” Father Silungwe

By Ignatius Mvula

The Coordinator of Catechists of the Diocese of Karonga Father Bernard Silungwe has assured Catechists that his office will do everything possible to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills to perform to the best possible standard.

The Church needs catechists who can perform - Father Silungwe
The Church needs catechists who can perform – Father Silungwe

Father Silungwe made this remarks at St Francis Shrine (Kaseye) Shrine in Chitipa District where the Diocese organized a weeklong refresher course for Catechists and their wives. Father Silungwe further thanked those who had made the conference through financial support.

 “I am happy to see this happening. It is a rare gift that we can have funds to arrange this conference. We need catechists who can perform to the standard and this can only happen if we equip them with necessary skills,” said Fr. Silungwe.

The workshop which run from 22nd to 27th April, 2019 commenced with a day of recollection directed by Father Edward Kamanga serving as a Curate at St Michael’s Parish. In his reflection, Father Kamanga dwelt on the love of God as it radiates to all people and that we are called to carry this same love to others.

Among other lessons, the catechists were oriented on the Canon Law with particular focus on marriage. The catechists were drilled on the best ways of preparing people for married life and challenges in married life with respect to Canon Law.

They were also oriented on the Child Protection Policy that the Episcopal Conference of Malawi published. Mr. Mwawi Shaba emphasized the significance of this policy to all those who work with children and the vulnerable. The catechists pledged their support to implement the policy.

 “I am grateful that we are here to get to know all these things, it’s really very rewarding. I like the policy because it will help us serve children in our prayer centres better,” Said Catechist Paul Mwakilama.

On their part, the wives were taught on skills of Home Economics and how to develop their life both in the spiritual and social aspects.

The Diocese of Karonga organizes refresher courses for the Catechist every year after Easter. These have helped the catechist to grow in their ministry.

Children planting trees
Sunday School Children Plant 167 Trees at St Charles Lwangwa Substation in St Michael’s Parish

By Lonely Paul Mwandira.

Sunday School Children led by the Methodology Advisor of St Michael’s Parish Mr. Paul Mwandira planted 167 trees at St Charles Lwangwa Substation at a proposed site for new Church building.

Speaking during the ceremony which lasted for two hours, the Methodology Advisor said “Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year” this according to Mr. Mwandira said when trees are about to die, we should make sure that we make necessary measures to make sure that they survive.

The substation Chairperson also commended the Sunday school children in the area for coming out in large numbers to support the activity.

“Trees are very important because of the role they play in making the world a better place to live,” he said.

He linked the tree planting to this year’s Diocesan theme decreed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga Right Reverend Martin Anwel Mtumbuka.

“The same trees we are planting today will bring good rains and our children will have bumper yield in the future. In turn they will be energetic to evangelize,” said the Chairperson.

The activity was later joined by members in the community who deemed it good for the society.

Ad Gentes Missionaries Prepared for Their Special Task

By Benjamin Msowoya

The Pastoral Commission of the Diocese of Karonga has from Wednesday 27 February to Saturday 2nd March oriented 13 Ad Gentes Missionaries.

The orientation exercise, which took place at St Mary’s Parish, targeted the thirteen missionaries selected for the mission. Among the thirteen are twelve men and one woman. The aim of the orientation was to prepare the selected Ad Gentes Missionaries in some crucial areas before they go to their assigned places of mission.

The Ad Gentes Missionaries were oriented in the following areas:

What Missio Ad Gentes is Bishop Martin Mtumbuka
Catholic Social Teaching Monsignor. Denis Chitete
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary Mr. Ignatius Mvula
Basic Church History and Structure Fr. Joseph Sikwese
The Creed Fr. Joseph Sikwese
Introduction to Bible Mr. Benjamin Msowoya
Introduction to Liturgy Fr. Cyprian Ngoma
Basic Social Analysis Mr. Franklin Msiska
Basic Report Writing Mr. Deodatus Muriya
Joint Development of a Checklist and Action Plan for Ad Gentes Missionaries Mr. Benjamin Msowoya


The Ad Gentes Missionaries were inspired by several things during their training.  One of the most touching factors was the presence of the Bishop, the Vicar General and the Pastoral Secretary among the facilitators of the training.

“This means this missionary task is very serious,” one Ad Gentes Missionary, Mr Julius Simbeye, said when he saw the Bishop joining them during the training, for three consecutive days.

During the training, the Bishop discussed with the Ad Gentes Missionaries on the selected places for mission and assigned them as follows:

# Missio Ad Gentes Missionary Parish and Zone of Residence  Assigned Place for Missio Ad Gentes
1. James Mwasangwale St Joseph the Worker Tcharo (Mlowe zone; St Francis De Sales)
2. Zachariah Mwafulirwa St Anne’s; Wovwe Tcharo (Mlowe zone; St Francis De Sales)
3. Joel Murwa St Joseph the Worker Ngana (Iponga zone; St Stevens)
4. Donatus Mapunda St Mary’s Ngana (Iponga zone; St Stevens)
5. Peter Mwakihana St Joseph the Worker; Mpata Lutusho/Ngisi (Iponga zone; St Stevens)
6. Matthias Mwambughi St Michaels; Chisankhwa Mlowo (St Mary’s)
7. Charles Chawinga St Joseph the Worker; Wiliro Mlowo (St Mary’s)
8. Barnaba Chawinga St Stevens; Kasantha Ntchechenali (Lughali zone; St Mary’s)
9. Matthias Ng’ambi St Ignatius; Chisenga Diyadiya (Thumbo zone; St Ignatius)
10. Julius Simbeye St Anne’s; Wovwe Diyadiya (Thumbo zone; St Ignatius)
11. Linda (Anna) Kafunda St Ignatius; Chisenga Vilangale (Lughali zone; St Mary’s)
12. Ignatius Mvula St Mary’s Musipita (Wovwe zone; St Anne’s)
13. Benjamin Msowoya St Mary’s Chenga (Ngara zone; St Anne’s)


The Ad Gentes Missionaries are set to go to their assigned places of mission for the first time on 11 March 2019. They will stay and work in their places of mission for up to one month before they report back and regroup for further work in their same assigned places of mission.

The Ad Gentes Missionaries are a special group that the Bishop has tasked to go and evangelize in hard to reach places where there is little or no presence at all of the Catholic Church.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga declared this year (1 December 2018 – 30 November 2019) to be the Diocesan year of Missio Ad Gentes through proclaiming the good news, works of charity and promoting integral justice.

Bishop Mtumbuka flanked by the Vicar General, the Nyondo Family and other priests after the opening Masswith the Nyondo Family and pr
Karonga Diocese Holds First Ever Conference for Families

By Ignatius Mvula & Benjamin Msowoya

From 9-11 November 2018, the Pastoral Commission, through the Association of Catholic Families, held a Diocesan Conference for Families at St Mary’s Parish Centre.  87 families of which 84 were couples attended the conference where they received lessons and interacted as families from various corners of the Diocese. This Conference was the first of its kind since the Association of Catholic Families was established in the Diocese in 2015.

Bishop Mtumbuka flanked by the Vicar General, the Nyondo Family and other priests after the opening Mass
Bishop Mtumbuka flanked by the Vicar General, the Nyondo Family and other priests after the opening Mass

The aim of the Conference was to deepen the faith of the families that gathered through the prepared presentations and discussions on the future of the Association of Catholic Families in the Diocese by looking at the draft Constitution of the Association and the Action Plan for the following year.

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga presided over the opening mass of the Conference on Saturday, 10 November.  During the opening mass, one couple, the family of Mr Benedict and Martha Nyondo, renewed their nuptial vows as they celebrated 25 years in marriage.

In his homily, the Bishop emphasized the significance of family to both the Church and society. “We need stable families in order to have a stable Church and society”, he said.

He cautioned the gathered families that: “The vocation to marriage, noble as it is, is not cheap as seen from what it demands of the couples – more so in today’s world where selfishness is rampant”.

He encouraged the congregation to root their families on selfless love, learning from Christ’s unselfish love. He also asked all pastoral agents in the Diocese to put special attention to the pastoral care of families.

Also present during the opening Mass were the Vicar General (Monsignor Denis Chitete), the Pastoral Secretary (Fr Joseph Sikwese), the Chaplain for the Association of Catholic Families (Fr Joachim Mwale), several other priests, religious sisters and catechists.

The families that gathered for the Conference also went through several presentations on Peacebuilding in Families, Handing on the Faith in the Home/Family Today, How to Fruitfully Contribute to the 2019 Tripartite Elections and the Constitution of the Association of Catholic Families.

During the Conference, it was encouraging to hear many couples openly sharing the benefits of actively being involved or being part of the Association of Catholic Families. Many of them testified that the lessons on Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning which were done in their parishes have awakened them on how to be better parents.

Many others also said that being chosen as Lead Couples in their Small Christian Communities has assisted them to re-examine their behaviour in many areas and has improved their families; they try to live up to the title of “Lead Couple” in their area.

It was not surprising to hear requests from the couples that such gatherings and lessons should continue at all levels (Diocese, Parish and Zone levels) in order to allow more families to know that the Association of Catholic Families has come to stay and to allow more families get involved and benefit from the presentations during such gatherings.

The Conference closed on Sunday, 11 November, with mass presided over by the Diocesan Chaplain of the Association of Catholic Families, Fr Joachim Mwale.  During the closing mass, the couples that attended the Conference renewed their marital vows.

Participants fully contributed financial and materials resources towards the conference in terms of transport, food, stationery, refreshments and facilitators’ upkeep.

The Diocesan Executive Committee of the Association of Catholic Families was the main organising committee of this Conference.  Although less families attended the Conference than expected (87 families of the expected 120 families, representing 73%).

Vicar General greeting Church leaders upon arrival at Wenya
The Vicar General Visits St Ignatius Parish to Complete His 2018 Pastoral Visits

By Benjamin Msowoya

From 12 to 14 October, 2018, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, Monsignor Denis Chitete, made his pastoral visits to Wenya, Thumbo and Thelele zones of St Ignatius of Loyola Parish.  The aim of the pastoral visits was to establish closer contact between the Bishop’s office and the people (both Catholics and non-Catholics) of the visited areas.

Vicar General greeting Church leaders upon arrival at Wenya
Vicar General greeting Church leaders upon arrival at Wenya


On Friday, 12th October, the Vicar General first visited Wenya Zone, where people from both Wenya and Chisenga areas congregated and celebrated Mass together.  The following day, Saturday, the Vicar General visited Thumbo Zone, where people of Thumbo and Mwenje met him and had Mass together.  On Sunday, 14th October, the Vicar General completed his visits by meeting Church leaders and celebrating Mass with the people of Thelele Zone where Catholics from Nthalire were also present.

Some of the successes shared among the Catholics in these areas were good progress of catechism lessons among children of 5-13 years of age called Junior Sunday School.  It was also pleasing to see that more Small Christian Communities have gained more strength than before.  This is due to several initiatives taken by the Pastoral Commission during this special, “Year of Our Small Christian Community”.

Some of the many challenges which the people of these areas also shared with the Vicar General include: poor leadership (at Zone, Local Pastoral Council and Small Christian Community levels); inadequate trained and committed instructors for all categories, especially for the youth and catechumens; long distances (up to 15 km) between some prayer centres and small Christian communities – posing a challenge to many forms of frequent gatherings among the faithful.

People from all the three visited places of Wenya, Thumbo and Thelele unanimously requested for faith formation and training of leaders including instructors of children, the youth and catechumens so that their churches do not constantly produce half-baked Christians and leaders.

The Vicar General said that the pastoral visits had helped him to have a better picture of how the Catholic faithful and people in the visited areas live their Christian vocation as seen from their shared their joys and sorrows, successes and challenges. The Diocese hopes to refine its strategies on how best to accompany the people of these areas on their journey of faith as well as their socio-economic needs.

During the visits, the Vicar General met both local Church leaders and traditional leaders. The Parish Priest of St Ignatius Parish, Father John Moyo and Curate, Father Matthews Simwela accompanied the Vicar General in all the three places visited. Also accompanying the Vicar General were some pastoral officers and an officer from the Diocesan Tuntufye Radio.