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Vicar General Launches COVID-19 Relief Distribution

By Maureen Pity Soko

Responding to the hunger situation and the hardships people are going through in the country due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Diocese of Karonga on Tuesday launched Food Relief Distribution at Lughali in the area of Principal Group Village Head Kayuni, under the Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga District where one hundred (100) households received 3 (50 kilogram) bags of maize and 20 kilograms of beans each.

Mons. Chitete (in black facemask) with some of the beneficiaries
Mons. Chitete (in black facemask) with some of the beneficiaries

Speaking during the launch, the Vicar General Monsignor Denis Chitete, said it is the duty and mission of the diocese to always come in and assist the poor and vulnerable especially during difficult times.

“As a diocese, we think it’s our duty, calling and mission to always identify with the poorest of the poor especially in difficult times. In the midst of Covid-19 we deemed it important that we should come up with a project to give food relief mainly to the elderly and vulnerable to protect their lives as well as boosting their immune system.” said the Vicar General.

Monsignor Chitete further condemned the act of killing elderly people on witchcraft allegations. He said the diocese will continue condemning such acts as it is done to people who are poor and less privileged.

“What has been happening in this area is inhuman and discouraging. We said we will stop all projects and activities in such areas but due to the pandemic, the Bishop has decided to help. As diocese we will continue to condemn such acts because the ones to suffer are the less privileged and it is counterproductive,” the Vicar General said.

Receiving the donation, Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson for Lupembe Orwin Ndovi, expressed gratitude as the donation will help the people, especially the elderly, as they were failing to find food for themselves.

“I am thankfulness to the Bishop and the whole Diocese of Karonga for the donation. The Food items will help my people as they struggle to source for themselves, especially the elderly,” Ndovi said.

Catholic Scouts of the Diocese of Karonga are leading the relief distribution exercise after identifying and verifying beneficiaries. A similar exercise will be done in Mpata and Nyungwe respectively.

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.

Monsignor Chitete Celebrates First Mass at Juma Community

By Benjamin Msowoya

10th June, 2018 will go into annals of Juma Catholic Community and the Diocese of Karonga as a day of historic significance.  In keeping with the Diocesan motto “We Shall Go to Them”, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, Monsignor Denis Chitete, celebrated first Mass at Juma on this day.

Mons. Denis Chitete giving rosaries to Sunday School Children of Juma

Juma Catholic community is one of the fruits of visiting un-evangelized areas that was done about two years ago (in 2016).  The small Catholic community at Juma has continued to grow since its establishment during the first visit.

This encouraged the Pastoral Team of St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, headed by the Vicar General, who is also the Administrator of St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, to visit and celebrate first Mass at Juma.

Juma is located in the hilly forest that is to the south-east of Kayerekera Uranium Mine site.  It is extremely difficult to reach the community by vehicle, since only special four-wheel drive vehicles can make it on the difficult terrain and undeveloped paths to Juma.

The Vicar General went to Juma accompanied by some Catholic Christians of Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre, to which Juma Catholic Community is attached as a small Christian community.  Travelling to Juma was not all smooth as the 4×4 vehicle still got stuck in one of the running rivers that is full of sand.  The rest of the journey, one hour walk, was done on foot using different shortcuts that cut through the hills and forest to Juma.

The Juma Community, led by their Group Village Headman, Mr Juma Kaira, warmly welcomed the Vicar General and all Christians that accompanied him.  The Group Village Headman, though not a Catholic, assured the Vicar General that he was welcome to their community and shared with him the joys and sorrows of his community.  Afterwards, the Vicar General and the traditional leaders, together with the community of Catholics and many non-Catholics celebrated Mass.

In his homily, the Vicar General cautioned the Christians of the cost of faithfully following Christ.  He said that just as Christ their Master was called Beelzebul, they too will be called names but that should not weaken their stance on following the way of Christ. He also encouraged the Catholic community of Juma and Sere Kayuni to be more united, support each other, as they grow into strong prayer centres.

Juma Catholic Community still meets as a small Christian community and are closely accompanied with support from Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre that is about 10 kilometres away.  They still do not have a proper Church building for their prayers.  They have elected a simple grass thatched shelter for this purpose.  They are a small Catholic community broken down as follows:

Category Receiving Communion Not Receiving Communion Male Female Total
Adults 2 11 9 4 13
Youth 0 3 3 0 3
Sunday School Children 0 15 11 4 15
Adult Catechumens 8 4 12
Child-Catechumen 11 4 15

Acknowledging the need to support the Juma Catholic community to grow, the Vicar General gave some gifts, mostly catechetical materials, after the Eucharistic Celebration.  He gave a Tumbuka bible, Tumbuka hymn book, catechisms and liturgical calendars.  He also gave footballs, netballs and rosaries to Sunday school children of Juma.

The Vicar General has promised the Juma Catholic community another visit before the end of this year.  His next visit will be preceded with several visits by officers in the Pastoral Commission and the Christians of Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre as a way of continued support and monitoring of the growth of this young Catholic community.

JUMA TRIP IN PICTURES

The walk to Juma begins, leaving the vehicle stuck in deep sand in one of the running streams
The walk to Juma begins, leaving the vehicle stuck in deep sand in one of the running streams

Taking shortcuts to Juma
Taking shortcuts to Juma

 

 

 

 

 

 

Led by Mr Mhango of Juma (far right) the four stand at the site where the Juma Catholic Community conngreagate for liturgy in the shelter behind them
Led by Mr Mhango of Juma (far right) the four stand at the site where the Juma Catholic Community congregate for liturgy in the shelter behind them

The Simple shelter used a Church built by the Juma Catholics
The Simple shelter used a Church built by the Juma Catholics

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vicar General on a procession at the beginning of Mass; allowed to celebrate mass in a classroom block at Juma CCAP Primary School since the Catholic community has no proper Church building
The Vicar General on a procession at the beginning of Mass; allowed to celebrate mass in a classroom block at Juma CCAP Primary School since the Catholic community has no proper Church building

The Vicar General blesses part of the harvest offering to the Church by the Juma Catholics
The Vicar General blesses part of the harvest offering to the Church by the Juma Catholics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vicar General receiving a goat as gift from the Juma Community
The Vicar General receiving a goat as gift from the Juma Community

Mons. Denis Chitete has a group photo with the congregation after Mass at Juma
Mons. Denis Chitete has a group photo with the congregation after Mass at Juma

The Vicar General with members of Farmer's Group in Chisenga
Monsignor Denis Chitete Tours Projects Being Implemented by the Diocese of Karonga

By Deodatus Muriya

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga Monsignor Denis Chitete conducted a monitoring tour in the Diocese to appreciate the progress being made in the various projects being implemented by the Diocese.

The monitoring tour which started on 29th May, 2018 and ended on 1st June, 2018 saw the Vicar General visiting Caritas Commission and Finance, Investment and Administration project sites in Chitipa.

The Vicar General with members of Farmer's Group in Chisenga
The Vicar General with members of Farmer’s Group in Chisenga

In the area of traditional authority Mwenewenya, the Monsignor Chitete visited Chisenga Clinic, which is yet to be opened. The clinic will be managed Lusubilo Orphan Care an establishment under the Diocese of Karonga. Once opened, the clinic will serve community members in the area who travel about 51 Kilometers, a journey which lasts about two hours due to poor road condition, to the District Hospital at Chitipa Boma. The clinic will offer out-patient and maternity services at its inception. The Vicar General expressed satisfaction with the progress of work being done to open the clinic.

The Vicar General also visited Chisenga Radio Listening Club under Promotion of High Quality, Accountable and Responsive Public Health Service Delivery in Karonga and Chitipa districts. The project is been funded by OSISA and is implemented by Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese. The RLCs play a crucial role in the project by taking action on health rights concerns of their communities through amplifying issues and demands through the radio.  The Vicar general encouraged the members to continue doing activities which aim at building team spirit such as Village Saving and Loans (VSL).

Still in Chisenga, Monsignor Chitete interacted with farmers’ group in Chisenga where the Integrated Rural Development Project set up demonstration plots on the use of sustainable agricultural practices in crop production and soil improvement. The technologies promoted are use of compost and liquid manure, use of leguminous crops for interplanting, use of crop mulching for improving water conservation and soil fertility and practicing crop rotation for soil improvement and pest and diseases control.

The farmers visited expressed satisfaction with the technologies as one way of improving crop production and income diversification. The demo plots act as a school for learning and farmers are encouraged to implement the technologies of their choice in their respective fields. The Vicar General encouraged the farmers to transfer what they have learnt to their own fields in order to achieve the aim of the demonstration plots.

The Vicar General (first from right) at Misuku Coffee Farm franked by the Farm Manager, Charles Mtumbuka, M&E Officer Deodatus Muriya and Mavuto Chitete
The Vicar General (first from right) at Misuku Coffee Farm franked by the Farm Manager, Charles Mtumbuka, M&E Officer Deodatus Muriya and Mavuto Chitete

During the same monitoring tour, the Vicar General interacted with CCJP Paralegal Volunteers who were undergoing going a two day training at Lufita. This is under the Women’s and Girls’ Rights Project which is being  supported by Misereor – Germany. The Vicar Genearal graced the closing ceremony.

The Vicar also toured the two farms where he was assured that through them the diocese will be able to generate resources for the Diocese. The Diocese through its investments section is running Misuku Coffee Farm and Chipunga Farm Limited in Nkhatabay.  At Chipunga Farm there is coffee, fruits, macadamia, timber but also vegetables.

At Misuku Coffee Farm there is coffee and bananas. Coffee from Misuku Farm passed quality assessment by German coffee experts with triple ‘A’ (AAA); meaning it qualified for German market as this is the highest rank coffee can get.

Picture of Vicar General of Karonga Diocese Urges Catholic Youth to be Exemplary
Vicar General of Karonga Diocese Urges Catholic Youth to be Exemplary

By Joseph Nyondo & Patricia Kimangira

The Vicar General of Karonga Diocese, Monsignor Denis Chitete, has urged Young Christian Students in the Diocese to set a good example among their fellow youths by developing deep love for prayers and desisting from immoral behaviour.

Picture of Vicar General of Karonga Diocese Urges Catholic Youth to be Exemplary
“Be exemplary” Monsignor Desin Chitete giving life giving lessons

Monsignor Chitete said this at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral on the sidelines of the Young Christian Students’ Rally during the Holy Week.

Monsignor Denis Chitete, who is also the Moderator of St Joseph the Worker Cathedral Parish, said lack of deep rooted faith is the root cause of bad behaviour among young people. He urged the young people to use rally as an opportunity to develop their spiritual life which will in turn foster positive behavior in their lives.

Picture of Prayer session at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral
Prayer session at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral

The Vicar General said the lessons targeted learners from boarding secondary schools, and others who missed the previous youth rally, since they also need lessons to guide them grow spiritually.

The YCS Rally attracted 219 students from Chaminade, Maghemo and Karonga Girls secondary schools; Baka and St Monica community day secondary schools and Matema Private Secondary School.

Under the theme ‘Revamping YCS in Schools’ participants were called upon to reflect on different topics aimed at strengthening their spiritual life and equipping them with necessary life skills to grow physically.

Among the topics were: seasons of the Church with emphasis on Easter Triduum, vocations, role of the youth in shaping the society, behaviour change among the youth, career guidance and sexual and reproductive health.

Picture of A cross section of participants during the meeting
Pastoral Commission Holds Review Meeting

By Moses Raymond Kamanga

Two heads are better than one is an old adage but its relevance is ever new. Believing in this adage, the Pastoral Commission of the Diocese of Karonga has brought together all its key players in the Commission to review some of the activities it carries out for better continuity.

Picture of A cross section of participants during the meeting
A cross section of participants during the meeting

Opening the meeting at Viphya Lodges in Chilumba, Father Joseph Sikwese, Head of Pastoral Section and the Bishop’s Secretary, mentioned that the meeting is necessary because it gives a better chance for interfacing, bringing ideas together, sharing challenges and together moving forward as a unit as “two heads are better than one”.

“The meeting is important because it brings all players in the Pastoral Commission together. We have Parish Priests from all the parishes in the Diocese, Chaplains, Catechetical Methodology Advisors and other stakeholders including the diocesan radio (Tuntufye FM Radio)” said Fr Sikwese.  Also in attendance is Monsignor Denis Chitete, who is the Vicar General, Chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission and Administrator of St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral.

The meeting scheduled for two days (27th and 28th of February) is aimed at among others receiving reports from departments under the Pastoral Commission and reviewing the Sunday School Project activities and ironing out challenges for effective pastoral ministry.

In an exclusive interview with the Chairperson of the Pastoral Commission, Monsignor Denis Chitete, stressed that the review meetings of this kind are very beneficial for they help to look back and check where things have gone well to be upheld and those that have posed challenges to be done in a better way.

“In general terms, I would say the Pastoral Commission has been on a good pace and the reports are encouraging. From the time we launched and started using our new catechism, we have made a lot progress,” said Monsignor Chitete.