By Brian Kachitete & Innocent Nazombe
In order to raise funds for the running of major seminaries in Malawi, Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga led the celebration marking the launch of the National Seminary Fund at Diocese level on 12th May 2018.
The launch which took place at Mubanga Outstation under St Michael’s Parish was graced by, among other dignitaries, the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi Right Honourable Saulos Klaus Chilima and Madam Mary Chilima, the Speaker of the National Assembly Honourable Richard Msowoya MP, leader of Umodzi Party Professor Chisi and Parliamentarian for Karonga Central Constituency Hon. Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo.
In his homily, which was based on the readings for Pentecost Sunday, Bishop Mtumbuka urged the congregation to entrench unity and peace which are fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Bishop said, division and violence are a clear indication that the Holy Spirit is not reigning among the people.
The Bishop observed that there is too much division in families, villages, political parties and in the country as a whole which is a clear sign that we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to reign. He urged the congregation to allow the Holy Spirit reign in their lives.
The Bishop equated the confusion and division in political parties to the Tower of Babel, where language confusion foiled a larger tower building project. Bishop Mtumbuka further condemned the practice of choosing people or discriminating against them based on their religion or tribe.
At this point, the Bishop urged political leaders to be mindful of their spiritual life, their relationship with God by cultivating deep love for prayers if lasting peace is to be achieved.
Addressing the congregation, the Vice President commended the Catholic Church for launching the National Seminary Fund. He said the fund will go a long way in reducing the many challenges the seminaries are facing.
He urged Christians and people of good will to generously contribute towards the seminaries, which play an important role of forming priests.
‘‘Well trained priests are important to the Church and to everyone. The seminary fund gives everyone an opportunity to take part in the training of future priests,’’ he said.
The Vice President donated MK 1 million towards the fund. Other notable donations are MK 300,000 from the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and MK 50,000 from Professor John Chisi. The function at Mubanga raised a total of MK 1.8 million in cash, excluding the donations that came through envelopes.
The National Seminary Fund is an initiative of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi. Through the fund, Christians are encouraged to contribute to the training of priests by making commitments to make monthly or annual contributions or adopting seminarians and catering for their academic and personal needs.
In 2017, the Catholic Bishops of Malawi set aside the Pentecost Sunday as National Seminary Day to raise funds for the running of major seminaries in Malawi. Other Dioceses launched the fund on Pentecost Day last year.