“I come as your pastor, as your father,” Zambian Bishop Says at His Installation

The new Bishop of Zambia's Ndola Diocese, Benjamin Phiri during his installation Mass on Saturday, August 15 at Christ the KIng Cathedral, Ndola.

On the occasion of his Episcopal installation as the sixth Bishop of Zambia’s Diocese of Ndola over the weekend, Bishop Benjamin Phiri indicated that he would be a “pastor” and a “father” to the people of God under his care, facilitating their relationship with God.

“To the lay faithful, I assure you that I come as your pastor and also your father. I will do my utmost to help you reach God and I will do my  best to ensure that you receive the graces from God,” Bishop Phiri said Saturday, August 15 at his installation at Christ the King Cathedral, Ndola.

During the installation Mass attended by a limited number of people in adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the Bishop said that he would be guided by the principle of the common good in his Episcopal ministry, expecting dedication and discipline on the part of the faithful.

“I will not give special favors to anyone. Just do the right thing and you will be my brothers and sisters,” the 61-year-old Prelate said during the Eucharistic celebration that was presided over by the Local Ordinary of Lusaka Archdiocese, Archbishop Alick Banda.

Bishop Phiri who had been serving as the Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Chipata until Pope Francis appointed him as Bishop of Ndola on July 3 added, “I will not succumb to any manipulation or any way of putting me into whatever politics you may be having locally. I would rather we work together as the children of God.”


“I do not come to you with an agenda or a preconceived mind, I am coming so that we can work together,” Bishop Phiri told the Clergy and Religious that he will be collaborating with in his pastoral and administrative ministry.

He added, “As long as we are able to work as one, as a united clergy and religious, as one Church, as one leadership, then I can assure you that you have my support.”

During the August 15 event, which was attended by among others, all members of the Zambia Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCCB) as well as the Apostolic Nuncio in Zambia and Malawi, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone, Bishop Phiri announced that he had appointed Fr. Christopher Chowa as his Vicar General.

A clergy of Chipata Diocese, Bishop Phiri succeeds Archbishop Banda who was transferred to Lusaka Archdiocese in January 2018 and who had been serving as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.

During the 3-hour event attended by the country’s President, Edgar Lungu, Bishop Phiri appealed to the country’s politicians not to involve the Church in their politicking but instead strive for collaboration for the sake of the people.

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“A word to you politicians; do not drag us the Church into politics; our job is to unite. I am not ashamed to say that throughout my life I have never owned a party card; so I do not belong to any party,” the Zambian Bishop said and added, “But as long as we are able to cooperate to serve our people well, then we are going to be partners.”

Acknowledging Bishop Phiri’s call for collaboration, President Lungu said, “The Church and the government cannot afford to work in isolation. The two institutions serve the same constituents, hence a need for closer collaboration.”

President Lungu went on to express his government’s commitment “to draw more lessons from the Church by tapping into their wisdom in regards to service delivery to the less privileged in our society and also to cooperate in various fields for the good of all Zambians.”