“Marriages between Christian ladies and Muslim men are bringing a lot of confusion, pain and suffering. I have witnessed incidents where such marriages don't end well,” the SDB Priest said.
He continued, “The marriage starts off well with promises of love. Sometimes, the ladies are allowed to marry in Church. Trouble starts after the woman gives birth to a certain number of children, to the satisfaction of her husband. After that, the woman is sent away and forced to leave her children with their Muslim father.”
Fr. Czerwinski told ACI Africa that the Church is trying to discourage such problematic marriages, and added, “But it is not easy.”
Apart from the Islamist agenda seen in the chaotic marriages, Christianity in Malawi is also in competition with retrogressive cultures which families, especially in rural stations of the parish, still hold fast onto.
Fr. Czerwinski shared about the Nyau secretive society of the Chewa people in Malawi, which forbids members from associating with Christianity. “This is a men’s group and it has very deep traditions. Members can’t be Christians. It leads to separations in families when a Christian woman marries someone belonging to the secretive society.”
SDB members, who are evangelizing communities in Lilongwe, and the outskirts of the capital city of Malawi also grapple with balancing the varying pastoral needs of the city and rural parish dwellers.
“The lifestyle of city dwellers is different from that of rural dwellers. While town dwellers work in offices, those in villages are mainly farmers and this makes it challenging for us to come up with a uniform pastoral program for them,” he says.
The SDB Priest who has ministered in Malawi for over a decade, and has been Parish Priest for over a year lauds the work of missionaries in the Southern African country, where the Catholic Church is “the most organized.”
“The population here is predominantly Christian,” he said of religiosity in the country where 77 percent of the population is Christian and 13 percent Muslim. At 17 percent, the Catholic Church is the biggest of the numerous Christian denominations in the country.
The Catholic Church in Malawi is very vibrant, Fr. Czerwinski said, and explained, “The people are very committed and very prayerful. They have very beautiful expressions of their faith. Many receive Holy Communion.”