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Elected Diocesan Administrator in Zambia Says He Relies "on goodwill, cooperation of all"

Fr. Justin Matepa, the new Diocesan Administrator of Mpika Diocese in Zambia.

The newly elected Diocesan Administrator of Zambia’s Mpika Diocese, Fr. Justin Matepa is looking toward the collaboration of the people of God in his diocese to accomplish the ministry of running the diocese until the Vatican appoints a Local Ordinary, he has told ACI Africa.

“I am relying on the good will of the people who found it fit for me to be given this responsibility and also the goodwill and cooperation of everyone in the Diocese,” Fr. Matepa said during the April 22 interview.

Describing his election as “humbling,” the Priest said it is “an invitation for me to help with maintaining the diocese and working with the people of God.”

Fr. Matepa's election was announced Tuesday, April 21 by the President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), Bishop George Lungu.

“I write announcing that His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio in Zambia, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone has communicated to Mpika Diocese the election of Very Rev. Fr. Justin Matepa as Diocesan Administrator after the demise of Rt. Rev. Justin Mulenga,” stated Bishop Lungu in his letter seen by ACI Africa.

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Writing on behalf of his brother Bishops, Bishop Lungu who is the Local Ordinary of Chipata Diocese congratulated Fr. Matepa and implored God’s graces upon him.

“I wish to congratulate him on his election and pray that God may always guide and bless him in his pastoral endeavours,” Bishop Lungu said in reference to Fr. Matepa and added, “He should be assured of our support.”

“In addition, we remain confident that Very Rev. Matepa will work well with the clergy, religious and the faithful of Mpika as they welcome him as the Administrator of the Diocese up to the time a new shepherd will be appointed,” the 60-year-old Zambian Prelate further stated in his letter.

Mpika diocese became vacant on March 20 following the death of Bishop Justin Mulenga. He had been undergoing treatment for heart and kidney related illnesses at the University Teaching Hospital in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. He was 65.

Since 2010, the new Diocesan Administrator, Fr. Matepa has been serving as ZCCB’s National Pastoral Coordinator.

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Born on November 5, 1969 within the Archdiocese of Kasama, Fr. Matepa was brought up in the neighbouring Mbala diocese, which now known as Mpika Diocese.

He started his journey to Priesthood in September 1989 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Mpika in August 1996.

He ministered in a couple of Parishes before being appointed Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator in 1999. Eight years later, Fr. Matepa joined St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, USA where he obtained a Licentiate in Moral Theology.

He was a formator at St. Dominic's Major Seminary in Lusaka before his appointment at ZCCB.