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Auxiliary Bishop of Zambia’s Chipata Diocese Transferred to Ndola as Bishop

Bishop Benjamin Phiri, newly appointed Bishop of Ndola Diocese, Zambia

Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Phiri who has been serving in Zambia’s Diocese of Chipata since his episcopal ordination in April 2011 has been transferred to the Diocese of Ndola following his appointment as Bishop of the same Diocese located in the Copperbelt region of the Southern African nation.

A notification of Bishop Phiri’s appointment was sent from the Apostolic Nunciature in Zambia to the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) Thursday, July 2 ahead of the official announcement the following day, Friday, July 3 that was also published by the Holy See Press Office.

“I wish to communicate to you that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Right Rev. Benjamin Phiri, presently Auxiliary Bishop of Chipata, as Bishop of the Diocese of Ndola,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Zambia, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone stated in the July 2 letter addressed to ZCCB Secretary General, Fr. Cleophas Lungu.

Ndola Diocese has been vacant since January 2018 when Archbishop Alick Banda was transferred to Zambia’s capital as the Local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Archbishop Banda has been heading the Diocese as an Apostolic Administrator since January 2018. 

Born in June 1959 in the Diocese of Chipata, Bishop Phiri was ordained a priest of the same Diocese in September 1986.

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He holds a licentiate in Canon Law from the Rome-based Pontifical Urban University (Urbaniana).

The Prelate has previously served as the National Director of ZCCB’s Pastoral Office and Director of the Vocational Pastoral Ministry in the Diocese of Chipata.

As a Priest, Phiri also served as a Personal Secretary of the former Bishop of Chipata, Medardo Mazombwe who was, in November 1996, appointed the Archbishop of Lusaka and later, after his retirement in October 2006, elevated to Cardinal in November 2010. He died in August 2013.

Bishop Phiri will be shepherding the people of God in Ndola Diocese that is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lusaka. It measures 32,000 km² and has a population of about 1.6 million Catholics as per 2017 statistics.

Bishop Phiri has previously spoken about Church leaders not harboring hatred in their pronouncements against society’s ills but instead meaning well for all citizens of the same government.

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“When the church speaks, it is not speaking because it has ill will or because it has something against somebody,” was quoted as saying in 2017 and adding in reference to Bishops in Zambia, “Our task is to ensure the welfare and the wellbeing of the flock which happens also to be your constituency.”