, 14 January, 2021 / 8:05 PM
The Church in Eastern Africa is remembering the late Bishop Moses Hamungole who succumbed to COVID-19 complications Wednesday, January 13 for his social communication initiatives in the region.
In his life as a Cleric, the late 53-year-old Bishop who was at the helm of Zambia’s Monze Diocese since May 2014 served in various Church media entities locally, regionally, and internationally.
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In a January 14 statement availed to ACI Africa, the leadership of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) recalls Bishop Hamungole’s service as the Coordinator for Social Communications at the Nairobi-based Secretariat.
“The Church in AMECEA region shall certainly remember Bishop Hamungole for the 6 years (2002-2008) he served as Coordinator for Social Communications during which he organized many capacity-building workshops for national coordinators and Catholic media staff,” the Chairman of AMECEA, Bishop Charles Kasonde says.
The Zambian-born Bishop adds, “Even after his appointment as Bishop of Monze Diocese, he continued to be a resource person, supporting the Church in the AMECEA region and beyond in her efforts to enhance the use of digital technologies for evangelization.”
“With utter humility and generosity, he shared his dream for the Church's pastoral communications apostolate, enriched with his vast knowledge and personal experience at Yatsani Radio in Zambia, AMECEA Secretariat in Nairobi, Radio Vatican in Rome and his involvement with the association for Catholic communication professionals, SIGNIS,” the Bishop of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese continues.
In the January 14 message addressed to the President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), Bishop George Lungu, the leadership of the Association of Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa says, “The Church in the AMECEA region and beyond joins you in mourning his passing on, which is a huge (gap) which only God knows how to fill it.”
For the Coordinator of AMECEA Social Communications, Fr. Andrew Kaufa, his predecessor was a man who had “passion for communication”
“Few Bishops in AMECEA have majored in Communication and he was one of them. He was very passionate about communication and he was always ready to help where he could,” Fr. Kaufa told ACI Africa in an interview January 14.
The Nairobi-based Malawian-born Cleric added in reference to the late Bishop, “He came into this office at a time when the entire world was migrating from analogue to digital communication. He tried to enlighten people about digital communication and the importance of embracing it in the Church.”
“As communicators, we were proud and happy to have one of us as a Bishop. His death is a big loss. It is a big blow. It is very painful,” Fr. Kaufa, a member of the Montfort Missionaries told ACI Africa.
On her part, the Assistant Producer of the AMECEA Online News, Sr. Jecinter Okoth remembers Bishop Hamungole as a “simple man, easy to interact with and social.”
“I found him a very easy person to work with since he was so prompt in giving information that needed publication from the Zambian Conference. He would highly be relied upon for any information that needed clarification,” says the member of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Anna (FSSA) in a message sent to ACI Africa.
Making reference to Bishop Hamungole’s January 4 Facebook post in which the late Bishop had confirmed that he was in a stable condition while undergoing treatment, the Kenyan Sister says, “It was far from imagination that death was looming.”
“It was quite shocking and unbelievable to hear about the loss of Bishop Hamulonge. It’s painful and very sad that we now talk about him as the late,” Sr. Jecinter said and implored, “We pray for the repose of his soul that the Lord may reward his services to the Church as he rests in peace.”
Ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Lusaka in August 1994, Bishop Hamungole held a Licentiate in Social Sciences with a major in Social Communication from the Rome-based Gregorian University.
At the time of his death, the alumnus of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium also doubled as the Chairman of the Commission for Social Communications at ZCCB.
In a statement sent to ACI Africa, Bishops in Zambia describe Bishop Hamungole as having served “with distinction in spearheading the apostolate to and through the media as the Bishop Director for Communication.”
“He thus played a critical role in the establishment and advancement of several Catholic media outlets,” the members of ZCCB say in their January 14 statement.
The late Prelate was also the Bishop Director of the Association of Zambian Diocesan Catholic Clergy (AZDCC), a function he held with “immense love and deep appreciation of the irreplaceable (role) played by Diocesan Priests in the work of integral evangelization within the local Church,” according to the members of ZCCB.
“It is, therefore, our sincere hope that memories of Bishop Hamungole will always inspire the Church in Zambia to evangelize effectively by making good use of modern means of communication as well as inspire genuine vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood,” the Bishops say in their January 14 letter signed by ZCCB President, Bishop George Lungu.
The Bishops in Zambia go on to describe their late brother Bishop’s episcopal ministry in Monze Diocese as one where he served the faithful “with much diligence as their chief shepherd.”
“He will be remembered and greatly missed as a humble and developmental Bishop,” eulogize the Bishops.
The late Bishop was spearheading the construction of a new Cathedral in his Diocese, an initiative that received a boost last July when the Government of Zambia handed over a five-hectare piece of land for the church project.
“Your desire was to see Monze Diocese continue the growth of the faith championed by your predecessors but more so develop the Diocese of Monze and so you opened parishes and commissioned the building of the new Cathedral to be the symbol of the growth of the Catholic faith in Monze,” Sydney Mwamainda eulogizes in his January 14 Facebook post, recalling Bishop Hamungole’s initiative in the construction of the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Sydney Mwamainda also describes Bishop Hamungole as “a giant, Media professional with all the passion that the art demands including going it alone when no one sees light at the end of the tunnel.”
The late Bishop is expected to be laid to rest at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus grounds Saturday, January 16.
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa