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At Chrism Mass, Zambian Bishop Underscores Priests’ Mission to Foster Unity, Peace

Bishop Benjamin Phiri of the Catholic Diocese of Ndola during the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King Tuesday, March 30.

At the celebration of the Chrism Mass in Zambia’s Diocese of Ndola, the Bishop has underscored the mission of Priests to foster unity among the people of God under their pastoral care, and to be sources of “peace and serenity.”

“The Priest must always unite the people. He is a source of peace and serenity in the community. He is a beacon of light even when it is very dark,” Bishop Benjamin Phiri said during the Tuesday, March 30 Eucharistic celebration.

A Priest, Bishop Phiri said, “is a man anointed by God to bring consolation to the people, to bring liberty to the people, to help the people have confidence in life and in the community that they are in.”

“A good priestly life is not because you preach well. You must understand what you preach and live it so that others can see it from you. So that your presence can radiate the presence of Christ and people can turn towards God,” the Zambian Bishop told the members of the Clergy who came together to celebrate Chrism Mass at Christ the King Cathedral of Ndola Diocese.

He added, “As the Presbyterium, we must go the extra mile to lead by example.”

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Acknowledging that as human beings, members of the Clergy may get derailed, focusing on things that are contrary to their ministry, the Bishop who has been at the helm of the Diocese since August 2020 urged the Priests not to lose sight of their objective, “which is the salvation of the people of God.”

Bishop Phiri went on to encourage the faithful to take care of the Clergy saying, “Our responsibility as the Church is to take care of these men who will bring Christ to us so that the people can have the good news.”

The Clergy, the 61-year-old Zambian Bishop said, “must be respected and must be assisted” by the laity whose task “is to support the work that the Priest is doing.”

“Sometimes, we get so used to these Priests and we become very familiar with them and they look like everybody else,” the Bishop said during Chrism Mass that was attended by a limited number of people amid COVID-19 restrictions. 

He explained, “A Priest is not just anybody else; he is consecrated to God. He is anointed so that he can be the other Christ. He is a servant of God.”

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He went to explain the identity of Priests saying, “When we celebrate this day, it is a reminder to all of us that Christ is among us because we encounter Him in the sacraments that we receive. We receive these sacraments because there is one who is consecrated (Priest) so that he may deliver them to us.”

Making reference to the Priests’ renewal of their ordination promises during the Chrism Mass, Bishop Phiri said, “As we renew our promises today, let it be a reminder of this obligation.”  

At the March 30 Chrism Mass, the Zambian Prelate who was ordained a Bishop in April 2011 promised to be “a good Shepherd so that the Priests who are my helpers in this local Church feel supported and are able to perform their tasks well.”