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Renovation, Expansion of “community” Chapel in Zambia’s Kabwe Diocese Underway

Work has begun on a new chapel for St. Mary’s Parish, located in the village of Nambe in Kabwe, Zambia, thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Credit: Salesian Missions

The people of God in Nambe village within the pastoral area covered by St. Mary's Parish of Zambia’s Kabwe Diocese are set to benefit from the chapel whose renovation and expansion is underway, the Catholic organization involved in the project says in a report.

In the Monday, October 18 report, officials of Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) that is facilitating the repairs and expansion, highlight the beneficiaries of the community chapel.  

“Once the chapel is repaired and enlarged, more people will be able to attend services and meet as a community. Children will be able to use it as a community school, and older youth will be able to take classes in the space,” the report indicates.

Officials of Salesian Missions explain the use of the facility indicating that besides Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, “during the weekdays, the Salesian community utilizes these chapels for daily meetings and fellowship. Local women also use the chapels as meeting places and children’s pre-schools.”

In the four-outstation Parish of Zambia’s Kabwe Diocese, they say, “Priests meet people on a weekly basis for catechesis, prayers and sacraments.”

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The chapel under renovation and expansion “was in dire need of repair because of its thatched roof and rotting, hazardous asbestos tiles from the original construction,” officials of the U.S.-based entity say, and add, "The older structure was also too small for the growing Catholic community.”

Members of the local community are helping with the construction by digging the foundation, drawing water for construction, and engaging in other labor jobs, they further say.

In the report, the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek expresses gratitude to those who are contributing financially to the renovation and expansion of the places of worship.

“The chapels in these villages are a central part of these communities for people to learn, find spiritual guidance and support one another," Fr. Baek has been quoted as saying in the October 18 report. 

The lack of basic amenities such as water, proper sanitation and transportation in Nambe village is a cause for concern, officials of Salesian Missions observe, and say, "There is also a lack of education facilities for children, and people travel long distances to access a health center.”

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Many people in the Zambian Diocese are jobless as a result of the copper mines that have been shut down for decades, the Salesians say, and add, "The current source of livelihood is subsistence farming, which does not pay much.”

While SDB members are not able to address all the social-economic challenges that the people of God in their missions face, they "do provide a source of support and assistance when possible."

In Zambia, SDB members have also engaged in farming activities to help feed and educate children at an orphanage in Kabwe Diocese. 

The farm, which is also used as an agricultural training centre, "helps break the cycle of poverty and provide for financial independence," SDB members say in an October 11 report.