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Installation of Malawian Archbishop-elect Set for Later this Month

Archbishop-elect George Desmond Tambala. Credit: Episcopal Conference of Malawi/Fr. Henry Saindi

The installation of Archbishop-elect George Desmond Tambala as the Local Ordinary of Malawi’s Lilongwe Archdiocese has been scheduled to take place on the last Saturday of this month, November 27. 

The announcement for the installation of the Malawian Archbishop-elect was made by the Archdiocesan Administrator of Lilongwe in liaison with the steering committee of the Archdiocesan celebrations.

The event is expected to be held at the Civo Stadium, the venue that played host to the celebration of the official opening of the 18th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in July 2014.

The Holy Father appointed Bishop Tambala as the Local Ordinary of Lilongwe Archdiocese on October 15. 

The Archdiocese that is headquartered in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, has been vacant since 14 December 2020 when Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye passed on.

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The 53-year-old Archbishop-elect has been at the helm of Malawi’s Zomba Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination on 30 January 2016. 

A member of the Religious Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD), Bishop Tambala was ordained a Priest on 13 April 1996 at Chiphaso Parish of Malawi’s Lilongwe Archdiocese.

The alumnus of Nairobi-based Tangaza University College made his perpetual profession in the Religious Order that was founded by St. Teresa of Avila alongside St. John of the Cross on 15 August 1995. 

The holder of a licentiate in Theology from the Faculty of Northern Spain has served in various ministries, including Parochial Vicar of Kapiri of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Postulants Master and a teacher of Spirituality, and Superior of the house of Spirituality in Malawi’s Blantyre Archdiocese.

He had been at the helm of OCD in Africa and Madagascar before he was appointed Bishop on 15 October 2015, on the feast of St. Teresa of Avila.

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In an interview with the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s (ECM) Communications, the Archbishop-elect said he was surprised that he was chosen by the Pope to shepherd the people of God in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe.

“The appointment come as a surprise to me; we as Priests, one of the things that we come to accept is that our journey is full of surprises of obedience. The day I was ordained to serve as a Priest and that has been and is still my deep desire, but along the Priesthood we are sometimes called to serve in different ways,” the Archbishop-elect has been quoted as saying in the October 22 publication.

He added, “I was called and I was told that the Holy Father has appointed me as the Archbishop, I accepted because it is a call for obedience.”

“Am happy to be the Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese now and I have always been happy from the day I decided to serve in the Catholic Church as a Priest,” the Archbishop-elect further said. 

He looks forward to collaborating with members of the Clergy, women and men Religious and the Laity in the Malawian Archdiocese, he said, adding that he will "be counting on the experiences that I have before me, the experiences of other Bishops, the experiences of the Priests and the Laity.”

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“The shoes of the late Archbishop are too big to fill; I feel so small; he was an exceptional Shepherd but I am looking forward to (joining) this journey, which was started by Archbishop Ziyaye and with my brother Priests and the whole Church, we will move together,” he said.

Upon his installation on November 27, the new Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese is expected to shepherd the 24,025 square Kilometre Metropolitan See that was elevated to Archdiocese in February 2011.

The Malawian Archdiocese has an estimated population of 1,830,750 Catholics constituting 30.6% of the total population, according to ECM.