Listen to, Build on “valuable memories” of Elderly in Synodal Process: Bishop in Zambia

Bishop Patrick Chilekwa Chisanga of the Diocese of Mansa. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Bishop of Zambia’s Mansa Diocese has directed that the elderly in his Episcopal See are placed at the center of the ongoing conversations on the Synod on Synodality.

In a December 1 statement obtained by ACI Africa, Bishop Patrick Chilekwa Chisanga declared the new liturgical year that started on the first Sunday of Advent as the year of the elderly in his Diocese.

Bishop Chisanga said that the height of the celebration of the elderly people in the Zambian Diocese will be on the World Day of Prayer for Grandparents to be celebrated in every Parish on the fourth Sunday of July 2022.

“The Diocesan phase of the Synodal process should not miss the opportunity to listen and draw on the experience, wisdom and valuable memories of the elders among us for a meaningful future of the Church and society at large,” the Zambian-born Bishop said.

The Year of the Elderly in the Catholic Diocese of Mansa is set to be launched December 18 at the Cathedral of Assumption under the theme, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land”.


In his December 1 statement, the member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) Conventual said, “In the light of the pastoral theme I have announced, it will be crucial to listen with particular interest and attention to the voices of the elderly; they constitute the indispensable depository of the traditional and religious wisdom of our society.”

The Catholic Bishop has drawn the theme of the year for the elderly from the book of Exodus, which he says seeks to incorporate the spirit of inspiration and orientation to the pastoral activities within his Episcopal See.

“I therefore declare the year of the elderly with the divine command to ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land” as the pastoral theme that will provide inspiration and orientation to all pastoral programs and initiatives throughout the Diocese beginning 1 January 2022 through to the celebration of the solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2022,” Bishop Chisanga says.

Parishes and Diocesan institutions are also tasked with the responsibility of launching the pastoral theme in January 2022.

During the launch of the theme, Parishes and the Diocesan institutions are called upon to outline the “specific pastoral programs and initiatives, especially of inclusion of the elderly in the life and mission of their respective circumscriptions, and recognition of their contribution.”

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Other factors to be considered during the launch include advocacy for the welfare of the most vulnerable and neglected as well as safeguarding those who are victims of superstitious beliefs in families and society.

Bishop Chisanga calls for inclusion of a variety of activities during the year of the elderly, including concrete actions from small Christian Communities (SCCs), lay movements, general sensitization, prayers, songs, reflections and radio programs.

The Zambian Bishop acknowledged the rich heritage of the Diocese and urged the faithful to proceed on the same path.

“Let us continue on this same path of journeying together in the spirit of Synodality and, in the light of this year’s theme, ‘Embracing the elderly with Christ's love,” the Local Ordinary of Mansa Diocese said.

He further said that the spirit of journeying together should not just be applied in the Synod process but should also apply in the context of COVID-19 where he said the elderly are among the vulnerable.


“This journeying together needs to take into consideration the current signs of time, especially as manifested in the continued disruption of the ‘normal’ pattern of human life by the COVID-19 pandemic, to which the aged are among the most vulnerable,” Bishop Chisanga said.

The Catholic Bishop who was speaking during the Mansa’s 60th anniversary called upon the faithful to be responsible for each other by adhering to the safety measures as advised by the health experts and the government authorities especially at a time that the new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered.

“The recently discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant has further heightened the already looming outbreak of the fourth wave globally and locally,” he said, and added, “All the Parishes and Institutions in the Diocese must strictly observe the guidelines provided by the Government.”

The Zambian Bishop also called upon the people of God in the Southern African country to go beyond safety protocols and get vaccinated.

“Alongside masking up in public, maintaining social distance and avoiding unnecessary travel and gatherings, getting vaccinated has been strongly proposed as an effective mitigating factor of serious infections and spreading of the virus,” Bishop Chisanga said, and added, “I therefore urge those who have not yet received the jab to make up their minds and do so promptly.”

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