Catholic Diocese in Zambia Declares Unity Theme for 2023 Pastoral Year

Christ the King Cathedral of Ndola Diocese. Credit: Ndola Diocese

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ndola in Zambia has declared “Unity” as the theme of the 2023 pastoral year in his Episcopal See. 

In a Thursday, December 8 pastoral letter, Bishop Benjamin Phiri underlines the need of “working together as one team and family” in the Diocese, adding that other themes in will “always bear some underlying factors of Unity.”

“I declare that the theme of Unity shall continue to be celebrated in the coming year 2023,” Bishop Phiri says.

He adds, “Subsequently, in the near future, whatever theme we shall decide to celebrate as a Diocese, it shall always bear some underlying factors of Unity, that is, Unity will not be left out as we shall always attach it to the theme chosen to be celebrated that particular year.”

“Unity as it were, is the basis of calling to serve in the Church and being available and at the service of all in the Church,” the Zambian Catholic Bishop says.


He adds, “Ever since I took canonical possession of the Diocese on 15th August 2020, I have always emphasized working together as one team and family in line with the theme of Unity - which is the main ideology of my emblem based on John 17:21 which says in part: ‘That they may be one.’: 

Bishop Phiri continues in reference to his Episcopal coat of arms, “Following the inscription and design of my emblem, I have always aligned myself to leading the flock of God in a manner that is uniting and accommodative to all.”

“Even when I took the reins of the Diocese, I made it clear that we are to work as one and accommodate everyone despite differences of opinions in our past lives and backgrounds,” the Zambian Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 2011 as Auxiliary Bishop of his native Diocese of Chipata says.

He adds in his December 8 pastoral letter, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that although Ndola Diocese has made strides in solidifying relationships through the theme of “Unity”, a lot can still be achieved by maintaining the theme.

“I have further shown my determination to live by the ideology of my emblem by declaring to celebrate the Yearly Theme of Unity in the last two years in the Diocese. Although we have made some strides towards Unity, I strongly feel that we must continue with the same theme so that we keep on improving and bettering our relations with one another as one family of Christ,” he says.

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The Catholic Bishop has further decreed that the Prayer for Unity that has been in existence for the past two years in his Episcopal See be continued, and be recited during the celebration of Holy Mass throughout the Diocese. 

He says that more prayer cards of the same Unity Prayer shall be reprinted but without the year or the duration indicated on them as the prayer will continue to be recited in the subsequent years. 

Other activities that promote Unity shall be formulated and implemented through the Pastoral Office of the Diocese, Bishop Phiri says.

He adds, in his pastoral letter addressed to members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Ndola, “Let us remain a faith community that takes responsibility for each other's well-being.”

“Entrusting you all to the maternal intercession of our Lady and Mother, Mary, the Immaculately Conceived! Happy solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of our Diocese to you all!” the Zambian Catholic Bishop says.


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.