, 05 February, 2020 / 3:36 AM
At the opening of the ongoing Sub-regional consultative meeting, the first-ever, that has brought together Catholic Bishops in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Zambian President Edgar Lungu who officially opened the gathering lauded the initiative of the Church leaders saying the convention is in line with the desire to unite the three countries, which have a lot in common.
“This initiative is commendable as we all aspire for unity of purpose, not only in the Church, but also among our people in the sub-Region,” President Lungu told the Bishops Monday, February 3.
“Our three countries share a common history anchored on social-cultural norms and our political history,” President Lungu said and explained, “The integration of Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe is profound and obvious. We share a common history. We share common borders. We share political history as we were once banded together by colonialists as a federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. We share the waters. We share the climate”
He also noted the three nation’s common challenges such as climate change, poverty and disease burden which “defies our political boundaries.”
The Head of State also acknowledged the efforts of the Catholic Church in offering “both spiritual and moral guidance” to the southern Africa nation.
The President went on to ask for the Church leaders to help in identifying false preachers who mislead unsuspecting people saying, “The Government has witnessed a growing and worrying trend of men of God getting embroiled in partisan politics.”
The Bishops' Conferences of Malawi and Zambia are among the eight members of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) that is headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Zimbabwe belongs to the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), which is based in its capital, Harare.
The Lusaka, Zambia gathering, which is the first to be held is a result of previous deliberations held among the conferences, the President of the Zambia Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCCB), Bishop George Lungu revealed.
“It’s important that we come together and reflect more deeply and profoundly on this responsibility we have before us,” Bishop Lungu said.
He added, “We as sister conferences have the potential to bring new realities in this region in favour of our mission of evangelization.”
On his part, the Apostolic Nuncio of Zambia and Malawi, Gianfranco Gallone reminded the Bishops that their main duty is to preach the Gospel.
The Pope’s representative also encouraged the Bishops in the sub-region to challenge politicians to embrace servant leadership, working for the common good of everyone in Society.
Representatives of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS ) and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) are taking part in the maiden Sub-regional consultative meeting.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa