The Zambian Catholic Church celebrated its 125th anniversary July 2017. Photo courtesy of Krzysztof Błażyca, Wikimedia Commons

A Church on mission – Zambia celebrates 125 years of the Catholic faith

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  • July 31, 2017

LUSAKA, Zambia – As Zambia concluded a year of celebration marking 125 years since the Church was established in the country, its bishops have said that while it was once a missionary Church, it is now a Church on mission.

“Share your faith with other people, members of your extended families, and with other Zambians. Faith that is not shared remains small and is infantile. Faith shared is multiplied,” Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu of Lusaka said at a July 14-15 ceremony in the nation's capital.

“Since the Church in Zambia has grown, it is now time to send missionaries to the world,” agreed the Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia, Archbishop Julio Murat, noting it was time to be a witness to Western countries.

The two-day celebration included a focus on youth and on the variety of Catholic activities, highlighting the differences among the 11 Zambian dioceses.

Fr. Stanley Lubungo, superior general of the Missionaries of Africa, or 'White Fathers', said that “today should also be about keeping alive the memory of our ancestors in the faith by imitating them. But we will not do that simply through symposiums, workshops or even grandiose liturgies … if we do not continue to look for ways in which the flame of the passion of our ancestors in the faith can empower us to lead the kind of committed lives they led at the service of the needy.”

“It is in that way that our Catholic faith will become a beacon of hope as we strive to reach out to those that society casts to the peripheries,” he added.

The event also attended by the Zambian vice president, Inonge Wina, who praised the Church for its work in education and social support, saying the “the Catholic Church has continued to be a strong and reliable partner with government in not only the delivery of social services but also in advocating for integral development.”

She recognized that although the Zambian government and the Church haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, both parties have similar goals. In a January collaboration, the government and the Church emphasized the need for more communication between the government and the Church as well as the need to combat tribalism.

Zambia was colonized by European nations in the 19th century, and missionaries were among the early European contacts with the natives. Jesuits and Franciscans established missions in the country's south, while the White Fathers were based in the north, starting in 1891.

(Catholic News Agency)

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