Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga has spiritedly called on his subjects to do away with the mentality of relying on donors in the running of the eleven-year-old ecclesiastical institution but, instead, focus on being independent.
Mtumbuka said on Saturday, November 13, 2021, during the priestly ordination of Eric Nyondo at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, that times were gone for the Catholic Church in the country to continue getting foreign financial support.
“And right now, a lot of people who supported us are gone with Covid-19, and most of them – unlike before – are not even believers at all.
“As a Diocese, we should therefore try as much as possible to be self-reliant or work towards being that for posterity’s sake. We are already into a number of income-generating activities whose aim is to make sure that sometime in the near future we should no longer be always at the feet of our friends from the West,” Mtumbuka said.
Among others, Karonga Diocese has a number of commercial farms spread across the northern region including a macadamia estate in Nkhata Bay.
Mtumbuka also announced during the function that plans were underway for the Diocese to plant a rice processing factory in Karonga to generate more funds.
“All these we are doing with that very spirit [of trying to be independent]. And, this should not just be me being ambitious but you also. Everyone in this Diocese should focus on this,” Mtumbuka said.
He decreed to the faithful in the Diocese to up their game in taking care of local priests, saying it was their and his responsibility.
“It is not own that a priest who administers sacraments to you, works with you tirelessly for your sake, and as a parish you honour him with a K25 000 stipend. No. It is not own. This must surely change,” he said.
According to him, every parish would have to contribute K70 000 towards the welfare of the priest and his office would contribute K50 000.
“We all know times are hard, but this I am not requesting. You must do,” he said.
Speaking to the newly ordained priest, Mtumbuka warned that he should not be engrossed with materialistic things but rather focus on preaching the gospel to the masses.
“Priesthood is a sacrifice, and you must understand that your call in the Church is focused on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Karonga Diocese chairperson of the laity council, Island John Mtambo, encouraged the youths in the diocese to work hard in school so they could do well in various vocations.
“Father Eric Nyondo would not have been here if he did not work hard in school. So, work hard in school if you would like to be a good priest, sister, brother, wife or husband,” Mtambo said.
During the same function, Benedict Nyondo was instituted as a Lector, a step towards being consecrated as permanent deacon while Jeremiah, a novice in the society of St Elijah, received a blessed cassock.
Before one becomes a Diocesan priest in Malawi, they have to undergo philosophy studies at St Anthony Major Seminary (Kachebere) in Mchinji, and theology studies at St Peter’s Major Seminary in Zomba.
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