Fr Chiwanda laid to rest at Mzimu Woyera

Three Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Malawi led thousands of people to mourn Rev. Fr. Matthias Chiwanda of Chikwawa Diocese who passed away on Monday.

The Bishops were Bishop Peter Musikuwa of Chikwawa Diocese, Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdioceseand  Bishop Montfort Stima of Mangochi Diocese.

The late Fr. Chiwanda died at St. Kalemba – Bangula Health Centre after a short illness and was laid to rest on Thursday  at Diocesan Cemetary, Mzimu Woyera Seminary in Chikwawa.

The coffin inside the church...Photo Courtesy of Fr Steven Likhutcha
The coffin inside the church…Photo Courtesy of Fr Steven Likhutcha

In a funeral mass held at St. Michael’s Cathedral of Chikwawa Diocese Bishop Musikuwa, who was the main celebrant, said that priests are very instrumental in providing sacraments to the Christians and so their death is a big blow not only to the Bishop and Diocese but the whole Christian fraternity.

“ I am deeply concerned by this death. Priests are our collaborators, they are the ones who run the parishes on our behalf and administer sacraments to the Christians. The death of Fr. Chiwanda, is a major blow to me in particular and the whole Church in Chikwawa and beyond.” Said Musikuwa.

In his homily entitled ‘Be Vigilant for the Coming of the Our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Fr. Henry Biliwita, called upon the Christians to be prayerful always and focus on good things in life since God always looks for the good things in human beings and not faults or weaknesses.

Delivering his eulogy, Fr. Benedict Liyao, National Executive member of Association of Diocesan Catholic Clergy of Malawi (ADCCOM), whose chair was the deceased, said that the whole Church in Malawi was taken by surprise at hearing about the death of the Chair who remained faithful and dedicated to his duties.

He assured the assembly that God has got answers for everything, as he provided and took Fr. Chiwanda, he would take care of the Association and Chikwawa Diocese by providing another person.

Fr. Ignatio Yohane, Chairperson for the Local Clergy in Chikwawa thanked all the medical officers, good-willed people, priests and the laity for the support they rendered to the Diocese of Chikwawa and their Local Clergy Association upon hearing of the death of one of their members.

Among the people present at his funeral services were various government officials such as Hon. John Bande, political party representatives such as Mr. Harry Thomson together with Mr. Green Malunga, Episcopal Conference of Malawi Secretary General, Rev. Fr. George Buleya and many priests from almost all the dioceses in Malawi.

Mr. Emmanuel Bohero, who was once taught by the deceased at the minor seminary but now working  as Manager of Compusigns in Blantyre, said that the deceased was very disciplined, focused and aimed at providing quality education to the young men in the Seminary.

At the time of his demise, Fr. Matthias Chiwanda was the Parish Priest of Ngabu Parish in Chikwawa.

According to Fr. Lazarus Maloya,the late Fr. Chiwanda was born on 12th July 1969 in Bangula, Nsanje District.

His journey to priesthood started in 1981 when he joined Mzimu Woyera Minor Seminary and proceeded to Kachebere and St. Peters Major Seminaries in 1988 and 1991 respectively.

He was ordained priest on 16th July 1995 by late Bishop Felix Mkhori and served at Nsanje, Misomali and Ngabu Parishes apart from serving as Formator and teacher at Mzimu Woyera Minor Seminary, Director of Spiritual Formation Centre in Nsanje and Social Communications Coordinator for the diocese.

Mid way his priesthood, he was sent for further studies in Social Communications in Kenya Tangaza College a constituent college under Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

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