The Vice President, Saulos Claus Chilima, on Saturday commended Bishop of Karonga Diocese, Martin Mtumbuka, for achieving a lot of development within a short period sine the diocese was established in 2010.
Chilima was speaking after the consecration of a 1,000 capacity newly built St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral of Karonga Diocese at the Boma by His Eminence Fernando Cardinal Filoni from Rome.
Karonga Diocese is the smallest and newest Catholic diocese in Malawi which was established six years ago with Fr. Martin Mtumbuka as its first bishop. It covers, Chitipa, Karonga and part of Rumphi District.
Chilima represented State President Arthur Peter Mutharika at the consecration ceremony.
Delivering his congratulatory message on behalf of the State President, the Vice President observed that since its establishment, Karonga Diocese has achieved a lot of development within a very short time in terms of infrastructure and social development.
He said while the church’s responsibility is to take care of spiritual needs of its people, government will continue to take care of body needs of its citizens so that they lead a peaceful and happy life.
“It’s the responsibility of government to provide body needs of its people while the church gives spiritual needs and together we are taking care of a human being,” he said.
The Vice President then made an assurance that government will continue to provide freedom of worship and association as it is a constitutional right. He observed that it is practice of the Malawi people that brings togetherness and unity, an aspect Chilima said the country is known for.
“Government will always encourage people to live together in spite of political and religious divide,’’ he added, advising the Catholic to use the cathedral for its intended purpose and not as an entertainment hall.
Speaking earlier, the Pope’s envoy, His Eminence Fernando Cardinal Filoni echoed Chilima’s sentiments that Karonga Diocese has achieved so much within six years of its establishment in the areas of evangelization, education and charity.
Apart from the cathedral, Karonga Diocese has built St Mary’s Girls boarding secondary School, Wiliro Secondary School and the Bishop’s two-floored Residence among other infrastructure.
The diocese’s Bishop Martin Mtumbuka told the gathering during his welcome remarks that his diocese boasts of 60, 000 Catholic Christians.