Hundreds of people from all walks of life joined the Catholic Diocese of Karonga in a solemn mass Friday to commemorate the first anniversary since the death of Bishop Mukasa Zuza – former Bishop of Mzuzu, where the Diocese’s Bishop Martin Mtumbuka described Catholic Church critics as ignorant of the Church’s doctrines and hailed Bishop Zuza as “a brave servant of God.”
Bishop Zuza died in a car accident on January 15, 2015 at Nthungwa in Mzimba – a few kilometers to Mzuzu City.
In his homily at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga, which revolved around the theme of faith and being firm in the Catholic faith, Mtumbuka called on Catholics in the country not to be swayed by pagans.
“Be firm. Defend your faith. Don’t let pagans confuse you,” a spirited Bishop Mtumbuka said.
He said it was useless to remember the life and works of Bishop Zuza without centering it on the theme of faith.
The Catholic bishop repeatedly described Zuza – who for fifteen years was Bishop – as a “selfless, humble and brave servant of God.”
Bishop Mtumbuka lashed at Catholics who are failing to defend their faith. He appealed to such Catholics to remain steadfast to their faith.
“Don’t let people who have never been to a theology lecture tell you about your faith. Don’t be intimidated. Be strong in your faith,” he said.
According to Mtumbuka, those who are unable to defend their Catholic faith were the same as dead.
“Someone who has never been to the Catholic Church cannot teach you about Catholic doctrines. They cannot. We your bishops and priests have that task to teach you about the Catholic faith, not just anyone,” he added.
He said the Catholic Church “is not a club. It is not an NGO.”
Said Mtumbuka: “It is a movement. Many people died for this faith. St. Stephen, St. Paul, St. Peter and many others.”
He said many critics of the Catholic Church “do not understand the doctrines of the Church because it has the most complex of doctrines.”
The bishop then asked Catholics in the country to pray for priests and bishops in the country so that they could be “as brave as Bishop Zuza.”
Bishop Zuza was born in 1955 in Mzimba, and was ordained priest on July 25, 1982 by Bishop John Louis Jobidon.
He was consecrated Bishop of Mzuzu on May 6, 1995 and became the first black bishop of the diocese. Before the Mzuzu Diocese was divided by the Holy See in 2010, Zuza was bishop for one of the largest dioceses in Malawi.
Zuza was instrumental and “provided” great advice during meetings prior to and after the creation of the Diocese of Karonga – which had been under Mzuzu Diocese, according to Mtumbuka.
As bishop, Zuza served as chancellor of the Catholic University of Malawi and died in office as chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.
In 2011, during prayers that were organized in the wake of turbulent socio-eco-political times that hit the country, Zuza told late Pres Bingu wa Mutharika in the face – during his homily – that one who does not listen to other people’s advice “is the most stupid person [Chindere Chakufikapo].”
At the time, Mutharika had been blamed by several quarters for “executive arrogance.” The former president suffered a horde of nationwide criticisms and strikes including the July 20, 2011 anti-government protests which claimed twenty lives.
Mutharika died a few months later on April 5, 2012 of cardiac arrest.
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