ZAMBIA Conference for Catholic Bishops president, Bishop George Lungu says 2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging year for Zambians.
In a private Palm Sunday mass which was aired on Radio Maria in Chipata, the Chipata Diocese Bishop urged Zambians to put everything in God by prioritising prayers.
“The year 2020 will remain memorable to everyone both those who go to church and those who do not go to church. This will be like this for a number of reasons; first we had floods in various parts here in Eastern Province especially in the Luangwa Valley. In Mambwe, Lumezi, Kazembe the problem has not ended. These people have not recovered from floods fully in-terms of goods and shelter,” he said.
Bishop Lungu said before people could heal from effects of floods, the issue of gassing came.
“A lot of people were also caught up in the issue of gassing from different families. Gassing was being done during the night and day time, then the issue of killing each other especially the gassing suspects came in,” he recalled. “Human life was not respected because people were being burnt alive, property was being destroyed and shops looted. Most of the people were killed in a cruel manner. Some innocent people were killed.”
Bishop Lungu said the coming of the coronavirus disease had also affected the way of doing things.
“There is an outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19, we’ve seen people dying in thousands in various countries. Businesses have closed down. The prices of face masks have gone up. In most areas there is a lockdown and people are being told to stay home because of this deadly disease, COVID-19,” he said. “A lot of preventive measures have been in place but most people do not adhere to these measures like handwashing with soap and social distancing,” he said.
Bishop Lungu said the biggest issue to the Church was the cancellation of church gatherings.
“Church gatherings have been suspended, something that has never been done before, not even during the cholera pandemic,” he noted. “From Rome, the headquarters of the [Catholic] Church, they have directed that all the activities like Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Holy Friday should not be done and Christians should follow these activities on TV or Radio. This is new and difficult to understand and accept but things are just like that. This issue is serious because these feasts are very important in our Church, that’s the mother of our faith.
Bishop Lungu prayed that the devastation caused by COVID-19 should not be severe.
“We ask God that the COVID-19 should not cause much devastation like what we have seen in other areas. Others perceive the move to cancel church gatherings as fear and lack of faith, but it is not like that,” he said.
Bishop Lungu called on Christians to respect the measures put in place to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
He said it was possible that some people would lose faith due to the challenging times that the world was facing.
Bishop Lungu said this was the time Christians should strengthen their faith especially that they were in a Marian year.