WE DESIRE TO HELP…on condition our political leaders do the right thing, says Lungu

CHIPATA Diocese Bishop George Lungu says new governments begin well but as time goes, they slowly stop listening to the voices of the people.

And Eastern Province minister Peter Phiri says the government will continue partnering with the Church in promoting the common good.

During the ordination of Fr Abel Daka and Fr Chella Martin Changala at St Anne’s Cathedral on Saturday, Bishop Lungu said priests have a serious responsibility to fight for the poor and be the voice of the voiceless.

“You have to actively join the fight against corruption so that we are all freed from this cancer that makes our poor people poorer. I expect you fathers not only to fight against this evil or that evil but above all to fight for the poor and the voiceless,” he urged. “As you know, often new governments begin well but as time goes on, they slowly stop listening to the voices of the poor. You have a serious responsibility to fight for the poor and be the voice of the voiceless.”

Bishop Lungu said if farmers were stranded with the bumper harvest, it was the duty of the priests to warn the Ministry of Agriculture to sit up and urgently address the concerns of the farmers.

“Moreover, we have to lead by example to help people change their mindset. It is very important to change our mindset for new wine requires new wine skins, Mark 2 chapter 22,” he said. “As a church, we desire to help government to succeed in their noble undertakings by uniting the nation and promoting inclusive and sustainable development. However, our help shall be given on condition that our political leaders do the right thing that is always in favour of the common good for all Zambians, regardless of the tribe and religion as well as political and religious affiliation.”

Bishop Lungu said the Church leadership has a special call to be prophetic, to be non-partisan, to be defenders of the poor and vulnerable in society even at the expense of losing favour of the powers that be.

“It is our hope and prayer that the Church will always be viewed as a reliable partner in promoting democracy, human rights and the common good for the people of Zambia especially the poor and the marginalised,” he said.

Bishop Lungu said it was exciting to note that the new priests have been ordained in the context of the new dawn government.

“It is exciting to note that we have ordained these young men in the context of the new dawn government, a government that promises to deliver on the dreams and the deep-seated aspirations of our people which are quite many,” he noted. “Among these is zero tolerance to corruption, a cancer that has killed many of our young people who are yearning for a better life in a better world. A cancer that has thrown our deserving graduates into the streets and reduced them into perpetual job seekers doing all sorts of things just to survive, later on to live.”

Bishop Lungu said he would like to see the new priests becoming agents in the fight against moral decay in the Zambian society.

“Avoid the temptation to become part of the syndicate. Do not use your priestly position in society to get places in Catholic schools or jobs in ministries because you have the ability to connect your relatives’ friends and fellow Catholics to powers that be. This is not correct and must not be allowed,” he said.

Bishop Lungu urged the priests to remain faithful to their calling.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the life of the Church.

And Phiri commended the Catholic Church for the services it renders to the people.

“Government will always appreciate and support the Church in this vital role of service. It is with the foregoing that we as the government commend the entire Catholic Church in Chipata Diocese for the service you render to the people,” he said.

Phiri urged the new priests to be the visible presence of Jesus Christ in the institutions where they would be working.

He thanked the parents of the new priests for allowing them to serve God “in this manner” and that it should be an example to other families to allow their children to serve God in such or similar manner.

Phiri said the government attached great importance to the role that the Catholic Church plays in the promotion of human life.
He said the government would continue to partner with the Church to uplift the well-being of the people physically, morally and spiritually.
Phiri urged the new priests to remain committed to their priesthood./

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