By a Catholic church member in Lundazi
Scores of Catholics Saturday attended a solidality Mass for their deported priest Fr. viatuer Banyangandora.
At the Alter celebrating mass were 12 celebrant priests including the Vicar General for Chipata diocese Gabriel Msipu who was the main celebrant. The Homily was done by Fr kondwelani.
The message was from book of Ezekiel.
Fr. Gabriel Msipu said they will preach even if facing deportations. He said pastoral letters have been written since pre-colonial days, and that the church was in 1954 dealing with a much stronger man Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, but the Pastoral letters worked.
He said: ‘Even in the era of Chiluba with his brutal dictatorial tactics for third term, the Catholic voice was very strong against Chiluba and by the time he realized, the third term was off.
The Catholic Church does not eat from politicians pot of corruption or free donations/handouts.
‘Did they not tell Micheal Sata in the recent pastoral letter that despite him being Catholic, a good catholic at that, that would not deter them from speaking the truth and being a prophetic voice.
‘The Catholic church has been there for over 2000 years and that Governments come and Go.
During the preaching in Chipata, all the celebrants were wearing red to symbolise their readiness to die.
‘That someone saying that the price of cotton was too low can it be an issue to depot him for?
He said father Viatuer was non-violent, very humble and that right now he is still preaching in Rwanda.
The Catholics will continue fighting till the father is brought back to Zambia.
The Catholics fight God’s fights. That whoever made wrong reports should be ashamed.
Then the Vicar general also said that the church has worked with the governments for a long time in education, health and many other issues.
That yes frictions are sometimes there but that this time the Government has gone too far.
That viatuer is not a small priest but a very valued priest in the church like all priests, he said people elect the government and the same people can vote it out.
That the basis of deporting Fr. Viatuer was too trivial, that its true that the price of cotton was low that the price of maize might be high but erratic payments that up to today some maize farmers have not been paid, that these issues should be discussed.
He also said that the church will never trust the government again.
That the government now is complaining that the Catholics are complaining through the media instead of addressing the issue with the right people.
He questioned that who started using the media? and that the bishop has not been informed, but just heard it through the media.
The two pastoral letters were read and the people who attended got really touched.
The Catholic Church ND state relations are at their lowest ebb. The demand by the association for diocesan priests that the deported priest be brought back still stand and the church will not back down on its demands.
We are aware that ZEC is conspicuously quite on the matter.
In past years, its has spoken as the voice of the catholic church in Zambia, now its quiet. One wonders what has changes these past years. Even the Jesuits at St.Ignatuis prefer to say mass and announcements 90% in Bemba.
Is Rwanda Genocide too far away from memories of the faithful?? Is the church eating at the same table with the politicians? What has happened to the ZEC of the Fr Mwebe that we should be listening to the diocesan priest association?.