Catholics in Mongu have paid a glowing tribute to their late Bishop Paul Francis Duffy at a colourful-solemn funeral ceremony at Mongu stadium this morning, September 5, 2011.
And Patriotic Front president Michael Sata temporarily caused disruption in the funeral proceedings of the late Paul Duffy when he walked down the stands to greet Vice-President George Kunda and the Catholic bishops in the VIP stand.
In a series of remembrance prayers offered after the homily, the majority of those prayed made reference to the widespread poverty in Western Province and the social exclusion they people of the area have suffered at the hands of government.
“God grant peace to Bishop Duffy who stood in solidarity with the abandoned people of Western Province, God Hear Us,” prayed one of the congregants as the audience enthusiastically responded: “Lord Gracious Hear Us.”
Another prayed that Bishop Duffy stood for social justice and respect for human rights in the face of unprovoked attacks from supporters of the MMD and constant victimisation from government agents.
In 2009, an armed wing of the MMD on the Copperbelt threatened to travel to Mongu to “sort out” Bishop Duffy for his criticism of government inertial and neglect of the people of Western Province.
Another prayed to God to receive the Bishop who sacrificed his life and always stood on the side of the people. Another prayed to God expose politicians that have been cheating the people of Western Province and were again on a campaign trail yet have done nothing and said nothing about the suffering of the people of the region.
And the Church says the servant “we put to rest today stood in solidarity with the people of this province, worked and preached in poor sands of Mongu, and died as poor as the masses he served.”
Delivering a homily Mongu Bishop Evans Chinyama Chinyemba said the late Bishop who settled in Mongu in the early 1980s from the American Church, died a poor man in solidarity with the people he served so diligently.