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In Kamuchanga, a town located in the city of Mufulira about 60 km north of Ndola, the economic capital of Zambia, the faithful Christian Catholics of St. Mary's celebrated the golden jubilee of their parish. The event that gathered about 2000 people in a Mass celebrated outdoors and presided over by Bishop Ignatius Chama, Archbishop of Kasama (Zambia), son of the region, took place on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

 Among the concelebrants, Patrick Chisanga, Bishop of Mansa (Zambia) and a dozen priests, most of them from the parish. In attendance, many nuns and religious. They are, as pointed out Mr. Chephas Chibessa, the parish chair-person, the signs of the spiritual growth of the parish: "We have priests, many parishioners have been engaged in religious life. Many committed laypersons have assumed political responsibilities. Others are businessmen. Not only that, we recorded many baptisms and many parishioners received many other sacraments. "

Fr Gustave Mukocha, SMA Regional Superior of Zambia, said that the parish gave to the Catholic Church two bishops, many religious and a good number of diocesan priests. The SMA has two priests, Fathers Benedictus Nshikita and Moses Chileshe, as well as many seminarians. "It's really a nursery for religious and priestly vocations," he concludes. Not only that, the growing parish has also allowed the growth of its followers, as evidenced by Mr. Andrew Mwamba, Chair-person of the Jubilee Committee: "For me, it means spiritual maturity, maturity in Christianity. We started with a small core of faithful, a small school. Then we built a small church which was enlarged afterwards. As the community grew, we grew spiritually, physically, and mentally. It means a lot to me, because I have seen many changes, both in the character and behaviour of the faithful because of the Word of God that we receive from our Church. "

For its part, the parish youth of Kamuchanga appropriates this glorious heritage, but also dotted with hardships, and inserts its actions of evangelization into an ecumenical and fraternal dynamic: "As a youth Committee here in St. Marys’, testimony the Chair-person, Mrs. Priscilla Mukuka, we are in charge of cleaning the church and its surroundings. We also visit all the Small Christian Communities (and we have 14) to make young people aware of the importance of the Catholic faith. We are about a thousand young people on the parish and we would like to participate positively in its growth. It is in this perspective that we organize evangelistic campaigns in collaboration with other parishes and with other Christian denominations. We know that we can build and become together, here in Kamuchanga, a family. "

St. Mary's Parish, founded by the White Fathers, is run by the fathers of the Society of African Missions since 1975. The pastoral challenges respond to those of sma charism, the development of the city and the attention to the poor. For Father Gustave, "at first sight, this parish is like a middle class. But in reality, it is not. There are, of course, middle-class people, but there are many poor people, vulnerable people and abandoned people. So, we have our place here. We are involved in various fields, especially in education, to offer young people various skills, to accompany them in their process of emancipation, to help them build themselves according to the values of the gospel. They will become a testimony to others. "

For Father William Sinkala, an SMA from Zambia and parish priest, being a missionary in Kamuchanga means being attentive to the values of justice and peace: "For us, our mission must promote justice and peace. And we have here at the parish a Justice and Peace Committee. It is committed to the poor in their struggle for civil rights, in their difficulties to access essential services, such as schooling of children, medical care. Our action extends even beyond parish boundaries. In this way, we can say that the sma charisma is constantly updated. "

All of this missionary work is made possible, in part, by the involvement of Christian faithful, Friends of the African Missions based at St. Mary of Kamuchanga. Their financial, spiritual and fraternal involvement is particularly appreciated, as Father William testifies: "The group of Friends of the SMA is strongly established here. They are also found in all the sma parishes in Zambia. They sponsor seminarians in philosophy cycle, they welcome those who come on vacation, offers them a framework of family life. They constantly support the missionary activities of fathers in parishes. I can say that through them, the SMA is better known. "

50 years of parish life, 50 years of evangelization, 50 years of joy and hardship. The parishioners of St. Mary remain grateful to the SMA fathers who have set up youth training centres in the parish (Kamuchanga has training centres in tilery, carpentry, informatics, etc.) and who are actively involved in training. development of the city. Mr. Cephas thanks on behalf of the parish community: "With fathers, we feel confident. As long as we can, we will support their efforts. We are proud to have them with us and among us. For us, they are not just spiritual fathers. They are also actors in the development of our community and the whole country. "

Check out some pictures of the event:

 

André N’koy Odimba, sma-mc