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I paid a visit to the Region of Zambia from 3rd to 18th June, 2018. I began my visit in the city of Lusaka. Here, two confreres are ministering in city parishes: Paddy Barry at St Agnes, Ibex Hill and Moses Chileshe at St Theresa’s Chainda. Both parishes are busy with the usual round of pastoral and sacramental duties to be performed. Paddy also looks after the SMA Transit house at Woodlands. This is a house of welcome for SMA and many other visitors to Zambia.

 

While in Lusaka, I also met with Brian Katunansa and paid a visit to the Catholic sponsored Lumen TV station. A planned courtesy visit to the recently appointed Archbishop Alick Banda did not take place.

Gustave Mukosha, Regional Superior, brought me from Lusaka to the rural parish of Kaparu in the diocese of Kabwe. I was very happy to spend time with Thomas Otiene and Donald Mulenga in this mainly primary evangelisation area. This is our only fully rural parish in the Region. It is important for SMA to keep a presence in such a place. It sits equi-distant (2 hours +) from Lusaka and Kabwe.

I then spent some days at the Formation house in Kabwe. Here, I met with Don Phiri and Simeo Kabwe and had an opportunity to meet each of our students. I also visited Michael O’Shea at his rooms at Mpima seminary. I had a fine meeting with Bishop Clement Mulenga of Kabwe diocese. Bishop Clement also came for a meal at the formation house where also was present the assistant mayor of Kabwe town.

With Don, I travelled up from Kabwe to the Regional House at Ndola. The weekend was spent at various sites at Ndola: Divine Mercy parish for Sunday Mass with Martin O’Farrell; visit to the teachers and pupils at Chipulukusu school for the most abandoned with Cathal McKenna; visit to the SMA farm outside Ndola; morning spent with the staff of SMA media centre, Tom Casey and Paul Sheridan (a lay missionary volunteer from Ireland). It was good to see all these different means and avenues of evangelisation.

From Ndola I headed to Kitwe. There, I met with P J Gormley, Anthony Agbovi, Charles Mpundu and Benedictus Nshikita. I spent time with each of them in their place of work. Again, it was interesting to note the variety in the work: large numbers attending morning Mass, use of social media for evangelisation, school building and construction of a retreat centre. The visits by pupils from second level schools in Ireland is also notable.

From Kitwe Charles ferried me to Mufulira. I met with William Sinkala who manages the main town parish of St Mary and Cornelius Mukubi who manages the churches in a largely rural parish. I was struck once more by the high quality of the work being done by our missionaries.

I returned to Ndola to conduct a meeting with all members present in the Region. This gave an opportunity to exchange on various issues of the wider SMA world. Paul Sheridan also gave a strong input on the possibilities of social media for evangelisation. The meeting concluded with celebration of Mass to mark the Golden Jubilee of priestly ordination of Cathal McKenna. Before leaving Ndola, I met a group of some twelve Friends of Africa volunteers from Ireland who had come for their summer insertion.

The last weekend was once more spent at Lusaka where I celebrated Sunday Mass at St Agnes. My thanks to Gustave and all those who made my visit so enjoyable and, hopefully, fruitful. One thing I was particularly struck by was the careful driving of all those with whom I travelled the many roads.

Fachtna O’Driscoll SMA