By Levi Chirwa
Archbishop George Tambala challenged Catholic graduates of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe to form a movement that will help influence the Church and society.
He said this on Saturday 19th February 2022 during an Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Chancellor College Catholic Alumni Association – Lilongwe Chapter. The AGM which was preceded by the Eucharistic celebration that took place at Our Lady of Africa – Maula Cathedral in Lilongwe.
He challenged the association to add another mission to bring together Catholic graduates from other universities into a social movement to influence policy and society.
“Such a movement would be welcome to help the Episcopal Conference on social economic issues affecting our society in addition to being advisors to the bishops.”
“As the Archdiocese will be launching the Synod 2021-2023 entitled ‘For a Synodical Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’ sometime this year, we the clergy want to work with you as you have a role play so as to make the kind of church we want to see in future,” he added.
In his homily, Archbishop Tambala said that much as there are different avenues and forums where people express their opinions on different topics or disciplines, it is wise to be careful in what we say and how we say it.
“Don’t be like the teachers condemned in the first reading from St. James’ Epistle. We must tame and control our tongues by controlling what we say and how we say it, as a sign of our humility, maturity and how cultured we are because what we speak can either build or destroy” said the Archbishop.
He further said, “Just learning from Peter’s reaction during the Transfiguration of the Lord where he said a lot of things in awe, we should be prudent in speech so as not to distract others from the main issue or experience.”
The Archbishop also said, “I advise you that not every truth can be said at a time. Don’t be like Peter who wanted to say it all. Sometimes learn to keep quite as there are some professional secrets for our homes, our professions, our work places and our businesses that must be kept as such and not be uttered at all.”
He went on to give an example of the confidentiality of issues in confession box where he said that not even at gun point can the issues in confession to be revealed.
After the Eucharistic celebration, members of the association were joined by the Archbishop and Rev. Fr. Frank Phiri, Patron of the Association and Ms. Patricia Kunyumbu an animator from Pontifical Mission Societies as observers at the Annual General Meeting where one of the agenda items was election of new office bearers. At that point, Mr. Francis Matita, the outgoing Chairperson and Mr. Martin Chiotcha, the outgoing Treasurer presented the activity and financial performance reports for the association, respectively. They also went to make recommendations on how the association would move forward with the new leadership.
Speaking during the AGM, Archbishop George Tambala told the gathering that as Archbishop of Lilongwe, he needed the association to work with him and his office in various roles.
“Based on the recent statistics at the Vatican, the Church is growing in numbers mostly in Africa. Therefore the future of the church is in our hands. This therefore means that the laity’s role is important as we priests alone, cannot handle everything” he said.
He also assured the association that he follows the grouping from the various activities such as the Chancellor College Catholic Alumni Choir, to the evangelization and outreach activities at Chipoka.
“I am grateful that through your activities, it is a clear testimony that you have remained in the Church practicing what Simon Peter answered the Lord, ‘to whom shall we go?’ In John 6:68-69,” He said.
“Since your mission is immense and strong, I would like to invite you to aid the church in communicating our faith, for example through radio or TV programmes.” Archbishop said.
Talking of the music/songs by the choir, the Archbishop said that the doctrine is sound, and there has to be a way to document some of the songs for use by various choirs and groupings and indeed teaching church choirs’ Catholic music.
“Can we not get a music school where you can teach other choirs singing for the Lord and also allow people to learn the traditional Catholic music?” said the Archbishop.
Towards the end of the day’s program, the gathering sampled some songs to be released by the Chanco Catholic Alumni Choir and made pledged support towards the finalization of the project. A total of K2.7 million was pledged in support of the album project.
One of the participants at the AGM, Ms. Tione Chilambe expressed gratitude noting that the Archbishop was clear in his perception on the direction of the Church, the role of the laity in particular the role of the Catholic graduates in shaping society and the Church.
The Eucharistic celebration and the AGM were attended by over 65 members from the association. Mass readings were taken from James 3:1-10 and Mark 9:2-13.