By Sam Kalimba:
Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe, Very Rev. Fr. Vincent Fredrick Mwakhwawa has called upon the clergy and the religious in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe to take part in the on-going min-synod of the Archdiocese.
Fr. Mwakhwawa said this on the occasion of the 27th world day of consecrated life in Lilongwe on 4 February, 2023. He lamented that the first phase had shown that most clergy and the religious did not take part in answering the questionnaires that were sent to all parishes and institutes in the Archdiocese.
“I would like to take this opportunity to report that we just concluded the first phase of our journey of helping our Shepherd to govern the Archdiocese according to the will of God. What we have observed so far is that most of us clergy and the religious did not take part in responding or helping the laity responding to the questions. We left it all to them. As we move into the next phase, let us all take part. Our Archbishop needs your views as well on how this metropolitan see can be governed,” he told the consecrated men and women who gathered at St. John’s Msamba Parish.
According to the Communications Secretary of the Archdiocese Rev. Fr. Louis Chikanya this min-synod is a third one of its kind.
“Prior to the first synod, the diocese was under the administration of Rt. Rev. Joseph Fady prelate of the diocese from 1951 to 1972. Rt. Rev. Patrick Kalilombe took over from Bishop Fady in 1972. It was then late Bishop Patrick Kalilombe just like his immediate predecessor, a Missionary of Africa who foresaw the type of church that we would have if no action regarding self-reliance was taken. A year after being elected as the Local Ordinary of Lilongwe, Bishop Kalilombe convoked the first synod from 24 November, 1973 to 24 August, 1975,” he said.
He further said that the synod was mainly aimed at empowering the faithful to own the church; to take active role in the activities of the church. He said that this is why there are ideas such as the self-ministering church, self-propagating church and self-reliant church.
He also said that the second synod was convoked in 2004, almost 30 years after the first synod, then under the episcopacy of late Rt. Rev. Felix Mkhori. This ran from 2004 to 2006.
“I believe it was worthy commissioning another synod. I can suggest two key reasons apart from the fact that it is now 17 years since the second one was done. One reason being the fact that this is the first synod after elevating Lilongwe into an Archdiocese status. Second reason being the fact that the prelate was new in the Archdiocese so combining the two, a synod was paramount,” said Chikanya.
In his statement during his investiture of a Sacred Pallium, Archbishop George Tambala connected the synod of the Archdiocese to the global synodality.
“In wanting to make sure there is continued listening in the synodality of Pope Francis, the Archdiocese is undergoing own min-synod as a means of engaging the faithful in giving what they want the Church to be like in accordance with the Church Teachings and canons,” he said.
Archbishop Tambala also echoed the sentiments made by his Vicar General during the celebrations of consecrated life at Msamba. He asked the consecrated men and women to ensure that they take part in the process.