By Sam Kalimba:
The outgoing Papal envoy to Malawi and Zambia His Excellence Archbishop Giafranco Gallone expressed satisfaction with the unity that the College of Bishops in the Episcopal Conference of Malawi showed during his tenure of office. Nuncio Gallone said this on Saturday 28 January in Lilongwe on the occasion of installing a Sacred Pallium on the Metropolitan See of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lilongwe, His Grace Archbishop George Desmond Tambala.
“When I account for my nunciature visits in this Conference, I come up with a general observation that the Conference is united. The speeches here in the Cathedral, reminds me of my first day to arrive in this country. I was welcomed by dances from the airport all the way to the Catholic Secretariat. All the bishops were there and seemingly indicating to me of their unity. I have been to almost all the 8 dioceses except on of Chikwawa in the ecclesiastical province of Blantyre. Specifically, I was here to consecrate Right Rev. Peter Chikuwa of the Diocese of Dedza, I came to the funeral ceremony of late Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye and again to install Archbishop George Tambala in Lilongwe. I was also in the Catholic Diocese of Karonga last year and in the Archdiocese of Blantyre when I presented my letters of credence to the then President of the Conference Archbishop Thomas Msusa. In these few occasions I learnt a lot about the unity of the Conference and as I leave, I implore that you maintain the standards,” said Gallone.
He also reminded the faithful in Malawi that when he arrived, he found the Catholic Diocese of Dedza without a Bishop and he assisted in filling the gap, when Archdiocese of Lilongwe lost a prelate, he worked hard for the replacement and that by the time he will be leaving this part of Africa he will have finalised the replacement of local ordinary for the Catholic Diocese of Zomba in the ecclesiastical province of Blantyre.
“I should say even the work to get a prelate for Zomba where the Archbishop Tambala left a gap is done. By the time I will be completing my work in this part of Africa, I shall have left all the dioceses with their shepherds in place,” said the Papal Envoy.
He also told the congregants in the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe that he was surprised that his tenure started in 2019 with an investiture of a Sacred Pallium of the Archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia and that it is ending in 2023 with a similar function in Lilongwe, Malawi.
He also revealed that the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed him to take up the same diplomatic role in Uruguay.
“I tell you it is not my program. I met the Holy Father in December last year and I expressed my surprise on the new appointment. I thought I would remain here just as most of my predecessors stayed six, eight and others ten years. I thought I would stay longer but life of a nuncio is like that of our father in faith, Abraham. You leave your place and go where God shows you and count on His mercy.”
His Excellence Most Rev. Giafranco Gallone was working on having a Nunciature House in Malawi situated near the Catholic Secretariat in the capital Lilongwe.
In another development His Excellency Most Rev. Gianfranco Gallone bid farewell to the Republican President His Excellence Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera at his state residence in Lilongwe on Tuesday 31st January, 2023. The State President was monitored to have said that the two agreed to consolidate cordial partnership between the Roman Catholic Church and government in order to improve lives of Malawians in all spheres of human development.
His final pastoral task in Malawi was to officially open the first 2023 Plenary of Bishops on Monday 30th January, 2023 at the Catholic Secretariat. Among others, the Catholic Bishops are to discuss matters pertaining to resolutions passed at the 20th AMECEA Plenary held in Dar es Salaam in July, 2022.