Psalm 94 admonishes the people for their hard-heartedness:
“For forty years I was wearied of these people,
And I said: ‘Their hearts are astray, These people do not know my ways.”
Then I took an oath in my anger:
Never shall they enter my rest.” (verses 10 – 11)
For forty years the Catholic people of Mulenga township longed to be a community alive to new possibilities: longing for a place to pray, a dwelling place for the Lord which would be a beacon in an area of terrible poverty. Today, we thank God that He did not turn against the people of Mulenga but listened to their heartfelt pleas, crying in the wilderness.
The congregation during the joint Church Dedication and Ordination ceremonies
In 2007 remote preparations began when an ad hoc committee purchased a plot of land from Bana Mulenga. It is on this piece of land that the Church to be dedicated today is built. Up to then, the Catholics attended the different parishes in the area – Chamboli, Wusakile, Ndeke or Luangwa. In response to the pleas of the people in Mulenga, Bishop Noel O’Regan SMA, Bishop of Ndola, invited Fr PJ Gormely SMA (Augher, Co Tyrone) to take up the challenge of establishing a parish community in this area. This missionary project was endorsed by Bishop O’Regan’s successor, Bishop Alick Banda. And so Fr Gormley began the painstaking work of identifying, with the community, what their needs were. Only when they had recognized what their true needs were could a start be made at meeting them. And so, since 2007, we have been working to become a self-ministering, self-supporting and self-propogating Catholic community in this part of Ndola diocese.
The first nine months was a period of evangelizing the community leaders into what all this would entail. It was a period of visible growth and commitment to the mission of Jesus Christ. Over a period of time, Small Christian Communities were established throughout the area. These lay leaders, women and men, identified different problems within the community. Some of them seemed to be insurmountable. However, rather than lie down in the face of such challenges, the community decided that the first step should be to establish a pre-Nursery school for 4 – 6 years old children. Our children are our hope for the future.
Fathers William & Matthias during their Ordination ceremony
After six years of planning, fundraising (within the community and abroad) the school opened in January 2013. The entire complex, school and church, were built with the physical efforts of the St Mark, St Mary, St Maximillian, St Nicholas, St Elizabeth and St Denis’ Small Christian Communities.
But let us step back a little: by January 2011 the community was ready to celebrate the presence of Christ among us in the Eucharist. And so Mass was celebrated in one of the unfinished classrooms of the school. It soon outgrew its usefullness and we had to use two classrooms. And so everything grew and developed, in God’s time and way. Today, the Holy Trinity parish community of Mulenga, Kitwe are challenged to keep this mission alive.
As we celebrate the opening of our Church we equally rejoice in the ordination of two priests who will also be missionaries – African Missionaries, members of the Society of African Missions – who will leave our country to announce to other communities the Good News of Jesus Christ. In turn they will, like Fr Gormely in Mulenga, walk with similar communities in identifying their needs and then planning how to meet them.
Fr William promises obedience and respect to his Superiors during the Ordination ceremony
May Fathers Mathias Chungu and William Sinkala do great things for God. Amen.
We take this opportunity to thank our local and overseas donors, particularly DAFA (Direct Aid for Africa) and St Ciaran’s Secondary School, Ballygawley, Co Tyrone. Without the assistance of our donors much of what we see about us today in Mulenga would still be a pipedream.
Ubwingi bwa nseba, kwimina pamo.
The above article is taken from the booklet produced by the Mulenga Catholic community for the dedication of their Church and the Priestly Ordination ceremony of Fathers Chungu and Sinkala.