English Africa Service - Vatican City
The Bishop made the plea, recently, reminding the faithful that their priests and parishes still had electricity bills and other needs that depend on their generosity.
“In addition to our faith-based responsibilities, we should not forget to help our parishes in the payment of bills, electricity, water, etc, where applicable. Your parish responsibilities must continue despite the (coronavirus crisis). I therefore, strongly encourage each parish to strategise and find an appropriate mode of contributing, in cash or in kind, towards the upkeep of their priests. Please let us be generous in this regard,” Bishop Kalumba appealed in a letter circulated to the faithful of Livingstone Diocese.
Bishop commends pastoral initiatives during COVID-19
The Bishop commended the clergy in the diocese for their pastoral initiatives in staying close to parishioners even though most Churches are still closed nationwide. He praised the local Catholic radio station, Musi-O-Tunya FM, for making space to air liturgical programmes.
“It is now more than a month since we stopped meeting at our parishes for worship and other services due to the COVID-19 closedown. You have, missed Mass, Sacraments and shared prayer at the parish. In this context, we cry to God together with the Psalmist: ‘As the deer longs for streams of water so my soul longs for you, O God …’ (Ps 42: 1-4) The Bishop added, “In town parishes, the use of Radio Musi-O-Tunya has helped a lot as people in the areas covered by the radio can, at least, follow Mass and other spiritual programs on radio. We thank the priests who have availed themselves for this work of evangelization through radio and other electronic means of communication. We can even do more in this regard. I encourage everyone to be more creative,” exhorted the Bishop of Livingstone.
Pastoral challenges of ministering to rural areas
The Bishop however acknowledged pastoral challenges of ministering to rural areas in a time of COVID-19.
“However, the question is how can we remain in touch spiritually despite the social distance and the geographical distance between us? How can priests and the lay leaders remain in touch with the rest of the faithful (in rural areas), use their phones, where there is network, and traditional ways of communication in the villages to still share the Word of God and other faith-nourishing information and materials?” Bishop Kalumba challenged.
Everyday priests in the diocese are praying for you
The Bishop assured parishioners that though Churches may be closed, the Bishop and priests remain at the service of everyone in the diocese. “Everyday Mass is said for all the faithful in the diocese. We continue praying to the Almighty and Loving God to deliver us from this pandemic as we take care of ourselves and our dear ones.” He said.