–President Michael Sata says he is deeply saddened by the death of Spanish Missionary, Fr Jose Gandara, of Kamakechi Catholic Parish in Kasempa district.
Mr Sata says the death of Fr Gandara was a great loss to not only the Solwezi Diocese but the entire Catholic Church, and encouraged the family of the late priest and the Church to draw their strength from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
President Sata said this in a speech read for him by North-Western Province Minister, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, during a requiem mass for the late priest held at St Daniel’s Catholic Church in Solwezi today.
He said government appreciates the role that the Church continues to play in national development.
Scores of Solwezi Catholic members today gathered at St Daniel’s Cathedral to pay their last respects to the late priest.
Fr Gandara, 51, who was Kamakechi Catholic Parish Priest, died in Mfuwe on Saturday after a short illness.
Speaking at the same function, Kasempa District Commissione,r Victor Kayekesi, said the district has lost a man who had the development of Kasempa at heart as he involved himself in developmental programs of the district.
Mr Kayekesi said the late Priest ensured that roads in areas where he was doing his charity work were worked on and schools taken closer to the people.
He described the late Catholic Priest as a friendly and accommodating person who embraced everyone regardless of their status.
And delivering his homily, Catholic Diocese of Solwezi Bishop, Charles Kasonde, asked other priests to emulate the late Fr Gandara who not only preached the word of God but also committed his life to serve humanity.
Bishop Kasonde said the late Priest provided hope to the poor in communities where he served by investing in education which he believed was the only way of becoming independent.
The late Spanish Missionary, who served in the Catholic diocese of Chipata, Ndola and Solwezi, has since been buried at St Francis Mission in Solwezi.