–Kasama Archbishop, Ignatius Chama, has advised priests to concentrate on their pastoral work of evangelisation and refrain from being agents of political and social change.
Archbishop Chama was speaking during the official opening of a conference for the National Association of Zambian Diocesan Clergy (AZADCC) held at Laura Secondary School in Kasama.
The three day conference, which was also attended by the Bishop Director for AZADCC, Bishop George Lungu, has attracted Catholic priests from all the 11 dioceses in the country.
The conference is held bi-annually and this year’s theme is ‘’Diocesan Priesthood as an agent for evangelisation in the 21st Century.’’
Archbishop Chama noted that today’s priests faced the challenge and temptation of becoming social and political agents, adding that yielding to the temptation would be a betrayal to their priestly mission and a disservice to society.
He called on priests to be joyful in their work and create harmony with the Church, their fellow priests and the faithful.
Archbishop Chama also called on priests to uphold their priestly commitments of celibacy and detachment from material possession in order to preach the Gospel and build up strong Christian communities.
“Right conduct in carrying out evangelisation is not so much brought about by words but by a way of living, by way of witnessing. By your fruits the world will know you belong to Christ and the world would want to know more about Christ,’’ he said.
He said there was need for Zambian priests to show solidarity among themselves.
Archbishop Chama added that for Diocesan priesthood to be true agents of evangelisation in the 21st Century meant that preachers of the Gospel carry out the Lord’s mandate to spread the faith of Christ in every corner of the world.
Earlier, Northern Province Permanent Secretary, Hlobotha Nkunika, said he was proud to host the historical event, adding that according to historical records, the province was the birth place of the Catholic faith in Zambia.
He said the government had confidence in the input of the Catholic Church in matters of national development especially in the health and education sectors.
Mr Nkunika said the contribution of the Church has over the years led to poverty alleviation especially among the rural poor.
“As Diocesan priests sometimes you evangelise in remote places where even government offices are non-existence…please take advantage and communicate developmental related issues so that our people are not left behind,’’ said Mr Nkunika.
The three day conference will run from the 19th to today.