Zambia’s Archbishop of Lusaka, Telesphore George Mpundu has invited priests in the Archdiocese to always be available to parishioners. “It is a very challenging task to be at anybody’s service and if you are at the service of a large group such as a parish, the needs are many and the calls are very frequent,” the Archbishop emphasised.
Archbishop Mpundu was speaking Thursday when he celebrated Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus in the Zambian capital of Lusaka. Archbishop Mpundu described a parish as a place of spiritual growth; a school of prayer where the faithful are helped to grow in spirituality and supported in difficult times.
The Archbishop said, “We priests are at the service of the parish and must teach the faithful who cry out to us like the disciples of Jesus: ‘Lord teach us how to pray.’ In their cry, parishioners are yearning to know how to pray. If we don’t teach them, they will go to the Evangelicals, Pentecostals or they will radicalize our Charismatic prayer movements and other Lay Apostolic movements -not to mention the pursuit of novenas, from one parish to another in search of authentic prayer,” he said.
The Archbishop asked priests in the Archdiocese to make quality time for the preparation of the Sunday homily.
He also challenged priests to be available for daily Mass in their parishes. “It is unthinkable that some priests in the pastoral ministry would even contemplate leaving the faithful without Mass on any given day short of a very serious reason,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Mpundu said he is sometimes surprised that two or three, sometimes even four priests, who live together in the same rectory concelebrate Mass in the morning and yet there is no Mass scheduled in the evening for those who cannot attend Mass in the morning.
He added, “a parish where the faithful are celebrated and given their rightful spiritual nourishment, a parish which is truly a Christian community thrives unlike one where parishioners are treated as mere spectators,” the Archbishop said.
The Archbishop of Lusaka further reminded priests to always reach out to God’s people with gladness, joy and humility. “In this manner the Christian faithful are energized, strengthened and healed. They go away nourished and encouraged to carry on the mission of Christ,” the Archbishop said.
However Archbishop Mpundu took time to congratulate and thank the priests whom he called “my brother priests” for the work that they do in the Archdiocese. “We have to keep challenging ourselves to perform even better. It is a very rare privilege to be able to serve God’s people as priests. Let us do it with gladness, let us do it with joy, let us do it with humility,” he concluded.
Papal Nuncio to Malawi and Zambia, Archbishop Julio Murat was also present at the Chrism Mass celebration.
(By Sr. Theresa Kasaka in Lusaka Zambia)
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