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Don not to be silenced by gifts from people in power, Pope’s envoy tells new Monze Bishop

The Pope’s envoy in Zambia Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone has told newly consecrated Bishop of Monze Raphael Mweempwa not to be silenced by gifts from people in power.

In his sermon during the consecration and installation of Fr. Mweempwa as the fifth Bishop of Monze Diocese on Saturday, Archbishop Gallone, who is also the Vatican Ambassador to Zambia and Malawi, said gifts have the potential to make someone’s brain obscure.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi further asked Bishop Mweepwa to proclaim justice and peace.

Archbishop Gallone told the crowd at Holy Trinity Cathedral Grounds in Monze that included President Hakainde Hichilema that Bishop Mweempwa should be close to the poor and his priests.

“This too is part of the bishop’s mission, he must learn to cry.A Bishop weeps for his people, for his brothers and sisters. A Bishop is a preacher of the truth and the gospel so that he may become a light for consciences and esteems of the conversion of all. Please don’t close your mouth with the gift of who is in power around you because the gift can make your brain obscure in darkness. You have to always read the truth of the gospel. Also when your friends are in a way of sin you have to make your voice loud to condemn the sin, “Archbishop Gallone said.

“A bishop weeps for the suffering of his people. A bishop ulapenga mu moyo kwa kupenga kwa bantu bakwe. Which must become an interior urge in his heart as a shepherd to proclaim justice and peace. A bishop weeps because he is moved with compassion for the weakness of his brothers which at times will seem invincible to him and for which he must become medicine and relief. Consolation and hope with his love and pastoral care.To be close to anyone who suffers since as a bishop you are and you will be close to God you can’t help but be close to the people who suffer. Do not forget the closeness that you will have to cultivate with your priest so that they may feel you are a true father and brother who like Jesus carries with them the burden of the ministry making you a sharer in their joys and sorrows,” he said.

“You too as the Lord did with you, you will have to open your hand and make it a welcoming place, an expression of loving and the providence of acknowledging toward everyone. Please I don’t want to receive complaints that the hands of the Bishop of Monze are closed to the poor. They (poor) should be the first to be helped and always your hands must be ready to help. Reach out your hand and shake your people in solidarity. Open your hands and give what you are and what have,” Archbishop Gallone added.

In his speech President Hichilema thanked the Catholic Church in Zambia for serving the people through social services ranging from health to education.

He said the Church and government must be partners because they serve the same people of God.

“Leadership comes in many ways, on many platforms. Platforms are different but it calls for one thing. Service to the people, service to God’s people, not someone else’s people but to God’s people. And God created this diversity in his people but they are all his people and when we seek public office for us in the political arena we are conscious that it is a call to serve God’s people and the Church too is serving the same God’s people. We may come from different angles, we may occupy different offices but we are serving the one body of Christ. In that case we can never be and we should never view each other as competitors, never,” President Hichilema said.

Bishop Mweempwa thanked everyone who attended his Episcopal consecration and installation in Monze.

He also called for harmony and unity in the Monze Diocese.

Bishop Mweempwa has succeeded the late Bishop Moses Hamungole who died last year.

The new Bishop of Monze is a Professor of Canon Law.

Bishop Mweempwa was born on 30th March 1974.

He was ordained priest on 29th June, 2002.