Catholic outstation yields first priest in 75 years

Fumbwa Catholic Church, an outstation of Chiphwanya Catholic Parish in Dedza Diocese, is this year set to produce its first priest 75 years since its establishment.

By any measure, this is no mean achievement, no wonder Chiphwanya Parish Priest Rev Fr Ephraim Madeya and his curate Fr Gift Selemani, have set the ball rolling by mobilising resources from parishioners and well-wishers towards thanksgiving celebrations.

Dedza Diocese administrator Msgr John Chithonje (C) and Fr Madeya (L)
pose with newly confirmed Christians

“I write this letter to inform and invite you to this year’s ordination to priesthood of Deacon Steven Kambuku of Fumbwa outstation, which will take place at Matumba Catholic Parish [Dedza] on July 20 2019,” writes Fr Madeya.

He adds: “Thereafter, his first thanksgiving mass will take place at Chiphwanya Parish on July 21 2019.

“Finally, his thanksgiving mass at Fumbwa outstation [St Peter’s] will take place on July 28 2019.”

Fr Madeya goes on to appeal for support, in cash and kind, towards the event at Chiphwanya Parish, which he says is budgeted at K3 million.

“Out of this amount, the Christians anticipate to raise not less than K2 million by June,” he says, and adds that they intend to raise the shortfall from a Paper Sunday slated for May 19 2019, targeted to raise about K1.6 million.

The priest appeals to those who may not afford to attend the fundraiser, and other well-wishers, to send their contributions through the bank as follows: Bank Name: Standard Bank; Branch: Dedza; Account Name: Chiphwanya Parish; Account Number 9100002223985.

“After depositing the money, send the deposit slip to Parish Priest, Chiphwanya Parish, P.O. Box 81, Mayani, Dedza; or WhatsApp it to 0999332067 or 0997690168,” he advises.

Fumbwa Catholic Church is in Fumbwa Village in the hilly Mayani area in Chitundu, Dedza—38 kilometres off Linthipe on the M1 Road.

The new priest-to-be will join Chiphwanya Parish’s  vineyard which has seven diocesan priests, brothers and sisters; namely Fathers Grecian Kalimmawa, Andrew Kandodo, Billy Pedegu, Innocent Kanyumbu, Mark Chiphaka, Abraham Paul and Cosmas Mkanda; Brothers Louis Slate and Osward Mkanda; and three Sisters of the Chikadza family namely Catherine, Mariarosa and Clementina, and Sisters Coleta Kapatamoyo, Jailosi and Jacintha Chiwayu.

Ironically, Fumbwa Village has had committed Catholics from time immemorial.

The son to Luka Yohane Lupanga, fondly known as LY Lupanga, who died on July 20 2002, was founder of Young Christian Workers (YCW) in Malawi, alongside French priest Fr Saffroy.

The Lupanga family, which also produced Theresian Sister Patricia Lupanga, who died on June 2 2016, founded Fumbwa Catholic church alongside families of Paul Davie and Adiliana Masinja; Matiyasi and Siteliya, and Sivelo Fumbwa and Elestina.

According to Fr Madeya, Deacon Kambuku is the only one studying for priesthood from Fumbwa, but Chiphwanya  Parish has eight seminarians—five at Kachebere Major Seminary, one at St Peter’s Major Seminary and two at religious seminaries.

Deacon Kambuku was born on July 30 1988 to Damiano Hamiton Kambuku and Calorina Anasitazio Chiputula.

He is the second-born in a family of two boys and two girls, one of whom died. He started his initial vocational formation at Kanengo Parish in 2009 and he is currently  studying theology in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was ordained to deaconate on December 9 2018. n

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