Karonga (Agenzia Fides) - "This joyous occasion, in which we contemplate the beauty and significance of this Temple, also marks an important step in the life of this local Church. Today we conclude the initial phase in the development of this young Diocese, which started just six years ago with its creation and the naming of its first Diocesan Bishop, all in response to the steady growth of the Church in this part of Malawi. I am happy to see that, since then, growth has continued, particularly in the number of baptisms and seminarians. This is the result of your dedication to the work of evangelization and your care for the youth and the poor". This is what the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni said, who this morning presided, as a special envoy of Pope Francis, the consecration of the Cathedral of the diocese of Karonga.
The solemn rite was attended by several Bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio, priests, religious men and women, a large assembly of lay faithful, in addition to civil authorities guided by the President of the Republic.
In his homily Cardinal Filoni reminded those present that through the rite of consecration, "your Cathedral became a House of God, a privileged place where people will gather to adore the God who so humbly came to dwell among us. Whenever God calls you to this sacred space, whether for sacred liturgies and the sacraments or for personal prayer, He will renew each one of you who have become temples of the Holy Spirit. Here you will receive the strength to go out for the building up of the community of the faithful, wherever God leads you".
Inspired by the biblical readings of the Mass, Cardinal Filoni emphasized that "each and every baptized Christian has been cleansed so as to become a special dwelling place for God. In other words, we too have been consecrated in our Baptism so that God may take up residence in us!" St. Paul reminds us that we are "temples of God in which the Spirit dwells". Cardinal Filoni then cited the homily of Pope Francis during his visit to Uganda, last year, when he said: "The gift of the Spirit is a gift which is meant to be shared... We do not receive the gift of the Spirit for ourselves alone, but to build up one another in faith, hope and love...If we daily fan into flame the gift of the Spirit…we will surely become the missionary disciples which Christ calls us to be…to our family and friends certainly, but also to those whom we do not know, especially those who might be unfriendly, even hostile, to us".
Finally, the Cardinal stressed: "Jesus, the cornerstone, built his Church on the Rock, Peter, as we heard about in today’s Gospel. He continues to build up his Church through the Holy Father and the Bishops". Therefore he urged: "Stay always united to Peter, the Pope, and to your Bishops, and then you will always have your proper foundation in Jesus Christ".
At the end of the Mass, Cardinal Filoni in a short speech thanked all those present for their tireless efforts "in helping to build up a society of reconciliation, justice and peace here in Malawi", recalling what Pope Francis mentioned to the Bishops of Malawi during their Ad Limina Visit to Rome in 2014. Reconciliation, Justice and peace "are essential to the message of the Gospel and must be proclaimed for the good of all society". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 05/11/2016)