AFRICA/MALAWI - The President of the Bishops' Conference: "A church which grows in Malawi, thanks to the laity"

Friday, 3 November 2017 mission   evangelization   laity   local churches  

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "I am very happy because in Malawi, the Church is very active at a pastoral level and counts on the precious contribution of the laity": says Mgr. Thomas Msusa, Archbishop of Blantyre, President of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM).
"I see a Church where the number of faithful is increasing", says Mgr. Msusa: "I have just confirmed several adults from different denominations who have joined the Catholic Church, including some Muslims". "You cannot imagine that in a parish there can be up to a thousand candidates for the sacrament of confirmation and in my Archdiocese there are 41 parishes", the Archbishop underlined.
"Every diocese has a pastoral plan that derives from that of the Bishops' Conference of Malawi", he explains.
The President of the Episcopate of Malawi acknowledges the great importance of lay people in pastoral planning: "We have started the planning for the next five years, and we see the council of the laity actively involved at a national level in the formation of the various lay groups. We are working together: Bishops, priests, religious and lay people".
When asked about what inspired the Church in Malawi to focus on the formation of the laity, Mgr. Msusa replied: "First of all, I would like to thank the Holy Father, Pope Francis. He said that if we want the Church to be faithful to its mission, it must involve the laity. They have a significant part in evangelization, which is to be carried out together by the clergy and laity".
Mgr. Msusa continues: "The laity themselves have the desire to serve in the Church. That is why they are forming groups to give a bigger contribution. They want to respond to God’s call, since they are an integral part of the Church".
Malawi is a country which is struggling with poverty, plagued by rampant corruption and the Church has an important social role. Archbishop Msusa explains: "Malawi is one of the poorest Countries in the world. So our desire, our appeal to the government, is to deal with the plague of corruption. "We also demand that government officials do not reason according to tribal logic, but we see that the government tends to work with members of the same tribe. We are very critical and against this trend", says Mgr. Dice Msusa. "If Malawi wants to develop, the government must embrace and engage every citizen, not just a tribe. Everyone must be considered Malavian citizens, not just a few people".
Mgr. Msusa also talked about the need for a meritocratic selection. "We are asking the government to assign jobs based on merit through qualifications and skills". The frustrations of deserving young people risk being channeled into violent demonstrations, says the Archbishop: "There is a tendency to violence whenever there are political demonstrations, with young people being used to sow violence. We have asked the government to take control and to stop causing violence".
Mgr. Msusa finally denounces human trafficking by saying: "We have called on the government to protect citizens, especially young girls from villages who go to town and are abused by wealthy people or are sent abroad. The government must therefore protect the citizens of Malawi". (DBO-L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/11/2017)