Catholic Diocese of Ndola Bishop Benjamin Phiri says Church partnerships should not be anchored on money or projects as the main aim of religious institutions is evangelisation.
Bishop Phiri has told members of the Catholic Committee facilitating the planned revival of the partnership between Zambia’s Ndola Diocese and Limburg Diocese of Germany that salvation of souls must be the aim of such partnerships.
The Ndola Diocese Bishop has just constituted a committee that will facilitate the revival of the partnership with Limburg Diocese which has been dormant for some years.
The committee contains Priests, a religious sister plus a representative from the women, men and youth ministries.
Bishop Phiri said the two dioceses will be signing a new Memorandum of Understanding that will guide their corporation.
“The group that I have just been meeting now is a group that I have just constituted to spearhead this partnership programme between the Diocese of Ndola and the Diocese of Limburg. It is not something that is starting now, it there before, for a long time from the time of Bishop De Jong but for some reasons in between it had kind of collapsed so the Bishop of Limburg wrote to me and said why can’t we resuscitate this programme,” he told the Ndola Diocese owned Radio Icengelo on the Copperbelt Province.
“The importance of this partnership is that it constitutes what we call a pastoral solidarity. So it is a pastoral solidarity between the Diocese of Limburg and the Diocese of Ndola in which two dioceses support each other in various areas. The pastoral life in the Church involves everything which is the life of the Church.”
Bishop Phiri said the Church need to sustain itself in order to carry out its mandate of evangelisation and salvation
“Some people might think that when there is a partnership then we are just talking about projects and so on. No, the only reason why projects are involved is because those are the only means which can help us become self-sustainable. So that from that self sustainability the local Church here can stand by itself because you cannot depend on handouts all the time. Time will come when it will not be possible to be able to run the Church from donations from people. We need to be able to find an investment, to be able to do those things which will generate funds for us in order to be able to run as a Church. So this Pastoral solidarity is going to help us to achieve that as it had done also in the past,” he said.
“So I was orienting the team so that they have a proper focus. To tell them that what we are re-establishing is not a question of so that we can find funds for hand to mouth kind of business. No, this is so that the two sister Churches can help each other. I have told them, for instance people might say, what kind of partnership is that between a poorer diocese and a richer diocese in terms of money but the Church is not about money. The Church is about human resources. You need pastoral agents and you also need people who are the flock,” Bishop Phiri said.
“So a time will come when Limburg will have no personnel in terms of Priests, perhaps even the religious to be able to do what they need to do and they will come and ask and because we are sister Churches we are going to provide them with that and we are going to support them. So that is the whole idea. So the team that I have selected is going to prepare a new MoU. When that MoU is looked at by our colleagues in the Limburg Diocese then we will come up with the final document that will be our guide for us to be able to work together as sister Churches,” the Bishop said.