President Hakainde Hichilema has witnessed the colorful Episcopal Ordination of Monsignor Gabriel Msipu Phiri as new Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Chipata.
President Hichilema was among scores of people from all walks of life that thronged Chipata’s St. Anne Cathedral Grounds to see Fr. Phiri rise to the respected Catholic office of Bishop.
Besides President Hichilema, Paramount chief Mpezeni, Kalonga Gawa Undi, PF’s Given Lubinda, Brian Mundubile and Nickson Chilangwa also attended the Consecration Mass .
The Chipata Catholic Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Phiri was consecrated by his Bishop George Lungu.
Bishop Phiri was appointed auxiliary bishop for Chipata Diocese by Pope Francis in December last year.
In his sermon, Catholic Diocese of Mansa Bishop Patrick Chisanga asked the newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop to know that God is conferring on him the primary responsibility of humble service to the Church and its people.
Bishop Chisanga said like Bishop Phiri’s Episcopal Motto of “Not to be served but to serve” , his ordination should be of humility and not prestige or honour.
He said the new Auxiliary Bishop should take after the model of Jesus Christ of being close to the poor and the most vulnerable, to serve the Diocese of Chipata and the entire Church with a special place in his Heart.
Bishop Chisanga further called on Auxiliary Bishop Phiri to always work close with the Diocesan Bishop of Chipata and support in his pastoral responsibility as a co-worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
The Mansa Bishop further urged the presbyters, religious and the faithful of Chipata Diocese to take advantage of what he called a blessing of having two Bishop’s to support and work with them in the proclamation of the word of God.
“Let Jesus, the Lord and master who went down on his knees to wash the feet of his disciples be the model of your Episcopal service to this Diocese and to the Church at large. You indeed are called to be so disposed as to readily serve everyone without distinction or discrimination. No one should be too insignificant to draw your attention and no one should be too significant to draw your attention. Go down on your knees and serve everyone who ever they are. In this regard my dear brother, let the poor and the most vulnerable have a special place in your heart and in your ministry as they had that special place in the heart and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Auxiliary Bishop of Chipata Diocese, dear brother Monsignor Msipu provide the necessary support to the Diocesan Bishop Ambuye George in his pastoral responsibility over the portion of God here in the eastern regional of our nation. You are co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord. Like Paul and Timothy were co-workers. There is absolutely no reason for competition between you. Such would be detrimental to the unity and credibility of the prophetic voice that is in you,” Bishop Chisanga preached.
Until this appointment, Bishop Phiri was serving as Manager for Chipata Diocesan Income Generating Activities of Chipata Diocese.
He was born on 13th December 1964 in Chipata Diocese.
He did his Primary education at Zozwe Primary School in Vubwi District and completed his Secondary education in
1984 at St. Mary’s (Msipazi) Junior Seminary in Chipata. In 1985 he was sent for studies at St. Augustine’s Major Seminary in Mpima, Kabwe where he graduated with a Diploma in Philosophy in 1988. Later, in 1989, he proceeded to St.Dominic’s Major seminary in Lusaka for pastoral and Theological studies where he graduated with a Diploma in Theology in 1991.
He was ordained priest on 15th September 1991.
In 2001, Fr. Msipu went to study Spirituality and Spiritual Direction at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership at Chicago, USA where he graduated with a Certificate in 2002.
In 2005 he went to study Business Administration at St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) and graduated in 2008 with a Degree.
Among others, he worked as Curate and later on Parish Priest at Chadiza Catholic Parish, Parish Priest for Mchini Sub-Parish and Mbwindi Catholic Parish, Diocesan Vicar General, Diocesan Treasurer General and Human Resources Officer, Parish Priest of St. Atanazio (Mchini) Catholic Parish, Dean for St. Anne’s Cathedral – Chipata Diocese, Parish Priest for Mary Mother of God Parish and ZCCB Finance and Administration Manager at the Catholic Secretariat in Lusaka.
WHO IS AN AUXILIARY BISHOP?
An auxiliary bishop is a bishop assigned to assist the diocesan bishop in meeting the pastoral and administrative needs of the diocese.
Auxiliary bishops can also be titular bishops of sees that no longer exist as territorial jurisdictions.
In the Catholic Church, auxiliary bishops exist in both the Latin Church and in the Eastern Catholic Churches.
The particular duties of an auxiliary bishop are given by the diocesan bishop and can vary widely depending on the auxiliary bishop, the ordinary, and the needs of the diocese.
In a larger archdiocese, they might be assigned to serve a portion of the archdiocese (sometimes called deaneries, regions, or vicariates) or to serve a particular population such as immigrants or those of a particular heritage or language.
Canon law requires that the diocesan bishop appoint each auxiliary bishop as vicar general or episcopal vicar of the diocese.