Zambia-Malawi Province greetings

Congratulations to Irish Jesuit Missions on the launch of the new website dedicated to conveying the good news of the works of Irish Jesuits and volunteers in different parts of the world. 

Peter Bwanali, S.J.
Provincial, Zambia-Malawi Province

The site provides an attractive layout with an easily accessible menu to connect with different aspects of the work of the Jesuit Mission office in Dublin.Irish Jesuits first came to Zambia over 60 years ago, working primarily in the southern part of the country and in the capital, Lusaka, doing parish work, education and development.  Over 100 Irish Jesuits have worked in Zambia since the first two, Frs. Patrick O’Brien and Patrick Walsh, arrived in what was then Northern Rhodesia.  Volunteers from Ireland have also been part of the education and development work for much of that time.  The impact of the Irish presence is seen especially in Canisius High School and Charles Lwanga College of Education in Chikuni, the flourishing parishes in the Monze Diocese, and development projects around the diocese.

The Jesuit Province of Zambia was formed in 1969; the country of Malawi was added to the Province in 1992 as Jesuits from Zambia began working in that country at the request of the Bishops.  Over the years the Jesuit Province of Ireland has been very generous in supporting the work of the Jesuits in Zambia and later Malawi with personnel and finances.  This contribution is greatly appreciated.  A strong bond of cooperation has developed between the two Provinces.

However, as the number of Irish Jesuits in Zambia diminishes (there are at present 15 still active here), I believe it would be a shame if the wonderful cooperation between the two Provinces were also to diminish. And there is no reason why it should.  However, the relationship needs to change with the changing circumstances in the Provinces.  The number of Zambian and Malawian Jesuits now stands at 62, well over half of this Province, but the majority of these are still in formation.  The relationship in the future between the two Provinces can no longer depend on the fact that there are Irish Jesuit missionaries in Zambia and Malawi.  Sometime in the future that might not be so.  Rather it has to be based on the shared history and shared ideals between the two Provinces.

That has already begun.  Through the Jesuit Mission Office support—financial, personnel, technical—for Province works and projects, rather than just those started by Irish missionaries, has increased in recent years.  Likewise, Zambian and Malawian Jesuits have not only studied in Ireland, but have been available for celebrating the Eucharist, preaching and doing mission animation in schools and parishes.  In recent years many Irish Jesuits, lay collaborators, students and volunteers have spent various lengths of time in Zambia and Malawi, becoming aware of the vibrant church and also the various situations of the people here.  I hope this intentional cooperation continues. 

For the future I hope that the Irish Province through its Mission Office continues to implement what the recent Jesuit General Congregation stated in regard to Africa:  “… we acknowledge the Society’s responsibility to present a more integral and human vision of this continent, in addition all Jesuits are invited to greater solidarity with and effective support of the Society’s mission of inculturating faith and promoting more justice in this continent.”

Congratulations once again on the new website.  I wish your readers joy in this Christmas season and God’s blessings throughout 2009. 

 

Peter Bwanali, S.J.
Provincial, Zambia-Malawi Province

 

 

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