Chilubi Island: Fr. Bangwe, SJ presides over the Holy Trinity Mass

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By Honore Onana Olah, SJ

The faithful of the Santa Maria Parish of Chilubi Island of the Archdiocese of Kasama in Zambia lived a unique event that will last a long time in their memories with the celebration of the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity on June 11 during the first mass of Father John Bangwe, SJ.

Fr John Bangwe SJ (number six from left)

After having been ordained by Archbishop Telesphore G. Mpundu, Archbishop of Lusaka, along with two others Jesuits, Daniel Mutale and Peter Banda, on May 27, Fr. John Bangwe chose, with all humility, to preside over the first Mass in his homeland. Among the concelebrants were a dozen priests, including the Jesuit Fathers Leonard Chiti, the newly appointed Provincial of the Jesuit Province of Zambia-Malawi, Hector Mukwato, Delegate of Formation , Charles Searson, Charles Chilinda, many scholastics and a Jesuit from Cameroon. Others were diocesan priests, among whom was the parish priest Xavier Chisanga and Johns Chitalu, systematic theology teacher at St. Dominic’ seminary in Lusaka who said the homily. There were also several political, military and administrative authorities, including the Honorable Rosaria Fundanga MP, who took part in the mass.

Fr John Bangwe SJ blessing children
Fr John Bangwe SJ blessing children

During his homily based on the readings of the day, Fr. Johns Chitalu insisted on the mystery of the Trinity as a community. The Trinity still called UBUTATU in local language Bemba is “community”, he said. The Trinity has existed since the beginning, especially when God says in the Book of Genesis, ‘Let us make human beings in our image‘ to speak of this unity. Adding a little humour to show our resemblance to God, Fr. Chitalu pointed out that he had a cousin with a big head, does this mean that the Lord is like him too?

Returning to the figure of Fr. John Bangwe, SJ, the preacher of the day remarked that this unity of the Trinity can also be seen in the life and growth of the one who says his first mass in his own homeland. Fr. Bangwe, SJ, he explained, lost his parents very early in his childhood and was educated by the entire community as it is the case in African families. This can be seen as the link between the community and the unity of the Holy Trinity, as again noted the preacher of the day.

The Mass which lasted nearly three hours ended with several blessings of the faithful as well as sounds, rhythms and African dances.

By Honore Onana Olah, SJ

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