A New Vehicle for Pastoral Work in Malawi
In 2017, Father Lazarus Kennedy Girevulo will be celebrating the Silver Jubilee of his ordination. When he was first ordained, almost 25 years ago in the Cathedral of St. Augustine in Mangochi, he never dreamt that he himself would one day be in charge of this cathedral parish. The parish has 18 outstations, and Father Girevulo and his two assistant priests have their hands full ministering to all the Catholic faithful in the many scattered outlying villages.
Bishop Stima Monfort of Mangochi wants the priests of his diocese to be very close to the people. For him, the most important thing is the strengthening of their faith. While Malawi as a whole is a majority Christian country, with 80% Christians and 20% Muslims, in his own Diocese of Mangochi, the percentage of Muslims varies region by region from 50% to 90%. In the very recent past, there have been repeated attacks on Christians. For many of the faithful, there is also great temptation to convert to Islam – above all when the only school in the area is a Muslim one. “They need our help and encouragement,” the bishop says.
Given the poor road conditions, it is not easy for the priests to reach some of the villages. Especially in the rainy season, which lasts from the end of December to the end of March, the roads are often impassable, since they turn into a sea of mud. Until recently, Father Lazarus had nothing but an ancient and dilapidated 30-year-old vehicle at his disposal, with which he struggled to make headway.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN was able to provide him with $20,300, enabling him to purchase a new and sturdy vehicle, which is making the pastoral ministry for him and his two assistant priests so much easier.
He writes, “I want to thank you and all our generous benefactors for having made it possible to respond to our request. This vehicle will be so helpful to us in our pastoral work. With God’s help we will do our best to take good care of this car as we go about our pastoral work among the people of God, visiting the outstations, the schools and the care centers for the sick.”
“We must stay close to our friends there, so that they need have no fear of the hostility of many Muslims and may not be tempted to fall away from their Catholic faith.”
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