The community around Mua Catholic Mission in Dedza held a triple celebration on Saturday when they commemorated 115 years of the existence of Mua Parish as well as 50 years of priesthood for the area’s well-known priest, Fr Claude Boucher, aka Bambo Chisale.
The mission also celebrated 25 years of priesthood for Fr Simon Panyani who was based at Mua in the year Catholic bishops in the country issued the 1992 Pastoral Letter, which changed the country’s political landscape.
In his homily, Bishop Emmanuel Kanyama of the Diocese of Dedza said people of Dedza, especially of Mua Mission, and the whole nation should be thankful to missionaries who left their homes and made sacrifices to come here and teach the word of God.
“We thank God for the missionaries who established Mua Mission. We thank God for Fr Chisale and Catechist Panyani for bringing messages of peace and love to the community at Mua,” Bishop Kanyama said.
He implored the people to become tools for bringing peace and love among themselves to show their gratefulness to people such as Fr Boucher and Panyani.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who was guest of honour at the event, took the opportunity to make three appeals to people gathered, touching on protecting the environment, controlling the population and patriotism.
“It should not take Fr Boucher to teach us about our own culture and traditions. Patriotism is about caring for our culture and everything in the country,” he said.
Fr Boucher said he had received special blessings in the 42 years that he has spent at Mua Mission, where he said he has found brothers and sisters and mothers who have taken care of him.
“Above all I have found God at so many places—at births and funerals, at initiation ceremonies, at ndagala and at dambwe,” said Fr Boucher.
He said he has been encouraging people to maintain their culture and tradition as one way of praising God.
Mua Mission was established by three missionaries of the White Fathers congregation in September 1902, and has since grown to have 25 churches and about 25 000 Christians.
Fr Boucher came to Malawi in the year that he was ordained to priesthood, 1967, and has since worked at three parishes, including Mua.
Fr Boucher, 76, studied philosophy and theology before being ordained. He later obtained a Masters degree in Religious Studies and Anthropology in 1976. He has conducted research in anthropology and culture and written seven books.
Fr Boucher is credited with establishing the Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art in 1976, and Kungoni Cultural Troupe in 1999.