By Bishop Evans C Chinyemba, OMI
We have all been on a journey. Each journey we have taken has the starting point and a destination. Our journeys in life take us to places some of them new, others old and familiar places. This year of Faith, Mongu Diocese takes a journey, a pilgrimage of faith to Lukulu.
The history of Christianity and that of other religions speak of pilgrimages. Pilgrimage as a journey takes one to a sacred shrine or to a sanctuary for spiritual purpose.
There are two ways a pilgrimage is done. The first one is a visit to a shrine of a Saint or that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have in the history of Catholic Church such shrines. People have gone for pilgrimages to places like Our Lady of Lourdes in France or Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. Secondly, the other way is a visit to a place where historical events have taken place or reported to have occurred. Each year millions of believers go to Jerusalem to see many places in which Jesus Christ lived in and did his ministry. The Old Testament also speaks of places like Shechem or Bethel and many other places of pilgrimages. People have gone to certain historical shrines in search for healing. Others have gone to shrines to purely offer of a prayer of thanksgiving or that of supplication. Whatever the case, pilgrimages have been part of our Christian history.
This year, which is the Year of Faith, the Diocese of Mongu will make its pilgrimage to Lukulu’s Sancta Maria Parish. Firstly, the choice of Sancta Maria Parish as the place for the Year of Faith Pilgrimage is for the whole diocese to go and pray at the grave of Bishop Phelim O’ Shea one of the first Capuchin Missionaries who pioneered Catholic Faith in this part of the country. Secondly, Sancta Maria Parish was chosen for the pilgrimage because it’s the oldest parish in Mongu Diocese. These two contexts are motivation enough for our journey of faith.
May I wish all those who are preparing for this first ever diocesan pilgrimage that marks our commitment for the Year of Faith, God’s blessings and guidance. May the journey of 16th to 18th August, be an experience of thanksgiving, and faith renewal.