A Zambian archbishop has emphasized the importance of lay involvement in spreading the Catholic faith in his country.
Archbishop Ignatius Chama of the northern Zambia city of Kasama said that lay people “witness to the faith” in their workplaces and homes
The bishop, during a visit to Aid to the Church In Need’s headquarters in Koenigstein, Germany, said that lay catechists are “leading the Church forward” in the absence of priests.
For example, in the Diocese of Mpika there are about 75 catechists at prayer centers, which are organized like parishes but do not have priests. The catechists ensure that the catechism is taught at the centers and that people have access to the sacraments when a priest comes.
Lay associations and movements are also creating initiatives to ensure the progress of the Church. The Legion of Mary, the Catholic Family Movement, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and various Third Orders of religious congregations are all at work in Zambia.
The archbishop noted that the first and second African bishops’ synods have stressed the “cardinal” role of the laity to evangelization.
Some areas of Zambia have been evangelized for a century, while other areas still have not heard the gospel.
Archbishop Chama said the Catholic Church in the country needs “human and material resources” to advance evangelization. He particularly cited the need for means of transport and formation for seminarians, religious sisters and catechists.
He praised Aid to the Church in Need and its donors for its contributions to meet these needs.
The international Catholic pastoral charity is working in about 130 countries around the world.