Judith SONKHO

The Catholic Church in Malawi has admitted that it will not be easy to operate the way it used to before the coming in of Covid-19 saying a good number of the Church’s activities have been disturbed due to the pandemic.

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) Secretary General Rev. Fr. Henry Saindi said by the end of July 2021, the Church had lost 10 priests across the country, a situation he said has affected operations in the diocese where the priests were working.

He added that a number of nuns, Brothers and lay faithful have also succumbed to COVID-19.

“It requires a lot of time, commitment and resources to train priests, Brothers and nuns and surely it will not be possible to replace those that have been lost to Covid19,” said Fr. Saindi.

The ECM Secretary General has also said that social services in areas such as health and education which the Church provides through its various development arms have also been affected.

“This pandemic has also disrupted a number of activities that we normally engage in to the effect that we have now learnt to live with the pandemic. Most of the projects that we normally would have implemented for the larger part of last year and this year, we are not able to do so in the manner that we normally do,” he added.

Rev Fr. Anthony Kadyampakeni, rector at St. Peters Major Seminary in Zomba Diocese, agreed with Fr. Saindi saying it takes a long process to train a priest as among others the process requires one to spend up to nine years undergoing training.

He added that the pandemic has also disrupted school calendar for learning institutions including St. Peters Major Seminary in Zomba Diocese.

Catechist Paul Chitsulo from St. Francis Parish in Kanengo Lilongwe Archdiocese said the deaths of priests have also affected delivery of services in some churches, forcing the parishes to change the way services are delivered.

The ECM Secretary General said although such is the situation, the Church is making sure that the pandemic should not continue to negatively affect its services.

He said for instance, Bishops in Malawi are encouraging members of the Church and the general public to observe all preventive measures such as observing social distance, washing hands with soap and wearing face masks.

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