Zambia: Livingstone’s young people impress Bishop Kalumba with their generous donation.

Zambia’s Livingstone Diocese Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI., has said he is highly impressed and touched by an initiative of the diocese’s young people to contribute towards the Seminarian Fund.

Fr. Clifford Mulasikwanda – Livingstone, Zambia.

Noting their contribution to the annual seminary fundraiser, Bishop Kalumba said this year’s contribution coming from the diocese’s young people was generous and touching.

Thank you to the youth from the Bishop

 “For the first time in our diocese, the young people of our diocese, the youth, have seen the need to support seminarians, so they also contributed something according to their capacity,” said the Bishop of Livingstone.  

Elated at their generous contribution, Bishop Kalumba could not hide his joy in thanking the young ones in front of their parents. “I take this opportunity to thank them in the presence of you, their parents here.”

Thank you from the seminarians to the mothers

There was also much gratitude from the Livisntone Seminarians studying in various national seminaries. They are the direct beneficiaries of the diocesan Seminarian Fund drive. Students of St Augustine’s Mpima Philosophical Seminary told the Bishop they were moved and grateful to all who contributed to the fund.

“We, the seminarians of the Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, at St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Mpima, would like to express our deepest gratitude to all members of the diocese who help us in our formation,” they said. They continued, “We do admit that without your support, it would be very difficult to manage on our own,” they said. 

Meanwhile, Livingstone Diocesan seminarians of St. Dominic’s Major Seminary, Lusaka -a Theological seminary, also expressed their indebtedness. They thanked, in particular, the women in the diocese who spearhead the fundraising campaign each year.

“We would wish to express our sincere gratitude through Your Lordship (Bishop Kalumba) to our dearest mothers (the Women’s Ministry) for the continued support given to us for the continuation of our studies through the Seminarian Fund Programme … It is through this support that we are able to be in the seminary studying today,” the seminarians affirmed. 

A local Church trying to be self-supporting

Historically, vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Livingstone Diocese have not always been plentiful compared to other dioceses in the country. Fortunately, the situation is slowly improving. A few more young people are now responding to the call to train as Catholic priests. The Diocese of Livingstone sends young men who wish to train as diocesan priests to the national seminaries of Mpima and St Dominic’s. 

In the past, the life of the Church in the Diocese of Livingstone was supported by donations from primarily foreign European missions. For various reasons, these funds are no longer forthcoming from Western partners. In a country with a depressed economy, the Bishop of Livingstone and local clergy now try to maintain the local Church as best as they can. It is a daunting task.

The cost of training local clergy

One of the huge expenses faced by the Diocese of Livingstone is the training of its local seminarians. It would be unthinkable to leave the financial burden entirely to the parents of the seminarians. Fortunately, the Diocese’s Women Ministry has stepped in to help in recent years. The women in the diocese carry out a yearlong annual fundraising campaign dubbed the “Seminarian Fund.” All the monies collected are given to the Bishop at an elaborate ceremony. This year saw, for the first time, the diocese’s youth equally fundraise and contribute to the fund, much to the delight of diocesan authorities.

The Seminarian Fund contributes towards costs for tuition, boarding and other associated expenses of seminarians studying in the country’s major national seminaries. 

This year’s Seminarian Fund presentation event was held at Christ the King Parish, Maramba in Livingstone. A total of K344 079. 05 (about 20 000. 00 US Dollars). Of this amount, K5 370. 00 (about 300 US Dollars) came from the initiative of the Diocesan Youth Ministry.