BY: STELLA Zulu KAFERAPANJIRA
The Catholic Church in Malawi has through its eight dioceses observed the launch of the Year of the Word of God that is meant to remind and encourage Catholics and indeed all Christians to own a Bible, read the word of God each day and reflect on it, following the Holy Father’s declaration
The declaration was made as the year 2019 marked the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the bible apostolate established to promote the word of God among Catholics. The year 2020 also marks 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome, a bible apostle who was convicted that “ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” he therefore, translated the Bible into the language of ordinary people to make sure the written word of God is available for all people.
The year of the word of God is therefore, meant to help all in the mission of Christ to renew their efforts and place the word of God at the center of all their activities. The Bishops in Malawi therefore, agreed that most Catholics in the country are not well acquainted with the Bible, hence the need to intensify the Bible apostolate during this year of the Word of God.
The Pastoral Coordinator of ECM, Rev Fr. Henry Chinkanda said originally is was believed that the Bible should be read by people who have gone to school like priests, so as to make correct interpretations of the word of God. Later, the Bible was brought back to the people but still most Catholics lug behind hence the need to make efforts to propagate the word of God hence the various planned activities in celebrating the year of the word of God.
“The theme that the bishops have chosen to guide Catholics in Malawi during this year is “The Word of God is a Lamp of my Life (Psalms 119:105) .ECM is therefore implementing various activities in celebrating the year. The first one was the launch of the year of the bible in each diocese marked by processions, enthronement of the Bible and commissioning Christians as ambassadors of bible activities in their parishes and small Christian communities. We have also composed a prayer that is recited at any Church gathering throughout the year centered on the Bible and we have printed a Bible cloth and Calendar with statements from Verbum Domini. Other activities include Bible marathons, pilgrimages and reflections in dioceses, parishes and small Christian communities basing on each month’s theme and composition of songs using the Bible by youths for Choir festivals”. Said Fr. Chinkanda
The Church in Malawi has also taken advantage of the current rainy season within the year of the word of God to encourage Christians to take their Laudato Si responsibility; it is therefore encouraging and leading various Church groups in planting trees. The ECM has also put in place activities targeting children so that they develop the culture of reading the Bible while they are still young. These activities include Children Bible quizzes in schools, Bible workshops with groups involved with children among others.