Moses in Zambia: the story of a new cathedral

Thanks to the generosity of the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholics of Monze, in Zambia, now have a new cathedral to better serve their needs and improve evangelisation efforts.

While churches close or languish empty in many parts of the developed world, the Catholic community of Monze, in southern Zambia, has just celebrated the opening of a new cathedral.

Like the great Moses of the Old Testament, Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze led his people on this mission but, like the prophet, he was called home by the Lord before seeing the finished cathedral.

The old cathedral in the Diocese of Monze was constructed in a great location, right in the centre of the city. However, as the city and the population grew to about 30,000, the bishop soon found that a new space was needed.

New cathedral in Zambia
Front view of the new Cathedral in Monze Diocese, Zambia, in 2022.

“The current cathedral is situated in the central business district and the noise pollution affects church activities, especially during major liturgical celebrations. The church premises are also limited, making it impossible to build new facilities such as a car park and catechetical classrooms, which we need”, explained Bishop Moses Hamungole to ACN, when he first began planning the project.

The second reason given by the bishop was a positive one: the cathedral was no longer big enough for the Catholic population in Monze. “This means the parish has had to have four Masses every Sunday.”

Finally, there was the also important issue of evangelisation. “With the rapid increase and spread of Protestant churches, we thought looking for a place in the outskirts of town and building a new church would eventually help us to develop a new parish for evangelisation”.

Cathedral of Zambia
Consecration mass with of the new Cathedral with Bishop Raphael Mweempwa

Pope blesses the first stone

With this plan in mind, and his people behind him, Bishop Moses set to work. A fundraising drive began, land was purchased from the Government, and a delegation visited Pope Francis, in Rome, who blessed the foundation stone in March 2017. ACN also committed to providing financial aid.

Government delays in issuing building permits, and all the difficulties associated with the Covid pandemic, slowed construction, but the new cathedral was finally consecrated on Saturday 3 September. However, Bishop Moses was unable to see the fulfilment of the project he began, as he died of Covid in January 2021.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the cathedral, the new Bishop of Monze, Raphael Mweempwa, remembered his predecessor and expressed gratitude to all who helped the diocese in this time, including ACN.

“By the grace of God, construction work on the new Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Diocese of Monze has been concluded. Because of your prayers and generosity this project has been successfully completed. To you we say: thank you. We assure you of our prayers and ask our loving God to continue to bless you and your noble work”, wrote Bishop Mweempwa, in a message to the benefactors of ACN.

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