Zambia: Following Christ the First Pilgrim and Missionary


Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

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Zambia celebrates 40 years of Oblate presence (1984 -2024). The delegation gathered for their annual Delegation Assembly and the launching of the Ruby anniversary.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate arrived in Zambia on January 6, 1984, with a community of four pioneers from Texas, USA: Fr. Pat Gitzen, Bishop Paul DUFFY, Fr. Jack JOYCE, and Bro. Joseph KAPLINGER. Among these visionaries, Fr. Pat GITZEN is the sole surviving member, now serving as a Formator at De Mazenod House of Formation in Makeni, Lusaka.

As of January 6, 2024, the delegation celebrated 40 years of presence in Zambia. Since its beginnings, the Oblate community has flourished, currently numbering 72 Oblates (2 Bishops, 54 priests, 2 brothers, and 16 scholastics). Additionally, there are 3 Novices and 28 pre-novices. In honor of this milestone, marking the Ruby Anniversary of the Oblates’ enduring presence in Zambia, a special event is scheduled for August 24, 2024, at Mary Immaculate Parish in Lusaka.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate began their mission in Lukulu, later extending to Kalabo, Mongu, Limulunga, Lusaka, Shangombo, Kabwe, Livingstone, Chongwe, Kasama, Mazabuka, and Magoye. Over the past 40 years, the Oblate mission has left an indelible mark on various aspects of life in Zambia, encompassing healthcare, human rights, agriculture, food security, employment, education, catechism, and worship.

During the recent delegation assembly, Fr. Chishimba CHIBESA, OMI, the delegation Superior, and the attending members introduced a prayer and theme for the Ruby anniversary. The theme, “Pilgrims of Hope in Communion: Following Christ the First Pilgrim and Missionary,” underscores our unwavering commitment to serving and fostering hope within the community.