Members of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) have been lauded for “expanding” their apostolate of evangelization with the means of communication in the Southern African country of Zambia.
In his homily during the official inauguration of a new house and a Paulines Catholic Bookshop in Zambia’s Archdiocese of Lusaka, Bishop Raphael Mweempwa invited other Religious Orders to find inspiration in the FSP members’ initiative, living out their respective charisms “like the Sisters have done here”.
“Celebrating the opening of this place where the Sisters are going to continue their mission of evangelization is something that is inspired by their response to the call of the Lord,” the Local Ordinary of Zambia’s Monze Diocese said during the Wednesday, January 25 Eucharistic celebration, the Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Bishop Mweempwa congratulated FSP members for the initiative of putting up a new premise comprising a Catholic bookshop and a residence in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, and added, “We thank God for the gift of the Sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul and the great work that they are doing in the mission of evangelization.”
“The Sisters of the Daughters of Saint Paul are witnesses to all of us by opening up this place to respond to their charism,” the Zambian Catholic Bishop said.
FSP members in Zambia have thought of putting up this place “so that their work of evangelization might be more effective,” he further said, and continued, “I would like to invite all the Religious Congregations also to live out your charisms, to live out your particular vocation as an Institute, to give that witness like the sisters have done here.”
“Wherever we are found, we are all to respond to the call of the Lord and make our contribution. The (FSP) Sisters have given us that example and we thank them,” the 48-year-old Zambian Bishop who was appointed Bishop in February 2022 said.
FSP members have been in Zambia since 1994, having responded to the invitation of the late Medardo Joseph Cardinal Mazombwe.
The newly inaugurated residence and Catholic Bookshop is not an entirely new community in Zambia, but “an expansion of the Apostolic Centre and House within Lusaka Archdiocese in order to fully respond to our specific mission and life,” Sr. Praxidis Nafula, a member of the Regional Council of the FSP in Eastern Africa told ACI Africa.
Sr. Nafula who participated in the January 25 inauguration event said the new premise that was actualized “through the generous support of our benefactors and some of the international funding agencies” is to be served by three FSP members.
The three FSP members, the Directress of Paulines Publications Africa said, “will be running the book Centre and also intensify book exhibition in other parts of the country.”
“Currently we are only in Lusaka, but we move from region to region within the countries bringing books closer to the people,” Sr. Nafula told ACI Africa on January 25 in reference to the 14 countries in Africa where FSP members serve, which she said include Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
In his homily during the January 25 event, Bishop Mweempwa encouraged FSP members to continue “expanding to different places where this work that you are doing might be more appreciated.”
“Whenever possible, extend your presence even to other places and then give that witness physically and other people might also be inspired to want to do the same,” the Zambian Catholic Bishop said.
Addressing participants during the January 25 inauguration event, the Regional Superior of FSP communities in Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, Sr. Rosemary Mueni Mwaiwa, described the new premise as “part of the expansion of our mission, and our participation in the work of evangelization.”
Sr. Mwaiwa looked back at the pioneer members to the Southern African nation, saying, “FSP arrived in Lusaka in 1994 and acquired a small house, which they lived in until 2021 as carried out the work of evangelization in this nation.”“In conjunction with the signs of the time and the needs of the apostolate, we felt the necessity to have a new house and bookshop to respond effectively to the needs of the people,” the Kenyan-born FSP leader said.
She went on to thank “all those who have worked to bring this edifice to completion”, adding, “Through them the FSP have an impressive new home and a bookshop to pursue their mandate of preaching the Gospel to all people with the means of communication.”
Sr. Mwaiwa continued, “I appreciate the FSP in Lusaka, Sr. Mary Kioko and the Sisters for their hard work, commitment, sacrifice and sleepless nights to make this house what it’s now, a home and a place for our mission.”
“My gratitude goes to the donors for their generous contribution towards this building. May God bless them,” the Nairobi-based FSP Regional Superior said, and implored, “May St. Paul our father and patron intercede for us so that we may continue to emulate his zeal, and love for Jesus in the proclamation of the Gospel.”
In her message to FSP in Zambia on the occasion of the inauguration of the new residence and Catholic bookshop, the Superior General of FSP, Sr. Anna Caiazza offered “warmest best wishes and grateful closeness to you in prayer.”
“It is very providential and significant that this inauguration is taking place on the day in which we celebrate the ‘conversion’ of our beloved Father, St. Paul, model of an intense interior life, love for the Church, zeal and generous dedication in the apostolate, and sure guide in the process of Christification,” Sr. Caiazza said.
She added, “We hope with all our heart that in this new and beautiful house you will be able to share your ideas, gifts and energies with each other, and that you will reach out with renewed and bold creativity to the existential peripheries that are in greater need of the light of the Gospel, where hope is lacking, where the values of life, of the family, of inclusive and supportive welcome, and of creation, are threatened.”
The Rome-based FSP Superior General underscored the need for FSP members in Zambia to witness to Gospel values, saying, “Inspired by your witness, may many young women accept the invitation to follow Jesus Master in the Pauline vocation, so that the light of the Word may shine ever more brightly and fruitfully.”
She expressed her gratitude to the local Church in Zambia, “which continues to accompany you with encouragement and esteem.”
“I thank you for your faith, for your apostolic boldness, and for your desire to spread and multiply the Good,” she further said, and continued, “I also want to thank all those who support you with their presence, prayer, friendship and concrete help.”
Sr. Caiazza implored, “I entrust the journey of your community and the fruitfulness of its apostolic service to the powerful intercession of Fr. Alberione and Maestra Thecla. May they obtain for everyone an abundance of the gifts of the Spirit and the joy that springs from getting up and starting afresh, trusting in God’s Promise.”