Mangochi — President Dr. Joyce Banda has commended the Catholic Church for the role it is playing in complementing government's efforts of improving people's living conditions in the country.
Speaking on Saturday at St. John the Baptist (Daughters of Mary Immaculate - DMI) University in Mangochi during the Eucharistic Celebration marking the installation of Right Reverend Montfort Stima, President Banda said the Catholic Church has done a lot in helping government to promote the social and economic wellbeing of Malawians.
"Churches, the Catholic in particular are doing a lot in the sectors of education, health and agriculture.
"The cordial relationship should continue in the spirit of promoting the lives of people especially those living in the margins of poverty," Banda.
She added: "As we'll be celebrating 50 years of independence in July, we need to reflect on why people should still live in grass thatched houses and drink water from unsafe sources."
President Banda said she advocated for transformational leadership which had seen the birth of a high level development council to champion meaningful and sustainable development. She also hailed the role of religious institutions which usually speak for the voiceless at a time of oppression. The Malawian leader, therefore, urged people in the country to emulate the selflessness example of Bishop Montfort Stima.
Speaking at the same function, retired Bishop of Mangochi Alessandro Pagani said he was thankful to the Lord for allowing him to serve at the helm of Mangochi Diocese for seven years.
Pagani said he was grateful for the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the district despite the differences in religious beliefs. He thanked President Joyce Banda for the support to the church.
In his remarks, Stima said his appointment as Bishop of Mangochi was a new lease of life since he would be first indigenous priest to serve the diocese after a succession four priests of Montfort missionaries.
He thanked all including the president for the numerous contributions towards his installation ceremony.
"To all my colleagues in Mangochi, I am dumbfounded with rapturous welcome you have accorded me," he said.
He called on the faithful to work together for the prosperity of the church, saying: "We are in a field of play and each one of us must take a role in ensuring the success and growth of the church.
"We have a common enemy which is Satan and we need to unite to conquer the devil and bring the kingdom of God on earth," Stima said.
Stima, born on December 27, 1957, hails from Ndoma village in the area of Traditional Authority Dambe in Neno.
He was ordained to priesthood on August 3, 1986 at Limbe Cathedral and has been auxiliary and Diocesan Administrator of Blantyre Archdiocese from January, 2010 until his appointment as Head of Mangochi Diocese late last year following Pagani's retirement.