Lilongwe — Government has donated a cheque worth K2 million to the Catholic Church in the country in support of the AMECEA conference scheduled to take place next week.
AMECEA which stands for Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa is a grouping of Catholic Bishops from some Eastern and Southern countries of Africa.
Vice President of the country, Saulos Chilima, presented the cheque on behalf of government to the Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese His Lordship Tarcizius Ziyaye on Friday evening at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) during a dinner and dance which was organized as part of fundraising for the conference.
In his speech, Ziyaye, who is the current chairperson of AMECEA and was Guest of Honour during the function, expressed gratitude over donations which the Catholic Church is receiving from government, organizations and individuals towards the conference.
"I do not take your generosity for granted. I know by donating money towards this conference you are giving out sacrifices which you are doing because you love your church as well as your country," Ziyaye said.
He added: "The church makes us believe that we own the church and therefore self reliant is important. Your donations shows that we are indeed self reliant."
The Archbishop said the conference is important not only to the Catholic Church, but also to the government.
"Malawi will benefit a lot from the conference because we call our nation a God fearing nation. During the conference, we will have liturgy, prayers, discussions relating to education, the youth as well as family matters among others which are things of national importance," said Ziyaye.
He then asked God to bless and reward those that are donating money and other materials towards the conference.
Through such meetings, the Bishops seek to inspire and empower God's family in the region to a credible and prophetic witness to Christ by promoting Unity, Development, Justice and Peace and Solidarity.
The main organizing committee of the 2014 AMECEA conference which is headed by Peter Kulemeka has been holding a series of fundraising activities aimed at raising funds for the conference where it is expected that over 250 delegates, half of them being Cardinals and Bishops from member country states are to attend.
Other activities during the dinner and dance were raffle draw where winners went away with different prizes and an auction sale of household items. The function was attended by senior government officials including the Vice President, Principal Secretaries, Catholic Priests and nuns and some catholic faithful among others.
Over the years, AMECEA has among other things established Small Christian Communities as a pastoral priority in the region and has also established such institutions of Higher Learning and Formation as the Catholic University of Eastern Africa ( CUEA), the AMECEA pastoral Institute and Blessed Bakanja College.
AMECEA was founded in 1961 and comprises the Episcopal Conferences of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Since 1961, the grouping has been holding Plenary Assemblies every three years and Malawi has had the honour of hosting these meetings only twice in 1979 in Zomba and in 1995 in Mangochi.
The conference is expected to run from July 16 to July 25, 2014 at BICC and will start with an opening mass to be held at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
Meanwhile, some delegates from other countries have already started arriving in the country for the conference.