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Bishop Charles Kasonde

Catholic Diocese of Solwezi Bishop, Rt. Rev. Charles Kasonde on Saturday, 24th June 2017 presided over Holy Mass of launching and commissioning the locally translated Catholic Bible in the three official languages namely; Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale which are widely spoken in the diocese with the call on Christians to make the Word of God the basis of their Christian lives. The newly launched translated Bibles in Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale include the deuterocanonical books namely; Judith, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiaticus) and Baruch. In fact, as Bishop Kasonde points out in his Acknowledgement that appeared in the translated Bibles, “since the inception of the Catholic Church as an Apostolic prefecture in 1959 and later on its elevation as a Diocese covering the political and geographical delimitation as North Western Province, the Catholic Church of Solwezi” (Luvale Bible with Deuterocanonical Books, Catholic Diocese of Solwezi, 2016, p.v) has been using the Protestant Bibles for its pastoral and liturgical needs.

Delivering his homily when launching and commissioning of Catholic Bibles in Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale during Holy Mass held at St. Daniel’s Cathedral Parish on the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Bishop Kasonde said that Christians need to deepen their knowledge and assimilation of the Word of God by making it the basis of their Christian lives. 

“My dear people, in order to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ you need to have a basis and this basis is what we are launching and commissioning today, the Word of God”, He  said.

Bishop Kasonde also said Christians have to share and experience the Word of God in their daily interactions.

“The Word of God has to be deepened in your lives by experiencing it and later sharing its goodness with others by letting the Word of God radiate its goodness in the society, homes and hearts”, explained Bishop Kasonde.

He further said that there is need to be grateful to God and the Korean people for enabling the Diocese reach the stage of having the Word of God translated into local languages.

“We need to be grateful to God who has made us reach this far in having the Word of God translated in our mother tongues. We are also grateful to our brothers and sisters in South Korea who collaborated and cooperated with us in the generation of the Word of God that is customanised in our homes, families and in our times”, concluded Bishop Kasonde.

During the colourful Holy Mass attended by Priests, Religious women and men, Seminarians and the Lay Faithful, the newly printed Bibles were presented to the Bishop in a traditional style by a girl carried shoulder high in the hammock by members of St. Joachim and accompanied by Korean priests working in the diocese. The Bishop later enthroned the Bible by reciting the prayer in accompanied by Christians.

Perhaps one of the memorable events during the launching and commissioning of Catholic Bibles in local languages was when Bishop Kasonde before delivering the homily presented free Bibles to three oldest men and three women and to two youngest babies present in the cathedral.

“Before presenting the homily I would want to perform a ritual of two generations as we receive the Word of God” Bishop Kasonde said “I want to connect the two generations of the old people who helped to plant Ecclesia and the young who are growing and who are going to continue to carry out the work of planting Ecclesia...all these I am going to give them free Bibles”, explained Bishop Kasonde amid applause from the congregation.

Earlier on Bishop Kasonde on Wednesday June 2017 witnessed the offloading of Bibles from a Tanzanian truck registration number TZ 228 CFA driven by a Muslim Mfaume Amadi Mpunga from Dar es Salaam to Solwezi covering 2, 104 kilometers.

During the same Holy Mass, the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator Fr. Sydney Lubinda outlined the history leading to the printing of Bibles in local languages and thanked the Bishops for making the project of having local Bibles a success.

“The desire for a Catholic Bible started since Solwezi became a diocese in 1976, but it was not until 2014 under the visionary and good leadership of His Lordship, Bishop Kasonde that the desire to have a Catholic Bible took shape resulting into translation, editing and final printing of Catholic Bibles in Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale local languages “, elaborated Fr. Lubinda.

The printing of 15, 000 Catholic Bibles comprising of 5, 000 in each language category of Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale as well as 10, 000 copies of Buku Wamalombelo (Book of Prayers) is highly acknowledged by Bishop Kasonde in his tribute of thanks; “I would like to express and pay tribute of thanks to the Overseas Bible Outreach for funding the printing cost of these Bibles. We willingly commit ourselves to pray for the success of its apostolate. I am particularly grateful to the Archbishop of Seoul, His Eminence Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo Jung, Rev. Fr. Francis Lee and the Catholic Publishing House of South Korea for their contribution to facilitate the printing of these Bibles in Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale. May God bless and reward you for the work you are doing; bringing the Word of God closer to the people. May I extend my gratitude too, to the members of the Pastoral and Liturgical Commissions of our Diocese for the great works of translations notable are; Fr. Neal Mulyata, Fr. Stephen Kapalu Samukhuku, Fr. Jose’ dos Santos Guedes, Fr. Iten Werner, Fr. Henry Mobela, Fr. Yang Paul, Priests, Brothers and Seminarians, Catechists and the Lay Faithful in general who contributed greatly to the success of this work. Worth mentioning also is the magnanimous cooperation of the Bible Society of Zambia who allowed us to use their text for our use in the realisation of the Catholic translation of the Word of God” (Rt. Rev. Charles J.S. Kasonde, “Acknowledgement” in Luvale Bible with Deuterocanonical Books, Catholic Diocese of Solwezi, 4th June 2016, p.vi).

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