HIS EMINENCE MEDARDO CARDINAL JOSEPH MAZOMBWE (1931 – 2013)
Prayer and burial programme
30 August 2013, Friday:
Mourners gather at Cathedral of the Child Jesus, Pope Square, Lusaka
19:00 hours: Mass at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
31 August 2013 Saturday:
19.00 hours: Mass at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
1 September 2013 Sunday:
Morning: Mass in various parishes
19.00 hours: Prayers, Vespers, Rosary at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
2 September 2013 Monday:
14:30 hours onwards: Body lies in State at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
19:00 hours: Vigil Mass; Body lies in Church overnight; Body viewing at Cathedral of the Child Jesus
3 September 2013 Tuesday
09:00 hours: Requiem Mass at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
:Burial at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus
(N.B. There will be no body viewing after the Requiem Mass)
NOT too long ago there was jubilation among Zambia’s Roman Catholic fraternity and the entire nation when Medardo Joseph Mazombwe was appointed as a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
The humble man of God became the first Zambian cardinal on November 30, 2010 proving that the Roman Catholic Church in Zambia was a force to reckon with.
But after almost three years since his appointment as Cardinal, the dark cloud is hovering over Zambia and the entire Roman Catholic Church the world over.
The man who gave up his life to work for mankind answered the Lord’s call on August 29, 2013 at a time Zambia was priding itself for having produced a cardinal.
At 82, Cardinal Mazombwe was the envy of all Roman Catholic priests because of his humility and firmness in what he believed was good for mankind.
Born on September 24, 1931 in Katete, Cardinal Mazombwe, who was the Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka Archdiocese, died on August 29, 2013 at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) around 17:40 hours.
According to Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) spokesperson Paul Samasumo, Cardinal Mazombwe was ordained as a priest on September 4, 1960 and became bishop of Chipata Diocese on February 7, 1971.
As bishop of Chipata Diocese, he founded a congregation of nuns called the Good Shepherd Sisters.
Between 1996 and 2006, Cardinal Mazombwe was the archbishop of Lusaka until his retirement in 2006.
Father Samasumo said on November 30, 2010 the then Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI created the Emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka, Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, as Zambia’s first indigenous cardinal, at a public consistory held in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Around 2011 the cardinal was awarded a honorary doctorate by the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) for his immense contribution towards the establishment of that university.
Fr Samasumo said Cardinal Mazombwe held several senior positions in the local and regional Church such as ZEC president from 1972 to 2002 and as chairperson of the regional conference of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) from 1979 to 1986.
In the months leading up to the year 2000, Cardinal Mazombwe, as archbishop of Lusaka, was an ardent campaigner for the cancellation of Zambia’s international debt, in the Jubilee 2000 movement.
Fr Samasumo said most visible among some of his numerous pastoral initiatives was the sprawling Cathedral of the Child Jesus (Pope Square) in Lusaka.
He said Cardinal Mazombwe’s optimism and courage in the face of cancer inspired many that visited him in the last 12 months.
“Even as he grew weak, Cardinal Mazombwe never gave up his passion for the affairs of the Church and the nation,” Fr Samasumo said.
Pope Francis expressed sadness over the death of Zambia’s first cardinal, according to the Vatican.
The Vatican Radio reported on Friday that Pope Francis had sent a telegram to Lusaka Archbishop, Telesphore Mpundu, on the death of Cardinal Mazombwe.
In his telegram, the Holy Father praised Cardinal Mazombwe’s unfailing commitment to the spread of the Gospel in Africa and his tireless efforts on behalf of the poor.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka. I offer to you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese my heartfelt condolences and the assurance of my prayers.
“With gratitude to Almighty God, I recall his unfailing commitment to the spread of the Gospel in Africa and his tireless efforts on behalf of the poor.
“I join you and all who mourn Cardinal Mazombwe in praying that God the Father of mercies may grant him the reward of his labour and welcome his noble soul into the peace and joy of heaven,” Pope Francis said.
“To all assembled for the solemn funeral Mass, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord, ” he added.
And AMECEA secretary general Ferdinand Lugonzo said the association received with great shock the news about the death of Cardinal Mazombwe.
Fr Lugonzo said the association remembered Cardinal Mazombwe for his dedication as chairman of the association (AMECEA) from 1979 to 1986 and the first chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
He said the loss of Cardinal Mazombwe was not only affecting the Church in Zambia but also AMECEA and the universal Church as well.
The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) said the cardinal would be missed for his positive contribution to the nation through his work as an ardent champion of justice and peace.
CCZ president Aflred Kalembo said Cardinal Mazombwe would be remembered for his humility, passion and bravery in executing his duties while holding several senior positions in the local and regional Church bodies.
“The beloved departed cardinal will be celebrated as a brave campaigner and advocate for debt cancellation which he spearheaded through the Jubilee movement campaign and other developmental projects throughout the country,” Dr Kalembo said.
President Sata, a staunch Catholic, also regretted the death of Cardinal Mazombwe, describing the development as a huge blow to the country and the Church.
“I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the entire Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka, his family and all those who knew and venerated His Eminence Medardo Cardinal Joseph Mazombwe both at home and abroad,” he said.
President Sata said he remembered the late cardinal as a courageous and enthusiastic cleric for many years, in particular as a young priest in the 1960s, as bishop of Chipata Diocese in the 1970s and finally as the archbishop of Lusaka until his retirement in 2006.
He said in a message of condolences issued by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah that most visible among some of his numerous pastoral initiatives was the magnificent Cathedral of the Child Jesus (Pope Square) in Lusaka.
The President said the late Cardinal Mazombwe’s passion and commitment to the nation and the poor was equally worth of praise.
“In the months leading to the year 2000, Cardinal Mazombwe, as archbishop of Lusaka then, was a fiery crusader for the cancellation of Zambia’s international debt, in the Jubilee 2000 movement,” President Sata said.
He said that all those who had contact with the great cleric could testify that his priestly zeal, authority and fidelity to the Gospel was appreciated by multitudes.
The death of Cardinal Mazombwe has moved the entire Roman Catholic Church and the nation from joy to sorrow. Rest in Peace Cardinal Joseph. God bless.