ZAMBIA: St. Mary’s Parish has a newly reconstructed chapel thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions
Chapel is also source of clean drinking water for many families.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 15, 2022) The Salesian-run St. Mary’s Parish, located in the village of Nambe in Zambia, has a newly reconstructed chapel thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The old chapel structure was in a dilapidated state and was too small to accommodate all the people who wanted to attend services.
The new structure has two rooms and can hold 200 people. About 100 families gather on Sundays for prayers and celebration of Mass. Several neighborhood families also come together at least once per week for prayers, work and sharing. The church has several lay groups dedicated to specific saints who meet for devotions. There are also choirs for children, older youth and adults. During the week, there are meetings for women and youth in the chapel since no other structures in the area can accommodate them.
The majority of the people in Nambe are farmworkers with very low incomes. They live in structures which usually lack electricity or running water. A military camp in the area provides most of the leadership at the church and some income. The government has a primary school nearby. The Salesian Catholic community plans to start a kindergarten for children at the church since children under age 6 cannot enter primary school.
“The beautiful church, though not yet furnished with the benches, is now the envy of the village and has renewed the spirit of the Catholic community who feel the sense of pride now,” said Father Ignatius Musenge, parish priest. “To ensure maintenance, the community has a caretaker living in a small constructed house on the church grounds. Our village chapel has also become the source of clean drinking water for many families and thanks to the donation received, we can drill a borehole and put up a tank which is filled by a solar pump.”
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with upwards of 60 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises sharply according to the World Bank. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily, and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.
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