The Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA) has awarded the only surviving author of Living our Faith Pastoral Letter Bishop Emeritus Allan Chamgwera and a Publication house; Montfort Media Limited for their role in issuing the letter in 1992.
At the two-conference commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Pastoral in Mangochi at Mpale Cultural Village from 15th to 16th December 2022, CUNIMA University Council Chairman Most Rev. Thomas Luke Msusa said the Catholic Bishops were brave to challenge the party rule led by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) through the letter.
Archbishop Msusa added that the bishops put their lives at risk for challenging the atrocities under MCP rule and the country’s president Dr. Kamuzu Banda for the betterment of many lives of Malawians.
“It was a milestone for the Church. We have come a long way when it was unthinkable for a Malawian to dare and politically critic the status quo of that time, it was unthinkable” said Archbishop Msusa.
“It took hard work, sacrifices, and perseverance of the Catholic Bishops in 1992 to enable us to reach this far” added Archbishop Msusa.
Speaking after receiving the award, Managing Director of Montfort Media Father Piergiorgio Gamba said the printing house risked losing the machinery after publishing the landmark Pastoral Letter.
Father Gamba said some people believed to be MCP supporters came to burn the printing press for publishing the letter.
The 1992 Pastoral Letter that was issued by the Catholic bishops in Malawi is recognized as key to the country’s multiparty system.
The letter challenged the level of poverty, corruption, and social economic turbulences experienced by the majority of the citizens.
In the Pastoral letter, the bishops also called for freedom of expression, Creation of an environment favorable to the physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, and spiritual development of students in the country.
The 1992 Pastoral letter was authored by the late Archbishop James Chiona of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, the late bishop Felix Eugenio Mkhori of the Diocese of Chikwawa, the late Bishop Matthias Chimole of the Lilongwe Diocese then, the late bishop Alessandro Assolari of the diocese of Mangochi, bishop emeritus Allan Chamgwera of Diocese of Zomba, late bishop Gervazio Moses Chisendera of the Diocese of Dedza and Monsignor John Roche