BLANTYRE--The Catholic Diocese of Zomba "sadly" announced the death of Bishop Patrick Kalilombe of White Missionaries Congregation, who was controversial throughout his cleric career and had been sent into exile by the government of the late Kamuzu Banda in the 70s.
Priest Steven Alfred Likhucha, communications officer of Zomba Diocese said in a statement Bishop Kalilombe, who died of abdominal complications, was born on 28th August 1938 from Pierre and Helen of Ntakataka who later became inhabitants of Mua.
After his education at Kasina Minor Seminary from 1944 to 1949, Bishop Kalilombe went to study Philosophy and Theology at Kachebere Major Seminary in Mchinji between 1949 and 1954.
In 1954 he made a radical decision of joining the Society of Missionaries of Africa. He then went to study Theology in Tunisia (Thibar) from 1955- 1957.
On 3rd February 1958, he was ordained priest and thereafter went to Italy at Gregorian University to study Scriptures until 1962. From 1962 to 1964 he served at Ntakataka and Bembeke Parishes in Dedza Diocese.
In 1964 he became the first Malawian lecturer at Kachebere Major Seminary and in 1968 he became the first Malawian Rector at the same Seminary and on 12th June 1972 he was appointed Bishop of Lilongwe (Arch)diocese, becoming the first Malawian Bishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese.
On 27th August, 1972 he was consecrated Bishop of Lilongwe. In 1973, Bishop Kalilombe wrote his first Pastoral Letter in the diocese entitled “Christ’s Church in Lilongwe-Today and Tomorrow.”
The letter called upon the Christians to build a self-reliant Church through Small Christian Communities (Miphakati) the Bishop’s brain-child idea. This did not go on well with the Government of the time and wrangles started to emerge between the Bishop and politicians.
Consequently, in March 1976, the Bishop was interrogated for six hours before being asked to leave the country immediately.
In July 1976 when he had visited his sick mother at Mua, the Government detained him (house arrest) from 16th to 18th July.
In 1977 to 1979, he pursued his PHD studies at University of Califonia in Berkeley.
From 1980 to 1996, he served in various positions as university Lecturer and Director in United Kingdom and other western countries. In 1996 he returned home and on 27th August 1997 he celebrated his silver jubilee in a cultural way at Mua.
From 1998 to 2008, the Bishop has been lecturing in Religious Studies at Chancellor College (University of Malawi).
From 2008 to 2012, he has been working with Bible Society of Malawi especially by making commentaries on some books.
The bishop died Monday September 24th, 2012 at Zomba Central Hospital (ICU) around 1800hours after suffering from bowel obstruction and diabetes. He has been at Zomba Central Hospital since last Thursday September 20th, 2012.
Present during his death were, among others, Bishop emeritus Allan Chamgwera his classmate, Fr. Patrick Phalawala his friend and guardian and Fr. Henry Chaona, Chairperson for Local Clergy in Zomba Diocese.
On his will, the deceased said that the Christians from the Catholic Diocese of Zomba and other nearby dioceses should mourn him in Zomba Cathedral and then Sisters at Poor Clare in Lilongwe should also do likewise before being buried to rest at Likuni Cemetary after requiem mass at Likuni Parish in Lilongwe Archdiocese.