LILONGWE—Malawi’sVice President Khumbo Kachali joined Roman Catholics on Friday to mourn the death of Bishop Patrick Augustine Kalilombe on Friday.
Kalilombe, who died on Monday aged 79, was the first Malawian bishop to join the Order of the White Fathers, now called Missionaries of Africa.
In his condolence message delivered at Likuni Parish in Lilongwe, Kachali said the death of Kalilombe was a loss not only to the Catholic Church, but also to the nation.
“Today is a sad day for Malawi. As a government, we offer our condolence to the family, the church and to the nation. His name will be remembered for his contribution to the Roman Catholic Church as we have heard he made significant contributions to the church.
“He will also be remembered for his contribution to the academic field as he was a lecturer at the University of Malawi,” Kachali said.
Chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi(ECM), Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza described Kalilombe who led the transformation of the Catholic Church in Malawi and Africa as a visionary and innovative person.
“Bishop Kalilombe was a visionary man who helped shape the world. In 1973, he started talking about the importance of the church's independence and the importance of having responsible members.
“Almost 40 years later, the church is independent, his idea of establishing home cells where Christians would help each other grow into responsible Christians has been adopted not only in Malawi but also worldwide,” said Zuza in his eulogy.
Ordained on February 3, 1958, Kalilombe was consecrated on August 27, 1972. He served as bishop from 1972 to 1979 when he resigned after being sent into exile in 1976 by Malawi’s first president Hastings Kamuzu Banda – he ruled with an iron fist - on allegations that he was working against dictator.
He is said to have obtained a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, before he took up an appointment as Third World Lecturer in the Mission Department of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham.
In 1987 he became Director of the Ecumenical Centre for Black and White Christian Partnership. In 2002, Kalilombe started lecturing Theology at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
Kalilombe was born on August 28, 1933 and died at Zomba Central Hospital after suffering from diabetic complications.