Chivuna is a village in the Monze diocese of southern Zambia. A catholic mission was established there by the Jesuits in 1951. This now incorporates a church, priest’s house, convent, primary school, secondary school and health centre. The last accepts and treats all comers, irrespective of creed or culture and provides for childbirth and general illness. There are in-patient beds and a new AIDS/HIV clinic.
In 1964 Bishop Corboy, the first bishop of the newly created diocese, met with the late Bishop Foley of Lancaster and they agreed that Lancaster Diocese would support the Chivuna Mission for as long as it was necessary and possible to do so.
At least one priest at any one time from the diocese has been maintained there since 1965 until the departure of Fr Paul Swarbrick in 2004. Fr Paul , originally from our own parish, had been there for 14 years.
The Garstang Friends of Chivuna Group was formed in 2000, its primary aim being to support practically and spiritually the Chivuna Health Centre. Its members meet monthly when each meeting is characterized by celebration of Mass, discussion of people and events in Chivuna and a continuing campaign to raise funds. Our efforts have succeeded to date thanks mainly to the generosity of so many people, from within our parish and without.
The hospitality of our two countries has facilitated the interchange of visits both of religious and laity. Prayer remains an important part of our call to help, whilst at a monetary level we have managed so far to send over £90,000.00 in the 13 years since our foundation.
As a result of our support the Chivuna Health Centre has become known in its region as a centre of excellence, offering a service superior to that of some hospitals. The people of Chivuna are ever grateful for our concern and we know that without our support the centre may have had to close.
Over the years the group has extended its remit and is now undertaking some support of children’s well being and education, not only in Chivuna but in associated outlying centres. As an example of this, one of our members has for some years organized parishioners to knit baby clothes. There are about twenty active workers who provide a constant supply of these which are periodically sent to Zambia. A few are seen here.
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