The Catholic Church world-wide celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on 6th January 2024, but for pastoral reasons, the local Church in Malawi celebrated it on Sunday the 7th January 2024 to allow more people participate. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, which means ‘to shine upon’, to manifest, or to make known.” Thus, the feast celebrates the many ways that Christ has made Himself known to the world, mainly the three events that manifested the mission and divinity of Christ:  the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12), the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11), and the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). The visit of the Magi is emphasized on Epiphany Day, and Christ’s baptism is celebrated the first Sunday that follows.

Bishop Yohane Nyirenda, the Auxiliary Bishop of Mzuzu Diocese, led the national celebrations at St. Abert the Great in the diocese of Mzuzu. He thanked the Holy Childhood for ably leading and organizing the event.  He also encouraged parents to take a leading role in sending children both to Church and school. “In 1994, government introduced free-primary education, but years down the line, we find many who are unable to read and write” lamented the Auxiliary Bishop of Mzuzu.

The national pastoral coordinator Fr Joseph Sikwese speaking on his own behalf and on behalf of the national PMS director stated; “the celebration of the Holy Childhood on the feast of epiphany is a reminder that even children have a role to play in the Church and should be given a chance”, he also reminded parents to instill the virtue of generosity in their children while at the sametime asking the children to love their Church. Mrs. Virginia Mahata the national laity chairperson asked parents to be exemplary to their children so that they build them into responsible citizens and Christians.

Miles away in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe, Archbishop George Desmond Tambala led the archdiocesan celebrations at St. Francis parish (Kanengo). The archbishop advised children first to be the light (star) of the world by refusing worldly allurements that can disturb them from following God. He then advised all Christians to avoid Herodic attitude (chiphamaso Cha Herode), hypocritical attitude that kills the family, the Church as well the world. Over five hundred children were in attendance.

In the Archdiocese of Blantyre, all the 48 parishes, (4 Pro-Parishes) had their celebrations at parish and all outstation level. Meanwhile, Archbishop Luke Thomas Msusa, engage into the celebrations at St. Paul’s Mwanza Parish where all children from this parish gathered.

Archbishop Msusa Commended the children for the beautiful and well-organized celebration and thanked their parents for their support to the children. He further encouraged children to go to school and that parents or guardians should support them because they are the future of the church.

The former immediate ECM chair revealed that the Archdiocese is constructing a Girl’s Secondary school to be opened in September 2024 to help more girls within the parish to have access to better secondary school education. He also encouraged priests in all the parishes to give a chance to children to take part in the liturgy. After the function children had lunch with the archbishop and church leaders. They failed to display other activities because of the heavy rains.

Meanwhile Bishop Alfred Chaima led the celebrations at St Joseph (Sunuzi) Parish. In their speech, the children, asked their parents to help them love and serve their church. They asked the Church leaders to give them space and room to play various roles!

Bishop Chaima advised the children to be light themselves and lead one another to the Church, to join various groups and to participate in the life of the Church. He also encouraged them to be light by working hard at school. “To you parents I have one request, be light to your children by being exemplary, safeguard them and not force them to into early marriages”, pleaded Bishop Chaima. Sunuzi Parish is one of the newly established Parishes which is less than two years old. It was previously part of Matiya Parish.

Dedza diocese celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord at St. Francis (Mikoke) parish, and the Main celebrant was Bishop Peter Adrian Chifukwa. Over 200 children were in attendance. Bishop Chifukwa gave three lessons to children and the faithful- To know God in everything they do, to know their vocations and finally, to live lives as a gift from God, meant to be shared with others.

Up north, in the diocese of Karonga, each parish celebrated on her own due to the terrain that makes it difficult to bring children together. However, as in other dioceses, the leading event took place in St. Peter’s outstation of St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral.

During the event, bishop Mtumbuka expressed gratitude and joy that more than 350 children were gathered and well organized with the help of their Sunday school instructors. He however pleaded with priests, to keep standardizing their homilies to carter for the needs of children as well. “ moving forward, Homily preparation will begin around June in 2024 as a competition and the best out all will be translated in all the languages spoken in the diocese and have one homily on Epiphany Day”, ordered bishop Martin.