The Catholic Church in Malawi has appealed for the government to step in after the latest in a series of violent attacks on churches.
After St Patrick’s Church in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe and Kankao parish in the diocese of Mangochi had both been attacked by bandits in the last two months, another church desecration took place last week.
On October 7, armed bandits attacked a church guard outside Nsanama convent, also in Mangochi diocese, and ransacked the premises, taking money and church property, including the Eucharist.
In a letter to parishioners, the local parish priest Fr Matthew Likambale spoke of the community’s ordeal.
“I want you to know that we had a terrible night after the thieves attacked the Convent of the Canossian Sisters. They were looking for me. They pressured the nuns to reveal where I was, but they kept saying that I was not in the convent,” the priest said.
“They broke into the convent after beating and handcuffing the guard with a metal rod and machete. Then they entered the convent, opened the tabernacle, took the Blessed Sacrament and then went to the nuns’ rooms”.
Bishop Montfort Stima of Mangochi subsequently made an urgent petition calling on the government to intervene.
The prelate said that, while “the government and the police cannot protect every private home”, Malawians still “expect the government to do everything possible to protect the citizens of Malawi, including the Catholic Church.”
In September, Bishop Stima had called on the faithful in Mangochi to participate in a novena to pray for justice after previous church attacks.