Catholic Church

Brief history of the Catholic Church in Zambia

1795 Portuguese Expedition into Zambia from Tete (Mozambique) into the Luangwa valley onto the escarpment near Mpika, then
across the Chambeshi river near Seaway towards Kazembe in the Luapula
valley. This expedition, led by the Brazilian Astronomer Dr. Lacerta and his chaplain Father Pinto, was seen as an exploration of the Northern parts of the Zambezi “Sui Juris” Mission, entrusted to the Portuguese by the pope. The Eucharist was celebrated every morning. On the way back from
Kazembe the expedition was ambushed by Bisa warriors near Chungu in the Lwingu district. All sacred objects and the remains of Lacerda himself who has died near Kazembe were lost and scattered about.
1830 A more successful expedition by the Portuguese Gamitto via the same trade route.
1881-1885 Three unsuccessful attempts by the Jesuit Fathers from the southern Zambezi Mission to establish a foothold across the Zambezi river in Zambia. During one of these crossings the boat overturned near Lusu rapids above the Sioma-Ngonya falls at Sesheke. A Brother drowned. A steel cross can still be seen as memorial.The Fathers founded a mission below the
Mosi-o-Tunya falls but succumbed with malaria and dissentry.
1891 White Fathers settled at old Mambwe along the newly constructed Stevenson Road that connected Lake Malawi at Kalonga
with Lake Tanganyika at Mpulungu and formed the border between Zambia and
Tanzania. After an unsuccessful 5 years stay at Mponde (Malawi) they had traveled North via Lake Malawi. First negotiations by Fr. Van Oost with Chief Makasa of the Bemba about future establishments took place at
that time. Fr. Van Oost died and was buried at Mambwe Mwela.
1895 Formation of Kayambi Mission, near the capital of Senior Chief Makasa by Fr. Joseph Dupont. The area was dedicated to Mary Queen of the Angels. Many of the first Christians were young people, redeemed from slavery, whose parents could not be traced.
12/2/1897 Joseph “Moto-Moto” Dupont was appointed first Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Nyassa. This comprised the present day
Luapula, Northern and Eastern Provinces and the whole of Malawi.
24/10/1898 Mwamba III Mubanga Cipoya, one of the paramount chiefs of the Bemba receives and accepts the protection of Bwana Moto-Moto
Dupont while dying in his capital Milungu, near Kasama.
6/1899 Foundation of the mission-enclave Chilubula
(=Redemption, Liberation) dedicated to Queen Mary, Help of Christians. First capital See of Bishop Joseph Dupont.
10/1899 Foundation of Chilonga by Fr. Molinier. The
Mission, in the Bemba/Bisa area of Mpika is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.
1903 Foundation of a mission among the Bisa on Chilubi Island in the Bangweulu. The missionaries were invited to settle among
them. Foundation of Lubwe Mission, dedicated to St. Joseph.
1905 First mission among the Lungu, northwest of
Kasama. The Foundation is dedicated to St. Leo.First establishments by Jesuit Fathers among the Lenje-Soli near Lusaka. The mission is called Kasisi and dedicated to St.
Peter Claver It is part of the Prefecture of the Zambezi with its headquarters in Harare (Salisbury).First foundation among the the Tonga on the
Plateau near Chisekesi. The mission, called Chikunu was dedicated to Mary Immaculate
1910 Foundation of Chibote, Our Lady of Peace.
1911 Bishop J. “Moto-Moto” Dupont leaves for Thibar in Tunisia (North Africa) where he died and was buried.
1912 Foundation of Katondwe, near Feira (Luangwa) by the Jesuit Fathers, dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
1913 Consecration of Bishop Etienne Larue, successor of Bishop Dupont.Division of the huge Vicariate of Nyassa. The
South-East kept the name Nyassa while the Northern and Luapula Regions were called Bangweulu.
1914 Outbreak of the First World War in Europe.
1922 Foundation of Malole, near the capital of the
Bemba Paramount Chief Chitimukulu. Dedicated to Mary, Mediatrix of all
graces.Establishment of  St. Francis the Sales Parish
with the first Church in Lusaka along Wamulwa Road. For some time it was
served by the community of Kasisi Mission.Foundation of Rosa Mission, to the North of
1923 First parish in the mining town of Kabwe, dedicated to the Sacred Heart.First Mission in the eastern part of Zambia:
Foundation of Miming among the Anise near Petauke by missionaries from
the Vicariate of Nyassa (Malawi).
17/10/1927 The vast areas of the Southern, Western and
North-Western, Central and Copperbelt Provinces are finally separated from
the Vicariate of Zambezi in Harare. The Apostolic Prefecture  of Broken
Hill (Kabwe) is erected with as first Prefect Apostolic the Reverend Bruno Wolnik, SJ.
1931 Lufubu Mission in the Luapula Valley.

The territories of Livingstone and Barotseland are assigned to the Irish Capuchins.

1931 The first minor seminary is opened and a mission dedicated to St. Joseph is established at Lubushi, west of Kasama.The Capuchins of the Broken Hill Vicariate assist to establish a parish at Livingstone in honor of St. Theresa

Arrival of a team of Franciscan Conventuals from Italy. They establish themselves
at Ndola Mission, dedicated to Christ the King, in order to serve the labour migrants
in the Copperbelt, which is still under the Prefecture of Broken Hill (Kabwe)

1932 Foundation of Masala (Holy Trinity), Luanshya (Immaculate Conception),
Kalumbwa (St. Joeseph) by the Conventuals, in Ndola; Kabunda, near Mwansa (St. Stephan) by the White Fathers and Loanja by the Capuchins, among the Lozi.
23/5/1933 The North East is separated from the Vicariate of Bangweulu and erected as a Mission Sui Juris, administered
by Fr. van Sambeek, W.F.Foundation of the Sacred Heart Parish in Kitwe.
1934 Fr. van Sambeek establishes missions at Ilondola (Maria Magdalena de Puzzi), in Chinsali district and at Chalabesa (St. Joseph) among the Bisa in Mpika DistrictEstablishment of Ibenga (St. Theresa) by the Franciscan Conventuals.
1935 Foundations: Lwena, Holy Family (Kasama); Mulobola, John of the Cross (Kasama); Mapula, St. Francis de Sales (near Mwansa) by the White Fathers, Lukulu by the Capuchins.Bishop Larue of the Vicariate of Bangweulu resignes and is succeeded by Bishop Alexander Roy as Vicar Apostolic.
1936 The erection of a new Prefecture Apostolic, separated from Broken Hill Prefecture, with
Fr. Killian Flynn as Vicar Apostolic (OFMCap)Foundations: Chassa, St. Peter and Paul, by the White Fathers from Nyassa (Malawi)Establishment of Katibunga, Christ the King (Mpika) and Mulilansolo near Isoka,
St. John the Apostle, (Chinsali) by Fr. van Sambeek.A new mission at Shicili in the Vicariate of Livingstone and a parish at Roan, Section 1,
near Ndola are dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
1937 Erection of Fort Jameson (Chipata) as Prefecture, now independent from the Vicariate Apostolic of Nyassa in Malawi. The first Bishop is Fr. Martin, W.F.The birth of St. Ignatius Parish in Lusaka
1/7/1937 The Lwangwa Sui Juris Mission becomes the Vicariate of Lwangwa with J. Horst, WF as Bishop.
1938 Erection of the Prefecture of Ndola with Bishop F. Mazzieri (OFMConv) as Vicar Apostolic, separated from the Broken Hill Vicariate.Foundations: Msupadzi, Our Lady of Assumption (Chipata); Mporokoso, Our Lady, Queen of Peace (Kasama);
Mangango, St. Joseph (Livingstone); Twingi, Christ the King (Mansa)
and at Mambwe (near Mbala, Abercorn) a new mission dedicated to St. Theresa.
1939 Foundations: Lumezi, Our Lady of Victory (Chipata); Regiment Parish, St. Francis Xavier (Lusaka); Mulanga Mission, St. Peter Claver, among the Bisa near Chinsali (Mbala); Kantenshi Parish, St. Lawrence (Ndola).
1940 Foundations: Maramba Parish, Christ the King (Livingstone); Mufulira, St. Patrick (Ndola).
1941 Foundations: Kalala, St. Francis, near Solwezi (Ndola).
1942 Foundations: Kasaba (Mansa), dedicated to St. Margaret.
1943 Foundations: Wasukile Parish, St. Francis (Ndola).
1944 Foundations: Mikomfwa, Anthony of Padua (Ndola).
1964 Foundations: Ipusukilo, Sacred Heart (Kasama); Msakaluba, Our Lady of Victory (Mansa); Chingola, St. Peter and Paul (Ndola).The Prefecture of Broken Hill moves its headquarters to Lusaka.
1947 Fr. Courtemanche succeeds Msgr. Martin as Bishop of Fort Jameson (Chipata).
1948 Fr. J. van den Biessen succeeds Msgr. Horst as Vicar Apostolic of the Lwangwa Vicariate.

Foundations: Chikowa, Our Lady (Chipata); Ngwena, Our Lady of Assumption (Ndola).

1949 Fr. M. Daubechies follows Msgr. A. Roy as Vicar Apostolic of Bangweulu.

Ndola becomes a Vicariate.

1950 Livingstone becomes a Vicariate with Msgr. T. O’Shea as its head.  

Lusaka is made a Vicariate with Msgr. Adam Kozlowiecki, SJ as Apostolic Vicar.  

Foundations: Lumimba, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Chipata); St. John’s Parish at Kasama; Chilanga, St. Mary’s (Lusaka); Francisdale (Ndola); Chipata, St. Anne (Fort Jameson); Chikungu Mission, St. Joseph (Chipata); Vubwi, Martyrs of Uganda (Chipata); Chinika, St. Joseph (Lusaka); Chivuna, St. John and Paul (Monze); Fumbo, Our Lady of Consolation (Solwezi).

1952 The Prefecture of Mansa is established with Fr. Rene Pallioux as first Apostolic Prefect .
1953 Fort Jameson (Chipata) is raised to the status of a Apostolic Vicariate .

Foundations: Kanyanga and Nyinga (Chipata); Sioma (Livingstone); Bwacha Parish (Lusaka); Kapiri Mposhi (Lusaka);
Karenda, near Mumbwa (Lusaka); Serenje (Mbala); Kalulushi (Ndola).

1954 Foundations: Chinyingi (Livingstone); Matero Parish (Lusaka); Misangwa Ndubeni (Ndola).
1955 Foundations: Zambezi (Livingtone); Mansa Cathedral, The Assumption of Our Lady (Mansa).
1956 Foundations: Mandevu (Lusaka); Kawambwa (Mansa); Chifubu (Ndola); Kabushi (Ndola); Lubengele (Chilalabombwe, Ndola).
1957 Foundations: Kafue (Lusaka); Choma (Monze); Kalulushi (Ndola)
1958 Foundations: Kabwata (Lusaka); Railway Kabwe (Lusaka); Mindolo (Ndola).
1959 Structure of Hierarchy: Chipata, Kasama, Livingstone, Lusaka, Mbala and Ndola become dioceses.

The Solwezi Prefecture is separated from Ndola Diocese: R. Hillerich (OFMConv) becomes the first Apostolic Prefect

Foundations: Kalomo (Monze), Lumulanga (Livinstone), Roan Section II (Ndola), Mwinilunga (Solwezi).

Also at this time the Cathedral of Solwezi, St. Daniel, was built.

In the Abercorn (Mbala) Diocese, the Rt. Reverend A. Fürstenberg succeeds Bishop van der Biessen.

1960 Foundations: Nsombo, St. James (Kasama) and Nalionwa, St. Michael (Livingstone).

During the following period (1960-1985) a host of new parishes were established mainly in the new peri-urban areas that mushroom around the major towns of Zambia since Independence.

1961 Mansa becomes a Diocese
1962 The new Diocese of Monze is formed. It was formerly the southern part of the Diocese of Lusaka. The Rt Rev James Corboy SJ is the first Bishop.
1965 The new Bishop of Kasama is Archbishop C. Chabukashana.
1969 The new Bishop of Lusaka is Archbishop E. Milingo
1970 The new Bishop of Chipata is Bishop M. Mazombwe

The new Bishop of Solwezi is Bishop S. A. Potani

1971 The new Bishop of Mansa is Bishop E. Mutale
1974 The new Bishop of Livingstone is Bishop A. Mung’andu
1975 The new Bishop of Ndola is Bishop D. de Jong.
1977 Solwezi becomes a Diocese.
1987 Bishop T-G. Mpundu becomes the new Bishop of Mbala Diocese.
The College of Bishops, called the Zambia Episcopal Conference, was established around Independence and
the Catholic Secretariat was opened in 1965.