Province of Zambia
Luciano Anzanga Mbewe
Archbishop of the Province of Zambia,
and Primate of All Africa
Email: [email protected]
The Archbishop of the Church of Zambia...
His Excellency, The Most Reverend Luciano Anzanga Mbewe, is the Archbishop of the Catholic Apostolic National Church in Zambia, and Primate of All Africa. In his ecclesiastical office he is both the spiritual head of the Church of Zambia and as Primate, the senior CANC bishop on the continent of Africa. The Archbishop is also a member of the International College of Bishops of the Catholic Apostolic National Church.
Archbishop Mbewe’s Biography
Luciano Mbewe was born September 9, 1955 in Chipata, Zambia, Africa. His father, Silver A. Mbewe was raised a Roman Catholic while his mother, Tione Evelyn Ngoma Daka came from the SDA tradition. He received his primary and secondary educations in the city of his birth. In 1976, at the age of 21 Luciano Mbewe began studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood at St. Augustine’s Seminary, Mpima in Kabwe.
After graduating with a merit in philosophical studies in 1979, the faculty of St. Augustine’s recommended His Excellency for further studies abroad in theology. He attended All Hallows College in Ireland from 1979-1983 obtaining a distinction in theology from The Pontifical University of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. After his studies Archbishop Mbewe returned to Zambia where he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on August 14, 1983 by Bishop Dennis De Jong of the Ndola Diocese.
His first assignment was as a lecturer in theology at St. Dominic’s Seminary in Lusaka from 1983-1985. For the next step in his development, then Father Mbewe was sent to work in parishes in Ndola to gain pastoral experience. In 1986, his bishop sent him to Nairobi, Kenya to study Church law and management at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He then returned to Zambia for another tour of parish work at St. Stephen’s Parish in Twapia-Ndola. In 1988, Fr. Mbewe began his Masters studies in Church Law at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada. He completed his studies in 1990 earning his degree Magna Cum Laude.
Once Fr. Mbewe returned back to Zambia he assisted the local bishop and diocese in matters of Church law as well as served as secretary of the Ndola Diocese Priest’s Senate and than later as its Chairman. Peers elected him as the National President for the Association of Zambian Diocesan Catholic Clergy. He held this post until his resignation from the Roman Catholic priesthood in 2001. The key reason for Fr. Mbewe’s resignation was his disagreement with the discipline of mandatory celibacy prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church. He then began to work with others in advocating the restoration of a married priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Due to his background in Church law Fr. Mbewe was able to make the clear determination that the Bible never prescribed mandatory celibacy. Gradually he concluded that the establishment of a National Catholic Apostolic Church was indispensable to the equation. With the blessing of Dom Luis Fernando Castillo-Mendez, the late Patriarch of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil (memory eternal!), Archbishop-Metropolitan Robert Matthew Gubala, SCR and then Bishop Andre J.W. Queen, SCR, of the Catholic Apostolic National Church (USA) the foundation was laid to go forward.
On December 5, 2007, Fr. Mbewe announced to the Zambian nation the formation of the new church: the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia. The reaction from the Roman Catholic Church was swift and vicious. The founder became the target of relentless attacks from Zambian Roman Catholic officials. In late 2007, the International Council of Bishops of the Catholic Apostolic National Church submitted Rev. Fr. Luciano Mbewe’s name to Archbishop-Metropolitan Gubala for approval for consecration to the episcopacy. His Eminence, Archbishop-Metropolitan Robert Matthew Gubala, SCR, giving his consent and approval, issued the historic Apostolic Mandate approving the consecration. On December 7, 2008, at High Mass in the Tridentine Rite, Rev. Fr. Luciano Mbewe was consecrated to the Episcopate, in London, England by his Excellency, Most Rev. Andre J. W. Queen, SCR, Archbishop of the Province of the United States, assisted by His Excellency, Most Rev. Dennis Beevers, OSJV, Archbishop of the Province of the United Kingdom.
Within the Roman Catholic Church there exists a group of officials who believe that the word “Catholic” is their exclusive domain, preserved for only them to use. The fact is that while a Church may be able to copyright their name they cannot copyright a universally accepted individual word such as “Catholic”. To say that we cannot use the word “Catholic” in our Church’s name would be the same as if they told the people of Rome they could not call themselves Romans because the word is part of their Church’s name. The concept is, simply put, arrogant and indefensible. Numerous Churches have used the word Catholic in their names without ever being taken to court over it. Obviously, the Church in Zambia, out of ignorance and lack of common sense for the common good, believes otherwise. While the struggle goes on our Church will continue to forge ahead knowing that we profess and practice the true faith as expressed in the Nicene Creed and the ancient traditions of the Catholic Church prior to the Great Schism of 1054 when the Church was still united and unblemished by later generations of clerics and administrators with their own agendas.
The Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia
We are a Provincial Church of the Catholic Apostolic National Church. We are devoted to spreading the Word of God. The Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia adheres to the teachings of the ancient, universal church, and seeks to spread the faith of the church worldwide. We are but one Province of the Catholic Apostolic National Church (CANC) which has its headquarters in the Province of the United States. The CANC also has Provinces in the United Kingdom and the Philippines as well as Missions in Canada, Belgium and Uganda. Additionally, we are in communion with Catholic Apostolic Churches in Columbia and Argentina in South America.
We are Catholic because we profess the Catholic faith as handed down to us by the authentic traditions of early Christianity as reflected in the Nicene Creed. We are Apostolic because our bishops are validly ordained and can make rightful claim to apostolic succession by tracing their consecrations in unbroken lines to Christ’s original Apostles. We are National because, although we are part of a larger international Church, we still retain our uniquely African identity and focus on the spiritual needs of Zambians nationwide.
The Sisters of the Holy Peace
While many small Churches have much to be grateful for, we are truly thankful for the astonishing growth as more and more Zambians faithful to true Catholicism join us each day. We are blessed with a growing and dedicated clergy and unlike many Churches we are proud to have a religious order of sisters, The Sisters of the Holy Peace, who selflessly serve the poor and needy of our parishes. The Order’s Mother House is in Lusaka where the Reverend Mother and her sisters maintain a small farm and several small homes for the poorest of the poor. These dedicated women reflect what the CANC-Zambia’s mission is all about: living the faith through one’s actions.
While many Churches claim to be independent Catholic, one can not be independent and still be Catholic. It is true that we are independent from Vatican jurisdiction but we are still bound to a larger Church under our Archbishop-Metropolitan. While we practice the ancient rites of Catholicism we remain an authentically African Church. Since 2001 we have labored quietly and prudently to advocate for the inclusion of a married priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church to which we belonged. As time went on it became clear that the Roman Church would not budge on this critical issue. Therefore, we embarked on the process of registering our own Church with the Zambian government Registrar of Societies. We duly obtained our Certificate of Registration on December 5, 2007. It was a moment of great joy and grace to us as we moved closer to fulfilling our dream. On December 25, 2007 we made our official address to the nation to announce our formation as a Church. Media coverage was significant at our press conference in Lusaka, Zambia. At the time of the briefing we stated and today still believe that the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia seeks to work peacefully with those of other religious denominations and creeds. We continue towards removing obstacles that prevent all our Christian brothers and sisters (including the Roman Catholic Church) from coexisting in harmony and working for the spiritual and physical well being of all Zambians and Africans.