The roots of this relationship are to be found in the Second Vatican Council and the general desire of the Catholic Church to encourage the Churches of the Western World to cooperate with those of the Third World in their growth and development; a cooperation known as Fidei Donum, (gift of faith).
The story begins with two from among that gathering of bishops: Bernard Foley recently appointed to the Diocese of Lancaster in the north west of England and James Corboy a Jesuit who had been the theology professor at Maynooth near Dublin. Being the youngest of that gathering the two were sitting together when their conversation naturally turned to their coming work as diocesan bishops. Bishop Corboy was probably the one with the greatest challenge, coming as he was from Ireland to the newly erected Diocese of Monze in Zambia, so Bishop Foley promised to support him in his work with four priests from Lancaster!
In 1966 four priests duly ‘volunteered’ from Lancaster, a diocese which covered north Lancashire and what was then Westmorland and Cumberland: Frs Tim Sullivan, Gerry Muir, Bert Taylor and Eddie Macparland. After a short period of training they travelled by boat from Southampton to Mombasa to then take the train to Zambia. In spite of the heat but wishing to make a good impression they were careful to dress in full clericals, black shirt and roman-collar. They were met by their new bishop dressed merely in ‘civies’, light clothes and open-necked shirt. The ice was broken! Continue reading about the roots of this relationship >>