Rome, Italy, Jul 21, 2010 / 10:35 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Benedict XVI officially erected a new diocese in the African nation of Malawi on Wednesday. According to the bishop who has overseen the area until now, the announcement represents a "moment of grace."
The Diocese of Karonga, in northern Malawi, was created from a third of the land previously contained within borders of the Diocese of Mzuzu. It separates 61,000 people in five parishes from what was the Diocese of Mzuzu's Catholic population of 400,000.
Along with the announcement of the new diocese came the appointment of its bishop. Fr. Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, who will soon be ordained to lead the faithful of the diocese.
Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza, who currently heads the Diocese of Mzuzu, told CNA on Wednesday that creation of the new diocese and the appointment of the bishop-elect "means quite a lot" to the area.
He explained that the addition was "necessary, because it is quite taxing to travel to some places from headquarters." The bishop described difficult travel on poor roads in all-terrain vehicles to parishes as far as 250 miles (400 kilometers) away.