MARCH 11 will remain a memorable day for Catholics in Hwange Diocese after the Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Marek Zalewski celebrated the Holy Eucharist with them to mark the 5th anniversary of his Holiness Pope Francis’ Pontificate at St Ignatius Cathedral.
Hundreds of Catholics from the diocese including community leaders such as Chief Whange, who is also a Catholic attended the Mass with many following proceedings from outside the Cathedral church building. Pope Francis was elected into the papacy on March 13, 2013 to become the 266th Pope following Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. The Holy See and the universal Catholic Church celebrates his anniversary on this day worldwide each year.
This year, Hwange Diocese was chosen as the host for the Zimbabwean edition of the 5th anniversary as the Apostolic Nuncio makes outreach to the local church. Mass started around 11am and punctuated by a colourful procession led by the Hwange Diocese central choir and dancers, with priests and
sisters from across the diocese.
As he celebrated mass, Archbishop Zalewski was flanked by Archbishop Robert Ndlovu (Harare), Archbishop Emeritus Pius Ncube, Bishop Emeritus of Gokwe Angel Floro, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro (Gokwe) and the host Bishop Alberto Serrano of Hwange Diocese.
In the Homily the Nuncio said God is a wonderful God as he challenged the church to live in truth.
He related the church community to the Israelites during the time of Moses saying those who look up to Jesus on the cross will be healed, the same way those who looked at the serpent were healed.
“Like in the days of Moses, today we are served if we put our eyes to Christ on the cross,” said Archbishop Zalewski.
He added: “We have to tell the truth and be polite. We have to know who we are, where we are and where we are going.”
The Nuncio could not hide his joy to celebrate the Pope’s Anniversay with the Hwange Diocese community as he called for unity of the entire church.
He paid tribute to the choir for “wonderfully singing” during mass as well as for two songs that were composed in dedication for the Pope in Tonga and Nambya.
Archbishop Zalewski asked the church to pray for Pope Francis, adding that he will be meeting him in three months’ time to convey the message of happiness from Hwange Diocese and Zimbabwe.