By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
St. Anne’s National Day of Prayer this year was more than usual as it challenged all women to pay attention to the socio-economic and political developments going on in the country. The national day of prayer was a moment for women to reflect on the problems affecting the country and to intercede for the country’s healing though prayer and supplication. The day of prayer which fortunately coincided with All Souls’ day according to the Catholic Calendar, availed St. Anne women the opportunity to pray for their dead relatives and friends.
The National Day of Prayer which is rotationally held in dioceses was this year held on 2 November in Gokwe Diocese starting with a 1 kilometre procession to the shrine of Mary Queen of Peace. The National Chairperson for St. Anne guild, Mrs. Juliana Nyarai Chokoto, said the theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer was Baptised and Sent. She emphasised that by this theme all St. Anne’s women were sent to go and challenge the world to conform to the will of God.
She said by coming together in prayer, women were strengthened to confront the many challenges in their life and those that affect the development of the country. This was witnessed by the nature of public prayers offered during mass which stressed the need for national healing, cooperation and development. Mrs. Chokoto said peace and reconciliation was key in taking the country forward and urged members of the guild to take this as priorities in their prayer.
“As women we encourage each other not to give up prying for our country, Zimbabwe, hoping that things will get better. The situation in the country is desperate. There is no employment amid high levels of corruption and negligence by the political leadership. We have been isolated from the international community and we pray that those who lead us may consider the needs of the people. Our situation lies in God after other interventions like demonstrations, grandiloquence and sit-ins have failed,” stressed Mrs. Chokoto.
Mrs. Chokoto mentioned that while prayer was the pinnacle, there was need for unit in the church and avoidance of competition especially among different guilds.
“Its not about competition but unity and prayer. We belong to the same Church and we should support one another like parts of the same body. Our mission is to transform the world and we cannot accomplish this mission as long as we are not united,” Mrs. Chokoto said.
In his sermon, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro pointed out that God will provide solutions when people pray wholeheartedly and mean it in shunning all malice.
He said: “We have come to this mountain to pray for the healing of our families, the church and for the restoration of our country. This is the time to reflect on what is important for us, a time to renew our relationship with God.”
Bishop Nyandoro urged St. Anne women to be always upright in their lifestyle and not to be a burden to others, the Church and community saying that the world needs women of reputation who stand for the truth to correct all forms of misdemeanour.
The Day of prayer had St. Anne representatives from the country’s eight dioceses decorating the mountain of the shrine with their brown and cream uniforms. The prayer session was punctuated by different lecturers from selected priests also from different dioceses. The topics covered include Baptism as the foundation of Mission by Fr. Gumbeze of the Diocese of Mutare; Evangelisation through holiness, personal encounter with Jesus the heart of Mission; Proposed New Marriage Bill and its effects on our Christian Family by Fr. Edward Ndete, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Coordinator; Evangelising by life and deeds as a member of St. Anne’s guild by Fr. Rongai Chasarira of Chinhoyi Diocese; Contentment deepens faith in God by Fr. Ncube from the Archdiocese of Bulawayo; Our Mother Mary as a role model of Catholic women of our Church by Fr. Kudakwashe Musvereki of Gweru Diocese; The Holy Bible as a foundation of our faith and prayer life as guild members of St Anne offered by Fr. Vikisani Mavingire of Gokwe Diocese and Katikazi ndiho hwaro hunotangisa chitendero chemhuri pamwe nevamatiri by Fr. Rutsvara of Masvingo Diocese.
The women also learnt that Gokwe Diocese had purchased land to build the Catholic University campus and they immediately responded by donating cash towards this grand cause.