By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
24 October 2020 was a day of jubilation for Catholics in Gweru Diocese as they welcomed their shepherd, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro who was installed to take over the diocese at Mkoba Stadium. Bishop Nyandoro who was raised to become the bishop of Gokwe in 2017 was on 11 September appointed by Pope Francis to lead the diocese of Gweru which fell vacant after the demise of Bishop Xavier Jonsai Munyongani in 2017.
The Diocese was then placed under the care of Bishop Michael Bhasera as the Apostolic Administrator. Almost a thousand people including the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Paolo Rudelli, Bishops, priests, the religious and the faithful thronged Mkoba Stadium under strict COVID-19 restrictions to witness this important occasion when the Apostolic Administrator handed the reigns of the diocese to the new shepherd. After receiving the crosier which signify his authority over the diocese, Sekuru Nyandoro as the bishop is referred to, took over the proceedings of the day. While the transfer was a welcome move for Gweru Diocese, it created a vacant post in Gokwe where Bishop Nyandoro was serving. However, God knows the time when that gap will be filled.
From his own words, Bishop Nyandoro, through obedience, humbly accepted the appointment by Pope Francis to lead the Church of Gweru.
“I never thought that one day I would stand hear as the Bishop of Gweru. I had found a home in Gokwe the diocese I loved so much. My motto since my priestly ordination is “Let your will be done”, and I still stand to be guided by this vision and it is through this spirit that I accepted the decision of the Holy Father,” Bishop Nyandoro said.
Bishop Nyandoro said he comes to Gweru as a brother, father and shepherd and expects people in the diocese to cooperate with him. He urged the priests, religious and the faithful to have a team spirit that is pertinent in carrying forward the vision and mission of the diocese.
“I call upon you to have a team spirit that helps us to work for the greater glory of God. We have been entrusted to take care of God’s treasure. Let us be good stewards of all the people of God entrusted to our care. May our stewardship also extend to the temporary goods of the church availed to us for the sake of our mission,” he said.
He called on everyone in the diocese to work for unity and a common purpose as authentic witnesses to the gospel of Christ. Bishop Nyandoro stressed that Gweru Diocese will strive for progress in human development as prescribed by Pope Paul VI in in his encyclical Populorum Progressio that there is no development without the progress of people. He said no one should be left behind in working for the good of the diocese.
The bishop said there was need for the diocese to renew its vision of what it stands for.
Bishop Nyandoro said: “To achieve this we have to renew our vision of who we are to each other a reality that Pope Francis addresses in his recent encyclical Fratelli Tuti. None of us is complete alone. We belong to each other and may the progress we seek shun that which divides us for we are one family sharing a common origin and destiny.”
The Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Paolo Rudelli called on the local Church to accept the appointment in the spirit of faith saying the move was an exchange of spiritual gifts in the Church. He said he hopes that the treasures of faith and charity that Bishop Nyandoro nurtured in Gokwe will also bear fruit in the Diocese of Gweru. He encouraged Bishop Nyandoro to remain resolute in prayer, proclamation and communion.
Quoting the message of Pope Francis during a course for new bishops in Rome in which Bishop Nyandoro participated, Archbishop Rudelli said: “The Bishop does not live in the office like a company manager but among the people in the streets of the world like Jesus. As a bishop, you are called to recognize, foster and promote the different charisms that the Holy Spirit awakens in his church; those many and rich charisms that are already present in this church of Gweru in so many lay people, mothers, fathers, catechists, the religious brothers, sisters and the priests that are at the service of this church.”
The Nuncio encouraged the church of Gweru to welcome Bishop Nyandoro in a spirit of faith.
“Please see always in him not a man in charge of the diocese, the coordinator of pastoral life, the “coordinator responsible for Catholic institutions; but see in him the shepherd that God himself through the Holy Father’s will has sent to you and will send to you every day in order to guide all of you to eternal life,” the Nuncio said.
The Nuncio also announced that Bishop Nyandoro has been appointed the Apostolic Administrator for Gokwe until a bishop is found for the diocese.