By Sr. Mufaro Chakuinga LCBL
Norton is no longer called the western deanery, but best deanery after Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu officially opened a new church, St. Raphael parish whose construction started some twelve years ago. St. Raphael stands majestically in the middle of Norton town and its unique structure showcases the skillful work of the builders. Catholics from all different parishes within the Archdiocese of Harare thronged the new parish to witness the opening of its doors by Archbishop Ndlovu who is also the Apostolic Administrator of Masvingo Diocese on 7 August 2022.
The process of consecrating the church commenced with holy mass and prayers.
“Ndimo matichakupirai mupiro mukuru waYeso, chikomborerai imba iyi ive tsvene, isa tsikwe tsikwe nevasina hanya nemi. Isu kana tauya pano ngatizivei kuti tauya kuzokurukura nemi saka tinofanira kuziva kuzvibata kana tauya mumba menyu,” Archbishop Ndlovu prayed for the blessing of the Church.
He then unbolted and opened the doors widely, before sanctifying the church with holy water and incense.
It was a big celebration indeed for St. Raphael parishioners who toiled for twelve years for this feat. So they had a reason to make merry and praise the Lord. The choir chanted harmonious music with rattles and drums in unspoiled rhythm. The idea to construct St. Raphael was mooted during the time of the late Fr. Ignatius Mapfumo as the parish priest of Norton. After him, came the late Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa also as parish priest who managed to secure a stand for the church. It took 12 years from 2010-2022 to build St. Raphael and it was highlighted that the accomplishment was through the hard work and participation of parishioners who contributed in cash and kind with the support and encouragement of local priests who were instrumental in motivating the faithful. Tribute goes to Frs. Chawira, Balakasi, Mwale, Chiduku, Machibaya and Mlongoti for remaining resolute and unwavering in the vision of building this Church.
One of the speakers echoed; “Norton is no longer called the “western deanery” but “the best deanery” because of the remarkable unity and teamwork demonstrated by parishioners in making sure that St. Raphael would see the light of day.”
In his homily, Archbishop Ndlovu said that churches are sacred places of worship which must draw people closer to God. He also said people from all walks of life and those facing different challenges and tribulations find consolation when they enter the church which is the house where God dwells. Archbishop Ndlovu encouraged the people to use the new church to meet God.