By Kudakwashe Mashasha
Catholic women of St. Anne follow proceedings during their day of prayer at Gokomere Mission in Masvingo.
After a period of battling with Covid 19 which threatened the freedom of public gatherings, catholic women belonging to the guild of St. Anne gathered for a National Day of Prayer at the Mary Queen of Peace Shrine situated at Gokomere in Masvingo. The open arena was packed to capacity as women from all corners of the country, thronged the place to offer prayers and supplication.
The programme started around 1300hrs with an opening prayer, welcome remarks and a winding process leading to the shrine. Masvingo Diocese Vicar General, Very Rev. Fr Samson Mutsvanga, representing Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, led the proceeding of the opening mass.
The day of prayer which was guided by the theme; “God calls us in freedom to promote a synodal church as women of Saint Anne, inspired the enthusiasm of women to uphold unity, peace and solidarity in the community as reflected in the question and answer session. Fr. Johane Maseko who is the National Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Catholic Commission of the Laity unpacked the theme encouraging women to promote synodality at all levels.
Fr. Johane Nguluwe from Chinhoyi diocese led a service on healing through examination of conscience, confessions, adoration and benediction. It was during this process that Fr. Nguluve emphasized the idea of true repentance, love and forgiveness.
“We need to try by all means to nurture the spirit of love amongst ourselves,” he said, quoting an author named Alexander Pope’s statement that says, “to err is human but to forgive is divine.” He challenged those people who think that forgiveness means defeat adding that it is through forgiveness that love grows.
A priest distributes Holy Communion during the St. Anne national day of prayer held at Gokomere in Masvingo.
Fr. Kenneth Makamure deliberated on the issue of drug and substance abuse among the youth. He urged Women of St. Anne to engage in the fight against drug abuse that he said threatens the life and behavior of the youth. Fr. Makamure reminded the gathering that drug abuse did not only affect those who use them but had widespread effects on the family, the country and the future of the Church. It is in this vein that Fr. Makamure challenged women to desist from businesses that involve peddling drugs.
Sr. Fungai Mavheredze from Hwange Diocese addressed the women on the Role of Motherhood in the synodal church. She encouraged women to promote synodality in their families and local communities. She also challenged the women of St. Anne to use their talents to help others instead of taking advantage of them. She called on all women to bring up their families in a Christian way, supporting their children in their dreams than exclusively deciding a future for them.
Most women are entrepreneurs in one way or another and Fr. Hlakanipha Dube from the Archdiocese of Bulawayo who facilitate a topic on entrepreneurship reminded the women about the need for ethics in every business. He said gender equality requires that women benefit from economic, political and other opportunities, ownership and control over resources but challenged women to resist unethical practices that negatively affect their businesses. Fr. Hlakanipha talked about the need to give back to the community and to support the poor and weak from the proceeds of their good business.
The day of prayer was capped by the celebration of Mission Sunday where Fr. Maseko challenged women to be true missionary disciples. He reminded them that they will not be able to spread the word of God unless they have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. The Pontifical Mission Societies Coordinator, Fr. Kizito Nhundu reminded St. Anne women of the need to have mission consciousness and to contribute generously to the solidarity fund of promoting evangelization throughout the world.