St. Cecilia choral competition enlivens the spirit of synodality for Hwange Diocese

By Leonard Ncube

Hwange Diocese was brought to God through music.

SATURDAY 26 November will be a day to remember in the history of Hwange Diocese as for the first time schools competed in the St. Cecilia annual music competitions.

Marist Brothers Secondary School in Dete was the venue. Initially, the organisers had selected St. Francis Xavier Dete but moved the event to Marist Brothers Secondary School hall because of the rains that would have threatened the holding of the event.

Marist is under St. Francis Xavier, hence the venue remained the same in principle.

Twenty-six choirs drawn from different parishes in Hwange Diocese took part in the competition which was eventually won by St. Joseph’s of Hwange town with 392.5 points.

Bishop Raphael Ncube of Hwange Diocese addresses singers at the St. Cecilia choral competition in Hwange.

The competition song was composed in Nambya titled Musinodi, in line with the Catholic Church synodal theme for 2022 whose emphasis is on togetherness; praying, working, walking, living and worshiping together in communion as a church and society which is in line with Government of Zimbabwe’s mantra of leaving no-one and no place behind.

Mclean Munkuli composed the song which he said came to him as a vision from God. St. Cecilia is a Catholic saint and regarded as the patroness of music because she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married.

The Catholic Church commemorates St. Cecilia day annually on 22 November. The Church uses the choral music competitions starting at diocesan level right up to the national level to unite all Christians and to motivate their spiritual life.

There are eight Roman Catholic dioceses in Zimbabwe and Hwange is one of them.

The others are the two Archdioceses of Bulawayo and Harare and then Gweru, Gokwe, Masvingo, Chinhoyi and Mutare dioceses.

Hwange Bishop Raphael Macebo Mabuza Ncube was elated by the participation of primary and secondary schools including Marist Brothers, St. Francis Xavier Primary Dete, St. George’s Hwange and St. Michael’s Mbizha.

School children also took part in the competition.

He said the day was not for competing but to enhance unity of Christians in the diocese.

“St Cecilia is one of the few names of women in the Roman Catholic canon and we ask her to intercede for us and our choirs. St Cecilia coincidentally falls on the last day of the year as we start Advent which is about us keeping vigil. We say Maranatha,” said Bishop Ncube.

He said the St. Cecilia competitions signify the principle of being vigilant.

“Singing is part and parcel of our life and human journey making sure we journey together. We are not here to compete, we are not concerned about positions, we are here to evangelise. If I may announce results from my own point of view, choir number 1 is Hwange
Diocese. We all sang well as a diocese. Let’s be guided by the spirit of evangelism today even if you are position 2A6 out of 26 choirs,” he said.

The Bishop thanked all parishes that participated including new missions such as St. Cecilia Tshongogwe and St. Augustine Mzola. Tatenda Gowero of St. Joseph’s was the best conductor.

Adjudicators were from the Archdiocese of Bulawayo and proposed that schools should compete separately.

Archbishop Emeritus Pius Ncube attended the event alongside several priests and sisters some of whom also participated with their parishes.

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