By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
While the universal Church celebrated Palm Sunday on 2 April 2023, the Diocese of Gokwe had a double celebration as Bishop Rudolph Nyandoro re-consecrated Uganda Martyrs Church which had been desecrated by an alleged mentally ill young woman. Uganda Martyrs Church has been closed after its defilement on 21 March 2023, by a woman who went in and destroyed sacred vessels including the tabernacle and two ciboria which contained holy communion. The woman also attacked and pulled down stations of the cross and everything that bore the image of Jesus while she profaned the alter by scattering alter clothes.
The re-consecration took place after the prescribed procedure of fasting and prayer as indicated in the letter written by the Vicar General of Gokwe Diocese, Fr. Damian Gumbo who encouraged the clergy, sisters, brothers and the laity of the diocese to engage into a Triduum of prayer for an act of reparation. Triduum is a period of three days of prayer usually preceding a Roman Catholic feast.
“The Apostolic Administrator of Gokwe Diocese summons the clergy, sisters, brothers and the laity into a Triduum of prayer for an act of reparation. The three days will begin on Thursday 30th of March to Saturday 1st of April 2023. The Church will be re-consecrated on Sunday the 2nd of April 2023,” read the letter issued by Fr. Damian Gumbo and dated 24 March 2023.
The re-consecration according to the Parish Priest of Uganda Martyrs Mission, Fr. Benjamin Moyo started with a procession of three parishes comprising of St. John Cathedral, Christ the King and Uganda Martyrs. Hordes of Catholics from the three parishes, led by Bishop Nyandoro, met at Gokwe Primary School to perform the Palm Sunday ritual and to witness the re-consecration process of the Uganda Martyrs Church.
“Bishop Nyandoro then went round the Church building blessing it with holy water before he blessed its interior, culminating in the consecration of the alter,” said Fr. Moyo.
There was ululation, singing and dancing when the Bishop opened the doors of the Church to rededicate it to God. After consecration of the Church, Bishop Nyandoro then explained the meaning of the practice which he said was meant to cleanse the Church and return it to its state as the house of God.
The Bishop then challenged people of Gokwe to respect and protect Church property especially sacred things and sacramentals. He further encouraged parishioners to be always engaged in prayer and adoration so that they are protected from evil powers.