Guilds and associations are crucial in building the local Church as revealed by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

On the 4th day of the Ad Limina visit for ZCBC, the Bishops ended their day at the Community of The Works of the Church. The community was founded by Madre Trinidad (Mother Trinity). This was a Spanish lay woman who died two years ago at the age of 92. Their apostolate is to give retreats to the bishops and other clergy and religious. They also receive bishops who come to Rome for church services and drive them around to all places where their mission is required. This community is the one currently taking care of our transport here as we go about our Ad Limina Visit business. It is a mixed community of lay people, religious and priests who are also into preaching the word of God. We are so grateful to them for their hospitality.

On Thursday, 07 September 2023, we started the day with Holy Mass in the Santa Marta’s Chapel. It is a beautiful chapel where the Pope celebrates Mass with few people especially workers in the Vatican. In front of it is written the words “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.“

We then visited the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development where we met Fr Dumisani Vilakati whom we worked with in IMBISA as our Director living in Harare for five years. He is in the “Listening and Dialogue Section as Regional Coordinator of Africa.
This Dicastery is about the human person and their God-given dignity like human rights, health, Justice and peace, decent shelter and the sense of belonging. We discussed quite a lot of issues like peace and justice in our country and in the Church, the economy and the suffering of people, their anxieties and sorrows, the exodus into the diaspora, the refugees, the immigrants and migrants. Our focus of discussion was guided by the Dicastery’s mission: “ I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
In the same spirit, St. Paul VI in His encyclical (Populorum Progressio #14-18) emphasized the same expression to convey the idea of life in abundance and life to the full.

The Bishops also visited the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.
This dicastery is in charge of the promotion and formation of the lay faithful. We discussed the lay faithful in relation to their day to day life and their identity and mission in the world.
Our associations are very crucial to build the local church. Their active participation in church activities is highly appreciated. The dicastery applauded the Church in Zimbabwe for the active participation of the youth, the men and women of different guilds. The associations and ecclesial movements have to be approved by the bishops at local level then recognized by the Holy See at international level. Their statutes and constitutions are studied and reviewed in the local context with a view towards their recognition by competent authority- the bishops. Those that are international should also strictly follow their guidelines and listen to their local shepherds. Some of these international associations are Focolare, Charismatic, Catholic Women’s League, CLC and YCS. These groups should also follow the guidance of their local shepherds.

The youth office of the dicastery is mainly concerned with youth associations, and movements. The office works in close collaboration with different episcopal conferences to animate the youth. Youth from Zimbabwe were praised for participating in the World Youth Day in Portugal this year. Such platforms give them vast experiences and exposure. It is also an opportunity for them to meet with other youth from diverse cultures.

There is also the office of family. This office is committed to the pastoral care of the family, protecting its dignity and defending the essential sacrament of matrimony. The couples association are catered for by that family office in light of Amoris Laetitiae- the Joy of Love.

The dicastery supports and coordinates initiatives which promote responsible procreation in moral licit ways. In other words, all efforts for protecting human life from conception until natural death are promoted by this dicastery.

Women, children, men, persons with disabilities fall under families. The dicastery for laity, family and life promote the family as a place of nurturing and caring for human life.

Caritas

The Bishops also visited Caritas Internationalis. Caritas is all about charity or love in action. As we say a friend in need is a friend indeed. We shared some issues that are organizational and strategical so that we realize our existence as one human family, in one common home.
Caritas Internationalis shares the vision of a just world, transformed to reflect God’s kingdom, where all people in our common home experience the love, compassion and fullness of life. Caritas Internationalis is inspired by the Gospel, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the lived experiences of people living in poverty. They are part of the universal Church, working in fraternal cooperation. As ZCBC we shared many activities Caritas is doing and our relationship with funding partners. We also expressed our wish to see Caritas being found in every corner of our Dioceses. Of great importance is the the proactive Caritas personnel who shared the same vision with the bishops in maintaining Catholic ethos, identity and effectiveness.

The Dicastery of Divine worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
In short, this dicastery is in charge of liturgy. The way we live is the way we pray and the way we pray is the way we live. As Zimbabweans, we are well known by our songs and dance. However, there are rubrics to be followed in certain contexts. It was a good time for us as ZCBC to discuss and review some of our liturgical activities in line with the Roman rite. We are aware of our culture and traditions that influence our liturgy. As we revise the Shona and Ndebele Missals we continue to be cautious of our language and culture without distorting the relevance of prayer. The reviews and assessments can be continued to be fine-tuned to meet the required standards. We are grateful for our composers, choirs, catechists, liturgists and all the clergy and religious who are responsible for active participation in the Church. The baseline message is to have the continuous teaching of catechism to the youths and adults. Studies of liturgy are greatly encouraged in our country. Lay Ministries that are encouraged by Pope Francis should be promoted.
God bless you all
Compiled by

+Rudolf Nyandoro
Bishop of Gweru

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