By Quegas Mutale
Bishop of Hwange Diocese, Raphael Ncube, officially opened St. Padre Pio Mission in Siachilaba, Binga on 16 September 2023.
This brought the number of Missions in Binga to five after All Souls-Binga, St. Mark’s- Nagangala, St. John Mary Vianney – Kariangwe, and Holy Cross – Lusulu. Bishop Ncube decreed the mission after wide consultation from priests, religious and the laity.
Siachilaba centre was renamed from St. Augustine to St. Padre Pio.
“The change of name was necessitated by the existence already of another mission in the Diocese, St. Augustine Mission in Mzola 55, in Lupane Deanery,” read the decree.
Challenging Siachilaba community, Bishop Ncube said: “I came here after you called me. I then asked if you wanted a Mission, and you said yes.” He shared that St. Padre Pio will save people located between All Souls and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Kamativi.
Bishop Ncube applauded Siachilaba community for contributing to the Church by providing their children to become priests, brothers and sisters in the diocese, which according to him is a sign of growth in faith. He expressed hope for more priests and religious to come from Siachilaba.
He urged people of Siachilaba to be strong in building the church of God in unison. He applauded them for the good work they have exhibited.
“Even if you differ in your opinions, do not destroy the church of God. Do not leave the church. You are the one who opened this church”, Bishop Ncube implored.
Chief Siachilaba said applauded the Diocese for opening the new mission in his area and thanked the Church for bringing development to his area.
“The Church is there to preach the Gospel through word and deeds. The Church has broght development in places and in this place too. We won’t hesitate to give you more space to build the mission as the Church’s efforts emancipate our people from ignorance and poverty,” said Chief Siyachilaba.
The chief’s words were echoed by other dignitaries who encouraged the new mission’s leadership to work hard to develop the place.
Fr. Pritchard Shoko was then appointed as the acting parish priest for the new mission with effect from 16 September 2023. The bishop asked Fr. Joshua Del Barrio, the Judiciary Vicar of Hwange diocese to assist Fr. Shoko in administrative issues of the mission. Bishop Ncube then handed baptism, confirmation, marriage and death registers, keys and thurible to Fr. Shoko, a sign that a mission had been established.
The bishop hailed the role of the church leadership and catechists in facilitating the growth of Catholic faith in Siachilaba. Speaker after speaker commended Bishop Ncube’s leadership that resulted in the opening of Siachilaba mission.
In the same spirit, Bishop Ncube encouraged well established missions in the diocese to support the newly commissioned mission. Turning also challenged the local community to protect the mission from all forms of vandalism.
Fr. Masimba Nyoni, dean for Binga deanery called upon the people of Siachilaba to work closely with their parish priest in developing the new mission whose centers include Siachilaba, Kamata, Gaza, Simatelele, Bunsiwa, Siansundu, Saba, Mankobole, Zambezi, Junamina and Mlibizi.
The church in Hwange intends to establish another Mission in Manjolo, Binga after consultation have been completed. Bishop Ncube said the opening of Dambwamukulu under St. Johns- Makwa as a Mission was expected late this year.