By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
The new bishop of Gokwe, Eusebius Jealous Nyathi who was consecrated on Saturday 23 September 2023 was encouraged to be a loving father, teacher and shepherd who directs God’s flock in the right direction.
Bishop Nyathi was appointed by Pope Francis to reign over Gokwe Diocese after the transfer of Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro to Gweru Diocese in 2021. His consecration took place at St. Paul Primary School in a colourful ceremony that was attended by Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, bishops, Fr. Felipe Fabiane, the charge dáf-faires at the Apostolic Nunciature, government officials, priests and religious and a multitude of the Catholic faithful from across the country.
In his homily, Bishop Raphael Ncube of Hwange Diocese encouraged Bishop Nyathi to empty himself in caring for the people of God who make up the Diocese of Gokwe. He said the bishop should walk the talk than just pointing the way for others to walk.
“Every shepherd who shepherds the flock in persona christi has to be complete in his endeavours, thus he has to walk the talk rather than merely pointing the way. A bishop is called in a special way first and foremost to be a witness of holiness, love, faith, resilience, peace, joy, simplicity and vigilance,” said Bishop Ncube.
Bishop Ncube emphasised that Bishop Nyathi’s life should be an example for others to follow just like Jesus whose words were accompanied by his actions. The new bishop was encouraged to love all people with the love of Jesus Christ who loved everyone without measure. Bishop Ncube said the love of a bishop is expressed through availability to the people and in guiding them in the right path.
He said: “We live in the world of egoism where the spirit of reaching out to others has greatly diminished, where selfishness has taken up the spirit of wanting to be at the service of others. Where there is love, there is trust and trustworthiness.”
Bishop Nyathi was called upon to restore trust and hope of the people and to renew the face of the Church and of the world. He was also challenged to speak against all evil without fear since he now occupies the position of elders of the Church. He was reminded that being an elder goes beyond being a leader as elders exude wisdom more than mere knowledge.
“This world is in need of elders. Being an elder goes beyond being just a leader. We need today leaders who are elders. Let the church of Christ be endowed with leaders who are elders. This is indeed one qualification of a Bishop, to be an elder who stands between God and his people,” Bishop Ncube said.
Bishop Ncube also addressed priests and religious to be at the service of the truth as they minister to the Gospel. He said the church of Gokwe should engage in collaborative ministry in a thrust to develop the diocese.
“It is important to us priests and religious to stand for the truth even though the truth may seem to be boring, to be unfashionable and to be dangerous. Choosing the path of the truth is choosing Christ himself,” he stressed.
Bishop Nyathi was encouraged to unite the priests, religious and the faithful of Gokwe and reinvigorate the vibrancy of the local church and the spirit of service and the common good while priests and religious were also challenged to support the new bishop’s vision in developing the diocese.
“The bishop cannot work alone. The priests and religious of Gokwe are a great blessing and asset to this diocese. You are the great pastors and missionaries to your own people. Find joy in knowing that the Church of Gokwe looks up to you. You are the pastors who know each sheep by their name. Stay with your bishop and continue to pursue the missionary mandate as expected by the Church. You should be men and women of character, men and women who put people first, be compassionate collaborators, people of foresight, men and women with moral authority,” stated Bishop Ncube.
The Vice President of Zimbabwe, Constantino Chiwenga congratulated Bishop Nyathi and appreciated the role being played by the Catholic Church in developing education, health and other social amenities in the country. He called on Bishop Nyathi to continue cementing good relations between the Church and the state and urged him to work together with other bishops and the government in proffering peace and justice in the country.
Rt. Rev. Nyathi becomes the fourth bishop of Gokwe after Bishops Michael Dixon Bhasera, the late Angelo Floro, and Rudolf Nyandoro who was transferred to lead the Diocese of Gweru in 2021.