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On the 1st of May 2001 my predecessor Archbishop Robert C. Ndlovu, then Bishop of Hwange, approved the Diocesan Pastoral Plan which has been guiding the pastoral activity of the Diocese up to now.

A revision of the Plan should have taken place after five years of its promulgation but could not be done since Monsignor Ndlovu was transferred to Harare leaving the Diocese "sede vacante".

A committee was appointed in November 2008 to spearhead the updating of the Plan and I am glad to present now the results of their work.

Let me stress from the beginning that this new Diocesan Pastoral Plan wants to be in line with the previous one and in accordance with the actual context of the Diocese. This is why it has been drawn starting from a careful analysis of our present socio-political and religious situation, trying to read the signs of the times and foreseeing, in as much as possible, what can be expected in the near future.

The present Plan is the result of wide consultation within the different sections and institutions of this diocesan family, namely the parishes and missions, zonal pastoral councils, deaneries, presbyterate and the diocesan pastoral council. It is not the result of theoretical ideas or of mere speculation, but the fruit of the wide and deep pastoral experience of this local Church of Hwange working under the guidance of the Spirit.

This general Pastoral Plan for the entire diocesan community should not refrain us from making other particular and relevant plans that will be needed at parish, zonal or deanery level. Also the different diocesan Commissions and apostolic Associations will have to draw their action plans according to their mandate and charism. But this general plan or pastoral project must be the framework of reference for all the action plans to be developed in the Diocese. It provides us with a larger horizon that will help us to see each one of the particular proposals within a global ecclesial overview.

The Pastoral Plan is an instrument to help us to be docile to the Spirit of God. And its Implementation should be the fruit of "the love of God (that) has been poured into our Hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us" (Rm 5:5).Without love of Christ and of neighbour there can be plenty of action but it will not be pastoral action. This love finds its nourishment in the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church, and sacrament of love and unity.

We cannot forget that the aim of all pastoral activity (and of the Pastoral Plan) is the relevant proclamation of a Person, Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that he may be better known, loved and followed.

In 2013, only three years from now, the Diocese of Hwange will celebrate its 50th anniversary. It will offer us a golden opportunity for the celebration of a Diocesan Synod that will produce, as one of its multiple fruits, a new updated Pastoral Plan.

We ask for God's guidance and help aware that "if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labour; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil" (Ps 126:l). We place ourselves under the care and protection of Mary, Mother of the Church and Patroness of the Diocese. May she pray for us.

+ Albert Serrano
Bishop of Hwange


Analysis of the reality of the Diocese. April 2010
         When we want to project our eyes to a medium term future and devise a PASTORAL PLAN which may guide our activities, it is important to become aware of the PRESENT REALITY and make an analysis as objective as possible of this reality. A medical checkup helps a person to plan the diet and habits which may prevent serious diseases and control health problems which, detected on time, are easily overcome before they run out of control. An opportune diagnosis is paramount. Even in the case of a threatening disease an opportune and correct diagnosis followed by medication or even an operation could save the life.
         As we work to elaborate our DIOCESAN PASTORAL PLAN the following elements for the analysis are suggested:

  • Geographical situation.

Though geography does not “change”, and therefore is not a source of concern or “prevision” for the future, there are a few aspects in the geographical position of our diocese which might have to be taken into consideration.

    • The fact that we have borders with Zambia, Botswana and Namibia has had an influence in the movements of our people in the recent past, to get supplies, to escape danger or look for employment.

This has also caused a flow, in both directions, of ideas, pastoral approaches, religious music, relationship among SCCs…

    • The population density is rather low compared to the rest of the country. This accounts for wider areas to visit, problems of transport …
    • The fact that Victoria Falls, National Parks (Hwange, Chisarira), hunting areas, Binga resort… are located within the Diocese account for a greater potential for tourism and employment, as does the presence of coal reserves exploited by the Hwange Colliery Company, (a new gas exploitation is under way), mineral resources at Kamativi which might reopen mining activities in a near future. There is also the prospect for the Shangani – Gwaai Dam.
  • Sociological situation
    • The variety of ethnic groups is a fact in the Diocese: Tonga, Nambya, Ndebele, Shona, Dombe, Nyanja, Lozi… and poses a challenge from the point of view of languages. The Liturgy is habitually celebrated in Nambya, Ndebele, Tonga and Shona. This affects among other things the movement of personnel, the effort of formation in the pastoral centers, not to mention the problem of translations for publications of any kind, especially in Nambya and Tonga. This variety offers, nevertheless, a good opportunity for enrichment through the interaction of different cultures, and is an element which contributes to the openness to “others” and to overcome isolationism.
    • Relationship among ethnic groups: At church level no major conflicts are apparent. The tribal pluralism which in itself is a national wealth, can be politically stirred and diverted into conflict.
    • Rural realities:
      • Agriculture: The turn of the millennium has turned Zimbabwe from being producer and exporter of agricultural products and beef into a beggar in need of external alimentary help for survival. The commercial farms’ invasions, redistribution of land and resettlements have not followed an orderly path and the result has been disastrous. Irregular rains for several years have further depleted the food reserves and the last season (2008-2009) has not produced a good harvest due to lack of timely farm inputs.

This redistribution of land has caused much movement of people especially towards Kamativi, Lusulu, Gwaai, Matetsi along the road to Victoria Falls and Lwendulu rural.
This is a reality which is demanding a new redistribution of parishes and missions

      • Education: In the past years we have experienced a dramatic reduction in the number of children attending the school and in the general standard of education. The socio-economic situation has affected the teaching sector and the teachers’ industrial action has been frequent with the real danger of a complete collapse of the education structure.

Nevertheless the development and good performance of Don Bosco Technical School and the Marist Brothers Secondary School is a very positive fact. However the chances of employment for those who have passed the courses are very slim.
There is a mushrooming of private schools and private study centers.
Government policies on education are changing: the role of the Responsible Authority is not clear in regard to employment and dismissal of teachers.

      • Health.

Many people do not have access to primary health care due to

    • Lack of money
    • Lack of transport
    • Scarcity of operative health centers
    • Lack of medicines
      • Communications.
        • Roads’ infrastructure has deteriorated badly. Public transport services are minimal
        • Railways services have deteriorated.
        • Air travel has been reduced to a minimum…
        • Land telephone lines have disappeared from rural areas and cell phone services are often erratic and poor.
        • Postal services are very slow and not very reliable.
      • Social communications
        • Local TV and radio stations are not readily accessible in most of the area of the Diocese.
        • Printed media only reach e very small sector of the population
        • Electronic media are accessible only to very few people.
    • Urban realities: Though there in no big town in the Diocese Hwange, Victoria Falls, Dete, Binga and Kamativi, have a resemblance of urban reality. Youths who have experienced this “town life” are not eager to go back to the rural settings even when they are unemployed.
    • “Diaspora”

During the past decade the political and economic situation of the country has pushed many Zimbabweans to leave their homeland out of fear for their safety in search of better living conditions. Among those who have gone are many professionals in different fields. It has been a dangerous brain drain which is now greatly felt at the time of looking forward to the reconstruction of the country

    • Family structure and its recent evolution:

The traditional family structure was at the base of the concept of Church = Family of God which was a major issue in the Synod of Bishops for Africa and “Ecclesia in Africa” has made relevant for the universal Church.
This very concept has deepened through the SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES which is a growing reality in the Diocese especially in urban centers.

      • AIDS is still a hard hitting reality affecting the structure of family and pushing higher the number of orphans, with the accompanying economic stress on the families, charity institutions and the State. 
      • Single parent families.
      • Impact of “exodus” (emigration)
  • Changes which have had a big impact:
    • Change of mentality from giving “services for free” to a mentality of “how much will you give me” for any service.
    • Youth from rural areas move to the urban and do not like to return.
    • Fear to talk about sensitive issues.
    • Faith has been compromised by politics and hunger during the past years: In order to get food join another church; doing wrong to others on political grounds.
    • Dollarization and lack of cash flow have created a new mind set in respect to the value and use of money.
  • Economic situation
    • A situation of famine which still remains in many places. But where money is now more available people have passed to new consumerism: proliferation of cell-phones, drinking, luxury goods…
    • There is not yet sufficient cash flow and for many people the basic goods are not easily available. Arbitrary and inflated prices and exchange rates dollar-rand. In our area we register the highest prizes.
    • Unemployment is officially well over 80 %. The country relies now mostly in the informal sector with “precarious”, and at times illegal, employment. (Bodyguards, National Youth Service, drug trafficking, curious merchants and money changers)
    • The very poor remuneration paid to the civil servants has provoked unrest on this collective, resorting to industrial action, side “incentives”…
    • This sparks widespread corruption at all levels.
    • There is a considerable inflow of money from the “Diaspora”.
    • There is no middle class. The rich getting richer and the poor poorer.
  • Political situation
    • Disenchantment and frustration for low motion of the “all inclusive government” after signing of agreement. Though there is no “reverse” to previous situation, the way forward is not clear at all.
    • Bickering between parties continues and the progress towards new constitution is painfully slow.
    • Lack of international trust does not facilitate the necessary investment and external aid to revive the economy.
    • Human rights and freedoms are not fully respected. Fear has not yet disappeared and there is a feeling of being unprotected.
    • Are we still in a situation of police and army control? There are new ways of violence and control of the people.
    • There are many wounds of the past in need of healing. The exercise on reconciliation initially brought some hope, but it is still in need of greater definition.
    • Lack of political formation and maturity in many of our people.
  • Religious situation
    • To the diversity of religious traditions we have to add the fact of the new “sects” emerging. Is there a probability of new fundamentalisms appearing?
    • There are cases of witch-hunting severely affecting the lives of some of the Catholics as well as non Catholics.
    • “Gospel of success and money” churches are appearing.
    • The Catholic Church is growing in numbers of people baptized though the statistical percentage of the population does not seem to be growing.
    • The Small Christian Communities are a joyful reality in some parishes and in the process of formation in other parishes.
    • Ministries: A big improvement has been experienced during the past decade, but more effort is still needed. The three Pastoral Centers have played a key role in this regard.
    • There is still need for priests trained in specialties or specific areas.
    • Women religious Congregations have a relevant contribution in the teaching, nursing and care of the aged, but appear to have little proportional involvement on parish pastoral activities and diocesan structures.
    • During the past years the structures of the parishes and Diocese have become strong and well organized: Parish Councils, Zonal and Diocesan Councils, Associations. In some Parishes the Small Christian Communities are organizing themselves well.  It is noted, nevertheless, that the attendance to the Diocesan Pastoral Council often does not go beyond 50%.
    • The Diocesan Commissions (CCJP, Caritas-Cadec, Education, Health) are well established. Their framework of action could be updated. There is need for a more fluid and constant communication among the different Commissions. The activity on justice and peace and human rights defense should be increased
    • The existing Parishes and mission stations are functioning well but there is a need to open new missions. Note also should be taken of new distribution of land and settlement of people.
    •  Educational institutions. The Diocese has a net of educational Institutions: Marist Brothers Secondary School, Don Bosco Technical School and Primary Schools at Kariyangwe, Dete, St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and St George’s, and a number of “un-registered pre-schools”. No Form 6 school is yet functioning in the Diocese.
    •  Health Institutions: Kariyangwe, Kamativi and St. Patrick’s hospitals; Lukunguni Clinic, Lubhancho House, Old Age Home and Badala Home are receiving little assistance from official structures and depend heavily on charitable assistance
    •  Self-supporting Church. The economical meltdown we have experienced in the country has had a negative effect on the previous achievements towards a self-supporting Church. Different approaches by different pastoral agents are in need of study, clarification and a common policy formulated to coordinate efforts towards a lesser dependency from outside help. These are the issues that our pastoral plan has to take into consideration for it to be relevant.


Definition of Objectives Goals and Targets:

  • OBJECTIVE 1. Advance in the modelling of the Church as the Family of God
    • Goal 1:  Promotion of the Small Christian Communities
      • Establishment of small Christian communities in all Parishes in the Diocese
      • Election and training of office bearers to leadership of SCCs
      • Establishing of mobile Diocesan formation team by the diocesan, zonal and parish pastoral council
      • Carrying out courses with Parish Pastoral Council leaders at Zonal level
      • Holding of formation workshops in all parishes by  the mobile team
      • Sustaining of Small Christian Communities in all parishes by sending leaders for training at LUMKO training institution and any other.
      • Drawing up of SCC calendars and action plans. (with objectives, activities and materials to be used)
      •  Evaluating the work of Small Christian Communities at parish, zonal and diocesan levels
    • Goal 2: Collaborative Ministry and Mutual Concern
      •   Awakening and promoting the spirit of being family by coordinating various lay ministries and lay involvement 
      • Promoting collaboration in “spirit and action” between CARITAS-CADEC, CCJP,  Lubhancho, catholic schools and health centers.
      • Coordinating and promoting collaboration among all associations, movements and groups
      • Promoting different lay ministries (communion givers, Sunday service leaders, youth advisors, readers, care for the sick, catechists, etc.) in all parishes.
      • Formation to be provided by the Pastoral Centers
      • Strengthening of Pastoral councils at all levels i.e. parish, zonal and diocesan
      • Fostering inter parish visits by zonal pastoral councils.
      • Conducting workshops on the role and involvement of the laity in the Church, at parish, zonal and diocesan levels
      • Building bridges of communication between the clergy-religious and the laity by holding mutual discussions.
    • Goal 3:  Self support.
      •  Establishing and forming Financial Committees
      •  Intensifying the teaching on Isondlo-Mtulo-Unsupo and Sunday collection by the Financial committees in all parishes
      •  Establishing and training of maintenance and other related committees.
      •  Continuing of training communities on provision of materials used in the church like Altar wine etc.
      •  Making use of the resource booklet “Called to witness … Called to serve”
      •  Carrying out workshops by CRITAS-CADEC to bring it back to the community
      •  Formation of Caritas committees and training at SCC level
      •  Identification of needs at SCCs levels. Keeping of beneficiaries list by the caritas committees at SCC level.
      • Encouraging associations and groups to live by their constitution and to be self supporting.
    • Goal 4:  Sacramental life
      •  Establishment and training of formation committees on sacraments.
      •  Promoting the liturgical committees which will help to foster the practice of Sacramental life.
      •  Formation of catechists at SCC level by the parish pastoral council.
      •  Reviving adoration and Benediction at all parishes by the formation teams.
      •  Developing a uniform syllabus for catechism. 
      • Follow ups on marriage/catechesis. A handbook on marriage.
      •  Sourcing relevant material by formation teams for catechists /marriage counselors at zonal levels and parish levels.
      • Improve the care of the sick and the practice of the sacrament of anointment.
    • Goal 5: Different vocations
      •  Establishment of a vocations committee comprising of both the religious and laity by the diocesan pastoral team.
      • Conducting ongoing formation courses for the laity by the Pastoral centers.
      •  Holding pre seminary workshops at zonal and Parish level.
      •  Visits to minor seminary and material care from the communities.
      •  Vocation talks by local seminarians and the religious.
      • Proper formation and establishment of associations at all parishes.

  • OBJECTIVE 2. Witnessing to Christ
    • Goal 1: Justice, Peace, Reconciliation
      •  Training of trainers workshop on peace building at diocesan level.
      •  Training of trainers workshop on peace building (family, community level).
      •  Parish workshop on Peace building to train leader of SCCs/out-stations.
      •  Justice, Peace and Reconciliation discussions in SCCs and out-stations.
      •  Follow up on the second Synod for Africa.
    • Goal 2: Committed Christians in private and social life
      •  Hold a diocesan workshop on the role of Christians in order for the Church to be self-supporting, self propagating and self evangelizing.
      • Discussions at zonal level on the need for all Christians to be totally committed in all aspect and endeavors of the Church in the world.
      • Hold discussions at parish level /SCCs/out-stations, on the need for Christians to show more commitment in all issues of the Church.
      • Parishes and SCCs, out-centers to set targets to be achieved at a given time in the different areas of commitment: financial, social, pastoral…
      • Evaluation of the level of commitment at Parish, SCC or out-station levels.
    • Goal 3: Samaritan Church concerned with the poor and suffering, CARITAS, Social dimension.
      •  Diocesan workshop on the role of CARITAS in the Diocese
      • Formation of CARITAS committees in parishes and SCCs
      • Evaluation of CARITAS committees every year end
      • Diocesan workshop on the social teaching of the Catholic Church
      • In liaison with CCJP create formation teams in all zones to lead the training of parishioners in the Social Teaching of the Church (S.T.C.)
      • Zonal workshops on the S.T.C.
      • Parish workshops on the S.T.C.
      • Discussions on the S.T.C. in SCCs or out-stations
    • Goal 4: Inculturation
      •  Write a handbook on inculturation based on agreed points.
      •  Discussions at Diocesan Pastoral Council on how living the Good News in our cultures can be enhanced in the diocese
      •  Set up Zonal Study Commissions especially for matters concerning veneration of ancestors and the spiritual world in order to unveil challenges met by Christians when it comes to issues of culture.
      •  Fostering inculturation in the Eucharist, liturgy and marriage.
      •  Parish / SCCs discussions on how inculturation touches the whole life of a Christian

  • OBJECTIVE 3. Sent to evangelize
    • Goal 1:  Evangelize non Christians
      •  Identify and study some aspects of culture and faith that have not yet been reconciled at the ZPCs and Deaneries and implement inculturation in the relevant areas through the Pastoral Centers
      • Organize courses for pastoral agents in our Pastoral Centers for the RCIA.
      • Draw up a diocesan catechetical policy.
      • Come up with a common formation programme for catechists in the Diocese and have a formation programme also at parish level
      • Formation of Associations, movements and lay groups into effective instruments of evangelization. Discussions and suggestions to be done at Deaneries, ZPCs and DPC level led by Diocesan Spiritual Advisors
      • Revive a person to person proclamation of faith through SCCs, associations and movements.
      • Opening of new missions, schools and clinics.
    • Goal 2: Evangelize new and old Christians
      • Come up with programs at parish level to revive the faith of lapsed Catholics.
      • Develop on-going formation for everybody in the parish. (Evangelization of the baptized / post baptismal catechesis).
      • At the levels of SCCs and parishes identify Christians who are not in full sacramental life and find ways of helping them to full sacramental life.
      • Come up with a syllabus for Confirmation.
      • Form children and youths in spiritual exercises like retreats and recollections at parish level. Hold retreats or recollections for the at least every year.
        •  Diocesan Spiritual Advisors to come up with a formation program for M.C. animators and Youth advisors to be implemented through Pastoral Centers.
    • Goal 3:  Ministries
      • At the level of Deaneries and ZPCs to have a common program for the formation in different lay ministries to be implemented through Pastoral Centers.
      • Offer formation for everyone taking up a ministry in the Church and have a formal commission.
      • To offer formation and hold discussions on shared responsibility for both ordained and non ordained ministry to all in leadership at DPC, ZPC, PPC levels.
    • Goal 4:  Marriage apostolate
      • To establish marriage committees in all parishes and form the members
      • Conduct marriage renewal courses at our Pastoral Centers and holding marriage renewal ceremonies on Holy Family Feast.
      •  Revive and introduce Marriage Encounter and its methods
      • To have a program to help young couples (not yet married), and newly married couples and to have workshops conducted for them in our Pastoral Centers.
      • Single parents. To offer support and pastoral guidance to single mothers
    • Goal 5: Together with other Christians (Ecumenism)
      •  Open up dialogue through common programs in areas of peace, justice, reconciliation and charity.
      • On deaneries and DPC level, discuss and establish areas of cooperation with other Christians.
    • Goal 6: Biblical Apostolate
      •  Make Bibles available and accessible in parishes and Pastoral Centers.
      •   Deepen and strengthen the use of the Bible in homes, SCCs, Associations. Committees and make its use on Sundays more meaningful through training Readers and Preachers
      • To establish Bible prayer groups
      • Promote the practice of Lectio divina



ThisPASTORAL PLANis valid for three years and is open for revision whenever necessary. It comes into effect on the 8th of Dcember 2010, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.


+ Albert Serrano
Bishop of Hwange

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