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In this issue

Bishop´s Word
Year of Consecrated
And after the Synod?
Commissions
National News
International News
News in Brief

 

 

Bishop’s word

“ If only you would listen to him today! “(Ps. 94:7)           
Dear brothers and sisters,
The season of Lent has come, a “gracious gift” from God to us his children. We thank the Lord for the opportunity to come closer to him during this time through meditation of his word, “eagerly intent on prayer and on works of charity” (See Preface I of Lent).
“Listen to him!” This is the attitude of the Christian during lent: Attentive to his word, listening with the ears of a disciple; “our eyes fixed on the Lord our God” (Ps 123:2), who looks at us with tender love. I encourage you to meditate and pray these days with the Bible readings for Holy Mass as you have them quoted in the liturgical guide.
“If only you would listen…!” Have you ever thought what would happen if you listened to him, if you looked at him? Your life would be transformed and your joy would be authentic and lasting. Maybe we need to ask the Lord to cure our spiritual deafness, to touch the ears of our heart and to pronounce once more the word, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened’(Mk 7:14).
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis calls us Christians to confront “one of the most urgent challenges”, namely the “selfish attitude of indifference that has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference”, “indifference to our neighbor and to God”.To avoid becoming indifferent and withdrawn into ourselves we need interior renewal, says the Pope, and, in order to further this renewal, he proposes for our reflection three biblical texts. Allow me to mention them briefly:
1 “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Co 12:26) – The Church
“Lent is a favourable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ. In this body there is no room for the indifference which so often seems to possess our hearts. For whoever is of Christ, belongs to one body, and in him we cannot be indifferent to one another”
2  “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9) – Parishes and Communities
“In each of our neighbours… we must see a brother or sister for whom Christ died and rose again. What we ourselves have received, we have received for them as well. Similarly, all that our brothers and sisters possess is a gift for the Church and for all humanity.
“Dear brothers and sisters, how greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!”
3 “Make your hearts firm!” (James 5:8) – Individual Christians
“What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?
“First, we can pray in communion with the Church on earth and in heaven. Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer!...
“Second, we can help by acts of charity… Lent is a favourable time for showing this concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family.
“Third, the suffering of others is a call to conversion, since their need reminds me of the uncertainty of my own life and my dependence on God and my brothers and sisters…”
I conclude with the same words of Pope Francis at the end of his Lenten Message:
“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord… Make our hearts like yours… In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference… May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you”.
I wish you a blessed and joyful season.
+ Albert Serrano
Bishop of Hwange

YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE
What does consecrated life mean to the Church in the 21st century?

Pope Francis has asked us to observe a ‘Year of Consecrated Life’, which began on 29th November 2014, at the vigil of the first Sunday of Advent, and will conclude with the Feast of the Presentation of Christ on 2nd February 2016.
He explained that the reason for this decision was in response to many who requested it. In particular he chose this year since it is the 50th Anniversary of the proclamation of the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church ‘Lumen Gentium’. It was promulgated on 21st November 1964.
Perhaps before we go any further we should clarify exactly who qualifies as following the consecrated life! When you look up the words ‘consecrated life’ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it immediately refers you to the ‘Evangelical counsels’.  Section 944 tells us, “The life consecrated to God is characterised by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, in a stable state of life recognised by the Church”. Thus it can include priests, sisters, brothers and those lay people who take public or private vows. In our diocese this would include the religious congregations, such as the Daughters of Calvary, Precious Blood sisters, Franciscan Sisters (FMDM), Marist Brothers, Salesians, Capuchins and Divine Word Missionaries. It would not include diocesan priests and members of institutes, such as the Spanish Mission Institute (SMI) priests. Being a Jesuit the Pope claims to be a member of the consecrated life!
What impact are those in consecrated life making on our diocese? Surely they make a very important contribution to the life of the diocese. The sisters have convents in almost all our parishes and missions and they look after all our Catholic health facilities, the Old Age Home in Dete and the new children’s home in Binga. Religious priests look after several parishes and missions, including the new Don Bosco Training College. The Marist Brothers look after our only Catholic secondary school.
There is a steady stream of vocations to all the religious communities, which surely suggests a bright future ahead for the church in our diocese. Plans for future developments include the building of a new Catholic hospital at Tshongokwe, further developments of the Don Bosco College, establishing a sixth form at the Marist Brothers school in Dete, and a new mission at Lubimbi.
Those who live the consecrated life surely have to make more self sacrifice than the average Christian, giving up some of their freedom by leading a community life, and being obedient not just to the voice of their bishop but also the voice of their immediate superiors. But surely community life, which of course includes community prayer, has its own rewards, offering a certain amount of security and mutual uplifting.
In the Popes’ message delivered at the start of the year of consecrated life he talked of the call to follow Jesus ‘by fully embracing the Gospel and serving the Church’. He went on to ask the various members of ‘each charismatic family’ to ‘reflect on it origins and history’, to live community life ‘with a passion to all be one’, and to ‘embrace the future with hope’.
Let us thank God for those in the consecrated life. Through them God has showered innumerable blessings on our diocese, right since its first beginnings. They are still bringing us great blessings and please God this will continue on into the distant future.

 

Fr. Tim Peacock

AND AFTER THE SYNOD...?

            A colourful celebration at the Cathedral 0n the 7th of December 2014 marked the closure of the first Diocesan Synod of Hwange.
52 Synod members, laity, religious and priests, together with the Bishop, deliberated during two weeks on the topics which the faithful of the Diocese had studied during the previous two years.
In small groups by languages (Nambya, Ndebele, Tonga and English) and in plenary sessions, the synodal members studied in depth most of the topics from the first chapter of the Working Document.
            A document starting with theological reflexions, the 31 propositions approved by the Synod and a final request to the Bishop was the result of the Synod.
            But there is still work ahead: That final request to the Bishop is going to be fulfilled in the establishment of two commissions. One (which is already at work) to compile the work done at the Synod itself and another one of six people comprising of two Priests, two Religious and two Lay people,  to go through the material collected in the working document and other contributions from the people, and present it to the Bishop. The Bishop himself will make use of all this material and at a later date make public his decisions to the diocesan community.
            It may lead to a new Diocesan Pastoral Plan for the next years which may help us in the practical actions to bring to effect the great work already done.
            We have reached a stage in our Christian pilgrimage but the path is still open ahead of us. Future generations will remember this event as an important hint in the history of the Diocese.

Fr. Johannes Alarcia
January 2015

COMMISSIONS – CCJP
2014 in Retrospect

Marriage and the Family in the Social Teachings of the Church
In the light of the III Extra-Ordinary Synod on the Family [5 – 19 Oct’14], CCJP probed the“The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World”.
Observations:
1.         The Church needs to ‘step up’ on its teaching on family planning and contraceptives.
2.         There is a lot of family tug of war especially in the daughter in-law and mother in-law relationship, inheritance.
3.         There is urgent need for a functional Marriage Tribunal Committee within the Diocese.
4.         The Church offers premarital formation as well as assistance and counselling to couples and families having problems. What about continuous marital formation?
Peace-Building.
One of about 250 participants in the Peace Day Commemoration held at Ndlovu thus remarked: “We look forward to more peace building processes. This place has not been very peaceful. For instance, there was a young woman who beheaded her child in broad daylight. A few days later there was a case of violent attacks on members of the public involving members of a Church sect. As I speak, there is a brewing conflict involving a partisan housing cooperative intending to displace some people from their homesteads so as to construct houses for its members.  We are also bothered by the behaviour of the Chinese nationals working at Victoria Falls airport who have been accused of sexually abusing young school going girls… Well, there are a lot of issues here which need some facilitation, especially from the Church.”
ICT and Ecology
1.         To be good stewards of the environment;
2.         To evangelize using ICT, these were the goals of the workshop on “Information and Communication Technology &The Ecology – The Prospects and Challenges”. Mr.MasimabaNyoni from the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority noted that: Poaching (illegal harvesting of animals and firewood) both on a small scale (snaring for food) and commercial poaching especially with the Zambians who will be armed; Lack of community participation and poor attendance at Civic Education and Awareness meetings are some of the challenges they face in their day to day duties. This last point was bemoaned by Mr E. Banda (Environmental Management Agent [EMA]) hence the communities are unaware and inactive in participating on environmental issues affecting the general populace. Monitoring is not just for EMA but the community should also play an active role, he said.
Civic Education.
“The link between the Social Teachings of the Church and human rights is very powerful. This enables us to realize that Christianity is not something that is practiced in the Chapel, but we must always behave as Christians wherever we are” said a male participant.

National News

About 50 lay Catholics mainly from Harare have graduated with certificates in theology from the Holy Trinity College, which is now an affiliate of the Catholic University in Zimbabwe.
The theology course is a year-long program offered by the college to lay Catholics.  It covers modules such as Introduction to Theology, Introduction to Scripture, Introduction to Liturgy, Mariology, Moral Theology, Introduction to Sacraments, Vatican II documents, Theology and the practice of prayer, Christology and New and Old Testament themes.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the 50, Fr Sylvester Kansime, the Rector of the college, was overly pleased with the response to the program so far, and believes there are better days ahead.

Kutama Mission to celebrate 100 years.

Kutama Mission in Chinhoyi will on March 21 2015 holds its centenary celebrations at their school premises through a Eucharist celebration to be presided over by Chinhoyi bishop, Dieter Scholz SJ.

Announcing the arrangement, Head of the school, Br. Aaron. C. Mazhambe, FMS, said:

“The lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy. On 21 March 2015 Kutama Mission will be celebrating one hundred years since it was founded. Bishop Dieter Scholtz of Chinhoyi diocese will be the main Celebrant of Eucharistic Celebration and His Excellency, Cde R. G. Mugabe will be gracing the occasion as the Guest of Honour & Patron of KOBA (Kutama Old Boys Association).

“Well over 6500 guests are expected to attend the celebration, mostly the Old Boys and their families as well as friends and other invited guests from all walks of life.

Visit: jesuitzimbabwe.co.zw

OPEN DAY of Conference of Major Religious Superiors (CMRS)

“We only give information, but no transformation”

Following upon the proclamation of this year, 2015, as “Year of Consecrated Life” by Pope Francis, Zimbabwean religious men and women went into an examination of conscience at an Open Day on 17 January 2015. Their get together was hosted at Wadzanai Training Centre in Borrowdale.

Fr Robert Igo OSB, a Benedictine monk of Christ the Word Monastery, Monte Cassino, spiritual director, AIDS activist and author of a book on HIV/AIDS, travelling to many places giving retreats, addressed  his fellow religious in the packed hall at Wadzanai at the end of the Open Day.

“To have faith is to see with the eyes of God” (Pope Francis in his first encyclical, the last of Pope Benedict). God chooses what is foolish and low. We have not joined religious life because we are perfect, far from it. But because we are a mess and in need of conversion and transformation. Jesus, the Son of God, by becoming one of us, got himself into this “mess”.  If we lose the salt flavour (the Spirit of Jesus) we lose effectiveness.  But think of what religious men and women have achieved in Zimbabwe. Without them Zimbabwe would be poorer.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Indifference key theme of the pope’smessage for lent
Indifference is, therefore, “an important concept to explain the different phenomena of the modern world. In this way, we can understand this same concept, including it in what is surely a partial interpretation of a certain culture. Indifference comes from a lack of difference, from a lack of attention to the difference. This can be applied at least on three levels”.

“At the interpersonal level, the play on words between difference and indifference is perhaps more easily understood. On the one hand, the difference is stressed in order to provoke a separation. On the other hand, a lack of attention to the difference between the other and myself conforms the other to one's own parameters and thus annihilates him”.

“At the cultural level, that is, in the everyday environment that helps shape our thoughts and judgement, I seem to notice an indifference to values. This is not only related to a lack of awareness of values or an incomplete observance of values; it is above all a lack of judgement on values. In this way, every choice becomes interchangeable, every option becomes viable, any assessment on good and evil, truth and falsity becomes useless. If there is no difference, everything is the same and is therefore not permissible for anyone to propose something that is more or less appropriate to a person’s nature.

Pope Francis to business leaders: Prioritize human dignity
2015-02-09 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday (February 7th) urged business leaders to prioritize human dignity, and suggested three ways to do this: Firstly, by moving beyond emergencies to the real priorities, secondly, by being witnesses of charity and thirdly, by acting as custodians and not masters of our planet.

Pope urges 'more widespread and incisive female presence' in Church
2015-02-08 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) The challenge to find new ways for women to be “full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life…can no longer be postponed,” said Pope Francis.
Speaking on Saturday with members of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pope said a “more widespread and incisive female presence” in the Church “is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.”

Pope Mass: Protecting Creation a Christian responsibility
2015-02-09 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Christians are called to care for God's creation. That was the Pope’s message at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father also spoke about the "second creation", the one performed by Jesus that he "re-created" from what had been ruined by sin.
God creates the universe but creation does not end, "he continues to sustain what he has created." That was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily as he dwelt on a passage from Genesis, in the first reading, which recounts the creation of the universe. “In today's Gospel”, the Pope commented, we see "the other creation of God", "that of Jesus, who came to re-create what had been ruined by sin."

NEWS IN BRIEF
Congratulation


· Happy 2nd Anniversary to FrKolwani, Dumisani and Fr. Progress (ordained 26 Jan, 2013)
· Happy 9th Anniversary to FrMgciniMoyo and MasimbaNyoni (ordained 21 and 28 Jan, 2006 respectively)
· We wish to welcome Br. Bernard Chirombe and Br. David Kachoka (Marist Brothers)
· There will be Acies  Ceremony on 21st March 2015


· Fr. Gidion Sidinga C.Ss.R  (ordained priesty on 14 Feb, 2015 at St Gerard’s parish Borrodale) will be celebrating his Thanksgiving Mass At Kariangwe Mission, Binga on 11 April 2015

Sick


Fr Carlos Rilova from Lusulu Mission has undergone an operation recently we wish him a speedy recovery. In the mean time he is recovering in Spain. 

Death

· SrClotildaMutizira lost her mother on the 27th of January 2015. May she rest in Peace
· SrSethukile(FMDC) lost he Aunty on the 27th January 2015 at Mpilo hospital . She was laid to rest on the 31st in Gwanda.
· Sr Magdalene Nehwati lost her sister  (Anna Ncube), she was laid to rest on the 9th of February 2015
· SrSenzeniMuzamba lost her father on the 31st of January 2015, he was laid to rest on the 1st of February 2015

By SOCCOMHW
Ketosithole@gmail.com

 

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