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1962 --- ST GEORGE’S PARISH (HWANGE) --- 2012

Soon after Hwange became an Apostolic Prefecture (20th June 1953), the Railways Compound was considered as an area with opportunities for evangelization. At that time the schools were considered as a privileged platform for the proclamation of the Gospel, ever prior to the establishment of Mass centres or missions.

St. George’s School that was started in 1954 with Sub A developed very fast to Standard Six in 1961. It was established to serve primarily, but not exclusively, the Railways community. A report, written on 20th November 1987 by the H/M (S.M.D. Moyo), states that the enrolment on that date reached 644 pupils for 16 teachers. There were pupils from N. 1, N.2 and N.3 Compounds.
It soon became a centre of Christian life that was demanding more attention in the pastoral field. It was given the status of a parish with its own books in 1962 while Hwange was still an Apostolic Prefecture. A classroom of the school was used as a church until the proper temple was built in 1969. The cost of the temple was paid with donations from friends in Spain. 
St. Georges did not have a resident priest but was served by those who were staying at the Holy Family, which was, at the same time, the residence of the Apostolic Prefect and later of the Bishop until the new Bishops´s House was erected in 1985. In the same residence were also some priests who took care of the different Catholic Communities in town including St. George’s.

The first Baptism recorded is that of Michael Chilongo born 2nd March 1962 and baptized on the 1st April 1962 by Fr. Phillip Gomez. St. George’s has been steadily growing as a Catholic community.
The baptismal register records the signatures of 20 priests, though some of them were only occasionally present when numerous baptisms took place on the same day. The succession of priest serving this Parish could be this:
1962: Fr. Phillip Gomez.
October 1963: Fr. Joseph Tapias was appointed to Hwange as assistant of Fr. Ferdinand Villarejo, helping him at St. George’s and Cinderella. Fr. Tapias became Parish Priest in 1965 and remained so for ten years. As his assistants he had successively Fr. Angel Floro (1966), Fr. Angel Pagés (1967-68), Fr. Florentino del Castillo, (1969) Fr. Albert Serrano (June 1971 until January 1973 when he was transferred to Sacred Heart Mission) and Fr. Joshua del Barrio (1973-1975).
Fr. Joseph García served this Parish from 1975 until 1978. Fr. Isaac Benito signs the baptismal register on two dates of December 1979.
Fr. Mathias G. Ruiz started his ministry her in 1980 until 2000. He is the longest serving priest in the 50 years of life of St. George´s Parish. He was succeeded by Joseph Gomis who was called by the Father on 10th June 2003. An impressive all night vigil was celebrated by the parishioners of St George’s.
From that date Fr. John Rufaro Mudereri took over until 2007 and was followed   by Fr. Augustine Moreno (2007-2009). From December 2009 until now Fr. Johannes Alarcia has been in charge of the Parish.


Credit is to be given to a number of Religious Sisters from the FMDM and CMFC who have served in the School and the pastoral work of the Parish.

Since the School played, and still does, an important role in the Evangelization it is only fair to mention the Heads of the School from its beginning:
The first Headmaster was Mr. Huchu followed by Mr. D. Moyo, Mr. Sikuka, Mr. Chigome, Mr. S.M. D. Moyo. Mrs. Maseko is the actual head of the school.
In 1965 new classrooms were built as well as the latrines for the school.
The origin of the Legion of Mary dates from December 1963, with eight members. Mrs. Huchu (wife of the then Headmaster of the School) was the first President. At the time they were reciting the catena in Nyanja.

On the 13th July 2003 the Parish of St Georges lived the great event of the ordination to the Priesthood of Fr. Peter Keto Sithole, as the first priest from the Parish. In the baptism register we have Fr. Pious Ncube, born on this Parish, though the family transferred later on and ordained under St Teresa Parish on 17th July 2004.
The profession of Sr. Mary Linda Mukwasani in the Congregation of the Missionary Daughters of Calvary marked also a first step in the consecrated religious life.
It is our hope that these will be pioneers to be followed by more parishioners joining the priesthood or religious life

On 6 December 1987 the Social Centre “Lusupuko” (Liberation) was blessed. Kniting and sewing activities in the Club helped to promote the women.
During the year 2011 an effort was made to organize the Parish in SCCS on the basis of the sections already existing: St. Anthony (Section A), St Josephine Bakhita, (Section B), St. Gabriel (Section C) and St. Mathias Kalemba (Section D). For two years this idea had been matured and bit by bit is laying deeper roots.

 

Compiled by Fr. Johannes Alarcia and read at the end of the Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of S. George´s Parish

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