Our Zimbabwean Mission is young and flourishing. Here you can read about our efforts and achievements that our God gives us.
The 22nd of August 2014 was the day when our confrere Fr. Michael Tawanda Mabvengwa left Zimbabwe for his mission. He arrived in Madagascar where he has to go through his inculturation process.
Right now he is our only Zimbabwean missionary working abroad. We hope that his example will encourage young Zimbabwean men to follow Jesus as Divine Word Missionaries.
On the 2nd of June 2014, SVD confreres in Zimbabwe met in the City of Bulawayo to officially inaugurate Zimbabwe Mission into a Region. Since the first arrival of the SVD's in Zimbabwe in 1987, there has been a steady growth of the SVD presence in the country. Formerly a district under Botswana Province, Zimbabwe took its first step of mature growth by becoming a Mission on the 1st of June 2008 under the leadership of, by then, Fr. Alexander Kaliyanil, who in 2009 was appointed the Archbishop of Bulawayo. The reigns of leadership were then handed over to Fr. Tadeusz Grenda, the then vice Mission superior.
Six years down the line another step of mature growth was consciously taken by the SVD confreres in Zimbabwe in their 2013 Assembly. A quest of autonomy and a bigger quest of greater responsibility walked silently hand in hand with the request of being a Region. As the saying goes "with great power comes greater responsibility". Our desire was granted by the Generalate.
Fr Matheus Miten Ruron, led all the confreres into the recollection that preceeded the inauguration Mass. In his reflection, he spoke of the journey from the Resurection to Pentecost. Specifically about the Risen Lord's encounter with his disciples and how as a new community the disciples supported each other. Fr. Mateus likened the movement from Mission to Region as a new birth. In his concluding words he again highlighted that as we move from the Resurrection to Pentecost we are witnesses and so as we move from a Mission to a Region we are witnesses. The recollection was followed by adoration and Mass in the evening.
At 11.00am on Tuesday the 3rd of June confreres gathered to celebrate the inauguration Mass presided over by Fr. Tadeusz Grenda Region Superior, accompanied by his vice, Fr. Matheus Miten Ruron, Admonitor Fr. Tapera Chibairo Muserere, and the two first missionaries to Zimbabwe - Fr. Gabriel Sosu and Fr. Krystian Traczyk. Being the oldest member in the mission Fr. Krystian led the ceremony of installing the new leadership team and he concluded by inviting all the confreres present to stand and applaud as a sign of accepting and recognising the leadership.
In his homily, Fr. Tadeusz spoke of Hope and Trust; not in the things that we posses but, "that all confreres put their Hope and Trust in the Lord". He further cited the evident growth in the mission over the years i.e expansion to a new diocese, ordinations of local SVD confreres, the graduation of local SVD semirians from philosophy. He invited everyone to open a new page as Zimbabwe moved into a Region. He exalted all the work and efforts done by all the confreres over the years and he further challenged them to greater commitment to the mission entrusted to them in Zimbabwe.
The day finished off with a meal and a social gathering under the beautiful sun of Bulawayo.
Fr. Michael Tawanda, SVD
The programme was attended by 22 Catholics. It was organized by Fr Francis and Fr Edson. The recollection master was Fr Gabriel, who gave a talk about the Holy Spirit in the Church. Our Mission Superior graced the occasion by explaining to the people what SVD Lay Associates was all about. The programme started at 9:00am and finished with mass at 3:00pm.
What we are looking forward in the near future to have a committee for the group, formation of the group in SVD spirituality, to have a constitution for the group and a logo for group.
Our confreres Joe Ncube and Michael Tawanda were ordained on the 15th September 2013 in our Holy Spirit Parish in Nkulumane, Bulawayo. A week after the ordination they said the Thanksgiving Masses in their parishes.
Joe was assigned to work in Zimbabwe, initially in our newest mission Mubayira. Michael should go to Madagascar next year.See photos...
The first day of September was another big day for SVD in Zimbabwe. We opened our new mission in a small town called Mubayira, in the Harare Archdiocese. The Vicar General of the archdiocese entrusted the mission of St. Dominic to our Society with attendance of many parishioners and guest. Fr. Edmundus Tue Wea was assigned as a parish of the new mission and Fr. Joe Ncube as an assistant priest.See photos...
In Dlamini the local Missionary Childhood Association Congress took place from 8 to 11 August 2013.
Since we are in the Year of Faith the aim of our congress was to help the children to deepen their faith. They arrived on the 8th in the evening hours. 85 children and 8 animators attended the congress.
They had lessons about Jesus, faith, about the Holy Mass, and about their association. They also enjoyed a drama competition with the theme of faith. In the competition the children were expected to include things that they learnt from the lessons. A singing competition followed. The competition song was “Siyakubonga Nkulunkulu” - a song that thanks God for the faith handed down to us by the apostles. The children had time to play sports which include volleyball, netball and soccer.
We believe that children are the future and the present of our Church. So we tried to give them a good Christian formation and show them the potential that they have. With this in mind, with our help, the children organised this congress and were in charge of all the proceedings of the congress.
Thanks be to God who made this congress a success.
More than 50 parish choirs came to our Holy Cross Parish in Budiriro, Harare, to compete in singing church songs. The competition was organized by the Association of Composers and Choir Masters of the Harare Archdiocese. The Choir of our parish won the second place...See video...
The first Catholic Missionaries to enter Matabeleland were the Jesuit Fathers, who arrived in old Bulawayo in the year 1880. They obtained leave from king Lobengula to reside in the country and established themselves at some distance from the Royal Kraal.
For our July retreat we met together in the Old Bulawayo. After a short reflection about the history of catholic mission in Zimbabwe and our svd history we said the Holy Mass in the place where the first missionaries had lived.
Encouraged by their devotion we returned to work at the salvation of Zimbabwean souls.
In our Holy Family Parish in Nketa, Bulawayo we celebrated the 20th anniversary. On 14th April 2013 the parish thanked God for the past twenty years of its existence and also enjoyed the sacrament of confirmation.
The feast Mass was presided by Alex Thomas Kaliyanil, the Archbishop of Bulawayo. After the Mass there was a nice party with a singing competition. For this great occasion the parishioners prepared a magazine about history and life of the parish.
Our young missionaries met together during the firs week of March in Ilizwi Centre in Plumtree to share their fresh missionary experience and to encourage each other. A facilitator of the workshop was Fr. Gabriel L. Afagbegee, our confrere working in the Lumko Pastoral Institute of the Johannesburg archdiocese.
All young confreres of our mission enjoyed the time of sharing their pastoral and community experience. They tried to understand their mission according to our Constitutions in the context of African traditional worldview and to strenghten relationships with each other.
In Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the 8th September 2012, our confrere Michael Tawanda professed his final vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and he was oradined as a deacon on the 4th November.
He was appointed to go and work in Madagascar.
The perpetual profession of Joe Ncube, coming from Bulawayo city, (together with another seven African svds) took place on 3rd August 2012 and his deacon ordination came the next day. These events were celebrated in Nairobi, Kenya, because Joe is studing there.
His mission assignment is Zimbabwe. We are looking forward to work with him in our mission.
Our deacon Edson was ordained as a priest in Bulawayo on 28th July 2012 and said his thanksgiving mass the next day in his home parish, in the Bulawayo suburb of Emganwini. Thereafter he started to visit our parishies and missions in the country so that all our parishioners and friends could enjoy the newly ordained priest presence and blessing.
Edson is appointed to Zimbabwe and from the 1st September is working as an assistant priest in our Dlamini Mission.
On 28th January 2012 our mission celebrated 25th anniversary of our presence in Zimbabwe. The first SVD missionaries came to Zimbabwe in February 1987. We decided to celebrate this event on the feast vigil of St. Joseph Freinademetz - the patron saint of our mission.
The thanksgiving Mass was celebrated at St. Bernadette’s Parish and presided by the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Alex Thomas Kaliyanil. The celebration was attended by all the SVD confreres of the mission in Zimbabwe, representatives of the religious communities and diocesan clergy and the faithful of the parishes and missions in three dioceses where we serve.
We thanked and praised God for the blessings, graces, protection and the loving care that he showed to us. The celebration was also an opportunity to look back and examine our work. We asked the Lord for forgiveness for the times that we did not follow him faithfully and for not committing ourselves wholeheartedly to his Mission.
During the Mass all the confreres dedicated themselves to the Holy Trinity. A program followed that included talks on the Society of the Divine Word in the world and on the history of the SVD presence in Zimbabwe. There was a lot of dancing, singing and nice lunch that made the celebration unforgettable.
We are grateful to all who helped and supported us in every way. We pray that God may continue to guide and bless us in our missionary service that we render to the people of God in this part of the world.