AoB/Cir/06 2018

Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo,

1. Novenas: Due to the extensive use or abuse of media and internet of late there are so many novenas in circulation. Some of it are claimed to be by officials of the Church. This may not be true.

“A novena is a nine day period of private or public prayer to obtain special graces, to implore special favours, or make special petitions. (Novena is derived from the Latin novem, meaning nine.) As the definition suggests, the novena has always had more of a sense of urgency and need.”

There are, in general, four categories of novenas. Mourning novenas are said following the death of a loved one; a special novemdiales is said following the death of a Pope. Preparation novenas are said before a major religious holiday, such as Easter or Christmas. Prayer novenas are said to obtain special graces, and may consist of prayers from prayer books, recitation of the rosary, or other small prayers through the day. Indulgence novenas are prayed to alleviate the temporal punishment for one’s sins, including the sins of those in purgatory. Novenas are often prayed to specific saints and may be public or private; public ones require special participation in Holy Mass or the daily lighting of a candle. The supposed efficacy of a novena depends on the piety and devotion of the individual performing it. Some Catholics resent the superstitious supposition that a novena is a sort of spiritual chain letter, the idea that saying a novena for a given amount of time virtually guarantees that one’s request will be granted. The novena has always been more widespread in popular piety than in the liturgy.

Here the Church is again emphasizing that the novena is a pious spiritual exercise to bolster the faith of the individual, and that the individual should be truly devout, always remembering the goodness of the Lord who answers all of our prayers according to His divine Will. All the official prayers of the Catholic Church needs the approval of the Holy Father or the local Bishop where applicable. Of late we find lot of unofficial novenas in circulation. Let us not be carried away by emotional approaches of individuals. Please check on the official novenas of the Catholic Church before you follow false teachings.

2. Pilgrimage to Empandeni: This will take place this year on 5th October. The detailed programme for the day is already sent to the parishes and missions.

3. AGM of the Laity 2018: Will take place from 2 to 4 November at Emthonjeni Pastoral Centre. On the 2nd it will begin at 18.00 hours and end on Sunday with lunch. Each Parish/Mission and associations at Archdiocese level are to send their representatives. The report from each parish/mission should reach my office not later than 20 October. The reports should be based on the guidelines given to the chairpersons. Hopefully we will bless and open the new dormitory block at Emthonjeni during this AGM.

4. AGM of Priests 2018: This is scheduled for 10th and 11th December.

5. UGWALO LWEMIKHULEKO LEZINGOMA (Prayer book in siNdebele): This was reprinted by Catholic Bookshop and is now available there for $ 10.00 a copy.

6. Appointments:

6.1. Fr. Mackenzie Netha: Assistant priest at St. Patrick’s Parish, Makokoba.

6.2. Fr. Innocent Moyo: Assistant priest at Holy Cross Parish, Tshabalala.

6.3. Fr. Zwelibanzi Nqobile Nyathi: Assistant priest at Tsholotsho Mission.

6.4. Fr. Clyde Takwada CMM: Assistant priest at Our lady of Fatima, Pumula South.

6.5. Fr. Yulius Katu SVD: Assistant priest at Holy Family Parish, Nketa.

6.6. Fr. Aurelio Ayala OMI: Assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Khumalo.


“If one has the answers to all the questions - that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble”

(Pope Francis)

+Alex Thomas
Archbishop of Bulawayo

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