AoB/Cir/05 2020
Advent 2020

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

Advent 2020 comes against the background of the spiritual and pastoral slumber we had for the past 8 months due to the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions and the fear we have about the virus. Advent in the Catholic Church always is a new and fresh start in our liturgical and spiritual life. Advent is all about hope, eager waiting and longing for the Lord. A good number of our faithful have been longing to come back to celebrate sacraments in the Church as we used to do. But still some are afraid and doubtful of the infections from the virus. The threat of the virus is real and dangerous and we cannot take it light.

The assurance of the Lord comes to us when we are in real challenges of doubt and fear. Jesus Himself many times assured his disciples and followers of his presence and power. When the disciples were frightened by seeing Jesus walking on the water, He came to them and said; "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" (Mt. 14; 27). As His farewell message Jesus told His disciples; "Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt. 28; 20). During this advent let us take to heart the assurance of Jesus as a personal message to us and get back to our fully committed Catholic life personally and as a parish community.

In his new Encyclical Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis says; "I invite everyone to renewed hope, for hope speaks to us of something deeply rooted in every human heart... Let us continue, then, to advance along the paths of hope." (Fratelli Tuitti 55). As we notice on the candles of advent wreath the themes for the four weeks are Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.

Therefore I call upon all priests, deacons, religious, leaders and all the faithful to begin anew starting from the first Sunday of Advent on a renewed spirit as disciples of Jesus keeping in mind our theme of the year "Baptised and Sent; We are His Disciples". Let our discipleship be visible and evident wherever we are and whatever we do. For next year we will continue with the same theme.

Parishes and Missions are called upon to catch up on the time and opportunities lost due to Covid 19 by putting extra efforts to start afresh the catechism lessons for Baptism and Confirmation.

May I invite each and every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo to spent time during this Advent in serious prayer, reading the Bible each day, making a good confession and inviting to Church your family members, friends and relatives who are lapsed in faith.

The traditional hymns used in our Church for Advent and Christmas are very deep in their meaning and spiritually uplifting. May I encourage every parish and mission to sing those traditional hymns and celebrate the season of Advent very faithfully following the readings of each day.

We are still in the "Year of Laudato Si" declared by Pope Francis which ends on 24 May 2021. Honouring this call of Pope Francis let us do everything in our means at our homes and parishes to plant trees, taking good care of our environment, avoid littering and keeping best hygienic standards. I wish you prayers and blessings for Advent 2020.

Appointments:

1. Fr. Reason Mlilo is appointed priest in charge of St. John the Baptist, Nkulumane.

2. Fr. Cephas Gumbo is appointed priest in charge of St. Martin de Porres, Rangemore.

3. Fr. Mandlenkosi Ndlovu is appointed priest in charge of the new parish at Cowdry Park 2

Welcome Back:

1. Fr. Mandlenkosi Ndlovu is back in the Archdiocese after his studies in church history in Ohio, USA.

2. Fr. Claudious Luphahla will be back soon after his sabbatical in SA.

Celebrations:

Sodality of Our Lady will celebrate their 60th year of existence as an association in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo in December. We wish them many more blessings.

Gratitude:

We greatly appreciate the work of Ms. Florence Makhaza as the coordinator for children and youth in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo for the past 7 years. She has moved on to greener pastures for the sake of the family. We thank her for the good work and wish her many blessings.

Congratulations:

Tsholotsho Mission successfully constructed a chapel at Nkwizhu and was blessed on 14th November. We appreciate such efforts to grow in faith.

AGM of Priests:

This will take place on Bth December at St. Mary's Basilica starting at 09.00 and ending at 16.00 hours. This year it will be a one day event due to restrictions of Covid 19.

Prayerful wishes and Blessings for Advent 2020

"The Lord did not command us to like one another, but to love one another. He is the one who unites us, without making us all alike."
Pope Francis.

 

+ Alex Thomas
Archbishop of Bulawayo

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