Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo,
Greetings and prayerful wishes to you all. At the start of 2021 we had great hope that things are going to get back to normal. Unfortunately the lockdown and banning of Church gatherings challenged our plans again. In any case let us be careful about the health and welfare of each other. We continue to pray for God's intervention in this matter. We will wait for another two weeks to see how things are going to unfold and make our strategies accordingly for our spiritual and pastoral plans.
1. Lent 2021:
Last year we all started well the season of Lent and waited for the Holy Week. But everything was affected by the unexpected arrival of Covid-19. We still continue to struggle with this pandemic. Although we are not able to worship together as we used to we need to keep our spiritual activities alive by our personal and family expression of faith.
The theme for lent this year given by Pope Francis is "A Time for Renewing Faith, Hope and Love" After a full year of not having full communion with the Church community due to the Covid-19 restrictions surely we all need to renew our faith, hope and love in God, in the Church, in ourselves and in others. Let us utilise this time fruitfully to renew our personal faith and the faith of our families. Let this be real time of grace and renewal. During this lent let us try our best to be more faithful to our respective duties and responsibilities wherever we are. Let us be patient and caring in all that we do.
Pope Francis writes to us all for this lent saying: "Faith calls us to accept the truth and testify to it before God and all our brothers and sisters. Hope as living water enabling us to continue our journey. Love, following in the footsteps of Christ, in concern and compassion for all, is the highest expression of our faith and hope".
Ash Wednesday: Due to current restrictions the celebration of Ash Wednesday is not possible as we are used to. All priests on their own will celebrate the Ash Wednesday as per the rubrics of the day. Those who wish to receive ashes may approach your priests personally anytime during the first week of lent.
Ashes could be taken home and put on the forehead of the faithful during the family prayer as a sign of the start of the season of Lent.
I urge all Catholics to spent a lot of time in prayer, fasting and works of mercy during this season of Lent. In our families let us keep praying the stations of the Cross, reading and sharing of the Word of God, conducting family liturgy and so on. Let us offer all our anxieties, worries and sufferings to the Lord as we pray for the stations of the Cross with our family.
In this year of St. Joseph and Families let us pay special attention to the growth of faith in our families. Let us purify the quality of faith and prayer life in our families. Let us make our families a place of peace, harmony, love and faith. Let us seek the intercession of St. Joseph for the protection of faith in our families. As a family pray together the prayer to St. Joseph as given by Pope Francis this year.
All the faithful are requested to sent in their Lenten sacrifices to the respective parishes which will be forwarded to the Archdiocese office by the priests.
2. Elections for SCCs, Associations, Movements and Parish/Mission Councils in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo:
The current term of office of two years for the leaders for the above have come to an end. It was our plan to have elections done during the month of January. Due to the current lock down it is no more possible. Elections should be done as soon as the lock down restrictions are lifted and churches can function again. In the meantime the current leadership will continue.
3. New Parish:
Having received the request and recommendation from the faithful of Cowdry Park 2 with my Decree dated 2' February 2021 I have created a new parish situated on stand No. 26368 Cowdry Park. The parish is named Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
4.1. Fr. Claudious Luphahla is appointed assistant priest at Regina Mundi Mission, Gwai.
4.2. Fr. Frank Sibanda is appointed assistant priest at St. Joseph the Worker, Tsholotsho.
4.3. Deacon Bernard Nkomo is appointed to St. Pius Parish, Njube.
4.4. Deacon Preacherd Mlalazi is appointed to St. Mary's Basilica.
4.5. Deacon Given Ncube is appointed to Holy Cross Parish, Tshabalala.
4.6. Deacon Edward Chiutanyi OMI is appointed to Our Lady of Lourdes, Khumalo.
Five sisters made their first profession on 6' January in the Congregation of Servants of Mary the Queen (AMR). We wish them many blessings in their religious life.
6. Grade 7 Results for 2020:
Based on passing 5 subjects
Regina Mundi: 31.8%;
Sacred Heart: 95.3%;
St. Bernard's: 80.14%;
St. Joseph's: 17.3%;
St. Patrick's: 87.5%;
St. Theresa: 27%;
St. Thomas: 87.87%.
+ Alex Thomas
Archbishop of Bulawayo