AoB/Cir/05 2016

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

1.  World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation:  Pope Francis has instituted this day to be on 01 September every year. This is a follow up to his Encyclical “Laudato Si”.  It is our bounden duty to care for the creation and to protect it from any form of abuse or damage. We will honour  this  day from next year on the Sunday following  01 September. Pope Francis has added “Care for our Common Home(earth)” as one of the corporal works of mercy. He says “show mercy to our Common Home”.

2. Pilgrimage to Empandeni:  As per  our tradition this year it will be on the afternoon of 30th September to the following morning.  The starting time at Empandeni will be 17.00 hrs on Friday.  Kindly check for the  programme sent to all the parishes and missions.

3. AGM of the Pastoral Council 2016: This will take place from 28 - 30 October. Parishes and Missions are requested to  give a report about their activities for the Year of Mercy and the various lay ministries exercised  like Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Funeral Ministers, Catechists etc. This report should be a maximum of one page A4 size.

4. Appointments:

4.1. Fr. Similo Ncube CMM is appointed acting priest in charge of St. Andrew’s Parish, Queens Park.

4.2. Fr. Roy Chimbindi CMM is assigned  chaplain at Sacred Heart Mission, Bushtick.

5. General Chapters:  From the month of October Mariannhill Missionaries (CMM) and Oblates of Mary Immaculate(OMI) have their respective General Chapters in Rome. We wish them many blessings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

6. Congratulations:  Sr. Rudo Matsika OP is  chosen as  Regional Prioress for the Dominican Sisters in Zimbabwe and Zambia. We wish her  every best and assure her our prayers for the new ministry.

7. Episcopal Silver Jubilee: Bishop Michael Bhasera of Masvingo will celebrate his silver jubilee of Episcopal Ordination on 08th October 2016 at Gokomere Mission. We  wish him many blessings.

8. Silver Jubilee of Priesthood:  Fr. Jerome Nyathi will celebrate his silver jubilee of priesthood on 15th October 2016 at St. Patrick’s Parish, Bulawayo. We wish him abundant blessings.

9. Archbishop’s Office: Mrs. Rita Normanton will be away on leave from 15th September till 5th October 2016. During those days if you need appointments for the Archbishop or any such needs with regard to the office matters kindly contact me directly.

10. Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross:  From this year onwards the feast of the exaltation of the Cross will be celebrated at the top of  Mount Inungu in Matopos on a Saturday following 14th September.  This year it will be on 17th September. Notification of the same with details are sent to all the Parishes and Missions. This is organized by Christ the King Parish and the Eastern Deanery.

11. Charges for Sacraments:  Some Parishes and Missions  are charging people for baptisms, confirmation, marriage, induction into associations etc. In some cases the charges have been unjustifiable. At times it is termed “Bishop’s money”  to force people to pay. There is no such money requested by me whatsoever. This goes against the regulations of the Catholic Church with regards to the administration of sacraments.  Sacraments are not for sale.

Following are the Canonical rulings  about the payments for sacraments:

“Can. 848. The minister is to seek nothing for the administration of the sacraments beyond the offerings defined by competent authority, always taking care that the needy are not deprived of the assistance of the sacraments because of poverty”. (The competent authority is the Bishop in the diocese or the Bishop’s Conference for the whole country).

“Can. 1380.  A person who celebrates or receives a sacrament through simony is to be punished with an interdict or suspension”.

12. Isiphala sikaBishop: This was started by some associations of women to help the poor and less privileged in the Archdiocese especially in the rural areas. Of late I have seen that there is bit of abuse in this matter forcing people to contribute by some parishes. I do not want to burden the faithful in any way and my name to be used in vain. Due to the harsh economic situation we are in currently  with immediate effect Isiphala sikaBishop is suspended till further notice. 

13. Missionaries of Mercy: The mandate  given to the  Missionaries of Mercy to absolve the reserved sins will end on 20th November this year. After that for the reserved sins we have to follow the normal channel, that is to approach the bishop of the respective dioceses. We thank the Missionaries of Mercy for the dedicated service they rendered to us.

”For Mother Teresa, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavour to her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.” (Pope Francis)

+Alex Thomas
Archbishop of Bulawayo

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