By Leonard Ncube

Pilgrims of Hwange Diocese match to St. Mary's Shrine during the Maria Unchena feast day..jpg
Pilgrims of Hwange Diocese match to St. Mary’s Shrine during the Maria Unchena feast day.

HUNDREDS of Catholics from the length and breadth of Hwange Diocese walked a 15km long pilgrimage from St. Ignatius Cathedral to St. Mary’s shrine in Lukosi on Saturday 26 May 2018.

Drawn from youths, children, St Anne’s and Legion of Mary, priests and sisters among others, the Catholic community braved the hot weather that characterises Hwange to complete the annual pilgrimage where Bishop Alberto Serrano reminded all to live in peace and happiness.

The journey was characterised by singing, common prayer and rosary. The crowd swelled along the way as scores who missed the starting time joined along the road from Dandanda, Gomoza, Fatima, Jotsholo, Binga, Kariyangwe, Kamativi, Dete, Jambezi, Victoria Falls and Hwange.

Said Bishop Serrano referring to St. Mary’s Mission: “We are reminded of what the former Bishop Ignatius Prieto said, that St. Mary’s is the mother of our diocese. Let’s show that through our ways and deeds that we are the mother of the diocese.”

In the sermon, Fr. Joshua Nyoni challenged Catholics to be wary of new emerging churches whose foundation is based on love for power and money as opposed to Christ.

“There are things that make us different from other churches. Firstly, there is the Petrine Ministry where the Catholic Church is rooted in St. Peter and Jesus Christ. Don’t be swayed by other churches, learn from the hierarchy of bishops,” said Fr. Nyoni who is stationed in Binga.

Bishop Albert Serrano is seen matching with pilgrims to St. Mary's Shrine in Lukosi..jpg
Bishop Albert Serrano is seen matching with pilgrims to St. Mary’s Shrine in Lukosi.

He said the Catholic Church had stood the test of time while some churches that were formed as breakaway organisations continue to break up.

Fr. Nyoni said the other difference between the Catholic Church and other denominations is the Eucharist, which he said is the central act of worship.

He said Catholics regard Eucharist as a source of life where they get food for the body and soul. The third difference, Fr Nyoni said, is devotion to Mary.

“We respect Mary the Mother of Jesus, there are things she does in our lives as she mediates for us to God. These are things that make us different from other churches. Mariya Unchena reminds Catholics of Mary at the foot of the cross where Jesus said his last will. He said ‘Mother there is your son, son there is your Mother’. Mary wants us to listen to Jesus and God.”

St. Mary’s Parish came into existence in 1935 and is home to Chimuniko Pastoral Centre for the Diocese and St. Mary’s Primary School.

Hwange became a diocese in March 1963 and Bishop Prieto was its first Bishop. He was succeeded by Most Rev. Robert Ndlovu now Archbishop of Harare. Bishop Serrano took over in 2007.

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