By Tatenda Mqetu
Masvingo Diocese Priests and Religious led by Bishop Michael Bhasera marked All Saints and All Souls days by remembering their departed colleagues at Gokomere Mission on the 2nd of November 2019 by laying flowers and blessing graves.
The following day saw the same exercise taking place at the pioneer cemetery in Masvingo Urban where three missionaries by the name of Fr. Peter Prestage SJ, Fr. Anthony Boos SJ and Br. Henry Meyer SJ who died in the 19th Century as they pursued their missionary work were buried.
The memorial mass served as a pedestal for the priests and religious to reflect on their religious life as they prepare for the eternal journey.
Fr. Cuthbert Wasosa, in his homily highlighted that the episode of remembering the dead should reinforce people’s faith and make them remember that the present life is not the end but that there is the future life which all people should strive for.
“The soul within us should always be working towards serving God as it is the reason why we were created in his own image. Therefore, we should not worry much about our physical nature but rather focus on perfecting our souls as it is in the soul that we will live forever.,” said Fr. Wasosa.
After mass, the priests and religious processed to the graveyard to bless and rekindle the relationship with their departed workmates. Bishop Bhasera then blessed each and every grave and laid wreaths on them in memory of the love and spiritual connectivity that exists between the diocese and those who lie in Christ among them Fr. Kizito Mavhima, Fr. Robert Mabonga, Fr. Peter Mufaro, Fr. Silvester Shinya, Fr. Jakata, and many others including religious sisters.
In Masvingo urban, parishes which include Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Theresa of Avila and St. Don Bosco reminisced the trio who were interred at the first cemetery. The three Jesuit missionaries Fr. Peter Prestage SJ, Fr. Antony Booss SJ and Br. Henry Meyer died and were buried in the first cemetery in city centre.
In 1890 when the Jesuits returned and established Chishawasha Mission near Harare and Driefontein Mission near Masvingo Fr. Hartmann accompanied the Pioneer Column as chaplain while Fr. Prestage accompanied the Dominican nuns who came with the Column as nurses.
The clergy and religious, brothers and sisters of Gweru Diocese gathered to pray in memory of fellow departed workmates at Driefontein Mission cemetery on 9 November 2019. The Apostolic Administrator of Gweru Diocese, Bishop Michael Bhasera presided over the mass. Fr. Mapwashike who preached during the Mass to remember the heroes of faith talked about the unity that exists between the pilgrim Church, the suffering Church and the triumphant Church.
After mass, priests, brothers and sisters, flowers in hand, were asked to stand at the foot of each grave to pray for their workmates who lie in Driefontein cemetery. The Vicar General for Gweru Diocese, Fr. Augustine Chirikadzi then sprinkled holy water on the graves before Bishop Bhasera blessed them with incense. Driefontein cemetery contains the remains of many religious and priests from different congregations and orders. The late four bishops Tobias Chiginya, Alois Haene, Francis Mugadzi and Xavier Munyongani were all interred in this cemetery while many religious superiors with the likes of the late Sr. Agnes Makore, Br. William Chadzimura, Sr. Theresina OP and Mother Christostom OP were also buried at this place.