By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
The Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Paolo Rudelli ordained two priests for Gokwe Diocese under the COVID-19 protocols where only a selected few were allowed to attend. The ordination that took place at St. Dominic’s Mission, Chireya was attended by 44 parishioners including parents of the two priests, five sisters, two brothers and the diocese’s selected priests.
It was really an unusual event as ordinations in Zimbabwe are famous for attracting hordes of parishioners from different parts of the diocese. Although the two priests were happy to join the presbyterate of the diocese, they will live to remember the conditions under which they took their oath. This will go down the annals of history. Nevertheless, ordination is ordination. Reverends Simbarashe Gumbo and Khulekhani Chinegoto are already priests. Although COVID-19 affected the number of would be attendees, they received showers of blessings from the representative of the Holy Father, Bishop Nyandoro and Bishop Emeritus, Angel Floro.
Archbishop Rudelli said he was happy to be part of the ordination even under conditions of COVID-19 pandemic. He thanked Bishop Nyandoro for inviting him to officiate at the ordination and challenged the two priests to treasure what they learnt from their parents as a gem for their ministry. He also challenged them to continue nurturing the living faith they acquired from their families and parishes of birth. Archbishop Rudelli said although the ordination took place under COVID-19 regulations he was sure that the entire Diocese was present.
“All of you represent the entire people in the Diocese which in the living communion of the mystical body, we feel the entire church of Gokwe present and rejoicing. Although our presence in number and external exhibitions of joy and sharing is limited because of COVID-19, take it as an opportunity to concentrate your hearts on the essence of the celebration who is Jesus who will be with you forever,” said Archbishop Rudelli.
He said the special circumstances the ordination was celebrated was a reminder of the difficult moment the whole world was going through. He encouraged those present to pray for those affected by coronavirus and those in the frontline in the fight against the pandemic. The Nuncio told Frs. Simbarashe and Khulekhani to be good shepherds who lead the people of God in the right way and shun practices that tarnish the image of the church. He said they should not suppress people but help them to see opportunities that lead them to a better life and to God.
The Papal Representative also took this opportunity to announce the news of the transfer of Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro as the Bishop of Gweru Diocese. Addressing the gathering, he said it was the duty of the Nuncio to transmit the objectives of the Holy Father to the local church and called on the Church of Gokwe to accept the move as it was meant to fulfil the mandate of the Church.
The Nuncio’s visit to Gokwe was his first outreach since he was appointed as Papal Representative to Zimbabwe on 25 January 2020 as movements were hampered by COVID-19.