By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
Pope Francis has appointed the bishop of Gokwe, Rt. Rev Rudolf Nyandoro as the bishop of Gweru following the death of Bishop Xavier Munyongani in 2017. The announcement that was made on 11 September by the Nunciature revealed that Bishop Nyandoro had been transferred to lead the Diocese of Gweru that has been vacant for three years.
“Today, 11 September 2020, His Holiness, Pope Francis has appointed The Right Rev. Rudolf Nyandoro, until now Bishop of Gokwe, the new Bishop of Gweru,” read the press release from the Papal Nuncio’s residence in Harare.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Paolo Rudelli personally travelled to Gokwe to announce the news to the Diocese. A sombre moment engulfed the diocese as priests and the faithful received the news with mixed feelings. Bishop Nyandoro has been at the helm of Gokwe Diocese for only three years and was working on strategic goals to develop the diocese whose foundation was laid by his two predecessors, Rt. Rev. Michael Bhasera and Bishop Emeritus Angel Floro.
Speaking to Catholic Church News, Bishop Nyandoro said he welcomes the news although he had plans to develop Gokwe Diocese and had set strategic goals to turn around the fortunes of the diocese. The bishop said he was working to grow the pastoral ministry to the highest level for the manifestation of God’s kingdom.
“Together with the priests, religious and the faithful in the diocese, we had set out strategic goals to develop the diocese. We had set up strategic goals to grow the pastoral ministry to the highest level for the manifestation of God’s kingdom in the world. We also wanted to grow stewardship of temporary resources, people and skills so that the diocese becomes self-reliant,” said Rt. Rev. Nyandoro.
The Bishop said the diocese was on a drive to develop its education system through building schools and introducing higher education institutions. Six more missions were also opened among other self-reliant projects within a short stint he has administered the diocese.
He said: “You are aware that Gokwe has no boarding schools or institutions of higher learning and we were working flat out to introduce that. We were also thinking of increasing our hospitals and clinics in different deaneries to cater for the health of the people. It is unfortunate that I am leaving the diocese but I will continue to pray for its growth and success.”
Bishop Nyandoro said Gokwe diocese was also growing its sense of community life as a model for a shared, fulfilling and invigorating missionary spirit. He said he was confident that the diocese will pursue the set goals and objects.
I have an open heart to embrace all
Speaking about his vision for Gweru Diocese, Bishop Nyandoro said he has an open heart to embrace all and he encouraged people of the diocese to unite and work together for the diocese’s prosperity. He reiterated the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.”
Bishop Nyandoro said these words by mother Theresa were in sync with his motto which says: “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will” and that he is readily available to be used by God as an instrument in his hand.
“So, to the people of Gweru Diocese, I say, I am coming and I am part of you and I just expect that we work together as a team for the glory of God,” Bishop Nyandoro stated.
Gweru Diocese has had six bishops since its creation on 1 January 1955 under the care of the Bethlehem Fathers. Bishop Nyandoro becomes the sixth bishop after the late Rt. Rev. Xavier Munyongani. Other bishops who have been at the helm of the diocese include Bishop Emeritus Martin Munyanyi and the late bishops Francis Mugadzi, Tobias Chiginya and Alois Haene (SMB).
The diocese was put under the care of Bishop Michael Bhasera, who was appointed Apostolic Administrator after the death of Bishop Munyongani.
Bishop Nyandoro is a product of Gweru Diocese where he was ordained before the creation of Masvingo Diocese. He was ordained as a priest on 19 December 1998 at St. Edward’s Kwekwe. His classmates are Frs. Lawrence Madzivire, Simplisio Musemburi, Joachim Ngun’u, Claudio Ziumbwa and Amon Mharadzano.