(Chinhoyi in Zimbabwe ) Conducting his first priestly ordination on 10 August 2019 as the Bishop of the Diocese of Chinhoyi since his episcopal ordination in April 2018, Rt Rev Raymond Mupandasekwa CSsR said he has ‘never been so happy in his life as a priest’ and that the joy comes from God.
“If you were to ask me, in my 18 years of priesthood, I have never been so happy. The ministry gives me joy, and please know that this joy comes from not having materials things, it comes from God,” said Bishop Mupandasekwa.
He said this during his homily at the priestly ordination of deacons Innocent Chambara, Francis Diri and Ignatius Gochera, on the 10th of August 2019 at the diocese’s pastoral centre.
Witnessed by more than a thousand people, Bishop Mupandasekwa enjoined the three new priests to be empowered by the word of God, and never to make excuses of being young to not serving fully.
“You Innocent, Ignatius and Francis, do not say I am young. Do not use your age as an excuse to not serving as a priest. Do not let fear stop you from doing your priestly duties, go to all those you are sent to preach to,” he urged them.
Life of prayer
The Bishop exhorted the new priests to spend more time in prayer in order to serve well and to develop a relationship with Christ.
“Pray to be friends with Christ, that you may be faithful to him and to serve well,” he said.
“Remember that in prayer there are no shortcuts, as consecrated people, we are called to pray, in our daily office.”
He said many people no longer see prayer as a top priority, but one ‘must pray, encourage people to pray, and never stop people from praying because one thinks of other things being important.’
“That is where we get the strength to preach to people, and to witness Christ.”
Bishop Mupandasekwa urged the priests to continue praying since the service they are called to is not easy, and is even more difficult now because of the challenges being faced by the faithful.
“Some are hungry, some have no jobs, some children are not going to school, and some are sick but cannot afford better health care. Some even wanted to come here but they failed to get transport fares. You are being sent to those people,” he said.
“Our lives (as consecrated people) are painful, but in that suffering, I will tell you that there is a joy. Ask God to give you this joy each day.”
“Be happy wherever you will be.”
It is a great joy to serve over ninety-thousand Catholics, mostly in rural parishes and missions, the diocese has only 45 priests, including three Jesuits serving in Makonde and Sacred Heart Banket parishes.