by Bishop José Luis IMC
It was nearly 32 years’ ago when Pope John Paul II visited the (now) Kingdom of Eswatini on 16 September 1988. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 1 May 2011 and canonised on 27 April 2014 by Pope Francis.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the visit of the one who we now call: Saint John Paul II, the Cathedral created a chapel where to pray for his intercession. It was blessed by Fr Dumisani Vilakati in 2018.
On Sunday 26 January 2020, the diocese will host a very special event when relics of St John Paul II will be brought to his chapel at the Cathedral. “Relic” derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains" (notably part of the body or clothes, remaining as a memorial of a departed saint).
A group of Polish pilgrims from the parish of St Anthony (Kalna, Poland) visiting places linked to St John Paul II will be among us for a day and have decided to donate a cross with his relics.
It is a perfect gift during our Extraordinary Missionary Year. We all remember John Paul’s first homily in 1978 inviting everyone to welcome Jesus in their lives as he said: “Open wide the doors to Christ”. Nearly forty years’ later, Pope Francis, calls us to indeed open them and let Christ out to touch the lives of the people.
I therefore invite you all to join us at this special event which, because of the time our pilgrims will be arriving, will be held in the early afternoon of Sunday 26 January 2020:
1:30 pm – Procession with the cross containing the relics of St John Paul from an area opposite the “Bishop’s house” (Sandlane Street) as a remembrance of the place where St John Paul lived during his visit to the Kingdom of Eswatini.
1:45 pm – The cross with the relics of St John Paul is placed at his Altar at the Cathedral for PRAYER and VENERATION by members of the church.
2:00 pm – Celebration of Holy Mass at the Cathedral presided by the Bishop, in thanksgiving of the gift of the missionary and pilgrimage spirit of St John Paul who, during his Pontificate visited 129 countries.
This is a privilege and a moment of grace for the Catholic Community to venerate and pray in the presence of the Cross with the Relics of St John Paul.