by Fr Ncamiso Vilakati
As the deacon of the day, literally roared his name; Rev Deacon Fezile Khonzumenzi Dlamini, one could hear in the affirmative his loud voice saying Ngikhona!. Many were amazed at his courageous affirmative voice and his choice to walk alone down the aisle towards the sanctuary. It was only later when it dawned to many the sole reason, he said he was present, and the core of his duty, when the bishop after anointing him with Sacred Chrism that he should “Yemukela umnikelo webantfu labangcwele, lonikelwa kuNkulunkulu. Condzisisa lokwentako, ulingise lemfihlakalo loyigubhako: imphilo yakho ayilandzele imfihlakalo yesiphambano seNkhosi.” Indeed, this was the gist of him, presenting himself for the work of the priesthood.
This occurred on the solemnity of St Joseph, the husband of Our Lady and in a special way the Patronal feast of our Diocese. The 19th of March 2022 will always be engraved in his heart, as many people converged at the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, to witness this occasion. Theologians will say an Ontological change happened to him when he became a consubstantial being. Not only was it a theological event but was also colourful as the KASI boy became the 23rd Diocesan priest to be ordained for the Diocese since its inception in 1951. Many would remember that the then Fr Mandlenkhosi Aloysius Zwane later the first local Bishop was the first, and of course the last born is Fr Khonzumenzi F. Bhulamazolo Dlamini.
The bishop on the day emphasized to the newly ordained, especially at the homily that he was being ordained in an era where he is to be a Witness to many who are looking for “Fathers”. By being a father, it cannot just be a biological reality only, but a pastoral concern too. Our country last year, was engulfed in conflicts, and a chasm of ideas were enveloped. A tripartite ideology of what a father ought to be came up. Others are looking for a father from a dialogue perspective, others from the eye of the destruction of property whilst others from an angle “nothing to lose”. The bishop advised him to be a father to all these people to give them direction that will be equitable to all. Not only are these travesties a reality in our country but further at family level we see GBV issues, as well as those entrusted to the care of souls, which by sacerdotal ordination one is entrusted.
It is in the central prayer of the bishop that he becomes a spiritual “Father” to his flock by visiting as many families as possible. The imagination of the bishop is that he becomes a priest who is a “father” whose central life is in the person of Jesus and St Joseph whom the holy Father Pope Francis has exonerated as a model of what Fatherhood is all about. He is to make sure that those entrusted to him are able to learn how to be led by the Father, to trust the Father’s will and to follow it without fear. The bishop believes that he already possesses this potential, and the sacerdotal ordination is an answer to God’s will in his life. It is also a sign that with all his natural doubts and possible fears, he may believe God will be with him. The missing link for him was to help others to do the same in their lives.
Finishing around twelve midday, the celebration was followed by blessings from the newly ordained, and lunch was served as per the custom of the local culture. Indeed, many understood why he said “NGIKHONA”. The explanatory notes, when the bishop anointed his hands came in handy “Yemukela umnikelo webantfu labangcwele, lonikelwa kuNkulunkulu. Condzisisa lokwentako, ulingise lemfihlakalo loyigubhako: imphilo yakho ayilandzele imfihlakalo yesiphambano seNkhosi.”