Ensure care and support

On the occasiworld_logo1on of this years world AIDS DAY I invite you to consider the story of the Good Samaritan which was told by Jesus.

Despite the prevailing bad relationship that existed between Jews and Samaritans, the Samaritan gives generous assistance to the Jew.

Just as the Samaritan scaled the walls of division and prejudice towards Jews which prevailed at that time, so is the modern day family of humankind called to overcome the prejudice that manifests itself in the stigmatisation of those amongst us who live with HIV/AIDS.

Accepting that HIV/AIDS doesn’t diminish in anyway the dignity everyone has by virtue of being created in the image of God, we should scale the walls of stigmatisation by ensuring that our HIV positive brothers and sisters are not deprived of any advantage or benefit just because they are HIV positive.

This will ensure that they get all the care and support they need.

This freedom from the chains of stigma will promote open sharing of information about HIV/AIDS and instil behaviour which will stem the tide of new infections.

In this way zero stigmatisation, zero deaths from HIV/AIDS and zero new infections by HIV Our society is not only characterised by zero discrimination towards HIV positive persons but also has zero deaths due to HIV/AIDS.

Fr M. Makama

Jubilee of Mercy

LOGODear Brothers and Sisters

Peace!

A Jubilee of Mercy
On 13 March 2015 Pope Francis announced the celebration of an “extraordinary Holy Year”, a “Jubilee of Mercy”.
God’s Mercy has been a theme very dear to Pope Francis from the very beginning of his service.
Four days after being elected in the homily he pronounced in the parish church of Saint Anne in the Vatican he said: “The message of Jesus is mercy. For me, I say this humbly, it is the Lord’s most powerful message”.
During the first Angelus on that day he added: “Feeling mercy, this word changes everything. This is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient” (Angelus, March 17, 2013).
The Jubilee of Mercy will commence with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and will conclude on November 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

A unique event
The coming Jubilee Year is a first of its kind:
– while Jubilee Years occurred every 25 or 50 years, this one instead is based upon a theme: “God’s mercy”
– for the first time in the history of the Jubilee tradition, there will be an opportunity for individual dioceses to open a Holy Door – The Door of Mercy – either in the Cathedral or in a church of special meaning or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages.
The theme Pope Francis has chosen goes beyond welcoming God’s mercy in our lives. It is a call to witness to others the mercy of the Father: “Be merciful like the Father” (Lk 6:6) “How greatly I desire that all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, may become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!” (Pope Francis, Lenten Message 2015)

The Jubilee of Mercy in the Diocese of Manzini
Together with the priests of the Diocese we have been reflecting on some initiatives to welcome this time of God’s grace for us, our Diocese, our country:
– The Jubilee of Mercy will start with a vigil prayer at “Our Lady of Assumption” (Cathedral) on Friday 11 December (to Saturday 12);
– Following Pope Francis’ invitation, a special “Door of Mercy” will be opened at the Cathedral during the vigil;
– The logo has been translated into Swazi;
– Pope Francis’ prayer for this year is already available in both our languages (Swazi and English);
– We encourage all our parishes to plan a one day pilgrimage to “Santissima Anunziata” (Florence) reflecting and celebrating God’s mercy to us;
– We invite all our sodalities and groups (St Anne’s, Sacred Heart, SCCW, SCCM…) to reflect on this jubilee and let us know how they will concretely manifest God’s Mercy according to their own call;
– We invite all our Catholic Schools, hospital, nursing college, clinics and other Catholic institutions to join us in this Jubilee of Mercy and plan their own initiatives.

Priests’ jubilee in Rome
As part of this year of grace, “Priests will celebrate their jubilee June 1-3. The first day will be dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, lectio divina, and confessions. The Holy Father will preach their spiritual retreat June 2, and June 3 will say Mass with them.” (Catholic News Agency)
The priests of our diocese would like to attend this international gathering in Rome. The cost per priest (all included) will be around E 20.000. We therefore count on the support of all our parishes to make this possible.

Let us all be grateful for this season of grace and welcome God’s merciful love in our lives.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

+ José Luis IMC
Bishop of Manzini

Consecration of Holy Rosary Church (Mankayane)

1The feast of the Holy Rosary was the date chosen to consecrate the new church at Mankayane (Diocese of Manzini, Swaziland). It is a project that took many years and was led by Fr Antonio Dora who is now a priest of the archdiocese of Naples (Italy) but worked in our diocese in the past.

We remembered him at the beginning of our celebration together with Fr Moses Lupupa who served in that parish until he got sick on Christmas’ day 2014 and was called to the Lord the following March.

At the beginning of our gathering and after listening to the history of the Catholic Church in Mankayane, I received the keys of the building and handed them to Fr Theodomir Sibomana who has been the parish priest after Fr Lupupa and led the completion of the project. He opened the door for us and we all went into the Church.

It was full to capacity with the local Catholics, non Catholics from the area, traditional leaders and Catholics for other parts of the Diocese, particularly from Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral (Manzini).

It was a community and diocesan celebration which also included: confirmations, welcoming in the Catholic Church a member of the Lutheran church and a baptism. The celebration of these sacraments became a reminder that this new church building calls us to continue building the Church sharing the Good News of Jesus with everyone.

But probably the centre of attention was the altar. It is a rock. It was already there and, if I understood properly, the church was built around it as a sign that we build our faith on the rock that is Jesus Christ.

After Mass (and lots of photographs, of course!) it was time for music, dances and speeches. The representative of the town council underlined the presence of the Catholic Church in Mankayane area as a special one: it deals with our Christian faith, our commitment to the education of our children and youth (through the primary and high schools) and also with health. This was pointed out as, during the announcements, Fr Makama spoke about an initiative to be taken in our diocese to commemorate HIV/Aids day at the end of November – beginning of December.

An interesting and unexpected comment came at the time we were walking towards the place where we would share lunch. Someone approached me and said: “Bishop, do you remember what the prophet Haggai said?” and he somehow quoted the following text:

“Yahweh says this, ‘Think carefully about your behaviour. You have sown much and harvested little; you eat but never have enough, drink but never have your fill, put on clothes but feel no warmth. The wage-earner gets his wages only to put them in a bag with a hole in it.’ Yahweh says this, ‘Think carefully about your behaviour. Go up into the hills, fetch timber and rebuild the House; and I shall take pleasure in it and manifest my glory there'” (Haggai 1: 5 – 7)

He felt that now that the temple has been completed, blessings will flow over the people of the area. We pray it is so!

(Click HERE for photos and videos)

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