Launching the Year of St Joseph

By: Bishop José Luis IMC

On May 1, the Diocese launched the “Year of St Joseph”
and the “Year of the Family” at St Joseph Parish (Mzimpofu)
Below is what I shared during the homily

It was last December when Pope Francis asked the Church all over the world to celebrate a Year of St Joseph (08 December 2020 – 08 December 2021). He later asked also to celebrate a Year of the Family (19 March 2021 – June 2022). We had planned to do our diocesan launching on 19 March 2021 but due to the COVID19 restrictions we decided to wait until today.How should we celebrate the year of St Joseph? How can we – reading on Joseph in the Gospels – celebrate his life, his faith, his intercession for each one of us and for the Church?

Prayer. Prayer is always the first thing we do. We have in fact prepared a booklet of prayers asking for St Joseph’s intercession.

Learn to listen. While the Gospels tell us about Joseph we do not find any word said by him. It is something unique. We can quote Mary, Paul, Peter, John… but not Joseph. Joseph calls us to learn to listen or to improve our listening. We love preachers and we love to preach. We use many words in our prayers. How often do we listen? Parents are called to listen to their children and children to their parents. The bishop, the clergy, the religious and the laity are called to listen to each other. We are also called to ask ourselves: who don’t we normally listen to? Do we listen to the poor, the people with disabilities? We help them but, do we listen to them?

 Ask God to reveal his will in your life. When Joseph came to know that Mary was pregnant he discerned the best way forward. He probably found the best possible way but God had other plans. Joseph was able to move from his own plan to God’s plan. In our prayer, we normally tell God what we would like to do, what we hope will happen in our lives… Do we ever ask God to reveal what He plans for us?

Have you ever wondered what would have happened had Joseph not listened, had Joseph not followed God’s plan…? The best thing is that Joseph never feels “frustrated”. On the contrary. Do we trust that God’s plan for us is the best that can happen to us?

Do not be afraid. In today’s Gospel passage God reveals to Joseph his will: “Do not be afraid to take Mary…”. It was not an easy thing to do. Joseph knew that Mary was pregnant with a child that was not his (it was God’s child) and also probably knew that his plans to build a family with Mary (in the way he had planned it!) would not happen. Still, he takes courage, trusts God and takes Mary as his wife.

We all have words in the Bible, particularly in the Gospel, that we struggle to make our own: “Forgive”, “Love your enemies”, “Wash each other’s feet”, “the one who wants to be first should be the last…”. Why don’t you choose just one for this year and ask St Joseph to be with you as you try to make it yours?

Care for young men. In my reflection on the feast of St Joseph (19 March 2021) I shared that we normally see paintings of Joseph as an old man holding the baby Jesus. Was he really old when he married Mary? The Gospels do not say anything about his age. I always believe that “painting” him old is a way of telling us about his being a wise man (we normally link “wisdom” with age and experience). If you ask me, I believe that both Mary and Joseph were teenagers when they got married. It is to a young man that God entrusted Mary, the baby Jesus and our own salvation.

The year of St Joseph calls us to care for our young men and boys. Even today we expect so much from them. We expect them to be able to build a family, to be faithful, to respect their wives, to care for the children… How do we – as a Church – prepare them for all that?

Care for refugees. 
Soon after the birth of Jesus, the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus becomes refugees in Egypt. It is not a joke to be a refugee. There is nothing romantic in being a refugee. I am here as a missionary. The Church cares for me. Our priests go for further studies to another country but there is a whole structure to care for them when they go. Not so for a refugee…

Every year our diocese supports the Malindza Refugee Centre with food and toiletries. Could we go a step further? Could we commit ourselves to know their stories, who they are, where they come from, why they are here? It is – again – another call to listen. Let us listen to all those who came to the Kingdom of Eswatini looking for a place where they could rebuild their lives for themselves and their families.

These are just some ideas on how we can celebrate the Year of St Joseph and the Year of the family as families need to deepening their listening to each other and to God’s will. The Spirit of the Risen Lord will certainly indicate other ways. Let us listen to the voice of the Spirit…!

Click HERE for the photo album
of the celebration


Launch of the Year of St. Joseph

By: Hamilton Khoza 

Click here for the photo album of the launch

The day began in earnest very early in the morning with Parishioners and Guests from other Parishes streaming in towards St. Joseph from all directions as early as 0600hrs.
The working teams were busy tying the loose ends and pitching up additional tents, ensuring that since the weather was threatening with an early morning cold front, all guests would be comfortable as much as possible.

The tempo changed at about 09:15hrs when the Fathers began to arrive in their vehicles; some in pairs and others in three some in the vehicles. One could tell that a big event was about to take place at St. Joseph. Joseph the Father of Jesus Christ, St. Joseph the Worker… St. Joseph the Patron of our Faith was at work already! It was his Feast!
Holy Mass began at 10:20hrs and all the expected guests in attendance; social distancing was fully observed under the watchful eyes of the Catholic Nurses Guild.

Continue reading “Launch of the Year of St. Joseph”

IMBISA: We dare to dream of a peaceful Southern Africa

By: +Lucio Andrice Muandula
Bishop of Xai-Xai, Mozambique
President of IMBISA

To: Bishops, Clergy, People of God in the IMBISA Region and all people of goodwill:

  1. We, the members of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) Standing Committee (representing Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa (Republic of) and Zimbabwe) met in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 27th April 2021 so as to assess and reflect on the socio-political and ecclesial situation in Southern Africa. In the shared reflections it became clear that the Southern African Region is going through a difficult period which, as is our hope, can be improved through the efforts of all people of goodwill in the Region and beyond.

  2. In particular, we reflected on the unfortunate developments in the Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique, especially in the town of Palma, which came under attack recently with the resultant loss of human life and livelihoods. The displacement of over half a million citizens in the Cabo Delgado Province has meant that many residents have been unable to enjoy a normal life where they can raise their children in peace and tranquillity. The aged too, having spent many years in that land, have been uprooted and forced to flee. This means that they cannot enjoy the beauty of old age which allows them to keep a certain relationship with the land in which they grew up.

  3. We also reflected on the situation of the general population in the region, especially on the difficulties faced by young people. Some have gone for long periods without school instruction due to the restrictions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even as learning moved online in some cases, the Covid-19 pandemic has simply revealed the problems of systemic inequalities in the economic sphere in our different countries with the poorer young people unable to access these online platforms. Some young people were left behind as those from more affluent societies easily forged ahead with their education. The problem of inequality, especially in the economic sphere, has left many young people exposed to exploitation by those who foment violence and other social ills. As a result of a certain disenfranchisement, some young people have tended to migrate so as to eke out a living elsewhere, far from home and their normal surroundings.

  4. The matters indicated above offend against the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). The right to life is sacrosanct and should thus be protected, promoted and preserved at all times. Related to the basic right to life is the right for a people to live in peace where they can freely enjoy the fruits of the earth. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it’” (Gen. 1:29). While the right not to emigrate is upheld, it is also proper to uphold the rights and dignity of persons who have, for one reason or another, chosen to emigrate (cf. Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, Nos. 38 &139).

  5. Despite the dark moments stated above, it is also proper for us to indicate some positive developments on some of the aforementioned matters:

    1. We applaud the recent statement issued by the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique condemning the violence in Cabo Delgado.

    2. We appreciate the positive efforts by the Church and other bodies who continually assist the victims of violence in that Region. In particular, we wish to express our support and prayers for the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Pemba and Auxiliary Bishop of Maputo António Juliasse Sandramo, for his continuous accompaniment of all those affected by the conflict.

    3. We are also encouraged by the efforts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to find a lasting solution to the problems engulfing that Region.

  1. Notwithstanding the aforementioned positive elements, we also wish to appeal and invite to the following:

    1. We call upon the SADC and the African Union to be more engaged in addressing the unfolding crisis in that Region.

    2. We also call upon the Mozambican Government to spare no effort in engaging the International Community so as to address the violence in Cabo Delgado which has unfortunately led to the loss of lives and livelihoods.

    3. We further call upon our governments in the Region to rethink the economic systems that have all along been implemented as they have not succeeded in addressing the economic inequalities currently prevailing. Young people must be at the centre of every economic development in the countries of the Region.

  1. We are still within the fifty days in which we celebrate the joy of the risen Lord and as such look forward to the promised Consoler and Counsellor, the Holy Spirit who leads us to the whole truth (cf. John 16:13). The Easter Season fills us with much hope that indeed all these difficulties can be overcome and addressed. We thus invite all Christians and all people of goodwill to continue searching and walking together for peace like St. Francis of Assisi who “did not wage a war of words…he simply spread the love of God” (Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti No. 4). We dare to dream of a peaceful Southern Africa. “Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home” (ibid, No. 8).

27 April 2021

Pope urges Catholics to pray in May for end to Covid-19 pandemic

By Devin Watkins (Vatican News)

Pope Francis recites the Rosary on 30 May 2020 in the Vatican's Lourdes GrottoPope Francis invites Catholics and Marian Shrines around the world to dedicate the month of May to a marathon of prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Catholics across the globe are encouraged to dedicate the Marian month of May to praying for an end to the pandemic. The initiative, behind which the Pope has thrown his support, involves 30 Marian Shrines from various parts of the world. The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization announced the news with a press release on Wednesday afternoon. It takes place under the theme “The whole Church was fervently praying to God,” which recalls a verse in the Book of Acts (12:5).

Prayer initiative

“The initiative will involve all the Shrines of the world in a special way, so that they might encourage the faithful, families, and communities to recite the Rosary to pray for an end to the pandemic,” read the statement. Pope Francis will open the Marian month of prayer on 1 May with a Rosary broadcast across Vatican Media’s platforms. Each day will see Vatican News broadcast the recitation of the Rosary at 6 PM Rome time from the various Shines taking part in the initiative. The Pope will also close the initiative on 31 May with another specially-broadcast Rosary.

End to the pandemic

This year’s dedication of May to pandemic-related prayer recalls a similar occurrence during the first wave in March 2020. Pope Francis led the world in prayer during that confusing and difficult time, celebrating a live-streamed, daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. After more than a year, and with the world still in the grips of the pandemic, the Pope and the Church around the world are once again leading the way in imploring God for an end to the suffering which so many people are forced to bear.

Source: Vatican News