By Bp José Luis IMC
Like every year, our diocese “pilgrims” to “Santissima Anunziata” (Florence) every year around the feast of Our Lady of Assumption, patroness of the diocese.
In what has now become a “tradition”, the official pilgrimage starts at 3 pm at Luve from where we walk 10 km to Florence. We did it for the first time in 2016 and we all felt it should become part of the yearly gathering.
The team led by Fr Dumisani Mazibuko OSM is to be praised for listening to the suggestions made after each pilgrimage in order to make improvements to the next one. We see the difference!
The march from Luve included this year the fifteen stations of the “Way of Light”. The readers were excellent and together with the good quality of the sound system, we were able to pray each one of the stations during the way.
Initially a CD of Catholic Hymns was played for the journey but people signaled their intentions to lead the hymns themselves as we walked. It was so for the following three hours when we finally reached Florence.
As it has been done every year, our vigil at “Santissima Anunziata” started with the procession of the priests and bishop for the blessing of the water. Fr Mazibuko then helped us prepare to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation.
During the next three hours, many went for confession and queued to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. While praying, they would write down their special needs and place them in a box.
Being the prayer for the diocese one of the services of a bishop, we announced that I would be taking the prayers with me, read them all and keep them in the chapel at the bishop’s house. It always makes a difference in my prayer when I am able to make my own the different prayers of our families.
During confessions Fr Sandile Mswane (Cathedral Administrator) spoke about “Mary and the Assumption” and Fr Pius Magagula (Christ the King Parish) on “Mary Mother of the family” presenting also the history of the “family desk” in our diocese.
Mass was celebrated at midnight and was followed – led by the youth – by the prayer of the rosary of the seven sorrows of Mary (walking outside though very cold!).
After remembering our departed brothers and sisters we concluded with a healing service with the anointing of everyone present.
We’ve been having plans to improve our pilgrimage site at Florence. We hope and pray to start implementing them soon: a grotto, a shade, a “way of mercy” and much more… We want “Santissima Anunziata” to be the “spiritual heart” of our diocese and not just a place where we go once a year.
Click on the photo below
for photo album of the event