Bishop and (acting) parish priest

by Bp Jose Luis IMC

Since September I am both bishop of this diocese and acting parish priest of the Cathedral so I divide my time as best as I can between both services.

The weekend was a good example of what this means.

Saturday morning I presided the funeral Mass of Mr Louis de Souza as part of my service at the Cathedral. Not sure I have ever met him. Still, hearing about his life was very touching. He died at 47. He was born with “a hole in his heart” as it is popularly said and was given a span life of 40 years. It seems this never stopped him from giving the best of himself all through his life. He studies at the Salesian school, got a job, got married and had three children. 

I was able to also lead the service at the cemetery but I was then late for a diocesan appointment…

The Swaziland Council of Catholic Men (SCCM) had organized Mass and lunch with the priests (or those who would make it). Fr Mahazule (Vicar General) always ready to cover for the bishop, presided Mass in my place and I joined them as soon as I could.

From the Salesian Chapel (where Mass was celebrated) they moved to the bishop’s house for some talks and lunch together.

As I was asked to address them I entrusted them with a new service for 2018: “Who cares for our boys in the Church?”. Our women and girls seem to be very well organized but not our boys. The concern is not just because of their presence in our church but because we live in a context where “gender based violence” is a daily talk. Unless we help our boys grow with a different mentality we will not be able to make an impact in our society.

Sunday I presided the celebration of Confirmations at Regina Mundi (Piggs Peak).

Whenever one of my priests asks me this service I might reply: “If you want me in your parish, you have to help me in mine”. This was the case. Fr Khuluse (parish priest) then helped with some of the Masses in the Cathedral area.

It is a great experience in many ways. The Cathedral welcomes a number of our priests during the year and our parishes must make sure they are ready to prepare everything for the bishop not relying on the parish priest on that Sunday.

Regina Mundi was up to the challenge and we had a very familiar and joyful celebration.