Being shepherds with...


Frs Mhlongo and Mchunu OSM had chosen the readings. The Gospel was taken from John: Jesus the Good Shepherd. The image in the invitation card was also the Good Shepherd but pointed to the Gospel of Luke, the shepherd carrying the sheep. A familiar image in our Vicariate as it is present in our Cathedral.

These images were an invitation to give their lives for the sheep and to look for "the lost ones" instead of just staying with "the good ones".

There was another "image": the fact that these two priests have been called one to be a diocesan and the other one to religious life. Being ordained together was a call to work together and to work for unity among the priests of the Vicariate. 

I invited them to be shepherds "with" other shepherds: the Bishop, the priests... but also the Sisters and the PPCs. Pope Francis reminded us that women were the first ones to be sent to announce the Risen Jesus. When I said during the homily: "do not think that because they are women they are not Shepherds..." some started clapping.

The PPCs also need to feel that priests are working with them. I prayed they would never think they do not need anyone else and they can decide and do alone. 

The formation journey of both Fr Mhlongo and Fr Mchunu OSM and the way they prepared their ordination indicates otherwise. We thank God for this gift!

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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