Our diocesan pilgrimage to Ingwavuma

Click HERE to view more photos

We meet every year around the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Patroness of our Vicariate. From every community we travel to Ingwavuma, the first Mission of the Vicariate. I always say that "there is nothing special" there. There's no grotto (though we plan to have one), no special shrine... but it was there that everything started and that is the place where, as a Vicariate, we go back every year.

We all remembered last year's gathering. It had rained for days and the day of the pilgrimage was no exception. Still, we never cancelled the pilgrimage and people never failed to attend.

This year it was a sunny day and we had the biggest number of people ever. It was great that Fr Vusi Mthembu and the committee thought of having two tents instead of one cause... not even that was enough to hold everyone. A number of people found a place under the trees and followed from there. 

The pilgrimage, for some, started already on Saturday. After some years, the idea of walking to Ingwavuma from Bhambanana was brought back. They gathered at 6 am and for the next 5 or 6 hours climbed the 22 km to the Mission.

I could only arrived in the evening (... by car!) because of other appointments. Going into the church I found many people getting ready to sleep on the floor. Tired but happy. Young and old. Men and women.

Fr Sibongiseni Cele TOR had been invited to preach during the day. He opened the celebration leading the penitential service, after which all the priests took their chair behind the tent and made themselves available to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. 

Then came the time to bring the petitions and thanksgiving prayers to the two boxes

This was followed by a procession to the crosses at the back of the Mission. It was there that we realise the number of people present. We walked for more than 100 mts and when we were reaching the crosses, some were still leaving the tent...!

Back in the tent we prayed for the sick. After a reflection by Fr Vusi and a prayer by Fr Cele, I blessed the oil and together with the priests we moved again to the back of the tent to welcome those who wanted to be anointed. I guess that no one remained without being anointed. It was interesting to see that both at the time of the reconciliation and the time of anointing no queue was longer than another. No one was really "choosing a special priest or the bishop".

We had planned to start the celebration of the Mass at 12 but... we only did it two hours later. Still, no one seemed to be in a hurry. 

It is a tradition that every year one of the parishes would bring a special donation for the Vicariate. In the past it would be use for any need but since 2011, the money is used to develop the pilgrimage site. 

This year it was the turn of KwaNgwanase Parish. They were extremely generous. For the first time one parish was able to bring R100.000. The money had already been deposited in the account of the Vicariate.

In 2012 the plot was cleaned and fenced. This year, stoles and chasubles were made for all the priests. Next year...? We had two things in mind but... let us wait and see. 

What is clear is that the people are ready committed to make this their own project and slowly they are making it possible.

Before the final blessing we thanked everyone who worked to make this pilgrimage possible, including our friends from the Diocese of Eshowe who, from Saturday, worked tirelessly preparing food for some of the visitors.

About Me

My photo

Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

Social Media


Follow by Email


Created with flickr badge.


Blog Archive


Theme Support

Need our help to upload or customize this blogger template? Contact me with details about the theme customization you need.