Our centenary celebration: Passion for Jesus and for his people

Next Sunday we will be launching a publication
prepared by the people of the Diocese of Manzini.
This is my foreword.

“Mission is at once a passion for Jesus and a passion for his people”
(Pope Francis)

One hundred years' ago, on 27 January 1914, the first Catholic missionaries arrived in Swaziland. They were members of the Order of Servants of Mary. They had been sent, like the first apostles, to share the joy of the Gospel. In their hearts they had a deep passion for Jesus and for his people.

Seeing our Church today and remembering our beginnings one cannot but go back to so many similar images in the Gospel:
  • like the one of “a mustard seed which, at the time of its sowing, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. Yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade’” (Mark 4:31-32) or
  • the five loaves and the two fish that al- lowed thousand of people to eat as much as they wanted (Mark 6:34-44)
  • but, most of all, that “the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:20) has shown His presence and guidance.

The celebration of these first hundred years has been, to each one of us, an opportunity to remem- ber with joy so many moments of this journey. This simple book is just a very small picture of what we are celebrating.

At the same time it has been a reminder that

"it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all:
to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear.
The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded" 
(Evangelium Gaudium 23)

Remembering and celebrating we renew our commitment to be Good News to all in every part of our country and all over the world.

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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