In two weeks' time the diocese of Manzini will be celebrating the arrival of the first Catholic Missionaries. They were members of the Order of the Servants of Mary (OSM). On 27 January 1914 they crossed the border from South Africa and travelled to Mbabane. A few days' later they bought a plot where the Mater Dolorosa parish and school would be built.
The main celebration is planned for Sunday 26 January at 10.00 at the Bosco Youth Centre (Manzini, Swaziland).
It is a big event which starts with the arrival of all the Bishops members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC): 28 dioceses in three countries (Botswana, South Africa & Swaziland). For the first time in history the plenary session of the Bishops will be celebrated in Swaziland. They will remain in the country for one full week. This is the way the bishops decided to honour the event
The centenary committee now meets every Saturday to make sure everything will be ready for the celebration. Meetings are long and full of details. We want to make sure that we all know what still needs to be done, who is going to do it and... when!
A year ago, when we started our meetings, we decided to entrust each area to a parish. This would make it easier for the people to meet without having to travel all over the country.
We are dealing not only with the liturgy of the day but also with the "entertainment" after the Mass, making sure there is enough food for everyone, accommodation for visitors, a special publication to which every parish and religious community has contributed and... of course, finances!
The media in the country has been approached and they keep on showing interest and support on this event. Articles are appearing weekly on one of the national newspapers.