Centenary Celebrations: Final speeches

The time for the speeches came at the end of the Mass and before the final blessing.

We began by reading the message of Cardinal Filoni, prefect of the "Congregation for the Evangelization of the People". 

"Let us encourage each other to continue to share freely the treasures of the Gospel, so that we may become a powerful source of hope, freedom and salvation to everyone" he wrote.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin addressed us as President of the SACBC. He had very moving words to the people of the Vicariate of Ingwavuma who had been asked to give their bishop to the Diocese of Manzini. 

Father Sergio Ziliani OSM spoke in the name of the Order of Servants of Mary who were the first Catholic Missionaries to arrive in Swaziland one hundred years' ago.

It was then my time to stand again and thank everyone particularly the people of the diocese of Manzini: "in a very very very special way, thank you all for welcoming me as your bishop. I count on you to help me be a shepherd to all."

The Minister of Home Affairs Princess Tsandzile introduced the members of government present at the celebration and asked the Prime Minister to address the people. 

This is how it was reported by the local media:

"PRIME Minister Sibusiso Dlamini noted that the Catholic Church with over 1.2 billion members was the largest church and greatly respected branch of the Christian faith.

“The longevity of an institution of this nature sends out a very clear message both to its members and the world. We have a church which has grown from small beginnings and a membership which has stood the test of time,” he remarked.  

He noted that the celebrations were held in honour of that achievement and centenary milestone.

The premier mentioned that the missionary programmes and permanent facilities that they had set up over the years had contributed immensely to the development of the nation and added that government was immensely grateful for that. 

The prime minister mentioned that the Catholic Church had established in the country 46 schools, Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki and several health care centres around the country." (The Swazi Observer - http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=58173)

He was followed by Prince Simelame who represented King Mswati III.

“The church’s assistance is very commendable. Swazis are very happy with the contribution the church has made in the education system. You have built schools and admit even those living with disabilities. You also admit pupils without selection, unlike other schools that only admit those who have attained second, first class passes and merits only,” His Majesty said provoking reverberating screams of appreciation from the masses. He said Catholic schools admitted pupils who scored the lowest pass rate. He said such was commendable because it helped a lot of people to be able to read the Bible.

“You also welcome refugees with open hands. The King has welcomed you with the words in the Bible read, “I was hungry, you never fed me, I was thirsty you did not provide me with water to drink, I was incarcerated, but you never visited me. When Jesus was asked where he was when all this happened, he said ‘whatever you did to the next person you did on Him.” Prince Simelane said. 

He said all the Catholic Church has done for Swazis was commended by God. He said the church would receive its reward in Heaven." (Times of Swaziland, http://www.times.co.sz/news/95216-king-lauds-unselective-catholics.html)

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