|Bishop Vincent Mduduzi Zungu OFM|
Last Saturday we gathered at Port Elizabeth for the ordination of their new bishop: Vincent Mduduzi Zungu OFM. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful sunny day.
As usual, most of the members of the SACBC (Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference) were present, together with the Apostolic Nuncio, his secretary and two bishops from the neighbouring Bishops' Conference of Lesotho.
The main celebrant was archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the conference and archbishop of Cape Town (the diocese of Port Elizabeth is part of that Metropolitan Province). Addressing us all at the end of the Mass he thanked Msgr Brendan who led the diocese after the death of Bishop Coleman. At the same time he acknowledged that we do not work alone and congratulated also the priests, religious and laity for working together all these years. Then he added jokingly "In fact one wonders why a bishop is needed... but it is only when there is no bishop that one realizes the need of having one".
The main concelebrants were Bishop Mpako from Queenstown and Bishop Kumalo from Eshowe (Bishop Zungu was born in that diocese). Blessing the ring, miter and pastoral staff on Friday evening Bishop Kumalo underlined the particular moment of the diocese welcoming a black bishop for the first time in their history.
On Sunday morning the chairperson of the Cathedral council shared a funny story. "Bishop, when we got the news of your appointment someone wondered if being black, Zulu and from Eshowe you knew English! The answer was... he speaks at least six languages and English is just one of them".
Archbishop William Slattery OFM preached at the ordination. Among other things he told the story of a child whose boat drowns, is able to reach a rock and waits all night holding to the rock until help arrived. People told him: "you must have trembled all night waiting for help". The child replied: "I did. But the rock did not tremble". He then invited him to hold firm to the rock which is Jesus as he serves the people entrusted to him.
Bishop Zungu himself shared a number of funny stories. One had been witnessed by all the bishops. As bishop elect he was part of our visit to Pope Francis last April. He also concelebrated with all the bishops during the Mass of the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. As he had not been ordained yet he was not supposed to wear a miter but those dealing with the vestments of the bishops in the sacristy did not feel happy to see him going to the Mass without one so... he had to wear it two months earlier!
He insisted on the fact that God seems to have a very good sense of humour. "I was always scared of bishops and... now I am one of them!".
He invited everyone to be actively part of the Church and the Church's name to be present in our society. "One of our Catholics came telling me he is part of a campaign against drugs. He then said I should also be there because the Church does not seem to be present but I wondered... if he is there, the Church is there. We are all part of the Church".
|Bishop Zungu with the Apostolic Nuncio: Archbishop Mario Cassari|