Yesterday at Mass I joked saying: "last Sunday (08 March) was 'women's day', today is 'men's day!'" but that is how we felt.
Some time ago I was approached about launching the "Swaziland Council of Catholic Men (SCCM)" on the feast of St Joseph's the worker (01 May). Being this year a Friday, which means... a long weekend, we feared it would not be the best time to do it. We then thought of doing it around the feast of St Joseph on March 19.
St Joseph is not only the patron saint of this "SCCM" but also the patron of our Diocese of Manzini. Therefore, an excellent day to celebrate in our diocese the launching of this diocesan council.
Thursday we were happily surprised with an article on the Swazi Observer. Our men were making sure everyone would know about it being by the national papers, Facebook, Whatsapp...! There were constant reminders to make sure no one would miss it.
At the beginning of the week, Fr Rodney Khuluse, their chaplain since September last year, came to see me and discuss the details of the celebration.
"After the homily, each one of the men will approach the altar and will be given a candle as you say: be the light of the world, be the salt of the earth. I will be holding a bowl with salt", he said.
But the fact is that we did not know how many men would be attending. Preparing for the celebration I came across some prayers to St Joseph which I printed to be given to them too. Still, I was not sure how many I should print. I thought 50 would be enough.
The celebration had not yet started and I realised there were more than 100 men. I told them at the beginning of the Mass: "I am not used to see so many men in Church and to have you seating in the first rows" (they normally sit at the back).
Not only the prayers were few. The candles too. Think that it took me around half an hour to give a candle to each one of them. The altar servers that were helping me starting cutting each candle in too and still it was not enough. We had used every single candle available when someone arrived with another box of candles. It seems that other men who were at Mass decided they would be joining this council too. It was a very powerful moment. It was a very important moment in the life of the diocese and they wanted to be part of it.