The Lord is risen...!

Like last year, I presided the Holy Week celebrations at "Our Lady of Assumption" Cathedral (Manzini, Swaziland). Though I have been bishop for the last six years, it is only the second time I do it at the Cathedral because in the past - while I was in the Vicariate of Ingwavuma - I used to go to parishes that needed help because of the lack of priests.

Being Manzini and being the Cathedral, the place is always packed with people, some of them visiting Swaziland during the holidays.

At the end of the Easter Masses I thanked all those who worked hard to prepare everything. In a time when "nothing is done for free" to have so many people making sure that the church looks nice and is clean, a choir "serving overtime" preparing every celebration (just on Good Friday they led with hymns for a full hour during the adoration of the cross!), altar servers well prepared and always awake (even during the night vigil!), the youth leading the stations of the cross with a passion play... it talks about the Risen Lord being present among us. It is done out of faith and out of love.

It was also interesting to meet some of our priests on Easter Sunday in the afternoon and Easter Monday and hear their experiences. At least two of the parishes had a youth camp from Thursday to Sunday. In one of them, on Saturday morning the youth went to visit two "Gogos" (Grandmothers) living alone and they cleaned their yard, the house, they washed the clothes... They themselves were touched by what they had been able to do for them. An "earlier" sign of the Resurrection (as they had not yet started the Easter Vigil celebration).

Looking back at these days, there was - for me - a very special sign of the Lord's presence among us. It was on Thursday evening during the adoration of the blessed sacrament after Mass. When all the community prayers had finished, there was a woman seated on the last bench with eyes closed, a baby in her arms and another one next to her. I do not know if she was saying a prayer or if she was just here, in front of the Lord, with the certainty of His presence. Though it was only Thursday nothing made it clearer that the Lord is Risen and among us. 

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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