|Photo: Mr Duma Zwane|
This year, for the very first time since I became bishop of Manzini, I presided the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ at "Our Lady of Assumption" (Cathedral). Both priests serving at the Cathedral (together with others from the diocese) are in Rome in this moment for the Jubilee of Mercy. This means that, as I say jokingly, these days I am fully in charge of my Cathedral.
Today's third Mass included a procession with the Eucharist outside the Cathedral. Eighteen "altars" had been prepared along the journey. Though I knew it is done in different parishes of our diocese and in the Vicariate of Ingwavuma (South Africa), it was my first time to do it.
The reason of having so many altars was to give a chance to every outstation and every sodality of the Cathedral to pray and be prayed for.
The prayerful procession lasted about an hour and a half. Our choir, powerful as usual, led us in prayer between the altars.
As I was carrying the Eucharist between the altars I found myself praying for different needs and people in our diocese and nation:
- the first prayer was for the priests, diocesan and religious, serving in our diocese as this is a feast very close to our hearts;
- I prayed for the religious sisters whose presence and service many times is not acknowledged;
- I remembered our diocesan pastoral council and the local parish councils called to build the Church in a special way both locally and nationally;
- I prayed for our catechists, called to help our children, youth and adults to grow in faith. I prayed that they themselves become one with Jesus and witness Him with their lives;
- I prayed for our sodalities and the "umbrella bodies" of the Swazi Council of Catholic Women and Swazi Council of Catholic Men that they complement each other in their diversity, their different calls but always remembering the main call to be one body.
- I remembered all those working in our health facilities (the Good Shepherd Hospital, the clinics, Hope House - our hospice) and in each one of our 60 Catholic schools.
- While praying for those blessed with a job I also prayed for the many that are unemployed or underemployed entrusting to the Lord the challenges they face daily
- I thought of our youth, our families, the orphans...
- I prayed for those in power, for all the different religious and civil organisations in our country that in the different gifts God blesses us with we may be able to work together in the building of this nation and the care for those who are suffering.
By the end of our procession I became aware that these are just a few of our needs and before reaching our Cathedral prayed the needs of our people we might not be aware of, and finally thanked the Lord for His constant presence among us.