Merciful, prayerful and joyful!

Our diocesan pilgrimage is always celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Assumption. This year it fell on the 20 - 21 August weekend. 

We were blessed with good weather. Other years it rained and/or was cold too. Not this year. Good for a pilgrimage. Bad when considering we are going through the worse draught season in history and we still do not know when rains will come.

We normally gathered late afternoon or early evening. This time too but... there was a change: for those willing and strong enough, a 10 km walk from Luve to Florence would be added. 

As a bishop should lead by example, I was punctually at 3 pm at Luve to start the journey. A banner with the theme of this year jubilee's year and the feast we were celebrating.

The number of people walking increased along the way every time another bus from one of the parishes arrived. The joy and singing increased too!

After two and a half hours of songs and prayers we reached "Santissima Anunziata" (Florence).

Some of the priests were already there and had made themselves available for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. We too joined them and by 8 pm the pilgrimage "officially started" with the procession of priests and bishop.

Though it had been planned only for new priests in the diocese to be introduced, "by popular demand" all of them were. Water was then blessed and that was followed by the first talk by Deacon Wiseman Nkomo on "reconciliation in the jubilee of mercy". I joked wondering how it is he knows so much about how people approach the sacrament when... he is not a priest yet!

His talked moved people not to miss the opportunity they had and for the following two hours some of us made ourselves available again. We stopped at midnight for the celebration of the Mass of the Assumption of Our Lady.

Going through the door of mercy, the "via matrix" waling outside the tent, remembering those who died in the last year and a healing service took us to early in the morning when we finished with the final blessing.

When one thinks of the details (from the tents, the light, the sound system...) one cannot avoid wondering on the amount of organisation required and the number of people involved to make this possible. The tents were practically packed to capacity.

Grateful to God, once again, for this opportunity to come together as a diocese in prayer grateful for His constant blessings, entrusting what all in our country carry in their hearts and celebrating our faith. 

Click below for photos and a short video

2016SZ_Diocesan Pilgrimage

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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