It was a bit more than 102 years' ago when the first four Catholic Missionaries arrived in Swaziland. They belonged to the Order of the Servants of Mary.
They were followed by the Salesians who are well known in our country for their service to our children and young people particularly through their schools.
This, though, was more than 60 years' ago.
On Sunday 25 September 2016 our diocese celebrated a historical moment: the "official" arrival of the Missionaries of Francis de Sales. "Official" because, in fact, their pioneers arrived last February. They dedicated these months to start learning SiSwati and to become familiar with the country and our diocese.
On Sunday, the Missionaries of Francis de Sales were entrusted with their first parish in our Diocese: St Phillip Benizi.
The celebration of the Mass started outside the church. Fr P. N. Ndwandwe introduced to the people all the priests present. Missionaries of Francis de Sales (all of them born in India) arrived from South Africa (Cape Town and Ermelo) and Tanzania (Morogoro) to mark this event in the history of their own congregation. Those from Tanzania were the first two missionaries to come to our continent. Swaziland becomes the tenth country where they are present in Africa.
|Fr Musa greets members of the parish pastoral council|
The introduction included the Swazi names given to the pioneers in Swaziland while learning the language at St Mary's Parish (Lobamba): Fr Augustine (parish priest) has been named "Musa" and Fr Francis (assistant priest) "Jabulani".
|Fr Jabulani being welcomed by the parishioners after Mass|
The keys of the parish were given to them as a sign of being entrusted with the pastoral service of this area. After the homily they committed themselves to serve the people and were welcomed also by members of the parish pastoral council.
After the celebration of the Mass and lots of photos, all the priests present were invited for lunch at the house. Then, delegates from the outstations of the parish introduced themselves to the new priests and welcomed them to the area.