Consolata Feast in the Diocese of Manzini

It is the first time that the feast of Our Lady Consolata is celebrated in the Diocese of Manzini. Though the name "Consolata" started to be heard with my arrival in the diocese and later on with Fr Giorgio Massa, it really became familiar when Fr Francis Onyango, Fr Peterson Muriithi and Fr Rocco Marra were entrusted with the pastoral service of the new parish of St Peter & Paul (Kwaluseni). 

Being the first time doing it in the diocese, it was suggested that I also be there and preside the celebration. The feast is celebrated on June 20 but due to the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ next Sunday and other appointments I will be having later this month, it was decided to do it earlier. 

When I was told what time to leave home I understood people would be waiting for me on the way. As soon as I arrived close to the church, I found the Salesian Brass Band and many people from the parish. I was asked to leave my vehicle and climb on a double cab bakkie from where I could greet the people on the way to the church.

There was great excitement in everyone. It was very impressing to see such a joy only five months after the arrival of these three missionaries. 

Every detail of the celebration - which included the confirmation of eight members of the community - had been carefully prepared. The Gospel of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (proper of the Consolata feast) was partly read and partly dramatized by the youth. They were excellent and I believe no one would ever forget it.

During the homily I invited them:
  • first to celebrate having a full church every Sunday but at the same time to always wonder "who is not here?". There are many children, young people and also men which are just staying at home. The joy of having Jesus in our lives should always make us look for those who are not part of our community of faith;
  • then to remember that no one walks alone this journey of faith. Like the young Mary probably found strength in an elder woman like Elizabeth or on those standing with her next to the cross, we too need to walk together and support each other as we follow Jesus.

At the end of Mass, just before the final blessing, the youth dramatized the sending of the first missionaries by Fr Joseph Allamano, the founder of the Consolata Missionaries. Then, the case of a young boy who would like to become a priest and faces the resistance of his parents. 

The youth, the choir, the readers, the altar servers... everyone seemed involved in one way or another; and everyone seemed to have taken very seriously his or her own specific service.

The presence of the Consolata Missionaries in St Peter & Paul is just five months' old. As such it is the "last born" in the Consolata family and the "first born" in Swaziland. In a short space of time these missionaries have been able to share with the community their care for the liturgical celebrations and for doing things well. As Fr Francis said before the final blessing: "Bishop, we are still in our honey moon. The people support us and we are proud to be their priests"

Grateful to everyone who make such a joyful celebration possible. 

Click on the photo below for more photos of the celebration

2017SZ_Consolata Feast


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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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