Thousands of Roman Catholics from all parts of Zimbabwe gathered in Gweru Saturday for the ordaining of the church’s bishop for the Gweru Diocese.
Thousands of Catholics packed Gweru’s Mkoba Stadium enduring the hot summer sun to witness the ordaining of Monsignor Xavier Munyongani as the bishop of the Gweru Diocese.
The ordination started with a procession of the clergy and church followers escorting the new bishop from the nearby St Paul’s Primary School into the Mkoba Stadium.
The ceremony was punctuated by song and dance with the crowd breaking into rapturous ululation and whistling as the new bishop was anointed with oil - in Catholic tradition - and was later given a ring, a scepter, a staff and a mitre, signaling that he had been ordained as bishop.
The bishop’s niece Eugenia Takavarasha told VOA Studio 7 that Reverend Munyongani’s ordination brings honour and joy to the family.
Before being ordained, the 63 year-old Right Reverend Munyongani worked in England as the chaplain of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’
Conference from 2007.
Bishop Munyongani was born in Masvingo province’s Gutu District where he did his primary and secondary education before training to be a priest in Gweru and at Chishawasha Seminary outside Harare.
He becomes the fifth bishop for the Gweru Diocese and replaces Bishop Martin Munyanyi who resigned in April 2012. Munyongani was elected bishop by Pope Francis in June this year.
Bishop Bhasera of Masvingo Diocese was in charge of the Gweru Diocese before Bishop Munyongani’s election.
The newly appointed Minister for the Midlands province Jason Machaya and the new Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire are some of the senior government officials who also graced the occasion.