Mercy Servants Coordinator, Mrs. Dorothy Zakeo hands over the donation to Harare Hospital Nurse in Charge of Admissions, Sijabuliso Rutsvara.
Mercy Servants, a group formed under Redemptorist Communications is destined to transform the life of underprivileged members of society as part of their Lenten mission. Mercy Servants undertook the first step in fulfilling their mandate on Saturday 03 March 2018 when they reached out to psychiatric patients at Harare Psychiatric Hospital and donated buckets, toiletry, drinks and fruits. The items which were donated to Harare Psychiatric Hospital by Mercy Servants.
The group members said they were inspired by the spirit of lent to fast and share with those in need. The goods were handed over to the Nurse in Charge of Admissions, Sijabuliso Rutsvara who appreciated the gesture on behalf of Senior Nursing Officer 2, Nelson Makore and Harare Psychiatric Hospital. Mercy Servants Coordinator, Mrs. Dorothy Zakeo said the mandate and wish of the group was to translate the spirit of lent into practical actions that help Christians to practice their faith.
“This is our Lenten mission and we have chosen to donate to 60 patients at Harare Psychiatric Hospital. Our intention is to fulfill the Lenten obligation by fasting, praying and sharing with the poor. During lent, Christians are encouraged to fast, pray and give alms and we have taken this Lenten challenge upon ourselves so as to fulfill the demands of the Gospel as prescribed by our Catholic faith,” said Mrs. Zakeo.
The group engaged psychiatric patients in prayer, song and dance and distributed rosaries to them asking them to pray all the time. Mercy Servants challenged Christians around the world to share with the poor always and not wait for lent when they are required to do so by the church.
Servants of Mercy shares the gospel with psychiatric patients at Harare Psychiatric Unit.
RedCom is the brainchild of Fr. Mark Chikuni and comprises of RedCom Zimbabwe, Redcom UK, RedCom South Africa and RedCom Youth. According to Mrs. Zakeo, Fr. Chikuni prepares a schedule of daily programmes that the group should follow.
“In January 2018, Fr. Chikuni challenged the RedCom group administrators to carry out Lenten initiatives, recruiting group members to join an initiative of their choice. Thus our group Mercy Servants was born and we were tasked to visit Harare Hospital Psychiatric Unit and Chikurubi Prison after which we carried out a needs assessment at the two institutions. That is how we came up with a wish list. We have members from the RedoCom UK in our organizing team who assist us in sourcing funds abroad to make the project a success,” Mrs. Zakeo said.
One of the patients sharing her experience with Mercy Servants.
Mercy Servants has 98 members in Zimbabwe comprising of youth, young adults and adults under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Francis Kunaka, the Priest in Charge of Chiweshe. In Zimbabwe Mercy Servants are found in parishes in the Archdiocese of Harare including Malbereign, St. Gerald’s, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Nazareth House, St. Cecilia, Hatcliff, Mabvuku and Tafara.
Another patient shares his story with Mercy Servants.
The Nurse in Charge of Admissions at Harare Psychiatric Hospital, Sijabuliso Rutsvara thanked Mercy Servants members for their kindness in supporting psychiatric patients. Rutsvara said people usually shun psychiatric patients because of the stigma associated with the illness. He explained the causes of psychiatric disorder which he said is caused mainly by substance abuse, stressors such as unemployment, financial constraints, bereavement, loss of property, failure in life, loss of a job, natural disasters, and dysfunctional families.