Br. Alfonce Kugwa
The fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Pontificate reached its climax at a reception organized at Meikles hotel in Harare today, 14 March 2018. Hundreds of invited guests, distinguished representatives of the Government of Zimbabwe, members of the diplomatic community, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference President, Bishop Michael Bhasera, priests and religious came to show their solidarity with the Pope on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his Pontificate. The Pope’s anniversary celebrations were organized by the Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Marek Zalewski.
The Nuncio thanked the Government of Zimbabwe for collaborating with the Catholic Church in its effort to bring about public emancipation through education, health and social services. He encouraged the Zimbabwean community to pray for the Pope so that he remains vigilant in his leadership of the world wide church.
Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa, who is the Director of the Department for Europe and Americas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International trade acknowledged the role played by the Catholic Church in the development of Zimbabwe and cherished the longstanding relationship between Zimbabwe and the Vatican.
“As we join you in this auspicious day, I wish to recognize the longstanding cordial relations between us. I have no doubt that you share the Zimbabwe Government’s desire to continue working assiduously with you to further enhance these friendly bonds between our two countries,” Ambassador Chitsaka said.
He appreciated the role played by the Catholic Church in transforming the country’s education and health system citing that the Catholic Church has made tremendous impact in improving the health and education of the majority of Zimbabweans.
Ambassador Chipaziwa said: “ The Zimbabwe Government is most grateful for the Catholic Church’s partnership with Zimbabwe in the provision of health services in rural areas and education services across the country. For more than a century the Catholic Church has continued to make a tremendous impact in improving the health of many Zimbabweans by providing affordable health services thus complementing governments’ efforts in that area. This brings closer the Government’s goal of achieving health for all by 2030. Zimbabwe’s education sector is all the better because of the Catholic Church’s huge footprint in education. You can be rest assured of the Zimbabwe Government’s continued support for the Catholic Church’s efforts in these sectors as well as its firm commitment to partner with you in promoting human rights and the cause for justice in Zimbabwe.”
He acknowledged that Pope Francis’ messages of peace, justice and compassion in the past five years have inspired not only Catholics but all members of society.
“The Zimbabwe Government is most gratified that the messages of peace, justice and compassion to others by His Holiness Pope Francis, over the last five years have inspired not just Catholics but the generality of Zimbabweans. We share His Holiness’ deep conviction in a world that is not just peaceful but that is just as well,” said Ambassador Chipaziwa.