Thousands of Christians from across Zimbabwe’s eight Catholic Dioceses thronged Chinhoyi University grounds on Saturday, 7 April 2018 to witness the consecration of the third Bishop of Chinhoyi, Rt. Rev. Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa.
The consecration was attended by Bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters from different congregations and orders. The Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Mudenda together with several government officials graced the occasion that saw Bishop Mupandasekwa taking his oath to serve God and his people.
Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro told the gathering that the responsibility of a bishop is that of giving hope to the people. He said the bishop stands as a shepherd whose role is to warm hearts of Christians so that they remain hopeful and convinced in following Jesus Christ. The Bishop of Gokwe thanked Pope Francis for appointing Bishop Mupandasekwa to lead the diocese of Chinhoyi that has been without a shepherd for two years after the resignation of Bishop Emeritus Dieter Scholz in 2016.
“We thank the Pope for appointing you to be part of the college of bishops in Zimbabwe. This means that the Church is growing and that you are not alone in this ministry. The church is very organized and that is the identity of the Catholic Church and we shall remain so,” said Bishop Nyandoro.
He urged the new bishop to model his life after the servant figure of Christ by not looking down upon people but working to promote their spiritual well being.
Bishop Nyandoro said: “Many people are bruised and the world is harsh to them and it is the duty of a bishop to heal them. As a bishop you should love and support the poor and keep them dear to your heart while you should be accessible to all without segregation.”
Bishop Mupandasekwa was reminded that he stands in the middle as the one who serves and not as a boss who commands.
“You are not a boss but a servant of the people and as such you should be filled with love, compassion and mercy. Yours is a ministry of justice making, compassion and healing,” he said.
Bishop Nyandoro called on all priests of Chinhoyi diocese to cooperate with their bishop in preaching the gospel and build a relationship of trust so that together, they can advance the mission of the church.
In his speech, Bishop Mupandasekwa acknowledged the great work done by his predecessors, Bishop Helmut Reckter and Bishop Emeritus Dieter Scholz in laying the foundation of the diocese. He also called on priests and religious in the diocese to work hard in fulfilling the demands of the gospel.
He said: “I would like to thank in a special way Bishop Dieter Scholz SJ, my predecessor, for the many years he toiled in the vineyard of Chinhoyi. I also thank him for introducing me to the diocese and to the work of a bishop. Perhaps I could borrow from Saint Paul and say Bishop Reckter, the first Bishop of Chinhoyi planted and Bishop Dieter Scholz watered. I am coming after their labour only to harvest. My dear brother priests of Chinhoyi and fellow religious of this diocese, you have worked so hard for the success of this day. Together with me we have a responsibility to tend the flock of God and I am sure you are only too happy to do that.”