By Sr. Cynthia Mgwena CPS
Consecrated men and women in Zimbabwe converged at Regina Mundi in Gweru Diocese for a day of prayer, reflections and togetherness under the theme “Vocation, youth and globalisation: our role as religious”. Gracing the occasion was Bishop Michael Bhasera of Masvingo Diocese and Apostolic Administrator for Gweru Diocese, Bishop Raymond Mupandasekwa of Chinhoyi Diocese and Monsignor Gabriel Pesce who is the charge d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature and major religious superiors of diverse congregations.
Bishop Michael Bhasera used the occasion to give thanks to God for the “precious gift of the consecrated life to the Church in Zimbabwe and the world.” In his introductory remarks he reminded consecrated men and women gathered at Regina Mundi of their call to be living witnesses of the Gospel.
He, indicated that his wish was that such a moment of meeting and profound communion for the religious should be a source of encouragement and comfort in the fulfilment of a duty that is ever more demanding and at times opposed.
“Consecrated men and women of today have the duty to be witnesses of the transfiguring presence of God in a world that is evermore disoriented and confused, a world where toning down has substituted sharp and distinctive colours”, stated Bhasera.
He heartened the religious to live the charisms which they received from their founders as to be credible witnesses of the gospel.
“This is a special time worthy celebrating the gift of your vocation and for reviving your prophetic mission,” Fr. Peter Savariapitchai said in his homily. Using an analogy of a bee which is attracted by a flower, he conscientized consecrated men and women gathered at Regina Mundi, that in every person there is something that either attracts or chases people away. By allowing oneself to be encountered by Christ, He in turn will push you toward an encounter with others, and bring you to the most in need, the poorest young people.”
By remembering the joy of being loved by God and rekindling the joy of following him, Fr. Peter said, consecrated men and women also will be better evangelizers and better promoters of new vocations.
“The world often has a deficit of joy” said Fr. Peter and thus the religious are not called to make epic gestures nor to proclaim pompous words, but rather to witness to the joy that comes from the certainty of feeling loved and the confidence of being saved.”
Fr. Peter stated that, in these last years, consecrated life has been re-examined with a more evangelical, ecclesial and apostolic spirit but it cannot be ignored that some concrete choices have not offered to the world the authentic and vivifying face of Christ.
The Bishop Chairman for the Commission for the Clergy, Religious and Vocations, Raymond Mupandasekwa of Chinhoyi Diocese, in his talk on the theme, “Vocation, youth and globalisation: our role as religious” stated that the consecrated are asked to spend a considerable amount of time remembering the joy they felt when they first realized God was calling them.
“Faithfulness of our apostolate is seen in the young people who come to join us, young people are looking for something authentic and radical, something to live and die for,” said Bishop Mupandasekwa.
Bishop Mupandasekwa said all religious were invited to celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them, to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty spread by the Spirit in their way of life, and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world.
He challenged consecrated people to embrace technology in a positive way, as a means to minister to the youth in this 21st century.
“The internet is contaminated with evil let us meet the young people on internet with good news”, he said.