ESWATINI: Church Begins Jubilee Year, Celebrating 110 Years of First Arrival of Missionaries into Kingdom

By Paschal Norbert

MANZINI, JANUARY 26, 2024 (CISA)The Catholic Diocese of Manzini, the only diocese in the Kingdom of Eswatini, has launched the Diocesan Jubilee Year, celebrating 110 years of the arrival of the first Catholic Missionaries to the kingdom.

The centenary celebrations, which will kick-off today in the evening will be preceded by a symbolic opening of the Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral doors by Bishop José Luis Gerardo Ponce de León, IMC, the local ordinary of the diocese.

In a message sent to CISA, the bishop explains “We want to celebrate 110 years since the arrival of the first four Catholic Missionaries to Eswatini (then, Swaziland). Three of them were members of the Order of the Servants of Mary. We will be led by the passage of the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11) and the theme for the year is: “Lazarus, come out”.”

Bishop José Luis advanced that the theme for the jubilee is timely and a welcoming call to the faithful in Manzini to open their hearts to witness the fullness of Christ in their lives.

“Parishes will be having night vigils of prayer and revival at the zone level. We want this to be a year when we remove the stones blocking us from welcoming Jesus’ fullness of life. We will do it through the power of the Word of God – as Jesus calls Lazarus to come out – and helping each other remembering that Jesus asked those present to remove the stone and to unbind Lazarus and let him go free,” he says.

Among the events scheduled for the jubilee year include, a visit by South Africa’s newest cardinal, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town in February who will participate in a day for praying for the sick in the diocese.

“Archbishop Mpako (Pretoria) will lead the “Bishop Zwane Memorial Lecture” on the topic of Synodality being himself one of the two SACBC delegates. This will strengthen our own journeying together,” Bishop José Luis disclosed.