Changing of the Guards!

A Sunday to remember at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Nyanga, was marked by celebratory vibes as parish welcomed the new parish priest, Fr Rampe Hlobo SJ. Fr Hlobo was until end of 2013, the Country Director of Jesuit Refugee Service in South Africa. He has just returned from the Phillipines where he has been since last year Septemeber completing his Jesuit training. Mass began with the outgoing parish priest Fr Terry Mutesha SJ, introducing his successor Fr Hlobo to the congregation. Fr Mutesha , coordinated the handover, serving as the presiding priest for the day.

The long awaited arrival of the parish priest was celebrated with traditional and contemporary hymns. Members of the parish dressed beautifully in their traditional attire and all who attended Holy Mass were part of these festivities. Included in the welcoming, the St Anne’s group brought some groceries for offertory. It was a symbol of the hospitality of the people of St Mary’s to Fr Hlobo SJ. Fr Hlobo was presented with two welcoming speeches, one from a member of the Parish Pastoral Council(PPC) and the other from a member of the youth; both speeches highlighted the nature of interaction in the parish as well as the willingness of parishioners to assist where necessary.

The day proved a great success, with Fr Hlobo responding with a few words of encouragement to members of the parish, as well as giving an idea of what he would expect from the Parishioners at large. This was followed by a “meet and greet” session after mass, where Fr Hlobo SJ allowed himself to be familiarised, with what is to be the environment in which he will be working.

Coincidentally, the welcoming date fell on the date of yet another important celebration, that being mother’s day. The youth of the parish had prepared a presentation as well as refreshments, to be served after mass, for the specific purpose of spoiling the mothers of the parish.