All of us students, in both philosophy and theology, have now completed our examinations for the Academic Year 2020/2021. We rejoiced with Brother Munyaradzi Murungu when he successfully concluded his theological studies at Holy Trinity College and with Brothers Lloyd Champiruka and Ashley Salima as they graduated in philosophy from Arrupe Jesuit University.
Article 84 of the Carmelite Constitutions states that ‘each religious shall undertake an annual retreat of at least five days’. It was a nourishing experience for us to have a ‘vacation’ with the Lord during the annual retreat at Mount Carmel from May 24th – 29th 2021. The leader of the retreat was Fr Mgcini Moyo from the Diocese of Hwange. The theme of his talks was that of ‘being called to radical discipleship’. He encouraged us to learn this radical discipleship, above all, from Mary our Mother and Sister, who never went back on her ‘Fiat’ in following God’s will.
Article 112 of Carmelite Formation: A Journey of Transformation, the handbook for Carmelite formation, indicates that while preparation for Solemn Profession commences in the novitiate, this preparation intensifies towards the end of the period of Simple or First Profession. The month before Solemn Profession is a time of intense prayer and reflection. It was in such a spirit that Brother Munyaradzi Murungu began his spiritual month of preparation for Solemn Profession on May 31st 2021.
Br Munyaradzi Murungu
Renewal of Vows
At Simple or First Profession, we Carmelites make our commitment to the Order for three years. At the conclusion of those three years each brother, in consultation with his formator and with the approval of the solemnly professed brothers in the Community, requests the renewal of his vows. On May 22nd 2021, eleven brothers at Mount Carmel renewed their vows and commitment to the Carmelite Order in the hands of the Commissary Provincial, Fr Vitalis Benza. Fr Vitalis was also the main celebrant of the Mass and homilist. He encouraged the brothers renewing their vows to remain focused and committed to their calling to Carmel. He also thanked those involved with their formation, Frs Simplisio Manyika, Owen Kudumba and Lovemore Gutu. He also thanked Fr John McGrath for his very generous contribution to formation within the Commissariat over many years.
Brs Lloyd Champiruka and Ashley Salima at their graduation
Brothers John Mutisi and Vincent Chipisa were ordained deacons on June 5th 2021. The Mass of Ordination was celebrated by Bishop Paul Horan, O.Carm., at St Simon Stock, Rusape. With the Prayer of Consecration and the laying on of hands, Bishop Paul ordained John and Vincent. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 1570, reminds us that ‘deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way’. Fr Joseph Matare, O.Carm., who is parish priest at St Simon Stock, was homilist. He exhorted the ordinands to receive the gift of diaconate from God wholeheartedly and to use it well. He encouraged them to be icons of servant leadership in their ministry. They can also be innovative, bringing new ideas among those with whom they work. Fr Joseph recalled the words of Pope Francis to deacons. They are to take care of the poor and the outcast, be ‘guardians of service’ in the Church. At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr Jimmy Nyangadi, O.Carm., gave a vote of thanks and, in a special way, thanked the families of the new deacons. He also expressed appreciation to Bishop Paul for ordaining John and Vincent and to the formators and the many faithful who had supported them on their journey.
Fr Vitalis Benza, John Mutisi, Bishop Paul Horan and Vincent Chipisa
On May 25th 2021, the Commissriat celebrated the Silver Jubilees of the First Profession of two of our brothers, namely, Frs Andrew Thokozane and Jimmy Nyangadi. Carmelite friars from all of the communities gathered at Prophet Elijah Priory, Nyazura, for the celebrations. Fr Jimmy was the main celebrant of the Mass while Fr Lloyd Dimma was homilist. In his homily, Fr Lloyd gave thanks to God for the twenty-five years of the Jubilarians’ fraternal commitment to life in Carmel. He exhorted Frs Andrew and Jimmy to be role models for the young Carmelites in the Commissariat through continued dedication to prayer, fraternity and service, ‘the young brothers need models to emulate and to inspire them’. After the Eucharist, the friars, with food and conviviality, shared their fundamental gift of fraternity to its best.
We are conscious of the tremendous hardship and sorrow that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to millions around the world. The Commissary Provincial and Council impressed upon us the need to follow all of the safety measures stipulated by the World Health Organization and our Government. We have been fortunate in Zimbabwe that the vaccination has been made available and almost all of the Carmelites are vaccinated against the virus by now.
As a result of the continuous vaccination programme in the country and the subsequent relaxation of the Covid regulations by the Government, we are happy to see our Carmelite family members of the Third Order resuming their meetings. They now meet once a month rather than twice. Nevertheless, this is a milestone since they had last met at the beginning of 2020.