‘Living without friends is like looking without eyes’

laid to rest Reverend Father Tarcisio Jakata, a man of God who worked in ministry for more than four decades.
To the accompaniment of drumming, hosho, trumpet, dancing and ululation and oblivious of the scorching heat, parishioners, relatives and friends sang the burial song – Pinda mumba mako uzorore murugare/Dzamara musi unomutswa vanhu naKristu/ Uzorore murugare – as the casket was being lowered into the grave.
In the physical realm, this symbolised the end of a long journey for a man who brought so many to Christ.
It was also a befitting tribute for one of the province’s first Catholic priests. As I learnt that the burial mass was the fourth since he passed on, and as I saw buses from Silveira Mission, St Anthony’s and other mission schools, I reflected on Anita Peters’ statement, ‘living without friends is like looking without eyes’.
I saw how much it spoke into the life of the late Rev Jakata (71) who was translated to glory on September 24, 2011 at Silveira Mission hospital in Masvingo.
He was laid to rest at a site reserved for men of the cloth. The funeral brought together hundreds of Catholic believers from different parts of the country and the world.
Wednesday’s Holy Mass was celebrated by Right Reverend Bishop Michael Bhasera of Masvingo Diocese assisted by 9 or 10 other priests.
There were a number of clergy and nuns from different parts of the country; members of different Mother’s Unions and youth groups; students from various schools, and people from various professions.
Born on August 24 1940 in Bikita district, Masvingo, Fr Jakata did his primary education in Bikita. He did his secondary education at Gokomere High School where he also obtained his PTH certificate in 1961.
From 1962-1969, he studied philosophy and Theology at Chishawasha Seminary. Fr Jakata was ordained into priesthood son August 24 1969 at Silveira Mission.
From 1970 onwards, he served in different parts of the country and abroad in various capacities – pastoral work at mission stations like St Joseph’s; Hama; Serima and Berejena Missions; Chikwingwizha Seminary, etc. He did further studies in Rome, Italy from 1977-1982 where he obtained a PhD in Missiology from Urbaniana University.
Missiology is an area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work.
Upon return, he was posted to Bondolfi Teachers’ College where he lectured and did pastoral work. From 1986-1987, Fr Jakata was at Chishawasha Seminary, lecturing. He was then moved to Gokomere Training Centre as promoter of Lay Apostolate. After Chishawasha, he worked as priest-in-charge at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Parish. He was again moved to Rutenga Parish on pastoral work from 2000-2007.
After Rutenga, he was once again moved to Bondolfi Mission in 2008, where he served until the time of his death.
Father Mapfumo of Gweru Diocese said, “We’re saddened by the passing on of Fr Jakata, a man of God who wanted to see a deep-rooted relationship between believers and the Lord Jesus.”
A representative of Masvingo Diocese said, “We thank you (mourners) for Fr Jakata. He united and guided us as priests. At our functions, he always did the vote of thanks because he was a good speaker . . . We ask parishioners to pray for us young priests”, he added.
Some parishioners said, “This is a big loss to the church. We hope more people will opt to work the way Fr Jakata did.”
A family member remarked, “When he was ordained, the church building was too small to accommodate the massive crowd, and the event was held in the open. The ‘open air Basilica’ has been repeated at his death because the church building could not contain all these people.”
Fr Ribeiro said, “Fr Jakata was extremely devoted to the Africanisation of the church. That was his passion even at Seminary. He did not want to see the church in Africa look like a transplant from Europe – in everything: set-up, music and language. He sought depth.”
The Bible readings were from Isaiah 25:6-9 and Romans 8:31-39.
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Dates: October 3-8
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“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:8-11, NIV)
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