Catholics in inaugural Bulawayo Pope’s Mass

Chronicle Reporter 

THE Catholic Church in Zimbabwe will tomorrow celebrate the annual Pope’s Mass for the first time in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo.

The Pope’s Day marks the day the Pope, the world head of the Catholic Church, was elected into office as per Catholic custom.

Archbishop Alex Thomas said the Archdiocese of Bulawayo was looking forward to successfully hosting the mass.

“It’s an occasion we’re eagerly waiting for and we’ve made our best preparations for the day. Being the only Basilica in Southern Africa, St Mary’s will do its best and show why it’s a Basilica,” said Archbishop Thomas.

The church’s social communications officer, Mr Innocent Kurwa, said the Pope’s Day will be celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica in central Bulawayo.

“The 266th and current Pope of the church was elected on the 13th of March 2013. Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in December 1936, is the first Jesuit (Society of Jesus) to become a Pope and he chose the papal name Francis in honour of St Francis of Assisi.

“Catholic custom is that the Pope’s Mass is celebrated throughout the Catholic world every year on the day the Pope was elected into office and since 2014 the mass has been hosted by other dioceses in Zimbabwe and this is the first time it’s coming to the Archdiocese of Bulawayo,” said Mr Kurwa.

He said the mass will start at 10AM and most of the Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe are expected to attend.

“Many priests, nuns and brothers as well as thousands of laity will fill the Basilica to capacity at The Mass.  Catholic tradition is that such a mass is held inside the Cathedral, as such, there are no arrangements to hold an outside mass in order to accommodate the thousands of people expected,” said Mr Kurwa.

A cathedral is the seat of the head of the diocese and Basilica status is conferred on a Catholic church by the Vatican on religious and historical significance. 

St Mary’s Cathedral was conferred with the status of a minor Basilica in August 2013.

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