Month of tears for Zim Catholics
OCTOBER has been a dark month for the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe following the deaths in separate incidences of four ministers — a bishop, two priests and a nun.
In a period described by Bulawayo Archbishop Alex Thomas as “a month of tears”, the church lost Gweru Diocese Bishop Reverend Xavier Munyongani, Father Peter Nkomazana, Father Martin Schupp and renowned composer of Catholic music Sister Ruvadiki Plaxedes Kamundiya.
Fr Nkomazana was the Provincial of the Marianhill Priests while Fr Schupp once served as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo.
“This month has been a month of tears and as Christians we have to accept God’s actions with open hearts,” Archbishop Thomas said at a memorial mass held at St Mary’s Basilica in Bulawayo. “The time is nigh for you and me to revisit our hearts and conscience and ask ourselves whether we are ready to be called by God.”
On October 8, Fr Nkomazana’s conferes found him dead in his Bulawayo office after he did not show up for supper. The priest was diabetic. A week later the church was again plunged into mourning when Bishop Munyongani succumbed to a rare type of bone cancer that was diagnosed late.
Bishop Munyongani’s funeral drew over 30 000 mourners, including bishops, priests and Government officials led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Fr Schupp died a few hours after Bishop Munyongani breathed his last and the news of his passing on further dampened the spirits of grieving Catholics. He was appointed the Apostolic Administrator for Bulawayo Archdiocese in September 2007 after the resignation of Archbishop Emeritus Pius Ncube, and served in that capacity until the installation of Archbishop Thomas in September 2009. At the time of his death he was based in Germany. Last Monday, the grieving church awoke to details of the grisly murder of Sr Kamundiya, whose body was found in a dam in Mutoko near a shrine commonly known as Blue Cross where she was praying in solitude.
Police have arrested Enoch Potani (20) of Gurira village in Mutoko who reportedly confessed to the gruesome crime and was found with the nun’s blood-stained clothes and undergarments.
He reportedly said he raped her, struck a fatal blow to her head with a rock, and then threw the body into a dam.
She will be remembered for her singing and uplifting compositions.
Fr Nkomazana Fr Schupp Bishop Munyongani Sister Ruvadiki Plaxedes Kamundiya