A new Carmelite Formation centre and novitiate, the Prophet Elijah Priory in Nyazura, Zimbabwe, was officially dedicated and blessed by Most Reverend Alexia Churu Muchabaiwa, Bishop of the Diocese of Mutare. For the occasion a huge tent had been erected on the common within the centre’s horseshow enclosure, but it was not large enough to hold all of the almost 500 guests that were in attendance. The faithful came in droves, many walking for miles to attend the dedication.
The Carmelite mission in Zimbabwe serves several hundred-thousand poor and needy people of every faith. The Friars and brothers work primarily in the northeast sector of Zimbabwe, a landlocked country in southern Africa. First established by Irish Carmelite friars in the 1940s, the Zimbabwean Commissariat is now dominated by young Zimbabwe priests.
The official blessing of the Saint Elijah Priory began with a procession by drum majorettes. This was the first of several expressions of gratitude by the laity to
the Carmelite community during the dedication ceremonies. The two hour Mass, concelebrated under the big tent by Father Simplisio Manyike, O.Carm., Commisariat Provincial, was marked with beautiful singing and dancing typical of Masses among the indigenous faithful. The liturgy concluded with Bishop Muchabaiwa officially blessing the new Priory.
Afterwards, hundreds of boxed lunches and beverages were distributed so that all could eat, after all it is in a rather secluded area and the people could not easily go into the surrounding villages for their lunches. There was enough food for all, even though attendance was higher than had been anticipated.
Three novices have been installed in the centre and another twelve are already lined up behind them. The centre is hopeful of becoming the regional novitiate for Carmelite missions in Kenya, and other countries.