Society Matters | Volume 34 No. 2 | Winter 2024

7 Volume 34 No. 2 | Winter 2024 Society Matters His assignment to Zimbabwe came as a surprise, but one that he has embraced. “To be frank I did not choose to work in Zimbabwe, I was asked by Father General to accept first mission assignment to Zimbabwe,” he says. Although disappointed not to have been assigned to one of the three choices he had been asked to give, Edward says he was comforted that he was obeying the will of his Superior General. “Now, I feel so satisfied that I said yes to Fr Budi, my Superior General, because I do not only feel fulfilled in my mission, I feel this was God’s will for me,” he says. Fr Edward says his ministry with the youth of Holy Cross Parish Budiriro has been a wonderful experience. “Last year, we organised the parish youth pilgrimage to TrisHill in the Muntare Diocese, and then later, a youth visit to our sister parish in the countryside to inspire the church youth there,” he says. “Then the youth led the parish in a memorable ‘Crowing of the October Rosary Month. Our parish choir is also known all over the Zimbabwe Catholic landscape for its music prowess, coming first in many choir competitions. “As music is highly participatory in our parish, I organised an ‘Easter Praise’ music festival during the Easter Vigil, where choirs from the eight zones of the parish sang joyfully to praise Christ’s Resurrection. I experienced great joy as every parishioner danced to the glory of God.” Fr Edward says that when he first arrived in the parish, there were no church building as the church construction had just commenced. “Studying in Australia and worshiping in beautiful churches, I now found myself in Zimbabwe where Masses were being held in the rain or in the hot sun in the open,” he says. “Now we have a roof over our heads but there is more work that needs to be done to complete the church.” Also among the challenges was the need to build up the parish youth ministry, with only a few young people turning up to the youth Masses when he first arrived. “So, I decided to offer pizza and soft drinks after every youth Mass,” he says. “Surprisingly, the youth weekly participation in the weekly Masses went up to over 100. From the generous donations of a few people in the parish, I am able to keep the youthmass-pizza-soft drinks running. I see it as a time to pray, to bond and to share youth experiences together.” Fr Edward said Harare is not immune from the widespread social issue of youth drugs and substance abuse. To help combat this he has, together with youth advisors, begun providing talks on substance abuse and its harmful effects. And, recognising that many of the young people do not have much money, but are looking for activities to take part in, Fr Edward organised the parish’s first Youth Picnic on Easter Monday. “It was a beautiful occasion to relax and celebrate our youthful joy in the Risen Christ,” he says. Despite the various challenges he is encountering, Edward says “I always let my light shine”. “To let my ‘light shine’ for me is to bloom where I am planted. So, my enthusiasm for mission is as high as the first day I arrived here, living among the people, learning their language and bringing them the light of the gospel. “I am especially enjoying my ministry with the parish youth. Indeed the future of Mother Church is so bright in view of the active youthful exuberance among the future leaders in our parish.” Fr Edward (second from left) with parish youth.