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    Sunday, 16 October 2016

    Celebrating Bishop Bhasera’s Silver Jubilee




    Who is Sekuru Michael Dixon Bhasera?

    VICAR GENERAL OF MASVINGO DIOCESE

     Sekuru Michael Dixon Bhasera is the first Bishop of the Diocese of Masvingo which was created and carved off from Gweru Diocese in 1999. Masvingo Diocese was established on 24 April 1999 by Pope John Paull II.

    The diocese covers an area of approxi­mately 70 000 square kilometres compris­ing Beitbridge, Bikita, Chiredzi, Chivi, Gutu, Masvingo, Mwenezi and Zaka.

    Prior to his appointment to the newly cre­ated diocese of Masvingo, Sekuru Bhasera had been chosen by Pope John Paul II to be the first Bishop of Gokwe Diocese. He laid the foundation of Gokwe Diocese, putting in the infrastructure of administration, start­ing new missions and extending pastoral ac­tivities to the diocese of Gokwe.

    Before he was transferred to Masvingo he had just finished constructing the Bishop's residence as well as the Cathedral of Gok­we where the seat of the Bishop is placed. While the faithful of Gokwe dearly missed him, the faithful of Masvingo were excited to have him as he had been a priest who be­longed to Gweru Diocese and was no stran­ger to the people of Masvingo Diocese.

    Bishop Michael Bhasera was born in a family of five girls and three boys. He is the third born. His young brother passed on while his elder brother is living in Gokwe with his family. His parents Philip Muzorori and Theresa, both Catholics originally lived in Soti Source Resettlement area in Gutu District.

    His Father was a simple farm worker who received meagre wages from the white farmer for whom he worked. He attended primary at Trafalgar Farm School. Most youths attained standard 1 or 2 before they joined others for work on the white man's farm either planting tobacco or any other crop that the farmer chose to plant.

    Since his father was a foreman on the farm, he asked his employer to allow his sons to continue with their education and go to Serima Mission.

    One of the reasons why the white farmer would readily agree to Mr Muzorori's re­quest was that the white farmer had once asked Mr Muzorori to help him arrange a private marriage with an African woman. This would be the white farmer's second wife since he also was married to a white woman.

    The African woman that the white farmer wanted to marry was a relative of Mr Mu­zorori.

    The arrangement was done and with this kind of a relationship, it was not long before Mr. Muzorori's sons were at Serima to pur­sue further education.

    When Michael was at Serima Mission he was impressed by the life-style of the priests he found there. There where Fathers, Joseph Werlen, Xavier Inglin, John Groeber who were from Switzerland as well as Fr. Augus­tine Urayayi who was one of the first Afri­can priests of Gweru Diocese. Michael ap­preciated the education, discipline as well as carving of religious images that was taught by Fr. Groeber the superior of the mission.

    Although Michael wanted to be a carver after his standard six, his friend Stephen Munekani who later joined the war of liber­ation and died in the battle field, was a cata­lyst to Michael choosing to enter the Semi­nary for priestly training. Stephen had told Michael that he wanted to become a priest but this thought had not entered the heart of Michael. When Munekani had left Serima for war, suddenly Michael felt a strong call­ing for priesthood. He informed Fr. Inglin who took him to Trafalgar to have his father sign forms for him to enter the Seminary. At this juncture Mr. Muzorori had already sought a place in Gokwe to build a home for his family in the event of his retirement.

    This is how the family of Bishop Bhasera ended up in Gokwe.

    Michael followed up his desire and went to Chikwingwizha Minor Seminary and later to Chishawasha Major Seminary. Not without challenges was his road to become a priest. In the Minor Seminary he did not have enough school fees so he often re­mained at the Seminary to work for his school fees. Because he is a quiet charac­ter sometimes he was misunderstood by the Seminary authorities as not having a voca­tion to priesthood. This is why he developed a devotion to Our Lady and prayed the rosa­ry for intercession by Mother Mary to assist him, and indeed she assisted him to this day.

    Even at the Major Seminary challenges continued but he did not give up his voca­tion. These challenges build him up to have strong faith, commitment and a great gift of listening to others. In his quiet listening and prayerful reflections he is blessed to be able to listen to the guidance of God.

    After his studies at Chishawasha Region­al Major Seminary he was ordained to the priesthood on 19 August 1978 at Zhombe Mission by Bishop Tobias Chiginya. His first assignment was to go to Silveira Mis­sion, but before he went he received a phone call from the Bishop who reassigned him to Mukaro Mission. He obeyed. As the war of liberation was still on, at Mukaro he as­sisted twice to bring back to school the girls that had been taken by "vanaMukoma" dur­ing their "pungwes". He had established a good working relationship with the freedom fighters, they listened to him.

    In 1983 he was sent to Rome to study Canon Law that is the Law of the Church. On his return in 1986 he taught at the Minor Seminary where he had studied. The next two years he became the first African Parish priest to be assigned to St. Barbra Mashava Parish after over thirty years of missionary presence. Academically he is a holder of a Diploma in Theology from the University of Zimbabwe, a master's degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Urban University as well as a master's degree in Theology from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.

    In 1989 when Father Francis Mugadzi was appointed Bishop of Gweru, he also ap­pointed Michael Bhasera his Vicar General and Rector of Chikwingwizha Minor Semi­nary, where he worked till his appointment in 1991 to be Bishop of Gokwe.

    As we commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Bishop Michael Bhasera the diocese of Masvingo is both grateful to God and would like to note some of his char­acteristics. He is a visionary, dedi­cated to education and development. He is a listener who involves others and capitalizes on the gifts of others to achieve his goals in the diocese. He is a disciplinarian but with great under­standing of the frailty of human behaviour. He is a formatter re­flected by the many annu­al workshops on current and relevant issues that are given to the laity, Mission employees priests and religious.

    As a religious leader he is a shepherd of his flock, reflected by remembering names of most of the faithful he has met in his many pastoral visits. The list would not be complete without mentioning that Bishop Bhasera in all his service has en­deavoured to build family spirit and greatly values family unity. He sees the family as the brick that builds not only the human so­ciety but also builds the Church of Christ. Therefore the family has to be assisted in order to carry out its duties, obligations as well as be given its space to operate as a family. Since the inception of the diocese, priests and religious have always supported one another when someone's parent dies we all go to bury the parent. Every Christmas priests and religious have a family celebra­tion of Holy Mass at the Cathedral followed by a social family gathering at the Bishop's residence which is supported by the faithful of the diocese.

     

     All roads lead to Gokomere Mission in Masvingo this Saturday October 8, 2016, where Catholics from all corners of the country meet to celebrate Michael Dixon Bhasera's 25 years as a bishop.

     

    Following his characteristics one can see how Bishop Bhasera has always accepted schools that were offered to him by parents that the diocese of Masvingo should be the responsible authority of those schools. In some cases like Chatagwi, Mafomoti and others there was hardly any infrastructure of classrooms. In fact there were just poles and dagga thatched by grass. But to date schools like Chatagwi, Avunga as well as Nandi have proper classroom blocks and even face bricks at Avunga Seconday School along the Masvingo- Beitbridge road near Rutenga. Other schools like St. James Chivamba, Primary and Seconday, St. Josphine Bhakita Soti Source, Makura Prima­ry and Secondary, St. Francis Xavier Majada and others have been improved or are in the process of being re­furbished to proper standards.

    More schools are in the pipeline in­dicating that Bishop Bhasera highly values education of children in the Country. These new schools of course add to the already exist­ing schools that display high quality and cal­ibre in their oper­ations. Indeed schools like Gokomere, St. Anthony's Mission Zaka, Silveira Mission, Mukaro High School, Mutero, Berejena to mention but a few have continued to raise the torch of education on the national level. All these educational institutions are the Church's arms of evan­gelization and channels of moral formation for all students and pupils. Indeed Bon­dolfi Teachers' College is the only Catholic Teachers college in the country and contin­ues to make immense contribution to the nation.

    In line with education, Bishop Bhasera has offered most of his co-workers, the priests, opportunities to advance their stud­ies with various local Universities and some he has sent to Universities outside the coun­try. We thank him for his vision and already he has produced several priests who have attained doctoral degrees.

    Besides schools, Bishop Bhasera has started new missions to complement the old ones. Since the creation of the new diocese 13 new missions have been built or are un­der construction. Another seven are in the pipeline and have already been approved by both the Priests' Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

    The faith of the people grows as they are served from nearby by their priests and religious. Bishop Bhasera is able to moti­vate communities to participate and own the processes of establishing new parishes and missions. Often the communities form bricks and provide labour for these new in­stitutions. In a few cases the communities have requested clinics, hospitals and even a nurses' training school. This means com­munities too contribute their visions and aspirations to Sekuru Bhasera who gladly guides them to implement their wishes.

    Like in Gokwe, he has embarked on a huge project of constructing a new Cathe­dral for Masvingo Diocese. It will be dedi­cated to Our Lady and will be called St. Mary in honour of the Mother of Jesus who has always been supportive to Michael Bha­sera in his life.

    With such a leader how can the diocese not rejoice as well as congratulate its shepherd for such a sterling job for God?

    S e k u r u Bhasera Ma­korokoto , Amhlope, Congratula­tion For Your Silver Jubi­lee, God Bless You.

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