BULAWAYO - Fr Peter Amos Duba Mthombeni, the first married Roman Catholic priest who went into priesthood through mature entry has died.
Fr Mthombeni who made a record by becoming a priest after having had a marriage and six children died on Monday.
Fr Mthombeni's son Gabriel also became a priest which means the two were also the first such related to become Catholic priests in Zimbabwe.
A statement released by Rev Father Hlakanipha Dube, Vicar General of Bulawayo Archdiocese, said Fr Mthombeni was born on April 5, 1938 in Tsholotsho. He completed his studies in 1958 (taking and passing O Level in that year.) He married Anatolia Mabhena and had six children.
Fr Mthombeni worked at St Patrick's Parish for many years and became an ardent catechist. He kept reading and educating himself by taking Theology and catechetical courses either through distance education colleges or by attending locally produced courses. He was ordained a permanent Deacon in 1992. In 1998 he was appointed to the national Marriage tribunal as an adjudicator.
"In the same year his dear wife passed on. The children however, had become adults and left home. He applied to train as a mature priest in 2000 and was accepted in Chishawasha in 2001. He made history on July 12, 2003 when he was ordained to be a priest. He became the first once married man to be a Catholic priest in Zimbabwe.
"His son was already a priest then thus father and son became Catholic priests. The Catholic Church has seven sacraments one may need two lives to receive all of them Peter however received all! Fr Peter Mthombeni was a prolific preacher. He practically knew every family in his Parish.
"He was affectionately known as Nyanisi" which is a way of emphasizing a point," said the Vicar General in a statement to The Mirror.