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    Friday, 27 October 2017

    Sekuru Munyongani established the Zimbabwe chaplaincy in UK


    DRIEFONTEIN – Bishop Munyongani, one of the only six priests in Zimbabwe to be honoured with the title Monsignor by the Pope will be remembered for establishing the first Zimbabwe Chaplaincy in England and Wales and making it the best ethnic chaplaincy in that country.
    This was said by Conrad Masiiwa, the vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe Catholic Chaplaincy in England and Wales at the burial of Sekuru Munyongani at Driefontein Cemetery near Mvuma on Friday.  Masiiwa who had flown from England for the funeral said Bishop Munyongani was not only the first Zimbabwean priest to establish a chaplaincy in England but he also established 14 centres for that chaplaincy.
    A monsignor is recognition of a person who has contributed immensely to the Catholic church and bishop Munyongani was considered a cornerstone of the church in Zimbabwe.
    He also turned the chaplaincy into the best minority Catholic ethnic chaplaincy in England thereby beating Ghana and Nigeria which have always held that position.
    The Chaplaincy started with 20 people and now has 1 300 while there were only five men belonging to the Guild of St Joseph but the Guild now has over 100. The Chaplaincy now has two priests namely Father John Muderere (Chaplain) and  Father Jabulani Magugu (Assistant Chaplain).
    A statement from the Zimbabwe Men's Forum in England read by Musiiwa said it was very sad news in England to hear of the untimely death of Bishop Munyongani.
    "It is sad news, during his time as a Catholic Chaplain, although he had an elevated position he was very humble and down to earth. He spoke very relevantly at the inaugural congress of the men in the UK. As a keynote speaker, he implored Zimbabweans to rise and build their country, politically, socially and spiritually," said Zimbabwe Men's Forum in England chairman Dr Paul Matsvai.
    Bishop Munyongani went to England in 2008 after he was appointed Chaplain in 2007. His appointment as the chaplain followed a request by the Zimbabwe community to the Catholic church in England to have their own Zimbabwean priest who could conduct masses in vernacular since the Zimbabwean population there had grown.
    The request was granted but on condition that the Zimbabwean community would look after the priest. Although Fr Munyongani could not come immediately in 2007 because of visa problems, he entered England in 2008 and "hit the ground running," according to Musiiwa.
    After setting up the 14 centres, he established six guilds for the church.
    In 2010, he was granted the title Monsignor by Pope Benedict the XVI. In 2013 he was appointed the Bishop of Gweru Diocese and he returned home.
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