On August 3, Fr. Zolile Petros Mpambani, SCJ, was ordained as bishop of Diocese of Kokstad, South Africa. He is the second SCJ in less than a year to be ordained for episcopal service in Africa. Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna, SCJ, was ordained October 7, 2012, for the Archdiocese of Beira, Mozambique.
What follows are two reflections on Bishop Zolile’s ordination. The first is from Fr. Adam Maslowski, SCJ, a member of the South African Province. Bishop Zolile was the province’s provincial superior when he was named bishop of Kokstad on May 6. .
The second reflection is from Fr. David Szatkowski, SCJ, who represented the U.S. Province at the ordination.
“’No more Father Zolile but Bishop Zolile,’” wrote Fr. Adam.
“These were the words that we could hear during the episcopal ordination of Zolile Petros Mpambani, SCJ, on Saturday. Fr. Zolile, 56, was professed in 1982 and ordained in 1957. He has been involved in pastoral work, the novitiate and formation of scholastics, general administration and local administration. Of course, since February he was the provincial superior of the South African Province.
“Approximately 30 bishops and over 100 priests (diocesan and religious) took part in Bishop Zolile’s ordination, as well as the faithful of the Kokstad Diocese. Fr. Zolile received his episcopal ordination from the hands of Archbishop William Slattery, OFM, of Pretoria. The two witnessing bishops were Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town and Bishop Michael Wustenberg of of Aliwal.
“Among the SCJs were two bishops from Mozambique and one bishop from South Africa. Confreres from other provinces were present too, from Cameroon, Congo, Mozambique, Indonesia, Germany, the United States, Poland and the General Administration.
“The whole event – it lasted almost six hours — was well organized. The chorus entertained the assembly well.
“Our new Bishop Zolile Petros Mpambani will take care of God’s people in the Diocese of Kokstad, the home of the present Cardinal of South Africa, Wilfrid Napier, OFM. We wish Bishop Zolile many graces as he spreads the love of the Sacred Heart, as his motto says, ‘As I have loved you.’”
Our thanks to Fr. Adam who supplied the photos of the ordination.
Fr. David writes…
“The diocese of Kokstat had been without a bishop for about 2.5 years prior to Bishop Zolile’s ordination.
“In the African way, emotions of joy and celebration were expressed before and during the ordination. There was a constant feeling of joy and celebration as the Mass began and continued. I was struck more than once by the overwhelming sense of unity and joy being found in the people who were present.
“Joy was expressed not only by singing, but also by hands lifted up in prayer, in dancing to the hymns, in the applause at the announcement of the Papal mandate for the ordination. People felt free to sing and move with the liturgy. In the truest sense, the liturgy was the work of the people accepting a new shepherd and rejoicing at his ordination.
“I was also struck by the way the liturgy was inculturated. The hymns and prayers included multiple languages. People moved among them with comfort. Hymns were sung in both English and African languages.
“One last observation that I would add is about universality. The universality of the Church and the collegial action of episcopal ordination is traditionally shown by having at least three bishops present. However, for Bishop Zolile, many more were present.
“Bishops from Namibia and Mozambique were present in addition to many bishops from South Africa. This universality was made all the more present when one saw the many SCJs from various provinces there as well.
“In all, it was a day of great joy seeing Bishop Zolile entering a new mission, a new work, a new ministry.”