Archbishop Ndlovu urges priests to have intimacy with Christ


By Kudakwashe Matambo

Archbishop Robert Ndovu has called on the priest of his diocese to develop a ‘particular intimate relationship with Christ if they are to carry out his work’ and to enjoy his special friendship.

The Bishop was speaking to his brother priests on Tuesday 16 April at a Chrism mass celebrated at St George’s College in Harare. 

The Chrism mass, often celebrated on Holy Thursday at the Cathedral was moved to Tuesday in the Archdiocese of Harare to allow priests from distant places to travel in time. In a few years now, the mass was moved from the Sacred Heart Cathedral to St George’s College to allow multitudes of the faithful to attend.  

At this mass the bishop is joined by the priests of the diocese and the celebration manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop.

The bishop blesses three oils — the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum) and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma) — which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year. 


 Be intimate with Christ.

Speaking to hundreds of priest who renewed their priestly vows at this year’s Chrism mass, Archbishop Ndlovu said priests must have an intimacy with Christ.

“To be a priest means to enjoy a special friendship with Christ, with the mystery of redemption in which he reduces his flesh for the life of the world. 

“We who celebrate this sacrament every day, must have a particular intimacy with the mystery from which this sacrament gets its beginning.”

He said ‘we have to cultivate an intimate relationship with the Lord if we are to be successful in our mission.” 

Describing the intimacy priest ought to have with Christ, Archbishop Ndlovu said “as friends of Christ, we have to live in close proximity to him.

“My Der brothers if we are to carry out Christ’s work in the world, we have to live in his presence before we go out in the world.”

He urged his brother priests to move ‘from God in prayer to God in the apostolate,’ saying , none of the administrative work and other responsibilities matter, “if they are carried out by men who have not been with Christ before they were with others.”

The Church: A missionary disciple of Christ.

The Archbishop described the Church as a missionary disciple of Christ. 

“With his words, Jesus announced his mission to the world, his mission remains that of the Church in every age.”

He reminded the clergy about the anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, with which Pope Benedict XV sought to give new impetus to the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel. 

“He wrote the letter in an effort to revive, especially among the clergy, a sense of duty towards the missions, bearing in mind the command of the Lord to go out to the whole world and make disciples of all nations,” said Archbishop Ndlovu. 

“As dated in Vatican II, obeying that command is not an option but an essential task for the Church is missionary by nature,” he added. 

Pope Francis called for an extra ordinary mission month to be celebrated in October 2019 under the theme ‘Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ in mission in the world.’

The celebrations make an increased awareness of the need to take up ‘with a renewed favour the missionary transformation of the Church’s life and activity’ and that the ‘faithful ought to take to heart the proclamation of the gospel.’

“The title Baptized and Sent should remind all of us that Baptism has made us to become leading members of the Church so in all of us, the sanctifying power of the spirit is at work in impending us to go forth to all those in need of the light of the gospel.”

“Our faith can only be strengthened when it is given to others.”

Young people: Do not close your hearts

Announcing the release of Pope Francis, Post-Synodal exhortation Christus Vivit (Christ is alive) the Archbishop reminded young people that the Church is concerned about their faith and vocations.

“I am sure this document will help you in your lives, in the Church and in discerning your vocations. In your discernment, please open your hearts to God, He might be calling you to consecrated life.” 


“Don’t close your hearts, our young people, to that possibility that God is calling you to priesthood or that consecrated life,” he concluded. 


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