New Catholic Bishop in South Africa Urged to Foster Unity “without any prejudice”

Archbishop Siegfried Mandla Jwara hands the crosier to Bishop Elias Kwenzakufani Zondi during the May 27 Episcopal Ordination. Credit: SACBC

Episcopal Ministry is built around the fostering of unity among the people of God “without any prejudice”, the Catholic Archbishop of South Africa’s Durban Archdiocese has told the Bishop who is to assist him in the pastoral care and administration of the Metropolitan See.

In his homily during the Episcopal Consecration of Mons. Elias Kwenzakufani Zondi on Saturday, May 27 as Auxiliary Bishop of Durban, Archbishop Siegfried Mandla Jwara implored that the new Bishop helps him realize “a peaceful” Archdiocese characterized with respect for human rights. 

“Unity is God’s gift, so we must pray for it because prayer shapes and forms what we believe and think and how we act,” Archbishop Mandla said, and added, “Only God in Christ can reconcile us but praying for unity shows we desire to be used by God in his work in reconciliation.” 

He underscored the need for unity in his Metropolitan See, and called upon the Bishop who is to assist him to “remember that the Bishop must always be the center of unity. Therefore, we have a duty to bring the Clergy, Religious and the Laity together without any prejudice.”

“Therefore if we want to make our Lord happy, let us work for peace, unity, and reconciliation,” the member of the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries (CMM) emphasized during the event that was held at the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre in Durban.


He implored in his homily during the May 27 event, “Dear Monsignor Zondi, I just pray that you will help me to make this Diocese a peaceful diocese where human rights are being valued and respected.”

“Jesus prays for the unity of all believers.  The purpose of this unity is for the world to know that Jesus was indeed sent from God because he loves the world that much,” Archbishop Mandla said, making reference to St. John’s Gospel.

Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Durban Archdiocese on March 9, the 59-year-old former Vicar General of Durban was ordained a Priest in July 1994.

Bishop Thomas Graham Rose of South Africa’s Dundee Diocese and Bishop Sylvester Anthony John David, the Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town Archdiocese were the two Co-Consecrators of Mons. Zondi during the event that had over a dozen other Bishops, Priests, women and men Religious, and thousands of Laity in attendance.

On the eve of his Episcopal Consecration, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in South Africa called upon Mons. Zondi to “be steadfast” in his love for God and His people.

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In his reflection during the solemn vespers on May 26, Mons. Dario Paviša urged the Bishop-elect to “embrace the virtues of humility, gentleness, and patience” in the exercise of his Episcopal Ministry.

“Seek wisdom and guidance through prayer, drawing closer to the heart of Christ so that you may be filled with the grace needed for this sacred task. Be a bridge between the faithful and the Church, listening attentively to the needs and concerns of those entrusted to your care,” Mons. Paviša said during vespers held at St. Emmanuel Cathedral of Durban Archdiocese.

He added, “The Bishop serves as a visible sign of the unity of faith, preserving the deposit of faith handed down through the apostles and ensuring its authentic transmission to future generations. Through his teaching, he proclaims the Gospel in its fullness, safeguarding the truths of our faith and guiding the faithful in the paths of righteousness.”

In his exercise of his Episcopal Ministry, the Vatican diplomat said, the Auxiliary Bishop “will be called to share in the apostolic ministry, assisting our diocesan bishop in the pastoral care of the faithful. He will be entrusted with the task of shepherding souls, leading them closer to Christ, and guiding them on the path of holiness.”

“The role of a Bishop is not one that is sought after or obtained through personal ambition, but rather a calling from God Himself,” the Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in South Africa further said. 


The Episcopal Ministry “is a calling that requires unwavering faith, deep humility, and a burning love for Christ and His Church,” he went on to say, adding, “Our new Auxiliary Bishop has responded to this call, saying yes to the Lord’s invitation to serve in this sacred ministry.”

Erected in January 1951, Durban Archdiocese has an estimated 140,709 Catholic population spread across 7,840 square kilometers, according to 2021 statistics.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.