“Shepherd who unites his flock”: Archbishop at Episcopal Consecration in South Africa

Bishop Vusumuzi Francis Mazibuko with members of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) at his Episcopal Ordination on June 3. Credit: SACBC

In exercising his Episcopal Ministry, the new Vicar Apostolic of the Apostolic Vicariate of Ingwavuma in South Africa will need to be “shepherd who unites the flock”, the Catholic Archbishop of the country’s Bloemfontein Archdiocese has said.

In his homily during the Episcopal Consecration of Mons. Vusumuzi Francis Mazibuko on June 3, Archbishop Zolile Peter Mpambani said, “One of the duties of the bishop is to build unity in his church. That means that Father Mazibuko, the Lord has sent you to be a shepherd who unites the flock.”

Archbishop Mpambani added, “We believe that when a bishop is elected or appointed, it was by the work of the Holy Spirit that that appointment came, not our own doing, not anybody’s doing, not his own doing, but the Holy Spirit appointed him. So now he also must be guided.”  

The member of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCI) encouraged the new Bishop to “listen to the Holy Spirit guiding and enlightening him as he goes along with his work.”

The South African Archbishop underscored the need for working together, saying, “Collaboration is very important at its own time and at its own place because we’re not going to do the same job at the same time.”


He challenged the people of God under the care of the Local Ordinary of the Apostolic Vicariate of Ingwavuma to foster collaboration “with their bishop, to produce a very vibrant Vicariate and a Vicariate that is self-sufficient.”

Appointed Vicar Apostolic of Ingwavuma on March 20, the 58-year-old member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) was ordained a Priest in April 1996.

On the eve of his Episcopal Consecration, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in South Africa called upon Mons. Mazibuko to work “closely with the Holy See, receiving guidance, support, and advice as needed.”

In his reflection during the solemn vespers on June 2, Mons. Dario Paviša said the new Bishop “will act as an extension of the Pope’s ministry, faithfully carrying out his teachings, directives, and pastoral initiatives within the specific context of the vicariate.” 

“The Vicar is called to exercise his authority in accordance with the teachings of the Church and the guidance of the Holy Father,” Mons. Paviša said during vespers held at Riverview Church in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu Natal.

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He noted that “ultimately, the bond between the Apostolic Vicar and the Holy Father is founded on mutual trust, respect, and obedience to the authority of the Pope.”

“It is a relationship that emphasizes unity, communion, and collaboration, as they work together to fulfill the mission of the Church and bring the love and message of Christ to the world,” the Vatican diplomat said.

Mons. Paviša noted that once consecrated Bishop, Mons. Mazibuko will be “entrusted with the mission to continually raise, build and rebuild the Church he has been assigned, sanctifying all the faithful, in communion with the Universal Church – the Dwelling Place of God.

Bishop Mazibuko is expected to serve as the fifth Vicar Apostolic of the South African Vicariate that was erected in November 1962 as the Prefecture Apostolic of Ingwavuma. 

The 12,369 square kilometer Prefecture was elevated to an Apostolic Vicariate in November 1990.


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.