, 11 February, 2020 / 4:56 PM
The Catholic Archdiocese of Harare in the Southern Africa nation of Zimbabwe has rolled out a Pastoral Plan aimed at guiding the formation and operations of the new way of being Church in Africa, the Small Christian Communities (SCCs).
Writing in the Foreword to the Pastoral Plan, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare states, “I urge you to form and establish standardized Small Christian Communities in all parishes, to foster membership, belonging and active participation of all parishioners and also to make the Word of God, Liturgy, Catechesis and charity the thrust of Small Christian Communities.”
SCCs “are meant to form a family of God, a people whose hearts beat together – sharing life and sharing about God,” the Archdiocese’s Pastoral Vicar, Fr Kizito Nhundu has been quoted as saying.
Though the Pastoral Plan recognizes the existence of other structures such as blocks, sections, neighborhoods, zones and districts, the SCCs will be limited to ten or fifteen families, taking into account proximity and residential setup, Jesuits Communication Zimbabwe has reported in reference to the Harare initiative.
For easier interaction and unity, once an SCC grows into 20 families, it will be split to form two SCCs, the report has clarified.
“The smaller the better, we are forming a family of God, that is, people who are united, who share life, who share about God. So, the involvement of all the faithful in the Church’s life is important,” Fr. Nhundu has been quoted as saying.
He has further clarified, “As a pastoral council, we have given guidance to parishes and deaneries; so, deaneries will report on progress in March and we are also on a roll to visit deaneries and parishes to unpack and monitor progress.”
With surveys on existing Christian communities indicating minimal participation of youths, the new SCCs “will also serve to accompany young people in their journey of faith, so one will no longer be accompanied by their family only, but also by the community,” the Zimbabwean cleric has said.
In the last two years, the Archdiocese has been focusing on the vocational discernment and faith formation of the youths, a time the Pastoral Vicar says was “a success.”
“It is our hope that young people can now go into Small Christian Communities and serve. Now they have a better challenge to be active,” Fr. Nhundu said.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa