Thousands of Catholics from around Bulawayo and its surroundings fully-packed St Mary’s Cathedral last Tuesday for their annual Chrism Mass celebrated by His Grace Archbishop Alex Thomas.

Chrism Mass during which chrism oil is blessed while priests also renew their vows is a significant occasion in the Catholic calendar celebrated during the holy week, three days before the Good Friday.

During the Holy Week, which is the culmination of the 40 days of the season of Lent, Catholics fast while reflecting on Jesus Christ’s journey to Calvary that gave birth to the salvation of human kind.

It is also during the Lent season that the church concentrates on works of charity. This year, youths from Bulawayo parishes visited Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital, Mpilo Central Hospital and Mater Dei Hospital where they helped with the cleaning.

Addressing the faithful who had thronged the church’s headquarters in Matabeleland, Archbishop Thomas challenged parishioners to be agents of healing, in line with the mass’s theme “Peace, reconciliation and healing.”

The Archbishop said it was discouraging to note that a number of Catholics were leaving the church in pursuit of healing from Pentecostal churches, while stressing that true healing comes from God.

The man of the cloth said it was important for Catholics to reflect on their relationship with the Creator during the Holy Week of Easter. “It is important to ask ourselves: ‘Are we truly God’s people?’ Let us approach each and every sacrament with great care and understanding,” he emphasized.