Members of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Catholic Society recently visited Mustard Seed Orphanage in Bulawayo as part of the group’s social ministry, says the former chairperson of the society, Fredrick Chisero.

Speaking to on Saturday, Chisero said the outreach to the Wood Ville suburb-located home saw the Catholic students do laundry for the inmates and tidy up the premises of the orphanage that houses more than 100 children.

The kind gesture by this Christian group, which visits the institution twice every semester, was the last of that kind this semester, with the first one having been done early March.

During such visits, Catholic students from Zimbabwe’s premier science and technology university donate some groceries and old clothes to the less privileged children at the orphanage. The Good Samaritans also prepare lunch out of their own resources which they later share with inmates.

Formed in the 1990s soon after the establishment of NUST, the NUST Catholic Society which falls under the broader National Movement of Catholic Students in Zimbabwe, has a current membership of more than 100.

The society convenes for bible sharing at the university’s main campus every week from Monday to Friday between 12:15 and 1pm, which is the lunch time for students and academic staff at the institution. It is also during those meetings that members discuss their challenges and offer each other relevant solutions.

On Thursdays, the students attend Mass at 4:15 at the Electronics Building celebrated by  their chaplain, Fr Charles Nabwenye (OMI), while on Sundays those residing in the suburbs adjacent to the university go for the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr Tadeusz Grenda (SVD) at a house in Riverside. The two masses attract both Catholics and non-Catholics from the surroundings.

The NUST Catholic Society members which occasionally meet with their counterparts from Hillside Teacher’s College and Bulawayo Polytechnic College and also regularly organise prayer retreats, managed to send more than 60 of its representatives to the Easter Conference in Kutama Mission, Chinhoyi Diocese.

“Our major challenge as NUST Catholic society is the lack of financial resources,” said Chisero.  “We wanted to incorporate visiting of hospitals in our social ministry this year but we couldn’t because of lack of money to hire transport to ferry us. The $2 subscription fee paid by members every semester is just too little to sustain all our operations,” he added.

Chisero said the society has sometimes embarked on fundraising activities in order to sustain its operations, with the recent one being the car wash at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Khumalo, a few kilometres from NUST.

The other challenge confronting the society, Chisero said, was the differences in NUST academic calendar and that one of the Polytechnic and Hillside Teacher’s College making the group’s meeting with their counterparts from the two tertiary institutions in the same city not as regular as they would want it to be.

“For example, we are now preparing for exams while our colleagues at the Polytechnic and Hillside have just opened for their second term and there is no way we can meet now,” Chisero said.

Meanwhile, the society had its last Mass at the university for the 2010-2011 academic year on Thursday, with examinations starting today.

The last Mass was followed by a farewell party for the members on which culminated in the dissolving of the old committee and election of the new which will take over the reigns in August when the university opens for the new academic year.