Emthonjeni Pastoral Centre in Zimbabwe was the brainchild of Archbishop Henry Karlen in the 1970s when the then diocese of Bulawayo had a Mobile Teaching Team comprising of two priests, the religious and two catechists. This team was to do outreach programmes in the missions so as to form Small Christian Communities and to train pastoral teams. The idea of a Pastoral Centre was mooted for a long time although there was no readily available land and funds to establish it. Its function was to provide in-house pastoral and catechetical courses.
In 1979 the diocese bought part of Parklands property from the Dominican nuns. The Bishop engaged in frantic fundraising campaigns especially from abroad. In 1985 the Pastoral Centre was built to completion and commissioned on 12 October 1985. It was named ‘Emthonjeni’, meaning “at the well”, that is a water source (cf. John 4:28). Since water is vital to life, the name implied that the Centre was to be a source and fountain of faith, hope, love, social justice and concern for the poor. It meant that the Centre must be a source from which the waters of spiritual life flow into the “gardens” of our communities. Its vision is enabling a self-supporting, self-ministering and self-propagating Church.
The Mission Statement of the Pastoral Centre is to facilitate, train, foster and maintain pastoral programmes that are meant to fulfil the missionary mandate of the Catholic Church by:
With the help of our partners, parishes and God, we wish to make strides towards realizing our vision so that we realize fully empowered lay faithful who actively participate in all aspects of life and faith.
From its inception the Pastoral Centre has been providing residential programs ranging from weekends, one week and even three months in a year. The intensive residential programs have consistently serviced an average of thirty students each year. Among the subjects offered in the Pastoral Centre are:
The Pastoral Centre is grateful for the partnership with various departments such as education secretariat, nongovernmental organizations, and various government sectors which from time to time use our facilities.
Many thanks go to Network Pastoral Africa which affords an opportunity for exposure and new insights each time.
Fr. Limukani Ndlovu (Director)