Some people say that, when it rains, the heaven is crying, but when, on the 15th of December 2012 it was raining in Queenstown, I was dead sure that this time, the heaven was shedding tears of joy!!! For the whole Diocese of Queenstown this day was a day of jubilation and thanksgiving.
Reason: it was the day Deacon Thulani Gubula was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Queenstown by Bishop Dabula Anthony Mpako, the local Ordinary, and with this, a long dream became finally true.
In spite of the insecure weather, a lot of faithful coming from everywhere in the diocese, gathered in an already packed cathedral and greeted cheerfully their incoming bishop with a standing ovation.
A happy bishop (it was his first ordination) welcomed them heartily and explained them what it was all about: Christ gives us today a new priest! Let us be thankful for that and let us see him for what he is: another Christ! To the many priests who had come for that occasion the bishop also spoke about the essentials of the priesthood: every priest is called by Christ to become together with Him the Apostle of the Father spreading the Good News and caring for the People of God with the Sacraments. Just as Christ himself, every priest is the Servant to all, and, during their whole life, it will always be the other who has to be cared for who will have the absolute priority in a priestly, God consecrated life.
It was a moving moment when the bishop called up the candidate for the priesthood. Thulani came, together with his mother, who had to give him off to the bishop under whose hands and authority he had to live for the rest of his life and that in the service of God and the Church. During these moments we could remember the words God spoke to Abraham saying: “Leave your native land, your relatives and your father’s home and go to a country that I am going to show you” (Gen. 12: 1)
After the admonition of the bishop, the invocation of the Holy Trinity, all the Angels and Saints during the well-known litany of all Saints and the personal prayers of the whole assembly, came the moment where hands were laid up. The bishop and the whole Presbyterium around him, during a solemn silence laid up their hands and for the now newly ordained priest it became clear: “You are a priest for ever in the line of succession to Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4)
For all the faithful it was clear: GOD WAS PRESENT and the Cathedral became A PART OF HEAVEN!
Once the service was over and Father Thulani had celebrated his first Mass, he came down from the altar and gave his first blessing: first to the bishop and then to his grandmother.
Then it was time for celebration! Faithful, friends, relatives, confreres, the choir etc… nobody was excluded and everybody could join in the festivities.
After the ordination holidays, Fr. Thulani get his first assignment in the Diocese: He became the assistant priest to the Vicar General of the Diocese, Father Siphiwo Vanqa SAC in the parishes of Stutterheim and Cathcart.
We wish him good luck and God’s richest blessings for the rest of his priestly life.
Fr. Edward Tratsaert SAC