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Zimbabwe: Bulawayo Cathedral turns a hundred

 Thousands of Catholics from across Zimbabwe thronged St Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo on Sunday August 3 , 2003 to celebrate one hundred years of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Those in attendance at the centenary Mass included Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, Fr Fidelis Mukonori, the Jesuit Provincial Superior based in Harare, Bulawayo's Archbishop Emeritus Henry Karlen, and the Papal Nuncio in Zimbabwe, His Excellency Archbishop Edward Adams. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was built by Jesuit Missionaries in what was then a colony in 1903, but after pleading for more than twenty years with Lobengula King of the Matebele for a place to worship. The King who himself was not a Christian, was reluctant to give the missionaries a place of worship in the city. That meeting with Lobengula was in 1879, when the Jesuit missionaries first arrived in Matabeleland. The Cathedral was officially opened on Easter Sunday, 3 April 1904. The Jesuits, however, were not to stay long in Bulawayo. As missionary work grew across the country, they handed over Bulawayo as their pastoral concern to the Congregation of the Marianhill Missionaries in 1930. Still the area had not yet acquired the status of a diocese. Bulawayo became a city in 1937, and the ecclesiastical region became an Archdiocese in 1997. The Archdiocese has had four bishops, including the current Pius Ncube, Bulawayo's first black Archbishop. He took over from Henry Karlen, a Swiss missionary, in 1998. The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Adams, said in his homily that the centenary celebrations "call us to remember why we are Christians." Source: CISA