INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has urged leaders in Archbishop Paul Mwazha’s African Apostolic Church to unite for the sake of the veteran religious icon.
Speaking during belated birthday celebrations held for Archbishop Paul Mwazha, who turned 103 on October 25, at Mapembe Shrine in Odzi near Mutare yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa praised the man of the cloth for his loyalty to his country and its leadership.
The birthday celebrations coincided with the church’s pilgrimage held every year at the Mapembe Shrine.
Under the guidance of the Priesthood Council comprising Archbishop Mwazha’s three sons — Edward Ngoni, Alfred Kushamisa and James — thousands of African Apostolic Church congregants braved the searing heat to attend the annual pilgrimage.
“Archbishop Paul Mwazha is a servant of God whose religious works have managed to build a better Zimbabwe.
“We honour him and it is our hope that the people who will take over from him will emulate his good works.
“Leaders in the African Apostolic Church must unite and pull in one direction for the sake of the religious icon, Archbishop Paul Mwazha.”
She chronicled the miraculous events that followed Archbishop Mwazha’s birth as written in the church’s history books.
“History faithfully records that on October 25, 1918, a baby boy was born to Saramina Mwazha at Holy Cross Mission in Chirumanzu district.
“Soon after the delivery, the baby died of influenza and his mother took the lifeless body to the temple for it to be baptised before burial, as was prescribed by the Roman Catholic practice and tradition.
“Father Schimtz took the dead baby and christened him Paul. After baptism, the baby woke up.
“All those who were in the temple were shocked and instantly proclaimed the baby had been risen from the dead for great work ahead of him.
“Indeed, at just 16 years, the Archbishop began his missionary journey,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa commended the church for supporting Government programmes.
In an interview on the sidelines of the annual pilgrimage, African Apostolic Church board chairperson Bishop Elson Tafa thanked the Government not only for affording freedom of worship to its members, but also providing support to the church’s various initiatives.