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Aowa Abuti! You honestly deserved the honour!!!
Many people come into our lives, make great impact, leave footprints in our hearts, and while we still expect even more from them, we have to experience the bitter-sweet word and event called farewell, and we are never the same after such, we are left perplexed. Indeed such has been this year experienced by none except St John Vianney Seminary, when they bid farewell to their beloved Rector, Fr Molewe Machingoane, whose term of long and faithful service had come to an end. There has been many celebrations in the institution in the past, however, a number of people have expressed the fact that this was the greatest of them all. One could tell from the preparations that the event was to be great indeed, the celebration fever around the institute since the announcement of the event.
Everything began with the meeting with Christ in the celebration of Holy Mass, presided by His Grace Archbishop W Slattery of Pretoria, His Excellency Bishop Sandre of Witbank concelebrating together with Rev Fr M Machingoane. In his homily the archbishop, on behalf of the Church, of the Bishops and students, sincerely expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Fr Molewe, for his sacrifice of being with the seminarians, who are with the Lord Jesus like the disciples, learning from him and seeking to imitate him. The Archbishop expressed also the fact that the students, are the rector’s monument, hence what he has tirelessly worked for in helping us to be better men for the Church in future not be let to go into the drain. The SJV choir as well sang beautifully, portraying the fact that indeed they are singing for a man who taught them always, “not only to look at the forest but look at the trees that make up the forest as well.” You think this is all??? Hang in there, there is still more.
Having celebrated with Fr Molewe the Eucharistic banquet, we then proceeded to the dining hall, which looked like a king’s palace, the mamas working there had really outworked themselves, and there things happened. Fannie Raymond Msiza (President of the Student Council) on behalf of the student body, thanked Fr Molewe for just being a FATHER. On the other hand, the vice-rector, Rev Fr M Selemela, began by outlining the qualities of a rector in the seminary. He then fully expressed the fact that Fr Molewe has with his own talents and abilities, lived up to those qualities. Archbishop Slattery once again on behalf of the bishops and the Church, thanked Fr Molewe for his service.
Having listened to all the speeches, the time for the “Baba of aowa abuti!” came. In addressing everyone, he said it himself, that he would speak from his heart. This really portrayed a man who is simple, not seeking to be profound but chose to be humble. In sharing his experience in the priesthood, this image of a humble and simple man kept coming. Hence it is clear that this simplicity of his has made him so much of a great man today. This has been expressed in the words of Pope Francis, “the greatest profundity is simplicity” and that is Fr Molewe, very simple at heart as expressed in his own speech. The mood in the institution was just so amazing, somehow one can say, without exaggerating, that even the walls and trees were also full of joy and smiles, in a mood of festivity.
Indeed, Rev Fr Molewe has left footprints in the many hearts that he taught, both in and outside the classroom. In his service as a rector, he has never deprived anyone of his presence as a father. Hence in bidding farewell to him, SJV Seminary was saying to its father, As you go back to your diocese, may the road of success rise up to meet you, its wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields of ministry. May God hold you in the palm of his hand. If we meet again indeed we shall laugh, but if not, everlasting joy, happiness we shared and the values you shall take over…God Bless You Abuti!