Postponement of Father Sfiso Mpanza’s ‘Impossible Dream Come True’
Parish priest to the people of St Vincent’s mission at Pelum, Father Sfiso often dreamed about visiting the Holy Land to be able to walk where Jesus walked. But realising that dream was always totally out of reach.
Then one day, he received a phonecall telling him that he’d been selected to join a pilgrimage led by Cardinal Napier. Caught between thinking that the phonecall was a mistake, or someone teasing him, the reality took a while to sink in, and for the joy to bubble up. It was true – he really was going to walk where Jesus walked!
From the intended departure date of 29 May, the itinerary was packed with highlights, starting with 4 nights at the Mount of Beatitudes.
The pilgrims would then move on to places like Capernaum, home to St Peter and central to Jesus’ ministry in Galilee; and also to Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
At Cana they planned to relive the miracle at the wedding feast where pilgrimage couples would renew their wedding vows; with Nazareth and Mount Tabor to follow.
Bethlehem was next on the itinerary, and then Jerusalem. The Upper Room where the last supper was held, and the home of Caiaphas where Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times would have been preparation for mass and time at the Mount of Olives. The next mass was to be said at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with some free time in the Old City to be concluded with Stations of the Cross.
Jericho, the Qurum caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, Masada and a swim in the Dead Sea would have filled another day, followed by a visit to Ein Kerem for mass at the Church of the Visitation.
A return to Jerusalem, a final mass at Jaffa, and departure out of Tel Aviv on 10 June would have concluded the pilgrimage.
It’s easy to see why Father Sfiso was so excited, as were all the other pilgrims. And, as a member of our Zulu Missions ‘family’, you would have been remembered in prayers and at mass during the journey.
Even though none of this is possible at the moment, Father Sfiso is holding onto his dream and the realisation of it at a future date.