After five months of preparations, Saturday, 17 September 2022 marked the inauguration of Pope Francis Awards at Arrupe Jesuit University. The awards, an initiative of the Center for Ethics at AJU and funded by the Apostolic Nunciature to Zimbabwe, seek to recognise the works of faith that young people are doing motivated by the social teaching of the Catholic Church and the message of Pope Francis.

The award attracted various groups and individual young people doing various activities motivated by faith and that are having an impact on people’s lives. The awards ceremony began with the Holy Eucharist led by His Grace, Robert Ndlhovu, the Archbishop of Harare Archdiocese. It was concelebrated by His Excellence, Paulo Rudelli, the Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe; His Lordship Rudolf Nyandoro, bishop of Gweru Diocese, Very Reverend Leornard Chiti, SJ, the Provincial of Southern Africa Province; Reverend Fr Dr Joseph Afulo SJ, the Vice Chancellor of Arrupe Jesuit University; Reverend Fr Evaristus Ekwueme, SJ, the Pro-Vice Chancellor Academics and Interim Director of the Center for Ethics and together with other priests present.

The Mass was followed by the awards ceremony. The inaugural award went to Team Up to Clean Mbare, a group of young people concerned with the hygiene in Mbare, Harare. The second prize went to a group of young people from St Francis of Assisi Parish in Mutare, who are putting their efforts together to create Christ the King Mass Center to bring the Holy Eucharist closer to their place since the parish and the nearest outstation are far away. The third prize went to a young student from St Ignatius College, who together with his mother prepared food to give to the hungry people on the streets of Bulawayo at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrupe Jesuit University’s Model United Nations (AJUMUN) came tenth for their efforts at creating awareness and conversations around themes of education, climate actions and accompaniment of refugees.

To celebrate the awards, the members present were invited to the Apostolic Nunciature in Mount Pleasant were they were treated to delicious food as well as traditional dances.

By Reuben Nazombe SJ

The Prize Winners: Team-up to Clean Mbare

The Runners Up: Youth Group from the St Francis of Assisi Parish – Christ the King Mass Center

The Third Prizer – A student from St Ignatius College, Panashe Chipomho

Group Photo

From Left to Right: His Excellency Paolo Rudelli; His Grace Robert Ndhlove; His Lordship Rudolf Nyandoro; Rev Fr Dr Joseph Afulo, SJ; Rev Fr Dr Evaristus Ekwueme, SJ.