Czechs and Zimbabweans joined hands in commemorating Ignatius Arnož, the first Bishop of Bulawayo on 26 September this year at Catholic Archdiocese of Bulawayo.

A lecture dedicated to the life and work of the first Bishop of Bulawayo Ignatius Arnož, was given by Dr Marie Imbrová.

The public lecture which was attended by over two hundred visitors, was given by the Czech Africanist, Dr Imbrová.

Among the official guests were Michal Novak, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lusaka.

Appropriately, a Catholic Mass led by the Archbishop Alex Thomas Kaliyanil preceded the lecture.

“Mons Dr Ignatius Arnož is appointed Vicar Apostolic in Bulawayo.

Kneeling, his right hand on the Gospel Book, the future church official is taking his ordination vow”, informed the Czech newspapers on the day of his ordination ceremony on 30 May 1937 in his native Litoměřice Diocese, located in the Northern Bohemia.

The lecturer Dr Imbrová recalled that Ignatius Arnož’s tenure in Bulawayo from 1931 to his death in 1950 was the peak of his missionary career as much as it was his destiny.

He dedicated the most productive years of his life to the mission, set high moral standards for all newcomer priests, built new mission stations systematically, developed mission schools including subjects such as hands-on skills and gardening, founded hospitals, and liaised with the local authorities and the international community.

During the lecture, four large exhibition panels with informative text, graphics and photographs, depicting life and work of the first Bishop of Bulawayo, were donated by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lusaka.

The panels will be put on public display at the St. Mary´s Basilica in Bulawayo.

The following day, Archbishop Alex Thomas, Dr Imbrova and Michal Novak conducted a visit to Empandeni Mission to pay respects to the final resting place of Ignatius Arnož, honouring his memory.

While in Empandeni Mission, the visitors appreciated the continuous tireless work of the Archdiocese.

The missionary of Czech origin laid indelible footprint in the region and his service to God and to the local community shall not be forgotten. 

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