Wadzanai Training Centre

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Official name Wadzanai Training Centre
Country / Continent Zimbabwe / Africa
Director of the institute Sr. Mairead Galvin PBVM.
Legal holder of the institute Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Sponsor of the institute Presentation Sisters, missio and many well wishers.
Year of foundation 1979.
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) Two full-time, seven part-time and two volunteers.
Staff members of your institute Three clerics, three religious sisters and five lay people.
Contact P/Bag 6205

Borrowdale, Harare




Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Wadzanai Training Centre

Director of the institute

Sr. Mairead Galvin PBVM.

Legal holder of the institute

Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Presentation Sisters, missio and many well wishers.

Vision / mission statement

The primary mission of Wadzanai Training Centre is the academic and pastoral formation of students preparing for church leadership, advanced theological studies and a variety of ministries in Zimbabwe and around the world. The process takes place within a community of faith in interaction with a living Catholic tradition and ecumenical perspectives. Wadzanai strives to educate effective leaders for the church whose mission is to spread Christ’s message of justice, love, liberation and peace to people of all nations.

Main areas of work

Catechists, Diploma in Religious Studies with the University of Zimbabwe.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Our participants are religious and lay, male and female. They come from all areas of Zimbabwe and occasionally from the surrounding countries.

Year of foundation


Organisational structure of the institute

Every student participates in catechetical training (theory and practice) in additional to the academic and formation programmes provides. Those involved in the Diploma course with the University are with us for 2 years. The shorter catechetical course runs for about 3 month.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Two full-time, seven part-time and two volunteers.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Three clerics, three religious sisters and five lay people.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

Four with doctorate, five with an MA and two with degree.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

Wadzanai has a particular care for students who come from a very rural background or a high density suburb. These individuals often have a weak academic background which disadvantaged them, no matter how intelligent they are. In a small residential centre like Wadzanai, they can be helped to reach their maximum potential.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

Besides training catechists, Wadzanai often has among its student’s members of religious congregations being trained for a special ministry. A number of students have gone on to the ordained ministry.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

To help students develop the concepts, skills, attitudes and values which will enable them to minister in the cultural context of Zimbabwe.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

Small classes enable the faculty to respond to the students’ questions and concerns and sometimes to focus class sessions on those questions and concerns.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Over the past several years Wadzanai has facilitated the running of a six-week Dei Verbum course which caters for priests, religious, deacons and laity. In addition last year, on request, we provided a four-day course on Bible sharing and preaching in a parish outside Wadzanai.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

Both these efforts provide an excellent Biblical background for catechesis and appreciation of liturgy.

What notion of God inspires your work?

A God beyond all knowing but a Got of love who is continually supporting and guiding us. A God who is patient with us. A God of surprises.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

No matter what subject we teach our goal is to make God known, to challenge our students (and ourselves) with the demands God makes of us.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

A Biblical focus. If God could use mercurial Peter and James and John, the sons of thunder, the HE can use us. Helping students understand and respond to the call of God.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

Helping students to recognize that Zimbabwe belongs to God and God has a plan for Zimbabwe as well as for each of our lives. Helping students try to ascertain how God’s plan for their lives interacts with God’s plan for Zimbabwe.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

The University Diploma in Religious Studies is a two-year course. Students are required to take six courses each year. For the first year they select from the following: Phenomenology, Introduction to Old Testament, Introduction to New

Testament, New Testament Greek, Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Sociology, Christian History and Thought to the Middle Ages, Psychology of Religion, Studies in Christian Theology. For the second year the following subjects are available: African Traditions Religion, Further Studies in Old Testament, Further Studies in New Testament, Further Studies in Christian History and Thought, Christianity in Africa, Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics, Political Theology, World Religions and Ideologies, Further studies in Christian Theology and Religious Education. In addition every student attends classes in Catechetics (theory/practice), Catholic Social Teaching, leadership, Small Christian Communities, Sacraments, Communication English and Academic Writing. When we run a three-month course students are exposed to an abridged form of the above.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?


What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

Forming a course of concerned, well-trained, sensitive catechists.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

Academic work is evaluated and supervised by the University of Zimbabwe. Throughout the year the Advisory Board and Academic Board meet to discuss progress.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

Upgrading our library and seeking a radio-link with the University so as to be able to access e-books and e-journals.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

Unstable political and economic situation within the country, huge unemployment so that fees become a problem.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

Finance is our greatest problem which limits the fulfilment of our dreams.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Our hope and dream is to educate and form good Christian Leaders who will spread the Word of God to all corners of Zimbabwe and beyond.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

Most of our students are lay. We try to take into Wadzanai people who show an interest in their church and are at present contributing in their own parishes. We stress the apostolate of the laity.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

Our brochures are circulated and our past pupils are our best ambassadors.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

We invited the Archbishop of Harare earlier in the year to brief him on our programme and to see if Wadzanai could be of help to the pastoral training of the diocese. Since the Dei Verbum course is sponsored by IMBISA, all the bishops of Southern Africa are aware of our existence and efforts.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We are an Associate college of the University of Zimbabwe and meet with other associate colleges on occasion.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

None really.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

Not much formally.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

Members of other denominations attend our course. World Religion is taught and respect is emphasized. There has been a long time arrangement with the Anglican Church (CPCA) to provide instruction.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

Wadzanai is an Associate college of the University of Zimbabwe.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

We would really appreciate assistance with upgrading and updating our library. It is difficult, even for lecturers, to keep up with relevant research in their fields of study.

  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.