Fr. Simon Nyirenda, SVD
1972 - 201272 94 95 99 00
I was born in Kabwe – Zambia from a strong Catholic background both parents were very committed Catholics. I come from a family of eight and I am the second born. I joined the SVDs because I happened to be in an SVD parish (Dambwa parish Livingstone) during my secondary school education, the then parish Priest Stan Zysk and his assistant John Regalado encouraged me.

I was privileged to be in the first batch of the formation programme in Botswana Province. History was made when the first two Zambian SVD priests were ordained on September 9, 2000 Livingstone. It happened that I was one of the two. It was indeed a humbling experience for me. I felt very small in front of a huge crowd. Thanks be to God I did not collapse due to the tension inside me. After my ordination I was appointed to work in Botswana. I arrived in Botswana in the mid of October 2000. I had my introduction to Setswana language and culture for three months.

Upon completion of my Setswana course I was posted to work in Holy Cross Catholic Mission Mogoditshane, which is about 5 km from Gaborone city. Holy Cross Parish is a very big in terms of the number of Catholics. It may be one of the biggest parishes in the diocese of Gaborone. Being close to capital city we have a lot of challenges. The most challenging thing at the moment is to work with HIV / AIDS patients. The sad fact is that no matter how hard you encourage and strengthened these people they are destined to die.

Unfortunately most of them are young girls; they leave babies behind who are most probably infected. Sometimes I ask myself by saying how can we give hope to such kind of people? Generally my work in Mogoditshane has helped me to grow as young Missionary. Coming from a different church I feel that this experience will always help me in my future Missions. Coming back to the Province as a Pioneer Priest in the Province I have a lot of dreams, hopes and challenges. I am challenged to build up bridges between the up coming local SVD’s and the older confreres. I am also challenged to be exemplary to the young ones because my failure may be bad precedence for the upcoming local SVDs.

My hopes and dreams for the province; I would like to see our province flourish like other provinces of Africa with many good vocations to our society. I would also like to see the day when we shall have the first SVD ordinations from Zimbabwe and Botswana. Finally my dream is to see our Province that only as a recipient in terms by Missionaries and finance but as a major player and contributor in these areas.

text written by Fr. Simon some years ago...
From Fr. Peter:

Simon was admitted to the Coptic Hospital in Lusaka yesterday, Saturday 1st September. Biju and I went to see him. He was happy for me to bring him communion the following day Sunday. He had seemed in good spirits when we left and therefore I was taken aback when I went on Sunday with communion. He had had a bad night with no real rest and lots of pain. His family gathered round and we prayed and he received communion. The family members were coming and going. At one stage I was the only one in the room with him and I just told him to try and rest and ignore anyone who came in. He closed his eyes, his breathing became lighter and when I sat down by the side of the bed there was a quietness about him. I stood up and called his name but there was no response. I called a nurse who came with the doctor. They tried to revive him but he had just drifted serenely away, free from the much pain he had been experiencing these past days.

Earlier I had had an opportunity to talk to the specialist treating Simon about this condition. He told me that he was extremely ill. He had kidney and liver failure caused by a hepatitis b infection. They were doing everything they could but he gave me to believe that his chances were quite poor. He was proved right. R.I.P.