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A loyal and committed servant of the Catholic Church, is how best to describe Father Paul Ngwenya, who died last Saturday.
Ngwenya defended and articulated the teachings of the Catholic Church. He was unapologetic in insisting that his parishioners follow the guidelines of the church to the letter.
He was popularly known as "Father Malome" by virtue of having been the uncle of another priest, Father Bongani Sithole.
He was so passionate about the church that he took every available opportunity to give a lecture on the teachings and practices of the Catholic faith to his parishioners. He was a disciplined priest who believed in doing things the way the church wanted them done.
Ngwenya preferred that old hymns be sung during mass. It was clear that these hymns brought back memories of his earlier days in the priesthood, days which he cherished very much.
His services were reminiscent of services of the olden days. But it was his preaching that he delivered with the precision of a storyteller that set him apart from most of his colleagues.
They were spiritually uplifting, inspirational and very informative about the teachings of the Catholic Church.
His sermons will forever be ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who attended his services. His sense of humour was another factor that made his services enjoyable.
Born into a staunch Catholic family, his mother was a member of the women sodality of Saint Anne.
Those who knew him well say his vocation was evident from an early age and it was not surprising when he opted for the priesthood.
Ngwenya was ordained on June 26 1966 at Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. He spent most of his priesthood in Catholic parishes around the Ekurhuleni townships of Katlehong, Tokoza and Daveyton.
At one point he spent a whopping 30 years at the parishes of St Lambert, St Martins and St Nicholas in Daveyton.
He was also the spiritual director for the Sodality of Sacred Heart in the then Diocese of Johannesburg.
Father Sam Kataka, who trained with Ngwenya at St Theresa Seminary in Lesotho, says he will be remembered as a "loving, committed and generous priest who was passionate about the Catholic faith".
There will be a night vigil tonight at Regina Mundi starting with mass at 8pm. Ngwenya will be buried tomorrow at West Park Cemetery. The service starts at 11am at Regina Mundi.