On Saturday 31 October 2015, the Catholic Diocese of Kokstad celebrated the Year of Consacreted life. Priests and religious including the invitees attended the event in Kokstad. The procession to the tent started at 8h.00. As the procession left the Sacristy, it was welcomed outside by the magnificent sound of drum Majorettes from the deanery of Matatiele. At the same time there were shouts of joy from the faithful, rejoicing and thanking God for blessing them with so wonderful gift of priests and religious in the Diocese. As soon as all priests reached the sanctuary they venerated the altar and each one regained his seat and a moment of silence was observed after which Fr Luis Matthew invited everybody to pray the lauds. When the Morning Prayer was over, the Bishop immediately begun the Holy Mass starting with the introductory rites.
Fr Hugh Lagan delivered the Homily during which he elucidated how it is important for priests and religious to tell the story of their vocations. He also mentioned that everyone has a vocation and we are all gifts from God. He went on to remind young people that they should not hesitated or harden their hearts once they are being called by God to serve him as priests or religious into His vineyard. He also added that once God calls us we should not say that we are not worthy or there are so many people out there who are better than us. We are to respond to His call as soon as we hear his voice and leave the rest to Him who has called us. Good number of things might be portrayed as failure for us to respond positively to God’s call among which brokenness can be mentioned. However, we are invited to know that “it is in our brokenness that God meet us and that is where God keep on working with us.” He said.
Before the Episcopal blessing, the bishop thanked every body who was present and invited all the priests and religious from the diocese to come forward and each one of them received a token of appreciation.
A MESSAGE FROM BISHOP ZOLILE ON THE YEAR OF CONSACRATED LIFE
And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail ( Isaiah 58:11).
For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end (Psalm.48:14)
To all the consecrated people of God
And to all the people of God who support us in prayer,
Heartfelt greetings for the celebration of the Year of Consecrated life. The promulgation of the Year of consecrated life could not have at an opportune time than this one when the vocations to consecrated life, in many parts of the world have slowed down considerably, a phenomenon that calls for more thanksgiving, prayer and hope for a better future.
The Lord has called all of us in our weakness and poverty, as he did in former times to his prophets and apostles: “ I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do(Luke 10:21)”, and has sent us to preach his message to the world; but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us(2 Corinthians 4:7)
In our fears and doubts whether we would fulfil the work of God faithfully, he promised to be with us as he did long ago to his prophets: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 4:5).
The Lord has indeed been with his consecrated people as he called them and chose them carefully. Yes, we are here today because he has been with us. We owe him our vocation, our sincerest gratitude as we do to those who were and have been before us, living and dead. They have been leaving examples to us, a true inspiration, humanly and spiritually.
The baton is now on our hands to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, and to preach the good news that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures, by word and by deed, to live the present with passion, with joy and happiness, and be true to our vocation, exemplary and become idols to the young ones coming after us. Christ has called us to live call personally and in community joyfully and in unity with brothers and sisters, manifesting love, forgiveness and healing, often impossible without humility, taking after the example of Jesus Christ as he has instructed us in the Gospel of John: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (13:34): “ that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me’ (17:21)
May the good Lord grant his blessing, in abundance, to each and every one who has left everything behind to follow him and serve him in his people “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life( Matthew 19:29).
I thank everyone, without mentioning names, who has, in many form, contributed in making this celebration of the Year of Consecrated life in the Diocese a Success. May the good Lord reward each and every one of you abundantly. A special thanks to all who responded and participated in this celebration by prayer or by their presence, in particular all the vocations from the diocese of Kokstad. May the almighty Father, through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, St Patrick, our patron saint, bless, keep and accompany you always in the life you have consecrated to him.
Blessing upon you all.
+ ZOLILE PETROS MPAMBANI
(Bishop of Kokstad)