Iindaba # 073

Introduction

A long time has gone since the last issue of IINDABA was published back in February 2011. We all know the reasons why this diocesan publication was temporarily discontinued. Bishop William Slattery was appointed as Archbishop of Pretoria and he moved to the capital at the end of February.

With a mixture of joy and sadness we bid him farewell at the end of April in the Cathedral grounds.

Several months have gone by and now we pick up once again this wonderful tool of communication (IINDABA) in order to keep you informed of the activities that have taken place in the diocese in the meantime. I apologize to you if some activities are not mentioned here; it has been so many months since February that maybe some of the activities have already gone into oblivion. As from now on, I trust that this means of communication will help you to be informed of important diocesan events which will take place in the coming months and those which are already part of our most recent history.

The Year of the Faith: The Holy Father has just announced a Year of Faith. He has done it through an Apostolic Letter called  “ Porta Fidei”, the “door of faith”.  On paragraph 2 of the letter we read the following:

“Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all the Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead the people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life”.

Benedict the XVI continues as follows on paragraph 2: “In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith”.

The Apostolic Letter “Porta Fidei” is available to everyone in the internet, at the Vatican webpage: www.vatican.va

 

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the latest priests, missionaries, who have come to our diocese. They are Frs. Louis, Arun and Tomas. The three of them belong to the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). They arrived in Kokstad on October 12. After a few days of adaptation to the local setup, on October 25 they moved to Mthatha in order to start learning Xhosa. I thank Sister Joan Ncapai, CPS, for helping the missionaries learning the local language. I also extend our gratitude to the leadership of the SVD for sending such young missionaries to our diocese. A fourth member of the community will hopefully join them in the next few months.

Fr. Sihle Mbhele took part in a workshop organized by the Bishops’ Conference on Catholic youth. The workshop was held at the Glenmore Pastoral Centre of Durban from the 24th to the 28th of October.

Our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Stanislaw Jan Dziuba, has been kept busy both in his own diocese of Umzimkulu and in our own diocese of Kosktad. We thank him for his availability and commitment to the diocese, while we patiently wait for the gift of the new bishop for our diocese. We trust that it will not too long to get a new shepherd.

I would like to thank all the priests who took part in the meeting at Coolock House from Oct 10 to Oct 13. Fr. Barnie McAleer led us into a morning of reflection on the nature of the Church and the second phase of the Inter- Diocesan Consultation which is taking place country wide. Some of the priests from Umzimkulu diocese joined us for the session

with Fr. Barnie. Thus they also had their share of ongoing formation of evangelization.

The Diocesan Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte took place on Oct 8-9. It all went well thanks to the good work of the committee and the commitment of the priests who attended the pilgrimage.

On October 24, an extraordinary meeting was held at the Bishop’s House in order to evaluate the pilgrimage. As a result of that gathering, these are some of the points mentioned there:

  • Two Masses could be celebrated during the pilgrimage: the first one at the beginning of the pilgrimage –including other languages than Xhosa?- and another Mass as the closing activity of the pilgrimage.
  • Our Catholic communities should be properly informed that on the weekend when the DP takes place THERE WILL NOT ANY MASSES CELEBRATED IN ANY OF THE PARISHES OF THE DIOESE.
  • More space, time and participation could and should be given to the sodalities and to lay people in general.
  • Many people come to the pilgrimage for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We need to acknowledge that longing and prepare them properly with a good catechesis for the reception of the sacrament.
  • The Stations of the Cross –if well prepared- could be a wonderful tool as an immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

With regards to the Sacrament of Anointing, we discuss at length about the proper meaning of the sacrament and the use of the Oil of Gladness. As this point, it is good to recall that something has already been published as part of the diocesan policy. (See INDABA No 70, 22g).

  •  Several choirs, not only one of two, should be invited to participate actively in the different parts of the pilgrimage.

 

We thank the Lord for the gift of our diocesan seminarians. Currently we have eleven of them. Christopher Katleho from Hardenberg and Markus Aphelele from Lusikisiki are doing the bridging year at PE. Andile, Aviwe, Loxolo, Itumeleng and Pressure Phumlani are studying in Cape Town. Five senior seminarians – Napo Joseph, Mvikeli Gregory, Zonwabele Mjoki, MsaweNkosi Jakuja and Fidel Muhase-  are doing their theological studies in St. John Vianney’s Seminary in Pretoria. Let us keep all of them in our prayers and keep encouraging young men in our parishes. Any one who is interested should contact Fr. Gabriel Thabang, who happens to be the priest in charge of vocations in our diocese.

 

ON DIOCESAN FINANCES

With the departure of Archbishop Slattery to Pretoria, we have seen our diocesan monies taking a sharp nosedive. We have agreed that some hard decisions have to be put in place in order to keep the diocese financially alive.

At the priests’ meeting at Coolock house it was decided that as from the end of November, when a quarterly financial report is due, all the parishes will start contributing a DIOCESAN LEVY. This levy will be a 10% share of all the gross income of the parishes; e.g. collection monies, monthly  tickets, monies from the renting of premises, interests on saving accounts, etc.

According to a diocesan policy, the diocesan quarterly reports to the Bishop’s house are due on the following dates:

Quarterly reports to the Diocese: February 28;

 May 31;  August 31 and November 30.

AN UPDATE ON BUILDINGS

Parish Hall at Cedarville: The building has completed and it already being used by the people of the parish. Fr. Zanemvula is already making plans for an official blessing of the hall.

Extension of the priest’s house at Lusikisiki: Two new bedrooms, an office and a new dining room have been added to the house. We thanks Frs. Silindile and Francis Appiah Kubi for a work well done.

Maintenance at Flagstaff Mission: With the arrival of Frs. Valentino and Sebastian (AJ), the diocese embarked on doing some much needed and long overdue maintenance to the priests’ house. The reforms have been completed and slowly Frs. Valentino and Sebastian are getting used to the people and to the situation of the parish.

New church at Bonga, Mt. Ayliff parish: The new church at Bonga will soon be completed and blessed at the beginning of the new year. We thank Frs. Melese and Paul for their commitment to building a new place of worship in the parish.

New church at Esifolweni, Cibini: Fr. Sihle has been kept busy with the construction of the new church. The building process is well advanced and it should be ready for use in the next coming months.

² Catechetical Team: Sister Francina became ill at the beginning of the year and she had to be taken up to their mother house at Assisi. I thank Sister Vianney Majola, for stepping in and for leading the catechetical team all along this year. At the same time, we are happy to see that Sister Francina has recovered well and she is back at Maria Telgte and Franklin.

In the next few days the catechetical team will do an evaluation of the year and start working on the 2012 Year Plan. As they visit the parishes of the diocese, they regularly meet with the local coordinators and the parish catechists. It is on them that rest the hard work of passing the Catholic faith to our children and to the adult catechumens.

Heritage Day: The catholic youth of the diocese celebrate this South feast with a gathering at the Bishop’s grounds for a day of songs and dances. I would like to thank the priests who made an extra effort and brought many people to Kokstad. We should keep in mind that when young people gather it is our duty as priests to provide them with some spiritual nourishment and input.  A gathering just to sing and to be together is not enough.

As we approach the end of another year, I trust that the priests who are in charge of the different diocesan sodalities will be able

to meet with the executive committees of the sodalities in order to make evaluations of the year and to draft some tentative dates for 2012. Great care should be taken when making plans so as to avoid important diocesan dates, e.g. diocesan pilgrimage, clashing with sodalities’ events.

This is the time of the year when students on their final senior school year are writing their matric exams. Let’s keep on praying for this year’s matriculants and give them all our support.

Mother Mdzakazi Mwanza, Mother Abbess of the Poor Clares, based in Lusaka, Zambia, paid a visit to our Poor Clares in Kokstad from Nov 26 till Dec 5.

I invite all the priests of the diocese to follow young girls who might be seriously considering their call to the religious life. The Poor Clares are always open to welcome these girls for weekends. We all have the duty to promote vocations for the religious life in the convents.

As you already know the current Nuncio to Southern Africa, Archbishop James Patrick Green has been given a new appointment in South America, Perú, and it becomes effective as early as from the first of December. We are sorry to see him leaving the Southern African region and we hope that before his departure, he will still find time to appoint a new bishop for our diocese. I call on all Catholics to keep on praying to the Holy Spirit for the sending of a new bishop to our diocese. Kokstad and Port Elizabeth are right the only two South African dioceses waiting for new bishops to be appointed.

Thieves in Flagstaff: On the vigil night of Heritage Day, September 23, some thieves tried to break into the hall of Flagstaff parish. It was a very scary moment for our priests, Frs. Sebastian Angu and Valentino Katzigazi, and the youth who were with them that night in the mission. I thank the Lord that nobody was seriously injured. It is a call for each one of us always to be careful, above all at night.

Fr. Robert Ochola left Mount Frere on 15 October in order to take up his new assignment as formator in the postulancy of the Comboni Missionaries in Silverton, Pretoria. We thank Fr. Robert for the four years he spent in Mount Frere. He left the diocese with a very sore heart because just on 10 October he went to Mthatha to say goodbye to some of his friends and his car was stolen there. It has not been recovered.

It is with sadness that we learnt of the death of Sister Leah Yina on 23 August. She spent many years working in our diocese, above all in Mount Frere and Bizana as a nurse in the hospitals. Many people still remember her very well. At the time of her death she was a member of the Cwele community and on the 3 September she was buried at the sisters’ graveyard in Glen Avent.

Sister Kieran Madikizela, who up to a few weeks ago was a member of the CPS community at Bizana, has been transferred to Glen Avent Convent where she is now the superior of the community.

On July 2 the Precious Blood Sisters celebrated 125 years of their foundation. The celebration took place at Glen Avent Convent and many people attended the event. The Precious Blood Sisters have been present in this diocese for many years,

both in Bizana and in Mount Frere. We thank them and the Lord of the Harvest for their commitment and dedication.

The Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries, Fr. Enrique Sánchez, and one of his assistants, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, visited South Africa during the month of September. On Sept 20 they held a meeting with Bishop Stanley. Present in the meeting were also the financial administrator and the vicar general of the diocese. The Comboni Missionaries are planning to gradually withdraw from the diocese of Kokstad.

Nosisa Ngwadla, Mama Malgas and Fanelwa Nxuseka from Mount Ayliff went to Germany to visit their sister parish St. Maria Aalen. They left South Africa on 28 September and returned on October 26. While in Germany they met Frs. Bernhard Riegel, Günther Hoffman and some other Comboni missionaries who had previously worked in the country.

FORTH COMING EVENTS

Theology Week at Maria Telgte: It will take place from Dec 5 in the evening till Dec 9 in the morning. This is an open invitation for all our lay leaders to take part: abashumayeli, catechism teachers, leaders of the different sodalities and all those who feel called to take an active role in church activities.

Some of the speakers at the Theology Week will be:

  • Fr. Bongani Mbhele: The Sacrament of the Eucharist.
  • Fr. Vincent Bwete: On Evangelization.
  • Fr. Lizo Nontshe: On the Sacred Scriptures.
  • Bishop Teddy Kumalo: On Self-Supporting Church.

Children of Mary: Their annual retreat will take place at the Bishop’s house from Dec 5 to Dec 9. All the members of the sodality are called to attend the retreat. Every parish is asked to contribute R300 towards the smooth running of the gathering. I thank Fr. Thabang for caring for our Catholic youth in such a committed way.

Soldiers of Christ:  All the children belonging to this diocesan sodality are invited to attend the workshop which will take place on Nov 18, 19, 20 at Bhongweni. Sr. Vianney Phirimana, together with some other Sisters will be running the workshop. New members will be dressed during the Holy Mass on Nov 20.

Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage: From Dec 12 to Dec 16. The Catholic Youth of the diocese are to gather at kaMzongwana mission on Dec 12 in the afternoon. The following day, Dec 13, the youth will walk from Mzongwana to Maria Telgte. On Dec 14 there will be a workshop at Maria Telgte and a retreat the following day, Dec 15.

As the diocesan youth coordinator Fr. Sihle has requested that the priests help driving the youth to Mzongwana on Dec 12 in the afternoon and they should pick them up again on Dec 16 in the morning.

Every parish is expected to contribute R150 towards the normal costs of the pilgrimage. We wish to thank Fr. John for welcoming our youth at Maria Telgte.

I expect that some other priests will join Fr. Sihle in this pastoral activity for the youth in order to make a success of the Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage.

Christmas Party: We have set aside Dec 21 for our Christmas party in Kokstad. All the priests, brother and sisters of the diocese are invited to attend and join in a festive mood for the celebration of the birthday of our Saviour and for a moment of thanksgiving for the year which is about to end.

Annual Retreat for diocesan priests: The diocesan priests will gather at the Ukuphila Retreat Centre at the Bluff for their annual retreat from Nov 13 to 18. Father Urs Fischer, CMM, will be their retreat master. Unless there are major issues, every diocesan priest should make an effort to attend these days of prayer, silence, reflection and meditation.

Bishop’s Collection: New envelopes have been printed in place of the ones we have had for the last few years with the picture of Archbishop Slattery on them. This collection will be taken during the months of November and December. Please encourage all our Catholics to be generous in supporting the activities of the church.

According to the tradition of the Church, November is the month dedicated to praying for our deceased brothers and sisters. While we pray for them, we also minister to the families and relatives who cry for the loss of their loved ones.

With the feast of Christ the King – November 20- the Liturgical Year of the Church comes to an end and we are invited to get into the Liturgical Time of Advent. November 27 is the First Sunday of Advent. Let’s keep this sacred season as a time of waiting in expectation for the coming of the Messiah.

 

Iindaba # 071

8th September 2010

 1.  Forth Coming Events

  1. 6th of September meeting of Consulters of Diocese.  Fr Mariano, Fr Francis Lemao, Fr Joseph Methanath, Fr Bongani Mbhele, Fr Mawethu Potolwana, Fr Tabang Letsohla.
  2. September 8th , Bishop in Pretoria for Family Life Desk.
  3. September 9th, Bishop in Pretoria , Pastoral Agencies.
  4. September 12th , opening , blessing of the New Church of St Anthony in Makhoaseng, Parish priest, Fr Clement.
  5. 19th of September, opening, blessing of the New Church of St Martin De Porres at Mngeni in Chibini, parish priest, Fr Sihle.
  6. September 20th , lecture on the Spirituality of the Scriptures at St Augustine University Bishop.
  7. 22nd of September, meeting of the Metropolitan Bishops in Durban.
  8. 23rd  of September, meeting of Bishops with the major religious superiors, Durban.
  9. 24th of September, talk on the history of the church to the Youth executive of the diocese by Bishop.  Meeting, chaired by Fr Sihle.
  10.  24th September to the 26th of September, St Anne’s Diocesan retreat.
  11.  26th to the 30th of September, retreat for the priests of the Archdiocese of Durban, Bishop.
  12. l.         2nd of October pilgrimage to Maria Telgte of the Diocese and Our Lady of the Rosary. Arrival between 4 and 5 pm Saturday, Night Vigil, program attached to this Iindaba.  
  13.   3rd of October, the Parish Feast at Tabankulu.
  14.  October the 4th meeting of the Priests  at Coolock, that  is 4th to the 7th of October.
  15.  9th of October Family life Desk meeting in Pretoria.
  16.  10th of October, Confirmation in St Matthews, Makhoba.
  17.  October the 17th Confirmation in Lower Mnceba, Tabankulu.
  18.  19th of October, meeting regarding the Ministry of Lumko.
  19.  23rd of October Sr Joana’s Jubilee in Matatiele.
  20.  24th of October confirmation in Bizana.
  21.  2nd of November to the 6th, Board meeting of SACBC in Pretoria.
  22.  8th of November consulters meeting in Kokstad.
  23.   November the 14th confirmation at Franklin.
  1. Yondl’abantu

We all familiar with Sinosizo which worked with orphans, the ill and the suffering throughout the diocese.  Sinosizo has been in operation now for about 11 years.  It has trained great numbers of Home based carers and counsellors.

Sinosizo’s name has now been changed to Yondl’abantu. The present director is Kevin McGarry.  Kevin and his family live in Kokstad.  From the office here Kevin with the faithful staff of Yondl’abantu direct the work through the diocese.  We have about 150 people who care for the needy.

A new development is that through cooperation with the Department of Public Works we have money to offer employment and to train unemployed people.  All the Home based carers working with Yondl’abantu will be paid and trained from these funds.

Apart from that Yondl’abantu has taken on other workers to train them  in skills. It is hoped that in January 2011 we will open the Shayamoya skill centre.  This will provide all kinds of training and will be under the direction of Yondl’abantu.  Groups like tender loving care will have offices there to care for those who are ill. Yondl’abantu itself will have offices at Shayamoya.  The large Creche already present will be greatly expanded,–the Principal is Mrs Silangwe.  There will also be a new church, the church of Blessed Joseph Nardini. Kitchens will cater for all and a centre for elderly people to meet daily will offer residents of the single room houses to meet in peace.

This beautiful new centre in Shayamoya is being built by Respond Ireland.  However, the diocese is responsible for the church.

  1. On the 18th of May we had a farewell party for Joy van Dyk who gave Invaluable service in the Finance Department for many years.  Joy drove over from Matatiele each week to administer our finances, cars and insurance.  She was always strictly honest, reliable and most helpful.  The diocese expresses its sincere appreciation to Joy.
  1. We welcome back Father Lizo Nontshe with his Degree from the Angelicum University  in Rome.   Fr Lizo has taken up the position as the administrator of the Cathedral in Kokstad.
  1. Fr Joseph has been appointed parish priest at Franklin.  Fr Francis Appiah Kubi will be assistant priest in Lusikisiki and Fr Patrick Kofi Boadu is assistant in Bizana.
  1. The Diocese conveyed its sympathies with the diocese of Qacha’s Nek in Lesotho with the passing of Bishop Bitsoane on the 19th of July. The Bishop attended the funeral on the 7th of August.
  1. The Cathedral celebrated and give thanks to Fr Joseph for his 12 years of service as administrator on the 15th of August.  People are deeply appreciative of the wonderful work that Joe has done.  Everywhere around the Cathedral you see the hand of Fr Joseph.  The Cathedral has been renovated and re-painted. A tiled roof has placed on the Cathedral, the hall and the sisters’ house.  Fr Joe is responsible for the fencing all around the whole parish area. The clean bricked pavement around the lawn, in front of the convent was another project.

Apart from being an excellent and caring priest Fr Joseph was creative in Liturgy in decorating the church, involving the people in the work of the parish.  It is now a striving parish due to his work.  Joe is being recalled by his congregation to India.  He is a great lost to the whole diocese to the bishop and to the whole community of Kokstad.

  1. The diocese has lost many wonderful committed catholic apostolic people during this year.  We lost Patience Nogabe in April.  Patience was a founding member of Sinosizo and trained many of the care workers.   We lost Mr Mkhumbuzi the rock behind the finance committee of the diocese under the parish of Lusikisiki.   We lost Ivy Rose Qhayiso of Brooksnek who was a catholic teacher, leader of the Franciscan Third Order, and children of Mary and St Anne’s in the diocese.We also lost Mrs Nakin, an outstanding catholic teacher and member of Catholic Institute of Education. Deep sympathy with Fr Melese on the recent passing of his sister in Ethiopia.
  1. The Diocese extends sincere sympathy to  Andile and Nokwanda and the Mkafane family, on the passing of their father, catechist Patrick Mkafane.  Everybody in Kokstad knew Mr Mkafane.  People rememeber him as a most generous and hard working catechist since 1952.  He began working for the church in Umtata.  He has worked with generations of priests in Bhongweni.  Mr Mkafane traveled by foot, sometimes by horse, sometimes by bicycle, sometimes by motorcycle, sometimes by motorcar to all the areas around building up and strengthening the catholic communities.  He was active and involved in the church right down to the time of his death.  Patrick was laid to rest at his residence in Brooksnek in August.  The Bishop and priests attended to wish goodbye and appreciation for a man to whom the whole diocese owes so much.  May God give the eternal rest to him.
  1.   From the 11th of June to the 11th of July we had the excitement of the World cup in South Africa.  While it did not impact on Kokstad in the sense of an influx of visitors, it occasioned unending interest and discussion.  We thank God for blessing our country with peace and giving us a picture of what South Africa can be.
  1.  We thank God for the opening and blessings of new churches. At Mkhata, the church of St Michael was opened on the 18th of July.  Congratulations to Fr Silindile Yalezo who pioneered the work there.

July 25th we had the opening of the church of Dayimani in Bizana, dedicated to St Joseph.  Fr Vincent began that work and it was successfully completed by the parish priest, Fr Tabang Letsohla.

  1.  For 8 weeks during July and August we had young people from Ireland again working throughout the diocese to improve facilities.  They have been inspired by Jesuit schools in Ireland and accompanied by Fr Terry Howard SJ.  The Association is known as Sli Eile.  These  young people are waiting for their Matric results before going on to University.  Instead of wasting money on parties, they use their money to come here to establish relationships and make facilities available for  people.  This year they built two beautiful classrooms at Glen Edward Secondary School in the area of Swartberg.  They stayed in Matatiele. This illustrates how the Jesuit priests are the fathers of inspired and whole-person educationalists and formators. The diocese expresses sincere gratitude for this inspiring work.
  1. Perhaps a highlight of the recent months in our diocese was a visit of the relics of St Therese of Lisieux from the 25th to the 29th of July.  On Sunday the 25th of July Fr Joseph, Mr Errol Khan and Jonathan Meth went to Barclay East in the diocese of Aliwal North to welcome the Saint and accompany her to Kokstad.

They allowed the people of Elliot  to venerate the remains of one of the great Saints of the Church.  Sunday evening the remains resided in the Cathedral in Kokstad. The following day saw a devout celebration in Matatiele with many people attending.

On Tuesday the 27th crowds attended at Hardenberg.  Though it was a week-day there was no space in the church and many people waited outside.  St Therese seemed to have touch many hearts.  Later we went for another celebration at Cedarville and throngs of people came to visit.  The day concluded with the celebration of the Word of God in Mt Ayliff.

That night the  Poor Clare Sisters held a vigil at the monastery.

On Wednesday the 28th the people of Franklin and Swartberg came to the Poor Clares.  All afternoon the Cathedral community gathered to receive St Therese and remained for a night vigil.

Father Joseph used the opportunity to close the Diocesan Year of the Priests at the six o’clock Mass on Wednesday evening.  Most priests came to celebrate with the Bishops.  The Parish Council and Fr Joe presented all the priests with specially designed stoles. These were offered to the priests by the children’s classes which prayed for them individually during the previous year.

The following day St Therese was taken to Bizana where Sr Jerome Ngcobo, the staff and all the children came to pay respects in a beautiful reverent and prayerful ceremony to their patroness St Therese.

From Bizana the remains of St Theresa were taken to Port Shepstone and the Diocese of Umzimkulu.

  1. On the 9th of August the Plenary session of the Bishops and the Priests of Natal met for a ceremony closing the Year of the Priests in Ixopo.  Special feature of this celebration was the remembrance of the first four Zulu priests.  These priests led by Fr Mnganga, suffered in that racial time for their vocation and for their witness.  A new stone was blessed at the grave of Fr Mnganga at Mariathal Mission.
  1.  The 15th of August it was the celebration of the feast of the parish of Cedarville, Our Lady of Assumption.  Fr Zanemvula organized the weekend for all his parishioners from Friday to Sunday.

During this time of prayer and reflection the Marriage Desk introduced the topic of family and Marriage life and the Justice and Peace commission under Fr Robert presented the work of Justice and Peace.  The Bishop led the Mass on the Feast itself.

  1.  Fr Robert has revived the Justice and Peace committee of the diocese and given it a tremendous boost of new life.  Fr and his team are conducting a survey of economic conditions in the villages. It is partly financed by the Diocese and partly by Yondl’abantu.

Many priests have found parishioners to work with Fr Robert in this important exercise.  All priests are encouraged to get involved with Fr Robert in this work.

  1.   Fr Paul Kambo is the assistant priest in Mount Ayliff.  We are so happy to welcome him to the diocese.  He is learning Xhosa and is agreat addition to the apostolic work in that area.  Fr Paul will act as co-ordinator of  Liturgy for the whole diocese.

 

  1.   We welcome back Fr John Kerr and Fr Egbert on the 20th of August from holiday overseas.  We are happy to welcome back our brothers who are in a special way our memory in the history and life of the diocese.  Fr Egbert has been here since 1952 and Fr John since 1959.
  1.   The Bishop conducted confirmation services in Lusikisiki and in Matatiele during the Month of August.
  1. The prisons staff of Kokstad met at the Cathedral on the 24th of August in a special service of the word.   100 people attended.  This was facilitated by Jonathan Meth from the Diocesan Prison desk.

It is very important for a priest to invite Jonathan so that we establish a program for family and marriage life everywhere.  It’s obvious that our marriages in the diocese very much need better preparation, renewal, motivation, inspiration, healing and guidance.

We appreciate Jonathan for his work in the prisons and in family life work and we encourage all our priests to avail of his services

  1. The Bishop preached at the week of the Christian unity at the Anglican Church on the 13th of May.  Later  in August he preached at the Power of Love Church to the Charismatic churches in town.

Due to the generosity of the finance committee at the Cathedral parish the bishop has been able to move to a new house at the Cathedral.  This has been a project of the priests and consulters of the diocese for many years and has now been realized.  It means that the bishop in the future will have his own private house.

22. We said goodbye to Barney Shiel and Isabel Fey both volunteers from Ireland who worked for two years throughout the diocese.  They worked with Friends in Ireland and they have provided wonderful facilities at Lusikisiki, at Makhoba, Chibini, Mt Zion, at Ludeke, at Mfundisweni and at Franklin.  They have provided hospices for the children care, kitchens, gardens, social centers where people can get care.  They go back to Ireland and we wish them every blessing and thank God for their presence among us.

  1. 23. OCTOBER IS MISSION MONTH (Pontifical Mission Society)

Dear Fathers

The collection for Mission Month is increasing annually.  In 2008 a total of R5190. 85 was collected from all the parishes.

In 2009 the amount collected increased to R26,491.00.

The following parishes contributed – can we equal or better this now?

Kokstad                                    R10,000.00

Bhongweni                                   3,360.40

Mount Frere                                    690.00

Makhoaseng                                    150.00

Makhoba                                         120.00

Maria Telgte                                    500.00

Flagstaff                                         1000.00

Lusikisiki                                       2110.00

Taylorville                                     2072.00

Matatiele                                          800.00

Tabankulu                                        992.00

Anon                                               6806.00

Poster and envelopes are available

Thank you                          Lorna

24.        XXVI WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011 – MADRID

“Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (Col 2:7)

Greetings in the Risen Lord!

I have pleasure in enclosing the most recent information regarding the World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid received from the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The World Youth Day in 2011 which will take place from 15-21 August 2011 will consist of three parts, namely:

.  Days in the Dioceses of Spain during the previous week of the main event in Madrid.

.  Catechesis / Youth Festival in Madrid from 15-19 August 2011.

.  Night Vigil and Papal Mass on 20/21 August 2011.

All pilgrims will require an entry visa for Spain.  More information can be obtained via the internet by surfing the website of the World Youth Day 2011.

25.  Sodalities, the Amadodana had their retreat in May and Couples for Christ met with the National teams in Glenmore in Durban on the 7th of September.  We appreciate the work of Couples for Christ in animating marriage life in our diocese and congratulate Mr Peter Napier who directs the movement throughout the country.

26. The pilgrimage to Maria Telgte on the 2nd of October.  Let us encourage our people to come together for healing , sense of unity, for commitment to Mary, for prayer in Telgte this year.

Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte  – 2nd of October

Faith and Life; Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.

Service                                   Priest                           Choir           

6:00 Penitential Service – Fr Silindile Yalezo    Lusikisiki

7:30 Way of the Cross – St Annes, St Annes

8:30  Intshumayelo – Fr Zanemvula, Cedarville

Ukudumisa  uMariya

9:30 Rosary & Procession, Sisters

10.30. Healing service & Fr Mawethu – Hardenberg

Benediction -Potolwana

12:30 Working for Jesus – Fr Robert

Justice & Peace

1:00    Imvuselelo – Abaphathi

yemiHlangano

4:00  I Missa                             Bishop                         Flagstaff

NOTES

  1. Moving microphone….. Fr Joseph
  2. Slides.  The Way of the Cross,  Fr Mariano
  3. Shop   Nontsikelelo Mokoena
  4. Confession – to be held at the Veranda of the hall     Fr John
  5. Holy water prepared by Mr Jojo
  6. Box for petitions  Sisters from Maria Telgte
  7. Altar flowers, Statues     Sisters & Children of Maria Telgte

8.  Altar Boys                     Fr Sihle Mbhele

9   Master of Ceremonies;  Fr Francis Lemao.

Iindaba # 070

Easter – 2010

1.     We welcome with great joy Fr Francis Appiah-Kubi and Fr Patrick Kofi Boadu from the diocese of Kumasi in Ghana. They have come to work in Kokstad and we thank God and their home Archdiocese that they could come to us. They are studying Xhosa, staying with Fr Vincent for the moment and have already rendered great assistance over Easter ceremonies in Kokstad, Franklin and Lusikisiki.
2.     Please find a form at the back of this Iindaba upon which you are requested to register now before the 1st of May the names of those catechumens who are preparing for baptism at Easter 2011. These registers should be submitted to the Bishop’s office. Keep a copy for yourself. Only those registered now can be considered for baptism next year. They should be introduced to RCIA and begin an intense preparation for their baptism.
Thank you for the Lenten collection last year. It was a R150,000. Lets hope that this year we will reach the same sum. It is money for the poor and the work of the church.
3.     On the 21st of March we celebrated the blessing of the new Church of St Joseph at Nqhume in the parish of Flagstaff. Congratulations to Fr Francis Lemao, the Parish Council of Flagstaff and particularly the people of Nqhume and all who helped to build this beautiful church.   It will be a great service to many villages in that area. This was a day of spectacular community involvement and pride.
4.     We have now approved plans for a church at Shayamoya, the building of which will begin soon. It will be part of a complex which will include a large training/skills centre, a meeting place for elderly people, and a health centre with a crèche.
5.     Work will begin almost immediately on a new church at Lukholweni down at the coast. This is a growing area and our present church is totally inadequate for the present population. We thank Brother Fidel for his work in this area under the guidance of Fr Thabang the parish priest.
6.     We record with sadness the passing of Nurse Patience Nogabe. She is to be buried on the 10th of April in her home parish of Mt Frere.
Pat was one of the founding members of Sinosizo, Yondl’abantu. With Nomvana, she trained many (700) of the Home Based Carers. She brought a professional approach to her work, she knew and respected people, she had a wealth of experience, she was committed to her catholic faith. Sister Pat had a great ability to teach, explain and was very practical in the formation of people. She was also excellent in Education for Life Programs as she could speak the language of the people in a no-nonsense, forthright manner.
7.     We remembered as a diocese at the Coolock meeting of Priests the passing of Fr Bernadine Dore, Ntate Thula. His Passing away in Ireland is a historic moment. Ntate Thula was a man who spent 54 years of his life totally committed to building up the church in Hardenberg, Cedarville and Tabankulu. On the grace of God realized in the work of people like Fr Bernadine our church is built. May God give him eternal rest and reward for his labors.
8.     We note the passing of Mrs Juniper Nakin, mother of Doctor Nakin, one of the great catholic teachers of the past generation. Besides founding a Secondary School which is now flourishing , Mrs Nakin was a teacher for many years in Hardenberg, in Marialinden and was boarding mistress at Mariazell. In later years her experience was used to build up teachers in government schools, working with the Catholic Institute of Education. Since her girlhood Mrs Nakin was a devoted Legionary of Mary. May she rest in peace.
9.      On the 11th of April at Lusikisiki the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will celebrate the Final profession of Sister Nosisa Mpathane. Nosisa comes from the Christian community of Lusikisiki and her parish is proud of her. The Bishop will lead the ceremonies.
10. We remember the passing of Mrs Davies, Cardinal Napier’s Aunt.
11.  Fr Joseph organized a parish retreat which was led by Fr John Dimba, the Malawian Provincial of the Holy Spirit Fathers from 15th to the 20th of February. This excellent preacher drew a large attendance, his words were an inspiration and a challenge to all.
12. A high point in the history of our diocese was the celebration of the 27th and 28th of February of the 125 years of the Cathedral and 85 years of the present building. This was organized by Fr Joseph and the very active parish of St Patrick. We were privileged to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop James Patrick Green, Cardinal Napier, Bishop Stan from Umzimkhulu, Bishop Khumalo of Eshowe, Fr Augustine Khanyile, Provincial of the Franciscans, Sr Theresa representing the Holy Cross Sisters and the Last Superior of the Community in Kokstad.    Also in attendance was Geoff Doidge, the National Minister of Public Works, a parishioner.
There was an extended procession through the town on Saturday morning with floats illustrating the history of cathedral and its role in the life of the town. Speeches painted the development of the schools and churches and stations. Bhongweni and the Cathedral choirs performed, the youth danced, the Indian community offered a beautiful dance, the Bhongweni youth gave us modern dancing. This was followed by an excellent lunch served by the parish to over a 1000 people. Mass on Sunday was led by the apostolic Nuncio while the cardinal preached. Another parish banquet served over a thousand people. On the following morning His Excellency , the Nuncio met with the priests and Sisters and spoke of his role in the church.
Fr Joe and his parish are to be congratulated on this great event.
13.The executive of the Diocesan Pastoral Council under the Chairmanship of Fr Bongani met in Kokstad on the 6th of March to discuss the future form of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. It will take place later this year at the date to be announced.
14. A new development this year was the invitation to the staff of Maximum prison in Kokstad to attend a service of intercession on their behalf at the Cathedral on March the 17th.. Correctional service officials work under extremely stressful conditions today due to the sophistication of criminals and they need our gratitude and support.
The Church was full with officials and administration staff and they expressed appreciation for the service. The prison choir sang.
15.The Mother General of the Franciscan Nardini Sisters and her secretary and the provincial Superior, Sister Isabel and the Father Superior of the Congregation visited the community in Kokstad during March. The sisters make a marvelous contribution to the apostolic work of the diocese in Kokstad.
16. The Coolock meeting for the priests took place from the 8th to the 11th of March. Fr Patrick Rakeketsi gave an inspiring reflection on the life of priests. Fr Mike Deeb, O.P spoke on Justice and Peace.   The sisters meeting at Coolock took place from the 21st to the 24th of March. Sister Emmanuel led the meeting in prayer on the first day and Bishop reflected on the life of the church in South Africa and in the diocese. There was also a reflection on the meaning of religious life and its Apostolic expression in the diocese.
17. Hugh congregations attended the Holy Week ceremonies from Palm Sunday till Easter Sunday this year. Reports from all areas indicates a great attendance and lively participation. It is gratifying to see so many young people attending these important ceremonies.
Notable events included the ecumenical way of the cross through the town of Kokstad followed by the usual service of Good Friday, at the Cathedral.
Fr Mawethu invited all the graduates in the parish of Hardenberg to put on cap and gown for the Mass on Palm Sunday. And some 40 graduates duly obliged. This was to emphasize the respect with which the Catholic Church holds education.
Fr Sihle organized an devotional day of Repentance at Kwa Matthias in the Parish of Chibini. The day ended after Mass and confessions with the way of the cross over a journey of 12km. Songs hymns and prayers accompanied the people who carried the cross all day.
The Mass of the Oils had a wonderful attendance, gratitude to Fr Vincent and Bhongweni Choir for leading us in Music on that day.
18. From the SACBC. At the Bishops’ Plenary this year at the end of January the Bishop was re-elected as chairperson of the Evangelization committee of the Bishop’s Conference. However, he has completed his time with REAP the Bursary Fund in Cape Town. This will now be taken over by the retired Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Henry. The Bishop will attend his last REAP meeting on the 30th of April. During this time 500 young people have been assisted to go to University from Rural areas.
The SACBC has asked that a special day for prisoners be held around the time of the feast of St Peter in Chains, in August in each parish. You must not neglect the prisoners who are the poorest of the poor.
We remember that Jonathan Meth is willing to come around and help our parishioners to visit the prison, he will also visit the prison on behalf of the church.
The requirements for Seminarians to enter the Seminary in Cape Town, the Orientation Seminary, is that they get 25 points in their Matric and 50% in English. If they do not acquire these marks then we send them on a preparatory year i.e. to Port Elizabeth for a year. This is to prepare them for Seminary studies both with language, Introduction into Church, and formation in prayer and church life.
The year in Port Elizabeth is equivalent to 5 points in the Matric.
The Bishops Conference has bought the former Carmelite pastoral centre in Benoni and established Lumko there.
19.We thank God that 13 members of the Sacred Heart Sodality escaped serious injury when they had a nasty accident at Cedarville on the way back from a meeting at Bhongweni. All were bruised but no one was very seriously injured.
20.  The Bishop attended the Pastoral Agency’s meeting as Chairperson of the Department of Evangelization. At the moment bishops are trying to formulate a new Pastoral Plan for the Country. It is hoped that over the next three years after discussions with priests, religious and people the church will renew itself, deepen its identity, and commit itself evermore to pastoral and mission service. The formation of adults is a top priority of the Bishops Conference.
21.The Metropolitan meeting of Bishops took place on the 15th and 16th of March at Glenmore. On the 16th the bishops met with the major religious superiors.
22.                         Meeting of the Diocesan Chaplains and representatives of the Sodalities of the diocese on the 1st of March.
a.      Appreciation was expressed to Fr Mariano who has formulated a Diocesan Calendar with all notable meeting dates and has produced these in the latest Inkwenkwezi It was pointed out that the Sodalities must work for the local Church and discuss their events with their parish priests. New members must be admitted only with the approval of the parish priest.
b.     All sodalities should remember the priorities of the diocese viz, catechetics, Marriage and family, Youth. When Diocesan teams, especially catechetics, visit their parish they must give priority to this visit.
c.     Sodalities must work together in peace, because public disagreements will cause scandal.
d.     Some are loosing their catholic identity. We need to emphasize traditional catholic customs like the ringing of Angelus bell, respect for the Blessed Sacrament, processions, leading our own catholics’ funerals, going to confession and family prayer. It is good to have the singing of the Creed and the ten commandments before Mass and thanksgiving prayers after Holy Communion in Mass.
e.      Formation of new members in the catholic way of life when they apply to enter sodalities is the responsibility of the Abaphathi.
f.       The first Saturday of October is our diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. There should be no events in the weeks preceding this pilgrimage so that people can attend.
g.     As regard the use of oils. No holy thing should be sold. But this oil which people request is not the same as the holy oil of the Sacraments. Please make this clear to people. People who are using this oil should use it only for personal use as holy water is used.
Healing services need to be celebrated in the conscious context of God’s presence- with recollection and dignity. Public battles with spirits generally excite people and must be carefully monitored. The more one talks of Satanism the more prevalent is may become.
h.     More meetings of this nature will take place in the second half of the year.
23.Congratulations again to Fr Thabang and the vocation team. We are happy to have Andile Mkafane, Luxolo Ncama, and Aviwe Biata at Port Elizabeth. Mvikeli Mdunyelwa and Napo Swayi are in Cape Town for the Orientation year. Zonwabele Mjoki, Musawenkosi Jakuja study at St John Vianney while Fidel Muhase is doing internship in Bizana.   We are also happy to have Ntlanhla Ntlapo, a Franciscan Theology student working at Hardenberg doing his internship with Fr Mawethu.
24.                     Fort Coming Events.
a.      Fr Bongani Mbhele , Fr Silindile Yalezo will attend the Xhosa Regional Pastoral Council on behalf of the diocese, meeting with the bishops at Queenstown from the 13th to the 15th of April.
b.     The Bishop will Chair the discussions on the Family Desk of the Bishops Conference on the 22nd of April in Pretoria.
c.     The next Board meeting of the executive of the Bishops Conference will take place from 4th to the 6th of May.
d.     The next consulters meeting of the diocese will be on the 3rd of May.
e.      On the 11th of May the Bishop will give a talk to the priests of Umtata for the year of priests.
f.       The Bishop will be away from 19th of May until 3rd of July. He will take a Holiday, he will celebrate 40 years of ordination and he will preach the Novena for St Anthony in the Franciscan church in Cork. He will also be fund-raising.
g.     On the 17th of April there will be the opening and blessing of the new Respite centre at Hardenberg. This was funded by RESPOND in Ireland. Respond is a social housing project started by Fr Patrick Cogan ofm who was ordained with the Bishop. This has been a beautiful project and will offer counseling to orphans and who have been the victims of abuse.
It is hoped to offer a program of 30 such meetings every year to bring children to the centre for 3 to 5 days. A very formal program is presented to them. This will allow children to appreciate that the Church and the community are interested in them. There will be a bereavement opportunity where children discuss their worries with caring adults. The program will have Social Workers present, they will have games, they will have good nutritional food, and their home situation will be analyzed and hopefully it will radically change their lives. The program has been worked out by young women from RESPOND program in Ireland and has been planned with great care. Priest who would like to send teams of young people to these programs should contact YONDLABANTU here in Kokstad.
Already the program had taken place and the response of the Children has been overwhelming. Education for Life play an important part.
h.     Fr Joao Rodriques of the diocese of Witbank will be ordained Bishop of Tzaneen on the 18th of April in Tzaneen.
i.        The World Cup takes place from the 11th of June to 11 of July. You can get the churches preparation to it on the internet: www.churchontheball.org.za. Remember also to visit our own website: www.kokstadcatholicdiocese.org.za .
j.        Do warn our people about the dangers of trafficking. Make sure to invite Education for Life Program led by Nosisa Ngwadla which will present an excellent program for our young people on the challenges of growing up in South Africa today
k.     To see the forth coming programs of sodalities in the diocese consult the Final page of the Present INKWENKWEZI. Please support the INKWENKWEZI, bring it to the attention of your people and encourage the reading of it. Fr Mariano brings years of experience to his editing of the paper.
25.    Having worked enthusiastically preparing for Sr Nonsisa’a profession in Lusikisiki Mr Maquza passed away that night having called Fr Yalezo to come and anoint him. He played a great role in the struggle for national liberation and spent years in Robben Island- with President Mandela. In the church he was a most loyal and supportive person, most trustworthy in the role as treasurer.

Iindaba # 069

21st January 2010
 
1.     We have a web-site. It is www.catholicdiocesekokstad.org.za . Open this web-site and you will find news of the diocese including the Iindaba and all other issues from the very beginning. You will find your mission and photographs.
The Bishop’s e-mail address is slatteryws@telkomsa.net . You will find this on the web-site with many other details about the diocese.
Personnel   We were very happy to have Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin visit us over Christmas. Fr Richard is the Spiritual director of St John Vianney Seminary and came for Christmas to his home diocese, Kokstad.   We are delighted to see his health is good but he has great responsibility in the Seminary formation programme.
We welcome Fr Paul, a Comboni Father who will live at Mt Ayliff and work in the diocese. His home is Kenya and we are very happy to have him.
At the same time we are sad to say good bye to Fr Memo who was part of our family. Fr Memo was a friend to all, he will work in Johannesburg.
We offer congratulations to the Jubilarians, Sister Canisia from Mt Ayliff, Sister Agnes Mgijima at Cedarville and Sr Annuarite of the Poor Clare Sisters. We thank God for their great service to the church.
Sisters Nomsa and Veronica made their final Profession at Matikwe on December the 18th . Many priests of the diocese attended, our sisters are very committed to the diocese. We welcome back Sister Nomvula who is in studies but will be available at Umzongwana this year.
Also Sisters of Kokstad, Sr Nosipho Fenicia Ndlovu and Busisiwe Lucia Hlomani Ndlovu made their first profession in Matikwe.
We welcome Br Fidel Muhase our seminarian but will do his internship at Bizana for six months.
Also we look forward to the arrival of two young priests from Ghana who will come soon. Their papers are being processed at the moment.
Fr Lizo who is in Rome studying sends greetings to everybody.
2.     Forth Coming Events  
a.     The Bishop ordains four new priests on the 16th of January at Phoenix.
b.     The consulters meet in Kokstad on the 18th of January.
c.     The Bishop will be away at SACBC annual meeting in Pretoria from the 26th of January to the 3rd of February.
d.     Fr Joseph Sandri, the Provincial of the Comboni Fathers will be ordained Bishop of Witbank on the 31st of January in Lydenburg. We send congratulations to Fr Joseph and to his brothers, we thank him for his help to us during his time as Provincial.
e.     On the 6th of February , Sister Thembile of the Presentation (Ntomb’futhi Langa) will make her first Professional vows at the Monastery Chapel at Santa Chiara at 10 am. We rejoice that Sister will dedicate her life and prayer for the church and diocese. Her home is in Umzongwana, all are invited to the celebration.
f.       February the 7th in Cape Town, Bishop Steven Breslin will be installed as Archbishop of Cape Town.
g.     The Cathedral will celebrate its 85th Anniversary on the weekend 27th 28th of February, the Apostolic Nuncio will attend, the Cardinal will preach.
h.     Consulters meeting, the 1st of March.
i.       8th to the 11th of March the Priests will meet at Coolock House.
j.       21st of March will be the opening and blessing of the new church at Mqhume in Flagstaff, St Joseph.
k.    21st to the 24th of March the sisters are invited to meet at Coolock House. Could those attending please let the office in Kokstad know so that we can tell Coolock to prepare for us.
l.       31st March the Chrism Mass will take place at the Cathedral.
m.  The 2nd of April will be Good Friday.
n.     The 4th of April will be Easter Sunday.
3.     Vocations
Fr Lizo and now Fr Tabang have worked very hard to encourage vocations in the diocese. This year we will send Andile Mkafane, Luxolo Ncama and Aviwo Beata to the Preparatory course in Port Elizabeth.
Promise Mbhata will probably work in the diocese for a year. Mvikeli Mdunyelwa from Tabankulu, Napo Swayi from Umzongwana   will go to the Orientation Seminary in Cape Town. Zonwabele Njoko from Bizana will go to St John Vianney Seminary to join Brother Musawenkosi Jakuja and Fidel Mohasa. There are other candidates but they have still some examinations to do. Please pray for them, please encourage them.
Fr Thabang has asked that we speak about vocations during the year. Underline the 4th Sunday of Easter which is Good Shepherds Sunday and is the World day for vocations. Make this a special day in your parish. As you know there will be a workshop for vocations in Kokstad in July and another one in December.
4.Lumko course
Following up on the discussions in Coolock House we are inviting the Lumko team to present Theology to our leaders. They will come three or four times this year from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. They will offer Theology, Scripture, Moral Theology and Liturgy. Each parish is invited to present four candidates for this course. They will stay here in Kokstad over night. Dates will follow.
This is a real effort to offer ongoing formation to our leaders in the diocese. We want them to have a better Catholic identity, know their tradition and be able to offer instruction and guidance to our people.
5 The Chaplains of the Sodalities are invited to meet in Kokstad on Monday the 15th of February at 11am. This comes from our discussions in Coolock. The Chaplains are                     St Annes,                Fr Mawethu,
                                               Sacred Heart           Fr Zanemvula
                                               Amadodana            Fr Yalezo
                                                      Children of Mary    Fr Tabang
                                               Youth                      Fr Sihle
                                               Amajoni                  Fr Lemao
                                               Amadodakazi          Fr Vincent
                                                      Justice and Peace     Fr Robert
                                               Nurses Guild           Fr Bongani
The meeting is to clarify our program for the Sodalities. It was felt that some of our Sodalities are acting independently of the work of the parish and the diocese. We need to help them to be the part of diocesan programs. We also need to look at co-ordinating dates and parish programs from here.
6.Sodality Leaders
At least two leaders from each sodality is invited to meet at Kokstad, Saturday the 20th of February at 10 am to continue discussion of the formation programs for the sodalities.
7.Fr Mariano is to be congratulated on providing a calendar of events for 2010 for the diocese. The Sodalities are requested to get in their dates as soon as possible. As you know there are Catechetical programs, Justice and Peace programs, workshops, retreats etc and we need to have a calendar to guide us.
 
8. RCIA
The RCIA program is weak. I just wanted to remind you that on the first and second Sunday of Lent those to be baptized this year Easter should be enrolled publicly and formally in the church before the community.
Obviously those to be baptized  have been under instruction from last year. One could also take this opportunity of enrolling those who will be baptized or received in 2011on the same occasion.
9  Sister Francina Mlitwa has given each priest the service for the commissioning of catechism teacher which should take place during this month of January.  It is an opportunity to remind all parents and the whole parish that they have a severe responsibility to pass on the faith. It also is the time to recognize and to thank and encourage those who are so faithful in teaching catechism.
In their report to the diocese at the end of 2009 the catechetical team made the following points.
 Positive points
They said that many priests were present and this made a big difference in encouraging the catechism teachers
Again the majority of sowers/teachers attended when a catechetical team visited the parish. There was a keen desire on the part of sowers to know more about their faith and to get the training and help on how to teach.
They pointed our the following challenges.
Often outstations do not attend and are neglected in teaching of catechism.
Communication needs to be strengthened between the team and individual parishes. Hopefully all dates on Fr Mariano’s calendar will help the parents to know exactly when to expect a visit from the team.
It is necessary that when the team comes and the sowers have their workshop the parish should have some cooks ready to help. The team are also worried that there is not enough follow up. Meeting the team two times a year is not enough support for the individual sowers.
Another weakness is that there are very few young teachers, it is mainly older people\older women who are caring the responsibility for this task. Young people need to become involved in teaching catechism.
The RCIA program is very weak in our diocese and the formation of people, especially adults entering the church is not adequate.
As you know we expect each child to give R10 a year for catechism formation. R5 for local meetings and R5 to support the diocesan team.
10. Jonathan Meth with the help of those he has already trained is making a great effort to improve family and marriage life. However, people need to be encouraged\pushed to attend these sessions. It seems very unpopular with people to hear anything about marriage or family life.
And this is the area that is weakest in their Christian life and leaves them and their unfortunate children very vulnerable and helpless.
Jonathan is diocesan co-coordinator for prison-work. Needless to say the chief responsibility for prison work in your parish is with the priest. But Jonathan is available to visit the prisons, to train people to help. Prisoners are very neglected and hopeless. We should do all we can to help them.
11.We are expecting a visit from the Neo-Catechumenate to speak in various parishes.
The Neo-catechumenate is based on the policy and practice of the early church, the RCIA. However, this is a fully professional serious program. It involves people committing their lives to Christ. These people will come and speak at the invitation of parishes. They are looking for people who are willing to dedicate their lives totally to Christ in their homes, in their family and in their parishes.
They will come in the first part of the year. Please invite them to your parish and see if there are a number of people who really want to take Christian life very seriously.
12 Congratulations to Fr John on his welcome to the people who attended the Theology week in Maria Telgte. Special mention must be made of Fr Mawethu and Fr Bongani who gave full days programs to over 120 of our leaders. This years program was felt to be extremely successful and positive. People gained a lot from meeting each other, from the instructions, reflections and in the understanding of the church.
13 We hope that during the course of this year the complex at Shayamoya will be completed and the church added. By the end of January Hardenburg will be complete.
During this year we would hope to build a new church at Lukholweni and with God’s help we will start a parish church for Hardenburg. We ask the people in those areas to prepare themselves spiritually and financially for such a task.
14. The Catholic Institute of Education had a farewell Mass and lunch for Mrs Gloria Napier after years of great service. Gloria’s place will be taken by Anthony Ciro who will deal especially with Catholic Schools of our diocese. These are; Tafeni with learners 140, Ntsimbini-Telgte learners 350, Glen Edward 178 , St Paul’s Franklin 120, Tigervlei 80, St Teresa-Bizana learners 420 at the last count , Flagstaff 750. As well, Hardenberg School though a Government school wishes to retain its links with the Mission. It has 740 learners and associates itself with many of our programs.
Along with introducing our religious instruction books in the schools and helping the teachers to utilize them Gloria also brought literacy, numeracy, whole school development, English as second-language. She gave a tremendous boost to the morale of teachers.
Under Mrs Napier Echoing the Word Program was very successful in helping teachers to deal with the problem of teaching religion in schools. Last year 25 qualified.
We are very proud of Telgte and the great achievement and courage of Sister Jerome Ngcobo in creating a model school in Bizana.
AMAWELE– Twining with certain schools in Ireland enriches both Irish and South African teachers.
15 The three deaneries of the Diocese have as their deans;
Fr Vincent for the central area with secretary Fr Melese.
Fr Clement for the Maluti area with secretary Fr Zanemvula.
Fr Francis Lemau for the Pondoland area with secretary Fr Silindile.
16The Abantwana bakaMariya had their usual retreat at Kokstad from the 7th to 11th of December. This was very well organized by Fr Thabang who brought in a team of fine teachers. Also he has emphasized that boys have an important role to play in Abantwana bakaMaria. He took a fine group of boys to join their Mariannhill counterparts for retreats in July. This is a very healthy development.
17 The Youth pilgrimage which was organized by Fr Sihle and his team took place from Cedarville to Hardenberg. Great numbers of youth made this walk which is 35 km in distance for a full day and the next day spent in reflection and prayer together. They were very happy with the experience.
Every parish must try to have some program for youth during the year. Fr Sihle and his team have presented the program for 2010 but each parish should also have a program.   It is hoped that some of the Sisters of the diocese might form a retreat team offering para-liturgies and vigils during the course of the year in various parishes.
18. Sister Vianney is still and the commander of the Amajoni and she was present at Mt Ayliff on the 22nd of November, the Feast of Christ the King. 135 new members were received. This organization for the little children offers great potential for forming them in their faith and Christian action.
19 REAP. We thank Mrs Wicks for wonderful work done in this area. We expect 7 or 8 young people from the Diocese to get generous bursaries to assist them with Universities this year. The application forms for 2011 are now available. Confer the separate page at the end of this Iindaba report.
20. Fr Yalezo and his parish were very happy to have the blessing of their new Church at Ingozi in Lusikisiki on the 29th of November. In the presence of the King and the Queen and great crowds of people , the blessing took place in beautiful surroundings in the  mountains to the great joy and celebration of all.
21 On the 2nd of December the Bishop blessed New Municipal Offices for Kokstad and was given an Award for service to the town.
22 Great praise and thanks is deserved by the team at the bishop house who created a Christmas dinner for the Priests, Sisters and people of the diocese on the 22nd of December.
23 YONDL’ABANTU
Yondl’abantu is the new name of Sinosizo. We know Sinosizo because they work in all parishes helping orphans, vulnerable children and the sick and ailing people. During November I had the privilege of visiting the three areas of our diocese with Lindelwa, Nomvano and Sister Annastasia who are the regional managers.
I met about 130 care-givers who on their wonderful work. It is clear that Yondlabantu is reaching very poor and needy people.
From the reports one learned of the helplessness of many people in our area. Many have no one to cook for them, some have no food to cook, others have no fire wood or are unable to cook for themselves. Because of this they default with their medicine. The second line of default means death.
When our care-givers bring food from Yondlabantu or from Sr Christina they have only a limited number of food parcels while the demand is great.
People eat up their food parcels very fast and come back then to the care- givers demanding new food parcels. These parcels are available for a limited number of people.
The care workers meet problems in orphan care. Abandoned children cling to them and they find themselves using their own money and their little resources to relieve people whom they cannot abandon to die.
Many people cannot afford R50 the cost to travel to a clinic or town to collect medicine or to be tested or to see a doctor. All priests need to instruct people on the absolute importance of getting HIV tested. It is a matter of life or death. This can easily be presented in the notices at the end of Mass.
The Home-based carers fetch water, wash the sick, wash out houses and clean the beds of the sick. One woman spoke of carrying very sick patients up to 4km to the nearest taxi rank to get them to town. It is also difficult in places to get Social workers to visit, they say they have no transport etc.
While caregivers are doing great work it is clear that we need more supervision and continual re-training in the field. The new facility opening in Hardenberg, the Respite program, will offer something very promising  for the children. We are very grateful for the work of Respond in providing such a place to bring joy and hope into the lives of children.
The Education for life offers 36 programs throughout the diocese during the year. They offer some programs for the 10 to 14 year olds and others for the 15 to 21 group. Nosisa Ngwadla is the Director of this Institute and our priests are strongly advised to invite them because they offer training and awareness for our children. They also speak of such issues as human trafficking.

Iindaba # 068

8th September 2009
 
1.     Dates to remember
 
a.     Echoing the Word 5th of September
b.     Sister Jacobalda celebrated her golden jubilee this year in Germany . The Cathedral Parish celebrates with her on the 5th of September.
c.     Same date the Diocesan Sacred Heart Sodality with Fr Sizwe had their annual retreat at Bhongweni and The St Annes of the Region met at Mount Ayliff
d.     7th and 8th of September, the Bishop will be in Durban for the Metropolitan meeting.
e.      September 9th to 11th the Bishop will be Pretoria as Chair of the Department of Evangelization.
f.       Day of Recollection will be on the 8th of September at the Poor Clares, the Leader will be Father Vincent.
g.     The Bishop will visit Ncumbe abd Franklin , Sunday the 13th of September.
h.     19th of September, Fr Bani will be consecrated Bishop of Leribe in Lesotho, this is Fr Lemao’s diocese. The Bishop will attend the ordination with Fr Francis.
We also congratulate the new Archbishop of Maseru, Archbishop             Lerotholi .
i.        24th September Adam Musalek will be consecrated Bishop of De Aar.
j.        28th of September, confirmation at Emvalweni.
k.     22nd of September, the bishop will give the lecture on the Eucharist in the Franciscan tradition at St Augustine University in Johannesburg.
l.        28th of September the Consultors will meet at 9:30, the priests will meet to discuss Canon Law with Fr Vincent at 11:00 on the same day Monday 28th.
October
a. October 1st , Yondlabantu meeting at Kokstad. They are building the new centre at Hardenberg and soon starting a complex at Shayamoya.
This complex will include the building of the new church, which the diocese will contribute to.
b.     Pilgrimage to Telgte on the 3rd and 4th of October, Saturday night, the 3rd. It is very important that the people arrive in time. People should arrive by five o’clock to begin on time at 6 o’clock on Saturday.
c.     October 4th, Feast of St Francis of Assisi, is the Parish feast of Tabankulu.
d.     The Bishop will conduct retreat for the priests of Namibia from the 5th to the 14th of October.
e.      Remember, note that 12th to the 15th we will meet at Coolock.
f.       16th of October, Echoing the Word course.
g.     18th of October the bishop will be in Lusikisiki.
h.     19th of October there will be induction of school at Bizana. Bishop will go and explain the Ethos of a Catholic School.
i.        20th of October there will be a day of recollection for the priests at the Poor Clares, it will be conducted by Fr Silindile.
j.        23rd and 24th of October the Bishop will attend the meeting of REAP in Cape Town.
k.     25th of October there will be confirmation in the Cathedral in Kokstad.
NOVEMBER
a.      November 1st the bishop will be in Lusikisiki.
b.     3rd to 6th of November Board meeting of the SACBC.
c.     8th of November, Maria Telgte confirmation.
d.     15th to 20th of November the priests Retreat will be held at Bluff.
e.      22nd of November, the Feast of Christ the King, Mount Ayliff.
2.     The most traumatic event of the past months was the sudden departure of Fr Tom who died on the 12th of August. He is someone who laboured faithfully for our diocese for 57 years. He worked at Mt Ayliff, Bizana, Bhongweni, Franklin.
He also helped out for short period in other places. Fr Tom was a most reliable and committed priest. The enormous crowd at his funeral and devout participationof the people was palpable. We thank God for this great priest who lived among us and thank the Franciscan family and his natural family in Ireland.
His sister and two nephews and two nieces attended his funeral.
3.     Remember that September the 13th is Catechetical Sunday, you will find something from Fr Mariano about it in the Inkwenkwezi. Please, please take the Inkwenkwezi and encourage people very strongly to buy this paper and have some catholic literature in their home.
Do celebrate Catechetical Sunday and express gratitude and blessing to all those who teach Catechism.
We thank in a special way Sister Francina, Michael Khumalo, Nombini   and the team for their work throughout the diocese.
Please make sure that you support them and know when they come.
4.     Please pray for the Synod of Africa, the representatives of the Bishops of Africa will meet in Rome to discuss the Word of God and how to make its message felt more keenly in Africa.
5.     September the 4th Fr Lizo Nontshe left to study in Rome. He will study at the Angelicum spiritual and pastoral theology. Get his phone number and give him an occasional ring.
We were happy to greet Fr George during the July break from his studies in California. Our priests are traveling this year. Fr Joe and Fr Zanemvula went to India; Fr Joe joined Sister Jacobalda for her Jubilee in Germany.
Fr Vincent spent 3 weeks in Florence in Rome in Italy and came back with new sartorial fashions.
We hope tpo welcome to the diocesee two young Ghanain priests from the Archdiocese of Kumasi then their visas are ready.
6.     Fr Thabang will act as vocation director in the absence of Fr Lizo during the coming year. Please refer to Thabang any candidates for the diocesan priesthood. At the moment there may be four candidates for next year. Let us support them in everyway possible.
Fr Lizo, Mr Denge and Mrs Madikizela represented us at the National    Forum of the Church at Botha’s Hill on the 8th of August.
They will now report back to the executive of the DPC at the meeting     to be convened by Fr Bongani.
7.     I was very happy to make a week of visits to different parts of the parish of Mount Frere and meet the people in station churches. I went to four different sessions with Fr Mariano and it was very enjoyable and helpful for Bishop and People. I’m open to having meetings of this kind organized for other parishes as well. This is an opportunity to meet the people. It is true that during the week some are absent, but it is good to visit those who are there.
8.     I was very happy with confirmation ceremonies that we had in Mount Frere in July and in Lusikisiki and Matatiele during August. Congratulations to the priests for the preparation work done with the candidates. It is very good to see at Lusikisiki that the candidates had to go through three examinations before being accepted.
We are making plans to build a Bishop’s House at the Cathedral in Kokstad and to make the present Bishop’s house into a skill centre and pastoral centre for the diocese.
9.     We congratulate the churches and priests who have completed the building of new churches at Makwaseng, Diamond, Ngozi and Mkata in Lusikisiki. We are still building at Mngeni, Chibini and we will start soon at Lukholweni and Qawukeni in Lusikisiki. We also congratulate Fr Francis that the church at Nqume is soon opening.
10. Hopefully Fr Sihle will be calling meetings of those involved in youth work and for the Amajoni over the next month. It is very important to get adults involved in caring for the youth and the children. It would be very good to have programs for young people during the Summer, the Christmas holidays.
We congratulate Fr Thabang for the work done for the Children of Mary. He was able to take many young boys to join with the Mariannhill Youth for the boys’ retreat; it made deep impression on our young boys. There are vocations but we pray and work for it. We are preparing to celebrate 125 year of priestly residence in the Diocese and 85 year of the Cathedral.
11.Fr Bongani represented the Diocese at the National Conference on Healing. The need to clarify the use of the Oil of Gladness is still being considered.
12.The Department of Evangelisation is preparing teacms with Lumko and preparing material to set in motion in the country the traing of adult Catholics in the meaning of Catholic identity with the aim of ensuring that they base their lives on the encounter with Christ.
 Saturday 3rd of October
Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte
Service                     Priest                    Choir
6:00 hrs , Penitential Service               
Fr Silindile
Flagstaff
7:30      Indlela   yoMnqamlezo
Umhlangano weNtliziyo
Umhlangano Choir
8:30 Intshumayelo,     Mariya
Fr Bongani
9:00 Commitment to Mary
Fr Bongani
9:30 Rosary and Procession
Sisters
Sisters
10:30 Healing Service Benediction
Fr Thabang
Bizana
12:30 Year of the Priest
Bishop
Individual Parishes
1: 30   Marriage and Family
Jonathan Meth
2:00 Imvuselelo yeMihlangano
Imihlangano. MC Mr Kumalo
4:00 i Missa
Bishop
Tabankulu
Mount Ayliff
Mount Frere
Note:
1. Make sure that people arrive in time, that is, well before 6 o’clock Saturday in the afternoon.
2. Could priests be available from 6 to 7:30 to hear confessions during that time.
3 The Year of the Priest ceremony will involve the parishioners bringing their priest forward and placing a special candle reresenting him on the Altar.

Iindaba # 067

13 June 2009

 

  1. 1.     We give thanks to God and we thank all who prayed for him that Fr John Kerr has recovered from recent illness.  Fr John was two weeks in the ICU in Port Shepstone.  He is now back in Telgte and recovering.  He thanks everyday for their prayers.

 

  1. 2.     We congratulate Fr Rogers Sihlobo who celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Priesthood at Lusikisiki on the 17th of May.  The people of Lusikisiki were proud of the achievements of Fr Sihlobo both as an academic and as a pastoral priest.

We remember with gratitude his many years working in the diocese.  Many friends came to congratulate Father, some of them speaking about his youthful years at Mfinizweni, others remembering his ministry in various parishes.

Fr Sihlobo studied at the Biblicum in Rome where he got his licence/Masters degree in Biblical Studies.  This is a rare achievement.  Fr Sihlobo is now a parish priest of Driefontein.

 

  1. 3.     We congratulate  Fr Vincent Zungu ofm, the Provincial of the South African Province of Franciscans, who worked in our diocese for five years on his election as a Definator General of the Franciscan Order.  This means Fr Vincent will move to Rome as an assistant to Fr General.

 

  1. 4.     The Diocese took part in the recent celebration of the Centenary of the death of Abbot Franz at Emmaus.  Emmaus is very close to close to Kokstad and here the Abbot lived the last 15 years of his life.  Very died on the 24th of May 1909.

 

 

Fr Abbot Franz impacted on the Catholic foundation in KwaZulu Natal and beyond.  In his own life time 30 mission stations were established.  Among them Mariazell, Hardenberg and Maria Telgte.

Abbot Franz in fact came from Emmaus to Kokstad to meet with Cecil Rhodes, the British commissar of Rhodesia to seek a grant of land in Zimbabwe.  When Abbot Franz arrived in Kokstad on horseback he found that Rhodes had already left the town.  Abbot Franz followed him to Mount Ayliff.

So we can say that an important part of Catholic work in Zimbabwe had its origins in Mount Ayliff.  To this day the Mariannhill Fathers, brothers and priests staff the diocese of Bulawayo.

 

Abbot Franz endured endless obstacles establishing his work in South Africa .  We know that he was removed from his position as Abbot in Mariannhill and chose to live at Lourdes.  However, he build Emmaus, short distance from Lourdes to which he retired to live a life of prayer and suffering.

 

We owe a great debt to this man, at the moment the South African church is praying that his holy life be recognized and that he be beatified.  We too need to encourage our people to pray for the beatification.  Promotion of the Cause of Abbot Franz amongst the people would also have us encouraging prayers through the intercession of Abbot Franz for various healings and miracles.

 

We congratulate the Precious Blood Sisters founded by Abbot Franz in conjunction with Mother Paula.  We are so happy to have them in the diocese.

 

        While we acknowledge that the Northern part of our diocese, the Maluti Deanery owes a lot to Abbot Franz Bizana too derives from his influence.  One remembers how the men from Bizana and Dutyini heard about Mariannhill and became Catholics there while working in Durban.  They then walked to Lourdes Mission, three days by foot, where their Catechumens were baptized.

The families involved in Bizana were the Candlovu family, Ngolule family, Mbhele family and the Khatshwa family.

 

  1. 5.     Congratulations to the Parish of Mount Frere on the devotional Marian Pilgrimage which took place on the 30th  of May at Lugangeni.  This beautiful church built in the hills over the dam by Brother Erich was where Fr Antonio Benetti established a shrine of Our Lady.

Many walked to Lugangeni to participate on this day of renewal and commitment and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

 

  1. 6.     On the 31st of May, Pentecost, Fr Vincent and Fr Sihle organized the parish Feast for Bizana which is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.  They began on Saturday night with a vigil in which included many prayers and sermons.  This was followed by a report from all outstations where people could hear of the challenges facing their brothers and sisters throughout the parish.

The priests offered all the opportunity of confession and in the morning the Bishop celebrated the Mass at 4 o’clock to complete the night celebrations.  This is an excellent way of renewing our parish and building up the identity of parishioners.  It also make them aware that they , as Church, are the church, the family of God.

 

  1. 7.     The tragic death of Fr Ernest at Mariazell on the 30th of May shocked everybody.  On the 5th of June Bishop Sipuka of Umtata led the funeral Mass and a committal.  Fr Ernest had worked in South Africa since 1978.  Most of these years were in connection with schools and with the Mission of Mariazell.

For the last 20 years he was the manager of the schools and generations of children received a fine education and preparation for life due to his; care and wise administration.  The children and community were deeply hurt by these events which demoralize a whole tradition.  Bishop Siphuka’s sermon is on SACBC website for those who might have the web.

 

  1. 8.     On the 6th of June on the roadside of Kaka’s hill above the Imvenyane, the Municipality of Matatiele remembered the tragic death there on the 27th of May 2008 of 22 local people.

They were killed when their bus crashed of the road and raced madly down the mountain crashing into the river at the bottom.  It is amazing that anyone survived.  Yet there were 18 survivors present at the ceremony.

Fr Thabang Letsohla was one of the first people to arrive on the accident scene that day to render service to the people who were dying.  This year again Fr Thabang did much in the organization of this commemotion  and prayers.

 

  1. 9.     SINOSIZO

Sinosizo has now changed its name and will be known as ‘YONDL’ABANTU’.  This was necessary to distinguish from Sinosizo in Durban and also from the building company of that name n Kokstad itself.

 

We have had difficulty maintaining the funding of Sinosizo – YONDL’ABANTU this year.   The funders terminated the majority portion of their funding on the 31st of May.  This left us about 180 volunteers without stipends.

 

The diocese has done its best over the years to provide funds for the Volunteers in Yondl’abantu.   Not only have we done that but we have provided the offices for the organization.

 

It was very consoling to find that even though we have to end the contracts of the volunteers they almost all volunteered to work freely in the future.  However, we will try and make a small stipend available to all.  We do this in order to bring some hope to those children and very ill people whom we have taken as our brothers and sisters in need.

 

10. RESPOND-Ireland are supporting various projects within the area of our diocese.  This month they will begin working in Shayamoya to provide a skill centre, medical rooms and work with the diocese to build a new Church.  They will also expand the Creche and offer training to young men and women in various areas.

Respond came to visit during April and were very impressed by much of the work being done for the poor.  From July they will complete the plans for Hardenberg.

 

11. We congratulate Fr George Byarugaba who continues his studies in California in United States.  He has finalized his thesis for his Masters and was very successful in the examination.

His hope now is to continue in the same subject of Ethics and to do a Doctorate before returning to us in South Africa.  We congratulate Fr George for his great achievement.

 

  1. 12.  We welcome  back Fr Joe and Fr Zanemvula from their recent visit to India.   We also wish Fr Vincent Bwete every blessing for his holidays in Italy.  We hope the Holy Father will have a little time at his disposal to meet our Vincent.

 

  1. 13.                          One of the highlights of the recent month was the opening of the beautiful new church  in Pamlaville at Umzongwana on the 2nd of May.  Fr Lizo supervised the construction of this church.  The opening was marked by a wonderful spirit of prayer and commitment.  Many people in the area under the inspiration of Father contributed to make this an excellent day. The new Church will be called Emmanuel.

 

Sister Akhona is working there also with Friends in Ireland and each month she manages to bring food to 130 orphans and young children.  These are spread over four different areas and they are given two meals each day there.  This is a great gift to the poor from Friends in Ireland and a tribute to the commitment of Sister Akhona.

 

14. REAP continues its work offering access bussaries to children in Rural and Peri –Urban schools.  The forms can be acquired in the office where Mrs Wicks has done a lot of administration on behalf of the organization.  There are 360 young people at the University due to the work of REAP.  The funds are raised through the Embassy of Ireland and also through many local institution such as banks and petrol camponies.

 

REAP is administered from its head offices in Cape Town, the Bishop is in Chairman of the group.  It was embarrassing that last year we in the diocese of Kokstad were able to get two new Candidates only on to the program.  This is due to very poor local matric results.

Recently the election of members for school governing bodies took place all over the country.

It is hoped that Catholic people went forward for nomination and participated.  The school governing body has a large say in the ethos, selection of teachers and also in the very program of the schools.

 

  1. 15.   Couples for Christ had their National meeting here in Kokstad on the 9th of May.  The local chapter for the Coupled of Christ has meant a lot  to our people.  Many has participated very generously and have had their individual and family lives enriched.

Couples for Christ is a whole family organization and it both involves children and adults.  Peter Napier is the National President.

 

          Jonathan Meth and his wife Joyce are now working with the Marriage Desk in the diocese.  Jonathan has managed to go to all the parishes now and addressed the people on issues of parenting and marriage life.   The reports have been very positive.

Jonathan and Joyce have recently attended their first Marriage Encounter session.  We know that a lot of work has been done in Marriage Encounter in our diocese in previous years.  It is hoped that Jonathan , with the Couples, will be able to revive and give new dynamism  to Couples for Christ.  They will meet Kokstad June 20.

 

16. The diocesan  priests spent two days recently in Durban.  This was both prayerful and enjoyable.  It involved a day of prayer and then a day together recreating the sharing on our priestly life.  We thank Fr Bongani Mbhele who led the discussions and prayers.

 

  1. 17.   The week of prayer for the Christian unity took place between the Ascension and Pentecost Sunday in the town of Kokstad at the various churches.  The Bishop preached at the Power of Love Church on the 21st of May and prayer sessions were held in three other churches in the following days.  It is a Christian duty to respond to the prayer of Jesus, “Father make they all be one”.        

 

  1. 18.  We congratulate Fr Marriano in his excellent production of INKWENKWEZI.   We encourage the priests and sisters to make a real effort to spread the Inkwenkwezi into many hands and especially into our Catholic homes.  We wish to provide Catholic material for people, especially the young, to read in the comfort of home.

 

Fr Marriano  is also very keen to get contributions, photographs and articles about events in our parishes.  This interests the people and give fresh ideas while encouraging and recognizing what is been done.

 

 

19. Anthony Ciro is working on the establishment of the website for the diocese of Kokstad.  We hope to go on line in a few weeks.  Those than who can access the web will be able to read the news of our diocese there.

 

Jeannette Stanford is also working on the history of the diocese.  She hopes to produce a book which will show the wonderful done in this diocese over the last 125 years.  This also underlines the importance of having a parish chronicle.

 

20. The first resident priest came to Kokstad town in 1884.  So we can say that for 125 that the Catholic Church has been resident in the area of this diocese.  During this coming 12 months we will have celebrations to record this reality by remembering the heroic deeds of the past and giving thanks to God.  It will also be a call to re-commitment.  Aware of the treasure we hold we will experience the challenge to develop and build on what has already been done.  So let us put our minds together to see how we can better celebrate the special Jubilee 125 years of the Church in Kokstad.

 

21. The Government is just now that the N2 National road will run from Port Shepstone right across the coast of the diocese and passing Bizana, Flagstaff and Lusikisiki on its ay down to Umtata.  This will ultimately change our human and natural environment and offer new pastoral challenges.

 

  1. 22.   Remember that on Saturday the 3rd of October we will go on the Diocesan Marian Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte, in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary.

 

  1. 23.                         Forth Coming Events

 

  1. a.     The vocation team of the diocese met in Kokstad on the 15th of June.  Everybody must pray sincerely for vocations.  All can see that we are very much understaffed in our diocese at the moment and we must ask God to come to our aid.

It was decided to have a vocation workshop in Bizana from July 12-15.  Students who are in grades 10-12 and who have shown some promise of vocation should be highly encouraged to attend.

 

We look forward to welcoming home on holidays our seminarians, Fidel, Musawenkosi, Zonwabele and Napo on holidays.  We hope to meet them together at the Bishops house, July 9 and 10.  They are always welcome to stay there during holidays.

 

 

  1. b.     The Diocesan Pastoral Council took place here in Kokstad on June the 16th .   The Priests , the Parish Council  Chairman and the Secretary attended.  The youth were ably represented.

The meeting was chaired by Fr Bongani Mbhele.  Four excellent presentations were made.

  1. i.                    Sr Francina Mlithwa spoke as of the Cathecetical team of the diocese.  While reporting on the work of the team she pointed out that PPC’s must pay attention to the state to the state of teaching in the parish.  She spoke of the team woke in presenting to the teachers, Abahlwayeli, a series of 6 lessons which have been worked out nationally to help them enrich their own knowledge and work.  They are also now presenting 9 new lessons.  Teachers need the support of parents and home prayer.  The RCIA needs to be better implemented.  In those parishes where priests are involved, like Umzongwana a lot more is achieved.

 

  1. ii.                  Jonathan Meth spoke of the work been done and the plans for the future for the Marriage Desk of which he is the secretary.  Jonathan has had very positive responses from priests and congregations when he has addressed the burning  issues in marriages and family and parenting.

It is very important that the course in Kokstad from midday 6th July of Midday 12th of July be attended.  The Cape Town marriage desk, at considerable expense, are coming to train parish teams of 6 in facilitating these areas of life around the diocese.  The Xhosa course will be on during the day and an English course in the evening.  If we wish to make a concerted effort to enrich home life and the future of children we need to have 6 people from the parish at this event.  Jonathan will visit all parishes between July 18 and Aug 30.  He introduced us to Joyce, his wife who is with him in the work.

 

  1. iii.                Mrs Pat Madikizela, our representative with Fr Lizo and Mr Denge at the National Forum reported back on the work and aims of Forum.  Pat spoke of her immense challenge now facing the church in evangelization as people become exposed to many media and foreign experiences.  She emphasized that the whole Church must be involved.  The clergy, that is the priests and religious, are but part of her family, the majority if fact are the laity and they are priests through baptism called to bring Christ into home, work, community, into economics, politics, education and health.  This team will again represent us at the next Forum in Botha’s Hill on August 8, Saturday.  Pat felt that the promotion of Inkwenkwezi is a very good step in which to begin to properly inform our adults and youth on spiritual issues.
  2. iv.               Mongezi, accompanied by his chairman Bulelani, addressed

the meeting on the situation of youth in the country and in our parishes.  They spoke of a Youth Leaders meeting at Palotti farm, Queenstown from September 24-26.  This should be attended by 15 youth leaders.  All is paid for we have simply to provide transport.  Father Sihle, as diocesan chaplain should attend.

Mongezi issued a strong challenge to priests at the local level and parish priests to come closer to the youth and to their problems.  He felt that many were leaving the church as they had only attended to receive sacraments and then with no depth of formation went to other assemblies.  He spoke of the grave need for funds and how plans drawn up early in the year could not be followed up because of poor funding.  Working together, adults and youth we can do more.  He spoke of pornography and drugs and immorality which were destroying youth under our eyes.  Mongezi hoped that the proposed pilgrimage to Malenge in December would be well organized, funded and implemented.  Youth, he said, need to come to church to pray and play.  A strong call was made for the youth associations of the diocese to consolidate.  Preparation for confirmation needs to be real and very thorough.   Parishes need to work out a solid role for youth participation.

 

  1. c.     The 26th  of June the Department of Evangelisation in Pretoria.
  2. d.     29th of June, we will close the Year of St Paul with the ceremony in the Cathedral.  Same day, Consultors Meet in Kokstad.
  3. e.     From June the 30th to July 2nd the Xhosa Pastoral team will meet at Queenstown to discuss the music and liturgy in our Xhosa speaking areas.
  4. f.       From the 6th  to the 10th of July Sister Duncan from the Diocese of Cape Town will be here to work with Our Marriage Desk.  Jonathan Meth has invited six people from each parish to attend.  They will be dealing with parenting, Marriage life, marriage associations and preparations for marriage.  The idea is to train people who can facilitate this training.  Try and make sure that there are six people here for those four important days.  Starts in the afternoon of Monday the 6th of July.
  5. g.     From the 8th to the 11th, the bishop will be on a Pastoral visit to Mount Frere parish.
  6. h.     On 13th  of July the Province of the Sisters of Precious Blood at the Mariannhill Mission will celebrate their founder Abbot Franz on the special occasion at Glen Avent on the 13th of July, preacher will be bishop.
  7. i.       14th of July, Day of recollection led by Fr Bongani at the Poor Clares.
  8. j.       On the 19th of July there will be Confirmation at Lusikisiki.
  9. k.     31st of July Echoing the Word course with the teachers of schools will continue in Kokstad.
  10. l.       August 3rd and 4th  Diocesan priests will celebrated the Feast of St John Vianney.
  11. m.   August the 5th  to the 12th  Plenary session of the Bishops Conference in Mariannhill.
  12. n.     The night of August the 15th and 16th Kevelaer pilgrimage.
  13. o.     On the 30th of August, Matatiele Confirmations.
  14. p.     September 4th  and 5th Education the Word course continues.
  15. q.     7th of September, Metropolitan meeting of the bishops at Glenmore.
  16. r.      Recollection for the Diocesan priests at Poor Clares, led by Fr Vincent.
  17. s.      9th and 10th of September Pastoral Agencies will meet in Pretoria.

 

24. The Year of the Priest, June 19-June 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LENTEN APPEAL COLLECTION FOR 2009

 

PARISH              2007         2008            2009        % INCREASE

BIZANA            8463.80    10172.32    11316.00         11%

BHONGWENI   8000.00     7500.00    14409.80          92%

CEDARVILLE   3740.00     6263.00      7540.00          20%

CATHEDRAL  28355.00   43000.00    34768.10

FLAGSTAFF      6800.00     8310.00    10721.80          29%

FRANKLIN        1926.00      2100.00     4188.00          99%

HARDINBERG  8000.00      5720.00     9100.00          59%

LUSIKISIKI       5000.00      6800.00    15160.00         122%

MAKHOASENG                                     3143.00

MAKHOBA       2000.00       2110.00     2580.00           22%

MARIA TELGTE 2344.00   2301.43      4218.80            83%

MATATIELE    9500.00    11948.61     11588.70

MT AYLIFF      2969.73      4250.20       3318.50

MT FRERE        2760.10      2640.00       3308.20           25%

TABANKULU   1742.05      2550.00       2158.40

TAYLORVILLE 11510.00    11589.00    13804.10         19%

 

 

GRAND TOTAL  103110.68     127254.56     151323.40  19%

 

CONGRATULATIONS AND MANY THANKS TO ALL FOR THE WONDERFUL EFFORT

13 June 2009



 

1.     We give thanks to God and we thank all who prayed for him that Fr John Kerr has recovered from recent illness. Fr John was two weeks in the ICU in Port Shepstone. He is now back in Telgte and recovering. He thanks everyday for their prayers.

2.     We congratulate Fr Rogers Sihlobo who celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Priesthood at Lusikisiki on the 17th of May. The people of Lusikisiki were proud of the achievements of Fr Sihlobo both as an academic and as a pastoral priest.

We remember with gratitude his many years working in the diocese. Many friends came to congratulate Father, some of them speaking about his youthful years at Mfinizweni, others remembering his ministry in various parishes.

Fr Sihlobo studied at the Biblicum in Rome where he got his licence/Masters degree in Biblical Studies. This is a rare achievement. Fr Sihlobo is now a parish priest of Driefontein.

3.     We congratulate Fr Vincent Zungu ofm, the Provincial of the South African Province of Franciscans, who worked in our diocese for five years on his election as a Definator General of the Franciscan Order. This means Fr Vincent will move to Rome as an assistant to Fr General.

4.     The Diocese took part in the recent celebration of the Centenary of the death of Abbot Franz at Emmaus. Emmaus is very close to close to Kokstad and here the Abbot lived the last 15 years of his life. Very died on the 24th of May 1909.

Fr Abbot Franz impacted on the Catholic foundation in KwaZulu Natal and beyond. In his own life time 30 mission stations were established. Among them Mariazell, Hardenberg and Maria Telgte.

Abbot Franz in fact came from Emmaus to Kokstad to meet with Cecil Rhodes, the British commissar of Rhodesia to seek a grant of land in Zimbabwe. When Abbot Franz arrived in Kokstad on horseback he found that Rhodes had already left the town. Abbot Franz followed him to Mount Ayliff.

So we can say that an important part of Catholic work in Zimbabwe had its origins in Mount Ayliff. To this day the Mariannhill Fathers, brothers and priests staff the diocese of Bulawayo.

Abbot Franz endured endless obstacles establishing his work in South Africa . We know that he was removed from his position as Abbot in Mariannhill and chose to live at Lourdes. However, he build Emmaus, short distance from Lourdes to which he retired to live a life of prayer and suffering.

We owe a great debt to this man, at the moment the South African church is praying that his holy life be recognized and that he be beatified. We too need to encourage our people to pray for the beatification. Promotion of the Cause of Abbot Franz amongst the people would also have us encouraging prayers through the intercession of Abbot Franz for various healings and miracles.

We congratulate the Precious Blood Sisters founded by Abbot Franz in conjunction with Mother Paula. We are so happy to have them in the diocese.

 

        While we acknowledge that the Northern part of our diocese, the Maluti Deanery owes a lot to Abbot Franz Bizana too derives from his influence. One remembers how the men from Bizana and Dutyini heard about Mariannhill and became Catholics there while working in Durban. They then walked to Lourdes Mission, three days by foot, where their Catechumens were baptized.

The families involved in Bizana were the Candlovu family, Ngolule family, Mbhele family and the Khatshwa family.

5.     Congratulations to the Parish of Mount Frere on the devotional Marian Pilgrimage which took place on the 30th of May at Lugangeni. This beautiful church built in the hills over the dam by Brother Erich was where Fr Antonio Benetti established a shrine of Our Lady.

Many walked to Lugangeni to participate on this day of renewal and commitment and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

6.     On the 31st of May, Pentecost, Fr Vincent and Fr Sihle organized the parish Feast for Bizana which is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. They began on Saturday night with a vigil in which included many prayers and sermons. This was followed by a report from all outstations where people could hear of the challenges facing their brothers and sisters throughout the parish.

The priests offered all the opportunity of confession and in the morning the Bishop celebrated the Mass at 4 o’clock to complete the night celebrations. This is an excellent way of renewing our parish and building up the identity of parishioners. It also make them aware that they , as Church, are the church, the family of God.

7.     The tragic death of Fr Ernest at Mariazell on the 30th of May shocked everybody. On the 5th of June Bishop Sipuka of Umtata led the funeral Mass and a committal. Fr Ernest had worked in South Africa since 1978. Most of these years were in connection with schools and with the Mission of Mariazell.

For the last 20 years he was the manager of the schools and generations of children received a fine education and preparation for life due to his; care and wise administration. The children and community were deeply hurt by these events which demoralize a whole tradition. Bishop Siphuka’s sermon is on SACBC website for those who might have the web.

8.     On the 6th of June on the roadside of Kaka’s hill above the Imvenyane, the Municipality of Matatiele remembered the tragic death there on the 27th of May 2008 of 22 local people.

They were killed when their bus crashed of the road and raced madly down the mountain crashing into the river at the bottom. It is amazing that anyone survived. Yet there were 18 survivors present at the ceremony.

Fr Thabang Letsohla was one of the first people to arrive on the accident scene that day to render service to the people who were dying. This year again Fr Thabang did much in the organization of this commemotion and prayers.

9.     SINOSIZO

Sinosizo has now changed its name and will be known as ‘YONDL’ABANTU’. This was necessary to distinguish from Sinosizo in Durban and also from the building company of that name n Kokstad itself.

We have had difficulty maintaining the funding of Sinosizo – YONDL’ABANTU this year.   The funders terminated the majority portion of their funding on the 31st of May. This left us about 180 volunteers without stipends.

The diocese has done its best over the years to provide funds for the Volunteers in Yondl’abantu.   Not only have we done that but we have provided the offices for the organization.

It was very consoling to find that even though we have to end the contracts of the volunteers they almost all volunteered to work freely in the future. However, we will try and make a small stipend available to all. We do this in order to bring some hope to those children and very ill people whom we have taken as our brothers and sisters in need.

10.RESPOND-Ireland are supporting various projects within the area of our diocese. This month they will begin working in Shayamoya to provide a skill centre, medical rooms and work with the diocese to build a new Church. They will also expand the Creche and offer training to young men and women in various areas.

Respondcame to visit during April and were very impressed by much of the work being done for the poor. From July they will complete the plans for Hardenberg.

11.We congratulate Fr George Byarugaba who continues his studies in California in United States. He has finalized his thesis for his Masters and was very successful in the examination.

His hope now is to continue in the same subject of Ethics and to do a Doctorate before returning to us in South Africa. We congratulate Fr George for his great achievement.

12. We welcome back Fr Joe and Fr Zanemvula from their recent visit to India.  We also wish Fr Vincent Bwete every blessing for his holidays in Italy. We hope the Holy Father will have a little time at his disposal to meet our Vincent.

13.                          One of the highlights of the recent month was the opening of the beautiful new church in Pamlaville at Umzongwana on the 2nd of May. Fr Lizo supervised the construction of this church. The opening was marked by a wonderful spirit of prayer and commitment. Many people in the area under the inspiration of Father contributed to make this an excellent day. The new Church will be called Emmanuel.

 

Sister Akhona is working there also with Friends in Irelandand each month she manages to bring food to 130 orphans and young children. These are spread over four different areas and they are given two meals each day there. This is a great gift to the poor from Friends in Ireland and a tribute to the commitment of Sister Akhona.

14.REAP continues its work offering access bussaries to children in Rural and Peri –Urban schools. The forms can be acquired in the office where Mrs Wicks has done a lot of administration on behalf of the organization. There are 360 young people at the University due to the work of REAP. The funds are raised through the Embassy of Ireland and also through many local institution such as banks and petrol camponies.

 

REAP is administered from its head offices in Cape Town, the Bishop is in Chairman of the group. It was embarrassing that last year we in the diocese of Kokstad were able to get two new Candidates only on to the program. This is due to very poor local matric results.

Recently the election of members for school governing bodies took place all over the country.

It is hoped that Catholic people went forward for nomination and participated. The school governing body has a large say in the ethos, selection of teachers and also in the very program of the schools.

15.  Couples for Christ had their National meeting here in Kokstad on the 9th of May. The local chapter for the Coupled of Christ has meant a lot to our people. Many has participated very generously and have had their individual and family lives enriched.

Couples for Christ is a whole family organization and it both involves children and adults. Peter Napier is the National President.

        Jonathan Meth and his wife Joyce are now working with the Marriage Desk in the diocese. Jonathan has managed to go to all the parishes now and addressed the people on issues of parenting and marriage life.   The reports have been very positive.

Jonathan and Joyce have recently attended their first Marriage Encounter session. We know that a lot of work has been done in Marriage Encounter in our diocese in previous years. It is hoped that Jonathan , with the Couples, will be able to revive and give new dynamism to Couples for Christ. They will meet Kokstad June 20.

16.The diocesan  priests spent two days recently in Durban. This was both prayerful and enjoyable. It involved a day of prayer and then a day together recreating the sharing on our priestly life.  We thank Fr Bongani Mbhele who led the discussions and prayers.

17.  The week of prayer for the Christian unity took place between the Ascension and Pentecost Sunday in the town of Kokstad at the various churches. The Bishop preached at the Power of Love Church on the 21st of May and prayer sessions were held in three other churches in the following days. It is a Christian duty to respond to the prayer of Jesus, “Father make they all be one”.

18. We congratulate Fr Marriano in his excellent production of INKWENKWEZI.   We encourage the priests and sisters to make a real effort to spread the Inkwenkwezi into many hands and especially into our Catholic homes. We wish to provide Catholic material for people, especially the young, to read in the comfort of home.

Fr Marriano is also very keen to get contributions, photographs and articles about events in our parishes. This interests the people and give fresh ideas while encouraging and recognizing what is been done.

19.Anthony Ciro is working on the establishment of the website for the diocese of Kokstad. We hope to go on line in a few weeks. Those than who can access the web will be able to read the news of our diocese there.

Jeannette Stanford is also working on the history of the diocese. She hopes to produce a book which will show the wonderful done in this diocese over the last 125 years. This also underlines the importance of having a parish chronicle.

20.The first resident priest came to Kokstad town in 1884. So we can say that for 125 that the Catholic Church has been resident in the area of this diocese. During this coming 12 months we will have celebrations to record this reality by remembering the heroic deeds of the past and giving thanks to God. It will also be a call to re-commitment.  Aware of the treasure we hold we will experience the challenge to develop and build on what has already been done. So let us put our minds together to see how we can better celebrate the special Jubilee 125 years of the Church in Kokstad.

21.The Government is just now that the N2 National road will run from Port Shepstone right across the coast of the diocese and passing Bizana, Flagstaff and Lusikisiki on its ay down to Umtata. This will ultimately change our human and natural environment and offer new pastoral challenges.

22.  Remember that on Saturday the 3rd of October we will go on the Diocesan Marian Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte, in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary.

23.                         Forth Coming Events

 

a.     The vocation team of the diocese met in Kokstad on the 15th of June. Everybody must pray sincerely for vocations. All can see that we are very much understaffed in our diocese at the moment and we must ask God to come to our aid.

It was decided to have a vocation workshop in Bizana from July 12-15. Students who are in grades 10-12 and who have shown some promise of vocation should be highly encouraged to attend.

We look forward to welcoming home on holidays our seminarians, Fidel, Musawenkosi, Zonwabele and Napo on holidays. We hope to meet them together at the Bishops house, July 9 and 10. They are always welcome to stay there during holidays.

b.     The Diocesan Pastoral Council took place here in Kokstad on June the 16th .   The Priests , the Parish Council Chairman and the Secretary attended. The youth were ably represented.

The meeting was chaired by Fr Bongani Mbhele. Four excellent presentations were made.

i.                    Sr Francina Mlithwa spoke as of the Cathecetical team of the diocese. While reporting on the work of the team she pointed out that PPC’s must pay attention to the state to the state of teaching in the parish. She spoke of the team woke in presenting to the teachers, Abahlwayeli, a series of 6 lessons which have been worked out nationally to help them enrich their own knowledge and work. They are also now presenting 9 new lessons. Teachers need the support of parents and home prayer. The RCIA needs to be better implemented. In those parishes where priests are involved, like Umzongwana a lot more is achieved.

ii.                  Jonathan Meth spoke of the work been done and the plans for the future for the Marriage Desk of which he is the secretary. Jonathan has had very positive responses from priests and congregations when he has addressed the burning issues in marriages and family and parenting.

It is very important that the course in Kokstad from midday 6th July of Midday 12th of July be attended. The Cape Town marriage desk, at considerable expense, are coming to train parish teams of 6 in facilitating these areas of life around the diocese. The Xhosa course will be on during the day and an English course in the evening. If we wish to make a concerted effort to enrich home life and the future of children we need to have 6 people from the parish at this event. Jonathan will visit all parishes between July 18 and Aug 30.  He introduced us to Joyce, his wife who is with him in the work.

iii.                Mrs Pat Madikizela, our representative with Fr Lizo and Mr Denge at the National Forum reported back on the work and aims of Forum. Pat spoke of her immense challenge now facing the church in evangelization as people become exposed to many media and foreign experiences. She emphasized that the whole Church must be involved. The clergy, that is the priests and religious, are but part of her family, the majority if fact are the laity and they are priests through baptism called to bring Christ into home, work, community, into economics, politics, education and health. This team will again represent us at the next Forum in Botha’s Hill on August 8, Saturday. Pat felt that the promotion of Inkwenkwezi is a very good step in which to begin to properly inform our adults and youth on spiritual issues.

iv.               Mongezi, accompanied by his chairman Bulelani, addressed

the meeting on the situation of youth in the country and in our parishes. They spoke of a Youth Leaders meeting at Palotti farm, Queenstown from September 24-26. This should be attended by 15 youth leaders. All is paid for we have simply to provide transport. Father Sihle, as diocesan chaplain should attend.

Mongezi issued a strong challenge to priests at the local level and parish priests to come closer to the youth and to their problems. He felt that many were leaving the church as they had only attended to receive sacraments and then with no depth of formation went to other assemblies. He spoke of the grave need for funds and how plans drawn up early in the year could not be followed up because of poor funding. Working together, adults and youth we can do more. He spoke of pornography and drugs and immorality which were destroying youth under our eyes. Mongezi hoped that the proposed pilgrimage to Malenge in December would be well organized, funded and implemented. Youth, he said, need to come to church to pray and play. A strong call was made for the youth associations of the diocese to consolidate. Preparation for confirmation needs to be real and very thorough.   Parishes need to work out a solid role for youth participation.

c.     The 26th of June the Department of Evangelisation in Pretoria.

d.     29th of June, we will close the Year of St Paul with the ceremony in the Cathedral. Same day, Consultors Meet in Kokstad.

e.     From June the 30th to July 2nd the Xhosa Pastoral team will meet at Queenstown to discuss the music and liturgy in our Xhosa speaking areas.

f.       From the 6th to the 10th of July Sister Duncan from the Diocese of Cape Town will be here to work with Our Marriage Desk. Jonathan Meth has invited six people from each parish to attend. They will be dealing with parenting, Marriage life, marriage associations and preparations for marriage. The idea is to train people who can facilitate this training. Try and make sure that there are six people here for those four important days. Starts in the afternoon of Monday the 6th of July.

g.     From the 8th to the 11th, the bishop will be on a Pastoral visit to Mount Frere parish.

h.     On 13th of July the Province of the Sisters of Precious Blood at the Mariannhill Mission will celebrate their founder Abbot Franz on the special occasion at Glen Avent on the 13th of July, preacher will be bishop.

i.       14th of July, Day of recollection led by Fr Bongani at the Poor Clares.

j.       On the 19th of July there will be Confirmation at Lusikisiki.

k.     31st of July Echoing the Word course with the teachers of schools will continue in Kokstad.

l.       August 3rd and 4th Diocesan priests will celebrated the Feast of St John Vianney.

m.  August the 5th to the 12th Plenary session of the Bishops Conference in Mariannhill.

n.     The night of August the 15th and 16th Kevelaer pilgrimage.

o.     On the 30th of August, Matatiele Confirmations.

p.     September 4th  and 5th Education the Word course continues.

q.     7th of September, Metropolitan meeting of the bishops at Glenmore.

r.      Recollection for the Diocesan priests at Poor Clares, led by Fr Vincent.

s.      9th and 10th of September Pastoral Agencies will meet in Pretoria.

24.The Year of the Priest, June 19-June 2010.

LENTEN APPEAL COLLECTION FOR 2009

PARISH              2007         2008            2009        % INCREASE

BIZANA            8463.80    10172.32    11316.00         11%

BHONGWENI   8000.00     7500.00    14409.80          92%

CEDARVILLE   3740.00     6263.00      7540.00          20%

CATHEDRAL 28355.00   43000.00    34768.10

FLAGSTAFF      6800.00     8310.00    10721.80          29%

FRANKLIN        1926.00      2100.00     4188.00          99%

HARDINBERG 8000.00      5720.00     9100.00          59%

LUSIKISIKI       5000.00      6800.00    15160.00         122%

MAKHOASENG                                     3143.00

MAKHOBA       2000.00       2110.00     2580.00           22%

MARIA TELGTE 2344.00   2301.43     4218.80            83%

MATATIELE    9500.00    11948.61     11588.70

MT AYLIFF      2969.73      4250.20       3318.50

MT FRERE        2760.10      2640.00       3308.20           25%

TABANKULU   1742.05      2550.00       2158.40

TAYLORVILLE 11510.00    11589.00    13804.10         19%

GRAND TOTAL 103110.68     127254.56     151323.40 19%

CONGRATULATIONS AND MANY THANKS TO ALL FOR THE WONDERFUL EFFORT

Iindaba # 063

9th March 2008

The following are the responsibilities in our diocese of Kokstad;
Vicar General; Fr Richard Kugber Kasin.
a.      The Consultors, Fr Mariano, Fr Peter, Fr Lucas, Fr Francis, Fr Joseph, Fr Lizo.
b.     The Chancellor, Fr Joseph.
c.     St Anne’s Sodality, Fr Lucas Bambezela
d.     Liturgy, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza.
e.      Sacred Heart Sodality, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza
f.       Amadodana, Fr Silindile Yalezo.
g.     Abantwana BakaMaria , Fr Thabang Letsohla.
h.     Legion of Mary, Fr Thabang Letsohla
i.        Youth
j.        Vocation Director of the Diocese, Fr Lizo Nontshe.
k.     Editor of the INKWENKWEZI, Fr Lizo Nontshe.
l.        The Amadodakazi, Fr Aaron Nakufa.
m.   Amajoni kaKristu uKumkani , Sister Vianney and Fr Sihle Mbhele.
n.     Protocol: Fr Mariano and Sister Natalia.
o.     Marriage Tribunal Judge, Fr Vincent Bwete.
p.     Diocesan Secretary, Mrs Lorna Wicks.
q.     Diocesan Pilgrimage of Telgte, Fr Francis Lemao.
r.       Catechetical Director of the Diocese, Sr Beauty Mkhandlwana.
s.      Diocesan Catechetical team, Ms Nombini Mavango, Mr Michael Khumalo, Cecilia Mentz, Mrs Motubudi and Sr Francina.
t.       Sinosizo Director, Mrs Patricia Napier. For the full list of the team of Sinosizo Apendix 1.
u.     Project Manager, Mr Anthony Ciro.
v.     Agricultural Development, Bro Herman.
2. Future events – March
March 10th to 13th priests’ meeting at Coolock House.
9th March, Bishop meets with the Marriage Sodalities in Johannesburg.
11th March, Bishop meets with Pastoral Agencies, Pretoria.
17th March, St Patrick’s Day, Patron of the Diocesan. Bishop will speak at St Patrick School on this day. We will celebrate the Feast later in April.
19th of March, the Mass of Oils at 11 o’clock at the Cathedral, parishioners are welcome; choir, Lusikisiki. Lunch will be served inside for the priests and sisters. From the kitchen for the congregation.
26th of March Metropolitan meeting of Bishops of Durban,
27th March Bishops meet with Religious Superiors of the Metropolitan area.
29th of March, 9.30. The Legion Meeting at Matatiele will meet on the 30th of March Vema Church will be opened. Bishop will also say Mass at Silangwe.
Congratulations to Fr Vincent and his community in completing this work.
1st , Sinosizo meeting Kokstad.
2nd -5th , the Catechetical team of the diocese at Kokstad will train the deanery leaders.
They will introduce them to a new program which has been together by the national catechetical committee. This will be an intensive program for them as persons and as teachers. It is hoped that deanery teams will take this program then to various parishes.
5th, day of recollection for the Little Sisters at Matatiele.
6th , Masses at Cedarville and Lunda.
April 6th – 9th, Meeting of the Sisters of the Diocese at Coolock House.
Sisters are invited to arrive in the evening of the 6th of April, we will return after breakfast of the 9th Wednesday.
13th , Confirmation at Mnikwa.
16th , Day of prayer with the teachers in Matatiele. These are the school teachers who are invited by the Catholic Institute of Education and Mrs Gloria Napier.
20th , Masses at Lugada and Polile.
22nd and 23rd , meeting of the REAP board in Cape Town.
26th , Wedding in the Cathedral.
April 28th, the Diocesan pastoral council to meet in Kokstad. Each priest with PPC Chairperson, Secretary and the Co-Ordinator of the Parish Catechetics.
 
May
May 3rd, will be the ordination of Fr Sithembele Sipuka as the bishop of Umtata.
6th – 10th May, The SACBC executive meeting in Pretoria.
11th May, the parish Feast in Bizana, Pentecost.
14th May, The teachers day of retreat in Kokstad.
3.     Three new seminarians began studying for Diocesan Priesthood in the Diocese, Mkhuseli Maduna from Cedarville, Zonwabele Mjoki from Bizana and Fidel Balasha from Lusikisiki who will study first year Theology.
4.     From November the 26th to the 1st of December the Theology Week took place in Maria Telgte. About 130 leaders participated in a very fruitful week. We express sincere gratitude for Fr Lizo and Fr Yalezo who led the discussions on 2 days. Sister Callista, Michael Khumalo and the Bishop also gave inputs. We thank Fr John for the hospitality and the catering on this occasion.
5.     About 80 youth participated in the pilgrimage to Kevelaer from the 3rd to the 7th of December organized by Fr Sihle, Fr Vincent , Fr Melese.
From the 5th to the 8th of December Fr Thabang led the Children of Mary retreat assisted by Sr Khumbuzile Mathe.
6.     Christmas dinner was enjoyed by the priests and sisters of the diocese on December the 11th.
7.     Congratulations to Fr Thabang and to the parish of Rasheni in Mvenyane on the opening and blessing of the New church on December the 16th .
8.     The whole diocese rejoiced in the ordination of our brother Siphelele Gwanisheni who was ordained a Franciscan priest at Bhongweni on the 17th of December. He celebrated his first Mass at his home in Bizana and again great crowds attended.
 
Again the diocese rejoiced when 5 young women from our diocese took their First Profession as Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Matikwe on the 18th of December.
 
9.     Please remember in your prayers our friends who have left us over the last two months. We remember Sister John Vincent who was the member of last community of Holy Cross Sisters here in Kokstad who died in Pretoria at the age of 90. And we pray too for Mr Nohabuza who was one of the leaders of the Community in Lusikisiki who was killed in a car accident and was laid to rest on the 4th of January.
We remember also William Sidoyi who cared for the gardens at Kokstad, and was a very loyal and devoted friend of the community. His funeral took place from the Cathedral.
10. Confirmation was celebrated on the following places of the last two months, at the Cathedral, at Lugada, at Chibini, and Dutyini in Bizana, at Rhasheni, at Mt Ayliff and at Dundee. Congratulations to the priests and the communities who prepared our young Christians for the Sacrament. In each place a confirmation retreat took place before the actual celebration of the Sacrament.
11.  The diocese was very happy to be visited by three Mother Generals over the past few weeks. Sr Basil Ndzimande, the General of the Franciscan Sisters of St Francis from Assisi. She brought us the precious gift of Sr Francina and Sr Eusebia. The Sisters have taken residence in Maria Telgte and offer assistance in Catechetics in Pastoral work in Franklin and the Care of our children at Maria Telgte.
Mother General of the Franciscan Nardini Sisters came to visit us. This is her first visit to Kokstad and we are extremely grateful for the community she has sent to work for the Poor and needy. We welcome Sister Antonia who is a second year Novice.
We also welcome Mother General Ingebord of the Precious Blood Sisters who called during her Pastoral visitation of the sisters in South Africa.
12.We very happy that the Precious Blood Sisters have done so much to upgrade St Theresa School in Bizana in the person of Sr Jerome. New classrooms have been added and a Principal’s office.
13.The catechetical team of the diocese led the excellent retreat for catechism teachers here at Kokstad from 1st to the 3rd of February. This was organized in a special way by Sr Callista. And about 120 teachers participated. She was assisted by Nombini Mavango and the Catechetical team.
14.On the 4th of February the priests of the diocese met in Kokstad to consider the question of the catechetics and make sure that we give them sufficient importance in the diocese. We do this by making sure that each station has a number of catechism teachers. We try to make sure that these teachers are properly prepared and that they have books, registers. We priests also promise to support teachers when it comes to reception of the Sacraments. If our teachers tell us that Children have not attended we must support our teachers and postpone these children’s reception of the sacraments no matter whom their parents are.
We agreed that for baptism to take place there must be a security that the child will be raised in the faith. Classes must be offered for all parents requesting baptism for their children. The RCIA is the official catechetical program for adults in the diocese. And during the period of Lent we follow the period of scrutinizes. We agreed that the children should be 16 years of age when they are accepted for confirmation.
The diocese is issuing just now its catechetical diocesan policy.
15. We are building and blessing churches in the following places:- Rhasheni, Nqhume – Flagstaff; St Calistus – Hardenburg, St Anthony’s in Makwaseng, at Pamlaville in Chibini, at Lubaleko near Makhoba, Vema and Diamond in Bizana, Mkata, Ngozi and Qawukeni in the parish of Lusikisiki. Gogela, the hope place of Bishop – elect of Eshowe, Monsignor Kumalo must also be considered.
16. On the 28th of November the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate in Matatiele concluded a very successful year with a concert for the parents of their children.   We also welcome Sister Nodoli Mbanjwa who is 2nd Novitiate Novice preparing to take vows in Zambia
17.  Fr Thabang is doing much to revive the Legion of Mary. By supporting meetings, bringing the leaders together and by offering retreats, Fr Thabang has brought this wonderful sodality back to life. We must remember that many of the missions in our diocese were built basically by the work of dedicated Legionaries and by the priests who supported them. They are particularly strong in Bizana, Matatiele, Hardenberg and Chibini.
18.The Bishop attended the ordination of Fr Michael Wurstenberg to the diocese of Aliwal North.
It is with great joy that the Diocese of Kokstad received the news of the appointment of Monsignor Thaddeus Xolelo Kumalo as Bishop of Eshowe. The new bishop is from Gogela in the parish of Kokstad but he is incardinated for many years in Bethlehem.
19. The Bishop also attended the National Convention of the St Anne’s Sodalities in Swaziland. Our diocese was represented by Fr Lucas Bambezela, Mrs Anna Mbopheni, Mrs Jansen and Mrs Anna Hlobo.
20. The Bishop also attended the celebrations for Misereor, this is the German’s Bishops Lenten Appeal. Miserior has sent billions of Rands to the church in other countries since 1958. This year it is 50 years old and the launch of this year’s lentan appeal in Germany featured the celebration of the Mass at Regina Mundi in Johannesburg on live German Television.
21.  We remember that this year is the 150 year celebration of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes, the actual day was the 11th of February which is the traditional Worldwide church day of the sick. Perhaps, we should make special efforts this year to care for the sick and invoke Mary’s intercession for them.
22.  Already this year we have had 72 young people , parents and friends working in the diocese for two weeks. They came from Dublin in Ireland. They built two foster homes in Makhoba; they worked in Franklin, supplying a kitchen there helping the sick, visit the villages with the help of Fr Tom – who has become their hero and mentor. They worked also in Lusikisiki, Flagstaff and visited many schools bringing Irish music and learning the music of South Africa. This was a great help to us but also a wonderful education for these young people who are still at school in Ireland.
23. It is with great joy that our convents and parishes are able to watch Television EWTN. Here we get excellent Catholic programs 365 days of the year. Everyone should try and have this station as it offers us something for our spirit during the year. We can also follow papal ceremonies here.
24.  We had an excellent meeting in February of the adult leaders of the Masolenyana of the Diocese. 35 leaders met under the chairmanship of Sister Vianney.   They have now a program for the year. Likhabiso Panneng who is an excellent singer with a good knowledge of liturgy is available to Masolenyana in the parishes throughout the diocese if invited to offer them formation and training.
25. Sister Natalia represents a group called Friends in Ireland. They are building a hospice in Lusikisiki to care for little children who are abandoned or who are getting treatment at the hospital for their illness. This will be more of Care centre rather than an orphanage. Friends in Ireland are also caring for vulnerable children at Chibini under the guidance of Sr Constantia. With Fr Tom’s help they have found a Creche in Franklin and added class-rooms to the school there. They are also at Nomlacu and at Flagstaff. The Flagstaff project is under a special board in the area of Chief Faku.
26.Br Herman continues with the Agricultural Projects in many areas throughout the diocese. Brother has helped people who are keen to do something for themselves to have good food, to learn how to produce vegetables and food for their table and for the market. Brother Herman oversaw the establishment of pumps in three different areas of Bizana and also at the Mission in Kokstad. It seems that Kokstad is having an almost total water shortage this Winter. Hopefully we will have water from a new water hole which is a 173 m deep and gives 1300 litres an hour.
27. We rejoice that a daughter of our Diocese Sister Callista has been appointed Provincial of the Daughters of Charity at Matikwe. We promise her our full help and we rejoice that Sister Beauty has been sent by her to care for Catechism teachers and that Sr Nomsa, whose home is Flagstaff, is coming to take responsibility for the catechetical programs around Hardenberg.
28.  RESPOND will built some training centres, extend our church in Shayamoya and offer skill centres in Shayamoya, Bizana and Hardenberg. It is them who gave us at the beautiful offices for Sinosizo at the cathedral and are now extending that work. Their very helpful and kindly representative here whom we welcome is Niall Mac Abacin.
29. Resolutions for the SACBC Plenary session.
a.      The conference resolves that the investigation into the cause of the beatification of the Servant of God Benedict Daswa from the Diocese of Tzaneen should proceed with the support of the conference.
b.     The Conference called the faithful of Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe to engage to a prayerful campaign for the church and people of Swaziland and Zimbabwe to assist in efforts of Justice and Peace and Reconciliation. The Campaign should consist of a daily prayer for Justice Peace and Reconciliation. The Peace prayer for Southern Africa can be used.
c.     The Conference discussed the reports of all the various offices and committees working throughout the country.
d.     In response to a felt need the Bishops called for a National Youth office to be set up, to facilitate the communication between all catholic youth programs in the country.
e.      The Department of Evangelization will continue to organize a National consultative Forum in August, the topic will be part of our DPC discussions.
f.       The Conference mandated the executive to investigate the property of St Peters Seminary. It also asked Bishop Michael Colman to make available St Joseph Pastoral centre in Port Elizabeth as Interim premises for St Kizito Orientation seminary.
g.     The conference resolved that a committee be appointed by the Departments of Seminary and Finance to find permanent premises for St Kizito.
h.     Concerning the Vocations apostolate, the conference resolved that all Vocation Directors from the diocese of the conference be appointed for a minimum of five years to ensure continuity and stability.
i.        All vocation Directors should be encouraged to attend workshop in 2009.
j.        A National vocation team establish to actively promote the Diocesan Priesthood in the Conference Territory.
k.     Money be made available from the Lenten appeal in 2008 for the printing of vocation material and for organizing the National Vocations Workshop in 2009.
30.Fr Francis Lemao will convene a meeting of a select committee to plan the diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte which will take place on the night of the 4th of October, Saturday night. The committee will take into considerations the recommendations made and plan the program and personnel responsible for the night.
31.  We welcome Sean Lowry who did so much to establish Sinosizo. I am giving you the personnel of Sinosizo so that the priests and sisters may do all they can to help them minister to the children, the sick and all who are in need. I thank Sr Christina for all the work done to get food and clothes for our people. With Winter around the corner we must think seriously of the poor, in serving them we serve Christ Himself.

Iindaba # 062

15th November 2007

1.     The following are the various responsibilities in our diocese of Kokstad.
a.      Vicar General, Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin.
b.     Consultors, Fr Mariano, Fr Peter, Fr Lucas, Fr Francis, Fr Joseph, Fr Lizo.
c.     Chancellor, Fr Joseph.
d.     St Annes Sodality, Fr Lucas Bambezela.
e.      Liturgy, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza.
f.       Sacred Sodality, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza.
g.     The Amadodana, Fr Silindile Yalezo.
h.     Abantwana bakaMariya, Fr Thabang Letsohla.
i.        Legion of Mary, Fr Thabang Letsohla.
j.        Youth, Fr Sihle Mbhele.
k.     Vocations Director of the Diocese, Fr Lizo Nontshe.
l.        The Amadodakazi, Fr Aaron Nakufa.
m.   Amajoni , Sr Vianney and Fr Sihle Mbhele.
n.     Protocol issues, Fr Mariano and Sr Natalia.
o.     Marriage Tribunal Judge, Fr Vincent Bwete.
p.     Diocesan Secretary, Mrs Lorna Wicks.
q.     Diocesan Pilgrimage to Telgte, Fr Francis Lemao.
r.       Catechetical Director of the diocese, Sr Callista.
s.      Sinosizo Director, Mrs Patricia Napier.
t.       Project Manager, Anthony Ciro.
u.     Agricultural Development, Bro Herman.

2.     The Diocese was deeply saddened by the sudden death of Sr Mary Joseph of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who died on her way to Mariannhill Hospital on the 22nd of September. Sr Mary Joseph served this diocese with great faithfulness for forty years.
She was a teacher and formed generations of young people. We mainly associate her with Hardenberg though she spent the last number of years at Flagstaff. Sr Mary Joseph fell ill and while her Provincial was taking her to Mariannhill her condition took a serious turn on the way, she had to be taken to Rietvlei Hospital and there she died. Sr was laid to rest in Matikwe. The bishop said Mass on Sunday in Flagstaff thanking God for her service and asking God to receive her into Eternal life. We send our sympathies to the whole congregation.

3.     We welcome Fr Memo, a Comboni Father from Mexico who has come to join our diocese. Fr Memo will live at Mt Ayliff and assist Fr Melese in Mt Ayliff and Tabankulu. We are so happy to have him with us.

4.     On the 27th of September St Danuta and Joanna of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate in Matatiele celebrated their Silver Jubilee of Religious Life. In a beautiful celebration in the church in Matatiele the Sisters give thanks to God for His faithfulness to them. Both are playing very important roles in the life of the Church in Matatiele, and we thank God for their presence among us and pray God to give them many more years of religious life and many more years in Kokstad.

5.     In an effort to offer our people a sign of hope Fr Melese has had the beautiful idea of erecting a cross over the towns of Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu. In two separate celebrations with large congregations Fr Melese went on pilgrimage to the hills overlooking those villages and erected the cross, our sign of hope and final victory. This Cross is to remind the world of those who are sick and suffering, it calls us to serve them and pray for them, the Cross is also a sign to those who are bereaved that the dead who die with Christ will rise like him. These visible signs of our catholic faith build up a sense of faith in the events of ordinary life.

6.     The Marian diocesan pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to Maria Telgte on the 6th of October this year was well attended. It is true that many people were unable to attend because on the previous week both Sacred Heart Sodality and St Annes celebrated their retreats in Kokstad. Yet, a fine crowd of Youth attended and it was a joyful night of prayer and togetherness in the Lord. The Diocese express sincere thanks to those priests who led us during the night, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza, Fr Lizo Nontshe, Fr Sihle Mbhele, Fr Silindile Yalezo, Fr Melese Tumato, Fr Francis Lemao, Fr Mbulelo ofm and a special word of thanks to Sister Henrietta Madlala and Fr John at Maria Telgte. Appreciation too for Fr Joe for the sound.  The Sisters are very faithful to this Night of prayer and give a good example.

7.     From the 9th to the 18th of October the bishop with Anthony Ciro and Mrs Clotilda Damane, Mrs Ethel Ntshebe, Mr Gwanisheni and Mr Vanana visited Ireland as guests of RESPOND.
RESPOND is a social housing unit which has 25 years of proven accomplishment providing housing and villages for people in Ireland. They are now becoming involved in our Diocese in Kokstad and they invited us to participate in their Jubilee celebrations.
Our people from Bizana were delighted to see Ireland and experience the faith of people in Ireland and see how live is lived over there.

RESPOND will begin its development work at Shayamoya. It has drawn up detailed plans and has advanced negotiations with the Municipality for this work. Mr Niall Hopkins has come from Ireland and will acquire a house in Kokstad to direct the operation with Anthony Ciro and David Gardiner. They also have plans for Bizana and Maluti.

8.     The Bishop offered short retreats and celebrated confirmation with the faithful in Emakolonini in Mr Frere, in Matatiele town and at Mt Ayliff recently. Congratulations to the priests and parents who prepared their people for this important decision of faith and commitment to the gospel in their lives.

9.     On Sunday the 11th of November the Bishop blessed the New Church of St George at Dante in the Parish of Mt Ayliff. Present were Fr Benno the present Provincial of the Comboni Fathers, and the incoming provincial, Fr Joseph Sandri. In dedicating the church to St George we remember in a special way Fr Giorgio Stefani our well beloved colleague who laboured with such dedication in Mount Ayliff for seven years and died so tragically. We pray that this simple but nice new church will be a focus of faith and a source of life and community for our people.

10.  During Advent please take the envelops for the Diocesan collection. These are the envelops with the photo of the bishop on the front. And this collection is for the work of the Diocese while part of the collection is dedicated to various other collections we failed to subscribe to during the year, like the Mission collection.

11.  Sister Callista who is the director of the catechetics and Nombini and Sr Chrysantha continued their work throughout the diocese during 2007. On November 12th they reviewed the state of Catechetics during this year.
Sr Callista was very positive in that in many areas the catechism teachers attended workshops and responded generously. She thanks the priests, some of whom are making great efforts in order to pass on their faith to others.
In a few places that does not seem so be so successful. This is a serious indictment. Sister says that she found a growing commitment to the work of catechetics. Many teachers come to their workshops using their own money as the priests and parish councils seem incapable in some instances in providing assistance. Very many have a deep desire to know more about their faith. They are happy to do this work. Sister recommends that we have two retreats, spiritual retreats in 2008 in order to build up our people as Evangelisers.

The New Catechism from Sr Theodula in Umtata is being used more extensively now. It will soon be in Sesotho. It is easy to useand it is founded on the bible.
Sister is also happy that at the workshops some fervent parishioners who are not catechism teachers come to deepen their own faith.
Sister asked that each parish conduct ongoing formation for the parish each year.
Sister found difficulties in that the RCIA has not been adequately developed. She also found that many of our catechism teachers are over extended in that they are members of Sodalities, involved in Home-based caring and so are over extended.

12.The Rural Education Access Program (REAP) hopes to have many more successful applications this year. Tremendous work has been done by Lorna Wicks in interviewing candidates for bursaries. These bursaries are of invaluable assistance for bright but poor rural children. With these bursaries the door of Higher Education is open to them and their families. The average value of the bursary is about R10 000. We hope to have quite a number of new candidates at University next year.
The Bishop is the Chairperson of REAP in South Africa, this year we have 380 students from all over the country attending third level educations facilities. Without this assistance these students would have no way to pursue their studies.

One of our student is completing as a Chartered Accountant which is the highest qualification in that field. She is one of the first African woman in the country to attain this distinction.
She came to the bishop’s attention, though not a catholic one of our Indian Teachers at Brooksnek. Because of her excellent year grades she has received most of her Education free through bursaries. She also suffers from Polio and struggled to walk to school in the hilly area around Brooksnek. She is from Dutyini, but Dutyini in Mt Ayliff parish.

13.Would people please send in early the dates for their Workshops, Retreats and Diocesan Events. During this year 2007 many dates clashed and people were disappointed.
Also it is very important to book early with Fr Joseph or Mrs Wicks if people wish to use the facilities here at the Cathedral.

14.                       For Your Diary
Future Events
a.      18th to 24th of November Bishop will be on retreat.
b.     25th of November, Confirmation at Mt Ayliff.
c.     27th of November, End of the Year Concert, at the Creche in Matatiele.
d.     30th of November to the 1st of December, the lay leaders meeting in St John Vianney Seminary.
e.     Remember the 26th to the 30th of November, Theology School at Maria Telgte. People should pay R30 and transport will be provided from Kokstad to Telgte. However, if you can take your people directly to Maria Telgte it will be a great help.
Those who will lecture there this year, Tuesday, Fr Silindile Yalezo    Wednesday, Fr Lizo Nontshe
Thursday, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza
Sister Callista Fr Mariano and the Bishop will also be in attendance and offer various lectures.
f.       December the 2nd, Confirmation at the Cathedral in Kokstad.
g.     Kevealer: 3rd to the 7th of December will be the Youth Pilgrimage by foot to Kevealer directed by Fr Sihle Mbhele assisted by Fr Vincent and Fr Melese.
h.     6th of December 60 years Jubilee of St Annes Sodality of Mariannhill Diocese.
i.       5th to the 8th of December, the Abantwana bakaMaria Retreat at the Cathedral.
j.       8th of December, the Amadodakazi have retreat at Bhongweni, Fr Aaron.
k.     11th of December will be the Consultors meeting 9:30.
l.       December 11th again we will have a short Christmas service at 11: 30. All priests and sisters are invited to this and will celebrate Christmas dinner afterwards.
m.  16th of December Rasheni, Mvenyane, Blessing of the New Church and confirmation Congratulations to Fr Thabang.
n.     17th of December , Ordination of Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni at Bhongweni.
o.    On the 18th of December 5 of our girls will be taking the first vows as religious in the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart at Matikwe. On the same day 3 more girls from the diocese will be received into Novitiate. Congratulations and rejoicings.
ACCODATION AT BISHOP’S HOUSE – BOOKINGS 2008
ST ANNE’S
Friday 8th February
Friday 4th April
Friday 30th May
Friday & Saturday 27th – 28th June
Friday 1st August
Friday – Sunday 26th – 28th September
Friday 31st October
Friday 28th November

SR CALLISTA
(CATECHETICS)

Friday – Sunday 1st – 3rd February
Friday – Sunday 11th – 13th April
Friday – Sunday 17th – 19th October

15.SINOSIZO
This is a Kokstad diocesan initiative which employs and trains members of the communities some of whom are themselves sick and poor, to deliver a range of services to meet the need of the area. It has been set up on a non-denominational basis in its management committee, its staff and its target groups amongst the poor and the sick. It aims to support the statutory problems. From the past eight years Sinosizo has trained hundreds of local people, mainly housewives, as volunteers to care for their neighbour who are ill and children who are vulnerable.

SINOSIZO SERVICES
HOME-BASED CARE(HBC)
Dividing the area into three regions being Kokstad (KZN), Maluti (EC) and Flagstaff (EC), each with a regional manager, members of the community, trained to care for the sick in their homes, are recruited from within the communities they serve.

ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC)
Careworkers offer support and assistance in childbirth registrations in the case where children have been orphaned. Where children have been registered and are in receipt of child grant, help is offered to settle the child in the new home, to ensure appropriate standard of shelter and oversee regular attendance at school and participation in community activities. We also offer services such as Psycho Social Support, Legal Aid etc. We offer limited nutrition to needy cases especially vulnerable infants.
Sinosizo also has its own garden projects which help with food parcels to the needy.

ANTI-RETROVIRAL TREATMENT (ART) SUPPORT
Careworkers assist patients by referring them and sometimes accompanying them to clinics to have themselves tested and provide counseling to patients on treatment.
These patients are being monitored by careworkers to ensure that they receive their treatment regularly, thus making it possible for the hospitals to attend to more urgent cases.

EDUCATION FOR LIFE PROGRAMME
Sinosizo undertakes to provide information and support to young people on a range of personal development issues, particularly those which will impact on building healthy and responsible relationships and avoiding HIV infection. It is aimed at a behavioural change.
Communities and schools are targeted in order to maximize the number of young people contacted, and follow-up meetings and activities are organized in an attempt to sustain the impact of the programme.

SINOSIZO TEAM
1        Manager
1        Finance officer
1        ARV Statistics officer
3 Regional managers
1        Education for Life Project Manager
9        Co-ordinators
13     Supervisors
68        OVC careworkers
108 HBC carewokers

No of patients : 997
No of Orphans: 2547
No of Vulnerable Children: 223
A great support with food, clothes and nourishment is the work of Sr Christina who manages to find donors in every shop in Kokstad and get food out to the poor all over the diocese.

16.COOLOCK HOUSE MEETING OF THE PRIESTS –
Oct 29-Nov 1
i.                   Fr Mariano spoke on Evangelization and told us that Evangelization means a transformation in the person’s life due to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Evangelization leads to personal conversion, to values and beliefs which give direction to life.

So we have to ask ourselves, ‘does our pastoral ministry touch people’s hearts and minds?’
We have to ask ourselves again what is the heart of my pastoral ministry?
What meaning do I give to my pastoral activities?
Or again what kind of priest is necessary to evangelise our diocese?
And are priests the only the evangelizers? The Christian baptized community?

ii.                 Points made during the following discussion:
Each person must make a personal private act of sincere faith.
Catechetics contributes to evangelization but is not the same thing. Most of our children can learn catechism, but many of them never personally encounter Jesus themselves.
Sacraments are meant to be moments of personal response, of personal faith, of personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
How are people actually prepared to receive Sacraments. Is something, is anything happening when people receive Sacraments?
Evangelization is the basic demand of the Pastoral Forum at Botha’s Hill this year when people from all over the country spoke about what they need from the church.
People leave the church for ‘spirituality’, yet to be evangelized is to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus, why?
Why do people not need, not fill the need of the Sacraments? Every day they seem to have a 1000 needs, needs for forgiveness, comfort, hope, friendship, salvation, peace, healing nourishment? Why do people say the Church is an Institution? Is there therefore life, encounter in our Pastoral Ministry?
iii.              Reflection: What is hindering evangelization?
a.      The type of society influences more strongly than the church.
b.     Poor training and poor support for catechism teachers.
c.     No post confirmation courses or classes for many people.
d.     The Institutional set up the church makes us take automatic steps at certain stages.
e.      We don’t convince people.
f.       Modern society offers more tangible response than the church.
g.     We don’t own the Sacraments personally and only approach them because of peer and parental pressure.
h.     There are few Catholic families so young people don’t digest the faith.
Equally there are no catholic schools to help them internalize that faith.
i.        Priests not involved in the formation of faith. We don’t convince our people that our services, our sacraments, our teaching, our preaching, our ministry, are channels of grace.
j.        We need to evangelize all the sodalities.

We made the following decisions in Coolock House
a.      We adopted the RCIA as our method of leading our people of faith, our means of evangelization.
The bishop is to issue a letter outlining the use of this program.
b. Report of Sacop. Fr Tabang spoke about the meeting of priests of South Africa at which he was our representative. He said they reflect on Sacraments as healing, they noted that many priests do not attend, renew courses.
He says that AGROP, the association of young priests needs to be promoted by the diocese.
Priests need to support each other.
c.     Fr Lizo was asked to investigate how our priests can become involved with Broadcasting on UMHLOBO WENENE and the media. Fr Lizo is the Editor of the INKWENKWEZI.
d.     Fr Sizwe offered a reflection on the recent diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte . He made many suggestions and the result was the establishment of a committee. The committee will be convened by Fr Francis Lemao. It would comprise Fr Sizwe, Fr John Kerr, Mr Michael Khumalo, Lungelo Jojo, a Sister from Telgte and Anna Mbopheni of the St Annes Sodality.
e.      The Telgte summer school this year would have lectures
Fr Sizwe on Evangelization.
Fr Lizo on the Sacraments, a general introduction.
Fr Silindile who will speak on Liturgy, Music and the use of the Hymn book.
There would be also contributions from Sister Callista and Fr Mariano.
Telgte will take place between the 26th and the 30th of November.

f.       Fr Vincent Bwete reported on his work as Judge in the Marriage Tribunal. He will supply the priests with pre-marriage enquiry forms.
g.     There was a long discussion on the relationship between Sodalites and parishes. It was agreed that the parish priest must approve those to be admitted to sodalities.
Ceremonies of admissions are to be ordinarily performed in the parishes. It is absolutely essential to check on the preparation of candidates regarding baptism, confirmation, marriage, good name, general commitment to the catholic faith.
While diocesan formation is excellent and priests can avail of its input, the program of the local parish priest must take precedence. Hopefully priests will be able to assure the Diocesan Director that their candidates are well prepared.

h.     The Youth
Fr Melese reported on the excellent work with the Youth Cross in all parishes. The visit of the Youth Cross was a great call to prayer and commitment in all parishes.
The Kevealer pilgrimage will take place between December the 3rd and the 7th from Franklin, each parish will pay R150. Each person attending will pay R35.

Each group from each parish should have some adults accompanying them.

The Leader of the pilgrimage is Fr Sihle with help from Fr Sizwe, Fr Melese, Bro Thabo and Sr Natalia.

It is agreed that the diocesan Youth Cross will be erected at Maria Telgte.

Fr Melese spoke about the International Youth meeting in Australia 14th to the 20th of July 2008. He will attend and represent us.

It was strongly advocated that Education for Life Programme of the Diocese should be used for all Youth life formation.

i.        Fr Tabang will direct the Abantwana baka Maria, they will meet in Kokstad for the retreat from December the 5th to the 9th .
It was agreed that the boys of the Abantwana should wear the blue uniform which should be the waist-coat . More emphasizes on boys participation.

j.        Fr Tabang has help the Legion to establish three Curiae and on Commitium.
It was agreed that more needs to be done for the vocations in the diocese especially for the diocesan priesthood. Besides your own parish work and prayers (Holy Hour in the parish etc) for vocations please work fully with Fr Lizo.

k. Fr Joseph handed out Statutes of PPC and PFC and it was agreed that the question of having a Diocesan Synod would be discussed in March.

Iindaba # 060

03 JUNE 2007

1. We congratulate Fr. Sihle Mbhele on his ordination to the priesthood on the 14thApril 2007 at the Cathedral. This was a very well prepared ceremony with youth coming from many parishes under the direction of Fr. Melese and Sr. Natalia. The many practices in preparation gave us a beautiful liturgy. We congratulate Fr. Sihle and ask God’s blessing on his family in Bizana who offered him to the church.

19th May 2007 the bishop ordained  Fr. Nkululeko Meyiwa OMI at Inchanga  Mission in Durban diocese.

We are very happy to welcome to the diocese Fr. Robert Mamba Khamango. Fr. Robert who stood up fearlessly for his people in Congo against attacks and atrocities emanating from the soldiers has had to leave his country as a refugee. We are happy to have him with us in the diocese of Kokstad.

2.      43 students and parents from schools in Ireland came to work in the diocese during March this year. They were facilitated by Francis Lambert and Sr. Natalia. They come through our connection with Friends in Ireland FIR. This year they stayed at Ingeli Lodge hotel. They worked to create a beautiful centre for street children at St. Anthony’s centre in Kokstad. They also worked in Chibini where they built a delightful kitchen for Sr. Constantia and her orphan children. Besides that they did a lot of work of visiting schools especially in the Franklin area under the direction of Fr Bruno. Some amongst the parents were doctors and nurses who brought medical care to many sick children in the diocese.

3.     Churches under construction in the diocese at the moment. There is a Rasheni in Cedarville, St. Calistus and St. Anthony in the area of Hardenberg. As well we have Dante church in the parish of Mount Ayliff while in Lusikisiki Fr. George is very busy with Mkata and Ngozi. We are preparing to build the church of St. Joseph in Dutyini. Fr Vincent is in process with his people at Vema and Zinini.

4.      A devout spirit of zeal and prayer has been created by Fr. Melese taking the Youth Cross around the diocese. I thank all the priests who have welcomed the cross and encouraged the youth to attend. This is a beautiful ceremony which allows our youth to come and pray before the cross. This cross was blessed as it stood beside the Pope’s cross in Queenstown and in Kokstad and now joins the world wide journey of the Papal cross as it sets out for Australia for the next encounter in 2008 between the Pope and the youth of the world

5. The Lenten appeal this year has been a wonderful revelation. We have received so far R102 000. Last year’s sum was R62 000. Congratulations to everybody, however I want to make a particular mention of Fr. Lizo and his people. They have given the sum of R11 000. This comes from a poor area, where people are truly struggling. I congratulate Fr. Lizo and his parish for this wonderful   achievement. As well they have given an enormous sum for the welfare of the diocese in a number of envelope collections. In appendix 1 you will find the list of the parishes and the sum of money given.

6   The young priests of the diocese, diocesan and religious met joyfully at Jacobs Well in Botha’s hill near Durban from 21-23 May 2007. It was a time of recreation and relaxation. Everybody appreciated the beauty of the place and our trip in to Durban.

7   All the priests of the diocese met at Coolock from March 12 to 16. Fr. Cyril Malinga of the Durban marriage   gave us an excellent input on the whole question of marriage in today’s society. Fr. Vincent Bwete is our local judge and works with Fr. Cyril Malinga. Fr. Cyril dealt with the meaning of marriage and how to present marriage to youth in preparation.

To say that marriage is a sacrament means having Christ as a companion for the couple in their married life. Marriage in church makes us co -creator with God .

A preparation for marriage should begin at an early age. The Education for Life, the Children of Mary, the Catechumens and on occasions of retreat all young people should be prepared for committed marriage life.

Fr. Cyril pointed out that young people have very few role models. Perhaps we need to celebrate more publicly jubilees and successful marriages in each of our parishes.

It was suggested that young couples be on the diocese and parish youth team to present marriage to the youth. In the preparation for marriage we should have a number of serious talks with the young couple and emphasize the dignity of woman. Try and make sure that these young couples are able to communicate with each other.

If there are situations of broken marriages which the parish priest feels may actually be cases for annulment this cases need to be referred to Fr. Vincent Bwete.

At Coolock Fr. Melese spoke on vocation. Fr Thabang spoke about the National Priest Council on which he is our representative. The bishop reported mainly on Sinosizo projects.

8   This year in August at Botha’s hill the bishops in their plenary session will meet with representatives of laity from each diocese of the country. The team chosen at Coolock house to attend with the bishop were Fr. Lizo, Mrs Madikizela from Flagstaff with alternate Mrs Nontshe.

Representatitive from the central region was Mrs Dolly Ngwadla from Mount Ayliff with alternate Mrs Napier.

In Maluti region Mr Nzame was elected with an alternative either Neo Kheswa or Dr. Nakeni. Would the priests please inform Mrs Madikizela, Mrs Ngwadla and Mr Nzame.

At Coolock House in conclusion the bishop made a number of points. He reminded the priests to make sure that all registrars are faithfully kept, He also asked that the Chronicle of the parish noting the main events in the life of the local church be recorded with dates and names/

All parishes should have Parish Finance Council.

Mrs Prisca Hadabe from Newcastle is an excellent presenter of marriage courses and retreats.

The bishop asked all the priests to give particular care to our home-based caregivers working with Sinosizo.

It was pointed out that the pilgrimage of diocese in honor of our Lady of the Rosary will take place in Maria Telgte on the night of October 06.Also in Maria Telgte this year at the end of November there will be a week theology course.

Next Coolock meeting will be on October 8 to 11.

9.      The Sisters of the diocese met in Coolock from 28 to 31 May 2007 to share their vocation in prayer, discussion and in relaxation. The sisters had a number of sessions on centering prayer and lectio divina. They were also represented with a copy of Bishop Hirmers book The joy of being Catholic which was also used for reflection.

In their reports on  their work it was seen that the sisters acontribute very valuable witness in the diocese for which the whole church must be grateful.

Sr. Christina not only works in the whole area of Bhongweni but manages to find food to send out great quantities with the priests and the home-based caregivers to 32 different sites in the diocese every month.

In Tabankulu Sr. Maria has 157 poor families on the list for food parcels every month. As well as this she distributes the food from the diocese.

Sr. Natalia works with Friends in Ireland as a representative here in the development work for the poor and abandoned children.

Sr. Jerome Ngcobo has after a lot of suffering managed to have our school centre in Bizana become a public school on private property.

Sr. Chrysanta in Maria Telgte has built up a connection between farm schools and the church.

The Little Sisters of the Immaculate have a model crèche which all the children of Matatiele want to attend.

Sr. Vianney in Flagstaff is the Major General of the Soldiers of Christ the King.

We cannot forget the work of Sr. Mary Anthony in the hospital in Lusikisiki with the very poor and Sr. Maria Goretti in Bizana who has trained the team which now goes weekly

Beside that all the sisters are committed to the work and life of the church  being supportive of the priests.

We appreciate the prayers especially those of the Poor Clares who are dedicated to serving us in this way in Christ.

10 The Amawele project is described in appendix no.2  This is an initiative linking Ireland and South Africa in particular in the diocese of Kokstad with the provision of better schooling facilities and possibilities for our children and our teachers. You will find in appendix no.2 the description of the launch of this project at Kokstad Motel in this May.

11            The Catholic Institute of Education. This year the Catholic Institute of Education in the person of Mrs Gloria Napier and assisted by Sr. Patricia have offered the Echoing the Word programme for the training of those teaching religion in schools both Catholic and government. This has been a singular success.  This is a course of 8 week-end lectures during the course of the year.

Mrs Napier and her team also organized 3 days of motivational prayer at the Poor        Clares on 23 February, and Flagstaff on 28 February, in Matatiele on the 2 March.

On 20 &21 April Mrs Napier hosted over 100 teachers from Umtata and Kokstad Catholic schools. It was a weekend of input, reflection, celebration of our vocation which offered great motivation for catholic teachers to be serious in this work of putting values to our children.

12            The bishop is the chairperson of REAP Rural Education Access Programme which tends to provide possibilities for third level education for bright but poor rural students. You will find on appendix no.3 a very important note from Mrs Wicks and Mrs Napier regarding who may apply from this bursary.

13            Respond which is an Irish organization founded by Franciscan Fr. Pat Cogan offers to help us provide facilities for training our young people in skills. In appendix no.4 you will see how far the planning has gone. They wish to do a lot of work for our people. But the initiative is to come from us if we have very good plans then we should speak now about them and they will help us. Already they have given us five new offices and meeting rooms at the Cathedral.

14            The bishop will be away in Rome at a  meeting Franciscan Bishops and in Ireland on holidays between the 14 June -11 July 2007

15. Fr George from Lusikisiki will be away for California USA for 18 months for  studies from July 2007. We all thank him for his work for that big parish and pray for him in his studies while we await his return to the diocese with new skills.

15            The Catechetical programme is experiencing a certain amount of success but in some parishes more than others. Meeting with the supervisors at the beginning of June Sr. Callista and her team of Sr. Chrysanta and Ms Nombini Mavango with Bishop had very positive reports from supervisor’s of most parishes of what is taking place. We thank Sr. Callista, Sr. Chrysanta and Nombini.

There will be deanery workshops for all catechism teachers 7-9 September 2007 for Matatiele Deanery

28-30 September 2007 at Flagstaff for the Pondoland people, and

26-28 October 2007 Kokstad Deanery.

Sr will run another workshop in Mount Ayliff on 22-24 June 2007; this is a parish workshop.

Please let us remember to celebrate Catechetical Sunday in all our parishes on Sunday the 16 September 2007. This was celebrated every where with great results last year. Please note this as a special Sunday to emphasize catechism and to thank and appreciate our catechism teachers while encouraging our children and parents. Teachers are almost universal in saying that prayer is dying in the home. We must be preach again and again to our parents about this.

16            The next diocesan consulters meeting will be on Monday 23 July 2007 at the bishops house.

17             Vocations. Fr. Melese has made every effort to encourage vocations in the diocese. But this is a prime responsibility for every priest working in this diocese. We simply must encourage young men to become diocesan priests in our diocese. If they want to become religious that is fine but in the first instance we should encourage their vocations to the diocese. I beg the sisters also to get involved in encouraging vocations. Fr. Melese will have a workshop at the end of July  27-29 in Bizana for young men who are interested. It looks as if we can have 3 candidates to send to the seminaries in 2008. Please pray and work for vocations. We are falling behind  inthis area.

18            July 24- 29 the bishop will be in Bizana on parish visitation and will have confirmation there on Sunday the 29 July2007.

19            The bishop will be in Mariannhill on 01-8 August 2007 or the Board and Plenary session of the bishop’s conference.

20            Please call to attention to a very important event on Women’s Day August 09 at Matatiele at 10am in the morning. Under the inspired guidance of nurse Angela Masangwana the nurses of the diocese are called to a special gathering. They will have a special mass addressed by the bishop and have the ceremony of anointing of hands. Our nurses have been hidden for quite a while, this is of great importance if we get them together.

21. On 11 August 2007 We will celebrate the feast of St Clare feast of our Poor Claire sisters. And also let us not forget vocations for our contemplative monastery which will bless our diocese by prayer and union with the Lord. We have great joy in seeing 2 of our young women Dikgabiso from St. Anthon and Zandile Masiko from Matatiele becoming postulants at the Poor Clare Capuchin in Melville. On June 29, in Kokstad Ntombfuthi Langa will join the novitiate in the monastery.

21            The priests chaplains of the youth in the dioceses of Eastern Cape will meet in Kokstad from 20-22August 2007. Our representative is Fr. Melese.

22             Sinosizo. You will find in appendix no.5 an account of the work done. Sean Lowry has done wonders to structure these very important task of the Church. He has a fine his team dedicated to the poor, the sick, the orphans and vulnerable children in our diocese. Please support this work and also you will find the names of those responsible for the 200 people now working for the diocese in this capacity. Please assist them in everyway thank you. They are caring directly for over 4000 sick and troubled children.

23            You will find in appendix no.6 an account of Education for Life and its re-launch in Johannesburg. This is headed by Miss Nosisa Ngwadla and deserves our support in preparing our children to understand the values of relationships, behavior and proper preparation for marriage and chaste life.

Iindaba # 055

 25 April 2005

1. There was a great attendance for the commemorative Mass for Pope John Paul. Like people throughout the world we also felt a great sadness at the passing of the great man who became part of our lives, our inspiration for 27 years. We also had a particular interest in the conclave with a son of our own diocese as a participant in Cardinal Napier.
2. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin has been appointed to St Peter’s Seminary. The Seminary Department has great difficulty in finding staff for formation of our seminarians. Fr Richard with his long experience of teaching pastoral work and his great ability in working with people is sent to the seminary to assist in this priority of the church in South Africa. We have 8 seminarians and we too as a diocese must contribute..
3. As you know we have now quite a number of girls qualified at Mariannhill in all kinds of hand- work and sewing. I strongly suggest to the priest and to the societies that they buy uniforms from our own girls. In June and July the Saint Anne’s and Sacred Heart and many other societies will be receiving new members, please encourage them to get their uniforms made by girls trained by the diocese.
This year we have almost 50 girls at Mariannhill and Umtata. In Umtata the Precious Blood Sisters offer dressmaking, candle making , cooking, housekeeping and catering for tourists.
4. The sisters of the diocese are invited to the annual diocesan meeting at Coolock from August the 21st to the 24th . We were unable to go in February because time did not permit.
5. Fr Thabang Letsohla has been appointed Vocation Director for the diocese. This is a heavy task and a very important one. I encourage all priests to work with Fr Tabang and help his initiatives.
This year we have sent two fine young man to preparatory Seminary in Port Elizabeth. They are MusaweNkosi Jakuja and Mashiyandile Tibane.
6. The bishop will be away from the 26th of April until the 13th of June. The South African Bishops will have the Ad Limina visit with the New Pope from the 30th of May until the 12th of June. Before that the bishop will have his retreat and also visit his mother in Ireland.
7. The Catechetics team of the diocese headed by Sister Callista had three sessions in different deaneries. Please invite the team and get the catechism teachers together. Even trained teachers find difficulty in keeping the attention of children in schools today . Our catechism teachers need a lot of help. Sr Callista is there to do just that.
8. Sr Natalia has been appointed as Director of Sinosizo in the Diocese. She will oversee all the operations carried out under the name of Sinosizo. Sister has just completed her Degree at University of KwaZulu Natal.
Sr Natalia has begun her work with great enthusiasm. She has already visited most of the parishes , she has seen many of their problems and plays a very active part in facilitating the work. Please invite Sr Natalia to help you reach the poor and dying.
Sinosizo continues its work throughout the diocese. They are training and retraining our home-based carers, they run Respite programs and now we are establishing drop-in centers.
It is estimated that we have 50 000 vulnerable children in our diocese . We cannot pass them by. We must offer them all the help we can.
9. We thank Fr John and the Hostel in Maria Telgte who now have 52 orphan children boarding the school. It is a great joy to see the children how have settled in, they fill at home. Children who are left without anybody in their homes are now in a beautiful secure environment.
10. Ms Patience Nogabe and her team are working with the youth of the diocese. The youth Director is Fr Vincent. They are co- ordinating plans in order to bring hope and recognition to youth. We have a serious responsibility for our youth and Patience can offer them a very great assistance.
11. REAP scheme offered 9 young people bursaries in our diocese. Substantial bursaries to the value of R10 000 help rural youth to enter Third level Education at University and Technikon. It is true that we give out 81 application papers. This was narrowed down to 23 who are serious candidates. Of those 9 were selected and are now studying at the University.
REAP is largely funded by the Irish Government and has just now won an award from the Minister of Education of South Africa for its outstanding work in enabling poor children to have a chance at serious Education.
12. On the 6th of February the bishop blessed the New Church of Kristo Umsindisi at Shayamoya. Great credit is due to Fr Sihlobo who organised the building of this church in very first time. It is now full on a Sunday with up to 300 families making use of it as a centre. Bro Siphelele is building up the community with his visits and pastoral care.

 

We hope to expand the centre to provide skills training and a creche on the same site.
13. Those who have visited the Cathedral and priest house recently in Kokstad will see the beautiful new all-weather roofs which Fr Joseph has organised and seen to completion. This is a wonderful achievement. The large amount of money necessary for this job was also facilitated by his parish council. Congratulations to them.
14. We are in the process at the moment of re- modeling at the bishops house in Kokstad. We wish to turn it to pastoral centre that will be more up to date and provide all the necessary requirements. It was a boarding school in the old days. Re- modeling will allow Bishop’s house to be separated from the pastoral centre. We hope to use it a lot for the training of leaders in the faith.
15. It has been regularly expressed in this diocese by laity, religious and priests that the catholic identity of many of our people is weak. Even many of our leaders do not have a sense of the catholic culture or catholic tradition. The catechetical team with the bishop and Sr Callista hope to formulate a course which will be offered from now on at the pastoral centre in Kokstad. This will take place over a few week- ends each year and will offer intensive theological formation for many of your leaders. We hope to start in 2006.
16. We say good bye and thanks to Sr Paulus Maria Mncwabe who was a zealous member of the catechetical team. The team held a farewell lunch and thanked her for great commitment to catecheses and to the Children of Mary.
17. The three Deaneries, Pondoland ( 22 February) Matatiele (24th February) and Mount Frere ( 1st of March). Met and initiated what hopefully will be an opportunity for us to plan apostolic work and cooperation ever more effectively.
All three deaneries felt that there would be an executive for each deanery of which all priests would be members.
As well , perhaps two times a year, the deaneries would meet with priests and representatives of all parishes to plan programs together.
18. We have become aware of the society of the Amadodakazi ka Anna in 7 parishes of our diocese. In One parish there is 119 members. As this society has started on an Ad Lib basis, there is some confusion regarding its origin, its aim, its constitution and its formation.
The bishop and his Consultors asked Sr Natalia to make an investigation so that we may put order into this society.
19. Please note that no sodality should be started in the diocese without first seeking permission from the bishop and his Consultors. At the moment we have many societies and many of these are leaderless and priests are not sure of their laws and their plans. So to bring order please make sure that any new society presents itself to the bishop before expanding its operations.
20. Please try and get your Lenten Appeal moneys to Mrs Wicks very soon. Also try and increase the money received over last year.
Last year the diocese put together 50,000 rand for the poor of the country . This was the biggest increase of any diocese in South Africa last year. So let us try and continue. But even with that generous grant, when we break down the contribution of the individual catholic in the diocese we see that they contributed 39 cents per person only. People can still do better.
21. The Legion of Mary signified its continuing life and existence when it held its Acies at Matatiele on the 12th of March. There was a very good turn out. One is very sympathetic to the Legion of Mary since many of our parishes have been built precisely by this sodality .   It has the great blessing of being under Mary’s protection , of combining prayer and work and of supervising the activities of its members.
22. It was very gratifying to see all the priests present at the Mass of the Oils on the 23rd of March in the cathedral. Thanks once again to Fr Sizwe and the people of Makhoba and Makhwaseng who led us in singing. This has become a beautiful ceremony now very well attended making people aware of the unity of the diocese and the essential role of the priesthood.
23. Remember that from May 5 to 15 there is the Novena for Christian Unity. That is from the feast of the Ascension to the feast of the Pentecost. We all should make effort and invite our people to participate in prayer for the unity of the Christian Church. We pray that all the people may enjoy the fulness of faith.
24. Each year the Bishops Conference in the person of Fr Vincent Brennan, offers a course in Priestly renewal at Coolock house. It is led by experts in Spirituality and Theology and lasts for two weeks. This year Fr Francis Lemau represents the diocese.
25. The Catholic Institute of Education and the bishop held three days for teachers to motivate them in their vocation and in their commitment to learners. They were reminded that theie work is a participation in the creating work of God.   50 teachers attended in Kokstad , 45 in Matatiele and 75 in Bizana.
The CIE was widely acclaimed for its great success with projects of literacy and the numeracy in the Bizana area . Their program showed a tremendous improvement in the ability of the children.
26.    Keep remembering that this is the year of the Eucharist. This for us is the great medicine. If people really believe that their Risen Lord is present in the Eucharist so many of their worries would evaporate, many of their anxieties would find consolation and strength. I am very happy to see many parishes with the ceremony of Holy Hour of processions , and of visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Let us exercise our minds in a particular way at the feast of Corpus Christi this year which will be on the 29th of May.
27.   We continue to remember that on October the 8th , the diocese will go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Lady at Maria Telgte. We celebrate the feast of Mary of the Rosary.

28. Fr Bill chaired the Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting held in Kokstad on Saturday the 23rd of April. The bishop told assembled parish representatives that the bishops of IMBISA had selected “ becoming a self sufficient church” as the theme of church activity over the next period of time . It is obvious that as the church grows with local ministers and membership it must also grow in the ability to look after itself in pastoral care and funds.

In the discussions time was spent on the need of financial contributions to the work of the church in the diocese. The bishop told the delegates that he was reducing the subsidy paid by 10 % each year.. So the parish must become more and more self sufficient.

It was pointed out that people would be much more generous in giving if they have clear information on their need and on the use of their money in the diocese.

The bishop undertook that he would give parishes an outline of the money received from within the diocese, money received from outside the diocese. It will also contain expenditure showing how much it costs to run a parish, a house, program, seminary etc.

29. It was also felt that if parish priests gave a simple outline to the people on the cost of running their parishes it would also encourage people to give more.

Many people are generous but it is felt that they are not adequately challenged by us to contribute more.

It was agreed that parish councils most have a parish finance committee.

The next Diocesan Pastoral council meeting will take place in Kokstad on November the 12th .

At this meeting there will be election of an executive for the Diocesan Pastoral Council . Each parish try to have two delegates present.

30. The annual retreat for the priests of the diocese will hopefully take place in October this year. This has still to be confirmed.

31. It is hoped that in cooperation with the Department of Education we will offer hospitality to children who are slow learners by opening up the old buildings of Hardenberg. Anything that will help the children who are generally overlooked is surely the work of God.

32. While I am away and while Fr Richard is in Pretoria, consult Fr Bill for issues affecting the diocese.

33. The diocesan priests monthly recollection days, the second Tuesday of each month will proceed as normal.

34. May is the Month of Mary, and a time for a renewal of the practice of the family and church Rosary.