25 January 2003
1. At the meeting of the priests in Kokstad on the 20th of January 2003 the bishop asked the priests to keep a parish chronicle and Archive.
2. At the beginning of the year check the physical condition of the mission-houses and churches. We should pay particular attention to the shoots along the roofs to prevent water destroying the walls of our buildings.
3. It will be a great blessing if the priests support Sinosizo and the Aids Volunteers. We have about 400 Home Based Carers and they need spiritual and motivational help. Invite the team of Ms Nomvano Qwebebe and Ms Patience Nogabe to train the carers or to renew their training.
Soup and maize are available at the bishop’s house for the poor and hungry .
4. Each parish must have a Finance committee. This committee needs to be supported by the priests and to be fully involved in raising the income from the parish.
We receive R250 000 rand per year from Rome. The Seminary alone costs R250 000 rand. Insurance of property and personel cost R170 000. So we have to raise money within the diocese. The bishop spends a lot of time begging for money.
In Advent envelopes for the diocescan collection will go to every family who are requested to contribute. The parish finance committee must raise income to support their priests and religious workers.
5. Fr Vincent Bwete is Spiritual Director to the Youth of the Diocese. He requests that each parish have a Youth Committee and also a representative on it’s deanery Youth Executive. The three deaneries will take turns representing the Youth of the diocese- starting this year with Pondoland Deanery. Deaneries should meet once a quarter.
6. Please encourage vocations through prayers, chatting with youth and invite Fr Bongani Mbhele, the Diocesan Vocation Director, or the seminarians to speak to young people.
7. Many of our people are hungry. There are a few things we can try to do. Brother Herman in Mount Frere will help interested groups of families who are determined to develop an agricultural project, he will assist them get such a project off the ground.
We have 24 girls in dress-making courses in Mariannhill run by St Matilda Mswane.
The Technical College in Kokstad opens this January. Registration is at the Show Grounds. Persons with JC and an ID can register now. There are a wide range of technical and secretarial courses.
8. Bible course. The South African Catholic Bible Foundation working out of Durban are very keen to offer introduction and deepening courses in Bible study.
Contact them through the diocese or through Sister Callista in Flagstaff. They will come for days, for week-ends and longer courses as needed to your parish . People continually ask for help with the Bible, putting them in contact with the Word of God will be a great spiritual support for all that they do in the parish.
The Glenmore team will also offer courses in pastoral ministry, if invited, to your parish.
9. The diocese rejoiced on the 7th of December when Fr Lulama Msongelwa from Bizana was ordained a priest. It was a day of great celebration, we congratulate Fr Lulama and his family.
On the following day at Ludeke Fr Lulama celebrated his first Mass where the preacher was Fr Bongani Mbhele..
10. The diocese is very grateful to Fr Gunther and his team of priests and sisters and medical and catering teams who led a very efficient and prayerful youth pilgrimage to Kevelear. Now an annual event the pilgrimage was an inspiration for youth with prepared liturgies and a spirit of prayer.
Many parishes are now organising pilgrimages within their own areas. This is a beautiful way of praying, socialising and relaxing in the presence of the Lord.
11. The diocese was very deeply affected by the stroke suffered by Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin on the 14th of December. Fr Richard was dedicated and engaged in many activities for the benefit of the whole community. His sudden illness has been a great blow to the parish. Matatiele has kept up a program of prayer on his behalf as he recovers. Fr Richard is in St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill and beginning to regain the use of his arm and leg.
Fr Richard please get well soon.
12. Matatiele parish celebrated 70 years of its church-building on December the 15th . Prepared diligently by Fr Richard and by the Little Sisters of the Immaculate it was a day of celebration.
13. Fr Bongani Mbhele is parish priest of Bizana with Fr Vincent Bwete as assistant. We express sincere gratitude to the Franciscans who have worked so faithfully in Bizana for seventy years. Prayerful sympathies to Fr Bongani and to his family on the death of their grand-mother
.Fr Jose Chakalakal and Fr Lulama Msongelwa will look after Matatiele and Cedarville. May God bless them all in their work.
14. We say welcome to Sister Maria Kolbe and Sister Nawela from Zambia who have come to join the Poor Clares community in their ministry of prayer for the diocese and the church. Welcome to Sister Danuta to Matatiele.
15. Forth -coming events
a. Brother Aaron OFM will be ordained a Deacon at the Poor Clares at Mass on Sunday the 26th of January. May God bless him.
b. The Bishop will be in Pretoria at the SACBC plenary from 28th of January until the 7th of February.
c. The catechism teachers of the cathedral parish in Kokstad will be commissioned by bishop on February the 9th , at second Mass. Have we appointed and blessed our parish catechism teachers?
d. The diocesan Aids committee will meet at the bishop’s house on February the 10th.
e. The consultors of the diocese will meet at the bishop’s house on the 17th of February at 10am.
f. The sisters and religious brothers of the diocese and the religious brother are invited to their annual meeting at Coolock House from the evening of 23rd of February until the morning of the 26th of February.
g. March the 3rd, the bishop will celebrate his episcopal ordination. All priests and religious are invited. Mass at 11 o’clock followed by lunch at the bishop’s house.
h. The priests will meet at Coolock House from the evening of the 17th March until the morning of 20th of March Thursday.
16. At the meeting of the priests on the 20th of January the catechetical policy for the Diocese was discussed and a draft document was drawn up. This was presented by Sister Callista and Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe. This draft document hopes to initiate a uniform policy for the diocese.
Please look over document and let us begin implementing it. Further discussions will have to
take place during the course of this year to ensure that our policy is simple, practical and complete.
An honest look at our baptismal registers and at our Sunday liturgies will easily reveal that we loose a great number of children received into the Church. And of those who do present themselves for the Sacraments, we see that they have almost no real knowledge of the faith, are ignorant of the church and its teachings, are innocent of any moral demands of the gospel, they have no catholic identity. In fact, if there were no singing they would all disappear.
Here follows the Document.
The catechetical Policy of the diocese of Kokstad
1. The Vision: Christian life is an ongoing formation journey based on conversion leading to an intimate relationship with Christ, in the lived community of the Church, and manifesting itself in Christian living. “Come follow me”. “Repent and believe and Good News for the Kingdom is close at hand”. “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full”. (Jn 10 vv 10).
a. The first school of Christian life is a family. The primary responsibility for passing on the faith rests with the family and parents.
b. All Christians by the grace of Baptism are evengelisers.
c. All catechesis must lead people to personally encounter Christ. Catechesis leads to faith, a faith which is more than knowledge, and which allows people to experience God’s personal love for them.
d. In catechesis we are led to the community of faith by the community.
e. Catechesis in the Catholic Church is based on the Word of God in the Scriptures as taught by the church in its tradition.
f. Catechesis will lead to prayer and in a particular way will be nourished by and will nourish participation in the liturgy.
g. All catechesis will lead to a life marked by the teaching, example and presence of Christ in the practise of Truth and Love.
3. Baptism of children
Infants (1-7 years).
a. A child may only be baptised if there is solid hope that it will be reared in the Catholic faith.
b. Parents should attend at least 4 preparatory lessons prior to the baptism of their child.
Every effort must be made to elicit from the mother a commitment to rear the child in the faith if the father is absent. If both mother and father are absent then the priest must ascertain strictly that an active Catholic adult related to the child accepts explicit responsibility for the rearing of the child in the faith.
The four classes (or more) must cover the basic meaning of the Paschal Mystery as outlined in Romans 6; the Creed should be understood and accepted; the two great commandments of Christ must be placed at the heart of Christianity; it should demand a prayer life in the home.
c. If in the examination of the parish priest it is found that the elder siblings who are of age do not attend church nor receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion then the priest must be very wary with proceeding.
d. Priests doing supply should postpone baptisms until the resident priest returns.
e. Priests should not baptise children from other parishes without the explicit permission of the regular parish priest.
f. If possible, since baptism is a community event, ideally baptism should take place in community celebration.
g. All parishes and priests should maintain a uniform policy regarding baptisms and newly appointed priests should adhere as far as possible to the previous policy.
h. Baptisms must always be registered and all registers should be duplicated on disks.
i. Only practising Catholics should stand as God-parents. The responsibility of the god-parent needs to be underlined in the ceremony. They are to be chosen for reasons of faith and christian responsibility.
Children (7-14 years of age)
a. Should wait for Easter Baptism.
b. Should join the classes for the catholic children preparing for the other sacraments.
c. Should have their own special preparation during Lent.
d. Their parents should attend the four classes as above.
a. Join the RCIA process 1-3 years preparing for the sacraments of initiation according to the pastoral situation. Every parish must have RCIA. When necessary the priest shall tailor the program to the needs, education and time opportunity of the candidates and teachers.
b. Preferably attend each week.
c. Those not married must fix up their marriages.
4. Catechetical Ministers
Are responsible to oversee a program that offers and effects catechesis for all.
Should see that parish and all stations have a co-ordinator, sowers, times for classes , registers, and should invite and work with the diocesan tean.
Should follow a policy agreed with Sowers so that children are not allowed to receive sacraments until approved by sowers.
Should encourage and motivate and acknowledge sowers and teachers.
In the diocese we have a catechetical team; St Callista is chairperson, Fr Florian is administrator, Sr Paulus Maria and St Chrysanta.
In each parish the priest has the ultimate responsibility for catechesis. Each parish should have a catechetical co-ordinator.
Each community must have catechetical teacher called Sowers\Bajali\Abahlwayeli.
a. Selection of Sowers is the responsibility of the priest and parish coucil.
b. There must always be a group of Sowers.
c. Sowers should be persons of practising faith.
d. Sowers shall be commissioned publicly in a Sunday in January for the year.
e. The Co-ordinators will be chosen by priest and Sowers.
f. A parish may have more than one co-ordinator when necessary.
The Team’s task
a. The team will train the co-ordinators and Sowers at meetings in the deaneries. The three deaneries are Pondoland (Bizana, Flagstaff and Lusikisiki ) who will meet in Flagstaff.
Matatiele ( Hardenberg, Makhoba, Ntlangwini, Cedarville and Matatiele) who will meet in Matatiele.
Kokstad (Mount Ayliff, Tabankulu, Mount Frere, Franklin and Kokstad) who will meet in mount Ayliff.
b. The team will meet the co-ordinators and Sowers once a quarter.
c. The team will help the Sowers of the various classes to prepare specific lessons. The meeting will have time for prayer and reflection, for questions and motivation.
d. The team will run a workshop per year for all sowers and co-ordinators.
e. The team will have special care to instruct leaders for the RCIA program.
f. The team will produce an inculturated catechism for class 111 of the children.
In each parish the co-ordination will meet with the sowers once a month to evaluate, share ideas and to pray together. They will see that the catechists have necessary books, registers and examine the attendance of the candidates. This person would act as a contact person for the team.
5. Policy with regard to syllabus and books.
We may divide children into four classes (though bigger missions may have more).
i. Children up to 8 years
They should learn all the common prayers.
Book: Ningabantwana Bam
Ukholo Luncancwa ekhaya.
Ubomi Babantu Abenze imisebenzi elungileyo (lives of the saints).
ii. Children from 8-10
Here all children preparing for First Confession and First Holy Communion.
Isidlo sosapho lamakholwa.
Prayers for Confession and Holy Communion from Bongani Nkosi.
iii. Children from 11-13
Here, post Holy Communion and pre confirmation class.
These children are being prepared to receive the Bible on copletion in special ceremony.
(Modelled on ceremony 4 and 5 of Uhambo Lwethu Kunye)
Gospel of St Luke
Team of diocese to produce book inculturated, scriptural and practical.
Fr Scotnik. Ukholwa lwethu.
iv. Children from 14-16 (Preferred minimum age for Confirmation)
Confirmation classes for two years.
Uhambo Lwethu kunye.
Ukulungiselela ukutshata (Lumko no 23).
Meet with the diocesan Aids team at least once.
v. Adult converts
From 1-3 years for baptism/reception.
Uhambo Lwethu kunye.
vi. All leaders.
Annual renewal, theology ,spiritual workshop.