Iindaba # 054

1st January 2005

Notice to priests. General Meeting in Kokstad on Monday, January 17, to discuss priorities of diocese and parish for 2005. Confer No 14 below for a statement of some of the challenges we face in working with our religious and people in encountering Christ, in becoming the community called Church and in engaging together in faith-based apostolic service. Meeting to begin after tea at 10 a.m.

1. Congratulations to all the priests for the success of the pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary at Maria Telgte on October the 9th . It was a great team effort and I am sure many people will come this year on Saturday , 8TH of October.

2. Congratulations to Sister Vianney and all the Amajoni.  Almost 900 were present in Bhongweni on November the 21st to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Umhlangano in the Diocese of Kokstad.

Even though many children may join the umhlangano because of the uniform it does offer us another opportunity to instruct them in the catholic faith. The intention of this sodality is to teach the children to pray, to have a spiritual program for them during the year, to give them apostolic work in the church and to bring them together as Catholics. We have an opportunity here to deepen the commitment of our children to Christ.

3. The Abantwana ba kaMaria led by Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe had their retreat at Bhongweni from the 8th until the 11th of December.

The Youth facilitated by Fr Vincent Bwete had their talent day on the first day of December at Kokstad. Youth processions in Mount Ayliff and Hardenberg during Christmas were a great success in inspiring the Youth and centering them on worthwhile projects.

4.   We had a very encouraging week in Maria Telgte from the 29th of November to the 1st of December when 107 of the Abaphathi from all the parishes attended our theology week. A lot of credit goes to Fr Sihlobo who led the people in some excellent talks on the Eucharist.

Fr Bongani Mbhele conducted a healing service and Fr Sizwe spent a lot of time dealing with caring and consoling the sick. The Bishop also spoke about the finances in the diocese.
5.    Maria Telgte also played host, 6th to the 8th of December, offering some inspiring days to 150 Volunteers from the Sinosizo program. The team were present for the whole encounter and our volunteers had opportunity to share regarding their problems and joys in serving the sick. It is obvious that this apostolic work is having a spiritual influence on many of our Christians. Of the 150 present, 80 were non-Catholics.   We seem to be unable to get many of our Catholics to lend a hand in caring for the sick and dying and guarding the orphans . This is an area we need to investigate.
6.   It was a very exciting day on 10th of December at Umzongwana mission when Mrs Nosimo Balindlela, the Premier, came to bring gifts for our 800 orphans and Christmas food for the poor and needy.
Congratulations to Sister Constantia , Fr Egbert Rabasotho and Fr Aaron for the wonderful work done. This was a day of joy in an area where people are very poor and in great need. We also congratulate the Sinosizo team.
7. On the 20th of November we give thanks to God for the ten years of the Monastery of Santa Chiara of the Poor Clares . We thank God deeply for their presence of prayer, calling us to faith, reminding us that the great law is love of God; we appreciate their praying for our people, their interest in the Church life of our diocese, their hospitality, their love of their vocation.
Encourage girls whom you think may have a vocation to visit the monastery and consider it as an option for their religious life.
8. We have now offered the Respite program in seven different places in the diocese. This means bringing orphan children together for four to six days at a church or a school. The program provides teachers, cooks and guards. The Sinosizo team conducts the weeks and our volunteers contact the children. The aim is to make contact with orphan children and offer what aid we can, we show them that someone is concerned. We talk with them we see their situation and we hope to build up relationships which will allow us to continue to help them with Social Welfare, with Christian life, and with care.
9. The Bishop attended the Pontifical Council for Culture from the 26 to the 30th of October and gave a talk there on the subject; “ Reconciliation of Cultures a Christian necessity”. Chairperson of the meeting was Cardinal Poupard. The attendance included bishops and presidents of Bishops Conferences from many countries in Africa.
10. Brother Herman continues his work opening many small projects to allow people to grow vegetables in gardens around their homes to make sure that they have some foods on the table in the year ahead.
11. The Bishop hopes to visit with the priests of each parish during January and February. He would ask the priest to have already prepared a plan for the parish for 2005. The bishop would hope to discuss this plan with the priests and see how it best can be implemented and supported. We need to have some basic focus as we begin our work.   Our work is very scattered for we have many outstations, many demands, little time and few personal.   Therefore we have to rationalise and to make long term plans.
12. We remember of course that 2005 is the year of the Eucharist. Each parish will have plans to emphasise the importance of the Eucharist. If our people believe in this medicine which is the very person of God himself then as the years goes by other medicines will fall away and they will build up a personal and life-giving relationship with Jesus which will stand by them in all sufferings. Please remember No 15 below. (From Coolock discussions).
13.   Forthcoming Events
a. Remember that February the 13th, Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, is the a time in the RCIA program when all those who are to be baptised as adults at Easter must should be elected by their parishes . Each parish should receive our catechumens on that day.
b. There is a Youth planing meeting led by Fr Vincent on the Third of January .
c.   The catechetical committee will meet on January the 17th to make a plan for their program for the year.
d. On the 22nd of January Fr Bill would like to meet with one representative of each parish council in the diocese to plan the Diocesan Pastoral Council meetings for 2005.
e. On the 24th of January there will be a Consultors meeting in Kokstad.
f. The bishop will be away at the SACBC from the 24th of January until the 2nd  of February.
g. The bishop will attend the Franciscan continental meeting at La Verna from the 9th to the 12th of February.
h. Please note from the 14th to the 16th of March the priests will meet at Coolock .
i. There will be confirmation at Flagstaff on the 13th of February, Sunday.
j. There will be the Catechetical Deanery of Pondoland, Bizana, Flagstaff, and Lusikisiki, will meet at Flagstaff from the 11th to the 13th of February.
k. The Central Deanery catechetical teachers will meet from the 18th to the 20th of February.
14. Catechetics
Priests will remember that at Coolock Sister Callista , the Chairperson of the catechetical commission in the diocese, made the following points.

a. While there is good work being done in catechetics the team finds that there is decline of faith in families.

There is very little family prayer and very little support for the living faith of the church in the home.

b. Christians have not encountered the foundations of our faith. Any distraction, for example, and they will not come to Mass on a Sunday. They do not grasp the central importance of Sunday Eucharist in the life of the Christian Church.

c. The children are only interested in Sacraments. So therefore they are not really interested in the life of the church.

d. Our teachers are not competent. Hardworking, and zealous many of them are, but they lack formation as followers of Jesus Christ. There is a lot of singing but one has to ask if they have personally encountered Jesus in any real personal sense.

e. Confirmation is taken as the license to sit down. They do not want to hear f ongoing formation. So we have a very loose Catholic identity. And this is augmented sometimes by ecumenism which leads to a lot of confusion with so many churches. All churches are seen as clubs. Enculturation causes confusion. People say if everything is good and beautiful then what is the vlue of the Christian symbol.

15. The year of the Eucharist

The priest will remember that they made the following suggestions in Coolock regarding the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist in their parishes.

a. There should be an opening of this year in the individual parishes. This will bring it to the attention of the people.

b. We will have benediction on occasion as many people have not experienced it.

c. We will endeavor to encourage the people to have holy hours. There are beautiful prayers in the Bongani iNkosi Hymn Book.

d. We should do something special for Corpus Christi in parishes and perhaps also in the diocese e. We should give sermons on the Eucharist and the Real Presence during the year.

f. The people on occasion should be encouraged to receive under both species.

g. There should be a letter from the Bishop to explain this as a special time and to help our people understand.

h. The sodalities must be formed to understand the Eucharist and Service. The Eucharist is the source of service and Ministry in the church. If it does not express itself in service then we have to ask if the Eucharist is alive in the lives of our people.

i. People should be encouraged to pray together after Mass with prayers directed towards the Eucharist.

j. We as priests and the religious should try to pray the Office or lead meditations and reflections before the Blessed Sacrament on occasion.

Iindaba # 053

1st September 2004

1. The bishop has appointed a new team of Consultors as from the first of August. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin will be the Vicar General of the diocese, and Frs Bill Lovett, Rodgers Sihlobo and Fr Antonio Benetti, Fr George Byarugaba, Fr Joseph Methanath and Fr Bongani Mbhele will be the Consultors.

We wish to thank sincerely Fr Sihlobo and the old team who worked so well for so many years. Especially, a word of thanks is due to Fr Tom Byrne who has been administrator and Financial Manager of the diocese for many years.

2. We ask the priests to encourage people to consider Maria Telgte school as a place to send children for a good Catholic Education. The bishop has recently given the school twenty computers to help the children to begin computer studies.

3. The catechetical team of the diocese , Sr Callista , Sr Paulus Maria Mncwabe, and Sr Chrysanta continue to go from parish to parish to upgrade teachers in teaching and passing on the faith. They had an extremely good meeting for people in the Matatiele area from the 16th to the 18th of July. Between 60 and 70 teachers attended for the weekend.

4. Fr Sizwe will represent the diocese at National Liturgical conference to be held in Bethlehem at the beginning of September.

5. We continue to deal with properties. Many people have shown interest in St Patrick’s school, which is now empty, and the Murrey Street, St Anthony Centre. However we have not come to any final agreement yet. Congratulations to Fr Antonio and thanks to the Comboni Missionaries for the beautiful new church centre at Mpoza in Mount Frere.

6. We are also engaged in building a new church at Mqhume in the parish of Flagstaff.   Fr Sihlobo and his parish are engaged with a new centre at Shayamoya.

7. The seminarians visited the diocese during July and helped in many places. It is wonderful to see their zeal and their generosity in helping people and priests. Please make sure to encourage boys to consider the priesthood. Invite and encourage them in their vocation.
8. Simon Nala ,who was the catechist for over forty years in Mount Ayliff parish particularly at Lugelweni was laid to rest on the 10th of July at his home. Mr Stanford Gwanisheni in Bizana also went to his rest at the beginning of July. He is the father to Brother Siphelele Gwanisheni OFM. We offer sympathy to Siphelele and his family.
9. Thabang Letsohla was ordained Deacon at his home in St Antons in the parish of Hardenberg. Thabang is now working in Flagstaff. He has generously taken on the task of spiritual director of the children of Mary and of the Legion of Mary in the diocese. It was a wonderful celebration at Makgwaseng and the people contributed most generously. Hopefully, Thabang will be ordained a priest in December.
10. We hope to obtain financial assistance to enable people to establish small agricultural projects. Brother Herman will manage and promote the work as supervisor. So please get in contact with him if you have a family, or a number of families who would like to start plots near their homes. Brother Herman will visit them and see if it is possible to help them fence the plot and lay on water. He and his team will supervise their work during the year. Please select serious people and if possible projects which are relatively close together. Do contact Brother Herman directly yourself. Phone 039 2550149. Poultry and pig projects might also be considered.
11. The priests of the diocese celebrated the feast of St John Vianney with lunch on August the 2nd. He is the patron saint of the diocesan priesthood.
12. The bishops’ conference at Mariannhill considered many questions facing the church at the moment. They encourage medical personal to refuse co-operation with the procuration of abortion. They should refuse to assist abortions.
The bishops also spoke out about Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The bishop’s conference is making 15 million rand available for the helping of Aids’ victims.
The bishop’s conference also hopes through the South African government to make money available for development projects. Please let the bishops office know if you have some ideas and we can apply for funds for some of your people.
13. The bishop will preach at Stutterheim at the end of August on the occasion of Mass of thanksgiving for Mrs Nosimo Balindlela. She has been elected as Primer of Eastern Cape and she is a very devoted catholic. We should pray for her in her difficult situation.
14. The Sinosizo Home-based Care team continue to work with people all over the diocese . There are people dying in great numbers around you and many young people are getting sick everyday. We have a serious moral responsibility before God to do what we can to form our young people and to care for the sick.
We have a Behavior- change programme with Ms Nogabe and her team. This is a team of youth who will go anywhere to speak with their peers in a programme that invites them to reconsider their values and way of life. We also have St Kizito children’s fund which works with orphans and needy children. At the moment Ms Lindelwa Mangisa in Flagstaff is overseeing this programme.
During July we invited 40 orphans to spend one week at the mission where we could care for them, get to know them and try and regularize their situation. In fact, 340 orphans came. They had a wonderful week. Congratulations to Sister Khumalo and Fr Aaron Nakufa in their splendid work. They were ably assisted by the Volunteers who are very committed in the parish of Umzongwana. In many other parishes they are doing almost nothing. As priest we have a serious responsibility to encourage the home-based care people.
Some 11 of our volunteers went to Centocow to train as councillors.
15.   In Umzongwana we have now found 807 orphans. Ms Mangisa in Flagstaff has found people registering even their cats and dogs , giving them  proper names in order to gain children assistance welfare.
16. Congratulations to Lorna Wicks on the REAP Programme,- Bursary program.. We have 150 applications for bursaries this year. This represents continual effort on the part of Lorna and her team. But only about 15 can really expect bursaries. However, the bursaries are extremely generous.
17. The CIE, the Catholic Institute of Education, continue to work very fervently around the diocese. So far this year they have dealt with teachers who are teaching over ten thousand pupils. They had a number of retreats for teachers , they have an Aids information program. We find that teachers ignorant of certain fundamentals regarding the Aids situation and dying in big numbers.
Congratulations to Fr Bongani and the people of Bizana for the opening of the New church at Nyanisweni on the 25th of July. It was a wonderful celebration. The church was called St Rodger and Wilfrid. Fr Vincent Bwete attended as did the Poor Clares. It was an occasion of great joy. However, the church will have to be expanded as already the community there is very big.
18. Congratulations to the priest of the diocese and all the wonderful activity that has been taking place over the past two or three months. They had retreats everywhere for the St Annes , Sacred Hearts, Children of Mary, the Amajoni and the Youth programme have been also successful.
We are offering great service to the people with these programs and I thank the priests for this excellent work.
19.  Please continue to advertise the diocesan pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary which will take place on Saturday evening the 9th of October at Maria Telgte Mission. The program will take us through the night. The diocese will officially open the Year of the Eucharist on this night.

The program will include Mass held by the bishop. There will be a rosary procession motivated by Deacon Thabang, a reconciliation service led by Fr Sihlobo. Fr Bongani and the Bishop will conduct a healing service with laying on of hands, Holy hour. We hope to have a sermon on family and married life. Choirs we have their chance and a general sharing of prayer. We invite the choirs of Hardenberg, Flagstaff, Bhongweni, Matatiele, Bizana to attend. Other choirs wishing to participate should contact Fr Sizwe at Hardenberg as he will be M. C. for the night.

We hope during the night to have a special time to bless and reward our jubilarians. That is, all those who are celebrating jubilees for whatever reason. We want to acknowledge them, encourage them and give an ideal to the rest. A program will be sent around during September.

20. The last week in November as usual we will have the summer theology school at Maria Telgte. Among the programs we wish to have this time will be reflection on the Eucharist, its Dogma, Spirituality , Liturgy and Canon Law. This will take up most of one day . As you know the Year of the Eucharist begins in October this year.

We will spent another day studying care of the sick. We help the people look at the Sacrament of Anointing in the light of their perceptions, needs and alleviation. The skills team will be there to train our leaders, we hope to have many prayer sessions and occasions to ask questions. This is an important week for all leaders in the church. We hope to organise a bus from Kokstad out to Maria Telgte. But we invite only those who have shown a real engagement with the work of the church.

21. The priests must remember that the Coolock meeting runs from the 11th to 14th of October. The afternoon of the 11th to the morning of the 14th. This year we hope to consider priests support for each other. We will also consider how we should celebrate the year of the Eucharist in the diocese, we will look at counseling people and directing their consciences in the whole Aids epidemic. We hope to have time for prayer as well.

22. The bishop will be away during the Month of September, he will be in Ireland with his family.

23. Sr Vianney is Organizing for the Feast of Christ The King, The Jubilee of the Amajoni ka Kristu Ukumkani in the diocese. It will take place at the end of November , the Feast of Christ the King at Bhongweni mission.

Iindaba # 052

1st June 2004

1. The diocese rejoiced with our Franciscan brothers on the 29th of May when Brother Simphiwe Kheswa was ordained a priest at Hardenberg. The ceremony attended by a large crowd had excellent liturgical arrangements led by Fr Sizwe Mkhonza. Was it the first priestly ordination at this 105 year old mission?

We welcome Fr Kheswa to the Diocese and ask God’s blessing on all his work.

2. We welcome to the diocese Fr Rigoberto, a Comboni Missionary. He is now studying Xhosa in Umtata and will work in Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu. At the moment Fr Aldo is on supply there and we gladly welcome him.

Fr Rigoberto is from Mexico and he will work with Fr Gunther. At the moment Fr Gunther is on holiday in Germany. We welcome also brother Bongani Dladla and Bro Sandile who will work in the diocese while some of the priests are overseas on holidays.

4. We say welcome home to Bro Thabang Gabriel Letsohla who has completed his studies at St John Vianney’s Seminary. Bro Thabang is on retreat at the moment in preparation for his ordination as Deacon on the 26th of June at Makhwaseng, St Anthony’s.

5. We warmly congratulate Sister Clare of the Poor Clare Monastery who celebrated the Silver Jubilee of her profession as a Contemplative Sister. Sister Clare was the first Zambian Poor Clare Sister . She has made a wonderful contribution in bringing the contemplative dimension of Franciscan and Christian life to Zambia and South Africa.

6. We are very privileged to receive two novices at the Monastery, Sister Nawonga oa Yesu and Sister Chiara Mwale. They have just begun their novitiate and we ask God to bless them. We thank God for the Contemplative vocation and we encourage the priests to bring girls to know the Poor Clare way of life.

7. The Chrism Mass in April in Holy week was attended by a large and fervent crowd. It was wonderful to see all the priests present.

Fr Sizwe organised the singing and it was very uplifting and suitable.

The Children of Mary led by Sr Paulus Maria had a retreat at the same time in Kokstad and this gave a lot of our young people the opportunity to be present for this beautiful occasion when priests renewed their commitment and the oils were blessed..
8. Vocations
Please work hard for more vocations for the diocese. Brother Thabang Letsohla is available to visit your parish and to speak with the young people on the subject of vocations. We need to intensify our efforts in this area. We hope that in July to have a workshop for those who are in Grade 11 and 12. Vocations is one of the top priorities of our diocese. Please speak to young fellows and put them in contact with Fr Bongani Mbhele who is the vocation director or with his team.
9. On the 16th of May the bishop consecrated the new church of the Uganda Martyrs at Bhongweni. This church was badly needed as the old one was too small by far for the congregation even on an ordinary Sunday. The New church is beautiful and will allow our people to meet and pray together. The parish is very much alive and we thank Fr Sihlobo for the preparations for the feast. Another aspect of the celebration to be noted was brother Yalezo’s composition of various hymns and responses. This enriched the ceremony with meaningful music.
10. Fr Vincent Bwete is traveling the diocese to encourage our youth groups and to offer them opportunities for meeting, reflecting, playing and growing together as Christians. Please co- operate with Fr Vincent because our youth make up a large percentage of our congregation. On the 16th of June Fr Vincent will lead a special youth day here in Kokstad. It will be a day of sports and celebration and will take place at the Kokstad Community Hall. Congratulations Fr Vincent on the work doing and all are encouraged to assist him.
On the 2 and 3rd of July Vincent will host an imvuselelo of the Kokstad Deanery for Kokstad, Bhongweni, Mt Ayliff, Tabankulu and Mt Frere at Mt Frere. This will include presentations on vocations, marriage, police, medical, nursing and business professions. We see that our youth have an unrealistic appreciation and inadequate information regarding careers.
11. REAP. Reap is the Rural Education Access Program. This is a program to enable poor children in rural areas who have good exam results to gain access at Technikon and University. There are application forms available at the bishops office. Priests should try advertise this program. But please encourage only those who have a reasonable chance of gaining the number of points necessary to access university programs. In filling in forms it would help if the applicants filled out their answers on rough paper first and have this corrected in order to present cleaner and more impressive application forms. These bursaries are worth up to Rand 15,000.00 per annum and go with coaching at the university itself.
Those who are not so bright could apply to the bishop for assistance in attending a Technical college, for example, at Lusikisiki or Kokstad. Here there are courses for those who wish to upgrade their matric but also motor mechanics, electronics, computers, secretarial and other studies.
Then, there is the possibility of send girls for two year training at Mariannhill with the Precious Blood Sisters in dress, making, tailoring etc. We have 34 there this year. We finance this.
12. Sinosizo. This program which tries to reach out to all the sick of the diocese and in a special way all afflicted with Aids is now divided into three branches. There is the home based Care branch of which Miss Qwebeba is the Chairperson. This branch deals with the training and supervision and support of Home based Care volunteers. They do get an incentive and we are trying to improve the amount. It has great success , however we do lose quite a number of our volunteers. But we are trying to access small money to support them in their work for the poor. Many, who have been well trained by us are taken up by government or Municipal groups.
There is also Education for life programs. This is headed by Ms Patience Nogabe. The program here involves putting on workshops and meetings especially with young people to tell them the origins and the dangers of Aids. It is a program that tries to offer our youth values so that they make right decisions in accordance with the gospel and in accordance with their own human nature.
Then there is the St Kizito orphan branch. This is headed by Mrs Lindelwa Mangisi from Flagstaff. Here there are programs which try to help orphans to register to access grants , and we are planning to offer some kind of ongoing supervision and help for them. This area will involve a lot of work as all child care work is becoming more and more professional and only open to properly trained people.
Hopefully this July during the holidays and in the second half of the year we hope to offer Respite programs. This will involve bringing the orphans of an area to a school or to a mission.
We would hope to have two unemployed teachers with them for most of the week offering them games, play and useful learning. We will offer them good food and also have them visited by the social worker and a Doctor during that week. It is a trial program to make contact with the orphans and to judge the extent of the problem and to offer support .
Recently, in Mzongwana alone speaking with twenty Home based care women, I found that they were caring for 189 orphans. The situation is dreadful in our diocese, we must do something. The official figures for the Eastern Cape section of the diocese speak of 79% living below the poverty line and 24-30% HIV positive.
The diocese owes a very special debt of gratitude to Mr John Bosman who has put his considerable expertise at the service of the above programs. Over the year John has visited every parish.
13.   The week of Christian Unity. On Ascension Thursday, 20th of May, the bishop opened the Kokstad week of prayer for Christian Unity preaching at the Presbyterian Church in Town. On the following Sunday the Presbyterian Minister Rev Mike Craig preached at our church in Bhongweni. The other churches also had services attended by Christians from various Denominations. Praying for Christian Unity is a fundamental desire of the Lord..
14. Sincere sympathies go out to Fr Bongani Mbhele whose sister passed away on the morning of 5th June. This is a great glow to the family . Already Mrs Mbhele has seen her husband, her brother and now her daughter laid to rest in the space of one year.
Sympathies also to Fr Lulama Msongelwa on the death of his aunt. She was sick for sometime and she finally passed away at Lulama’s home.
We also remember with sadness Mr Marcus Khambule of Brooksnek, his sister is in the Assisi Convent and he has always been a stalwart of the church at Brooksnek. May they all rest in peace.
We were happy to receive the sister and niece of Fr Manus Campbell RIP who came to visit and pray at his grave on the 2nd of April. They were very consoled to call at Bizana and find the St Anne’s society in church. The ladies sang for the visitors and spoke of Fr Manus and his work in Bizana. They later visited his grave in Kokstad and went on to Maria Telgte and Matatiele. Fr Manus was associated with Bizana and Matatiele for many years.
15. Saturday October the 9th we hope to have our first Kokstad Diocesan pilgrimage. This is a Marian pilgrimage to Maria Telgte. Just like the Kevelaer pilgrimage it will have a full night program on Saturday night. Please let the people know now so that they plan and we get a good crowd. In Coolock this year we will continue to discuss the site of all future pilgrimages.
On the 13th of March pilgrims went from the Cathedral in Kokstad to Emmaus in the diocese of Umzimkulu to remember and visit the shrine of one of the founders of the church in our diocese , Abbot Franz. The Mariannhill congregation is promoting his cause for beatification. All are invited to pray and support this man who set some of our missions in motion.
16. Peter Shanahan stayed four weeks in our diocese. He is an expect in social welfare and social development projects. He looked at the many projects in the diocese and was impressed by the work being done. We hope to work with Peter to propose programs to allow us access more funds for the various developmental works he wish to promote. In this diocese 79% of our people live beneath the poverty line. This is the official figure. 25% are HIV positive. Great numbers are unemployed and many are facing this winter hungry. We must do all we can to bring Christ’s love and hope into the lives of our people. The good news also involves the human body and human needs.
17. Fr Lulama Msongelwa organised a special day of prayer for his parish at Lugada on the 10th   of March. The bishop came to address people and to conduct a retreat which was very well attended during the week.
The Parish of the Cathedral in Kokstad must be congratulated on all their efforts and financial generosity to improve the church and the grounds. The annual general meeting spelled out all that have been achieved in the past year.
16. Forth Coming events
a. 14th of June. Catechetical commission and co ordinators meeting at Kokstad.
      16th of June. Youth day at Kokstad for diocese. Fr Vincent.
b. 19-20 June. Sacred Heart Society from all over the country meet at Centocow.
c. Brother Tabang Letsohla will be ordained a Deacon at Makhwaseng on the 26th of June.
d. The Consultors of the diocese will meet on the 28th of June at Kokstad.

e. The leaders of St Annes will meet in Kokstad on 2nd and 3rd of July .

July 2 and 3, Kokstad Deanery Youth to meet at Mount Frere, Fr Vincent.

f.   25th of July blessing of Enyanisweni Church. Bizana.

g. 4th to the 11th of August the SACBC in Mariannhill.

h. 8th of August Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Umzimkulu at Lourdes. All the bishops of the country will be present.

17.   a. Catechetical Committee of the diocese meet on the 14th of June. Committee, Sr Callista, Sr Paulus Maria, and Sr Chrysanta.

b. 11th -13th June Dutyini

c. June 15th and 16th Makhoba.

d. June 22nd Makhoba – Lubaleko

e. 2nd to 4th July Pondoland Region at Flagstaff. For all teachers of catechism.

f. 8th to 10th of July Makhwaseng – St Anthonys.

g. 23rd to 24th of July Mt Frere.

h. 27th to 29th of July Mt Ayliff.

i. 9th to the 11th of August and 13th to the 15th of August, Mvenyane.

Iindaba # 051

10th March 2004

1. With great sadness the diocese learned of the sudden passing away of Archbishop Denis Hurley. Archbishop Hurley often visited us and was a great friend of priests and people. The bishop and Father Tom represented the Diocese at his funeral in Durban.

2. Department for Christian Formation and Liturgy.

From the Bishops Conference.

2.1   The Conference approves the report of the Department for Christian Formation and Liturgy.

2.2   The Conference mandates the Department to produce a simplified directory for implementing the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) in the Conference area. This directory will contain directives to facilitate the celebration of the Eucharist with the aim of ensuring unity and respect for diversity.

2.3    The Conference resolves that a booklet be produced by the Department for use in workshops for diocesan liturgical committees in order to facilitate the implementation of the GIRM.

2.4    The Conference resolves that the following directives be implemented in the Conference territories by each bishop through communication with the priests of the diocese, in accordance with the spirit of the study day which aimed at empowering each bishop to take charge of liturgical celebrations in his diocese.

2.4.1    The congregation stands for the three prayers:

a. The opening prayer

b. After the invitation, “Pray brothers and sisters…”

c. The communion prayer.

2.4.2   The deacon

      a. Kneels at the time of the consecration
      b. He does not announce the mystery of faith, the celebrant does.
     c. He does not call on the congregation to pray the Our Father, the celebrant does.
2.4.3    During the Eucharistic Prayer, other ministers kneel, if that is what is done by the congregation; or, if they stand, it is behind the celebrant, not alongside.
2.4.4    In the following instances, the introductions be done in such a way that the Congregation begins at the same time with;
           a.     I confess…..”
           b. “ I believe….”
           c. “ Our Father….”
2.4.5    The way of venerating the altar and the Gospel book remain the kiss while further research into something which may be more culturally fitting is undertaken.
2.4.6    More research is needed before making a final decision as to whether it is appropriate for us in the Conference area to stand or sit during the proclamation of the Gospel.
2.4.7   The procession of the Word with the lectionary is a praiseworthy alternative to the procession with the Gospel book.
2.4.8   It is not right to break the bread at the consecration.
2.4.9. The sign of peace remain where it presently is in the rite with acknowledgment that it can be moved if there is a pastoral reason for doing so, or as occasion may dictate; that the words of invitation to exchange peace attempt to explain why it should be done in a dignified way.
2.4.10   The fraction rite should receive more prominence, and part of the celebrant’s host should be shared with the congregation.
2.4.11 Communication from the chalice is administered in the following way:
           After the reception of the Body of Christ, the minister offers the chalice to the communicant who drinks from it.
            Or, the minister dips the sacred host in the precious Blood, and puts it on the communicant’s tongue.
2.4.12   Respect for the Eucharist be shown in the following circumstances:
             a. When there is a surplus of the precious Blood, it be consumed at the altar;
             b. When there is a surplus of the Body of the Lord, it be placed in the tabernacle while all ministers pay attention to its reposition;
             c. The purification of the vessels takes place after that, preferably at the side table.
2.4.13    It is not right to celebrate or concelebrate Mass without vestments.
2.4 14    The Department will try to collect the different recipes in use for baking altar bread, will examine them and make further recommendations.
2.5     The Conference mandates the committee on catechetics and Lumko to call together some bishops and other experts as soon as possible, to complete the catechetical series, “Our Christian Heritage: A Journey of Faith”, by rewriting book three and writing two further books.
2.6    The Conference endorses the institution of one specific Sunday in the year as National Catechetical Sunday where the focus will be on the role of the family and the Christian community in catechesis. The Conference leaves it up to individual dioceses to ultimately decide when to celebrate Catechetical Sunday in the diocese. The Conference mandates the Catechetical Committee to produce suitable material for such a celebration.
3.   We have 34 girls from the diocese studying sewing and dressmaking at Mariannhill this year. Seven graduated last year and we hope that they will soon have machines and begin producing and selling.
We also have boys at the Technical college in Kokstad. Here there are many excellent courses and they are not so expensive. If you have very promising boys who cannot otherwise go to third level education let us see if we can help them.
4. Sinosizo continues to work with the sick , dying. We are trying to restructure the organisation as it has become ver big for its present form.
A lot of work is being done in training and retraining the volunteers. Hopefully the priests are continuing to support the volunteers in each parish. Please collect food and soup for the sick and the dying and the orphans at the bishops house on Mondays.
We are also trying to develop Education for life in order to make our youth aware of the great dangers and values within sexuality.
We also have appointed Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe to help us establish a Natural Fertility Program which will introduce again natural means of birth control.
5. We congratulate Fr Egbert and Sister Constantia in providing a holiday for the orphans in Umzongwana in January. It would be a very good idea if many of our parishes who have such facilities would organise a short break for orphan children during Summer or Winter holidays. The idea would be to bring children for three days to the mission, give them food, pray with them and show an interest in them.
6. The Catholic Institute of Education continues to work in Catholic schools in the diocese and also particularly in Government schools. Here the chairperson is Mrs Gloria Napier helped by Ellain Davids and Merle Richards and Shirley. They upgrade teachers and provide training courses for a more professional approach to achool work.
We congratulate them and their report of last year which shows tremendous achievement in reaching teachers who are instructing some sixty-thousand children. They also bring the message of the Church’s interest in the progress and Education of our youth to the minds of the people.
7. We congratulates new seminarians Petros Letsohla who has gone to St Kizito in Oakford to begin orientation and Thomas Njabulo Ngwadla from Mt Frere who begins the bridging year in Port Elizabeth. Let us continue to pray for them.
It is very important that all priests and sisters and laity in the diocese pray and work for diocesan vocations. Last year we did not get around as much as we would liked. Fr Bongani is the Chairperson and working with him are Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin , Fr Vincent Bwete, Fr Lulama and many of the sisters. We need to organise workshops, make contact and ensure that the young people are encouraged with the ideal of priesthood and religious life. We need to do more in this area.
8. Hopefully, marriage encounter which has been so successful in many parishes will continue to expand in the diocese this year. Please contact Fr Rodgers Sihlobo and Fr Lulama Msongelwa.
9. Fr Rodgers Sihlobo is the Spiritual Director of St Anne’s during this year. When Fr Richard feels better in the New year he will take over this portfolio. Fr George works with the Amadodana and recently they had an excellent retreat preached by Fr Vumile in Mt Frere. Fr Sizwe is working with the Sacred Heart and has apostolic programs involving them in caring for the sick and the dying. All our apostolic ladies need to be trained and involved in doing something with their faith. Fr Jose continues with Amajoni and Abantwana baka Maria..
10. Confirmation recently took place in the parishes of Matias in Umzongwana, in Hardenberg and in Lusikisiki. The bishop always likes to spend Saturday in retreat with those to be confirmed on the following day.
11. The Cathedral parish is being very busy . They had two fund raising functions with an Indian Evening and pancake evening. Both were financially successful and involved the parishioners in working together.
The bishop came to bless and to mission the catechists. We also congratulate them on the extending of toilet facilities for the parish.
12. On the 23rd of February the bishop welcomed the sisters and priests of the diocese for his feast day. It involved Mass and then lunch together. He is very grateful for all who attended and appreciates their good wishes and prayers.
13. This year we need to make serious decisions about major properties which we hold. St Anthony’s Center is being repaired and readied to lease.

 

Also the school complex at the cathedral needs to find a new use . The present school is leaving for its new premises in June.
14. The sisters of the diocese, 26 of them, gathered at Coolock for the annual meeting and reflection on religious life and the apostolate in our diocese.
Sister Lucy Bowe FMM led us in prayer and set the mood of the meeting with an emphasis on the importance of discovering God personally in prayer.
The sisters shared their many joys in the diocese. Some commented on the response of people, especially the young, to the call of faith and worship . Sisters are obviously having a deep impact on many Christians and bringing the spirit of the gospel and their own charism to the parishes. Many sisters expressed consolation in seeing people grow in the spirit. Though we are aware of the great sufferings of our people it is wonderful to see how so many respond to any initiative in the diocese.
The sisters isolated the areas of the family, health issues including HIV\AIDS and issues within the church as the main concerns of the diocese at the moment.
The Sisters felt a lot more must be done to prepare young people for family life. They spoke about workshops for youth, proper preparation for Holy Communion, using confirmation instruction as a preparation for marriage, the formation of youth, workshops and retreats for our young people. It was felt that there is very little good example given youth in families today. Many youth speak of never having seen a white marriage in the diocese of Kokstad.
The issue of orphans is becoming ever more demanding and the church is finding itself burdened and struggling to respond. It was emphasized that we should work with the Government but the Catholic motivation for volunteers and help care givers is of importance.
In the area of the church the sisters felt that our leaders need more formation and training. The sisters are very happy that Maria Telgte school of theology has been renewed. They asked for more co-ordination and working together between priests and the sisters. More can be done here if work together. Sisters should be given responsibilities for certain areas in the parish and encouraged to become more involved.
It was felt the catechetical program is advancing. Yet, we need to continue to clarify the policy of the diocese as regards catechetical programs.
15. The diocese says goodbye to Sister Cordelia and Sister Penuel from the community at Maria Telgte . They worked with dedication for our children and now have taken up new appointments. We welcome Sister Henrietta Madlala who came to take over as Boarding Mistress. We also welcome Fr Rigoberto from Mexico, a Comboni Father, who is coming to Mt Ayliff to work in the diocese in that parish.
16. The priests met at the Cathedral on the 18th of January. They discussed many issues and points of importance in our planning for 2004.
Among the points raised were the importance of days of recollection for parishes. We should offer our people some quiet time, time of prayer and instruction in spiritual matters.
They emphasise visitation of the people. This year the bishop will come around to visit all the parishes in the first months.
We need to empower people with skills and leadership, always training them as teams working together.

Exchange of pulpits to allow people opportunity to meet and hear other priests giving them opportunities for confession.

17.  Forth coming events

a. March 15th to 18th meeting of the priests at Coolock House.

b. The Chrism Mass will take place on Wednesday , the 7th of April at 11 a.m.. All are invited to the Cathedral. Bring parishioners. Fr Sizwe will arrange the music and ceremony.

c.  Brother Simphiwe Kheswa will be ordained priest Saturday the 29th of May at Hardenberg.

d. The 13th of March, a pilgrimage to Emmaus for Lent to pray Mass and do Stations of the Cross at the shrine of Abbot Franz.

e. The Seminary Department will meet in Pretoria on the 8th and the 9th of March.

f. The Bishop will visit Lugada for a day of instruction and prayer on the 10th of March.

g. The Bishop will be on retreat from the 19th to the 29th of March.

h. The Bishop will preside on Palm Sunday at Flagstaff on the 4th of April.

i.   The Bishop will baptize and confirm at the cathedral on Saturday night vigil.

j. The bishop will attend a meeting in Cape town as Chairperson of Rural Education Access program on the 17th of April.

k. The Board of the SACBC will meet in Pretoria from the 3rd to the 7th of May.

l.   On the 13th of May there will be confirmation in Bhongweni.

m. There will be a renewal course for priests at Coolock House from the 23rd of May to the 4th of June organized nationally by Fr Vincent Brennan.

n.   The diocesan priests of the diocese will have the annual retreat together at Botha’s Hill Durban from the 25th of October to the 30th of October. Preacher, Fr Urs Fischer CMM.

o. The next priests day of recollection will take place at Bizana on the 9th of March.

Iindaba # 050

8th December 2003

1. Forthcoming events
1.1  December7th     Bizana confirmations. At the same ceremony Bro Silindile Yalezo will be installed as an Acolyte.
1.2 . December 14 th Father Sihlobo will celebrate family day for the parish of Bhongweni. This is an effort to bring out the meaning of family life and the importance of marriage and preparation for marriage.
1.3   December 16th   Brother Aaron Nakufa ofm will be ordained a priest at Uganda Martyrs Bhongweni . We extend sincere congratulations to Bro Aaron; we pray that the Lord may bless him as he makes the priesthood of Christ present among the people. Brother Aaron has worked in the diocese during this year, at Umzongwana and Makhoba’s.
4   The Bishop will be at Mt Frere for the Sundays preceding, during and after Christmas and New Year. He will also be there for Christmas and New Year.
1.5 Confirmation at Mathias in Umzongwana on Saturday the 3th of January. On the previous day there will be a retreat and confessions.
1.6   The priests are invited to celebrate Christmas together on Monday the 29th of December at the Bishops house.
1.7   January 18th , confirmation at Hardenberg.
1.8    January 24th , Saturday Kokstad Meeting of youth representatives and adult representative from each parish regarding youth formation and work in the diocese. This arises from D.P.C decision.   Chairperson, Fr Vincent Bwete.
.
1. 9 January 28th to February 4th the bishop will be at the Plenary session of the Bishops Conference (SACBC).
1.10   7th and 8th February   Lusikisiki for confirmation.
1.11   January 19th Kokstad Catechetical team will meet to plan the year activities. Chairperson , Sister Callista.
1.12   Sunday, 18th of January is the day for commissioning catechism teachers in the parishes. All parishes, if the date is suitable, should mission the catechism teachers for the coming year. This ministry should be recognised in public in the presence of the faithful.
1.13    The religious of the diocese are invited to Coolock House for sharing and reflection on 15th to 18th of February.   Please arrange transport in advance so that as many as possible can attend.
1.14    23rd of February the bishop will celebrate the anniversary of his ordination. All the sisters and priests are invited to the Cathedral for Mass and to lunch.
1.15   27th to 29th February there will be a retreat in Kokstad for all catechism teachers. All invited.
Justice an Peace workshop was held at Kokstad 5th to the 7th December. Chairperson Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin. Excellent training with over 30 present.
2. Fr Noel Divine Ofm was laid rest in Kokstad after the funeral Mass in the Cathedral . Fr Noel worked in here from 1955 to 1966.
His brother Brendan represented the family. Cardinal Napier presided at the Mass. May he rest in peace.
3. About 120 youth go on the pilgrimage from Franklin to Kevelaer from the 8th to the 12th of December. Thanks to the priests and sisters who makes this possible.
Fr Gunther and Fr Vincent have piloted the program. This is an opportunity for retreat, reflection and prayer for our youth. Meaningful liturgies, prayer and the journey’s contact with holy places is meant to inspire our youth to praise God at the centre of the journey of life.
4. In general it is the intention of the bishop to give a retreat to the confirmandi , if possible, on the Saturday previous to a confirmation in a parish. He hopes to revise with them what they have learned in catechism– the meaning of the Sacrament, to look at the ritual, and to help in confessions.
As Confirmation is often our last word with many I wish to emphasise the great importance of the role of the priests- personally – in the preparation for this sacrament. We should try to meet each candidate and get them to make some kind of a statement drawn from a lived awareness of God.
5. Fr Sihlobo and Fr Lulama worked very hard during 2003 to establish a solid marriage encounter centre in our diocese , all parishes are encouraged to avail of this excellent formation for married couples. As we know the family and marriage is the top priority of the whole church in South Africa during these ten years. Encouraging a few couples from each parish this year to attend marriage encounter will provide a team to form our youth in preparation for marriage. It will also be an opportunity to enrich the family life and to help all to understand the meaning of catholic marriage.
6.   During Christmas holidays when Youth are free it would be good to focus them on some wholesome church activity. For example, some might encourage youth to visit the sick around Christmas and the New Year singing hymns, bringing gifts, saying prayers.
Anything that will bring them together — competition, prayer, workshops, vocational reflection days would be of value to them.
7.   Fr Gunther at Mt Ayliff organised a day of prayer with the bishop for all the parish leaders on the 1st of November. It was a beautiful day where people came together to reflect on their leadership role in the parish. They felt encouraged and committed. Perhaps, days like this could enliven the faith of our leaders and help them to reflect on the meaning of their apostolate.
8. Sinosizo continues to train many volunteers. In this regard congratulations to Makwaseng and Fr Sizwe for encouraging the members of the Saint Anne’s and the Sacred Heart to take special training. Over 30 were commissioned as volunteers at Makwaseng due to this excellent training led by Nomvano Qwebeba and Patience Nogabe.
Can we help to get food and maize out to parishes so that the volunteers can help those who are dying from hunger?
9. We have various social projects in the diocese to help people. Apart from Justice and Peace we are now engaged with projects to improve skills.
We are training 26 girls in sewing at Mariannhill, we have sent others for tourism training , some for hotel management . Over 60 applied for the REAP bursary this year. We hope some will be successful as this bursary allows them full education at a third level institute.
Bro Herman in Mount Frere is engaged in farming/micro-agricultural projects and is available to advise and help to initiate projects if invited.
Bro Erich has many projects including making windows , benches etc. Also he is producing lovely religious goods. If we wanted to help we should perhaps try and sell some of these goods in our parishes.
11. Fr Sizwe helps people to get documents and be registered so as to benefit from social services for children, orphans and Aids sufferers. Whatever we can do to help is an expression of gospel love. Then our prayers, our services will be more sincere and meaningful and the faith will be deeper.
12. Congratulations to all involved in the Maria Telgte theology school, November 24th to the 29th of 2003. Particular appreciation is due to Father Sihlobo who made an excellent
presentation and submitted many questions on the question of usindiso.   Sr Callista, Sr Beauty, Sr Chrysanta, Sr Paulus Maria, Mr Jojo, Mr Godo, Mr Qhwesha all led sessions.
We emphasised the Bible and took the participants through the Credo. They also offered skills development especially in the area of leading services, funerals. We thank Fr John and the team at Maria Telgte for the hospitality and finest catering during the happy days there.
13. As you know the contact person in cases of sexual abuse of any kind is Fr Bill Lovett.

 

14. A point of particular sorrow for the diocese is the loss of Bro Allan Riley. Bro Allen of the Christian Brothers has been with us for over two years and has made a wonderful contribution to the diocese. Both in his total commitment towards education and in his work in the town of Kokstad among the poor , in the garden and towards all who came to him for help Allan was a source of joy and help. His presence among us was a great blessing. His prayer life, his commitment to the religious life was a great example to all.
His congregation needs him to be part of the team in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. We wish him every blessing and are grateful for his presence here.
We can now add that another wonderful friend of the diocese , Brother Val Haran, is being transferred to a formation house in La Rochelle, Johannesburg. His going will be deeply felt by almost everyone in the diocese and town. As Director of the Lenten appeal, Sacristan of the Cathedral, Religious instructor and general factotum his kindly presence was everywhere felt. Picking up students in the middle of the night, shopping, leading Eucharistic devotion were all done with gentleness and great patience. Ni beidh a leitheid ann aris.
We also loose Sr Helena from the Matatiele community. She was a founder member of this community, of the creche and was initiator of so much good that her departure to a new appointment in Mahobe leaves us very sad.
Earlier, and also suddenly we experienced the great loss of Fr Solly who went to Besters. He had just built up close contact with stations in Hardenberg and had started many projects, many people sorely miss him.
And Fr Tony Hardiman, after 45 years in the diocese slipped away without a word to Amanzimtoti. Tony will be fondly remembered in many parishes, Umzumgoana, Matatiele, Lusikisiki, Flagstaff, Makhoba for his great kindness to people, his very peaceful presence and his loyal commitment in every place he worked. The St Anne’s have lost a friend who was at their disposal for years on end.
15.The Poor Clare community is expecting some extra sisters and even a formation program. However, we have no vocations as yet from Kokstad. I encourage all the priests and sisters to speak about the life of prayer, the vocation of the Poor Clares, the importance for the Church of the contemplative vocation, the importance of the people who offer their lives in prayer to make the Prayer of Jesus alive in the world of today. We need vocations for the Poor Clare Monastery. Please let us all encourage them.
16. I thank Fr Joseph who organised days of recollection for priests, they will continue as usual in 2004. Hopefully everyone has done a retreat during this year.
17. The meeting of the priests at Coolock House, October 27th to 30th was very fruitful and enjoyed by all. Fr Desmond Nair presented many ideas on stewardship. He invites us to encourage all laity to dedicate of their time, talents and financial resources to the maintenance of the diocese .
Fr Nair pointed out that Catholics are expected by church law to support the church financially. They must not think that the church is rich, we must not encourage in them a spirit of entitlement by which they think the church must carry them in every way . The Catholic Church is their church to find and to give help.
People are part of the living history of the parish and must share in its vision and dream.
Fr Desmond pointed out that it is 20% of the people who give 80% of help. We cannot go on like this. Everybody must contribute in his own way.
To ensure this every parish must have a parish financial council, this is laid down by Canon Law. Each parish must have census and expect all to give according to their means.
All most invest in their faith. Where our treasure is there is our heart.
The aim of each parish is to become financially independent.

As we know the finances of this diocese of Kokstad are rather poor. We must encourage our people to give more. The diocese hopes to decrease the subsidy from January 2004 in all parishes by 5% this coming year. If impossible for you please come and talk about it.

However, some parishes are poorer that others.

We should expect the people to give R50 if we attend the funeral, R20 at the time of baptism and to give an a appreciable financial contribution every week or month.

18. Program for Sinosizo

Bhongweni                         2nd – 6th February                                Sinosizo

Hardenberg                         5th – 9th January                                  Education for life

Bizana                                12th – 16th January                               Education for life

Matatiele                             9th – 13th February                              Sinosizo

Lusikisiki                            16th – 20th February                             Sinosizo

E Mbhobheni                       23rd – 27th February                            Sinosizo

Mt Frere                               26th – 30 January                               Sinosizo

E Sipolweni                          1st – 6th March                                    Sinosizo

Cedarville                             8th – 12th March                                 Sinosizo

Mt Ayliff                              15th – 18th March                                Sinosizo

Ezitapile                                22nd – 26th March                                Sinosizo

Kwa Makhoba                      1st – 5th April                                       Education for life

Saphukanduku                      19th– 23rd April                                    Sinosizo

Dutyini                                   26th – 30th April                                  Sinosizo

Kokstad                                  May 3rd – 7th                                       Education for life

Mantlaneni                             May 10th – 14th                                   Sinosizo

St Francis                                May 17th – 21st                                                   Education for life

Ezitapile                                  5th to 9th July                                     Education for life

Flagstaff (Luphondo)              12th – 16th -July                                 Sinosizo

Caba                                        27th Sept- 1st Oct                              Education for life.

If there are queries contact Nomvana Qwebebe or Patience Nogabe.

19 We rejoice that on December two young ladies of our diocese, Lusikisiki and Flagstaff will take their first vows as Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart in Matikwe.

May everybody have a peaceful and joyous Christmas. Christmas is the source of our confidence and joy, God is with us, may we be with Him.

Iindaba # 049

15th September 2003

1. Forth Coming Events.

1.   Preach Retreat to Mariannhill CMM.. Bishop – September 14th to the 20th .

2. 20th – 21st of September. – Confirmation retreat and Confirmation Tabankhulu. Bishop.

3. The bishop will be away on holidays from the 22nd of September to the 20th of October.

4. Canonisation day of St Daniel Comboni. Rome. 5th of October 2003.

5. Seminary Department meeting . Pretoria. Bishop 22nd – 23rd of October.

6. Diocesan Priests’ Day of Recollection and prayer . Maria Telgte October 14th .

7. Thanksgiving celebration and Mass for our new saint, St Daniel Comboni at Mt Frere. October 26th beginning at 8.30 am. Vigil the previous night. All invited.

8. Diocesan consultors meeting 27th of October at Coolock at 4.pm.

9. Coolock meeting for all the clergy of diocese – 27th of October to the 30th of October.

10. Durban Metropolitan meeting of Bishops. 30th of October, 9 am.

11. Bishops of Metropolitan meet with religious provincials Durban, 30th October 2 pm.

12. Day of recollection and prayer for the parish of Mt Ayliff. 1st of November, Bishop.

13. Confirmation at Cathedral in Kokstad , 2nd of November. Bishop.

14. Catechetical Diocesan team meet in Bishop’s House on November 3rd.

15. Bishops’ SACBC Board meeting in Pretoria 4th to the 7th of November.
16. Confirmation at Mechailing, St Francis November the 9th .
17. Talk to the book club at Kokstad, Bishop , November 10th .
18. REAP meeting in Cape Town 14th November. Bishop.
19. Confirmation in Naledi , Hardenberg 16th November.
20. Our Faith as Catholics. Public talk, Bishop Kokstad 19th November.
21. Umzinto celebration of Blessed Mary of the Passion November 21st .
22. Confirmation in Mt Ayliff November 23rd .
23. Diocesan Pastoral Council, November 29th Kokstad .Convenor is Fr Bill Lovett. Each parish will have three representatives. Bishops House at 9.30.
24. Confirmation at St Antons 30th November.
25. Confirmation in Bizana 7th December.
26. Family day of parish of Bhongweni14th December.
27. Ordination to priesthood of Bro Aaron Nakufa ofm at Mbhongweni 16th of December. All are welcome.
28. Masses around Christmas and New Year Mt Frere.Bishop.
 
29. Theology school for leaders in whatever capacity will take place at Maria Telgte Mission from the 24th of November until the 28th .The fee is R25 per person.
 
30. Pilgrimage of the Youth to Kevelear will take place from the 8th to the 12th of December . It will be led by Fr Vincent and Youth Executive with Fr Gunther being managing director. All sisters who can help please come.
2. The Catechetical team of Sr Callista, Sr Chrysanta, Sr Paulus Maria are available for all parishes to help our catechism teachers. Please welcome them in the parish and encourage many teachers to attend. We know how bored children are with professional teachers at school. If we do not offer our catechism teachers some food for their spirit and mind they will also make catechism a bore.
3. The Youth in the diocese. The chaplain Fr Vincent Bwete is there to help. Beyond the pilgrimage to Kevelear we should also plan something for our youth during the December /January holidays. It is true many youth are away during this time. But also many youth are sitting around doing nothing. It is a time for the parish to provide something for our Youth’s formation.
4. Fr Solly is the Commander-in-chief of the AmaSotshanyana ka Kristu uKumkani. This group can be formed during school holidays. A little program for them for each week and especially a small retreat run by the Sacred Heart or St Anne’s? Sister Vianney continues to do wonderful work with the Amajoni in her area. Great numbers were received in Bhongweni on the 24th of August.
5. Congratulations to Fr Sizwe the chaplain of the Sacred Heart Society in getting the members of the Sacred Heart in St Antonstrained as Volunteers for Sinosizo. It is obvious that we have to engage the members of our Sodalities in actual work in the parish.
6. Fr Bongani Mbhele is the Vocations Director. There are promises of Vocations for this coming year. Please do speak to the young men of your parishes and encourage them and put them in contact with Fr Bongani. We will have vocations occasions during holidays. The sisters are also encouraged to make contact with the girls and show them the challenge of religious vocation.
7.   Marriage Encounter is making great strides in certain areas. Frs Lulama, Sihlobo and Bongani have now offered many couples in the diocese the experience of marriage encounter. Almost all participants are very exited. It has enriched their marriages and their lives and their communication. We are now training a team to establish marriage encounter in Kokstad diocese. At the moment they have been very active in Bhongweni, Bizana, Cedarville and Matatiele. It would be good if it could expand into other parishes.
8. Sister Death has continued to visit us. Fr Xolelo Khumalo’s Father was laid to rest in Gogela.
Sister Sosibo of the Congregation of the Precious Blood Sisters, a young sister from Bizana was buried on the 7th of July at Glen Avent. We send sympathies to the Congregation and to her family.
Bishop Johannes Brennickmeier OP was laid to rest on the 12th of July in Kroonstad.
Mr Libopua Bereng who was the co-ordinator of the CIE office in Kokstad died suddenly
on the 4th of August. The King was present at his funeral in Lesotho. We had a full Cathedral for his memorial Mass two days previous to the funeral. Teachers appreciate the work of Catholic Institute of Education. At the moment they are hoping to run Whole School Development programs for up to twenty schools in Bizana area. This is a great contribution of the diocese and the Church to the youth and their teachers.
9. Sinosizo.   Nomvano Qwebebe and Ms Patience Nogabe work throughout the diocese training volunteers and seeing their work with the sick and the dying. The Supervisors have met each month. Each area has a supervisor. When the supervisor is working well and volunteers fill the cards we offer a little incentive to encourage. It is excellent Christian training for our people. If their eyes are closed to orphans and abandoned sick then we are not going any place in a hurry as Christians.
Please pick up soup and maize here on Mondays for Sinosizo, it is easy done and means hungry people have something to eat and soften the suffering of their lives.
Mrs Sodala, Assistant head of Social Welfare, addressed the supervisors and thanked them for their excellent work accessing Government assistance and documents.
Fr Sizwe has trained a team who are efficient in bringing children and parents for Government social services. It is obvious that in many outstations people have no idea of Sinosizo, have no Volunteers, and very few have welfare. We as priests, brothers and sisters must be involved here. Each place must train Volunteers and assist Sinosizo.
10. This is the year of Rosary. October will be the Month of Rosary. This calls for an extra special effort in all parishes to invite people to say the Rosary, particularly the family rosary. The statues are available in certain areas.
11. I have distributed a number of copies of the new work- book for confirmation candidates   prepared by the Sotho Pastoral Commission. These books, in English, makes excellent reference books for Confirmation- our last chance to speak to the youth of their faith.
12. The diocese was very happy to welcome Bro Philip Pinto, the Superior General of the Christian Brothers.  He came to visit Bro Val and Bro Alan on the 9th/ 10th of August.
The diocese is deeply appreciative of the presence and work of the Brothers. Their generosity and commitment to the Church and the diocese is exemplary.
13. We celebrated the Assumption of Mary, the national religious holiday, at the Cathedral with Mass and lunch on the 18th of August. Almost all the priests and sisters were present and it was a day and celebration and joy.
14. Lenten Appeal had its best year ever this year. Congratulations to Bro Val and to all the priests in that the money realised was 11% higher than last year. We have been granted certain monies from this appeal already.
15. The bishop has met the parish councils of Mt Ayliff, Tabankulu, Lusikisiki, Kokstad, Maria Telgte, Mt Frere in the past month. He is still waiting for dates to visit the parish councils in the remaining parishes.
16. Inculturation Seminar for religious Clergy and laity, 3rd to the 5th of October 2003 at Koinonia ,Botha’s Hill. Those who can attend that weekend are invited, the cost is R300.
17. Because of the increase in students numbers in the seminary building will begin at St John Vianney by the end of September this year. It is hoped to eventually build for 150 students.
18. Please make sure that there is a parish finance committee in your parish. Try and see that they have proper books and that administrative details are kept. Administration of books, financial records and accounts is important, carelessness here can lead to real suffering later for people and ourselves and lead to divisions in the parish and growth of mistrust. Please also keep a Chronicle of major happenings in your parish.
19. a The bishop’s at the August plenary session discussed many issues including;.
i. The Conference endorsed the Education for Life program and encourage its introduction in the whole country.  (We have a team in the diocese waiting for the invitation to come to your parish to present Education for life Youth program. Please consider them during December – January). Contact Sinosizo.

 

ii. The conference approves a program of reflection around marriage and the family based of Sunday readings of week 21 to 27 of cycle B. Parish priests are urged to use these readings to help people to improve their family life.
iii. There is a. Family Planning office in the General Secretariate which offers advise regarding the regulation of births. This office can come on invitation.
iv. There were major discussions on issues surrounding accusations of sexual abuse. It was decided that where accusations of sexual abuse concerning minors have been substantiated these have to be reported by parents and guardians; if they failed to do so then the church authority will report to the commissioners for Child Welfare.
Accusations made by adults concerning abuse which they suffered while still minors have to be reported to Senior members of the detective branch by the victims or if they fail to do so by the Church authority.
                 
20. Note regarding Marriage Officers from Khanya House. The Department of Home Affairs informed us about some of the problems and difficulties encountered with applications received from our Catholic office in Pretoria. In order to assist them to speed up our applications we are asked to attach the Residence/Work Permit to the application form.(Important)
We also ask you to send us the priest’s renewal of his Residence/Work Permit before the expiring date. (Very Important).
Test for a Marriage Officer. 
A priest must acquaint himself fully with the contents of the manual before he can arrange for an appointment within a six months period from the date written on the letter from the Home Affairs.
The priest must also be fully conversant with the Marriage Act 1961 (Act No 25 of 1961). The passing mark is sixty percent.
We ask the priests to keep the Test appointments. The Home Affairs say, they are tired of priests asking for a re-test and not turning up for the re- arranged appointment.
Change of Address:
When a priest is transferred from one diocese to another, the chancery must inform Khanya House immediately so that we can furnish the Office of Home Affairs about the new address of the Marriage Officer.( Very Important)
When a priest has been transferred from the diocese to another, he or the diocesan secretary must notify the nearest District Home Affairs to transfer the priest’s file to his new address (very important)
We also ask that you inform us immediately when a priest departs from this world (Dies), leave priesthood or leave the Republic of South Africa.   The chancery must also arrange for the return of all documentation of that Marriage Officer: i.e the Letter of Designation, the Books containing Marriage Registers (B1-30) and Marriage Certificates (B1-27) to the nearest District Representative of the Department of Home Affairs (Very Important).
We would appreciate that all bishops inform priests about the above information from the Home Affairs, Pretoria.                                                                                
21 We welcome Sister Annuarite Chulu from the Poor Clare Monastery of Lusaka who is now resident in Santa Chiara. It is very good if the priests make an effort some day to offer to visit the Poor Clares, say Mass, have a time of prayer and be encouraged in their faith by the presence of our Sisters who are dedicated to a life of prayer for the Church and Diocese.

22. We all rejoice that Fr Richard Kugbeh Kasin is recuperating well with great patience. He is still inspiring Justice and Peace behind the scenes, keeps up with his reading and prayers. It is good to have him in the house.

23. Priests must make an annual retreat; as we do not organise a diocesan retreat each one is free to arrange his own. It is highly recommended to have a preached or directed retreat.

Iindaba # 048

1st July 2003

1. Congratulations to the people of Mansions in Hardenberg parish on the completion and blessing of their church of St Agnes on the 24th of April.

Fr Bill and the community have worked very hard over a number of years to build this church with their own resources. We had a wonderful day of celebration. The only shadow was that Fr Bill was quite ill on the day and unable to attend. However, the celebrations led by Frs Sizwe and Solly were a triumph.

2.  The bishop with Frs George and Fr Bongani with Sr Callista attended the Xhosa Regional Pastoral meeting held at Port Elizabeth from the 29th of April to the 1st of May. The Lumko team made a presentationon catechetics. They are preparing a seven book series of new catechisms. You have book one and two already. But from now they will have a bigger team working on the materials and there will be more consultation.

3. From the 11th to the 25th of May Poor Clares from 12 Monasteries in English speaking countries in Africa met at Coolock for their Federation meeting. The meeting was opened by the bishop. Fr Liam presided and the sisters elected new officers for the next three years. They discussed their charism and also formation in the order.

4. On the 15th of May the diocese was absolutely shocked to receive the news of the sudden death of Seminarian, Vus’muzi Chagi at Silangwe, his home. Vus’muzi this year was doing internship at Lusikisiki. There he was very popular with parishioners and youth and was very dedicated to his work. His passing is a great loss to the diocese. In all his student years he showed himself a committed and zealous student. He was an ardent Kaiser Chiefs fan, was interested in life, concerned for his family. He was buried at home on the 24th of May. The funeral was attended by seminarians from all over the country and a great crowd of young people. May he rest in peace.

5. On the 17th of May we laid to rest the father of Fr Bongani Mbhele at Hardenberg. Bongani’s father died in his son’s arms on the way to the doctor the previous Saturday in Matatiele. He had not been ill for a long time. We offer sympathy to Fr Bongani and his family. Thanks to all the clergy who attended.

6. On the 18th of May the New Monastery and Chapel was blessed at Santa Chiara for the Poor Clares. A fine crowd attended a very beautiful liturgy. At the end of the ceremony the papal enclosure was erected . The sisters who are contemplatives will live within this enclosure for the rest of their lives at the service of God and praying for the diocese and people. Please tell our people about the sisters who pray for them.    Encourage vocations. And go there for prayer because the witness of a life lived totally for God in enclosure should inspire all of us.

7. The diocese was again rocked to its foundations with the news that Fr Manus Campbell was murdered at Amanzimtoti during the night of the 21st of May. Fr Manus had worked in this diocese for 40 years. The funeral Mass took place at Amanzimtoti and he was laid rest in Kokstad. The diocese pays tribute to a loyal and hardworking missionary. Fr Manus came here in 1958 and worked in particular in Bizana and Matatiele. In both places his dedication to the service of his people was enormous. Today many people are committed Catholics due to his faith and ministry.

He was a man of many talents who dedicated his life to building up God’s Kingdom. He loved the church and cared for his people with great commitment. It is heart-breaking that such a heroic life should end in tragedy. But the Lord has seen the ministry of his servant and will not be outdone in generosity. We extended both gratitude and sympathy to the Franciscan Order who gave us such a servant and loyal colleague.

8.  On the 24th of May the bishop presided at the celebrations for the feast of Abbot Franz at Emmaus Mission. On this day the African Sisters of the Precious Blood Congregation celebrated their 70 years of religious life . The Bishop and the diocese congratulates and expresses gratitude to the Precious Blood Sisters particularly in Bizana and in Mount Frere for their contribution the life of the people of this church. We pray that they may have many vocations. Many sisters come from Kokstad diocese.

9.  The week of prayers for Christian unity took place as usual between Ascension day, May the 29th and Pentecost, 9th of June. The bishop preached at the final night at the Griqua church. A new feature this year was the entrance of the Dutch Reformed community across the road from the cathedral in the celebrations. They extended a very warm welcome to us. May the desire of Christ for the unity of the church be part of our prayers and may His wish soon be realised.

10.  Fr Vincent Bwete as Youth Chaplain has organised two successful week-ends at Flagstaff  and in Kokstad. These days offered concerts, sport and prayer. Invite Fr Vincent and try and support his initiatives in helping our youth.

11.  The Technical college which we helped get started here in Kokstad is now running quite well. It is a Government college and a campus of Port Shepstone Technical College. It offers many courses and is also a finishing school for those who want to upgrade their matric results. It offer skills training and also Secretarial and Computer courses. And the cost is not very high.

12.   The Consultors meeting took place at the bishops house on the 23rd of June.

a. The consultors discussed the issue of the difficulties with finance in the diocese. It is more and more difficult to get funds overseas, and the exchange rate is becoming less favourable to us. All parishes are encouraged to support their priests more generously so that subsides nay be gradually eliminated. Parishes must also care for the priests transport and car service. No priest should allow others to drive his car. Cars are for ministry of the diocese and should not be taken on long personal trips elsewhere.

b. The report on the catechetical team was received and the sisters were congratulated on the work in various parishes. This Iindaba will also contain a list of dates in which the team will visit parishes in the second half of the year. Please encourage them and get as many people as possible to attend.

c.  Sister Callista, Chairperson of the Catechetical committee, will set up a Bible course from the Catholic Biblical Institute in Durban for any parish which wants to introduce its people to the Bible. Please organise these courses in consultation with Sister. The diocese will try and help finance the cost of these events.

d.  We will revive the Theology week in December in Maria Telgte. This is for people who are interested in Theology and are involved in the life and work of the church. Dates will be announced later.

e.  A very important date; it is proposed that the diocesan pastoral council take place on the 29th of November. The Chairpersons are Fr Bill and Fr Bongani.

f.  As you know the family and marriage is the top priority of the church in South Africa at this time. Fr Sihlobo has arranged that Fr Bongani and Fr  Lulama will continue with Marriage Encounter. If you have couples who can engage in this excellent organisation please contact the priests.

g. Prisca Hadebe has run a weekend with resounding results on marriage and the family in Bhongweni. This is her fourth visit to the diocese. Here is an opportunity to renew family life in the form of a very short day retreat or weekend retreat in your parish.

13.  Fr Germain Mannion celebrated his Diamond Jubilee on the 24th of June in Boksburg. We congratulate Fr Germain who spent over 50 years working in Kokstad diocese. He is particularly associated with Bizana and with Kokstad parishes. We pray that God may bless him and give him a restful retirement.

Fr Germains cousins, two religious sisters came to visit Bizana and Kokstad subsequent to the celebration in Boksburg.

14. Fr Solly in Hardenberg has agreed to act as Chaplain for the Amasotshanyana in the diocese.

15. Nurses: The bishop would like to meet the nurses of the diocese. Would the priests where there are numbers of nurses arrange with the local nurses for a meeting or a half day of reflection and prayer at their place of work or in their local parish during the second half of the year.

The Bishop will also come with the CIE team to the teachers in your area.

16.  Ikhala Trust.   Ikhala Trust is an organisation established under the church and working with the Eastern Cape Government which raises money for projects in the province. At the moment there is quite some money available for projects in our area. These are aimed particularly at rural areas and anything that the people have been engaged in. Please get the application forms and criteria for funding from the bishop’s office. You can get money for a project in your parish by just filling in some forms. These must be community based projects. The money comes from the Eastern Cape provincial structures and not from the diocese which has no money.

17. Fr Gallagher workshop. This will take place on the 11th and 12th of August at Glenmore Pastoral Centre.

The organiser is Mgr Paul Nadal. Fr Gallagher will cover the following topics:-

a. Vocation as a moral response for God’s call.

b. Sexual development and the life of a priest.

c. Celibacy gift and task.

d. The church and the climate of abuse.

e. Moral responsibility and Ministry.

f. The Scandal of the Cross , the scandal of abuse.

g. The moral life is also for priests.

The price of the course, breakfast, lunch and supper and a person staying over night is R136.80.

Father Gallagher is a Redemptorist from Ireland. He has a degree from the National University, from Rome, from Bonn and from Paris. He has a Doctorate in moral Theology . He thought at Milltown school of Theology in Ireland and has been invited lecturer for five years at Maynooth and for three years at Trinity College Dublin. Since 1985 he has been a professor at the Alphonsianum in Rome. He was also Provincial of the Redemporists in 1986 to 1993 and a parish priest in Paris at certain stages. All priests are highly encouraged to attend.

18.      The bishop would like to meet the priests with their parish councils in their parishes over the next three months. Please let me know the next dates for your parish council meetings.

19. Fourth Coming Events:

a. The bishop will be preaching a retreat in Roma Seminary, Lesotho from the 14th to the 18th       of July.

b. The Bishops Conference takes place at Mariannhill from the 6th to the 13th of August.

c. Oakford Seminary will be blessed on Sunday the 10th of August.

d. The next Consultors meeting of the diocese takes place on the 18th of August.

e. Bishop’s talk to the parish of Kokstad on the 20th of August.

f. September 21st there will be Confirmation in Tabankulu.

20. We wish to revive the Deaneries of the diocese. The bishop would like to attend a meeting of the deanery of Pondoland in Flagstaff at a date Fr Francis will arrange. To meet the deanery in Matatiele at a date Fr Jose will arrange and a meeting of central deanery in Kokstad at a date Fr Antonio will arrange.

Iindaba # 047

13th April 2003

1. South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Pretoria, from 28th January to the 5th of February 2003 discussed many issues;

a. The Conference will issue a pastoral statement on Catechetics during this year.

b. Oakford Priory will be leased for three years and used as orientation seminary, St Kizito.

c. The Conference will support bishop Louis Ndlovu of Manzini at this difficult time of transition in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

d. A Family Life desk with a part time secretary at Khanya House will work at Family apostolate in the Conference area.

e. A part-time co- ordinator of Education for Life program to offer youth formation was established.

f. Students for priesthood must be accompanied in their home diocese for at least two years before entry to the Orientation Seminary.

g. Applicants failing to obtain at least 17 points for matric examination and at least an E symbol for English will all do a bridging year to upgrade these results before they can be accepted in the Seminary. The local Bridging year is at former Nazareth House , P.E.

h. Instead of raising the matric minimum points required for admission to the seminary, students must do a special UNISA English course; only those who pass will be allowed to proceed to St Peter’s seminary.

i. The Seminary Department will establish an on- going program of formation to help formators with a shared vision of their role as formators in the seminary.

J. The Conference discussed at length the structuring of its seminaries in Pretoria. It decided unanimously, in consultation with the Seminary staffs, to hold on to St John Vianney’s and St Peter’s seminaries.

However, a task team was established to consider how to expand the facilities at St John Vianney seminary for more accommodation. This task team will look at the future of Mnganga House and plan for the future.

k. Fr Lionel Sham was appointed Rector of St Kizito’s Orientation seminary .

l. The Conference appointed a committee to prepare a pastoral letter on the life and ministry of priests. The Bishops are concerned to help and strengthen priestly life in the Conference area. Our priests need support, more opportunities for formation and renewal.

m. In order to meet disaster situations in the country the conference will renew its status as a member of Caritas International.
n. Bishop’s Conference has sold Khanya House to the Archdiocese of Pretoria. In its place they have purchased the Land Bank Building on Kruger Street, right in the centre of Pretoria as their new premises. This is an enormous building and will be of great benefit for the smooth running of the conference.
o. The conference issued the long awaited Directory on ecumenism. May I bring to your attention Article 6 which deals with the reception of Sacraments by non-Catholics, for instance, at funeral masses.
Section 5. 6. 3 . If non- catholics desire to communicate we may lead them in the practise of making a spiritual communion there and then.
Another response to this spiritual need of non- Catholics is to invite them to come forward at the same time as catholics and when they approach the altar instruct them to cross their arms over their chest as a sign that they wish to receive a blessing.
2. The catechetical team of the diocese, Sr Callista, Sr Paulus Maria and Sr Chrysanta have now visited many parishes and worked week- ends with the catechism teachers. Please invite them a number of times this year to offer your catechism teachers renewal and personal formation with guidance and skill in sharing the faith.
3. The diocese congratulates Bro Aaron Nakufa OFM who was ordained Deacon by the Bishop at the Poor Clares Monastery 26th of January 2003. Although his family in Malawi was unable to be present the sisters and a large community offered Bro Aaron spiritual and personal support.
Brother Aaron will work with Fr Tony at Makhoba.
4. The Bishop attended the Lesotho Catholic Bishop’s Conference from the 18th to the 21st of February. One report of their Justice and peace commission was the problem of rustling cattle from their side of the border.
5. The sisters of the diocese met at Coolock House to discuss many issues of life and ministry in our diocese, 23rd to the 26th of February. Fr Tom Byrne is the religious assistant to the Sisters. Sisters on days of recollection can invite Fr Tom to say Mass with them and to assist them with confession.
6. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary celebrated 100 years in South Africa at Gingindlovu in a special Mass and ceremony on March the 1st . Vicar General Fr Rodgers Sihlobo represented the diocese. There was a double celebration in that their foundress, Mother Mary of the Passion, was beatified recently. The sisters worked for many years at Bizana and many of their members are from Bizana.
7. The Diocese extends sincere sympathies to our seminarian Silindile Yalezo on the sudden death of his sister. She was laid rest on March the 1st . Coming on the recent death of his mother, this has been a difficult time for the family and we promise them our prayers.
8. The bishop and the health desk team of the diocese ; Miss Nomvano Qwebeba, Miss Patience Nogabe, Mr John Bosman have visited many parishes to share with the Home Based Carers on their work and Ministry. They visited Tabankulu on the 17th of January, Mount Ayliff the 21st of January , Hardenberg the 13th of February , Ntlangwini on the 7th of March, Flagstaff the 10th of March, Lusikisiki the 25th of March, Matatiele the 8th of April, Dutyini the 9th of April and Bhongweni on the 11th of April.
Much committed work is being done by these Carers who have been trained by the Sinosizo team. The problems all over are common. There are many orphans in all our villages , in Flagstaff we were presented with 103 orphans. The lady from the small village of Goxe in Ntlangwini brought 13 young orphans to the meeting. I invite priests and sisters to offer what assistance they can to our Home-based Carers. These excellent Carers if properly motivated and spiritually appreciated will do work of great mercy for our people. Now is a very good time to encourage our sodalities to do something with their uniforms and go amongst the sick. Often, it is non-catholics who volunteer for training and not our own people!
We do offer small incentives to our carers. They are given a uniform, a pair of shoes, and an umbrella. We give them R150 three times a year and their transport money. This is very little but it can enable them to do something.
In addition, the diocese will offer packets of 2,5 kilograms maize and soup to all the sick and needy. Would the priests see John Bosman to collect their supplies and make them available to their carers for distribution. There is a supervisor in each parish and this is the person you might work through.
Among the supervisors we have now trained 18 counsellors . These are available in all parishes to visit and strengthen those who are dying.
9. You have received a draft of the statutes for ministers in the diocese of Kokstad. Please look over these thirty pages. Most of this you know as well and is direct Canon Law. But in Coolock in October we will have time to discuss this document.
10. The priests met in Coolock House from the 17th of March to the 20th of March. And after many lively discussions these resolutions were agreed upo;
a. It was resolved that Church leadership must challenge the Government on corruption and health care.
b. It was resolved that we as a diocese work with the school at Maria Telgte to provide as many orphans as possible with the opportunity to study there. Fr John to follow up.
c. It was resolved that each parish have a Pastoral Council by the end of July 2003.
d. It was resolved that each parish have a Parish Financial committee in place by the end of July 2003. The parish financial committee be linked with and responsible to the parish Pastoral Council.
e. It was resolved that Frs Bill and Bongani in arrangement with the parish pastoral executives organise the next meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral council for the second half of this year 2003.
The theme will be the role and function of the diocesan pastoral council.
f. It was resolved that the diocese present the draft statement of its statutes.
g. It was resolved that parishs work towards self financing so that the present subsidies be reviewed towards their gradual reduction and elimination.
h. It was resolved to register domestic workers for Unemployment Insurance Fund before April the 1st .
i. It was resolved to appoint a religious sister to co- work with Fr Vincent Bwete in Youth co- ordination within the diocese.
It was requested that Fr Sihlobo continue to train-in replacements from the priests and religious to support and encourage Marriage Encounter in the diocese.
11.   The parish at Flagstaff performed the Ukukhuza ceremony for the bishop to console him on the death of his father. This was a beautiful occasion for the bishop and his family and took place on April the 6th .
12. Those who wish to use the house in Franklin as a retreat centre or for rest or study should contact Fr Tom. The house and place is beautifully quiet, and fitted with all that is necessary.
13. A fine group of the faithful from Kokstad and Bhongweni made the prilgrimage of the seven churches on March 29. They travelled to Cederville, Matatiele, Hardenberg where they had Mass, on to Umzongwana and Maria Telgte where there was another picnic. Then on to Franklin and the Poor Clares. They read from the Passion of Christ , prayed the pilgrim Psalms and shared on the work and history of each mission.
14. The Bishop attended the Zulu Regional Pastoral meeting and the meeting of the bIshops with major Superiors in Durban during March.
15. St Patrick’s Ball place at the Town Hall once again on the 14th of March. There was a great crowd , and funds were raised for the Cathedral parish.
16. Many of the parishes, including the cathedral, had a special ceremony commissioning the catechism teachers for this year. This is a meaningful ceremony in which catechists are linked with the Evangelical work of the Church.
Bhongweni Church is almost complete, hopefully in the middle of the year we will be able to bless the church. It will be in use in May.
17. We congratulate New seminarians, Petros Letsohla who is involved with the bridging course in Port Elizabeth, Ayanda Mfene from Cedarville who has gone to the orientation stage at Oakford and Lizo Nontshe who will go to Third Year Theology at St John Vianney.
18. Fortcoming Events.
a) Please remember the Mass of Oils on the 16th of April at 11 am at the Cathedral.
b)There will be a paschal meal organised by the youth in Kokstad on the 15th of April in the Hall.
c)The Seven last Words will be celebrated in Bizana and Lusikisiki on the 18th of April. This occasion offers a glorious opportunity to bring our people to confession. Going on past experience people find it very meaningful to be reconciled with God on such an occasion.
d)There will be a supervisors meeting of the Health Care program in Bizana on the 23rd of April.
The Catholic teachers will meet at Umtata on the 24th of April.
e)The Acies of the Legion of Mary will take place at Matatiele on the 26th of April.
f). The Bishop, Fr George, Fr Bongani and Sr Callista will attend the Xhosa Regional Pastoral Conference with the other Bishops in Port Elizabeth from 29th of April to the 1st of May.
g). The bishop will attend the National meeting of Bishops and Principals of Catholic Schools at Bronkhorstspruit from the 2nd to the 4th of May.
The bishop will attend the Seminary Department meeting in Pretoria, 5th of May .
The Board meeting of the Bishop’s Conference will be May 6th to the 10th.
h). The young priests, those ordained in the last five years are encouraged strongly to attend the AGROP meeting at Glenmore, the 28th of April to the 2nd of May.
The diocese will pay. Please attend.
i). We welcome Sister Maria Kolbe and Sr Nawela who came in January from the monastery of Lusaka to join the Poor Clare community at Santa Chiara.
We are also very happy to have as guests for three months, Mother Catherine and Sister Rosa Mystica of Songea Monastery, Tanzania. It is lovely to have Prisca back from Zambia.
 Poor Clares in English language monasteries in East and Southern Africa will have their federation meeting at Coolock House from the 11th to the 25th of May. They come from the monastery of Kenya, from Mbarara in Uganda, from Songea, Bukhoba, and Mwanza in Tanzania, from Lusaka in Zambia, Lilongwe in Malawi, Harare in Zimbabwe, Windhoek in Namibia, Melville and of course Santa Chiara in Kokstad.
j) A very important event will take place on the 18th of May. All the diocese is invited to attend, priests and sisters and people. On the 18th of May, at 10.30 a.m the Sisters’ Chapel will be consecrated . Also on that day the Papal Enclosure will be established in Santa Chiara.
The Franciscans will meet the Poor Clares on the 16th of May, encouraged by the Superior Generals of the Franciscans, to have a liturgical celebration with the Poor Clares, at Melville. This year they celebrate the 750th Anniversary of the death of St Clare.
k) The bishop would like to meet with the young priests of this diocese on Monday afternoon the 26th of May. Next day, Tuesday the 27th, will be the day of recollection   for the diocesan priests here in Kokstad..

l) The Diocesan Health team will meet with the Home-Based Carers in Makhoba on the 15th of May.

m) The Pilgrimage to Emmaus, in the Diocese of Umzimkulu, where Abbot Francis Pfanner died, will take place on the 24th of May. The bishop will be the preacher. This is the special day of the Precious Blood Sisters and Mariannhill Fathers on the Anniversary of the death of their Founder. Abbot Francis is surely one of the founders of our diocese, we remember Hardenberg, Maria Telgte , and all that area along the mountains. Bizana sprung from Lourdes, Kokstad’s cathedral and Matatiele Church we blessed by the sons of Abbot Franz.

n). Confirmation will take place at Cedarville on the 8th of June.

o). The Bishop will be at Coolock for the National Diocesan Priests renewal program from the 9th to the 15th June.

p). Catechetical meeting will take place at the Bishop’s house on the 16th of June.

q). The bishop will preach the Seminary retreat in Roma, Lesotho from the 15th to the 19th of July.

r). The bishop has been elected as co- ordinator with REAP program and will be in Cape Town on the 31st of May for the meeting.

 

18.   The very special occasion the bishop will open and bless the Church of St Agnes on the 28th of April. St Agnes is at Mansions in the parish of Hardenberg. Congrats to Fr Bill and the people who laboured alone to complete this house for the Lord.

19. Have we done anything for the special year of the rosary, this year.

20. We thank God to have Fr Richard back and recovering amongst us. Please keep him in your prayers. Though suffering greviously and moving from place to place for recuperation the Lionhearted valiantly exercises himself back to black- belt fitness in Matatiele each day. We Thank God indeed.

Happy Easter to all.

Iindaba # 046

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).
2. Principles
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.
Adults:
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
Priests
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.
Team
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.
Selection
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.

The Co-ordinators.

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.

Nilusapho lwam

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)

Ningabantu Bam

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.

Ningamangqina am.

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.

Iindaba # 045

 1st November 2002

1. The Diocese offers congratulations to Fr Bheki , Fr Solly and Fr Mbulelo on the occasion of their ordination in Johannesburg in September.   All three are friends of the Diocese. Bheki has been working in the Kokstad area and Solly in Hardenberg and they have shown a great love for our people and are deeply loved in return. We pray that God may bless them with many years preaching His Word and making the gospel present today..

2. Let us remember that the 7th of December is a special day in the diocese when Deacon Lulama Msongelwa will be ordained a priest at Kokstad at 10 a.m..

3. Forth coming events:

a. Mount Ayliff – The bishop will visit Mt Ayliff to conduct a day of reflection and prayer for the Catechists, PPC members and the Sodality Executives on the 2nd of November.

b. Confirmation at Emakholaneni in Mt Frere on the 3rd of November. This will take place in the newly built church. Fr Antonio is to be congratulated in building up the church both physically and spiritually. We thank brother Erich for his work in the building of the church.

c. Sihle Mbhele and Vus’muzi Chagi from the Diocese will be appointed to the Ministry of Acolyte on November 4th with 36 other seminarians by the Bishop. In the new year both of them will do their internship and work in the diocese. On the same occasion a plaque to honour the contribution of Fr Fergus Barrett ofm to the history of St John Vianney’s Seminary in Pretoria will be blessed..

d. The bishop will be at the Administrative Board meeting of the Bishop’s Conference in Pretoria from 5th to 8th November.

On the 5th of November the Diocesan Aids Team will atttend the Interdiocesan meeting at Chatsworth in Durban.

e. Maria Telgte will have confirmations on November the 10th .

f. The Diocesan Consultors meeting will take place on Monday the 11th of November.

g. We have just h ad 15 counsellors trained in Port Shepstone to work with the dying and the suffering. They will have a day of reflection and prayer in Kokstad on the 11th of November.
Please note, there will be a four day intensive course on the HIV virus and treatment thereof in Kokstad from Morning of Monday 11 of November to 15th November. This is for candidates who will be sent to Durban to do a two week training as Counsellors in January. We invite 2 from each parish. Please Contact Nomvano or Patience at the Bishop’s House.
h. There will be a National Liturgical consultation from the 11th of November.
i. On the 13th of November there will be a Reconciliation service for children to be confirmed and their parents at the Cathedral.
j. Sr Callista will conduct a three day Workshop for all catechism teachers in the parish of Bizana from the 14th to the 17th .
k. From the 18th to the 28th of November the bishop will be away preaching a retreat.
l. Confirmation will take place in Lusikisiki on the 1st of December.
m. The diocesan Aids committee, with its representatives from each parish, will meet in Kokstad on the 2nd of December.
     From 4-7 December, Retreat for children of Mary in Kokstad, see Fr Jose.
n. 7th of December Deacon Lulama Msongelwa will be ordained a priest in Kokstad.
o. On the 8th of December there will be confirmations in the parish of Mt Frere.
p. The Kevelaer pilgrimage will take place from the 9th to the 12th of December. The pilgrims should meet in Kokstad on the evening of Monday the 9th of December to sleep over night or else come very early in the morning to begin the pilgrimage from the Cathedral.
They will return on Thursday which is the 12th of December. The cost is R40 per person. They should have good shoes, towels, blanket for sleeping , a bottle for cold water. They will also have to pay their transport to and from Kokstad. Though a bus will be supplied to bring them back from Kevelaer to Kokstad.
q. The Matatiele parish will have a celebration of 70 years since the building of its church
on the 15th of December.
r. The 22nd of December there will be confirmations in Bhongweni.
4. The diocese was represented at the ordination of Fr Jabulani Nxumalo in August. The vestments worn by the 40 bishops present were provided by our Poor Clare sisters.
5. As you know there is an Inculturation committee of the Diocese headed by Sr Chrysanta Mqambi and Ms Thoko Nala.   You have received special discussion work-books. The parishes are respected to discuss these work-books and make a report to the committee. This work-book was introduced in Coolock House by Fr Vincent Ndaba.
6. We were very happy to welcome the Children of the school of the Deaf from Nchanga who came to give a perfomance in sychronised dancing. The children were welcomed by the parishes of Matatiele and Bhongweni . We thank those parishes, the children were extremely happy with their welcome and opportunity to perform.
7. The aids committee is now very active in the diocese. The Chairperson of the Aids committee is Miss Nomvano Qwebebe, the Vice is Sr Constantia Khumalo, the Secretary is Ms Nonceba Jele, vice secretary is Ms Lindelwa Mangisi , the treasurer is Ms Patience Nogabe.
For help with financial administration and personel management we have invited Mr John Bosman to guide us. Our organisation is becoming very big with maybe 400 people around the diocese actively engaged and many more in training. John who has just brought the Society of St Vincent de Paul to Kokstad is very happy to serve our needy people in this work. Also on the committee with him are Mrs Joy van Dyk and Mrs Lorna Wicks.
We will soon be training more counsellors in Durban at the expense of SACBC Health Desk. We also will be looking for Volunteer to train as Orphan Carers. Have an eye for talented people who are already working on your Aids programmes for with training they can become very effective in many areas. And in future I’m sure they will get jobs out of this training.
8. I wish to thank many people, the priests, sisters and brothers and so many people of the diocese who came to sympathise with me on the occasion of my fathers’death on the 6th of October. It was a great sense of support to know and receive this sypmpathy which I have communicated to my family also in Ireland.
9. We remember the mother of Silindile Yalezo, Elizabeth, who passed away to her Eternal reward and was laid to rest in Bizana on the 18th of October. Sincere sympathy to Silindile on this sad occasion.
10. We have been engaged in helping various projects to get off the ground. The Technical College in Kokstad is now built with help from Kokstad Municipality and the Peace Initiative. There is a beautiful premises in what was the Showgrounds . This will offer all kinds of skill courses to young people. It is much cheaper than a Teknicon. Of course its Standards are not as high . Yet, it offers a tremendous variety of skills and even academic subjects to a certain extent. There will be computer studies, financial education, electrical, motor and other skills. Registration for 2003 has begun, it costs Rand 200.00, the offices are at the old showgrounds.
The Nolitha school for retarded children is about to experience a great expansion . Fr Bernard Riegel, the bishop and Fr Gunther have been working with the Department of Social Welfare and the local committees to establish the school. It seems that there are plans to give grants of 28 million rand for the establishment of a large school there.
Even Johannes Urban, the Viennese taxi-driver has begun to build his famous creche in Imvenyane.
11. Congratulations to the Catechetical team of the parish of the cathedral in Kokstad and to Fr Joseph. They had a wonderful weekend from 26th to the 28th of October. Mr Michael Merle came to speak with children and give workshops to the teachers. On Sunday all the different classes in the cathedral put on something to show what they had learned during the year. This took the form of presentations in drama, sermons, plays, hymns, recitations, and other events. A great number of parents came to see what their children had learned in catechism during the year. I think this would be and excellent idea for other parishes also.
12. I wish to congratulate in a special way Sr Callista who also spoke in the Kokstad weekend for her work in Flagstaff, Lusikisiki and Bizana. She has also been very helpful in the parish of Mt Ayliff.   Sister has great experience in teaching catechism in our diocese, she has a Theological Degree from Cedara. She is resident in Flagstaff and trying to extend the catechetical programme there. She is also working on a catechetical policy for the Diocese so that we have a programme for the whole diocese.
13. The Franciscan Chapter under the chairmanship of its Provincial Fr Vumile Nogemane met in La Verna from the 7th to 11th of October. The Franciscans in establishing their rule of life for South Africa have wanted to bring the Friars together to live in community. Over the years they are withdrawn from various parishes in this diocese and happily our diocesan priests have been able to take them over. This time the Friars are withdrawing from the parish of Bizana. We thank them for seventy years of marvelous work there. They have left a tremendous legacy of faith and tradition and love. There are 18 stations in the parish of Bizana and the people there are noted for their friendliness, their participation in parish life and their faith. This is due to seventy years of work of great friars.
14. We are beginning to build a big new church in Bhongweni. We hope that it will be big enough to accommodated diocesan events when needed. However, it is urgently needed for the parish of Bhongweni. With the addition of Shayamoya there are almost four thousand new families in the area. Every Sunday great crowds are standing outside the present church.
15. Marriage: During the priests discussion from the 14th to the 17th of October in Coolock one of the key issues was that of marriage which was introduced by an excellent presentation Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin.
a. We first examined why many people do not come to church to have their marriages blessed. Some don’t want to commit themselves for life. Men are hesitant in coming to church. We do not offer many models of happy Christian married life. Because of poverty many people are unable to complete the lobola.
Sometimes the lobola is partly paid , the cattle have been eaten and so the woman cannot go home. She is now in a fixed relationship and cannot participate in the Sacramental life of the church. We also have problems because we don’t offer enough instruction on the importance of Christian marriage.
Recommendations:
a. We recommended the use of Marriage Encounter to build strong marriages. Fr Rodgers Sihlobo is the contact person and he has experience and great success in this apostolate.
b. There is also encounter for single parents. Fr Sihlobo is initiating this programme.
c. We should hold retreats for married people in our parishes.
d. We should get people talking about marriage as a experience of sharing life together.
e. We need to have discussions among the youth and in a particular way help boys to see women in a new light.
f. We must celebrate marriages and marriage anniversaries in our parish. We need to make much of the institution of marriage to celebrate it and make it very visible among our people.
g. Retrove is a movement to help marriages which are in difficulty. There is a team which will come if invited and work with a number of couples. This is headed by Fr Peter Lafferty who can be contacted at the Chancery in Durban.
h. We must go back to traditional resources which can be called upon to repair and build up marriage.
Someone remarked that a man often will know the cows of his brother and of his neighbour but not the names or dates of birth of his children. There is an attitude among men that the house and everything and everybody in it is owned by them and can be disposed of according to their sole wishes.
16. Also at Coolock we spoke about peoples legal and social rights. It was remarked that less than one out of three of our children are able to get childrens’ grants. This is because of poverty, ignorance of their rights, problems with certificates.
We can do a lot to make parents aware that all children can benefit from a monthly grant of R130. Also orphans with an orphan card will get R470.
The first step for our children is to make sure that they have an I. D. The problem sometimes is that the mother does not have an ID. Fr Sizwe who is an expect in social Welfare matters tells us that if the relative of the mother has an ID , that relative can take the mother to the Home Affairs to get her ID. If the child is under five then the child can use it’s baptismal certificate as a help in getting an ID. If the child is over five then the child should be sent to school there the principal has the papers which he can fill in and take to Home Affairs. If the mother has an ID she should take the child to the local clinic to get a birth card.
And with her own ID and a birth card she should get a certificate.
The orphan’s card needs the birth certificate of a child , the death certificate of the mother and of the father. The Guardian of the child, it is better if the Guardians’ surname corresponds to that of the child can be appointed by a letter from the Magistrate explaining the relationship between the guardian and the orphan child.
Let us see what we can do to help our people in this area.
17. We also discussed the questions of having Deacons in the diocese of Kokstad. It was said that having Deacons brings the sense of completeness to the Ministry of bishops and priests. There is a strength in having an institution in that institutions have structures and programmes. Being a Deacon brings a sense of belonging to Christ and to his Ministry.
On the other hand, some people felt the diocese is too small and there will be a confusion of roles between priest , communion ministries and Catechists. A long period of training would be required to prepare Deacons and the travel and finance are difficult. Many pointed out that the education and foundation of many of our catechists is weak. They will be unable for Deacon programmes.
It was then suggested that the present leader in each area be given more training and more formation as christian leaders. As time goes by some will emerge from this group who may be considered as acolytes and then maybe Deacons.

18. The Holy Father has just declared this coming year the year of the Holy Rosary. We want to encurage this initiative and call to prayer.   In announcing the theme the Holy Father has introduced the idea of the mysteries of light. These will show the light of Christ breaking into the World and transforming our world. There are meditations on the life of Christ. The five new mysteries are the baptism of Our Lord; The Wedding feast of Cana; The preaching of the Kingdom and Conversion; The Transfiguration on the mountain, and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. It would be a good idea to begin our year of the Holy Rosary on the 8th of December. The Rosary has had tremendous success in bringing people to a sense of belonging to the family of God. The Rosary forms people in contemplative prayer .

19. Above all do try and encourage vocations to the diocesan priesthood in our diocese. For the last two years we have gone relatively dry on vocations . Be in contact with Fr Bongani so that we can organise workshops and programmes during December and January. All young fellows who are seriously interested and in Secondary school must be considered.

20. Note sent to all dioceses from Khanya House, the SACBC secretariat;

Over the past year and a half a good working relationship has been built up between the Department of Home Affairs and ourselves. Many work study permits have been granted, some of them with very little delay.

We want to make sure that nothing is done that might damage the spirit of co operation and the trust in the Bishops’ Conference that now exists. It is for this reason that we wish to mention a few of the things that happened recently:

1. One priest phoned Home Affairs, became quite abusive and slammed down the phone. The lady to whom he was speaking is one of our best contacts there and she was very upset.

2. A letter of support was submitted in our name but it had not been signed by either of us. The application was refused and we were informed.

We wish to inform you of the following:

a. Applications regarding change of purpose stay in the country can now be done without the applicant returning to his country of origin. This means in effect that one who is here on a visitor’s visa may apply for study or work permit without leaving the country.

b. Work/Study Permits are granted for a period of three years for a total of R1,520.00

c. We have been asked to inform applicants that submission of out letters of approval does not automatically guarantee that the permits will be granted. They have asked us to be patient and not to present every case as an urgent exception.

d. Applications by ordained priests and religious in final vows from neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana and Uganda are authorised by the Offices in those countries and do not have to come to Pretoria. It is only in very exceptional circumstances that Pretoria interferes in the working of those offices and therefore it is only in these circumstances that we would request Head Office to do something.

e. Student applications are processed by Pretoria.