Iindaba # 033

1 MARCH 200

At the SACBC in January this year the bishops discussed the difficulties experienced in dealing with the Department of Home Affairs regarding VISAS, Work Permits etc. The Conference decided to prepare a Dossier on applications not dealt or refused and to present these to the Director General of Home Affairs.

The Apostolic Nuncio will dialogue with the Government authorities, Foreign Affairs regarding applications of Catholic priests, brothers, sisters and lay missionaries .
The bishops will send a delegation of bishops to the Department of Home Affairs to see the Minister and Secretary General regarding the Catholic church having direct access to the central offices of the department regarding such applications. It was pointed out that we will draw up a document showing that we are not depriving local people of jobs but creating job opportunities and assisting in the education, training and formation of South African personal.
2.   The SACBC has serious questions to resolve regarding the future training of diocesan priests in South Africa. They are over 300 students for the diocesan priesthood in this year 2000 and next year our present facilities will be totally inadequate to deal with the numbers. We have very few formation personal , our building accommodations are too small. So plans must be made regarding the future.
3. Let us continue to mention the problems connected with HIV Aids in our parishes and in our Sermons. Every parish must be involved in this appostolate. 56% of those being tested within the area of our diocese are proving positive. We have a disaster already .
Over the last two years we have prepared certain people to work in these areas. Many parishes are now training home -careers.   On the diocesan level Fr Joseph and Brother Sydney can be contacted about the establishment and training of personal. This year Sr Miriam Duggan will come to speak about behaviour change .   Sinosizo and NGO will come to continue with training of Home Carers.
There are moneys available on application to initiate Aids Programmes. Every parish must simply get involved immediately.
4. After many years of fragmented work the Bishops Conference has established the development Welfare Agency.   I have asked Fr Richard Kugbeh to act as our Officer in the diocese.   Please suggest names of people sisters and laity who would work on such a committee.   There are moneys available for development. Please contact Fr Richard.
Brother Erich and Herman are also available for development projects. The sisters of the diocese meeting in Coolock made a resolution to involve themselves in micro projects.
5. Let us make a whole-hearted effort this Lent to collect moneys for the poor. The envelopes are here, preach about Sacrificium and how the money is used. Contact Brother Val . And know that a large percentage of the money collected will be available to the diocese for the poor after Easter.
6. We hope that in May there will be Diocesan Pastoral Council. Fr Bill is co- ordinating this. We should have four delegates from each parish.
7. On August the 5th at the Mariannhill session of the Bishops Conference we will have a full National Pastoral Forum.
We must prepare for this now by electing delegates to represent our diocese. These must include priests, religious and laity.
The theme of our Pastoral Forum will be “OUR TASK IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM”   The idea is to ask , how will the Church face the future? It will involve the review of the Pastoral plan and the selection of the theme around which the churches pastoral activity will be organised in the years ahead.
8. The Catholic University of South Africa is now in operation and is offering Masters programmes in Canon Law, Catechetics ,Philosophy. Priests who wish to avail of these studies could contact the bishop and will receive some financial assistance.
Please consider bringing the priests to priest Ministry to our diocese. The National director is Fr Joseph Slattery and he will introduce this programme which helps priests to minister to each other in areas of spirituality , personal care ,recreation.
During this year we will have two sessions of theology especially for our lay leaders. This will take place in Kokstad. Please pick out four or five people who can avail of such programs. They will offer personal formation, skills, theology, reflection on pastoral problems.
9. There are books available in English, Xhosa and Sotho from Bishop Hirmer in Umtata which provide texts for healing ministry and another publication with Holy Year celebrations.


10. At the recent meeting of the priests in Kokstad on February the 7th it was decided that the Youth pilgrimage, by foot, to Kevelear will take place from December the 11th to the 15th. The youth should now enrol. It will cost R40 per person. Most of this money goes into food and return transport. As usual transport to and from Kokstad from the home parishes must be found by each individual or parish.
11. Fr Giorgio outlined the rest of the Youth Programme for the Year 2000.
a. In September a workshop will be held for Youth leaders from each parish, approximately five from each parish will meet to improve the liturgical skills of our youth.
b. In June youth are invited to prepare and practice singing the songs and choruses most commonly used at Mass. If they do this well a tape will be prepared and will be for sale.
c. In May the choir leaders will meet to choose the hymns for the June get -together
d. Can our Youth respond to the violence in our diocese by holding peace marches in areas traditionally marred by violence.
12. Catechetics.
a. Every opportunity must be used to insist of the importance of teaching and forming our children, and our youth. For example we must ask members of St Annes and other societies and specially prospective new members if their children are coming to church, attending catechism, receiving the Sacraments etc.
b. We must transfer the responsibility to the youth themselves. They must get the blue card and show that they are attending catechism.
c. Children should be asked before receiving the Sacraments, what do you request? They must show that they have decided and chosen to follow Christ.
d. Sunday school should be introduced with instructions for the children in the liturgy of the Word.
e. We should make a syllabus of what in necessary.
f. The children must be examined during the year for knowledge of faith and prayers.
When the people receive a blouse they must be examined for knowledge of their faith.
When people apply for baptism we must inquire; have the other children started to receive the Sacraments.
The priest must teach the teachers.
13. It is hoped that we will established pastoral zones in the diocese this year. There will three pastoral zones corresponding with the traditional deaneries. The convenors will be Fr Sihlobo, Fr Giorgio and Fr Bill. At the pastoral zone meetings we will discuss questions of catechetics. We should bring on board some sisters and lay leaders who form part of this pastoral zone planning. We would not bring our catechism teachers to Kokstad this year,   hopefully these pastoral zones give them the support they need. However, the bishop will visit all parishes to speak with catechism teachers during the course of this year. Please make arrangements.
14. It was agreed that when we go to Coolock House March the 13th to the 17th we will bring and display all catechism books in English ,Sotho and Xhosa which are available.
15. The bishop will list a syllabus of the basic points necessary for the catechetical formation. Fr John Kerr will bring the outline he has prepared over the years and also Hardenberg will bring the four basic lesson and thirty-six pages from the UHAMBO LWETHU which can be helpful.
16. Sisters meeting at Coolock House January 31 to February 3 was an extremely valuable encounter . The second of February was a day of specially celebration of their religious life in the church.
The sisters reflected on the real meaning of religious life and expressed their confidence and love for their vocation. Among the reasons for the importance of religious life the sisters underlined that they share the journey of the people of God. They give Christ a new humanity among his people, they are a sign, reflection of the presence of the gospel. They are free as religious to serve God’s people.   Religious life is there because God loves it. The religious are links between the people and God. They are the Sacraments of Christ presence. They deepen the love of Christ in their own lives by this way of life. Religious life brings among the people more powerful spirits that the evil spirits presently at work among them. They are a prolongation of the life of the Gospel through prayer, through service, through commitment to the poor and the needy.
The sisters discussed the problems of Youth and the problems of the family and marriage in our diocese. They analysed the causes of these problems -due to family breakdown, single parents state, the influence of the media, the influence of peers, Youth are confused today by the environment, by their culture , by their schools. Parents are afraid and there is a break down of communication between children and parents. Young people are given no direction either by the church or by their home. There is no authority in the home and the church is not where the youth are. There is not enough teaching or evangelisation done by the church.
The church is also failing to prepare Youth for the Sacrament of Marriage. There is little guidance , there is little explanation of the real meaning of interrelationship in marriage. The church is not where the youth are.

Iindaba # 032

10 January 2000

1.The diocesan consultors and the bishop made the following appointments after the meeting January the 10th:
Cathedral Kokstad, administrator; Fr Joseph Methanath.
Parish priest, Lusikisiki; Fr George Byarugaba
Parish priest, Flagstaff; Fr Francis Lemau
Parish priest, Matatiele; Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin
Parish priest, Umzongwana; Fr Jose Chackalakal
Parish priest, Bizana; Fr Egbert O’Dea.
Fr Rodgers Sihlobo will go on Sabbathical in July this year.
Fr Tony Hardiman will join the community at Hardenberg.
Fr Lawrence O’Shea has been transfered to the Transvaal.
Fr Vincent Zungu has been appointed Novice Master at Besters.
2. The Daughters of Charity made the following appointments:
Umzongwana; Sisters Agnes, Clothilda and Sibulelo.
Lusikisiki; Sisters Constancia, Mary Antony and Mary Clare.
Hardenberg; Sisters Egbert, Natalia, and Beauty.
Flagstaff; Sisters Vianney, Mary Joe, Alice, Gertrude and Margaret.
3. The diocese has great joy in welcoming a community of the Daughters of St Francis from Assisi to Maria Telgte. Sister Mary Anne has been working in the Catholic Institute of Education with Bro Jim. Sister Chrysantha will work as parish sister in Franklin. Sister Consolatrix will teach in the school in Maria Telgte. And another sister will join the community to keep the house.
4. With joy the diocese received a visit from the Superior General of the Comboni missionaries from Rome. Fr Augusto Manuel Ferreira paid a visit in the company of local provincial, Fr Bernard Riegel. We had the opportunity of expressing the gratitude of the diocese for the presence of the Combonies Missionaries here.
5. The youth retreat which took the form of a pilgrimage by foot to Kevelaer this year was a great success. We must thank Fr Joseph Methanath, Fr Giorgio, and Fr Gunter and Sister Natalia. We wish also to thank Sisters Margaret, Helena and Caroline who walked with the pilgrims.
It may be an idea, specially in the troubled areas of our diocese, to have peace marches through the troubled areas, marches filled with praise of God and prayer.
6. The priests of the diocese will meet at the Cathedral on February the 7th at 3 p.m. This arises from our meetings in Coolock. The object is to exchange pastoral experience, to socialize, to make plans for co-operation and work.
7. The diocese wishes to revive working in deaneries. During the month of February the bishop will try and meet the priests and later the apostolic teams of the deaneries on particular dates. These dates will be announced later.
8. The success of the Marriage encounter programmes initiated and organised by Fr Sihlobo at Bizana is very welcome. This new initiative deals with a central problem with the Christian life of the diocese. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of all the parishes getting involved through Fr Rodgers.
9. Congratulations to the Cathedral parish for starting adoration. Every Thursday from seven until six in the evening all are invited to participate.
10. It is with sorrow and yet gratitude that we say good bye to Fr Lawrence O’Shea who has been associated with Kokstad diocese for 43 years. We must express gratitude for the work he has done in many places over these years.
11. Sister Bridge McKenna’s programme is in the Southern Cross of 16th January. She has two priests retreat,in La Verna and Cape Town. She will not be coming to Kokstad.
12. Please note that the diocesan pastoral council has been postponed. In the light of plans which we need to make for the new year the consultors felt it would be better to wait.
13. The bishop will meet with all the sisters of the diocese at Coolock house. The feast of the Purification, 2 February, dioceses are asked to be aware of the great contribution of religious. The sisters will meet in Coolock on January the 31st until the morning of 3rd of February. Each congregation is asked to bring a symbol of their charism.
14. Please speaking about the danger of Aids early this year. We cannot allow our youth to destroy themselves. Even though Saturday funerals remind us of the deadly nature of Aids, we need to underline this and to name it for our people.
15. We rejoice in the presence of Brother Herman at Mt Frere. He has much experience in the Eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga in Agricultural projects. Please contact Brother Herman.
16. Brother Erich has been very creative for the year 2000. He has made three beautiful crosses, type one,- for every parish in the diocese, please send it around from outstation to outstation to encourage the devotion of the people.
In tykpe two cross,Brother Erich produced beautiful family crucifixes ( 8 Rand). Type three is a small cross, a beautiful imposition of the figure of Christ costing R5. This latter is very popular around the country and is ideal for each Christian as a symbol of commitment to the Holy Year.
We remember in a special way however to emphasise the Word of God as the centre of our devotion and prayer during this year.
17. On the 24th of December at Christmas Mass the bishop opened the Holy Year at the Cathedral. We followed the Vatican rite of enthonment of the Word of God, the hymn of praise of the Jubilee year, and the Papal letter.
On the 31st of December in the diocese we offered midnight Mass with ringing of the bells, proclamation of the Word as our entry in the New Millenium.
18. The priests should note the dates for the meetings of the diocese this year at Coolock house. The first is from the night of the 13th of March until the morning of the 17th of March. In October from the evening of the 16th of October to the morning of the 19th of October.
19. On the 16th of December the parish of Hardenberg organised a wonderful centenary celebration. Bishop Bitsoane of Qashas Nek, 16 priests, a number of religious and a great congregation of faith were present. See Inkwenkwezi.
20. We offer our sincere gratitulations to Sr Callista, born in Hardenberg, who spent her apostolic life also working in Hardenberg on the occasion of her silver Jubilee as a Sister. This was celebrated on the 18th of December. We have a great appreciation for the work done by Sister Callista.
On the same day Sister Sibulelo from Umzongwana made her final commitment as a sister in the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We offer her congratulations. We rejoice that young ladies from our diocese have made their full commitment to Christ.
A highlight of the Christmas season was the final vows at Makhobas on the 27th of December of Sister Khumbuzile Helga Mathe. This was a day of immense joy for a great congregation. The singing and preparations made by Fr Peter and Sister Natalia and the parish with the hospitality of the community and families of Makhobas made this a special day.
21. We hope that the leaders of the Masotshanyana and the Bantwana bakaMaria will call the leaders of the various parishes early in the year to make a programme for the full year.
22. It is one of our top priorities of our diocese to have local vocations to the priesthood and also to religious life. So the work of the vocation committee is of crucial significance please ensure that the vocation committee are invited to your parish during the course of this year. Please invite them as soon as possible. The person to contact would be Fr Joseph Methanath at the Cathedral.
23. The bishop will be away from the diocese from the 19th of January to the 29th of January at the annual South African Catholic Bishops Conference in Pretoria.
24. Very important; would each parish and outstation have a ceremony of blessing and sending of all catechism teachers on a Sunday early in the year. A text, with a little adaptation can be found in the Hymn book, page 170.

Iindaba # 031

 6th November 1999
1. Dates for Diary.
Centenary of Hardenberg mission, celebration, December 16th.
Youth pilgrimage on foot to Kevealer, 8th to 10th of December.
Youth assemble on the night of 7th of December in Kokstad, they will come back on Saturday morning the 11th.
The Youth executive will meet on the 13th of November.
The vocations executive will meet on the 8th of November. The consultors meet on the 22nd of November.
The opening of the Holy year will take place in each parish church at midnight on the 31st December with bells and Mass.
Franciscan chapter, November the 30th to the 3rd of December.
Diocesan Pastoral meeting January 29, 2000.
The nurses of Lusikisiki meet Saturday the 20th of November,
Confirmation in Lusikisiki, November 21st.
Confirmation Mount Frere, December 12th.
Confirmation, Flagstaff, January 9th.
All sisters of the diocese are invited to a meeting in Coolock House from January 31st to February the 3rd. The 2nd of February is the special day for religious in every diocese, celebrating religious life.
The priests’ meetings in Coolock for the year 2000 are from the 13th to the 17th of March. This will contain a two day retreat for the Holy Year preached by Fr Joseph Slattery.
The second meeting 16th to the 19th of October.
Sister Khumbuzile from Makhoba will make her final profession as a Sister of Charity at Makhoba on December the 27th. We remember her work in the parishes and with the youth.
Sister Sibulelo from UMzongwana will make her final vows at Matikhwe on the Congregation day, December the 18th.
Of special joy for the diocese of Kokstad in the celebrations at Matikhwe on December the 18th will be the Silver Jubilee of Sister Callista. Sister Callista’s has worked most of her relligious life in this her home diocese with love and dedication to build up the church.
The bishop will be in Pretoria 19th – 26th January at the SACBC.
2. Welcome to Brother Herman to Mount Frere. He has vast experience in rural and agricultural projects with the people in the Eastern Transvaal. Hopefully many of the priests will be able to indicate the areas where he can work with groups of people on farming and agricultural projects.
3. Educational issues: The diocese is engaged in signing contracts with the department of Education for KwaZulu\Natal regarding the Catholic schools, Tigervlei, Maria Telgte, Glen Edward, Tafeni and St Paul’s in Franklin. Sister Mary Anne, Brother Jim, Mrs Nakin and Mrs Napier have been extremely busy working with teachers in in-service projects. They also train both Governing Bodies and Principals introducing the new concepts in Education.
The diocese has not only helped the CIE to motivate our teachers through retreats and in-service training, but we have also made small financial contributions to deserving schools. At Madikizela in Dutyini in Bizana we built three new classrooms for a Secondary school.
The church helped Mr Somi with his school for the blind just outside Bizana. The Bishop blessed a new building donated by the Austrian Catholic church. The children here received the highest credits in matric in the region of Kokstad in 1998.
We are also trying to help the Nolitha Cripple Care Centre in the district of Mount Ayliff. A lady who had a retarded child took in a few others and now has fifty in an overcrowded small house with little facilities. The Comboni Missionaries have brought help. Can anyone help?
4.   Advent is a time to encourage our people to come back to church, fix up their marriages, and particularly go to confession. Could try to have occasions for our children and youth to have a special confession opportunity.
5.   Congratulations to Fr Jose of Franklin in helping the Holy Childhood organisations.   Fr Jose took seven enthusiastic ladies to a workshop of the Pontifical Mission for the Holy Childhood in Umtata. This group led a retreat and workshop in Kokstad, 17th to 19th September, thirty ladies participated.
Our normal contact with Children is in catechism. While this is good we also need to engage our children as Apostles, we need to get them to do things for Jesus. We also need to focus them and to give them a centre for their holiday times. And so these organisations have an importance in the formation of our children.
6. Let us continue the struggle with Aids. We can continue to make sure that our people especially the youth are imformed.
From the 25th to 29th of October two ladies from Sinosizo, an organisation in Durban Archdiocese, Mrs Nadden and Mrs Mkhize conducted a workshop for home care for Aids sufferers. Fourteen people participated. The co ordinator for the diocese is Fr Joseph Methanath. They now take care of particular aid patients in their own areas and with that experience will train others in this work of mercy.
Sister Miriam Duggan who came with a team in May will come again in March, 2000 to train youth to introduce the theme of behaviour change among their fellows.
7. Catechism teachers
During 1999 I was able to meet over 500 catechism teachers. They were very enthusiastic. They need help, they respond to motivation, they have a thirst for the faith, they are in touch with the children. The most recent ones were held in Tabankulu, and Bongweni for both Kokstad Cathedral parish and Bhongweni.
8. The Diocesan Pastoral Council met in Kokstad on October 30th. It was chaired by Fr Bill. A constitution was discussed. The next meeting will take place next year, on Saturday the 29th of January. All parishes should send three representatives. The theme will be youth and the family.
9. The Poor Clares were very happy to be guests of the King and Queen at Qawukeni in Lusikisiki to study Xhosa and to immerse themselves in the cultural life of the people. The Queen herself was a most gracious hostess and the king a most welcoming support to the sisters. The diocese and sisters are extremely grateful for this Christian and African hospitality. The sisters felt it was an eye-opening experience and expressed admiration for the life, hospitality and culture of the people.
10. Discussion on Youth at Coolock: We remember the input by Fr Peter where he underlined that youth have a deep need and desire for spirituality, for discussion and understanding of the Bible, and a great desire and love for prayer.
Fr Peter showed that the liturgy is the life blood of the church and our Youth should be trained to understand it. We should do all we can to get them to participate and circulate ideas we used in youth liturgies. For example many parishes found that when they offered a special service of intercession for examinations in October the youth packed our churches.
Personal contact with the youth is like an eight sacrament. One suggested we should not give baptismal certificates to the mother but rather ask to see the boy or a girl in person. It was felt that youth today are very insecure and are only secure in groups.   Church choirs, church youth groups, good youth leaders are of great importance.
Father Peter emphasised we examine ourselves on our relationship with the youth. He told us: Be there.
 Be willing to learn, Be available, Be humble, Be patient, Be creative, Be ready to fail, Be consistant, Be appreciative, Behave, and respect the youth.
11.   The year 2000. The youth when they return from Kevealer will be giving a large cross with the symbol of the year 2000 fashioned by Brother Erich. They will bring back these crosses to the individual parishes. Ceremonies centred on these crosses can be created inviting prayer, devotion and response during the year.
We favoured popular retreats in each parish. Retreats which will emphasise the family, reconciliation with God, forgiveness within families and between villages and with each other. Couples should renew their marriage vows.
Brother Erich has a great Cross which he wants to erect in a high public place. Any suggestions?
Brother Erich’s people make beautiful two inch crosses  with the figure of the Triumphant Christ. These are available at R5. Could we get people to accept these crosses as the symbol of their commitment to penance, reconciliation and renewal sometime at the beginning of the Jubilee Year 2000? The bishop will open a Holy Door at the Cathedral on Christmas vigil, at 7 o’clock, the 24th of December.
It was felt that as a diocese we would have a diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte in November in 2000. In this the whole diocese would be invited to participate.
Fr John Kerr opened a discussion regarding the forgiving of debt and helping the poor.
During next Lent the money collected from the Sacrificium within the diocese will be sent back to the diocese for a particular project for the poor. Any ideas? It was suggested in the discussion that we encourage rich people in each parish to do something for the poor. We could help old people apply for pensions, we could guide Udodana towards a Vincent De Paul work. We should have special care for widows and children.
Remember the offer of Fr John of bussaries for poor catholic children to attend school at Maria Telgte. We need to apply preferably for grade one, two or three. John has a limited number of places, and the family will simply provide transport money and R 650 for the boarding. The rest will be supplied by Fr John or the Diocese.
12 Buildings:    October the 17th the new Church of St Joseph the Worker was blessed at Mfinizweni, Lusikisiki in scenes of rare joy. This project has been in mind for years initiated by the Sihlobo family, encouraged by Fr Tony and finalised successfully by Fr Richard Kugbeh of Wa.
Brother Erich and his team have completed a proud parish hall at Flagstaff. Matatiele is about to build a hall and the sisters there will erect a Creche.
The Cathedral parish in the persons of some excellent members is busy cleaning up the area around the Cathedral which is becoming very distressed
13. Remember the youth pilgrimage from the 7th to the 10th of December. The youth should be over 16 years of age, they should have parents’ permission, they need to bring R20, they need to bring own clothing, blankets etc. They will stay at various missions on the three day walk to Kevaelar mission. It would be very good to prepare them spiritually by explaining the ideal of pilgrimage with confession, invoking God’s blessing on life, the meaning of sacrifice, love of Mary Mother of God, the need to express our faith publicly, etc.
14. Confirmation in Bizana of 170 young people. Fr Sihlobo attributes this success to the work of the Legion of Mary in visitation and encouragement of people, especially adults to come back to church. The Cathedral had its biggest crowd in many years when 53 young people, who had prepared with two years of class every week, were confirmed on October the 31st.
15. Congratulations to the vocations committee and to the parish of Matatiele for an excellent vocation week-end. Please invite the vocation team through Fr George at Umzongwana to come and speak. The youth are waiting to be invited. And pray especially for contemplative vocations. The team had a very good response also in Mount Ayliff.
16. Fr Sihlobo continues to encourage family life with marriage encounter week ends which are now held at Bizana.  Please connect him with couples whose marriages are somewhat sound to build up the vocation of family life.
17. Sister Dionys has been training funeral leaders for Mount Frere. On 25-26th of September she held a workshop to train in theology and practice the funeral leaders.
Sincere sympathies and prayers to Sr Dionys on the recent death of her brother.
We pray for the dead during the month of November and show that we truly believe in the communion of Saints.
18. Congratulations to Fr Peter and Fr Tony on excellent retreats held at the Cathedral for Sacred Heart and St Annes during September and October, 650 women participated.
Sr Paulus Maria continues to encourage the Children of Mary in Unzumgoana and Bongweni. The Secular Franciscans are on the move with the habit appearing in new places each year.
19 The programme for Sister Bridge McKenna in 2000;
February 19 and 20, Victory Park and Soweto, for laity.
February 21-25, Priests retreat, La Verna, Johannesburg.
February 25, laity in Port Elizabeth.
February 28-March 3, priests’ retreat Cape Town.
March 4 and 5 Week-end for laity, Landsdowne, Cape Town.
20. Christmas cards with theme of Year 2000, at Poor Clares, at R.3.50.
21. The Children of Mary are growing with many new receptions in Bongweni, Mount Frere, Umzumgoana, Lusikisiki, Flagstaff, Mount Ayliff and Hardenberg. Thirty three women from various parishes met with Sr Paulus Maria in Bongweni to discuss leadership and training in the society.
22. The lists of the deceased for November can be given to the Poor Clares to be remembered in their prayers for this month.
23. Sell Inkwenkwezi!

Iindaba # 030

August 27, 1999

1. Congratulations to Fr Bill who celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Priesthood in July this year. We congratulate Brother Sydney who celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Franciscan Profession, he was one of the third people to make profession in the Franciscan Order in South Africa.
2.  The Bishops Conference at Mariannhill:
a. Fr Richard Menatsi of Umtata was appointed a Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference. Archbishop Napier was elected as President of the Conference for the next three years with Bishops Coleman and Archbishop Thlagale as vice presidents.
b. The Lenten appeal this year of Kokstad diocese was up two percent and realized over 30,000 rand.
Next year the money we collect for the Lenten appeal will be sent to Fr Noel Coughlin as normal. He will take the usual amount for church and formation purposes. The remaining money- that of the poor- will be used for distribution in Kokstad diocese.
c. The Lawyers from the Land Development are examining what to do to upgrade our present church sites from PTO, i.e Permission to Occupy to the Status of Title deeds.
d. The SACBC Offices was the nerve centre of organising observers in the elections in June. Eight thousand observers were co ordinated around the country.
e. The bishops are involved helping the Church in Sudan, Rwanda and Angola because of the crises in those countries.
f. Professor Joy Brain is about to publish a history of the Catholic Church in South Africa 1950-2000. This will continue the work of the late Fr Brown.
g. The Catholic development Agency is established in the Bishops Conference and will accept applications through the bishops for development work.
h. Fr Anselm Prior OFM was saluted by the bishops for his trojan work as the leader of Lumko for the past ten years.
The Bishops asked that November the 14th be a National day of prayer for members of the Defence, Police and Prison forces.
i. The bishops are looking at Ixopo as a possible site of one of the Seminary Colleges- replacing Cape Town. They are also looking at other sites in Durban and Pretoria.
j. The Bishops continue to review the implication of the agreement with the Department of Education regarding Catholic schools which have now become public. In our diocese we are looking at Maria Telgte, Franklin, Tigervlei, Glen Edward, Tafeni, Flagstaff, Hardenberg and Makhoba.
k. This year 1999, 1100 tertiary and 800 Secondary students benefited from bishops’ bursary schemes. We will apply next year through the Education Assistance scheme of CIE that they help us access loan funding from NGOs.
l. Also discussed at the bishops’ Conference was the establishment of the new college of the Catholic University in Johannesburg. The first lecture delivered was by Fr Bonaventure OFM. Archbishop Buti Tlahali, was inducted as Chancellor. It will offer MA and Doctorates. Those who wish to do an M.A. can do so by attending seven weeks of lectures spread out over two years. Two assignments are then attached to each of those sessions for home work. Finally a thesis is presented for the completion of the MA.
3. Excellent catechism teachers’ days were held in Matatiele (two days), Flagstaff May the 11th, Hardenberg May the 22nd, Makhoba July the 28th, Ransiki July the 30th, Bizana August the 26th and Mount Frere August the 28th to enhance and motivate our catechism teachers. So far almost 400 catechism teachers have attended these days.
b. At the Cathechetics Co-ordinators meeting held in Kokstad on Monday the 23rd of August 30 co-ordinators attended. Our ideal is to have about three co ordinators for each parish. They will attend monthly meetings in Kokstad. Their task is to assist the priest in motivating and visiting the catechism teachers. They should call for days of retreat a few times a year for the catechism teachers of their own parish, they should see that the catechism teachers are registered, that the catechism teachers register their students, that their books and materials are available, etc. Please try and see that your parish has at least three co ordinators.
c. The catechism kit for Confession and Holy Communion is available from the diocesan office from Fr Joseph at R 65 each. Please get copies for your teachers.
4. Now that the Aids Pandemic has begun to strike very hard in our diocese. Doctors calculate that 50% of the youth in many villages are carrying the virus, we must respond with our full strength to save, protect and nurse our youth and sick.
We had four days in Kokstad at which Doctor Miriam Duggan, a Franciscan sister and four assistants proposed a program for behaviour change for youth, May the 24th to the 28th.
It is obvious that the Aids Apostolate must work on 2 levels.
a. Work on information and behaviour change.
b. We must prepare our people to care for those who are dying from Aids in their homes. For this Mrs Towell of “SINOSIZO”, will come to give a course 24th to 28th of October. 
If you have two people who understand English, who could train other women in your parish, please send them to this four day course. It will be free. Their work will be volunteer work.
It would help if the nurses came together in the parishes now and again for instruction and prayer. Alternatively please let the diocesan office know and we can arrange something.
On Saturday October the 30th we hope to have a Diocesan pastoral council meeting in Kokstad. Fr Bill is chairing a committee to organise this event. It is hoped that all the priests with representatives of their parish councils and some of the sisters will attend.
5. The Coolock House meeting of all priests of the diocese will take place from Monday evening October the 11th to Thursday morning October the 14th. Please try and come. these
6. Some past events:
a. Two new churches were opened and blessed during May.
At ELuthulini the new church was opened with celebrations and joy. May 29 Fr Giorgio led the climb to Ntsizwa mountain for the blessing of the new church.
b. Brother Erich brought the charity of God into the disaster villages in Mount Frere strucck by runaway fires. He brought food, clothing and shelter.
c. Big crowd from the diocese were present on a beautiful fine evening August 14th-15th to celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady to Heaven, South African patronal feast.
d. Mens’ retreats at Mount Ayliff June the 6th-7th and Tabankulu August 21st-22nd had very good numbers in attendance demanding to do more for the church! The men expressed a need and desire to participate in the life of the church. They ask for encouragement. They made remarks about the dominance of women in the church.
e. We note with sorrow the passing of a great Legionary of Mary, Miss Humiliana Dubazana at Hardenberg. For many years a teacher in the catholic school, she was a member of Legion of Mary all her life and a devoted catechism teacher for many years. In later years she helped Fr Bernadine in Cedarville. May she rest in peace.
7. Vocations: Please communicate with dthe vocation team of Fr George, Fr Richard in Lusikisiki, Sister Beauty, Sister Patricia in Bizana and Sister Margaret regarding vocation workshops.
We have two applications for the Seminary this year. Pray for and encourage vocations.   Thanks to the priests who offer hospitality to our seminarians during holiday months. Our seminarians are very important to the diocese and a part of our family.
Frances Hogan lectured on the scriptures, remembering the theme of this year “Abba, Father”. She attracted good crowds.
Confirmation in Flagstaff had 65 young people in July.
8. The youth: Youth have been very active over the last few months. The executive organised a very successful festival in which 11 parishes took part on July the 18th.
A training course for the adults interested in youthwork and youth leaders from July the 13th to the 17th was organised by Sister Natalia assisted by Sisters Beauty and Gertrude with the help of Fr Giorgio.
The youth may attempt a pilgrimage by foot to Kevealer in December, walking to Malenge mission to spend the night there, then to Centocow for another night stop with a final march to Kevealer. We will come back by bus.
9. Childrens’ societies, the Holy Childhood, the Amasotshanyana, and the Children of the Child Jesus, may soon organise a common programme. Fr Jose in Franklin, brought seven of our leaders , seven women to Umtata to attend a special course of the Pontifical Mission Society. They hope to have a weekend in Kokstad 17th to the 19th of September for adults who have a gift of working with children. Encourage some adults to attend this important session.
10. The Poor Clares celebrated their feast on August the 11th. Again on August 14th a visiting group of the young girls from Bongweni with and Franciscan First, Second and Third Order participated and meditated on the life of St Clare. To assist people, especially young girls, to visit and spend time at the Poor Clares will encourage vocations.
The Diocese is extremely grateful to the Great Place at Lusikisiki who offer hospitality to our Poor Clares to perfect their Xhosa and to experience the atmosphere and culture of South African life.
We welcome Sister Mary Leo from Lusaka who will live in the Monastery for a few months. Mother Lilato, Abbess from Lusaka, came to show us again the care the founding monastery in Lusaka has for our foundation.
11. The Catholic Institute of Education, Sister Mary Anne, Brother Jim , Mrs Nakin and Mrs Gloria Napier have been upgrading teachers from Bizana to Matatiele and beyond.   Is there a retired teacher with energy, initiate and knowledge who might consider jjoining this team?
12. Buildings: Brother Erich with his contructors have completed the renovation of Umzongwana mission. There is now a beautiful church there, while the priest’s house has been renovated. There is a magnificant new hall, a work room for the ladies, and a new garage. Brother Erich may also help with a mill.
The Flagstaff hall is roofed; Matatiele hall will start soon, and a creche which the sisters wish to open.
Plans to build a new township at Shayamoya, Bongweni of 4000 houses may involve us building a big church at Shayamoya. This will avoid extending the church at Bongweni and provide one big church for diocesan events in Kokstad.
13. Fr Peter with the Sacred Heart and Fr Tony with St Annes are doing much work this year with the leaders in formation and renewal.
14. Coming events: The bishop will attend a meeting of the bishops with the major religious superiors of Durban Metropolitan area on September 1. On September the 2nd it will be the meeting of the bishops of the same area.
The Sacred Heart Society will have a retreat at Kokstad on the 3rd to the 5th of September.
Annual general meeting of the Mount Currie fellowship will take place in September the 7th.
There will be confirmation at Bizana on the 12th of September and at the Cathedral in Kokstad on the 31st of October.
The next meeting of the consultors will be on the 20th of September.
On the 25th there will be a weekend led by sister Dionys for funeral leaders at Mount Frere.
The annual retreat for the St Annes women and leaders will take place at Kokstad 24 th to the 26th of September.
The bishops of South Africa with the teachers at the seminaries will spend three days in Pretoria considering the future of our seminaries. We need a new seminary for the spiritual year, there is need to consider the expansion of seminaries as the number of students continues to rise. Concerns have been expressed about training, formation etc.
The new church at Mfinisweni will be opened and blessed on the 17th of October.
The next meeting for catechetical co ordinators is October the 18th.
A day for the catechism teachers of Tabankulu and Mount Ayliff will take place at Tabankulu on the 24th of October. Sister Bridget and the bishop will attend.
15. The INkwenkwezi is selling quite well. Please get the paper into the hands of the people. The bi-monthly magazine Worldwide is selling over 100 copies per issue in Mount Frere because of promotion.
16. Congratulations to the sisters in Matatiele of the Congregation of the Little Servant of Blessed Virgin Mary on the beatification of their founder, Blessed Edmund Bojanowski.
17. Please continue to plan for the celebration of the Year 2000. Themes suggested centre around a torch of Faith carried from parish to parish and house to house; celebrations centering on strengthening family life, celebrations on the parish level; a shrine or a place of pilgrimages for those who are sick and in need of renewal. Brother Erich has designed symbols which people could be encouraged to buy representing their commitment to the year 2000. The making of symbols would give employument to 8 women in Mount Frere.

Iindaba # 029

30 April 1999

1. From Monday the 24th of May at 10 am to Friday afternoon, May 28, Sr Miriam Duggan will be in Kokstad at the Cathedral hall to conduct a workshop on “Education for life, behaviour change process”.
This will be a very good opportunity to look at the root causes behind the spread of Aids, to look at life styles and see what needs to change.
Preferably the participants should be 18 years and older. It is better if four people can come from the same parish so as to form a team later to give the same workshop. Ideally youth chaplains, youth leaders can come, or a priest,or all who have something to offer to contain this killer which is now estimated to threaten 50% of the youth of our diocese.
Participants to bring a Bible, note book and a pen. It would be also expected that the workshop be residential or for people living close by. This is a process and participants must stay for the duration of the program. You are urgently requested to send small groups of people for the full week as it will provide you with teams to deal with the Aids pandemic.
2. The bishop and the cathechetical team will conduct days of prayer and study for all cathechism teachers on the following dates and in the following places:-
Ntlangwini April 29th at 10 am.
Matatiele in English, 8th of May for Matatiele and Kokstad catechism teachers. This will start at 2 pm.
 Flagstaff May 11th at 10 am.
Lusikisiki May 13th at 10 am.
Matatiele for Xhosa speaking people May 20th.
Hardenberg May 22nd.
Bizana August 26th
Mount Frere August 28th
Makhoba July 28th
Ransiki July 31st.
All above at 10 am. It would be good if tea or something is provided for participants.
3. The week of prayer for Christian Unity starts on Ascension Thursday 13th of May and will continue until Pentecost 23rd of May. Please make an effort to have some prayers or sharing with christians during these days. Another intention of the prayers this year will be for a Peaceful Election.
4. Fourth coming events.
a. Day of recollection for diocesan priests Ntlangwini 18th of May.
b. Blessing of New church at Ntsizwa, Mount Ayliff 29th of May.
c. Consultors meeting 31st of May.
d. Bishop away in Glasgow, preaching 3rd to the 14th of June.
15th June to 8th July in Ireland.
e. The Youth Executive with Sister Natalia and Father Giorgio meet at Bishops House, 5th of June.
f. Father Sihlobo is arranging a retreat in each of three deaneries for all men of each area.
g. July the 13th to 17th a Youth training programe for Youth leaders and adults who work with youth. Each parish should send two of their youth and two of adults who work with youth for this intensive training program in youth ministry.
h. Youth festival beginning at 8:30 am on the 17th of July at the Cathedral hall in Kokstad.
i. July the 25th, confirmation in Flagstaff.
j. Next meeting of the committee of the year 2000, May the 15th at the bishop’s house. Convenor Fr Joseph Methanath.
k. Blessing of Eluthuleni church, Bizana,16 May.
l. Bishop in Rantsiki, Hardenberg for confessions and Pentecost.
5. Make sure to contact Fr George at Ntlangwini to invite the vocations committee to make the presentation in your parish in the course of this year. This is very important.
6. After the long discussion at Coolock House regarding the service of the sick, the consultors of the diocese decided to make June the month of the sick in the diocese. Each parish and even each outstation should have a special service for the sick. The service can take many forms. The service could revolve around the blessed Sacrament, or the sick could be anointed, they can be prayed for with the laying of hands. The whole intention is to excite their faith in Jesus Christ and then to intercede with Jesus to change their life, their soul and their health. The sacrament of reconciliation is also concerned with healing and inner cleansing through the direct action of the Holy Spirit.
7. Congratulations to Fr Giorgio in Mount Ayliff on organising a meaningful service of reconciliation between the two villages of eMbuthweni and Nokhatshila where in the last few months 16 people died. This was a service of peace that brought people to cross the river dividing their districts to embrace each other. Whenever a tragedy strikes in our diocese in villages- burning of witches, hurricanes, cattle raids and inter-village killings etc we should make a point of praying in a very pronounced way.
8. We say good bye to Fr Harry from Franklin who has served in Kokstad for 37 years. We thank him for his work and efforts in all those years. May God bless him in the years ahead with the gift of prayer and faith.
We had a warm celebration on the 7th of April with Mass at the Poor Clares and a reception at the Bishops house to say goodbye to Sister Mary Kenney who served the CIE so faithfully in the last three years.
9. Sister Briege McKenna and Fr Kevin Scallon made a profound impression in South Africa during their visit between the 12th and the 26th of April. We especially appreciated their priest retreat in Durban and their visit and healing services in Bizana and in Kokstad Cathedral. These services, characterised by witness and faith brought devotion and renewal to all who came. There were many reports of physical healing and even more of spiritual renewal. Their sense of the immediacy of Jesus in the sacraments, their great commitment in prayer and their love for the church were a gift to us and a joy.
10. Fr Sihlobo has now conducted 10 couples through the Marriage Encounter initial programs. He has now established a unit for our own diocese. Please find some marriage couples for this program with Fr Sihlobo. These people will be enriched in their own lives and make a great contribution to the marriage life of the diocese. At the priests’ meeting in Coolock many were worried that our people were loosing all sense of the Sacramentality of marriage.
11. Congratulations to all priests on their presence at the Chrism Mass on April the 1st at the Cathedral. Thank you also for bringing people representing each parish. This year’s congregation represented the whole diocese in a very compehensive way.
12. Congratulations to sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe for the Children of Mary retreat at the Cathedral on the 6th, 7th and 8th of April. This was a beautiful celebration of fervour.
Hopefully the Leaders of the Amasotshanyana kaKrestu UKumkani and of the Abantwana bakaMaria will meet during May or June to plan holiday programs for all our young people during the Winter and during school holidays. This is very important.
13. Please send in a list of Eucharistic Ministers of your parish as we wish to renew their Ministry each year.
14. In consultation with the seminarians the bishop and vocation committee are in the process of drawing up a guidelines for seminarians in the diocese. This will outline the program for seminarians in the holidays and prepare to live as future priests.
15. Would it be possible to find the names of your youth who are third level Institutes or Universities. We would like the the names as we wish to conduct the special retreat for them during December this year. There is a great ignorance among the youth, even educated youth, regarding the history and meaning of their church and christian commitment.
16. We spoke at length at Coolock regarding the Financial situation of the diocese. It is absolutely clear that there must be more generation of money within the diocese.   Last year the diocese raised three hundred and ten thousand rand. This is very little when you think of the enormous expenses which we have. To send a seminarian to seminary for one year cost 20,000 rand alone. And we have eight seminarians.
We will make a collection for the diocese with special envelopes during the course of this year. Please support it.
All buildings which are initiated within the diocese must show a local contribution.
It is diocesan policy to do as little as possible ferrying of passengers. Beyond the insurance risks there is also the wear on our cars.
All parishes should have financial committes. It is laity who should lead in the financing programe of our parishes.
17. Father Bill is convening the diocesan pastoral council in October or November this year. All parishes and outstations should have a committee which represents them. From this committee or parish councils the representatives for the diocesan pastoral council can easily be drawn.
18.   Continue to reflect on how we can adequately mark this time of grace, the year 2000. In the rich discussion which took place at Coolock House here are some of the ideas thrown out regarding the theme “Christ Yesterday, Today and beyond the year 2000”.
a. We should organise popular retreats in the parishes.
b. We should have a shrine, a centenary hall or a Jubilee mission.
c. We should have priest exchange for the Sacrament of reconciliation during that year.
d. It should be a year of healing with many healing services and reconcilition and confession.
e. It should be a year to emphasise and renew the family and marriage in our diocese. We should examine the problem of LOBOLA.
f. We should have pilgrimages during this year.
g. It should be the year of Re-evangelization.
h. We should emphasise parish events with the bishop present at all missions on a fixed date during the year.
i. There should be a diocesan shrine where all the sick can go, where confessions are offered, healing services take place, counselling and consolation facilities exist, to which pilgrimages takes place, a place free from evil spirits, where people can find a deep experience of devotion and life. But where?
j. That the nativity scene in the Cathedral should be retained during the year and pilgrimages should be organised to the cathedral.
k. Priests and sisters should all come together for a day of prayer and pray together.
l. It would be good to have an ordination during this year.
m. We should have an olympic flame which should go from parish to parish.
n. It should be ecumenical.
o. We should have a cross which is carried on procession from outstation to outstation or from parish to parish.
p. We should erect a monumental cross in a prominent place.
 18. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin attended the Justice and Peace department meeting in preparation for the coming elections. He is training people who will be observers.
19. We discussed how to conscientise people regarding Aids in Coolock House. Suggestions made which might help include the production of a pamphlet, or we should speak to the youth, we can run workshops for the nurses and parents, we must speak and teach children already at the ages of ten to twelve. We should bring the subject into the catechetical programs. We must not be too negative but must intergrate our teaching into a view of life, we should have holiday program in each parish to engage our youth. We should use the sodalities.
20. Congratulations to Bro Erich and Fr Giorgio on the magnificent work rebuilding Mount Ayliff after the Inkanyamba.  The mission is beautiful again, thanks to their excellent work and organisation.
We must also thank Brother Erich on the beautiful hall in Ntlangwini and a workroom for the training of local people in skills.
He is now working on a church for Dumarheni.   He vetted with Fr Manus the plans for a new hall in Matatiele and has plans for a new hall in Flagstaff.
21. We extent the hand of welcome and hospitality to the Franciscan definitory and Provincial who met here on April the 28th and 29th. We continue to deeply appreciate their presence and the work of the Franciscans in the Diocese.
22. Saturday, the 24th of April the bishop spoke with 23 nurses at Mount Frere on nursing as a vocation. Day of prayer blessing and reflection was appreciated by all. The nurses in our parishes should organise such days.
23. Frances Hogan, well-known lecturer and retreat guide, will be in Kokstad to speak on the scriptures for two days in the middle of July. Frances’ tapes and writings on Scripture have received international acclaim and this is an opportunity for priests, sisters and laity to hear her.
24. May is the month of Mary and an ideal chance to revive the family rosary and devotion to the Mother of God.
     June the 6th is the feast of Corpus Christi, a time for processions and Benediction, adoration and praise.
25. The Sisters of the diocese came together to reflect upon the importance of religious life in the local church. Having shared on the religious identity, its specific meaning and mission in the church, the sisters renewed their commitment.
     During the holidays, after consultation with the Poor Clares, good girls who may have an interest in vocation might be encouraged to spend a few days with the Poor Clares.
26. Soup for the Winter, see Fr Joseph.

Iindaba # 028


1. Coming events:   January 4th to the 8th: Maria Telgte Theology school. Fr Simon Ngcobo and Sister Callista will conduct theology for leaders at Maria Telgte from the 4th to the 8th of January. All parishes should send groups of 3 to 4 who can come as a team. The cost is R20 per person.

January 7th: Meeting of the bishops reg. the seminaries.

January 8th to the 11th: Children of Mary retreat led by Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe at the Cathedral, Kokstad.

January 8th to the 10th:  At Mount Frere led by Sister Mary Dionys Ngcobo a catechetics retreat and blessing of catechism

January the 9th; Legion Curia in Matatiele.

January the 1Oth: Confirmation in Hardenberg.

January the 11th:   Bishop’s house Kokstad: The youth executive will meet. We are reminded to draw up a list of four or six promising young christians who can be trained as youth leaders. They should be active and enthusiastic.

January the 15th: Catechetical diocesan committee to meet.

January the 15th to the 17th:   Marriage encounter weekend at Bizana. Please contact Fr Rodgers.  Fee couple is R150 rand.

January th 19th: Mount Currie fellowship meeting in Kokstad. This is the interchurch meeting of church leaders.

January the 20th to the 28th: Bishops conference in Pretoria. January the 30th: Retreat in Matatiele for catechism teachers and children.

February the 1st: Meeting of the diocesan consultors.

February the 6th: Meeting of the diocesan sisters and bishop.

February the 8th: The arrival of postulants to the Franciscan postulancy at Kokstad.

February the 14th: Taylorville, Ntlangwini confirmations.

February the 17th: Ash Wednesday.

February the 20th: Meeting of the committee for the year 2000 to review and to draw up plans for its full celebration.

2. The focus of our work in the diocese this year is formation. We try to offer formation to those christians who are committed, who are in leadership roles, who are enthusiastic for their faith. In a special way all these sodalities; and St Anne’s, Sacred Heart, Amadodana, Abantwana bakaMaria, AmaSotshanyana, St Franciscans Third Order, Youth; Choir leaders need faith formation.

3. Please remind our students who study at University, Technikon and Third level institutions that there is a National movement for Catholic tertiary students (ACTS). Our students will be strongly encouraged to make themselves known to the spiritual directors and become members.

4. We say welcome to Fr Manuel who has come to Mt Frere and Fr Gunther who has come to replace Fr Bernard in Mt Ayliff.

5. We have to say goodbye to two outstanding priests of the diocese who recently left us. At the beginning of December Fr Egbert O’Dea after 46 years magnificence service to the people of this church, was appointed by the Franciscans to be parish priest of Amanzimtoti. This will also become the provincial house. He will be deeply missed by the people all over the diocese and by all priests and the bishop.  His contribution, self-commitment and generosity cannot be over estimated.

On the 28th of December, Fr Bernard Reigel, parish priest of Mt Ayliff has moved to Johannesburg to take up his new appointment as Provincial Superior of the Comboni Fathers.

Father Bernard worked for five years in the diocese with great fruit. His kindness, his concern for the people left a deep impression upon all. We wish him God’s blessing.

6. We also say goodbye, at least for a short while, to Sisters Khumbuzile and Sibulelo who go to the Mother-house at Matikwe to prepare for Final vows. Their work among the youth and with the children was very valuable. We ask God to bless them. We hope they come back to us.

7. Nursing: November the 17th the bishop went to St Elizabeth hospital in Lusikisiki to celebrate the Feast of Patroness. The Medical Superintendant, Doctor Thomas who has great devotion to the Saint and is a devout catholic invited the bishop to remind the hospital of its catholic origins.

In his address the bishop reminded the people of the history of the hospital and the history of the Saint to whom it is dedicated. They continue the Ministry of Jesus Christ. They care for the sick and the poor and those who are loosing hope. He encouraged the sisters to bring the Catholic spirit to Lusikisiki.

On November the 14th the Catholic Nurses Guild of Matatiele met at the church to reflect and pray together for inspiration in their Ministry. 12 nurses attended led by Mrs Setsubi. The nurses raised many questions of a moral nature which they face in family life and in the practise of their ministry.

Members of the Nurses Guild of Kokstad met the bishop at St Patrick’s hall to discuss the revival of their Guild.

It is strongly encouraged that all the hospitals be encouraged to contact the bishop to arrange days of prayer and healing at their hospitals during 1999.

8. On the 19th and 20th of December Fr Rodgers Sihlobo in Bizana invited Fr Victor Phalana, professor at St Peter’s Seminary in Pretoria to conduct a major healing service at Bizana. On both days the church was packed with all kinds of spiritual suffering, physical ailments and claims of evil possession. Ably assisted by our seminarians Lulama Msongelwa, Bongani Mbhele, and Gabriel Letsohla Fr Victor and Fr Rodgers led the people in intercessory prayer. The meeting was an enormous success with many claim of physical healing and spiritual renewal. It was an exhausting weekend but something deeply needed by our people. Hopefully these healing services will move to other parishes on invitation.

9. On 22nd November the bishop blessed the new church at Hombe, Lusikisiki. This was a marvellous day with the Undlunkulu and the local chief present. The church was built using an older steel construction taken from a former church. Brother Erich created out of this doubtful material a church of which the people are very proud.

The people were very active in the building helping Brother Erich and his team.   The altar, the lectern, the stations of the Cross, the benches, the etching on wood of the figure of Mary were all done by brother Erich.

10. 19th of December the New church of St Mathias Mulumba was opened at Saphukanduku by the Bishop. Originally started by Fr Wilfred Napier in 1984, the church has been completed with simplicity and style by brother Erich and Fr Giorgio. The arrangements for the day by Fr Giorgio and sister Marviga were excellent. Even though it is a small catholic community the church was crammed for the celebration.

11. Events: The secular Franciscan Order continues to grow. Since the Feast of St Francis in Hardenberg Fr Vincent Zungu has continued the formation of the tertiaries with the weekend retreat at Bhongweni on the 14th of November. A very welcome development is the Jufra. This is a meeting for the young Franciscans. It’s value is that the youth in joining thus belong to a National and International movement.

Extensive repairs have been effected to the church of Mount Ayliff. This was a very expensive job, as the church is big and old and the depredations of time and water had caused serious problems. Brother Erich and the Comboni Fathers are to be thanked sincerely for this timeous work.

24th of November:   Fr Bonaventure lectured on the role of Mary in Christian life at the St Patricks hall Kokstad.

The chapter of Mats, an informal Franciscan meeting took place at La Verna in Johannesberg from November the 30th to the 3rd of December. 7 Friars from the diocese attended.

Fr Schneider, the International spiritual assistant to the Poor Clares came from the General Curia in Rome to visit Our Poor Clares from the 7th to the 9th of December.   Fr Heribert was very pleased and encouraged the Poor Clares for their faithfulness to their vocation and commitment to the church.

Ten young people were confirmed to the church in Cedarville on Sunday the 13th of December. Fr Bernadine, Sister Angela and Mrs Mfene worked very hard to prepare the young people. The church was full, singing and participation was excellent. Hopefully this young group will be unit which will build up our church.

12. The Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, met at Coolock House from November the 26th to the 28th to consider and re-visit the foundations of their Order. The congregation is 50 years in South Africa this year, and it is 175 years old. In the discussions and prayers at Coolock House the sisters saw the charism of their congregation as living out the charity of Christ among the Poor, forming them especially in faith and charity.

280 of our youth went to Maria Telgte mission from December, 3rd to the 5th for the annual youth retreat. This was guided by the Diocesan youth executive led by Fr Giorgio, Sister Natalia, Sister Khumbuzile, Sister Gertrude and Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe. The young people were committed, respectful, prayerful and keen to participate in every event.

The theme of the retreat was young people in the church. Many speakers pointed out aspects of life where the youth are crucial to the life of the church. They were invited to fully participate as witnesses of Christ. Night vigils, liturgies, sharing, question times and concerts all made up a wonderful two days in Telgte mission.   They then came by bus to the town hall in Kokstad for the opening of the holy year.

13. On the night of December 5th, Saturday night, people from all over the diocese gathered at the Town Hall to celebrate the holy year dedicated to the Father, 1999. The choir was a massed, drawn from the diocese. The singing was excellent. The programme included a candle-light, rosary procession in the town, a youth presentation of the parable of the Prodigal Son, sermon from Fr Sihlobo, praise of the gifts of the Father through a para-liturgy with processions and gifts, presentation of excellent talks on God’s enemies, e.g violence, abortion, Aids, abuse, drink and drugs, sin, evil and envy.   This was followed by an Imvuselelo.

The service had opened with an English segment led by Fr Larry O’Shea. The bishop said the concluding Mass at 4 o’clock. The excellent master of ceremonies was Fr Vincent Zungu who had unified the programme moving moving with style and pace.

14. On the 16th of December Fr Sihlobo met with the diocesan executive of the Amadodana. Certain points were discussed which had come from the priest meeting at Coolock house. As spiritual director of the movement Fr Sihlobo reflected on many problems and set up a time-table for on-going formation for the Amadodana.

15. 47 people from Kokstad made a long ten hour journed to Ngome to the shrine of Mary Tabernacle of the Most High, 7th to the 10th of December. Led by Fr Richard who was accompanied by parents, and Bro Sydney who was accompanied by his mother the people found the pilgrimage spiritually rejuvenating. They called at Inkamana and at Maria Ratchitz. People from Harding and Matatiele also came.

16. The bishop attended the Silver Jubilees of Sister Gertrude and Sr Agnes on the 18th of December. Both sisters are daughters of this church of Kokstad, and have worked very diligently and faithfully for this diocese for most 25 years. Congratulations to them. We wish them many more years work and fruitful Apostolate among the people.

Congratulations and good wishes to Sr Dominic of the Besters community who has been appointed the new Provincial of the Daughters of Charity and also to Sr Agnes and Sr Florentia who will be Provincial Counsellors.

17. Fr Rodger invited Miss Prisca Hadebe from Lumko to offer retreats to single people and married couples on the life and spirituality of family and marriage. Our marriage couples need much more help, we all agree that the state of marriages is a disaster. The Marriage Encounter movement which is beginning in our diocese under the inspiration of Fr Sihlobo is fully encouraged. Good couples who could participate in this programme should be encouraged to apply.

18. The Masotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani are flourishing. Thanks to the Sisters and parents involved in the movement. On his last Sunday in Flagstaff Fr Egbert’s 300 members brought the town to a standstill. We have a wonderful opportunity here to offer formation to our children, to make them belong to the church, to give them an Apostolate, to help them spiritually and to deepen their prayer.

19. Coolock house was the scene of the annual priest’s meeting, November the 9th to the 11th. Reports were given on the work of all sodalities in the diocese. Fr Manus spoke on the Code for Professional conduct and give a comprehensive report on the procedure regarding abuse issues.

Fr Richard Kugbeh as Chairperson of Justice and Peace Commission, reported on the work being done in the country. We have started a Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission. Certain people have been asked to be involved.  With the elections coming we can offer assistance to the people. Fr Richard also directed our attention to the new Labour Relations Act and the responsibility of employers regarding employees. Copies of this document has been made available to all priests.

The marriage Apostolate was discussed at length. Things which the diocese might do to strengthen the status of marriage emerged from the meeting at Coolock House;

(a). Youth preparation programmes.

(b). Retreats for married people of the parish.

(c). Thanks giving and celebration for parents and couples celebrating Jubilees.

(d). Use the marriage encounter couples to speak and guide parents and people. Discussions with men and their problems.

20. February 11th is the World Day of the Sick. Is a time to offer something special to our sick, to direct the attention of parishioners to care for them and to help the sick themselves to understand their suffering and their own peculiar apostolate. Our people are begging that we should pray for them in their illnesses, anxieties, fears. God has given us both the task and the power to help them. Sisters too, should make hospitals and sick homes the subject of their apostolate.

21. This Year of the Father, we continue to promote the Small Christian Community. We use the seven step method of Scripture sharing. However, we emphasise step no. 6, which has to do with bringing the fruit of sharing and prayer into life. We decided to do this by having the members share on their work of mercy at this point- in the manner of the Legion of Mary report back. Sr Paulus Maria of Mount Frere will visit the parishes during the year help.

22. The Vocation committee, under Fr George Byarubaga, wish to visit each parish this year. They await an inviation.

The Youth committee, under Fr Giorgio and Sr Natalia, will help each parish Youth group to organise their own retreat.

23. Catechetics. Normally, this is organised by the parish and the priest. To offer some help to the motivation and formation of the local catechism teacher the diocesan committee will comprise a representative of each parish, usually a sister, who can act as co-ordinator for the area. She will call the teachers together, arrange an occasional retreat, invite the diocesan team to visit and help.

Iindaba # 027


1. Calender.   November the 8th Bishop will attend the consecration of Fr Frank Nubuasah as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Francistown in Botswana. The new Bishop is from Ghana and is the Missionary of the Divine Word.
November the 9th to the 11th, the meeting of the priests and brothers of the Diocese at Coolock House.
November 14th, prayer meeting with the Bishop and the nurses of Matatiele district at 9 a.m at the church.
17th November, the Feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary. The Bishop will conduct a day of prayer at Lusikisiki Hospital, founded and dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary the Patron of the Franciscan Third Order. Bishop was invited by Doctor Thomas, the Medical Superintandent of this hospital which now is a Government Institution. By visiting the hospitals and conducting prayers for patients and Health workers we will reclaim our hospitals. Bizana, Mount Frere, Lusikisiki were all built by church.
On November 23th the Executive of the Children of Mary will meet at the Bishop’s house.
November 24, Kokstad region Nurses guild, St Patrick’s Hall.
November 22nd, ConsecrationThe Bishop will concecrate the new church at Hombe in the parish of Lusikisiki.
November the 24th, Fr Bonaventure Hinwood ofm will lecture at St Patrick’s Hall at the Cathedral on ” Mary Mother of God”.
November the 26th to the 28thThe bishop will be with the Daughters of the Charity of Sacred Heart of Jesus at Coolock House. This is the Golden Jubilee of the sisters in South Africa and also the 175th year of their foundation. It is a time of recommitment to charism of the congregation.
The Executive of the Sisters of the diocese are arranging a date to meet and celebrate their common religious vocation.
November the 29th Confirmation at Mount Ayliff.
November 30th to December the 3rd the Chapter of Mats of the Franciscans at La Verna.
December the 3rd to the 5th the youth retreat of the diocese at Maria Telgte. It is hoped that the youth will arrive in Kokstad at Midday on the 3rd of December on their own steam. They will then be taken by lorry to Maria Telgte. They will return to Kokstad for the Vigil on Dec 5th. On December the 6th they must find their own way home.
December the 5th the opening of the Holy Year. The Theme, “RETURN TO THE FATHER’S HOUSE”. The service begins in the Town Hall at 7p.m on December the 5th. This year there will be a massed Choir for the service. It will be under the baton of Mr Mokoena, the Choir Master of Bhongweni. Already over 40 choir leaders have met from the diocese to prepare the music.
It is requested that priests come to St Patrick’s hall beside the Cathedral at 5p.m on that Sarturday afternoon to offer the possibility for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
December the 7th to the 10th, the pilgrimage of the people of Kokstad and Matatiele to Ngome shrine. About 45 people are going on this long journey led by Fr Richard who has arranged a full spiritual programme. The 45 participants will visit Maria Ratchitz Mission and Inkamana Abbey.
December the 13th Confirmation at Cedarville.
December the 14th meeting of the consultors at the Bishop’s House.
December 7th to the 13th, the bishop will be on retreat at Inkamana.
December the 18th Sisters Gertrude and Agnes of the Daughters of Charity will celebrate their Silver Jubilee at Matikwe. This is a day of joy for the diocese in that the sisters, born in this diocese, grew up in this church and have served the diocese for most of those 25 years faithfully and diligently. We congratulate them and rejoice with them.
December the 20th Confirmation at Bhongweni.
December 19th, opening and blessing of new church at Saphukanduku in the parish of Tabankulu. Like Hombe this church has been built by Bro Erich. It began about thirteen years ago with Fr Bernadine and is now coming to completion.
2. School for Catechetics at Telgte. Congratulations to Fr John, Patrick Jojo and Sister Anastasia who conducted the catechism school for the Farm children at Telgte from September the 21st to the 24th. As we only invited catholic children this time and children of a particular age only 35 to 40 attended. However, it was an excellent week of prayer and growth in faith, recreation and in community.
3. It was a special day when Sister Nokubonga Annacleta Daki celebrated her final vows, consecrating herself for life to God at Bizana church, on October the 4th. The Choirs of Bizana and Margate combined in a ceremony centering on well chosen readings and prayers to make a beautiful impression. Sister’s own preparation and faith with the joy of her family uplifted the hope and faith for all who were present.
On the same day, October the 4th, Feast of St Francis, Fr Bill led Secular Franciscans from all over Natal and the Diocese of Kokstad in a renewal of commitment at Hardenberg. The Third Order like all Sodalities in the church flourishes with constant spiritual care and encouragement.
4. Welcome back from the Holy Land to Fr Sihlobo and Mrs Nomvethe from Bizana. Fr Sihlobo led a group of 56 people on a pilgrimage to the Holy places and to Rome. They were lucky to be in Rome on a Sunday the 24 when the Holy Father beatified yet another Franciscan, a Brazilian. For the occasion they received excellent tickets and were very near the Holy Father.
The Diocesan priests met for recollection at Maria Telgte on August the 18th, at Ntlangwini on September the 29th, and at the Poor Clares on October the 20th.
5. Fr Manus has done a lot of preliminary work, collecting money and motivating people to start the building of a new hall in Matatiele.   He is now working with Fr Erich on the final plans for this much needed facility.
The youth retreat which took place in Bizana and was led by Sister Thandi Moyo and Ms Prisca Radebe was a significant moment for the about 180 attending. The subject under discussion was the life of youth in the church particularly the guidance of the youth in moral issues. Aids, and problems in home and family were also touched upon.
6. Holy year 1999. As stated above this begins at the town hall Kokstad on Saturday night the 5th of December and people from all places are invited and encouraged to attend.
The Committee of the year 2000 in planning this year have decided to remain with the small Christian community.    The beauty of these communities is that they draw on God’s Word and bring people together in neighbourhood gospel groups.
However, this year we will try and emphasise step no.6 in the seven step method. That is, we will try and emphasise with the small christian communities the absolute necessity of taking their prayer and gospel sharing into their daily lives. Being the year of the Father all will be encouraged to move from the small Christian communities into works of Mercy, visitation, renewal, instruction, neighborliness, hospital visitation, and works of Mercy of all kinds.
We should insist that in the small christian communities they emphasise step no. 6 by incoporating the methodology of the Legion of Mary. That is, have a report back on the work done by the individual members of the group.
7. Please continue to encourage the sale of the Inkwenkwezi. It is a simple Word of Christian and church life for people who have almost no spiritual reading. The priest should insist in the notices after Mass for many Sundays on the availability of the Inkwenkwezi and refer to some article to get the people and their children to read it.
The sisters also are encouraged to make it a personal task to sell and distribute the Inkwenkwezi.
8. Christmas cards are available from the Poor Clares. These are beautiful cards which can be used to bring the message of Christmas to our friends.
The Poor Clares continue to offer their lives for the diocese. We should try encourage our people to visit there and also to bring little gifts to the sisters. We should also try and make some efforts to support them. Soon work will begin on a Chapel for the Poor Clares.
Recently groups from Hardenberg and Ntlangwini as well as an enormous group of Women of St Ann visited the Poor Clares. All were deeply touched by their visit and left baskets of requests and prayer intentions to keep the sisters busy on their knees for the years ahead.
We don’t expect a lot of vocations, but few and select vocations should be encouraged to consider offering their lives in prayer and faith to build up what the whole church is about- deepening the knowledge of faith and Union with God.
9. A very special word of welcome to Fr Manuel who has come to join the Diocese to work at Mount Frere. Fr has a lot of experience working as a Missionary for God’s people, including 15 years spent in Malawi. Fr Manuel spent 4 years in the Diocese of Witbank and has worked in a Zulu speaking locale. He is very welcome to the team at Mount Frere.
We also welcome with enthusiasm to the parish of Bizana, Sister Patricia of the Precious Blood sisters. Sister is a highly gifted person in all kinds of handwork and training of people. We hope she will visit many areas and build up small development groups of self-help among our needy people.
10. We rejoice to see so many new members of the Amasotshanyana, Abantwana bakaMaria and the youth. However, membership of these societies is simply a potentiality, an opportunity for the priest and sisters and parents to offer real training. This whole Christmas holiday period of December and January offers a chance to invite them into some Apostolic activity and formation. The fact that few go to Durban on holidays is no reason for us to close down our churches in their regard.
11. The parishes of Ntlangwini, Lusiki and Flagstaff organised youth retreats which were very successful.
12. Fr George leads the vocation committee. You will hear from him for we wish to bring together young boys in Form three, four and five or who have passed matric and who are interested in the diocesan priesthood or religious life. We would hope to have a week with them in January. So please contact serious candidates among the boys.
13. Fr Sihlobo continues to encourage marriage encounter groups. We have now about seven couples who have attended some sessions of marriage encounter in various places around Durban. We continue to encourage couples to attend. Also we invite those who have attended to continue with further formation. Thus, we will build up the nucleus of the marriage encounter group for ourselves.
14. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin went to Pretoria around the 20th of October on behalf of the Diocese in the National meeting of the Justice and Peace Commissioners. Fr Richard represented the Diocese with great facility and success. Hopefully we will call together some representatives from each parish to form a Diocesan Justice and Peace Committee. Among the works ahead will be reconciliation and peace, and preparing of our people to participate in the general election.
15. Fr George is attending the National Council of priests November the 2nd to the 6th in Johannesburg.
16. With Advent beginning on Sunday the 29th of November we could plan some service during that period before Christmas. This would be an opportunity to encourage children, the youth, the adults to confession. Perhaps by offering special times we could invite them. We also encourage them to participate in some form of Advent liturgy that will bring out the expectation of the people for Christ.
Congratulations to Bro Erich and his team and Fr George the parish priest for the magnificent work done to the church and priest house of St Xavier in Ntlangwini. Priests are encouraged to visit and see the work. Bro Erich on his own initiative is building a fine room for the people to develop small handwork projects.
17. Children of Mary have begun again in Bhongweni through the work of Fr Tom and sister Paulus Maria. These children around the town need some programme to keep them occupied and focus on the church. Joining the society means little in itself, it is a potentiality for the church to work on.
18. On October the the 21st the Bishop attended the Metropolitan Bishop’s meeting. Here issues were discussed regarding the life of the church in the KwaZulu Natal area. Among the points coming out were the need for a pastoral letter on moral issues to put very briefly, simply and clearly teaching of the church on issues like Aids, Abortion, Divorce, Abondonment and abuse of children, Homosexuality, the responsibility of men for their children etc. Hopefully this letter will be drafted in the near future.
There is interest in a new addition of INKAMBO YABACWEBILEYO, and our bishop has been asked to compile a new edition of this book using the Saints of Africa, Modern Saints who have a message for today.
19. The Bishop, Fr Egbert and Fr George attended the Xhosa regional pastoral meeting which took place at Palotti farm near Queenstown from the 27th to the 29th of October. Eight bishops and representatives of their diocese from Kokstad to Cape Town attended. Reports were made on the pastoral situation in each diocese giving rise to an awareness of common problems, needs and some resources. Among other points made was the need for resource material in Xhosa. It is hoped that the Palotti Press in Queenstown, which already have produced numbers of books in Xhosa will give us a table of contents of materials produced.
We also dealt with healing and aids, questions of Inculturation were also raised, particulary important was the need for training laity who are involved in the ministry. It was decided to re open the Xhosa pastoral region; the first meeting of the revised council will take place in April after Easter 1999, again at Queenstown. It was very strongly stated that the church make itself financially independent locally.
20 Congratulations to the CIE, Catholic Institute of Education in Kokstad, who have been nominated for the Premier’s award for outstanding work in educational services in the Eastern Cape.

Iindaba # 026

1 September 1998.

1 Ms Prisca Hadebe conducted a rather spectacular marriage workshop and reconciliation service in Bizana on August 8. Some 15 couples attended. Input focused on relationship, communication and mutual acceptance in the home. People were deeply moved by the reflections. In the Reconciliation service many tears were spilled- even by the men, when they reflected on the hurt and suffering which people had caused each other.
All our diocesan meetings have returned repeatedly to the agonised question of family life in our parishes. Yet we are finding that people, at least some, want help, they are suffering. We hope other parishes will invite Prisca.
September 3-5, at Mariannhill, Retrouvaille, led by Mr and Mrs Vezi. This is a week-end and especially helps couples who have had serious trials in their marriage.
September 18-20, at Cathedral Kokstad, led by Home and Family office of Mariannhill, an intensive session on A Healthy Christian Marriage. This is open to all whom you see might benefit in their marriage, in preparation for marriage, or in training to help young couples understand marriage and family life.
October. The follow-up course of Marriage encounter. This is in Glenmore and is for those who have already been encountered. The week end will establish these couples as trainers. We hope, through them to have our own diocesan M.E.
2. Meeting of the Committee of the Year 2000 at Bishop’s House on October 10. Next year is dedicated to the Father with the invitation; Come back to the Father’s House. Try and have a person from the parish as you have had over the past two years.
The New Year will open with the usual all night vigil in Kokstad- at the Town Hall on night of 5th December.
Hopefully we can use this year as a year of Reconciliation and Healing. Fr Sihlobo is exremely interested in this ministry and hopehully will be able to give us some outlines.
We had healing services, night vigils in Thlangwini, Mount Ayliff. Mount Frere, and people have responded with enthusiasm.
3. This Year of the Holy Spirit has been dedicated to the Bible and Bible Christian Communities. Next meeting, of all leaders of Christian communities at Cathedral on September 12. Will be led by Sr Paulus Maria, Sr Khumbuzile and Sr Florentia.
4. Xhosa pastoral region meeting at Queenstown, October 27 afternoon to 29th. Representing us, Fr Sihlobo, Fr Peter Wilson and Fr George Byarugaba.
5. Youth annual retreat at Maria Telgte, December 3 to 5th. They should come to Kokstad on own steam and will then travel to Telgte by bus; they will return to Kokstad for Night vigil of Dec 5th and find their own way home.
6. Theology in Telgte as before, January 4th to 8th. Best send a group of leaders, men and women, from an outstation or two as a team.
7. Farm children will have their camp in Telgte, September 21-24. A few days of catechism and prayers for children especially from Telgte, Franklin, Cedarville and Kokstad.
8. St Clare was truly celebrated this year, with Fr Vumile leading novices and postulants on the feast day and many priests and people present on Monday 17 for a special Mass.
9. Sr Hermanegild has been elected new Provincial superior of the Umtata Province of the Precious Blood Sisters. We assure her of our prayers and congratulations. We are very grateful to Sr Christophora, the outgoing Provincial for her interest and care.
10. Directors of Masolenyana meet Kokstad on Monday, Sept. 28.
11. Day of Recollection for diocesan priests, Tuesday 29 Sept.
12. Final Profession of Vows, Sr Annacleta Daki, Bizana, Oct. 4th.
13. Retreats for Catholic teachers were held in August, 16th in Lusikisiki, Kokstad 19th, Mount Frere 26th and Hardenberg 30th. Upcoming is Bizana on 18th October. Also on 22 August the CIE hosted the Catholic Teachers Annual Meet for Umtata and Kokstad.
14. Bishops’ Conference, August 6th-12. Emphasised strongly lay formation; will organise a syllabus to help diocesan planners and programs; will issue a new South African Church Ordo; will soon come up with the new Xhosa, Sotho, English catechism; has new plans to replace the moribond Winter school; revised its ecumenical
directory with some help from Our Friends; went to Richmond, has a letter for the new holy year; is debating a report\analysis on the economic situation of the country.
The Conference resolved that the ordinary Mass Stipend of the Territory should be raised to R20. Advised though, that priests may accept a lesser amount.
The Conference encourages the whole church and therefore, each parish and community to see if they can promote a process of reconciliation and healing. Any ideas? Are our populations showing any signs of unity or fraternity? Or are we the same as in the old days?
The Bishops also passed this Resolution; ” The Conference resolves to request each bishop to engage in consultations whether a new Pastoral Plan should be drawn up. The Plenary Session of January 1999 will study the results of these Consultations and will take a decision on the matter”.
” In consideration of the lifelong devoted service to St John
Vianney Seminary of Frs Norbert Carrol, Matthew McDonald and Bonaventure Hinwood, the Conference resolves to negotiate with the Franciscan Provincial concerning its contribution towards their pensions and medical expenses”… Has a Bishops’ Conference ever passed a resolution naming people before?
” The Conference resolved that the diaconate ordination of students of St John Vianney Seminary take place sometime after completion of seminary training.”
15. Coolock House Prayer and Meeting for Priests from Monday 9th of November to Wednesday 11th. Sessions will begin on Monday at 4 p.m. and complete at lunch on Wednesday. Those who wish be there Sunday night or for lunch on Monday or who wish to remain till Thursday morning should please let Fr Joseph here know a week before hand.
16. Study of Charism in celebration of golden jubilee of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart presence in South Africa at Coolock November 26, a Thursday to 28th, Saturday, lunch.
17. Meeting of diocesan executive of Children of Mary, chaired by Sr Paulus Maria at Kokstad, November 21, morning.
18. Welcome home to Fr Tony and Fr Maximo from overseas’ holidays.
The Bishop will be in Ireland until September 25th.

Iindaba # 025

1 JULY 1998

1. The CIE has arranged the following reflection prayer days for Catholic teachers in Government schools;
Lusikisiki – August   16th after Mass
Bizana – August   23rd after Mass
 Mt Frere – August   26th after Mass
Hardenberg – August   30th after Mass
Please advertise and encourage teachers to attend.
2. One of the constant needs emerging from our meetings is the state of the family and the Education of the young in family values.   We are trying to help parents to enter more fully into their marriage vocations. Sister Lucia, a Marriage counsellor, will be at the Cathedral, the 27th to 29th August. Those who might help young people in marriage, sexual and family matters should attend.
The Home and Family Institute in Mariannhill will conduct a seminar on “Healthy Christian marriage life”, 18th and 19th of September.
And always Marriage Encounter invites couples to attend their sessions. These can be contacted through Father Sihlobo. Also Retrovette provide sessions for couples struggling with their marriage.
3. Father Arturo who has done so much in Mount Frere for five years and who has taken a lead in promoting diocesan vocations will take a study year in Mexico in the renewal programme provided by the Congregation. Fr Arturo will be sorely missed within the Diocese, we hope he returns to Kokstad. Fr George Byarugaba has been appointed a Consulter in his place.
4. We must make a special effort to celebrate the Feast of St Clare. The Poor Clare sisters are totally dedicated in prayer and life to the Christian life of the diocese. I suggest that we have Mass on Monday morning the 17th of August at 9 a.m at the Poor Clare Monastery to celebrate the feast.
5. Remember in your prayers Fr Ernest Manasse RIP who worked sometime here. Remember the brother of Fr Thaddeus Xolelo Khumalo, a policeman in Johannesburg. He was buried at home at Gogela near Kokstad on the 9th of May. He was thirty-eight years in the Police service, he was murdered with his own gun.
6. RECENT EVENTS:      The bishop spoke on the nature of the church at St Patrick’s Hall to an open congregation on May the 13th. St Theodula, Professor of religion at UNITRA, on the invitation of CIE, spoke with teachers on the 18th of May at St Patrick’s hall.
A Healing service was conducted during an all night vigil at Mount Frere on May the 16th. The people came in good numbers and were enthusiastic.
It was wonderful to see the Corpus Christi prosession taking place in public at many parishes including the Cathedral.
The Bishop preached at the National Sacred Heart annual retreat at Centocow on the night of June the 27th. He lead the Holy hour devotion.
7. The week for Christian unity was celebrated in Kokstad. The celebration took place at the Cathedral on May the 26th and was attended by a large congregation from many churches. The collections taken during the various functions during this week for Child Welfare realised R3000.
8. The annual celebration of ngQuza mountain where eleven people were shot by the Police in 1960 and some twenty of those arrested were later hanged for involvement in the struggle for freedom took place on June 6th. Fr Sihlobo, Vicar General, and Fr Egbert attended.
9. The workshop on family life had representatives from every parish. Mrs Dweba from Lusiki, Mr and Mrs Vezi from Mariannhill, Mr and Mrs Denge from Bizana and Sister Ambrose from Mount Frere all gave excellent input and fielded many questions from the keen audience.
There is no doubt that our people, parents and the youth are extremely worried about the state of their home family life. Everywhere this theme is presented we find the people responding with enthusiasm and with many questions.
We priests could assist by dealing with these issues in a sympathetic and understanding manner in sermons and talks.
10. The Bishop attended the IMBISA meeting of all bishops of Southern African Countries in Swaziland from the 6th to the 11th of June. Bishops from Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland attended. The theme was the ” powerful word of God”. It emphasized very strongly the absolute role of the Word of God in the Mission of the church. The opening Mass was a celebration of joy when 70 bishops entered the Cathedral in Manzini.
11. About one hundred adults were confirmed on Pentecost Sunday in Bizana. Many of these had been attracted to the church by the visitation of the Legion of Mary. There is no doubt that this society is most effective in spreading the faith. It would be excellent if we could transmit some of the Apostolic Spirit of home visitation to the other societies.
Two weeks later on the 14th of June hundred and ten members of the Legion of Mary renewed their commitment to the Apostolate in the annual Acies ceremony. On the same day hundred and thirty young children were received as Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani. Hundreds more are in preparation in the outstations.
The childrens’ soceities, Amasotshanyana, Abantwana baka Mariya and the youth offer fomation for our children. Our sisters are to be highly praised for their work. All the help that parents and priests can give them should lead the children to attractive prayer, community and Apostolate.
12. At the Cathedral on June the 20th almost a hundred Leaders of small Christian communities gathered to review the work of the communities in the diocese. The reports showed that in some areas the small christian communities are functioning but in other areas nothing is yet happening.
Sister Paulus Maria, Sister Khumbuzile, Sister Bridget and Sister Florentia led the day with input on the importance of Biblical Apostolate, ceremony for the enthronement of the Bible, and question reg. difficulties in running small Christian communities. The next meeting will take place on the 22nd of August at the Cathedral again.
13. The youth executive of the Diocese met 22nd of June to plan the Youth day on July the 3rd. Parishes will provide entertainment with plays, choirs and other items of interest. This is not a competition, prizes will be offered for any excellent effort. This will cut down on competion and underline celebration and appreciating others talents.
Members of Youth executive will help your parish youth to have their own days and retreats during the year. Contact Sister Natalia or Sister Khumbuzile.
14. We are making bags of soup available for poor people and especialy poor children anywhere in the diocese. Already in five different parishes people organise to prepare the soup and to distribute it a few days a week.
In Kokstad, the women have taken an initiative to make the soup of greater quality adding vegetables, bones and other items. It is true that distribution of soup can be abused , but we cannot allow children during these cold months and times of unemployment and family distress to go hungry.
15. The parish councils of the Cathedral and Bhongweni with their Priests Fr Bruno and Fr Larry met at the Cathedral hall on the evening of 23rd of June to exchange experiences. The discussions centered on catechetics and on youth problems. Father Tom challenged people to see what they can do as the christian community to work for reconciliation, for the improvement of peoples’ lives, for peace in the community and for the spread of the faith.
16. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin and Fr Joseph Methenath represented the diocese at a Regional meeting of Justice and Peace committees at Newcastle from April the 30th to the 2nd of May. We must now proceed to set up a small committee at the diocesan level to keep issues on our agenda.
Fr Peter Wilson represented the diocese at the Pastoral meeting of the Sotho region held in the Free State. This is the first time in a number of years we have attended. 20% of our catholics are Sotho speaking.
We welcome the seminarians home on holidays for their July break. Bongani will have a break after an excellent six months hardwork at Flagstaff with Fr Egbert.
We wish Fr John Kerr speedy recovery. His 350 boarding children await his return. John has battled with post operational difficulties and we hope he gets well soon.
Books and religious articles can be had from Father Joseph at the Bishop’s office. We continue to encourage the sale of the Xhosa Hymn books. We have a supply of Saints’ lives in Xhosa and some papal encyclicals and other printed material.
Please continue to prod the people to buy the Inkwenkwezi. Sales are good but still much more could be done. It will supply some religious reading in homes where many youth have no contact with the church. Fr Joseph has tidied up the archives at the bishop’s office. Sr Theodata and some of the other Holy Cross sisters gave us short accounts of the sisters who worked here in Kokstad over the years. Sisters, brothers, priests who have had members engaged in Kokstad diocese and who are now deceased are requested to send in a short account so that we can keep the memory alive in our archives and necrology. We have some Franciscans in the booklet compiled by Fr Hyacinth.
17. Mother Veronica, Namoyo, who is the foundress of Our Monastery here at Santa Clare in Kokstad has been visiting sisters in the Monastery for two months. It is a great joy to have her. We welcome with a very great joy sister Clare who has come to join this community. We are happy to have her, to have an Apostle whose life will be dedicated to prayer for the Church.
At the same time we expess sincere appreciation to sister Mulumba who on the 27th of May returned to Lusaka. She had been loaned to us for one year. Her life of prayer and dedication to the rule and life of the community was a great contribution.
Please continue to advise young girls of the beauty of this vocation. Please assist girls to visit the Monastery and see the life of the sisters. They can come for a day of prayer.
We rejoice with the profession of the sisters from the diocese at Glen Avent, Umtata. Sister Mary Jane Sosibo from Bizana, Sister Krysostoma Kolman from Hardenburg.
On October the 4th at Bizana church, Sunday, Sister Annacleta Daki will take her final vows as an FMM sister.
18. The bishop will be away at the major religious Superiors meeting from the 21st to the 24th of July in Mariannhill and from 24th to 31st of July he will be at Nairobi for a meeting of Seminary Rectors in English speaking countries in Africa.
19. Let us remember the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Let us try and put on something special for our people to underline this great feast of Mary and the role and the importance of Mary. We can challenge and invite the people to remember fundamental devotions. We can also use this feast to educate our children in the celebration of Mary.
20. Work has begun on the building of the new St Patrick’s college. It will retain the old name on the new site at Kokstad as it was inspired by the tradition and work of Holy Cross sisters at the Cathedral.
21. Fr Vincent Zungu preached May 22nd to the 24th to over 200 leaders of St Anne Society. He emphasised their participation in the seven step method, sharing the Word of God. We say goodbye with gratitude to Ulrich who came as a Comboni Missionary helper at Mount Ayliff for a year. He worked with enthusiasm and kindness among the people.
Tabankhulu Youth had a weekend at Pentecost. Umzongoana church has been redone and the priests’ house. Extensions with a new house at the priests’ residence in Bizana. A hall with accomodation has been completed by Brother Erich for Mount Ayliff. Fr Egbert is lifting bricks in Bukuveni. Fr Tom is looking at sites and feeling pockets in Bongweni. Lower Inceba and Hombe churches are complete.
Invite the Vocation committee.

Iindaba # 024

11 MAY 1998

1. Sister Theodula , professor of religious studies at UNITRA will be at the Cathedral on Monday 18th May to speak with Catechism teachers. Just two from each parish are invited. Lectures will be in English.
2. Marriage and family issues will be dealt with at the Cathedral hall on Saturday June the 13th. Mrs Dweba from Lusikisiki, Sister Ambrose from Mount Frere, Mr and Mrs Denge from Bizana and a team from Mariannhill centre for Home and Family will address family and marriage issues. All those whom we wish to be involved in youth and marriage issues should attend.
Marriage encounter, three couples from the diocese attended, 8th to the 10th of May at Glenmore. They found the weekend a wonderful experience. Those who wish to send good marriage couples for further sessions should contact Mr Sikhekane who is arranging the next meeting in July and the following one in August. The contact phone no. is 0331 66545, and best phone in the afternoons. It costs R300 per couple per week end. They have to provide their own transport, the meetings are held in Durban. We firmly recommend this opportunity as it gives our couples confidence in their own marriage and in speaking in about family matters.
3. The Inkwenkwezi now is also being sold in Queenstown and in Umtata diocese. Priests or sisters who want to contribute articles of a formative, religious and inspirational nature should send them to the Bishop’s office.
4. The Ntlangwini church and Priest’s house are now under repairs as ia the Franciscan Postulancy in Kokstad.
5. The Xhosa pastoral region is reviving and held a consultative meeting in Queenstown in April. The bishop, Father Sihlobo, Father Peter Wilson and Father George represented the diocese.
The next meeting will in October when a formal structure will be established. The aim is to discuss common problems and approaches, to unite our efforts and to give a strong Xhosa voice to the Catholic church.
Bishop Hirmer of Umtata is editing a new National Constitution for the AMADODANA.
Fr Peter Wilson represented us at the Sotho Pastoral region held in Marseilles in the Free State.
Frs Richard Kugbeh-Kasin and Joseph attended the Justice and Peace regional meeting in Newcastle.
6. We applied for over two hundred development projects in the diocese. If finance comes we will be able to help developmment.
7. A pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima will come to visit the diocese. Those who want the statue to visit the homes of the faithful should contact the bishop’s office or Father Robert Stewart ofm.
8. The new head of the diocesan vocation team is Father George Byarugaba. Please invite the vocation team to visit your parish and to speak to the youth and parents. We have a diligent team who make a lively presentation. They have already spoken in a number of parishes.
9. The Youth headed by Sister Khumbuzile, Sister Natalia and Father Georgio are also available to help your youth in the parish.  The next meeting for the diocesan youth executive is in Kokstad on the 22nd of June.
The Youth Talent Show of the diocese will take place on July the 3rd. All youth clubs should participate and all will receive prizes or awards.
10. Formation courses in spirituality, theology and skills is in preparation for leaders among the laity. Those people who carry so much of the work in the parishes should be encouraged to participate. These will be ongoing courses offered at occasional week ends six or eight times a year.
11. Rev. Father Richard Kugbeh Kasin is replacing Rev. Father Tony at Lusikisiki while the latter is on holidays. Rev. Father Jose Chackalackal is replacing Rev. Father Maximo in Mount Frere.
12. We are very sorry to loose Father Arturo, at least for the time being, from the diocese. He has done marvelous work in the diocese since he came here both on parish level and with diocesan vocations. Father Arturo has to attend a Comboni congregational programme which has been arranged in Mexico. Hopefully he will come back at the end of 12 months.
In the meantime Father George Byarugaba has been appointed as consultor of the diocese in place of Father Arturo.
13. The Coolock meeting, 17th to 20th of March of all the priests of the diocese was enjoyable and the sharing and discussions were rich and helpful for all. Many areas of the
diocesan life were reveiwed, plans were made together, questions were faced which are common throughout the diocese. We looked at such questions as when Sangomas return to the church, questions of penalty against the parents of girls who get pregnant and boys involved in elopement etc. It was strongly felt that people being refused the Sacraments was an extreme measure and more common in the minds of the laity than in the actions of the priests.
14. Small Christian communities are the theme work for the diocese for this year of the Holy Spirit 1998. Please check that the small christian communities are active in your parish.
On the 20th of June at the Cathedral there will be a full day meeting for the leaders of small Christian communities. We ask the following people to report on what is happening in their parishes in the small Christian communities;
Lusikisiki Mr Dweba, in Flagstaff Sister Khumbuzile and Mrs Zwezwe, in Bizana Mrs Mjelo and Sister Paulus Maria, Mount Ayliff Mrs Ngwadla, Tabankulu our representative is Sister Marviga, Mount Frere is Miss Hela or Mr Mdutyana, Bhongweni is Mr Michael Khumalo, from the Cathedral is Mrs Wicks, Cedarville is Mrs Mfene, Matatiele is sister Angela and Mrs Setsubi, Hardenberg is Mr Kolman or Mrs Mbhele, Makhoaseng is Mrs Mjwara, for Makhoba is Mr Kheswa, Umzongwana Sister Anastasia and Mrs Langa, Franklin, Henry the Catechist. However,the priests may know people more active or involved than the above who could do the task better.
15. We welcome sister Mary Anne Ndzimande of the Daughters of St Francis of Assisi to the diocese. Sister is living now in Kokstad and working with the CIE. The CIE are offering many enriching programmes throughout the diocese.
There will be retreats for catholic teachers, and for all school teachers interested, in parishes of Lusikisiki, Bizana, Hardenberg, Kokstad, during the month of August. Perhaps, some priests might remind the nurses that they should organise study days and retreats for themselves. The diocese will help.
And why not the police?
16. At Coolock we felt that a lot of attention be given to the formation of members of all societies. It is a delight to see many young people and children in societies, we ask the sisters involved to give special attention to their formation.
Before receiving members of the Sacred Heart, St Annes and Amadodana we ask the priests to make sure that they are properly motivated and informed.
The Justice and Peace day at Coolock House was very rich.
17. Healing services have been held in a number of parishes, the response has been very positive.
18. The Lentan appeal has risen over 25% this year. Congratulations to all.
19. We congratulate Bongani Mbhele who is doing his internship at Flagstaff during the first six months of the year. In August, Bongani must return to the seminary. But his enthusiasm for work with the people, his initiative, his visitation of the homes was a blessing for the parish. We wish Bongani every blessing in his new seminary year.
20. Sisters born in Bhongweni returned for a special celebration on the 26th of April. The parish council and Fr Tom felt that the youth need to see models of success, perseverence, idealism and service. These sisters and the celebrations and liturgy at Bhongweni will inspire.
21. The diocese rejoices with Sister Chrysostoma Kolman from Hardenberg and Sister Mary Jane Sosibo from Bizana, both sisters of the congregation of the Precious Blood, who made their first profession at Glen Avent Convent on the 1st of May. May God bless them in the service of Jesus.
22. We welcome Mother Namoyo, the foundress of the Monastery in Kokstad who has come to visit the sisters and spend some time with them. Again we remind priests and sisters to bring groups of young girls to visit the Poor Clare monastery and let them see this beautiful Christian way of life.
23. The executive and office bearers of the St Anne’s society
will meet in Kokstad on the 22nd of May.
24.  On the 26th of May the week of Christian unity will be marked in a special way at the Cathedral with a vigil service for Christian unity. Christians of all the churches are invited to attend. We invite all parishes to make special prayers coming up to Pentecost for the unity of the Christian churches.
25. The bishop will be in Swaziland for the Imbisa meeting of all Southern African bishops from the 6th to the 12th of June.
26 Corpus Christi-the feast of Blessed Eucharist, is on 14th June this year. Perhaps, through Holy hours processions and other devotions we can highlight this great Eucharistic feast.
27. We congratulate the daughters of the Charity of Sacred Heart of Jesus who celebrate 50 years in South Africa this year and celebrate one hundred and seventy-five from their foundation. And we also rejoice with sister Gertrude who celebrates her Silver Jubilee of profession-most of that time spent in this diocese.
28. The Sacred Heart society have their annual National
pilgrimage at Centecow Mission at Umzimkulu on the 27th of June. The bishop is one of the preachers.
29. Congratulations to the Cathedral parish who have reached the target of R200 000 in less than two years. This was an enormous effort of the whole parish and allows us to preserve the Cathedral.
The highlight in the later stages of the fund-raising was the visit of the Drakensburg boys choir to the Cathedral. Great numbers attended and appreciated a wonderful night of music.
It must also be noted the effort of the Cathedral to establish a choir. The effort of many people to provide catechism for every child in the parish is also exemplary.
They wish to produce Christmas cards for the diocese based on the crib scene in the Cathedral.