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!