Iindaba # 023

14 FEB 1998

 1. The opening of the year of the Holy Spirit on the night of the 6th of December 1997 at the Cathedral was a celebration of great joy. Congratulations to all who participated and contributed.
During this year dedicated to the Holy Spirit, we try to concentrate on the Scriptures. We pray the scriptures in small Christian communities.
Over a 100 leaders of small communities met on the 7th of February when the seven step method of sharing God’s word was revised.
Let us encourage our people in every parish to return to the scriptures, to gather in small communities, and to share the word of God on their lives.
In the last edition of the INKWENKWEZI there is a service for the Enthronement of the Bible in individual homes or in outstations.
2. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on the 25th of February. Speaking about the meaning of Lent, we could give some concrete suggestions regarding living more recollected and spiritual lives.
We could ask people to remember Friday abstinence as a possible way of doing something personal for God.
Rememeber the Sacrificium collection for the poor. Last year we gave 22,000 rand. There was not an advance on 1996 in spite of the super-human efforts of Hardenberg. Perhaps, all the parishes could make a serious effort with envelopes in time and reminders. Brother Val is the contact person for the Sacrificium.
3. The Holy Places collection for the Holy Land is taken up on Good Friday. We gave only 300 rand from the diocese in 1997. Perhaps we could give a little more this year. Send directly to Fr Hyacinth or through Brother Val.
4. We welcome two new seminarians who have begun their studies for the diocese of Kokstad. They have gone to St Francis Xavier Seminary in Cape Town. They are Sihle Mbhele and Vusumuzi Cosmas Chagi. Both hail from Bizana. Our other candidates had temporary difficulty with exams. Please God, next year they will be in the seminary too.
We have six diocesan seminarians, three in St John Vianney seminary, one in St Peter’s seminary and two now in St Francis Xavier. We must pray for them continually.
Let us remember to invite Father Arturo, Fr George, Fr Richard and the Vocation committee to our parish sometime in the first half of this year. Invite them to address all the youth. Vocations are a top priority at the moment.
5. Catechetics have begun in the new year. We thank Father Egbert for the wonderful work he did in co ordinating the diocesan catechetical work last year. This year we ask Father Richard Kugbe-Kassin to co-ordinate the work of catechetics.
Over the next few months the bishop or someone from the catechetical team will visit the following parishes.
Flagstaff – February the 22nd.
Makhoba – March the 1st.
Bhongweni – 4th-5th March in the afternoons (Sister Dionys).
Ntlangwini – 15th March.
Matatiele and Pholile – 22nd of March.
Bizana – 28th March.
Lusikisiki – 29th of March.
N.B To be arranged Cathedral, Hardenberg and Franklin.
6. Remember the priests and brothers diocesan meeting at Coolock House from the evening of the 16th March to the 19th of March, morning. Those working with various societies will be asked to make a report i.e Youth, Vocations, Sacred Heart, St Anne’s, Catechetics etc.
7. The bishop is in the process of visiting all parishes making an effort to speak with parish councils. Discussions so far have been very fruitful and helpful. Matters discussed are Catechetics, laity involvement in leadership in the parish, Youth, family life problems, finance etc.
8. To revive the Xhosa pastoral region meetings the bishops and representatives of the diocese will meet at Queenstown on Tuesday the 21st of April. The Bishop will attend with Father Sihlobo and Father George. This is an exploratory meeting to arrange how this pastoral region may revive and go back to its original excellence.
9. The youth had two excellent retreats during December. Both retreats took place from the 4th to the 6th of December. In Bizana over 200 youth met for the weekend, while at the Cathedral 250 young people gathered and had many wonderful sessions on family life, role of the youth in church today, planning for 1998 and liturgy. At the Cathedral the youth prepared a beautiful presentation and worship for the opening of the year of the Holy Spirit. Congratulations to Sr Khumbuzile, Sr Natalia, Fr Giorgio and the other leaders.
The real work of the youth is done not at the diocesan level but at the parish level. Some adults should work for and with the youth so that each parish have its own programme. People like Sister Khumbuzile, who is at Flagstaff, can come if invited to arrange something for your youth.
It important that representatives of parish youth groups come on March the 7th to the Bishop’s House for a planning meeting for this year 1998.
10. We remember the passing of Father Canisius who was parish priest of Mount Ayliff for almost 30 years, working also in Tabankulu. Though he left the diocese in 1965 for Eshowe he frequently returned. Even up to the months preceding his death he often asked about his old mission and its outstations and people.
Father Bernhard and good christians from Mount Ayliff attended his funeral services at Gingindlovu. May he rest in peace. May he pray for us and the diocese in heaven.
11. The first recollection for diocesan priests of this diocese took place at Emmaus Mission on February the 5th. With the four priests Father George, Fr Richard, Fr Jose and Fr Joseph and the bishop, there was also Bongani Mbhele. Bongani is at Flagstaff this year for six months as part of his seminary training. He is now in third year theology and as part of his training spends six months working in a parish. We thank Father Egbert for his hospitality and supervision.
12. We are continually grateful to our Poor Clare sisters who devote their lives to Christ praying for this diocese and all its priests, sisters and people. We need to support them and not only financially.
I request the priests and the sisters to organise small groups of girls, who are ideally in Secondary school, to visit the Poor Clares for a day or two to experience their life. The Poor Clares as enclosed do not have easy contact with this big area. Girls need to see their beautiful way of life. The Contemplative life has always been and still is fundamental for the full maturity of the local church. Adoration and praise of God is part of the first Commandmant.
13. We thank God sincerely for the health of Father John Kerr. Everybody prayed for John during December before his operation.
Confirmation took place at Tabankulu, Khoapa, Hardenberg, Pholile, during the last two months. May the Holy Spirit continue to give them His joy for their whole lives.
Congratulations to Father Arturo and brother Erich for the beautiful church of Siqhengeni which was opened on December the 16th at Mount Frere parish.
The Legion of Mary met on a diocesan level for the retreat and prayer when the members of Hardenberg and Matatiele came to Bizana on December the 20th for a day of prayer.
Brother Erich is building a new church at Hombe near Lusikisiki. It is a big help and encouragement that the people are committed and working with Brother in their own buildings.
Father Peter and Sister Natalia are working with the development agencies to offer people some self-employment. Anything to help the people in any development is surely our duty in this poor area.
15. The Mass of the Oils will take place in Holy week, Wednesday, April the 8th starting at 10:30. This year the choir will be from Flagstaff.
16. We congratulate the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of their presence in South Africa. They came to Besters in 1947. The celebration of the Jubilee was attended by Mother General and her Council and many friends of the sisters. One of her Councillors, Sister Helena visited Kokstad Diocese.
Especial congratulations to Sister Beauty Mkhandlwana who made her final vows at Matikhwe on the day following the Jubilee. Sister Beauty is from Umzongwana and has done important work in the diocese already at Lusikisiki and now in Hardenberg.
17. We welcome six new postulants to the Franciscan House at Kokstad. May they be happy here and grow like Francis and Clare in knowledge and friendship of Jesus and live the life of the gospel.
The nurses of the diocese come to a nurses’ day of prayer and commitment at the Cathedral on February the 14th.
The Adults working with the Amasotshanyana and Children of Mary will have a diocesan meeting at the bishop’s house Saturday February the 21st.
The people working in health matters, or who wish to help the youth in marriage preparation, Aids awareness and Christian living meet at the bishop’s house on February the 28th in the morning.
The bishop will give a talk at the cathedral hall on the subject of faith on February 24th at 7pm.
19. In all our meetings priests, sisters and laity councils we come back to the crucial problem of the breakdown of family life. We need to preach and discuss the responsibilities, the joys and the goodness of family life.
20. We congratulate siste Mohlalisi who was born in Hardenberg and celebrated her Golden Jubilee with the Franciscan sisters at Assisi in Port Shepstone at the begining of January. We welcome also to the diocese one of these Franciscan sisters, sister Mary Anne who will work with the CIE. She is welcome.
The bishops in January at their annual conference discussed a number of important issues. A policy document on ecumenical relations in South Africa was agreed upon and will be published. It deals with important issues like inter-communion. The bishops spoke about a code of professional contact for priests and religious personel. They gave approval for steps towards what may become a Catholic University, St Augustine’s College. Affiliation with other Universities is still been debated
The bishops also approved and will publish a document promulgating complementary Norms for the code of Canon Law in South Africa. Of interest to us immediately may be the following; “In addition to Sundays, the holidays of obligation to be observed are the solemnities of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Ascension of Our Lord Christ and solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.”
“The solemnity of the Epiphany is to be transferred to Sunday between the 2nd and 8th of January.”
“The solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is transferred to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, and the solemnity of Assumption of Mary and all Saints to the following Sundays.
“The solemnities of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, St Joseph, the Apostles St Peter and Paul shall no longer be observed as Holydays of obligation.”
22 We send hearty congratulations to Sister Immolata on her diamond Jubilee; many of her years were spent among us and all remember her unfailing kindness and prayerfulness. We remember too, Sister Theodata who was 91 recently, and who often spent the whole day travelling via Franklin junction that long journey between Matatiele and Kokstad.

Iindaba # 022


1. We open the Year of the Holy Spirit at the Cathedral in a night vigil on the 6th of December starting at 7 p.m.
The programme is as follows:-
7:00 : Service in English. Led by Fr Larry.
8:00 : Service on reconciliation.   Fr Bill.
Choirs : Matatiele and Hardenberg. Masolenyana.
9:00 : Mass of the Holy Spirit.   Fr Egbert.
Choir : Flagstaff
10:30 : Youth Service. Fr Giorgio, Sister Natalia.
11:30 : Rosary Proccession. Sisters, Children of Mary.
Choirs :St Mathews and St Antons.
12:30 : Service of Adoration.   Bishop.
Benediction   (Lusiki Choir)
Service of the Sick (Bizana Choir)
2:00 : Umlindo. Led by Amadodana
4:00 : Mass of the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
Choir: Bhongweni
2. The year of the Holy Spirit should be pursued in each Parish in every way we can create. We especially wish to revigorate the small christian communities.
The theme of the year will be the Bible and the Holy Spirit. There will be a meeting for all leaders of the small christian communities at Kokstad on February the 7th. A team will introduce them to the 7 Step method again, and will introduce a service of Enthronement of the bible for parishes, stations and homes.
At Mass on the night of the 6th December the leaders of the izigodi will be blessed to lead the small christian communities.
3. Please pray in a very special way for Fr John Kerr who is seeing the Doctors. Pray also for Sister Intulo of the Poor Clares that she may get well.
4. A great congregation celebrated the Centenary of the parish of Mount Frere on the 15th and 16th of November. Former parish priests, Fr Tom (1992-1959), Fr Harry on two occasions, and Fr Bill (1977-1982) all attended. Many Precious Blood sisters who worked in the parish were back.
A wonderful feature of this celebration was that it concluded the procession of the Holy Cross for the Year of the Lord which has been an outstanding success in the parishes, stations and homes.
The bishop has already met the parish council and finance councils of Flagstaff, Bizana, Lusiki and Mount Ayliff to discuss financial matters, parish planing, catechetical matters, training of leaders and family and youth problems.
5. Confirmation was celebrated with joy at Makhoaseng, Makhoba, Mantlaneni, the Cathedral and Polile. We are challenged now to follow up the young people that they be true witnesses in church and world.
6. Please call the youth, especially those recently confirmed and those back from schools, for the Annual Youth retreat. From Thursday afternoon-4th-6th December, Cathedral.
7. Our six youth who went to Paris to meet with the Pope had a wonderful experienceand report back to the youth in December, they have an account in the Inkwenkwezi.
8. On the feast of Christ the King, November 23, hundreds of young children were received into the societies of the Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani and Umtwana Jesu in many parishes. Congratulations especially to the sisters and parents who encourage the little children in church, religious formation, training in Apostolate, and training in prayer.
9. The executives of St Annes society in the diocese meeting in September led by Fr Tony made a pilgrimage to pray at the Poor Clares. Saturday afternoon they had adoration at Santa Chiara. The Sisters prayed with the people who were greatly impressed and strengthened. All groups should use the opportunity during the retreats to pray at the Poor Clares and also we might encourage the people to materially support the monastery with food etc, supporting the Sisters who support us totally with their witness of faith and prayer.
10. Congratulations to the vocation team on their work this year. Please remember to invite them to your parish and major outstations during the course of 1998.  Father Arturo and Father George.
Our four Seminarians will be on holidays from November the 28th. Please make them welcome throughout the diocese. They are our brothers, very much part of the family of the diocese.
11. Father Egbert, Fr Bernard and the Cathechetical committee organised a week-end for 100 cathecism teachers at the Holy Cross pastoral centre at the Cathedral, 10th to the 12th of October. This was lead by Mr Ncanisa with great assistance from Sister Mary Dionys Ngcobo.
Please contact the cathechetical team to organise training for your teachers during the course of next year. They will bring your people together and inspire and motivate them.
12. The Health desk had a meeting at the Bishop’s house on the 18th of October led by Sister Ambrose Tshabalala. Many people present wish to work with the youth showing the dangers of unrestricted sexual practises, Aids and the need for proper marriage preparation.
Sister Lucia Rai spent two periods with a small group speaking about marriage problems. There is an interest in becoming marriage counsellors in the diocese.
13. We are making contact with Marriage Encouter and hope to have a Kokstad diocesan group meeting. If you have good catholic couples encourage them to participate. It will enrich their own marriages and train them to prepare the young.
Contact Sister Ambrose for lectures, and discussions with your youth in the parish. If you give Sister timely notice she will certainly come with others to speak to your youth.
14. CIE. The Catholic Institute of Education so ably led by Brother Jim and Sister Mary organised days of prayer for Catholic teachers in Government schools at Bizana, Kokstad and Mount Frere during September and October. These were well attended, with more encouragement more teachers would come. With Jim and Mary Mrs Nakin and Mrs Napier form the team.
Using materials made available by READ they made a number of presentations and found ready response from many schools. They hope to train forty teachers in the methodology of READ in February 1998.
They introduced OLSET. This is an NGO which specialises in language teaching using charts and tape recorders. Twenty-seven schools have shown lively interest and are using this material which is given free. The CIE conducted three courses and followed up with monitoring during the past two months.
Working with Miss Grace Sibeko CIE gave a number of courses of the OPEN SOCIETY specialising in Maths. Though planned for 40 some 87 teachers came.
In Matatiele 45 teachers registered.
The CIE now brings the schools together in clusters to follow up courses given over the past 3 years. They are finding a tremendous interest from teachers who are improving in teaching ability and confidence. Please apprise catholic teachers and indeed any schools in your area of these facilities. To contact Brother Jim– Number 037 (7271223).
15. There were two diocesan meetings in October. From the 13th to the 16th of October the priests and the bishop met at Coolock House. On the 18th of October the bishop met with all the sisters of the diocese at the Poor Clares.
The discussions centered on life in the diocese, problems and plans. The consensus of the two meetings was remarkable.
Father Arturo was re-elected representative to SACOP for another 3 years with Father George Byarugaba his alternate.
There were reports from the vocation committee, plans for youth, discussions on celebrating the Year of the Holy Spirit, we discussed finance, and adult training.
We agreed to have a uniform for our leaders at priestly services and funerals. This outfit should be a black cassock for men and a black dress for women of the same material. This would be supplimented in the case of woman with a shawl or scapular as designed by the Poor Clares in consultation with Father Arturo. A committee would select the exact design and colour of the scapular.
In speaking of our financial situation Father Bruno use the word “alarming” on a few occasions. It is crucial that our people be enlightened on their serious obligation to support the diocese and the parish. We are a growing diocese with many seminarians- hopefully 4 or 5 more next year. Each seminarian’s cost for formation is R20 000 rand per year. So our people need to become seriously cognisant of the need for financial support.
Again in providing buildings, we only do so when qoutations are given, when the consultors of the diocese have agreed and where the people themselves give financial help and request such a building.
Both priests and sisters meeting discussed youth and the break
down of family life. It was agreed that a very serious effort be made to inform our youth about Aids. People bewailed the condom mentality of our time where sex has been totally commercialised. Our youth are getting very little guidance even from the church itself.
We will bring out a pastoral letter, have more talks from our Health Desk, use the opportunity of youth retreats, give more sermons on marriage during the year; also we suggest that we celebrate marriage and marriage annivesaries with emphasis.
It was suggested that we bring out a booklet on Catholic content reg. sexual and family life, that we use the Home and Family Institute in Marianhill to train people to form youth. Government finance might assist efforts reg. Aids epidemic.
16. The New Xhosa hymn book is now available at R20 at the bishop’s house. As we had to acquire 6000 of these at a cost of R138 000, we must get back some of this through sales. Enourage your people to buy at Christmas.
17. We discussed with Father Bafana Hlatshwayo CSSR the question of giving missions\revivals week-end retreats in our parishes. We hope during the Year of the Holy Spirit to have a team of priests, sisters and laity from the diocese who will visit our parishes and our major outstations for parish week-ends. These will speak with youth, sodalities, parents and the general population.
Such missions will comprise healing service, service of reconciliation and confessions, preaching and instruction, processions and para-liturgies with the Mass as the centre of all.

Iindaba # 021

17 Sept 1997.

 1. With great joy the Diocese welcomes Father Richard Kugbe-Kassin. Father Richard is from the diocese of Wa, in Ghana. Through the kindness of his Bishop and in his own generosity he has come to Kokstad.  He was ordained in 1975 and has worked in his own diocese as a director of pastoral formation. He has a degree in Social Sciences from the Gregorianum University in Rome.
We welcome back to the diocese Father Jose Chackalackal and Father Joseph Methanath, both from Kerala in India. For the past two months they have been in Cala studying Xhosa. They will continue their studies at Mount Frere.
We also welcome Sister Mulumba to the Poor Clare Monastery. Her life of prayer and silent Union with Christ will enrich all our lives. We receive her with joy.
2. Centenary of the Christian Brothers in South Africa.
We join the whole country in extending our congratulations to the Christian Brothers who came to establish their first school in South Africa in 1897. At the Jubilee celebrations in Kimberley we were represented by Brother Jim-well represented. It is impossible to adequately describe the quantity and quality of the work of the Brothers in one hundred years of South African Education. We ask God to continue to bless them as we invoke the intercession of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice. We pray for our own brothers in this diocese.
3. On August the 16th at Matatiele Church sister Magdalena   Fortuin of the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate renewed her vows.  The Bishop took the opportunity to bless the beautiful Chapel in the sisters house and to welcome the sisters to the diocese of Kokstad. It is obvious that the people of Matatiele take great joy in their presence. They are very involved in the spiritual life of the people of Matatiele and Cedarville.
We thank Brother Erich for the beautiful furniture and design of the Sisters’ chapel.
4. Father Peter and the Executive of the Umhlangano weNtliziyo organised the Annual retreat at Bizana, 5th to the 7th of September. About 300 hundred members took part in what was a devotional weekend of prayer, sharing, instruction and witness. Fr Sihlobo made everybody welcome and the Society itself organised the program. On the same day the Society of St Annes had their retreat at Flagstaff for the Pondoland area.  Fr Egbert led the weekend prayers.
5. The Legion of Mary continues to show signs of life. Fr Vincent Zungu preached their Annual retreat in Matatiele where a good crowd attended. They worked to build up many of the parishes in the past. Their potential for commitment is still great.
The Children of Mary continue to expand with almost all parishes having members and groups. The Sisters everywhere are to be commended in giving the youth a focus for their devotion and spirituality.
Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani
The society for the smaller children is coming along. All these societies must be encouraged by the parishes, especially the parish Councils so that all the young are drawn to the church and given a share in it. These societies will offer times for meeting, prayers, instructions and Annual retreats.
5. Vocations committee.
Father Arturo and Father George with sisters, Khumbuzile, Annastasia and Paulus Maria met to discuss the programme for the vocations. This committee is highly congratulated on their work. The fact that we have six applicants for the diocese for 1998 is due in large part to their work. We must also thank Father Sihlobo for having a number of them live at the Mission in preparation for seminary.
I appeal to the priests to contact Father Arturo or Father George to invite this committee to come some weekend and speak with the communities in your parish. I’m convinced there are many good vocations within our diocese if only we encourage the boys and girls. Let us especially remember contemplative vocations.
6. Sister Ambrose chaired a meeting of the Health Desk of the diocese in Kokstad on the 18th of August. The next meeting was arranged for the 26th of October. Having listened to the reports, suggestions regarding the formation of Youth in preparation for family life were put forward. We needd to warn them of the dangers of improper sexuality. It was agreed to focus on these issues at the next meeting.
It was agreed to send a letter to the following people inviting them to come to the October meeting. We want the establishment of a team which will concentrate on the formation of young people in home and family matters.    The people suggested; Miss Hela of Mount Frere, Mrs Ngwadla of Mount Ayliff, Mrs Dlamini of Bhongweni, Mrs Setsubi of Matatiele, Mrs Machoba of Bizana and Mr and Mrs Denge from Bizana, Mrs Jwaqu from Lusiki, Mrs Dweba from Lusiki, Doctor and Mrs L Kembe from Bizana and Mrs Gakha. Is there someone from your parish here? There were many more people you might suggest. If you have their names please send them to the diocese. We will try and meet with them on a number of occassions to help them know Catholic teaching in areas regarding abortion, procreation and marriage.
It was suggested that the leaders of the youth, Father
Giorgio, Sister Natalia, Sister Khumbuzile should also attend.
7. From the 4th to the 7th of September at Kokstad Sister Lucia Rai OP conducted two sessions on marriage counselling. Some ten people from a few parishes in the diocese attended during the day and a group from the Cathedral parish attended in the evening. The feedback on this meeting which was also attended by Brother Sydney was very positive.  Please note that the next such session will take place again at Kokstad from the morning of November the 6th until the midday November the 8th Saturday. Encourage people who are wise, mature and committed to attend. It offers possibilities to help our marriages in the diocese.
8. St Ambrose is available to the parishes to come and speak to the parents and the youth on home and marriage. Please invite her from Mount Frere. If the priest calls the people she will happily come and make presentations.
In the same vein Sister Mary Dionys Ngcobo can come to parishes, if given sufficient notice, to speak to the Cathechism teachers, examine the children in Cathechism and provide on-going training for teachers. Again it depends on the priest availing of such experts and setting up the meetings.
A great crowd of people from almost every parish attended the annual pilgrimage to Kevelaer.
9. Congratulations to the Cathedral on the recent draw raising money for the repair of the Cathedral. Money was made and good prizes, up to R5 000, were given to the winners.
10. Thanks to the work of the painters and Mr Anthony Napier, the old boarding premises at the Holy Cross convent in Kokstad is now almost ready for use as a Pastoral centre.  It has been painted, matresses acquired, the kitchen is coming into order and meeting rooms. At present, the toilets and washing facilities are being improved.
11. Do remember a very important date. On the 24th and the 25th of September Father Sonwabiso Zilindile will come again to Maria Telgte to offer deeper formation in theology and motivation to pastoral work. The meeting will begin at 9.a.m. on the 24th and end at midday, 27th. Father Sonwabiso will be there for two days.
12. Another very important date is October 10th to the 12th, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Father Egbert and the Cathechetical committee will invite Mr Ncanisa and his team to pray with and lead all cathechism teachers at Cathedral and Pastoral centre.
13. From the evening of the 13th to the morning of the 16th of October all priests and brothers are invited to Coolock House for prayer and diocesan reflection.
14. The Bishop hopes to meet with all the sisters of the diocese on the 18th of October at Cathedral from 9.30 am.
15. Coming confirmation ceremonies; 21st September at St Antons, 28th Makhoba, 19th of October at the Cathedral.
16. The Bishop has begun the visitation of the parishes. On the 2nd of October he will be at Flagstaff to meet with the PPC and the PFC. On the 5th of October he will say Mass and meet the Parish and Finance councils of Lusikisiki. On 2nd November at Mount Ayliff. It is his intention to visit all the parishes and speak to the parish councils and the priests on money, support for the parish, vocations promotion, cathechetical programe and the training of lay leaders.
17. The Catholic Institute of Education led by Brother Jim, Sister Mary, Mrs Nakin and Mrs Napier continue their work of in-service training and formation of teachers. They are presently engaged in helping the church to make agreements with provincial authorities on the future and ownership rights of the church in regard to government schools.
They offer teachers, principals, parents and Board Members training to implement the provisions of the New Education Act.
Already the CIE and dthe Bishop have conducted teachers’ days of prayer and reflection at Hardenberg, where 45 attended, and at Mount Frere 20 attended, Bizana 15. Next, at Lusiki on the 4th of October and at Kokstad on the afternoon of the 7th.
18. S.E.C.A.M. the Conference of all African Catholic bishops conferences will meet in Johannesburg on September the 22nd for 5 day meeting. The Bishop will represent the diocese at the opening Mass. This Mass also celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the South African Catholic bishops Conference.
19. At the pastoral centre there will be a retreat for Abantwana BakaMaria, 22nd to the 24th of September.
September the 20th is the next meeting of the committee for the year 2000 at the bishop’s house.
15th September Father Bafana Hlatswayo, Redemptorist will reflect with those interested on methods of conducting missions throughout the diocese over the next few years.
We wish to offer the people healing services, opportunities for confession, preaching, night vigils, adoration and devotion, and a general intensification of recommitment to Christ at this time of grace.
20. October 12th, will be the Diocesan day of prayer for Sanctity of Life issues.e.g.Abortion, Euthanasia and the Family. Please invite all the people at Mass or otherwise to pray. We concentrate especially on the Rosary.
     Another text if USapho olungcwele, page 253 in Hymn Book.

Iindaba # 020

20 – JULY 1997

1. With great joy the diocese of Kokstad welcomes two new priests who have come to help us in our Ministry. They come from Kerala in India and will spend the first months studying XhosaWe say very hearty welcome to Fr Jose Thomas and Fr Joseph Methanath Joseph. We thank God for the Apostolic heart of the Church of Kerala and its zeal for God’s Kingdom. They are very welcome among us as our brothers in ministry.

2. Brother Eric has been very busy in Lusikisiki over the past two months. The people of Hombe and of Mfinisweni have collected money, they have received help from the parish council of Lusikisiki and from the diocese to construct new churches. Brother Eric oversees everything. He has also been re-building the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Lusikisiki. With his other hand Brother Eric is building a new convent for the Precious Blood sisters in Bizana.

3. In Tabankulu during May the Rosary was prayed every evening with the Sisters of the Holy Childhood. In the Sacred Heart retreat new members were received. At Lower Mnceba brother Eric built four new classrooms for the school. The former Catechist of Saphukanduku, Mr Tserere, was remembered with a gravestone. The people of Tabankulu went to Mount Ayliff for a Catechetical workshop with Sister Mary Dionys.

4. 600 women of St Annes had their annual retreat at Bizana. The retreat was conducted by Fr Sihlobo, Fr Manci and Fr George. Beautiful liturgies of reconciliation and celebration made a deep impression. Members from Flagstaff and Lusiki were present.

5.   The St Annes in the Parish of Mount Frere have recommited themselves to their congregation with rejuvenated spirit. For the last number of months they have been restudying the law and spirit of congregation with workshops and classes with the sisters to help them understand the meaning of their call in life. On a given day they will take off the medal and insignia and come to be re examined on their rule. If they pass they will re-commit themselves. 

6. The youth retreat conducted in Flagstaff by Fr Egbert, Fr Vincent and Sister Khumbuzile was extremely successful with almost 300 young people attending. They discussed life today and how to live as a young Christian in the present age.

7. The Catechetical teachers of the diocese had two meetings in May and again on Monday the 7th of July at Kokstad.  These meetings were conducted by Fr Egbert as Chairperson, assisted by Fr Bernhard Riegel. The teachers requested a workshop cum retreat from the 10th to the 12th of October. This will take place in Kokstad and will be conducted by Mr Ncanisa and the catechetical team. All catechetical teachers are invited.

8. The Christians in the parishes were Fr Baptist and Fr Serafin Kennedy worked in the 1960s and 70s will be very happy to know that both priests will pay a visit to Kokstad during the month of October and will visit their old stations.

9. We congratulate Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe and her work with the Abantwana bakaMaria. 45 new members were received in Mount Ayliff, and 32 in Flagstaff and a retreat is planned for Kokstad in September.

10. The parish pastoral councils of Bizana and Mount Frere have decided to use the year 2000 as an ideal occasion for the renewal of the whole parish.  Taking up from what was done in this diocese some 25 years ago they have constructed a large wooden Cross. This is taken in pilgrimage around the parishes beginning with the furthest out stations. The people received the Cross with great devotion and so began a time of Imvuselelo.  The Cross is either left in the individual station or taken to houses which are experiencing troubles. The people pray the stations of the cross, sing or read the scriptures and share together. It is received with the Mass and celebration and an Imvuselelo for everybody. The cross may remain days or even a week in a particular station.

The cross is carried by foot with hymns and prayers and preaching and many non-catholics have taken this opportunities for prayer and renewal.

This year is the centenary of the Catholic parish of Mount Frere. It is hoped that on November the 15th and the 16th, this parish will celebrate the occasion. Priests and Sisters are asked to make a mental note of the date.

11. The four seminarians from the Diocese, Bongani, Lizo, Lulama and Gabriel and five young men who are aplying to go to the seminary went with the Bishop to Melville for a short three day holiday from the 16th to the 19th of July. Seminarians return to the seminary on the 27th of July.

12. We thank God for protecting brother Eric in a recent car accident.  Brother was coming back from Lesotho and approaching the town of Maclear had a serious accident.   He did not receive serious injuries even though the car was severely damaged. We thank God for protecting our brother.

Everybody in the diocese is praying for the speedy recovery of Sister Mary who was injured in the line of duty working with the teachers in Mariazell. Having fell she was taken to Matatiele and after valued assistance there taken by ambulance to Durban. She is now recovering with her sisters at Merrivale.Tel 0332 304186.

13. The two priests Fr Joseph and Fr Jose had to use much initiatve in the journey to South AfricaTrying to approach Bombay airport in India to come to South Africa they found a riot in progress. No cars, no vehicles, no people were allowed to travel to the airport. One of the priests has a sister who is a nurse in a hospital in Bombay. She found them an ambulance. They were strapped into the ambulance as two patients and taken through the riot.

14. The Holy cross boarding school in Kokstad is being refurbished for use as a pastoral centre. It will be used for workshops and courses and for some retreats. However, the number it can accomodate will be some restricted— perhaps about 80 adults.  It should be ready mid September.

15. Sister Ambrose presided at a meeting in May with Personel dealing with medical and family problems in the diocese. This meeting made many suggestions on how the church can serve better in these life areas. The meeting for June had to be posponed due to the snow fall and the next meeting will take place in August on Monday 18 at 10 am. Spiritual Leaders of the youth in the diocese are invited also.

16. Sister Lucia Rai, OP will be in the diocese in Kokstad from the 3rd to the 8th of September to conduct the course for marriage counselling.  Can we find a person in each parish  who could be trained to help with marriage problems? Obviously they will not be qualified counsellors but they would help young people prepare for marriage and also listen to people with marriage problems and make suggestions. The family seems to be a structure which is under severe pressure.

17. Seven Youth from the Diocese will join young people from almost every country in the world for the catholic youth international week in Paris from 17 to 31 August. We had great difficulties in some cases getting the ID documents and the passports, but last minute efforts were successful.

18. Sister Hilda is working with the Amasotshnayana ka Kristu uKumkani and will help the movement expand and become co ordinated in the diocese.

19. Over seventy people were confirmed in a joyful service in Lusikisiki on Sunday the 13th of July. The Bishop was met outside the town and popemobiled into the church. He emphasised the importance for young people being engaged in all activities in the parish. To be confirmed is to offer oneself to serve Jesus Christ in the church.  Afterwards a concert and reception took place in the hall which was beautifuly prepared by the people of Lusiki.

20. The Mount Currie Council of Churches adopted a new constitution on the 22nd of July.  The Catholic church is a full member of this new body. Its aim is to cooperate when local problems arise and express our call to unity.

21. The Bishop’s Conference will take place at Marianhill from the 6th to the 14th of August.

22. Fr Richard from Ghana will come to join the diocese and its pastoral work on the 15th of August 1997.

23. The pilgrimage to Keveler takes place on the night of the 16th of August. This year the Bishop will be a preacher.

24. Sister Magdalena will renew her simple commitment to her congregation at Matatiele on Saturday the 16th of August.

25. The SACBC, The South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference will celebrate its Golden Jubilee at a special Mass on the 22nd of September in Johannesburg. This will co-incide with the opening of Secam, the all Africa meeting of bishops’ conferences.

26. Preparations have been finalised for the theology study at Maria Telgte from the 22nd to the 26th of September. Fr Sonwabiso Zilindile will be the presenter. When sending about four from each parish it may be better send the group from one outstation as they then will work later together. This is a follow up of the January meeting.

27. Priests are reminded of the diocesan meeting for all priests to take place at Coolock House from the evening of Monday 13th October until the morning of 16th October.

28. Lumko is trying to find an alternative to the old Winter School and asks priests these questions;

1. How do you keep yourself updated in the areas which affect your present ministry? (Please list the kind of learning you engage in and an estimate of the amount of time per year/month given to this)

2. What difficulties do you face in your ministry?

3. How could SACBC support your effort to remain updated in the various theological disciplines?

4. Did you attend any of the last three Theological Winter Schools? (African Healing Ministry 1996, Pastoral Counselling (1994) and the Scriptures and Pastoral Ministry (1993).

If you did attend, how useful was it for you?

If you did not attend, please state your reasons.



FRANKLIN – R1 450,00

LUSIKISIKI – R1 503,73

HARDENBERG  – R4 730,00


MATATIELE – R3 560,85

FLAGSTAFF – R2 662,00

KOKSTAD- R2 293,03



BIZANA – R916,23






T O T A L – R24 106,01



Day retreats for teachers with the Bishop and CIE

Hardenberg:   Sat 23. Aug, at 9.30 a.m

Mount Frere: Sat 30. Aug, at 9.30. a.m

Bizana:       Sat 6.Sept, at 9.30 a.m.

Lusikisiki:   Sat Oct 4 at 9.30. a.m

Kokstad:      Oct 7 at 4.30 p.m

Consultors:   Sept 29.

Committee of Jubilee Year 2000: Kokstad Sept 20.

To plan Parish missions for diocese, those priests interested can meet with Fr Bafana Hlatshwayo in Kokstad on Monday 15, Sept at 9.30 am.

Confirmation:   Mount Frere Aug 31.

Talk:   St Patrick’s Hall, Aug 25; Christ the Way.

Health desk: Kokstad, Monday 18, Aug at 10.00.

Theology for laity at Telgte: Sept 23 (Evening) -Friday evening 26.

Iindaba # 019

20 April 1997

1.On the 15th of March the new church dedicated to Blessed Daniel Comboni and built by Brother Eric was opened by the Bishop at Lugangeni. A joyful crowd was present for the blessing of this very beautiful church. Crowds of children were present as Brother has already built a new school for them. The church has been painted representing scenes from the life of Jesus and Blessed Comboni and local artists give the work an inculturated atmosphere. In one unit Brother has designed a church, a hall and a clinic.
2.On the 7th of April the Franciscan Postulancy of St Mary of the Angels was opened at the Cathedral. Father David Bernard, the Vicar Provincial of the South African Province, led the prayers after the Bishop had expressed the joy of the diocese and people of Kokstad to welcome the friars. Many Friars and friends gathered and were led by Brother Sydney into the new house. Though new the house has a long tradition. The Holy Cross sisters came here in 1887. Special guests were the 10 novices from Besters. The people of Kokstad are thrilled to have this house of prayer.
3. 25 Cathecism teachers were missioned by the Bishop at the evening Mass of Cathedral parish on the 12th of April. Congratulations must go to these excellent people committed to formation of the youth.
4. St Anthony’s centre has finally achieved a useful purpose. Through the trojan work of Fr Tom the Eastern Cape Educational authorities rent it as their regional headquarters. Teachers from the northern region of the Eastern Cape come for planning and renewal courses.
The boarding at the convent is being used by C.I.E; it is being used by St Patrick’s school as a library and Computer centre; the Catechetical team of the Cathedral Parish have classes there and a Video programme. The youth club led by Warren Napier also meet at the old convent.
5. Congratulations to Simon and Cecilia Wepener of Franklin on their Golden wedding anniversary. Outstanding Catholics, both were born in Mariazell and have a long history of service to the church. Cecilia was a manager of the school and taught catechism for all her years in Kokstad diocese. Father Harry and the parish council arranged the liturgy and a celebratory reception for them.
6. With sadness we learn that Lusikisiki’s St Elizabeth hospital has been designated as an abortion facility. The bishop appealed to the nurses and doctors to remember that this hospital was founded by the Franciscan brothers and sisters. It was founded for life and not for death. The bishop offered all mothers thinking of abortion to rather bring their child to the diocese. we will receive the little ones. How?
7. Education matters. Brother Jim and the bishop attended a meeting of owners of Catholic Schools in Johannesburg on the 4th and 5th of April. We will now have to negotiate with two provinces regarding the future of our schools.
We have schools in different categories. Schools which are totally owned by the church like Maria Telgte and Flagstaff. Churches which are partly owned by the church like Hardenburg and Makhoba. Schools which were built by the church but on farmers lands etc.
It is crucial that the priests speak to parents regarding responsibility for the future education system of South Africa.
By the new education act it is the parents who will govern the schools. They are the new managers of the schools. Unless our catholic parents play a role, we will be sidelined in an area where we onbce contrbuted most to the people of South Africa.
Governing bodies will have a great say in the religious education content of government schools. It is absolutely necessary to push our catholic parents to take their lay vocation in this area seriously.
We were delighted to welcome Professor Sister Theodula, of the University of Transkei who lectured a few R. E. teachers. Her books on religious education have been approved for use in all Eastern Cape schools and many government schools use her material. This material would be ideal for catholic children. Could we push our catholic teachers to make sure that they give preference to Sister Theodula’s material in their government schools.
8. Father Bill at Hardenburg and Brother Eric in Mount Frere have both invited NGO’s to assist villages get clean water. These organisations cost us nothing but render a great service to Community putting them into contact with finance people who help them install water through government finance. Others interested can contact Fr Bill or Brother Eric.
9. May the 5th, the feastday of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers is an optional memorial in this diocese.
10. We welcome with great joy Sister Helena of the Little Servants of May Immaculate to the diocese. She will live with her community in Matatiele. We welcome sister and ask God to bless her work with us.
The parish and diocese welcomed Sisters Hilda and Winifred, to the convent of the Precious Blood in Bizana. Sister Winifred comes from Hardenburg.
11. The Poor Clares now have facilities for girls to go there on retreat, to meet the sisters, and to pray with them. Encourage our young girls to think about the Contemplative vocation. Religious are also welcome to the convent for their own retreats.
12. We are in the process of setting up a Fellowship of Churches in Kokstad. People who are interested in Ecumenism –after all it was the final prayer of Jesus that His disciples be one– are invited to contact the bishop to work on this committee. Lay people from the Cathedral parish and Bhongweni would be welcome.
13. We congratulate the new Eucharistic ministers appointed by the Bishop for the Cathedral; Brother Val, Richard Bishof Mrs Olive Maccario and Edward Van Schalwyk.
14. A special visitor to the diocese was Bishop Kunnacherry of Kottayam who came from Kerala to visit us. He celebrated Mass in the Syro-Malabar Rite in the Cathedral. He has promised us two priests who have applied to the Government for the permits to work in Kokstad.
We also wait the approval of the application of Fr Richard Kugbe-Kassan from Ghana to come for four years to the diocese.  Getting permits is extremely difficult now.
15. Sr Ambrose Tshabalala, is available to help our youth in family, sex and marriage questions. Sister will meet here in Kokstad on May 17th at the Bishop’s House and invites nurses and doctors to come. They will plan a campaign to conscientise youth also about the danger of the Aids. Aids is making a hugh entrance in our diocese.
Sister Lucia Rei, Diminican sister will come to the diocese, to Kokstad on two occasions, July the 21st to the 25th and September the 3rd to the 7th to train a group of people to become counsellors on marriage. Please find some people who can attend these courses. She is not looking for couples but individual adult people who can sit down and help people experiencing difficulties in marriage to understand themselves and their relationships and responsibilities. About 10 or twelve people are ideal for each course.
16. This Sunday, the 20th of April is vocation Sunday. Make sure to pray and speak about vocations. The seminarians and those doing Form V, that is about ten or twelve young man will meet in July from the 16th to 20th and go to Melville to spend sometime with the Bishop and Fr Arturo. Please pray for them.
Please remember to invite to your parish for a week-end, the vocation team. Contact either Fr Arturo, Fr George, Sister Paulus Maria, Sister Khumbuzile or Sister Anastasia. They will arrange the vocation workshop.
17. We thank the Bhongweni choir who led the celebration on Wednesday of Holy Week. Thanks to all the priests and people who came for this diocesan celebration.
There was a good turn out for a talk on the meaning of Lent and the suffering of Jesus at the Hall on the 13th of March.
18. The Bishop represented the Diocese at the Golden Jubilee of the Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Hurley in Durban. The Archbishop remembers a visit to Kokstad.   As he approached the town he felt that the people were extremely friendly and welcoming for all flashed their car lights at him as he approached Kokstad. As he drew near the town he found, however, a traffic police trap.
19. Brother Eric is drawing plans for the renewal and reconstruction of the convent at Lusikisiki. He is also working on a new church at Hombe from material left over from an old church. Brother is waiting to go ahead to build a new convent in Bizana for the Precious Blood Sisters.
20. We had our three day session at Coolock House when the priests of the diocese met to discuss the life and work of our diocese.
(a) It was decided that we must make serious representations to the people to support the diocese better financially. It was decided that people should pay R50 on the occasion of a funeral, R20 of the occasion of a marriage and the R10 of the occasion of the Baptism, R5 for certificates.
It is also felt that poor people who earn less than R450 rand per month should not be forced to pay any financial contribution to the church. However, they should be couraged to make a gift.
Those earning over four hundred and fifty and less that a thousand should give R5 per month to the church. And those earning more than a thousand rand should give 1% of their earnings church per month.
22. We agreed that a uniform be made available for funeral leaders and another for those who conduct Sunday service. The teachers of the catechism have their own simple scapular uniform. The idea is to issue this uniform annually so that the people understand that their vocation and work comes from the community of the church.
23. Seven youth from the diocese; two from Bizana, one from Lusiki, Mount Frere, Flagstaff, Matatiele and Hardenburg will go to meet the Pope in August in Paris. They will also spent a week in London. Each Parish should try raise R2700 for the ticket.
24. The Bishop will be on the Ad Limina visit to Rome May 1-24 and then in Ireland until his return on July 4th. Don’t forget the V.G.!
25. The motivation\theology course for leaders which was last held in Telgte in January this year will take place again in Telgte from evening of September 23-27. Better send a group from one outstation, 4 people per parish in all.
26. At the Consultors’ meeting it was decided to celebrate the years of preparation for the great jubilee with parish missions, in every parish. We will get a team together to conduct these missions, which will include preaching for men, youth , parents, children and also healing services, processions,confessions and para-liturgies. We will begin from August. They are meant as revival and re-commitment.
The year dedicated to the Holy Spirit will open at the Cathedral in December with a Night vigil.
27. Note the next Cathechism teachers meet at St Patrick’s Hall on May 12 at 10.am. Fr Egbert in the chair.

Iindaba # 018

11 FEBRUARY 1997

1. The opening of the preparatory years for the great Jubilee of the year 2000 took place at the Cathedral on the night of December the 7th. A great crowd participated with choirs from most of the Parishes.   The people were enthusiastic about their night and participated with joy and fervour. Thanks is due to Father Vincent Zungu, Father Egbert O’Dea, Father Lawrence O’Shea who gave excellent sermons.

The committee will continue to plan some events for 1997 in the Parishes. Each parish should do something so that people reflect on the question of Jesus, “Who do you say I am?”. Hopefully the committee will get a team which will offer itself to the parishes to run vigil\week-end prayer sessions.

The committee which met on February 8 asked parishes to discuss how they would like to celebrate this year in a worthy manner. They came up with the following suggestions;

a. Use 1997 as a year to re-launch the S.C.C. so that people pray together, use the scriptures,and bring Christ into life.

b. Conduct Healing services in the parishes. Jesus spent much time healing, people are very troubled, why go to Zionists. It was suggested that Fr Ngcamu of Reichenau be invited.

c. To do again the service of the Cross as was done in the Holy Year of 1975, bringing the cross from station to station.

d. Push Family prayer and the Rosary.

e. Each parish have a parish-day when all the stations come together in pilgrimage and prayer within the parish. etc.

2. The Youth concert which took place on the 14th of December was a great success. Choirs from many parishes took place and the Judges had difficulty in making the decisions. A lot of innovative work was done as the youth executive of the diocese gave a project which invited creativity and originality. Congratulations to the winners.

World youth meeting with the Pope, Paris, August 15-30.  Pilgrimage going with Durban Youth, cost R.4000,- can any parish youth raise a few thousand, diocese will help a little.  Let me know before the end of this month.

3. The Carol service at the Cathedral on the 22nd of December was well attended in spite of a great deluge of rain. The choirs of the Cathedral and Bhongweni participated.

4. With great joy the diocese welcomes Father George William Byarugaba from Masaka in Uganda who has come as a Fidei Donum priest for our diocese. We thank his Bishops and people for freeing him to help us in our need. May God bless Masaka with many more vocations.  Father George is learning Xhosa, he is staying at Bizana at the moment, and will look after the Parish of Ntlangwini. Father Tony has moved to Lusikisiki.

5. How happy we are in the diocese to welcome the Little Servants of the Immaculate who have come to reside in the convent of Matatiele. Three sisters, Srs Angela, Helen and Magdalena, have been sent by the Mother General and will work in the Parish and be a presence among the people. They are well-known for their Apostolic zeal. We ask God to protect and bless them.                        

V E R Y    W E L C O M E.

6. It is also a time of joy when we welcome the Franciscan Postulancy to the Holy Cross Convent at Kokstad. We welcome in a special way Sydney who has come as Guardian of the Kokstad community; we welcome Richard and Vincent – who will share himself between Kokstad and Parish work in Hardenberg. We wish them every blessing in their important work building up the church and the Franciscan order in South Africa. A number of postulants are expected on Saturday, February the 8th. May they come to the gospel with St Francis.

7. We welcome Brother George Flitcroft who has come to the community and Parish of Kokstad. We welcome you, George. Kokstad will become a lively place.

8. The workshop for leaders in the diocese which took place at Maria Telgte Mission in early January was attended by over 50 people. Father Sonwabiso Zilindile led the first two days and invited great participation. The four days in Telgte were keen and enthusiastic, people are very willing to become apostles if we can encourage them.

We hope to have another in the September school holidays.

9. It is left to the priest and parish staff to train our leaders for services, funeral and cathecetical ministries. However, the diocese will try and help in whatever way it can.

We thank Father John Kerr and the staff at Maria Telgte for making everybody welcome and so that the week was such an enjoyable experience.

10. The following week at Maria Telgte, January the 14th, Sister Natalia from Hardenburg took in the farm children. Over seventy attended and sister felt very happy with the participation and joy evident. This allows children who get little care during the year on the farms to learn the Christian prayers and experience Catholic and community life.

11. At confirmation in Hardenburg on Jan 12, enthusiasm and singing were palpable. Father Bill and sisters and teachers had worked very hard to pull together these young people, 62 of them. Many of them walked miles everyday to the Mission for the instruction. They were rewarded by the Lord when the Holy Spirit came upon them.

12. The vocation team under Father Arturo and sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe invited those who were seriously interested in Diocesan vocation to a workshop and live-in at Mount Frere from December the 30th to January the 3rd. It was a very rich experience. Twelve participants shared on christian vocation in classes, discussion and liturgy. They are seriously interested in our Diocese. We must encourage them by showing interest, praying for them, getting the people to pray for them, and make them part of our family.

We are happy that Gabriel Thabang Lesohla will be studying in St Francis Xaviour Seminary in Cape Town this year, he is from  Makhoaseng. Lulama Msongelwa will be in St Peters Seminary and Lizo Nontshe and Bongani Mbhele be at St John Vianney.

We have a very active and excellent vocation team. Please invite them to your parish, sometime this year, preferably early in the year. If there are people, boys or girls interested in vocation put them into contact with this team comprising Father Arturo and Fr George William, Srs Paulus Maria, Anastasia and Sr Khumbuzile Mathe.

13. We congratulate Bizana parish on the retreat for the Abantwana bakaMaria led by Sister Paulos Maria. We are also happy for the work being done there by Sister Leah in the training of the St Annes. 500 members of St Anne are being formed with the use of the R.C.I.A programme. It would be a great idea if all societies adopt this program for the formation of their members. It brings them to prayer sharing, reflection, life together and knowledge of the Bible. Otherwise their meetings turn into financial contributions interspersed with choruses.

Church leaders and the Bishop led a prayer meeting in the town hall for the Mayor and the people giving thanks for God’s peace during 1996 in spite of the threats of division and violence.

14. CatecheticsFather Jack is the chairman of the catechetical commission of the diocese. In January 14th, 50 members met at Kokstad. These are the co-ordinators for the Parishes and outstations. By sharing together they are motivated and instructed and try to co ordinate the work of the Catechetics among the youth in the diocese. Please see that there are some members who represent you each month.

We very much emphasise the use of the R.C.I.A programme for converts and all people in formation in the diocese. The book is available from the Diocese at the cost of R15 only. We are subsidizing it by R8 a copy.

It is good to bless the catechism teachers of the parish at the beginning of this year. By appointing them in the Sunday celebration we emphasise the importance of their work. They are preparing a simple scapular uniform for their Ministry.

It is hoped that those members who attend diocesan catechetical meetings will organise an opportunity for all catechism teachers to have sessions for instruction, motivation and prayer. We would like to have retreat days for them in their own parishes.

15. The nurses had their day of prayer and blessing at Bhongweni on January the 25th. Only 30 nurses took part as the meeting was not properly advertised.

We hope to have nurses’ days during the year in various places. Please contact Sister Ambrose in Mount Frere. Sister Ambrose will care for a home and family desk in the diocese. Soon she will be full time on this job and wishes to gather a team around her. She will also be able to avail of personel from other dioceses and from Pretoria. She would wish visit the diocese speaking on preparation for and enrichment of marriage and family, natural fertility planning, aids etc.

16. C.I.E:   As you know Brother Jim, Sister Mary, Mrs Napier and Mrs Naken are available for the formation and help of catholic teachers working in all schools.

The New Education Act means that responsibility is now passing into the hands of Parents. We have an opportunity to influence all schools in which our children study. But parents need help. Brother Jim and Sister Mary and team are available if you wish to invite them to address your parents.

They have a religious education session at Kokstad on the 17th and 18th of February led by Mr Paul Faller.

Brother Jim will himself conduct courses in Maths, English and language skills for teachers of Standard 2 to Standard 5 in Kokstad from the 2nd to the 5th of March in two separate groups. Please contact the C.I.E office for further information.

17. We congratulate Brother Eric on the completion of the Poor Clare extension.

Hopefully it will be a little bit warmer this Winter. If we speak about the Poor Clare contemplative vocation and encourage young girls to visit them it would be a blessing.

18. The Bishops conference took place in Pretoria, 15th to the 23rd of January.   Minister Aziz Pahad spoke of the church in international affairs and Mrs Duarte of Gauteng on safety and security. Brother Neil McGurk spoke of the crisis facing education -mentioning the problems of Kokstad. We are requested to stress in our sermons the importance of the culture of learning for pupils and teachers.

The Bishops discontinued the programme on M Net. It cost 30 thousand rand a programme and was close-time only.

Father Richard Menatse of Umtata was elected as New Associate Secretary General of the Conference.

Father Peter John Pearson has taken charge of an office in Parliament to keep contact with Catholic members of Parliament and raise Catholic issues. The Bishops now have a National Co ordinator for the Aids problem, Doctor Linda Maepa from Swaziland, who gave an excellent presentation on the pandemic in the country. By the year 2003 there will be two million orphans of Aids in South Africa. Youth must be warned of the danger of destroying themselves.

The Bishops continue to oppose abortion though there seems to be no chance of a successful challenge against it in the constitutional court. We will fight provisions of the Department of Health which disregard in any way the provisions regarding the freedom of conscience of Nurses and Doctors.

19. LENT: As lent begins on Wednesday the 12th of February please remember the usual collections. Many people can give much more than they are doing at the present.

20. We wish to go ahead in the formation of our diocesan pastoral council. In the first seven months of the year the Bishop intends speaking with all parish councils regarding finance, vocations, catechetics etc. Each parish also has finance committees as arranged at the priest meetings in 1995.

Brother Val Haran will take responsibility regarding the collections. Father Manus will look after the Bursaries.

21. The whole diocese expresses its sympathy and sorrow on    death of Fr Peter’s mother in Port Elizabeth. Mrs Wilson had been sick for a long time and though not ultimately a surprise her death was an experience of real sadness and loss. May she  rest in peace. Frs Egbert and Bill flew to P.E. for the funeral.

22. Buildings go ahead at the Bishops House, Bizana convent.

March 15, opening of new church at Luyengweni, built by Erich.

Youth to Emmaus, March 24-25.

Mass of oils,March 26, Wednesday, Choir Lusikisiki.

March 2. Installation of Eucharistic Ministers, Cathedral.

Committee for Year 2000 meeting, Kokstad March 22.

Iindaba # 017

8 DECEMBER 1996.

1. At Diocesan consultors meeting on December the 2nd it was decided to have the proposed retreat for parish leaders at Maria Telgte from the 7th January, Tuesday evening until the 11th, Saturday morning. Man and women leaders are invited. Four deligates are invited from each Parish to be selected by the Priests. In making selection the following categories should be borne in mind:-

(a). Chairman of the PPC or his delegate.

(b). Leader of the Catechetical team.

(c). Leader of Sunday services.

(d). A committed person, preferably of younger generation deeply engaged in service in the church and who has displayed faith and an ability to work with others.

The cost is twenty five rand per person. The course will emphasise the nature of the church, leadership and service, faith through witness of life, working with others and delegation in the ministry of the church.

The basic skills training for leaders will not be done at Maria Telgte. Skills training is the initiative and plan of the Parish.

2. The farm childrens’ workshop will take place at Maria Telgte from January the 13th to the 18th, morning. The team of September will be back. Please encourage the farm children.

3. We are very happy that in 1997 we will have four students studying for the diocese. Joining BONGANI and LULAMA will be LIZO NONTSHE who will be doing first Theology is ST JOHN VIANNEY and THABANG GABRIEL LESOHLA who will be going to the CAPE TOWN. We congratulate the Vocation commission on their work and we welcome the new Seminarians to the Diocese.

There will be a special live-in for young men who have already expressed a desire for priesthood at Mount Frere from December the 30th to January the 3rd. Please encourage those who have already made contact with us to attend this. They should be in Form lll, lV or V. Many others who are younger or who are just beginning to express interest, or whom you think will benefit from contact will be visited by the vocation committee in the Parishes during the year.

4. In the New Year the Bishop intends to visit all Parish Councils.  He will discuss with them questions of Financing the Parish, Vocation promotion, the state of Catechetics, training of leaders etc. These visits will also, hopefully, help to set in motion the machinery for the first Diocesan Pastoral Council which will come in the place during 1997.

5. CATECHISTS     During the course of 1996 a big number of Diocesan Catechetical meetings took place under the Chairmanship of Father EGBERT. These were very useful.It is highly encouraged that each Parish have a Central Register for all teachers of cathecism. Again we will send around a proposed ceremony by which the priest will appoint the catechism teachers for the year at a Sunday Mass.

The Catechism teachers are very keen to wear a simple Uniform, SCAPULAR, when they teach. This Uniform could be given each year in this ceremony for appointment. Congratulations to the Parishes which had representatives at catechetical meetings in Kokstad each month. It is very helpful to have a person or two to represent each Parish at these meetings. The person on your Parish Council for catechetics would be involved in planning for the Diocese. Also, they would help to plan workshops for the Parish with courses for teachers.

We are extremely happy that Sister AMBROSE TSHABALALA, of Mount Frere will be taking over the Family and HEALTH desk for the Diocese in the New Year. Sister Ambrose has worked in this Diocese with great Apostolic zeal for many years, she is a Medical Nurse. It is hoped that Sister and her assistant MRS DAISY DLAMINI, will be available for all Parishes and Youth Clubs, to help arrange formation in preparation for marriage, growing up, Aids, natural fertility planning etc.

6. We are finalising arrangements for a Sister to specialise in Creche Care. This will involve establishment, training and on-going formation of people who run creches. There is a demand for Pre-school preparation, many people want to be involved, it is a source of employment.

7. The Diocese congratulates Father ROBERT STEWERT who has been re-elected as PROVINCIAL OF OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE province. His vicar is Father DAVID BERNARD a son of the Diocese. We congratulate them and their council of definitors; Father VUMILE NOGEMANE, Father TEDDY LENNON, Father RICHARD DUARTE, Father HYACINTH, and Brother JOHN BRICE. We also welcome with joy the coming of the Franciscan Postulancy to Kokstad. We wish them every Blessing and assure them our co-operation in their formation work. We hope they will get many vocations here.

8. C.I.E   This was a fine year for the C.I.E team of our region. Brother JIM, Sister MARY, MRS NAPIER and MRS NAKIN were busy during making contact with schools and Catholic teachers. They had six prayer-days for Catholic teachers,most recently in Bizana, Mount Frere and Lusikisiki. A great pool of teachers has been contacted and have been assisted in the living their call. The team has also offered in-service training courses, concentrating on the most neglected-in farm schools. Programmes like READ have been successful. Mrs Napier and Mrs Nakin will be specialising in this course in the New Year. Brother Jim will assist teachers in Mathematics.

The Government’s New Education Bill, democratic in the extreme will throw the weight of responsibility for Education on Parents. We should motivate our Catholic parents to be involved in the Governing board of schools. This Governing board will have manager’s powers appointing and dismissing teachers, forming the ethos of schools and even determining the religious instruction. The C.I.E team is available to help with conscientising of Parents in their tasks.

The Bishop said Mass for Brother Jim’s mother ANN, who died recently and for the daughter of Mrs Nakin, Karabo, who passed away at a young age. We send our condolences and sincere sympathy on their bereavement.

9. We made available a portion of St Anthony’s Centre in Kokstad to the Creche. There are one hundred and sixty poor children attending this and space was made available by having the swimming pool filled in. Negotiations are in an advance stage regarding leasing of St Anthony Centre to a department of Education for a resource and training centre.

10. OTHER EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS    St Patricks school board have acquired 30 hectares on the old racecourse at Kokstad to build a New Secondary school. This Secondary school will continue the Primary school work done at the Cathedral school. As well they are leasing a room in the boarding section of the Convent as Library and Computer room for their primary school.

11. Congratulation to everybody who took part in the struggle against abortion. Though we did not succeed in preventing the Act’s adoption, the people have been very much conscientised by the struggle and are more aware of the moral issues involved. However, it is very clear that our people are not deeply informed on this issue and many other related moral issues. The Law, of course, is a great teacher, and so this law will sow confusion and evil.

During the struggle against abortion the nurses, the Sacred Heart Society, St Anne Society and some parishes organised days of prayer, processions, reflections, proposals to local ANC committees. The local president of the Democratic party, Doctor JEREMIAH BOSMAN has resigned from the Democratic party in protest. We communicated with Mr GEOFF DOIDGE, who is an ANC WHIP. He replied quite a number of times but then voted in favour of the Bill as we can read in the Southern Cross. We will be remembering him in the elections in 1999.

12. Father TOM BRUNO BYRNE, represented the Diocese at the ZULU PASTORAL REGION MEETING in Durban.

13. Sister VERONICA NAMOYO, the foundress of Our Poor Clare Monastery came on a very welcome visit during October-November. We were delighted to see her for a short period. The convent has an addition completed which will allow the sisters new kitchen and a work room and 11 cells.

Individuals who wish to make retreats can contact the sisters. Groups of children, especially girls who would want a day retreat can go to the convent. Encourage girls who may be interested in vocation to visit the sisters. The Sisters also enjoyed the hospitality of Father JOHN and the Mission of Telgte during October when they went there to polish their Xhosa.

14. EVENTS    The Youth in Flagstaff were very busy during the month of November with Father EGBERT and Sister Caritas. They had a successful concert raising finance. They have now more money than their Parish Priest. And at the end of November from the 22nd to the 24th they took part in a workshop discussing vocation, and questions of life. This was informative and their many questions, and the nature of the questions asked, indicate their need for guidance.

The youth of Tabankulu and Mount Ayliff had a workshop on the 1st of December.

Father TONY got the men of Umzongwana together for an excellent day on their role in the church.

Father JOHN and Teachers at Maria Telgte said good bye to the Standard Seven children with a beautiful meal and concert at the Mission on the 20th of November.

There was a good turn out of Catholics and non catholics for a talk of the Bishop at the Cathedral Hall on November the 19th on the theme JESUS THE SAVIOUR. Work continues apace at the Cathedral repairing the damaged stone work.

At Lusikisiki twenty children were received into the society of the Soldiers of Christ, the King, on November the 17th. Another group joined the Children of Mary on the 1st of December. Societies for children are great means of keeping the children together in formation and prayer in those years in which they are not preparing for a particular Sacrament.

The Secular Franciscan shook the rafters at Hardenburg Mission at the reception of new members. Many who had wished to join the Francican family were received. Visitors came from Durban, Umzimkulu and Marianhill. Father BILL led the dancing.

The Diocesan retreats for the Secular Franciscans took place at Bhongweni on the 30th November-1st of December.

During the year the sisters of the Diocese and Father BERNARD REGIEL a spiritual assistant, got together to share days of recollection. We hope that Father BERNARD gets well soon as he is suffering from very painful shingles.

Sister Marwiga is formulating a catechism for the children of Tabankulu. This work in Xhosa centres on the Eucharist.

15. We will open the years of preparation for the great Jubilee at the Cathedral on the night of the 7th-8th of December. A committee has met four times to prepare the programme, the choirs of the Diocese will lead various moments of the night and lead our people to contemplate the theme “Who do you say I am?”.

During this coming year we will have to organise various ceremonies to develop this theme.

16. On Sunday evening,Dec.22, at 6.p.m at the Cathedral there will be a carol service for the peoples of the parishes of Bhongweni and the Cathedral. We can try to express our rainbow nature by common worship and joy at Christmas. Hopefully, in the new year the two parish councils will come together o consider their work and service in the community.

17. The Bishop met with some church leaders in Kokstad and it was decided to seek a local Council of Churches. To assess a response to the idea it has been decided to meet at the town hall at 10 o’clock on January the 25th. The various churches, the parish councils, are invited to send four people.

18. Next meeting for Catholic Nurses of the diocese, January

25 at the Cathedral.

Next Diocesan Catechetical meet,Kokstad, January 13th.

Bishop will be at Bishops’ Conference, January 14th-24th.

19. Youth Concert, School Hall, Kokstad,December 14, 10 a.m.

20 Children of Mary retreat, Bizana, 21 December.

Happy Christmas to all.

Iindaba # 016


1.There will be a preaching course for local leaders, men and women, in Maria Telgte from Monday the 6th of January 1997 to Saturday the 11th of January. Encourage the leaders to come to this course in spirituality formation and pastoral practise.

2.Congratulations to Father John and Sister Natalia for the Catechetical week for the farm children which took place in Maria Telgte from September the 30th to October the 3rd. Well over one hundred children attended and benefited enormously. However, from a few areas no children were present. Please underline the dates of the next course which will be from the 13th Monday January to the 18th of January also at Maria Telgte. Please make sure the children know and are ready to attend.

3.As you know, in preparation for the great Jubilee of the year two thousand the Church Universal is celebrating three preparatory years. The first of these years, 1997, will open during Advent of this year. Our committee in the diocese of Kokstad have decided to open the year 1997 on the 7th-8th of December this year. The committee has organised a night vigil, pilgrimage, Mass, at the Cathedral ground for that night. Included in the programme is the following.

4.(a) 7th December 7 p.m Saturday night, penitential service.

Led by the Choirs of Lusiki-siki and Flagstaff, co-ordinator Mrs Jwaqu.

(b) 8 o’clock English service led by Kokstad Cathedral group.

(c) 8:45 first Mass. Choirs Hardenburg, St Anton’s and St Matthews, co-ordinator Teresa Mjwara.

(d) 10:30 Youth service, leader Mr Mangqalaza of Flagstaff.

(e) 11:30 candle light procession, choirs of Mount Frere, Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu, co-ordinator Mrs Dolly Ngwadla.

f) 12:30 Eucharistic adoration, choir of Matatiele.

(g) 1:30 Imvuselelo M.C Mr Lesley Dweba.

(h) 4 o’clock a.m, December the 8th, Mass led by Bhongweni  Choir.

That will be the close of the service.

5.Two additions of the Inkwenkwezi Newspaper have now been distributed. We will have, it seems, to produce more copies- by popular demand. I invite the leaders, spiritual directors of the Youth, Sacred Heart, St Annes, Legion, the Amadodana to contribute regular reflections, news items, motivational items, for the members of their societies. Anyone with photographs of these events could please also send a few to us.

6.Please note the following retreats for teachers, both Catholic and Non-catholic in government and Catholic schools. Bizana October the 12th, Mount Frere October the 19th, Lusiki-siki October the 26th.   All will begin at 10 a.m in the morning in the local Church.

7.The Bishop will be on retreat from October the 28th to November the 2nd, and he will conduct the Umtata Diocese Retreat at Coolock House from October the 14th to the 18th.

8.Congratulations to the Christian Brothers on the wonderful occasion of the beatification of Edmund Ignatius Rice, the founder of the Congregation. We hope to have an article on Brother Rice in the next issue of the Inkwenkwezi. Let us pray that through his intercession we may take seriously the Apostolate of the Youth and formation of children in Christian values.

9.It is a pity that only a small number of people from our diocese attended an excellent course on inculturation at Mount Frere from October the 3rd to the 5th. However, we did have an excellent consultation on inculturation, healing aspects thereof at the Cathedral on September the 9th when almost all the Priests were present. It was very clear from contributions at the meetings that our people believe totally in the value of Christian healing. However,it was pointed out we must base all healing work on a deeper faith, encouraging our people to depend upon God, not to fear witch-craft, to forgive each other, to get rid of envy and jealousy, and to have more services within our sodalities for those who are in need.

It was also pointed out that we can do much more in the line of healing services, visiting of people in hospital and elsewhere, listening to needs of people- even to their dreams and deepest anxieties. The laity must be taught to deal with people who are suffering. We also need to make the Sacraments come alive, for they are the medicine of the eternal life. The Sacrament of confession in a particular way is a wonderful Ministry to touch the souls and even the sick bodies and minds of our parishners. We need to believe more in the Sacraments ourselves. We must also preach God, Who is Love.   Our preaching must continually emphasise the great Word of God in the scriptures for this is the basic nourishment of faith.

10.The Youth Executive of the diocese met under the Chairmanship of Sister Natalia and with its Spiritual Director for Father Giorgio and make plans for the December holidays and for the year 1997. They hope to have a choir competition in Kokstad on the 14th of December, a Saturday, please watch the Inkwenkwezi for details. Also the Youth intend to set up a team to help with Youth to Youth retreats. We find that many youth who have been baptised in the Church fail to continue in the church. It is easy to say that the reason is due solely to easy baptism. However, our local outstations and their leaders are not able to provide adequate spiritual care for today’s critical youth. So we wish to provide the Youth with youth retreats assisted of course by priests and sisters. Please encourage your youth to have their own Parish programmes or to invite the diocesan team.

11.An event of great significance and joy for the diocese was the arrival of FIDEI DONUM priest Father GEORGE WILLIAM BYARUGABA from the Diocese of Masaka in UGANDA on September the 21st. Father George is very welcome, we are delighted to have him. He has already been visited by his colleagues from his own diocese Father Bonaventure and Father Vincent who are working in Umtata. He has begun his study of Xhosa at Mount Frere.

12.One of the great highlights of the life of the diocese this year was on September the 24th when the New Church of the Holy Paraclete was dedicated in Bizana. Enormous crowds, perhaps six thousand people attended, among the attendance was MPONDOMBINI THANDIZULU SIGCAWU and THE PRINCESS.   She made the vestments for the occasion. The Church is the work in every sense of the word of Brother Eric Fischnallar from Mount Frere. We hope that a good video team will leave us excellent records of a day of great joy. Brother Eric not only drew the plans, he raised most of the money from benefactors and from his own work, he oversaw building and had his men involved with the contractors. The art work was supervised by Dina Cormick though it is far from complete yet. Father Rodgers SIHLOBO the parish priest must be congratulated on organising the day with his people. They contributed generously to the building of the Church. Over twenty priests attended but the men of honour of the day were former priests of Bizana, Father GERMAIN, Father BRUNO and Father WILFRED BYRNE from PRETORIA. Over 50 sisters were present of whom 15 were born in the parish of Bizana. It was a day of great joy for the diocese.

13.A day of reflection and prayer for the Catholic nurses took place at the Cathedral on September the 21st. It was a day of prayer and recommitment on the side of the nurses. Many questions were asked about the very difficult medical questions facing nurses today. It is obvious that we must provide guidance and formation for the nurses. Many of them have very little idea of Catholic morality in the areas of contraception and abortion.

14.Regarding abortion, the struggle for an abortion free South Africa is now in full swing. At various retreats and through our paper, INKWENKWEZI we have continually informed the people of this entire issue. Please preach on abortion on the first Sunday of November. Encourage the local people to take part in the ANC BRANCHES to make the people aware of the danger of this new legislation. In many diocese especially in the bigger cities parades and processions take place where letters are handed over to Government Officials. This can also be organised on the local level. But make November the 2nd an anti abortion day, make all our people aware and involved in the struggle.

15.Congratulations on the great turn out for the day of prayer for priests at Hardenburg Mission September the 9th. It was a day immensely enjoyable, and made so by the work of Fathers BILL, PETER and VINCENT. They made us welcome and looked after our needs.

16.Thanks in a particular way to Father TONY and to Father VINCENT ZUNGU for their assistance to the priestless parish of Lusikisiki. Once a month each of them goes for three days to the Parish. They are able to visit twelve stations in all in those 6 days. Let us continue to pray for more priests. Never forget to keep continually before the people the need of our vocations. They must be continually encouraged pray for vocations and hold Holy hours for this intention. We have quite a number of young men very interested in our diocese. Let us not rest until we have vocations from every parish in this diocese studying in the Seminaries.

17.With God’s help we hope to welcome the little sisters of the Immaculate who work in MAHOBE, to live in the Old Convent in MATATIELE. With God’s help they will come in December, the parish is preparing a home.

18.Congratulations to Father SIHLOBO on his work with the Amadodana during the month of September when they elected the new Executive for the diocese. This society of the Catholic men has great potential, but they do need serious formation. It is hope that each year we will be able to take them for at least five days serious study and prayer. Encourage them to prepare for such days and to participate. We continue to lose men who have for a long time played a constructive role in the Catholic life of our Parishes. Just in the last few weeks we have lost MR SERGE BALL from LUSIKISIKI and MR KHATYWA from DUTYINI in BIZANA. They were long and faithful friends of our Church. Condolences of the diocese to sister AGNES on the death of her father, MR KHATYWA. His father in turn was one of the pioneer Catholics of the whole area of Bizana, which now numbers over 8 thousand Catholics.

19.Congratulations to the C.I.E team who organised the annual catholic teachers assosiation meeting at our Cathedral on August 24th. About 80 teachers from schools in Umtata and Kokstad attended. Brother Jude Pieterse, former General Secretary of the Catholic Bishop’s conference, and now one of the CENT negotiators on behalf of the church in discussions with the government on the future of education, addressed the meeting. Brother Jude outlined the conditions and clauses of the New Education Act and invited us to prepare our people to be involved on school boards.   The intention of the New Democratic Government is to make schools as democratic as possible. Their chief means of doing this is through giving tremendous power to parents groups in the administration of schools. We should see that our Catholic people are involved at these crucial areas.

20.Retreat group for the diocese has been established. Their intention is to offer our Catechism teachers a day of retreat once or twice a year in the teachers home parish. For example this retreat group would meet with all your catechism teachers on a Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday morning. The meeting will provide prayer and reflection and formation for those who battle to try and educate our youth in the catholic faith. Invite them and they will come to your parish.

21.The next meeting of the diocesan catechetical committee will take place on October the 14th at the Hall in St Patricks. It is also felt that we should design a uniform, or a simple scapular for all our catechism teachers. Also we will try and send inspectors to the parishes to examine our people in catechism as the time goes on.

22.The St Annes of the diocese had their annual meeting at Bhongweni from the 4th to the 6th of October, and on the same week end the Sacred Heart sodality met at the Holy Cross Convent in Kokstad. Congratulations to Fathers, PETER and TONY on organising this week end. The women signed the petition against the introduction of abortion. This was sent to the whip of the ANC PARTY in CAPE TOWN.

23.The Bishop spoke to the Town Council of Kokstad on the need for peace if we are to see development in the town. There is a struggle within the ANC on the question of Provincial Boundaries. The Bishop’s talk was wel received by the town council and the Mayor. The Bishop also spoke on behalf of the diocese to Bishop Davies and the Anglican Synod which opened on September the 27th in Kokstad. And the Bishop also spoke to a packed St Patricks Hall on September the 17th to a large group of Kokstad people on the question of the church and the family. He was also happy that on Sunday September the 22nd to be able to speak to the Catechetical teachers of the Cathedral Parish. Here are teachers many of whom are highly motivated and who give great service.Congratulations to Father LAURENCE AND Father BERNARD on motivating these teachers. Their great assistant is MRS LORNA WICKS who co-ordinates the Cathecatical programme for the Cathedral. The same Cathedral Parish had its annual confirmation on Sunday August the 25th. MRS MARGIE SHAW taught these children for two years, a class every week. Father MAXIMO give them an excellent day retreats just prior to the ceremony.

23.It was lovely to celebrate the TRANSITUS of St Francis with the Poor Clares on the 3rd of October. More of the FRIARS could avail of this beautiful opportunity each year on that date. We also welcome to the diocese Father MARTIN from the DUTCH PROVINCE who is visiting Franciscans in preparation for the chapter on the 25th of November. I hope he remembers Kokstad when they come to decisions at that chapter.

24.In a number of Parishes groups and clubs sodalities for young children are beginning to flourish. Please enquire and get people to start this wonderful initiative. The Poor Clares place would be happy to offer possibilities for a day retreat for groups of these young people.

25.Please note that the next diocesan consultors meeting will be at the Bishop’s House on October the 21st Monday.

26.Remember that October is the Month for the Missions. So it is the time to pray for Missionary work and also to take up these very important collections. Father BERNARD reminds all the priest to make sure to make October the 20th Mission Sunday for the people and to take up and send in to him as soon as possible these important collections. We will receive a lot from the Pontifical Mission aids societies, let us show that we co-operate with them in encouraging our people also to give.

Iindaba # 015

25th August 1996

1. The next Priests Meeting of the diocese will take place at Kokstad friary on Monday morning, at 10 a.m., September 9th. The subject of conversation will be inculturation. Short addresses will be given by a number of priests and the matter will be open for discussion. The subject on the discussion will be healing and prayer.

2. At the consultors meeting on August the 5th it was decided to establish the leaders training group, to establish policy, a plan and syllabus for the training of people in all areas of spiritual leadership in the diocese. The committee which will be convened by the Bishop and comprises among others, Fr Egbert, Fr Bill, Sr Dionys, Sr Paulos Maria, Mr Manye and Mr Vuthela. Others may be co-opted unto the committee.

3. At the same consultors meeting it was agreed that the Bishop should meet the with Representatives of the three deaneries. Each Parish and out-station would send two members to these meetings. One member should be the member of the Finance committee and another a member of Parish or out-station council. Dates will be set for the meetings at Flagstaff, Matatiele and Kokstad.   Matters discussed will include finance, training of the leaders, vocations.

4. It was also decided that Diocesan Pastoral Council would be held on a Saturday in November, possibly the 16th. In attendance would be Representatives of the Sisters and people of the diocese with all the Priests. Each out station would again send two members to this one day meeting.

5. We agreed to hold a day of sanctification for Priests at Hardenburg, on Monday September the 16th, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

6. As we know from the media, the year 1997 will be special year in the Universal Church dedicated to contemplating the Mystery of Christ. So in this diocese also the celebration of the year will begin on the Feast of Christ the King in November. A committee has been established within the diocese to make plans for the celebration of this year and make it a spiritual moment for all our people. On the committee are Sr Paulos Maria, Mr Neo Kheswa, Mr Lesly Dweba and Mrs Thandazwe. Other members will be co-opted.

7. The opening of the New Church at Bizana will take place on the morning of September the 24th. All are invited.

8. We welcome Fr Miguel Cobo, Franciscan of the Province of Valencia, in Spain, and a Missionary for 13 years in Argentina, who is learning Xhosa at the moment. We also expect Fr George William Byarugaba from Masaka in Uganda who is coming to work in this diocese as a Fidei Donum. Hopefully we will have 4 or 5 Seminarians studying for this diocese in 1997. Please keep up work for the vocations.

The vocation week spent at Mount Frere, and organised by Father Arturo and his vocation committee, was an excellent experience. Fourteen young men attended and they showed a great interest in becoming priests of our diocese. Please pray for them and continue to insist that all societies and imihlangano of the diocese continue to pray for vocations.

9. August 24th at Kokstad the catholic teachers in areas of the diocese of Umtata and Kokstad met at the Cathedral to celebrate the Annual General Meeting. They were addressed by Brother Jude, on the question of the New Educational Bill. They also had Mass and the Elections. Congratulations to the C.I.E on wonderful organisation and great achievement in our area with the teachers.

11. The Health desk of the diocese is in the process of being established.   Nurse, DAISY DLAMINI will act as a Part Time Volunteer worker. She will be helped by a Health Committee. I invite good Catholic Nurses, Sisters, Doctors to be part of this Committee. With a good Committee we can plan our programme which will benefit our diocese and training of our people.

12. Please remember in a very special way three excellent leaders of our diocese who passed away in close succession in the last two months. Remember Mr Ndaba, of St Anthony’s in Hardenburg, who since 1960 has been an outstanding leader of the local Church. Also remember Mr Johannes Phoswa of Lower Mnceba in Tabankulu who equally played a very important role in keeping the community together in his area. And finally Mr Tserere of Saphukanduku in Tabankulu also passed away leaving a great void after lives dedicated to the local Church. May the Lord give Eternal rest to these ancestors of the faith in our diocese.

13. I hope you have seen our attempt at a Newspaper, INKWENKWEZI.   As you can see the lay out and printing is very well done, although much more editing and variation of the reports will have to be done. So photographs and reports from all the Parishes will be great appreciated. We can use this paper in order to form our people as one family in the faith.

14. There will be an inculturation workshop in Mount Frere, from the 3rd to the 5th of October and ten people from each Parish are invited. They are expected to pay ten rand per person. Priests who are experts in inculturation will address the meeting. Please make contact with Fr Arturo about your arrangements.

15. Brother Val of the Christian Brothers celebrated 50 years in the congregation, his Golden Jubilee, in a quiet ceremony with his prayer group and community in Kokstad in July. Then he left on a short sabbatical. We express gratitude for the wonderful contribution of Brother Val to our local Church, to our people and to the community of the diocese. He is quiet and prayerful life is a gift from God to us. We congratulate the Christian Brothers on the beatification of Brother Ignatius Rice, the wonderful founder of the Irish Christian Brothers.

16. Those children in the farm areas are reminded of the catechetical week at Maria Telgte Mission. Please contact Fr John regarding the travel and dates.

17. We wish to express a sincere word of gratitude to Fr Bernard Hall and to the Catholic Womens League of Kokstad for providing the beautiful lunch on the occasion of Fr Bernadine’s Diamond Jubilee on July the 15th. They had to cook this beautiful lunch twice. Snow prevented us arriving to celebrate on the original date. We also thank Fr Bernard for preparing lunch every monday for our meetings. It is very much appreciated. The hospitality of Fr Tom in Kokstad is a great contribution to our diocesan life.

18. We must note with sincere gratitude the contribution of Sigibert Pappe a seminarian from Germany who spent one year working in the diocese. He helped the youth in an excellent way, visiting them, encouraging them and sharing their lives. We wish him every Blessing in his future Apostlolate. The Youth Retreat organised by the Youth Committee of the Diocese under the Chairmanship of Sr Natalia and assisted by Fr Giorgio, was very successful at the Holy Cross Convent during the extremely cold days of July. In spite of snow in the mountains, the youth thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. About hundred and sixty attended.

19. Do encourage our people to remember our Holy Father,the Pope, who celebrates the 50th Jubilee of Priestly ordination between the 7th and 10th of November this year. Encourage our people to thank God for the work of Our Holy Father in the Church.

20. Also remember that October the 20th is Mission Sunday. We receive a large contribution of finance each year from the Pontifical Missionary Society in Rome. This money is passed on to us by the society from the collections made by poor people all over the world. Our people must continually pray for the our benefactors.

21. August the 26th the Cathecetical Committee of the Diocese will meet at the Parish Hall in Kokstad at 10.a.m.

22. According to the New Act for Social assistance Priests and

Sisters are treated the same way as other Old Age people. The qualifying age for women is 60 years and for men is 65 years. When they reach this age they may apply for pensions.

23. Confirmation takes place at the Cathedral in Kokstad August Sunday the 25th, congratulations to the Priests and to a special way to Mrs Margie Shaw who did wonderful work to prepare young people for confirmation.

24. The Dicastery in Rome has asked that we regard the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from now on as an obligatory memorial and not just a memorial ad libita.

25. I ask the priests that in a special way they make clear reference to the church position on Abortion during the coming Sundays. It is obvious that certain elements in our society want to push abortion on demand on a country which does not have this as a traditional value. Also we the Catholic Church abhor this culture of death. So please make the provisions of the New Act known to our people and in all its provisions. Our people must be prepared to fight this plague.

We congratulate the priests and parish of the Cathedral on their day of special prayer, Friday,Aug. 23, asking God’s assistance in the struggle to keep the New South African within the culture of life

26. The Annual Winter school has been discontinued due to lack of popular response this year and indeed in preceding years.

27. The Namibia Catholic Bishops said good-bye this year in August at Mariannhill to the Southern African Bishops Conference. They will now establish their own Conference. There are three Bishops in Namibia.

28. A group of four people representing the laity of this diocese went to Glenmore in Durban on August the 10th to meet with the Bishops to discuss the future of the National Laity Council. However the proposals put to the meeting did not achieve the two thirds majority necessary to have a new committee. At the moment there is no National Council of the laity. Suggestions are invited to how to structure our church in such a way that the laity are involved and participative role.

29. The new Xhosa Bible, first edition and therefore valuable, is now selling in Kokstad at the Christian book store at R 21.50.

30. The Society of St Augustine has been promulgated by the Bishops in an effort to encourage prayer and finance for priestly vocations. Fr Arturo has established the Society in his area and you may contact him for information, booklets and medals.

31. Days of Prayer with teachers in Bizana, Mount Frere and Lusiki during Saturdays of October.

32. Please inform all Catholic nurses of Nurses Day of Prayer on Saturday, September 21, cathedral,9.30 am.

33. Church and Family, open lecture by Bishop, Cathedral Hall,Sept 17th, evening.

Iindaba # 014

13th JUNE 1996

1.The Diocese thanks God for the life and service of Sister Gabriel of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart who died on 8th June. Sister Gabriel worked in this Diocese with deep faith and good humour for over 30 years. She had a special Apostolate for young people and children. Noted for her self sacrifice in the work of the Church, she had a special interest in people; she had friends everywhere. We ask God to give eternal rest and joy to this woman of Faith. And we extend our sympathies to her Congregation on the death of such a committed Sister.

2.Father Bernadine Dore, celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood this year. Barney has been for 50 years working in the Diocese, using all his gifts in the service of the people of our Church. We wish to celebrate this and will do so on Monday July 8th at the Cathedral at Kokstad. All Priests, Brothers and Sisters are invited to a celebration which will begin with a Mass at 11.00 am in Kokstad. It will followed by lunch.

3.The Vocations live-in will take place at Mt. Frere starting on Monday 8th July and will continue until 12th. Those young men in form 3, 4 and 5 who are seriously considering becoming Diocesan Priests should also come to the celebration of Father Dore at the Cathedral. From there we will arrange their transport to Mt. Frere for the live-in. Continue to encourage the people to pray for the Diocesan Vocations.

4.Excellent work continues to be done with the youth in the Diocese by the Executive led by Sister Natalia and Father Giorgio. They had a meeting in May in Kokstad and arranged that the Diocesan annual youth retreat will take place here in Kokstad at the Cathedral 16-19th July. Please encourage your youth leaders to attend. There were also services for the youth at Lusikisiki at Hardenburg and Flagstaff. These were led by Sigibert, Sister Caritas. The youth were very responsive and the night of prayer and processons was deeply appreciated by them. Do invite the youth leaders of the diocese to come to your Parish.

5.We congratulate the Catholic Institute of Education on the completion of a new school building below the mission at Hardenberg.  A lot of the finance was contributed through the C.I.E. and we were very happy to welcome its director Sister Bridgett Rose Tiernan for the opening on 26th April. The full excellent team of C.I.E., Brother Jim, Sister Mary, Mrs. Napier, and Mrs. Nakin, are to be congratulated in their work of in-serivce training, motivational inspiration, and continual organisation of Retreats for teachers. Note the A.G.M. of the Catholic Teachers, Saturday, August 24th.

6.Confirmation was celebrated at Tlangwini, Maria Telgte and Mt. Frere in the past two months. It was a joy to see well prepared young people and adults deeply appreciate what they become in this important sacrament. We pray that they will now really be Apostles of the Church.

7.Bizana Church is now complete except for the interior. Brother Erich is to be congratulated on a magnificent achievement. A meeting of artistic people took place on 22th May at the church to plan the decoration of the interior. Many excellent ideas came from the artist Dina Cormack, internationally well known for her work, who will be the person responsible for the final decoration and arrangement of the Church at Bizana. Also present was Sister Johanna, also internationally famous for her work in African Art, the Poor Clare Sisters, the Sisters of Bizana, and the Parish Priest of Bizana, with members of the Parish Council. Planning to deecorate the Church around the theme of its dedication has been a rewarding and Spiritual enquiry. It is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The planned day of opening of the church is September 24th.

8.Let us pray in a special way for Sister Bernadette, Poor Clare, who will take her final vows in Lusaka on June 29th. This is a day of special joy for us in this Diocese as Bernadette is a member of the Community of the Monastery of Santa Chiara here in Kokstad. She has left her homeland to establish contemplative life in our Church. We thank God for her, for her community and we pray God’s Blessings on her final committment to him. On July 20th, Saturday, the Sisters at Santa Chiara invite us to participate in a Mass of thanksgiving with Sister Bernadette on her return to South Africa.

9.Consultations have taken place between the Diocese and the congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood concerning the building of a beautiful new Convent at Bizana. This will be built by the Sisters on the Mission site. We welcome them to the Diocese. It is also with joy that we announce that the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Childhood, living at Tabankulu, have plans to extend the house as they plan a bigger community to be resident there. They will be very welcome. We also extend our sincere sympathies to Sister Marwiga, on the death of her sister.

10.The Legion Acies service by which Legionaries re-commit and re-dedicate themselves to the work of the Church took place in May at Matatiele. The Day was organised by Father Manus the Diocesan director and was very well attended. Inspired by this example the Legionaries of Bizana now intend to revive their own society.

We say to Father Manus and Fathers Germaine, have a good holiday overseas.

11.Please note that the co-ordinator of Catechetics in each Parish, who is ex Officio a member of the Diocesan Catechetical committee, should remember that the next meeting of this committee takes place here in Kokstad on July 2nd at 10.00 am. One or two people responsible for Catehecetics in your Parish, and major outstations would be very welcome to attend. This is a very important meeting.

The previous meeting took place in Kokstad on May 6th and was an excellent sharing of the wonderful work being done Cathecetics in many areas in the Diocese. At Flagstaff, Lusikisiki, Bizana, Mt. Frere, Mt. Ayliff, Tabankulu and Hardenburg a whole program for Cathechism teachers is very much on the way. The Sisters, who are largely responsible for these programs, are willing to help in other Parishes or request. The idea is that we continue to give spiritual and pedagogical formation to all cathechism teachers on a regular basis. The idea is to call them together once a month or once in two months to deepen their formation and knowledge so that they take pride in this sacred ministry.

Sister Paulus Maria and Sister Dionys represented the Diocese at the National meeting which considered the program R.C.I.A. in South Africa.

12.Those who have children in churches in the so called farm areas should take note of the dates July 17th – 21st when the children of their areas will continue their winter schools at Maria Telgte. Make sure to have your children present on these days for their annual catechetical formation.

13.We hope to have a small team who will travel with the Bishop to Mariannhill area in August when the annual Bishops meeting hopes to consult with laity. We would hope to have four members of our Diocese present.

14.An excellent committee has been established in Kokstad to repair the Cathedral building. It is many years now since it was painted and examination has revealed that water is causing rather extensive damage. Repairs will inevitably cost a lot though the committee has continued to look at the situation and keep costs as low as possible. I invite all Parishes of the Diocese to take a collection to help with this work which will cost in the region of R200,000.00.

15.We pray in a very special way for Father Larry 0’Shea who is facing a major operation on June 18th. We were happy that his sister Mary was able to spend some time with him in these weeks previous to the operation. May God Bless them both at this time.

16.Again I wish to remind you that the South African Bishops have established the St. Augustines young Priests society. The idea is to have branches of this society in all Parishes of the country. Its idea is a monthly meeting of people who will make it their task to pray and make a very small financial contribution each month to the spiritual and financial requisites of the training of new Priests for our country. Perhaps there are people who a special vocation for Priestly societies, do invite them to start a society even if it were to have only three or four members, in your parish.

17. I note that the title “Queen of the family, pray for us” has been added to the Litany of Loreto. This invocation comes in after “Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary,pray for us”.

18. Next priest meeting of diocese at Kokstad, September 9th.

19. Next month we will launch a newssheet for the diocese. It will be sold cheaply and is for the people and will contain news,reports, information on dates, venues and subjects for  meetings,sermons, general information on church matters, activities of sodalities etc. This is an experiment and  hopefully will become a fixture if it has potential for  information and formation.It will be in the languages of the diocese. Anyone with editoral ambitions?

Could the spiritual directors of sodalities, Saint Anne, Sacred Heart, Amadodana,Youth, Cathechetics, Children of Mary, St Joseph, Legion find a correspondent to forward their news?

20. The diocese is looking for a full time worker, preferably someone with nursing qualifications to take responsibility for a Health\Social work desk for us. Areas to be covered, Catholic moral teaching, Aids ministry, marriage preparation, formation of youth in sexual and marriage morality, Fertility planning,abortion counselling etc. A good wage will be paid, Fr Tom says.