The official opening and blessing of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Gogela.

This ceremony took place on the 17th April 2016 at Gogela village. Gogela outstation is found in Uganda martyrs’ catholic parish Bhongweni, in Kokstad Catholic Diocese.

The main celebrant was, Bishop Zolile Petros Mpambani, SCJ the bishop of Kokstad. The co celebrant was the son of the village, the parish and the diocese, Bishop Xolelo Thaddeus Kumalo, bishop of Eshowe diocese. They were assisted by the parish priest Fr. Vincent Bwete was present.

It was colourful and joyful moment for the parishioners especially the local people of Gogela. It was so because they got a new and beautiful church where the worship the God. The parishioners worked hard to have this church.

Our thanks also go to our benefactors especially, the Pontifical Missions Societies of Pope Francis, and the Little Ways Association, the diocese of Kokstad and all the people of good will.

May almighty God bless you all.

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THE FINAL PROFESSION OF SR BUSISIWE LUCIA LHOMANI AT THE HOLY SPIRIT CATHOLIC CHURCH IN FLAGSTAF

On Friday 15 July Bishop Zolile P. Mpambani SCJ led the Eucharistic celebration of the final profession of Sr Busisiwe Lucia Hlomani FCSCJ at the Holy Spirit Parish in Flagstaff.

The procession started at 10h.00 AM from the convent to the Church via school compound and it was led by drum majorettes followed by parishioners and the clergy. It was a moment and day of joy for the whole parish in Flagstaf and the Diocese at large.

Readings for the Holy Mass celebration were taken from the books of Isaih 43:1-5; Romans 9;12-18; Mathew 11:25-30.

In his homily, the Bishop assured God’s protection to the candidate and to all who were present referring himself to the words of Isaiah.“I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel your saviour…”(Isaiah 43:3). He also mentioned to the faithful that God does not send a person without granting him/her strength, knowledge, and power to do His work. We also should not be afraid when God calls us because as he assured protection and guidance to Moses and Samuel he is probably able to do the same even to us whom he has called into his vineyard to work as brothers and sisters.

But since the journey might look challenging, the Bishop went on by referring himself to the word of Jesus in the Gospel encouraging the faithful to come to Jesus with all their burdens and he will give them rest. “…Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul…”. Mt 12:28. We should come to him and not let him go because once we let him go we may not reach our destination. Addressing the candidate, the bishop encouraged her to keep in her heart all the values(love, humility, respects…) she was taught by her parents, community, brothers, sisters and friends.

In this regard, Jesus should be an eye which enlightens all Christian faithful. All of us should have our light from Him. And we are called to take this light and use it to enlighten our homes and communities. Once our homes, groups and communities come across the light of Jesus, we can therefore be able to live in mutual love as the family of Nazareth (Jesus, Mary and Joseph). People should devote themselves to this love. As Christians, our greatest task is to put this love into practice.

The Bishop added also that prayer, love and devotion are among the good factors to boost love in our families and communities. We should always put these elements into practice if we want to build a community based on love and in so doing our love will be a sincere one. Love should be taught and encouraged to the people at our homes, groups and communities.

As we are all called to live together in love and joy, we should also make an effort to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to show support to those who are in sorrow and not to be aloof from them. We should help them to find a way out to their problems or challenges and not gossip about them. Gossip is unkind and will never bring a solution to the challenge that is facing the neighbour.

We should be good and show support to one another because our life is the one of relationship. We do not have to allow the spirit of wickedness dwell in our minds since we know that there will be times of joy, doubt, sorrow, tears, asking oneself many questions or time of running away because of the challenges of life. But in such time we should remember that God is with us and loves us.

And if in such time it happens that I have offend somebody through my words or actions let me ask for forgiveness. In case that I am the one who was offended let me, be ready to forgive. This is what we should be doing in our different communities and as married couples. There are three important words that we should always put into practice to keep the flame of love burning in our societies, communities or homes: Please, Thank you, Sorry. This applied to married and none married couple. These words may sound difficult but are important and helpful to people who are living in the community and family. His holiness Pope Francis made this year to be the Year of mercy so that all of us can forgive and ask for forgiveness from one another.

Finally, turning to the candidate, the Bishop once more encouraged her through the word of God in the book of Isaiah saying that when Challenges come on your side you must always remember that God’s assurance is that “…I the Lord am your God , the Holy one of Israel, I am your Saviour…Do not be afraid for I am with you” Isaiah(Isaiah 43:3;5).

 

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MISERICORDES SICUT PATER

Our Lord Jesus Christ is teaching us to be merciful just as the Father is. Many questions arise on the meaning of being merciful, what does this mean? Simple, be merciful. Our Lord is merciful.

Being merciful means be like the Father who never counts anyone’s mistakes, but forgives endlessly. “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me?” (Mt. 18:21). 2015-2016 is a year named by the Holy Father Pope Francesco as the year of Mercy. He challenges us Christians to imitate the love of Christ. The Love that once looked at the crowed and said “Lord forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Lk.25:34). Indeed Jesus forgave them. This is a kind of love God wants us to share with others.

The face of Jesus full of love freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being slaves of Money. He never judged them but called them to follow him. The adulteress woman brought to him, “woman has anyone condemned you? ‘No master’, says the woman; ‘neither do I condemn you, go and do not sin any more’” (Jhn.8:10-11). There is no where Jesus holds the sins of people. He forgives and welcomes everyone.

The Church is teaching the Sacrament of confession, it is through this Sacrament that one is able to embrace the love of Christ. When one confesses, he/she is not doing any favour to the Church but freeing him/herself from the slavery of sin; for it is Christ Himself who forgives the sins. People should not be afraid to frequent this Sacrament for it is reach indeed. Before confession one is ashamed but after confession one is happy, says Pope Francesco; let us therefore embrace the joy of being loved by the Father who judges no one.

Oh! How beautiful is the prayer of the Lord we recite every day. ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ (Mt.6:12). This part of prayer should reminds us of the merciful Father, He is indeed forgiving us, but the question is; do we forgive others? I leave it here so that you may have time to think about the merciful Father. How I love to be forgiven yet how I fail to forgive. Misericordes sicut Pater.

 

There is more than me inside me

It is, indeed true that deep inside me there is more than me. One can understand this by simple knowing his or her senses which, which most people are taking them for granted. This is the Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.34.45 AMrealisation of oneself who really contemplate or reflect upon his or her life. By reflecting, pondering, gazing and contemplating, one can understand that deep inside ‘there is more than me’.

We are living in the world where lot of things are happening. People have no time to reflect upon their lives because of the noise or many things happening around them. In this case, I realised one thing about reflection, which by reflecting deep inside my heart there is more than me.

In order for one to know deep inside in his or her heart, one has to use senses instead of using mind (thinking) during reflection. Senses are the things that we are all aware of and can even explain. We should know what we are sensing that is different from what we are thinking since thinking is the process of mind or being conscious of something.

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Senses are not from the mind only but rather from the whole body more like as feelings and emotions. For example, we are sensing is when we: taste. In this manner, one should learn that when he or she is meditating, he or she should be aware of what he or she is sensing. ‘I sense that I am’ meaning this should be from the ‘being’ not from the ‘I’ which is from the head or consciousness. In spirituality, ‘being’ is from deep down not from mind. For instance looking at the second picture, the red spot indicates the ‘being’. This shows us that there is more than ‘I’ deep inside me. Therefore, in this case, I learnt to always write down what I observe not what I am thinking.

Questions to reflect on.

  1. What am I sensing now?
  2. With what am I satisfied?
  3. With what I am less satisfied?
  4. What would help me to answer these question?

Article by Mohapi Katleho Christopher.      Written on 10 March 201

CHRISM MASS IN PONDOLAND DEANERY/ St ANTHONY PARISH LUSIKISIK

Bishop Zolile P. Mpambani of Kokstad Diocese presided over the Eucharistic celebration on Chrism Mass during which he gave an explanation on the meaning of Chrism Mass. “We call this Chrism Mass because it is taken after Christ”. He said. It explains also the fullness of the Bishop and his unity with the priests in the Diocese. The celebration has it origin on Holy Thursday, the day Jesus instituted the Eucharist and priesthood.

During Chrism Mass, both the oils of the catechumen and the one of the sick are blessed. He went on to say that Chrism oil is consecrated by the Bishop to anoint the Baptised and those to be confirmed. This oil should smell beautiful to show it dignity.

The oil of the catechumens is blessed and used for those preparing themselves for baptism on Easter. It gives those to be baptised strength and preserved them from evil spirit. The oil for the sick strengthens and heals Christian faithful from both spiritual and physical illness.

The oil to be used at Chrism Mass for consecration and blessing should be from the olive fruit.

During the Holy Mass all the baptised faithful and priests renewed their vows. After their renewal of vows, faithful promised to preach the gospel wherever they are (in thoughts, actions, words and life style) and to take care of the needy. They also promised to live in peace, unity and love with one another.

Turning to the priests, and after they have renewed their vows in front of the Bishop and the Church, the Bishop reminded them about the meaning of their vocation by strongly encouraging them to preach what they believe and to believe in what they preach. He also urged them to be true and faithful servants in the vineyard of the Lord bearing in mind that they were called to serve and not to be served. They are to take care of the faithful and be a sign of unity and peace among them. “The Bishop and priests are leaders of the Christ faithful. They left everything for the sake of the sheep of God. In this regard they should take a good care of them by praying and leading them to a green pasture.” He said.

The bishop also in his turn vowed to fulfil his duty of proclaiming the gospel in union with the Pope together with the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. He also promised to build unity with priests and Christ faithful in the Diocese of Kokstad. Finally the bishop encouraged all the faithful to pray for him and all the clergy of the Diocese to be good and faithful shepherds to take a good care of the sheep so that none of them may go astray.

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Healing Service Workshop in Kokstad

“COME TO ME …THAT YOU MAY HAVE LIFE TO THE FULL”

Bishop Zolile P. Mpambani gathered together with priests, religious and few lay people for a workshop on healing service which took place in Kokstad from Monday 20th to Wedndesday 23rd June. The workshop was led by both Fr Bafana Hlatshwayo CSSR and Sr Phuthunywa C. Siyali HC.

The aim of the workshop was to help participants on the understanding of the Healing ministry in the catholic context.

During the workshop, participants were also made aware of the different moments of healing which are parts of every Catholic liturgy. In this regard healing becomes an experience of Jesus Christ in our midst.

For example before receiving Holy Communion, the priest prays silently: “ May the receiving of your Body and blood, Lord Jesus, not bring me judgement and condemnation, but through your loving mercy be for me protection in mind and Body and healing remedy.”

*“…Judgement and condemnation…”: How often does someone feel condemned because of illness, even rejected and excluded?

*…be for me protection…”: do we not all seek protection in mind and body?

In the Eucharist we encounter Christ the Healer. This Sacrament therefore is the healing remedy we desire. “…say but the word and my soul (deepest self)shall be healed.”

During the workshop, facilitators emphasised also on the importance of the team training and ministry. Team ministry is a very important part of the Catholic tradition of healing. Even when the priest ministers alone, he does so in communion with the whole church. In team ministry, it is Christ who heals and we support each other in inviting Christ the Healer to be present. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them” Mt 18:20.

 

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PRIESTLY ORDINATION OF TWO FRIARS AT THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION MISSION IN HARDENBERG

The Franciscan congregation was blessed by the ordination of two new priests on Wednesday 16th December in Hardenberg Mission: Frs Valentine Ebo and Mothuli Keketso.   The Eucharistic celebration started at 10h.00 AM and was presided over by Rt Rev Bishop Zolile Petros Mpambani of Koksatd Diocese. It was a day of joy for the congregation, parishioners and the diocese at large.

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In his homily, the Bishop highlighted that since priests are taken from among people, they should be also present among them. They are set apart from the people for a certain period of time to be trained and sent back to serve them. In this regard we can understand that priests are not ordained for themselves but for the people. Therefore they are to be often found among their people because that is where they are sent after the ordination.

He also added that a priest is a person who was born in a certain human context. Therefore he has got a history. Priests do not mushroom from nowhere and appear only on the day of ordination. They are taken from among the people and prepared. They must know where they come from and who they are. They are also to consider their personal history and not forget their families since formation starts from the family. He added that if one wants to build the church or society, one should firstly start with the family since it is a fundamental place to build the Church.

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A priest should also be a tranquil person. A tranquil man will also be able to manage many things around him. In difficult moment he will use the beauty of this tranquillity in relation with the Lord. The tranquil and humble priest is the one who will always work well with the people. He will be able to show joy, happiness and love to the people and this will make him to be approachable, a man of compassion and of people. However, the Bishop invited also priests to be reachable and available to their people. “Failure to this is a sickness that will need a doctor” he said. In addition, he urged the clergy to not punish and be harsh to the faithful. They do not need to shout at the people and use the pulpit for unspiritual matters since it is a place made for spiritual nourishment of the faithful. “In any case of the abuse of the pulpit by the clergy, faithful should be ready to approach the priest in a friendly manner instead of backbite him.” The Bishop said.

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The priest should be an apostle of the Gospel. The gospel he preaches should manifest the joy inside him. The priest does not preach his own words but the word of God. He should be closer to God and men. He is a shepherd who knows his sheep. He is there to proclaim the word of God and show mercy to the people. “We must not be authoritative but authoritarian. We need to be firm and not harsh to the people. We need to show respect to the Christian faithful and must learn to rejoice and not lose the capacity of joy” he said.

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The Bishop also added that a question a priest should always ask himself is: “ if the Lord comes today where will he find me?” Because “where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be”(Mt 6:21). Our treasure is the people of God. Where they are is where we should be as priests; to be and pray with them is our duty.

He finally invited all the faithful to always remember and pray for their priests so that they may in turn take a good care of them.

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Opening of the Jubilee year of mercy

“Merciful like the Father”

On Sunday 13th December 2016, a big crowd gathered not far from outside St Patrick’s Cathedral for the opening of the Jubilee of the Holy Year of mercy. The ceremony started at 15h.00 PM and was led by Bishop Z. P. Mpambani . Shortly after the introductory rite, the Gospel was read (Luke 15:1-7) after which the Bishop together with the faithful proceeded to the Church for the opening of the door of mercy.

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In his homily at Mass, the Bishop explained with clarity to the faithful the purpose of the jubilee year of mercy referring to the extract script from the papal Bull “ Misericordiae Vultus”( The face of mercy) #15. He also strongly encouraged everybody to read the papal Bull. He even provided the faithful with a website to help them to get access to the above mentioned document.

The Bishop invited all the Christian faithful to think, reflect and commit themselves profoundly to the work of mercy which falls under two categories: Corporal work of mercy and spiritual work of mercy.

The corporal work of mercy is in connection with the ‘physical’ and helps us to attend the bodily needs of others. (See Mt 25:34-40). The Bishop mentioned seven corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, close the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisons, and bury the dead. His open invitation to the Christian faithful to practice the corporal work of mercy is to help them realising how necessary  this activity is since it gives way to show charity toward those in need.

Beside the corporal work of mercy, the Bishop enumerated also the spiritual work of mercy: Instruction of the ignorant: “the spirit nourishes itself by knowledge and prayer” he said; to counsel the downfall; to admonish sinners; to bear wrong patiently “As Christian faithful we should be patient with our enemies and not be involved in violence against those who wrong and harm us” he said; to forgive offences willingly, to comfort the afflicted, to pray for the living and the dead.

In addition, he urged everyone to enter the door of mercy and ask for forgiveness from God. He also urged the clergy to avail themselves by offering spiritual assistance to those who come through the door and need mercy. “It is not every one who has to enter the door of mercy but only those who are ready to do so meaning that those who really need to forgive and to be forgiven” He said.

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Finally, the Bishop mentioned that since St Patrick’s Cathedral falls under Kokstad deanery, the door of mercy will also be opened in the following parishes within the following deaneries: Immaculate Conception Church in Hardenberg (Deanery of Matatiele) and The Paraclete Mission in Bizana (Deanery of Pondoland).

ANNUAL DIOCESAN PRIESTS RETREAT AT ‘UKUPHILA RETREAT CENTER” BLUFF/DURBAN

ANNUAL DIOCESAN PRIESTS RETREAT AT ‘UKUPHILA RETREAT CENTER” BLUFF/DURBAN

On Sunday 8th November in the evening all the diocesan priests together with the Bishop gathered at ‘UKUPHILA RETREAT CENTER’ in Durban for their annual retreat. Fr Jerome Nyathi was the facilitator. The theme of the retreat was “HERE I COME!!!”. These five days of prayer and meditation were a great opportunity and special moment for priests to manifest their gratefulness for life, vocation and many positives. There were two sessions per day accompanied by prayer and meditation, holy hour combined with the night prayer after supper. At the last session all the priests were urged to take the Blessed Virgin Mary home since she is the Mother of all the clergy.

At closing Mass on Friday morning, all the priests renewed their vows in front of the Bishop. During the homily, Fr Jerome encouraged priests to be grateful to the Lord who has directed them to the retreat and who is still helping them to perform what He has invited them to do. As they have known God, they have also experienced Him. They have even experienced His presence through little things in their lives particularly at that special moment of retreat. They were therefore asked to go and witness what they have experienced during those five days of being beneath the feet of the Lord and listening to Him. They were encouraged to go in order to grow in prayer, in faith and witnessing by asking God to increase their eagerness in prayer and zeal to know him and serve him. As servants and ministers of the Gospel, they were called to go and tell the people that God is alive.