1.It was with great joy that we welcomed the Poor Clares to the diocese on the 18th of November. They left Lusaka early morning Tuesday the 15th November by van. They travelled through Harare where they met the Poor Clares of that city. After a short break of two hours they continued down to Beit Bridge and into Messina for the night. Next day they came as far as St Francis House of Studies in Pretoria. On Thursday they came to Besters with Father Liam who was coming to a meeting. And on Friday they left Besters and travelled to Kokstad. On the way they went to Kevelaer to dedicate their lives and themselves and their new comtempative house to Our Lady. It was a joy to see so many priests and people present for the opening Mass on the 21 of November, the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady. The Sisters are very welcome.
2.Father Harry is extending the house at Franklin for habitation. He hopes to move there soon. Fathers Bernard and Giorgio will move to Mt Ayliff. Brother Eric and Father Arturo will remain in Mt Frere. The Mt Frere community hopes to have a new member in the new year. They will look after Mt Frere, Tabankulu and Mt Ayliff.
3.We extend sincere sympathies to Father Finbarr on the death of his mother. It was a great consolation for him to be present with her, he had just finished saying mass in the room when his mother died. May she rest in peace.
4.From the 10th to the 13th of November the Secular Franciscans of the dioceses of Kokstad and Umzimkulu with the leaders of the fraternity in South Africa celebrated their annual retreat at Bhongweni. In the process they set up a new diocesan structure for Kokstad. The chairperson will be Mrs Daisy Dlamini. Kokstad will with Umzimkulu form a new Region. Mr Majola, also of the congregation of Bhongweni, will be the regional president.
5.Nurses from all over the Kokstad diocese met on Saturday the 19 November to reestablish the Catholic Nurses Guild. Mrs Cecelia Molantoa from the Health Department of the Catholic Bishops conference in Pretoria addressed the delegates from many parts of the diocese. Mrs Molantoa challenged the nurses to become involved in the whole society. She challenged them to be self reliant, to disseminate education and knowledge in health care, she challenged them to educate our people in the care for the sick, to be involved in community empowerment programmes, to help in the Aids ministry, to collaborate with other members of the parishes in training them for health work. They will also cooperate, she says, with other health care professionals both Catholic and others in this work. The Nurses underlined areas which may need their help in the diocese. They mentioned care of the mentally retarded children, caring for street children, old age homes for the aged, after school care centres in parishes. Nurses present elected the following as a steering committee in the establishment of the guild. Mrs Gana, as president. Mrs Jwarha as vice president. Mrs Fortein as secretary, and Mrs Mnxhakaza as vice secretary. Mrs Tobiya was elected as treasurer and three additional members were elected. It is hoped the priests will encourage their local nurses to join and become involved in the community as they should.
6.It would also be no harm if we informed Brother Jim Murtagh regarding the presense of Catholic teachers. It could be hoped that they, with Brother Jim, might arrange some spiritual exercises for themselves in the course of a year. This might deepen their religious and human motivation in their work.
7.It is very important that we tell the young men of our parishes of the vocation workshop which takes place at Flagstaff from the afternoon of the 8th December until the morning of the 12th of December. This live-in vocation workshop will have a full programme and we encourage those who are 15 years and more to attend. Continue to emphasise prayer for vocations, tell and ask the young fellows to consider becoming priests for the diocese. It is hoped that Lulama Msungelwa, from Bizana will be going tothe seminary in Cape Town in the New Year. He has still to have his application accepted.
8.The St Ann’s met over the weekend of the 21-24 Oct at Bhongweni. Fr Tony reports that the meeting was very well attended with representatives fdrom all the parishes in the diocese. They paraded as usual through the town going and coming from the cathedral. Besides reports they pointed out difficulties such as elopements, broken homes, loosing tthier blouses, getting involved in traditional religion, selling beer, etc. Wise counsel was offered and it may be summed up in the advice of Mrs Agatha Nomvete who would simply send them back to their local priest and pastoral council.
There were over 200 present and since the meeting was supposed to be for abaPhathi only it does look as if that term is very widely used. In an apparent effort to seperate the chiefs from the Indians they will have another meeting of presidents only towards the end of January.
Before these local presidents met, the top brass 9diocesan executive0 intend to visit each parish. The Powerful ladies will be around the diocese in November, December and January. Give them a good welcome.
Fr Tony thanks Fr Bruno for the warm reception and all his people there for their help and co-operation and Fr Lawrence for the use of the Cathedral on Saturday.
9.Sincere congratulations to the youth and their leaders in Hardenburg. In the third weekend in September over 80 of them paid quite a substantial sum of money to travel to Mariannhill for their annual retreat. Sister Callista and the youth leaders conducted the retreat at the monastery.
10.On January the 14th, 1995, at the cathedral we would have a special day for catachetical co-ordinators from around the diocese. This is a Saturday and the meeting would begin in the morning at 10am. By co-ordinators we mean two or preferably three really committed Christians and Catechism teachers who will discuss the situation in each parish and who will debate how we might move with much more direction and assistance in this field. It is hoped that these people, committed totally to the work,- not necessarily the bright ones but the right ones-will animate this apostolate during the coming year. They will call frequent meetings of the local teachers and during the coming year the Bishop and a team of animators will attend these meetings around the diocese. To put it bluntly catechetics is more important than sacrament administration at our particular moment of evangelisation here. It is the most pressing job of the diocese. It is further envisaged that in their local stations all the catechism teachers be blessed by the local priest and publicly appointed to this important task for the new year. So please underline the date January the 14, Saturday morning at 10am in the Cathedral.
11.Miss Prisca Hadebe, from the cathecetical department of Lumko in Johannesburg came to give three days of guided reflection, 24th to the 27th of November, to a big number of couples from Bizana, Flagstaff and Lusikisiki. Prisca spoke to them on marriage and marriage preparation. It is hoped that these couples will in turn become the instructors for those preparing for marriage in our diocese. This is a small contribution from our diocese to the Holy Father’s year of the family. It is hoped that these leaders in turn will train people all over the diocese to prepare our young people.
12On December the 4th the local community of the Holy Cross Sisters will celebrate the hundred and fiftieth year jubilee of the congregation. The congregation of Holy Cross has made an enormous contribution to the church of the diocese. Not only have they committed themselves to education over generations, but they have supported the priests and the parish work in all kinds of ways. I invite all the priest and people of the diocese to pray in a special way for the Sisters of this congregation and for the congregation itself on this happy occasion. We extend our congratulations and sincere gratitude to the Sisters for all they have been for us.
13The meeting of the priests and brothers of the diocese took place here in Kokstad on Monday the 21st of November. Most of the time was spent discussing catechetics and the training of adult leadership in the church. The outcome was the setting up of a committee to plan this programme for 1995. Already in Mt Frere and in Hardenburg there are courses for the training of adult leaders. Sister Dionys has also travelled to other parishes to facilitate training programmes. Sister is available on request to visit a parish at a weekend and conduct training for adult leaders. We hope that the local communities will avail of her great expertise in this field. We hope to have a team to support her work which will be available to the parishes of the diocese. It is envisaged that training of teachers and of adult leaders in the church will take place on the parish rather than on the diocesan level.
14There are funds available for small development projects throughout the diocese. Certain bishops conferences, like the Australian and the Belgium will make money available for certain projects though these must be properly documented and assessed. We think that we will cooperate with the new centre here in Kokstad established by the Anglican bishop, Bishop Davies. He has build a small development centre, which can accommodate up to 30 people and provide skills training in various projects. Courses have not started yet as funds are scarce. But we would hope to fund some of the skills training. We would very much like that priests would know that young men could be sent for these courses. As the centre has not yet provided a syllabus we do not know exactly what will be offered. But if we have a number of people interested in one particular course, then funds can be raised to train them in this particular skill. So give some thought to using these services for the training of your people.
We are also helping two sewing centres in Hardenberg and in Bizana. In Bizana about thrity women are acquiring skills to wish to do so and are using he little hall at the parish.
Around Mount Frere parish and in Mount Ayliff Bro Eric has sunk 10 water holes for villages