MARCH 1995. No 1
1We expect a large group of youth and leaders for the diocesan meeting March 18 at St Patricks hall in Kokstad. Sister Natalia will be facilitator. It is hoped that the youth will make plans for their work and spiritual development during this year. As you know St Natalia and her helpers will be available for youth retreats during this year. Please encourage the local youth groups to organise a retreat for themselves or a work-shop some time during the course of this year.
2The clergy meeting of priests and brothers of the diocese will take place at Kokstad on Monday the 27 at 10:30. The meeting will discuss finance in the diocese, particularly with emphasis on contributions from the faithful and finance committees. The discussion will be facilitated by Father Egbert and Finbara. I include in this envelope a sample finance constitution for finance committees for our diocese. Please read and bring to the meeting.
It is hoped that once this matter is cleared up and this department of finance is in order we can go ahead to our main priority, pastoral parish councils.
Please do bear in mind that it is general accepted officially by the church itself that the R.C.I.A. programme is the best for the formation of adult christians. This programme is designed primarily for adults who join the church, but actually it is an excellent renewal programme for all adults. It is sincerely hoped that with time it will be introduced everywhere and it will become the formation programme for older youth and adults everywhere in the diocese.
3The Mass of the oils and renewal of priestly promises will take place at the cathedral of Wednesday April 12 at 11 o’clock in the morning. You are all encouraged to come. Do bring as many people as you can. Tea will be served for the people after Mass.
4There will be sewing classes at the uMzintlava Centre here in Kokstad for three weeks beginning on April 3. The cost of the course is R 100 while the students are expected to also buy R 200 worth of material. This course will be given by skilled instructors. Boarding can be arranged at the centre for R 4 a day, but the students must provide their own food. If you have ladies who wish to study sewing please make application as soon as possible through the office here in Kokstad.
5The Sisters of the diocese had their first meeting at the parish hall in Kokstad on February 18. It was a wonderful, joyful and helpful meeting. I include a copy of the minutes in this envelope. One of the things the Sisters asked was for more spiritual help for their communities. To meet that request I have asked Father Bernard Hall to go to each community once during Lent and to provide instruction, opportunity for prayer and confession and renewal.
6I extent a very hearty welcome to Father Bernard Hall who will be at the Cathedral for three months while Father Larry is away.
7Sister Callista and her team, who did such wonderful work for this summer school at Maria Telgte in January is available on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month during the course of this year to help Cathecism teachers or children courses. It is an excellent idea to bring the children together once or twice during the year for a special spiritual opportunity. There are even funds available to help such endeavours. And Sister Callista, if informed in time, will be happy to be of service through out the diocese.
8Sister Mary Dionys is also available for teaching of teachers and their formation. Sister Mary Dionys is an expert in training the laity and in adult formation. Again if you contact her in time she will be happy to come to help with the formation with the adult leaders male and female in your parish.
9Lumko in the person of Prisca Hadebe is writing a new catechism for the children of South Africa. It is still at the experimental stage. They have completed work on a text for confession and first communion. They ask help from us in the parishes. They are willing to send the present text for trial use of a period of a year. Please let them know if you will help them to assess the value of their material before its eventual printing for general use. Any cathecism teacher who would like to work along with Lumko in getting their material better and more usable please contact them.
10We were very happy that the national president of the Catholic Women’s League, Mrs Andy Piper, from Durban and her national executive came to visit the Kokstad branch. They were delighted with the enthusiasm, the reception and the work of the Kokstad Catholic Women’s League. In the last few months they have acquired 15 new members. We congratulate them. We also congratulate Mrs Lorna Wicks who is new president of the Parish Council in Kokstad.
11I invited the Mother General of the congregation of the Little Servants of the Mother of God, who work in Port Shepstone and at Mohobe to come to visit Kokstad. She came with an entourage of 7 Sister, many of them from their provincial and general councils. It is very likely that these excellent Sisters will come to work in Kokstad in the near future. Please pray that they will come to work with us. There is high praise for their work everywhere.
12The Secular Franciscan Order is coming to new life in Kokstad. You will remember that last year they had their first regional meeting and now wish to extent their order right through this diocese. Let us cooperate with those fervent christians who want to belong to this branch of the Franciscan family. The local leaders have already begun visiting many parishes. Unfortunately, Benedict Dlamini, the husband of Mrs Daisy Dlamini, who is the leading light of the Franciscan Third Order was killed in a car accident at the weekend. May he rest in peace.
13The diocese extends a sincere sympathy to the family of Father Vumile whose father, who was a catechist for many years in Umtata diocese, has passed away. We ensure Vumile of our prayers on this sad occasion for his family. We also extent sympathy and prayers to Brother Lizo Nontse, OFM, whose brother died tragically in a train accident in Cape Town. He was laid to rest at his home in Bizana after a service conducted by Father Sihlobo.
14Congratulations to Father Finbar and Father Egbert on arranging a Marriage Encounter weekend for some couples in the diocese. The season will be at the Big Fisherman at Melville from March 24 to 26.
15It was wonderful to have confirmations in Bizana, where so many people cooperated to form the youth for this decisive step in their lives. 72 were confirmed, but many more await confirmation in the outstations. Congratulations to Father Sihlobo on a wonderful occasion.
16The Bishop preached the annual priests retreat for the diocese for Umzimkulu at the house of the Capuchin Sisters in Melville. It was wonderful to see 17 priests of the diocese present, almost the whole number. And very wonderful to notice that the average age of the priests is around 40 – 45.
17We extent a very warm welcome to Father Joee Sandri who is the provincial of the Comboni Congregation who has come to visit Kokstad. He is very welcome now and always. We congratulate the Comboni Fathers on the celebration on the birthday of their founder on March 15. We also welcome back Brother Eric from Malawi and Zambia where he went to have a look at Africa Art. We congratulate him on his wonderful initiative for social development and building of schools creches and of churches. We hope that the African experience will allow us through him to introduce African culture into our architecture and especially eventually into our liturgy. It is hoped that our dear Poor Clare Sisters will encourage us and be a light and model for us in the creation of beautiful liturgies according to the mind of the culture of this great Continent.
18The Pope will celebrate his 75 th birthday on May 18 this year. If someone should feel inspired to send him a birthday card then write to Pope John Paul
Vatican City Rome Italy. Who knows he might invite you to the party.
19I do hope that we use the time of Lent to offer people opportunities for confession and reconciliation. We might particularly concentrate on the children and the youth, sme of whom go to confession once and once only. It is no harm to encourage them to come as a class for confession sometime even during the week. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to have some kind of spiritual direction and spiritual reminder of the role of God in their lives. Perhaps we could help each other with confessions.
20…Congratulations to Fr Canisius on the diamond jubilee of his priestly ordination, many of those years were spent working in this diocese.