1On the 27th of May, 70 youth from all over the Diocese met at the hall in the Cathedral. Sister Natalia led the meeting which discussed the coming choir competition. Sister also discussed problems in local youth groups and had the youth to report on what they have achieved in their areas. She also demonstrated prayer-sharing at a youth meeting. It was decided that the Diocese choir competition for Youth would take place at the Cathedral on July the 22nd this year. Already many youth choirs are putting a great effort into practice.
It is hoped that we will have a full Youth meeting here in Kokstad during December this year. We would invite all the youth from all over the Diocese to come for 3 or 4 days and we would present them with a full programme of work. So they should prepare for this event.
The Youth Mass at the Cathedral has been very successful, with sometimes over 150 youth participating.
2The Diocese has acquired The Holy Cross Convent in Kokstad. Hopefully we will be able to retain the Catholic ethos of the Holy Cross School which for a hundred years flourished at this site. With God’s help and as the years go by this large property will be developed and used as a Diocesan pastoral and training center. We also felt the necessity of acquiring it because of the complications involved in dividing a property of this nature. The left aisle and the side chapel of the Cathedral are already on Convent property. Again, the Franciscan Postulancy will be based in the convent as from 1996. By owning the property and using it for the benefit of the Church we hope that its long tradition of service to the Diocese of Kokstad will continue, and indeed flourish.
3We were delighted to welcome for a weeks visitation Sister Lilato, the Abbess of the Poor Clare Monastary at Lusaka. On the same day that Mother Lilato arrived we received the following communication through the General Delegate to the Poor Clares in Rome. “Today I can send you the permission of the Holy See for the new foundation of the Poor Clares in Kokstad. After having got all the documents necessary they were soon given the permission. I thank you in the name of our order of Friars Minor for your invitation of the Poor Clares to live the roots of the Church, especially of your Diocese. May the life of the Sisters be a Blessing to your Pastoral endevours. With fraternal greetings, Father Herbert Schneider OFM.” Enclosed was a communication given at Rome on the 11th of May, approving the establishment of foundation for the Poor Clares in the Diocese. We thank God for this grace and continue to pray for the Sisters who are our founding community.
Sister Mary renewed her temporary vows at the end of May. We hope that on August,19th,a Saturday we will have a vocation day for girls at the Poor Clare foundation here in Kokstad. I encourage you to canvass among the good girls of the parishes that they should consider this beautiful vocation.
We are planning to build a guest room and two parlours at the Monastery. This will allow the Sisters to meet visitors without the whole routine of the Monastery being disturbed.
4. We welcome the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart who have come to take up residence at Flagstaff and assure them of our prayers and assistance. It is hoped that as the years go by they will be able to contribute their own peculiar charism to the parish, to the school and to the whole community of Flagstaff.
5Let me again remind you of the vocation day for young men which will take place at Bizana, 14th to the 16th of July. Let us do everything in our power to get all the young men who have shown some zeal in the life of the Church to attend this seminar, the aim of which is to encourage in the first place vocations to the Diocesan clergy of Kokstad.
6You will remember the very successful catechism week held at Maria Telgte in January. The follow-up course will be held again during the school holiday period. So we are calling all Catholic children living in farm areas to prepare to spend a week at Maria Telgte in September.
We were very anxious to hear that an attempted arson attack was made upon a dwelling house and a classroom at Telgte on the morning of June the 18th, while the community were at Mass. It was a very cold day and John did not preach long, so the school left the Church in time to put out what could have been a disastrous fire. Once again we learned the lesson which Saint Francis put before his friars, that their sermons should be short.
7On July the 1st the family of Archbishop Napier invite the clergy of the Diocese to his Silver Jubilee celebration. There will be a Mass followed by a reception at Swartberg Hall. The contribution of the Archbishop, both as Priest and Bishop, in the Diocese of Kokstad was enormous. So those who can be there to express our appreciation for him should try and be present. Unfortunately, not all can attend, it is a Saturday, and we heard of the arrangements a little late.
Already an important celebration had been planned in the Parish of Mount Frere for the opening of a new Church at Nomkolokotho. The new Church is the artistic creation of Brother Eric and we congratulate him and Fr Arturo on the work.
8The next consultors meeting will be at the Bishops house on Monday the 3rd of July at the usual time.
9We all assure Deacon Vincent Zungu of our prayers on the occasion of his ordination on July the 8th. We are very happy to have Vincent working in the Diocese and we appreciate what he has done in Hardenberg. We pray that God may Bless him and his family on July the 8th at Holy Cross Mission, Gingindlovu. We pray that God may give him many many fruitful years of service and joy in the Church and in the Fransciscan order. We hope to, that many of these years will be spent in the Diocese of Kokstad.
10 On the same day, July the 8th, Father Sihlobo has organised a special Mass for religious born in the parish of Bizana. The celebration will take place at Bizana Parish Church and will be an encouragement to young people to give serious consideration to serving God in religous life and in the Diocesan clergy. Religous, now scattered in many parts of South Africa, will return to share with their families this day of jubilee and joy.
11It was wonderful to see 52 teachers, most of them from small Catholic schools around the Diocese, present for a 4 day session at Glenthorne here in Kokstad. This course is the result of the hard work of the C.I.E., here in the Diocese in the person of Sister Melvina and Sister Mary. The contacts of Brother Jim and Sister Melvina over the last 18 months are beginning to bear fruit. The teachers were delighted with the course presented and are very keen to return for more. The course focused on child centered education and was aimed at principals and teachers who want to upgrade their teaching skills. The diocese financed the course,supplementing the fees paid by the teachers; it was directed by ITEC from East London. It is a service the Diocese wishes to give to all teachers in the Diocese to make them even better and to encourage them to put more into their ministry and vocation- teaching.
It is hoped as the years go by, that in co-operation with the parish priests, the C.I.E. and diocese may be able to organise short seminars for secondary school students of Form V vintage during a week of the July holidays and to give courses to the children on subjects which are particularly demanding on teachers viz Maths, Biology, Geography, and Science subjects.
12The Catholic Nurses Guild continues to meet. I encourage the Priests to invite the Catholic Nurses to join the guild and to attend its meetings. Some of our Nurses attended the annual national meeting at Marianhill on the weekend of the 18th of June. The Nurses also had a meeting in Bongweni on the 27th May. We have many Catholic Nurses and we can contribute a lot to their spiritual and professional work by bringing them together and inspiring them.
13Continue to remind the people of the Pope’s visit to South Africa and remind them that on September the 17th he will say a public Mass at Gosforth Park in Johannesburg. There will be plenty of accomodation, the organisation is well planned and the Pope will drive around and so get close to everyone who attends. Maybe as time goes by our people may become interested. Also encourage them to pray and use this as a time of grace prior to the Pope’s visit to Johannesburg.
All enquiries concerning brochures and tickets should be addressed to Box 94185, Yeoville. 2143.
All enquiries concerning souvenirs should be addressed to Mr Muller, Director of Publicity, Box 94185, Yeoville. 2143.
All other enquiries to Mr J Fox. Papal Visit Office. Tel 011 8829555. He will also address applications for VIP invitations and assist pilgrim groups. Ecumenical VIP invitations should go through Archbishop Daniel in Pretoria.
It is recommended that a special collection be taken up in all parishes on Sunday 20 August, to assist with expenses of Papal visit, special envelopes will be made available.
14. On June the 4th the WWF World Environment Day kicked of at Kokstad. As you will have seen in the newspapers, around 4 000 people attended. The guest speakers included Archbishop Tutu and government ministers Kadar Asmal and Bantu Holomisa. There was a certain amount of controversy pertaining to the event as a number of Christian Churches objected to recognising the prayers of Hindus, Buddists etc. However, it was a delightful day. The Organising Secretary was Mrs Terrie Brown and the Catholic Womens League played a large role in the catering.
We were delighted to welcome Father Kevin Egan on his visit to Kokstad where once he laboured. He made a pilgrimage to Mantlaneni where he inspected the Church premises for dagga. The people were delighted to see Kevin again.
The Cathedral hosted the Churches for the Church unity day of prayer on May the 31st. It was organised in haste by Father Bernard Hall after other churches renaged at the last moment.
We had a vigil in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost at the Cathedral on Friday the 2nd of June.
Father Finbarr had the misfortune of losing his passport and breviary and valuables while parked in Durban.
Father Peter Wilson organised the feast for Saint Anthony at Saint Anton’s Mission, celebrating the 8th centenary of the birth of the Saint. Though it was a very cold day it brought many people and priests together.
Sister Calista is running a number of teacher renewal courses in Catechetics and has been to Flagstaff, Hardenberg and Tlangwini. She is very willing and keen to help our Catechism teachers renew themselves spiritually and prepare to introduce the children to the things of God.
RCIA Programme in Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff is beginning to take off. This is a realistic community based formation for Catholics. We really must all move in the direction of a formal programme of training and formation of our Christians. Unless we do this we are simply forming Zionists.
We are delighted here that Sister Dionys at Mount Frere has come out of hospital and is feeling in very good form again.
Sister Marwiga has begun to put together her own Xhosa Catachetical Programme. Continually the youth and the children come to Tabankulu Church and Sister is forming them in the liturgy and in Catachetics.
Congratulations to Father Harry Houlihan who has received a special tribute from the South African Blood Transfusion Service on the occasion of his donation of his 125th pint of blood.
Old days were here again when some 20 horsemen led by the chief came to the church at Manthusini. Finbarr had organised a vigil of prayer on Saturday and this was led by Egbert and Vincent. Sunday was the liturgical celebration and this was graced by the King and Queen and a great throng, a day of great joy, with majorettes and three enormous groups of traditional dancers.