AUGUST 2 1995
1.Regarding the Papal visit in September. Please bring to the attention of the people the fact that the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at Gosford Park on September the 17th, Sunday. Those who would like to go should be encouraged. Perhaps, a few representative members of the Parish might be sent. Bring to the attention of the people the times of the television coverage.I have sent out with this newsletter some of the faxes which arrived from the organising committee, regarding the details for participation in this event.
Encourage the people to pray for the success of the Pope’s visit and use it as an opportunity to focus the people on the role of the Pope and the centrality of the Church in their lives. The organising committee has sent around some pages which I will leave at the Presbytery in Kokstad and which contain themes and suggestions for preaching in the Sundays leading up to the event. Among the things emphasized are the role of Peter in the Gospel, the role of Peter in the Church, the fact that the Pope is Peter among us today, the servant of the servants of God, sent to strengthen his brethren in the faith. He is the symbol of unity, the vicar of Christ, his role is to proclaim the Gospel, to guard faith, to witness to the life of Jesus and to be the teacher discussing with the Church Universal the questions of today in the light of the Gospel. We could also speak about the Pope’s interest in Southern Africa and his many statements over the years. As Peter spoke to defend the acceptance of the gentiles into the Church against strong Jewish opinion, so too this Pope speaks for the countless voiceless excluded from the benefits of a decent life by others, the workers, child labourers, women in many parts of the world, and above all the unborn and their right to life. We can make this an opportunity for renewal.
2Congratulations to the 12 choirs from all over the Diocese which participated in the Youth Choir Competition at Kokstad on Saturday the 22nd of July. It was a very successful event, the judges commented on the high standard of talent among the choirs in the Diocese. As this is only a beginning it gives promise for real effoert in the Liturgy in the future. Please remember that Father Paul Manci will be in Mount Frere from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th of November to work with conductors of choirs.
Congratulations in particular to the Senior Choir of Matatiele, Holy Trinity, who were adjudicated the best choir at the moment in the Diocese. In the other category, for choirs under 40 members, the choir of Mount Frere came out first over 7 competing choirs.
Congratulations in a very special way to Sister Natalia, the sister from Lufefeni, who played a major role in organising the whole competition. Thanks to Brother Eric who was able to supply so many excellent trophies.
3All during the month of July, five of our Youth leaders studied leadership at the Bosco Centre in Johannesburg. They came back full of enthusiasm to attend the Youth Executive meeting on Saturday the 29th. Almost 30 Youth Leaders from around the Diocese gathered on that day in Kokstad to plan the programme for Youth Development in our Diocese over the next year. Please give your full support to the Youth, encourage them, push them and invite them to participate in the activities of the Diocese.
4It was great to welcome Father Vincent Zungu back from his home, newly Ordained. Vincent, we all prayed for you on the wonderful day of your Ordination, we congratulate you and your family, we promise you our support and our prayers, and we assure you of our delight that you are working with the people of this Diocese.
5The girls of the Diocese, especially those in secondary school, are invited to visit the Santa Chiara Convent of the Poor Clares here in Kokstad on August the 19th, Saturday. On this day the girls will be introduced to the contemplative life of the Sisters. It is hoped that they arrive around half past nine to begin a days programme starting at ten. I strongly encourage the girls to come and meet the Poor Clare Sisters, for this is a most precious vocation which with God’s blessing we will see flourish in our Diocese. Let us offer the girls of the Diocese the possibility of this beautiful life.
6On June 29th and 30th Sister Callista, accompanied by Mrs Yolwa and Mrs J Nakin, went to Saint Xavier Mission Mzongwana to help all the Catechism Teachers of the Parish. Eventually over 50 teachers came together to be introduced once more to the use of the Catechism books which are at present in use. It was a wonderful 3 days together, days of reflection, problem solving, teacher practise and prayer. On the evenings from after the evening meals to midnight,a vigil took place reflecting on Saint Peter’s first Epistle Chapter 5 from verse 1. The next session at the same Mission will take place from the 24th to the 26th of August. Congratulations to this team from Hardenburg who are available to other Parishes in the Diocese who want to revive, strengthen and support their Catechism teachers.
7Please note that the Maria Telgte Catechetical School for the farm children will meet again from October the 2nd until October the 5th. There is a full team of Sisters and Teachers available to help our farm children in an intensive course for these few days. Make every effort to have a large number present.
8The day of sanctification for Priests and Brothers, requested by the Holy Father for all the Dioceses of the world, will take place at Maria Telgte Mission on Monday, August 28th. We should be there for the first talk at 10am.
9We were happy with the turn out of young men interested in the Diocesan Priesthood who attended at Bizana for a weekend in July. However, many Parishes did not have representatives there. During these months let us make every effort to encourage the young men to think about the Priesthood, ask them if they are interested in the Priesthood. Those who are writing Form 5 should be encouraged to see the Bishop immediately. We were very happy to welcome to the Diocese for his July holidays, our Seminarian, Lulama Msungelwa. He has now returned to continue his studies in Cape Town. Please get the various societies to continue to pray for vocations, especially to hold periodic Holy hours before the Blessed Sacrament for this intention. We must get vocations for the Diocese, and get them immediately with God’s grace.
10We had a wonderful occasion to encourage vocations on the 8th July, organised by Father Sihlobo at Bizana. He had the excellent idea of inviting back for a special ceremony of thanks-giving all the religious Sisters and Brothers from Bizana to their home Parish. It was a marvellous event. Eighteen Religious born in this Parish were present to be received in the traditional way. It was a day of joy for the Religious, for their families and great encouragement for young people to think about the call to serve God in His Church. It was also graced by the presence of the Paramount Chief and his wife.
The big new church for Bizana has dug down its roots and will soon rise to shelter the people of the Lord.
11The next Consultors meeting will take place at the Bishops house on September the 4th, Monday.
12The Bishop will be away at the August Plenary Session of the South African Bishops Conference at Mariannhill from Wednesday the 9th to the 16th of August.
13The Department of Home Affairs has sent a letter informing us that the papers sent to the government office concerned for the registration of marriages should be stamped by the marriage officer. We can no longer send them freely under Government Service.
14Please continue to put before the people the importance of the local government elections. We should encourage them to participate both as voters and as candidates. In recent discussion regarding the future of the RDP in the country, it was very obvious that groups like the Muslims are going to participate very fully in these financial considerations. We must encourage our people to participate and be decision makers.
Please encourage our people especially those who have influence, like nurses, doctors and teachers, to participate in the formulation of the new constitution. We should make explicit mention of the proposed legislation regarding abortion. Unless we speak now, or rather unless our people speak now, we will have foistered upon us an abortion law which will open all doors for the future.
15Confirmation was celebrated over the last month at Luphondo, and Hlwahlwazi, both in the Parish of Flagstaff. They were great spiritual moments. There is no doubt that if the children are properly trained, as they were here by Father Egbert, it results in a ceremony of devotion, commitment and joy.
At Nomkolokoto of the mountains, in the Parish of Mount Frere, we climbed for the opening of the revolutionary new Church designed and built by Brother Eric. Although he himself did not attend the people were loud in their praise for his wonderful initiatives and help. They now have a beautiful Church and hall where they can gather and form themselves as the Lord’s community. I had a very friendly reception at the Parishs of Mount Ayliff, at Dante and at Matatiele, Holy Trinity, to say the Masses and to meet the people.
16We express our sincere gratitude to the Franciscan Brothers Zane, Mark, and Lizo who worked at the Poor Clares during the month of July. They worked very hard and gave themselves completely to making the place more habitable. We are indebted to them and loved having them in the Diocese for that month. God Bless them and grant them success in their studies back in Pretoria.
17On the 12th of July I attended the Parish Pastoral Committee of Flagstaff Parish. There was a very good attendance from most of the stations of this big area. The delegates expressed their successes and failures in trying to live as the people of the Church. They spoke of their successes; in many places how the Priest and the people are visiting the homes, how Catechism is going very well and teachers are enthusiastic, how the Youth Choirs are beginning to function, how the men come to Church in a few areas. They spent most of their time speaking however about the problems common to their area, indeed common to the whole Diocese. They spoke about the need of training for their Catechism and group leaders. They spoke about encouraging the Youth to come to Church. They underlined how many of the Youth are drawn from our services which are lifeless and go to attend the lively services of the Zionists and the Pentecostals. They spoke about the problems of men not attending Church, especially the problem of drinking. They spoke about the lack of Catechism teachers in some areas. They spoke about individual problems in particular stations due to personalities. They found that in certain areas many people do not do anything for the Church after Sunday service. In general the people were asking the Diocese to help them to renew themselves spiritually, to communicate enthusiasm, guidance in knowledge and skills-training, they were begging us to do more for their children and their youth. They expressed their need for unity, sometimes fractured in various outstations due to personalities. It was an excellent experience of where the Church really is in this Diocese.
18It has been a time for the annual parish sodality retreats, particularly for the St Annes and the Sacred Heart. It is hard to know if Fr Peter Wilson works more by day or by night. Another night operator is Fr Arturo, known in Mt Frere as Mvelase(Velasquez) who has four men covering areas of theology, scripture, spirituality,church history and pastoral. They begin lectures at 8 p.m.on Sunday evenings and go on until 4 a.m.,Monday,fortified only by the Holy Spirit and cups of coffee.
19.Miss Pat McGregor from the Catholic Bishops’s secretariate in Pretoria gave a week of lectures, classes,sermons and instructions on Fertility Mastering at the invitation of Fr Larry in Kokstad. It was a week of great value, much apreciated by the good attendances. From November Sr Priscilla Dlamini OSB will be here in the diocese to offer this information and formation for youth,please let me know if you wish her to visit your parish.
20. Monsignor Clifford Stokes of Canon Law fame in Cape Town writes to say that Goue Vallei Wines of Citrusdal are now producing Mass wine under their own label at R6.00 a bottle, including Vat. This wine meets the specifications for Church Law. They have a depot in Durban,while the contact person for larger consignments is Mr Johnny Fourie, Box 41, Citrusdal,7340; phone 022-9212233.
21. Fr Bernard Hall will be on supply for two months in Middelburg,Transvaal.