15 September 1995
1. With this news letter I am sending out a draft of the
proposed Statutes for the Dioceses of Kokstad.
Please read them so that we can comment on them together
and formulate what really suits us here. These Statutes
are based very strongly on the Canon Law Code.
2. I am also sending you 2 pages from Bishop Lobinger regarding
the use of the new translation of the Xhosa Bible in our
Liturgy. Please make some comments to Father Bill.
3. Also included in this News Letter is a photostat of the
various collections made in the Dioceses of South Africa.
While we are doing well, it is obvious we could make a
greater effort in some areas.
4. While negotiations have not been finalised it is safe to
announce that Precious Blood Sisters of the Umtata
Province will start a little community Bizana, giving us
Sisters for the Parish Apostulate. We celebrate this news
with great joy. The area is enormous, and the amount of work unlimited. We are also aware of the wonderful work
done by these Sisters in Mount Frere. Many of the Precious
Blood Sisters are from this Diocese, 6 Sisters are from the
Parish of Bizana itself.
5. We welcome with great joy to the Poor Clare community in
Kokstad, Sisters Chimwemwe and Sister Bernadette, They have
Come from the founding Monastary in Lusaka and will join our
community here. They came with Mother Lilato, the Abbess of
the Lusaka Monastary. They are most welcome. There life of
Prayer and silence and union with Christ will bear great
fruit in this local Church. The Sisters express their gratitude to all helped them on their vocation day in August
when 60 girls from the Diocese attended.
6. The Youth of the Diocese have now elected their own executive. They are busy putting a constitution into place.
Father Giorgio from Mt. Ayliff will act as Diocesan Youth
Chaplin. The Youth team will continue to visit all areas
of the Diocese in the next 6 weeks. Please give them your
full co-operation. Sister Natalia must be highly commended
for getting the Youth this far so fast. We hope to have our
Retreat in December for the Youth of the Diocese at a date to be later determined.
7. At the Marionhill Bishops conference in August the Bishops
considered their relation of the Church to the new R.D.P.
It was felt that the general drive of this policy document
of the present Government is to highly commended in that it
tries to distribute the wealth of the Country to all citizens and especially to advantage the poor. The Bishops
however also warned that we should not make it a Church document as such, we should support it but in a critical
way. As this is a political programe it is bound to be
opened to be opened to exploitation and dissolutionment.
We should do all in our power to make sure that it works
but not take responsibility for any corruption involved in
8. At the Bishops Conference also we were reminded that the
R.C.I.A. programme is mandatory for the Church in South
Africa. It would be good if we began to utilise this
programme more fully in all our Diocese for the formation
of people. I see it as being the formation programme for
the adults of our Diocese. A new Catechism is also being
written in all the languages by Miss Hadebe. I am asking
for 2 or 3 parishes to volunteer to use the proposed new
text in Xhosa. Lumko, the publishers of the new Catechism,
wanted tried out. It is obvious athat this new Catechism
will be adopted in most Diocese of South Africa, so it
would be good for us to be able to make critical comments,
before the final drafts are written. So would 2 or 3 parishes please contact Father Ansilem in Lumko and agree
to work with him in this project.
9. Also at the Bishops Conference it was discussed regarding
Holy Days of Obligation during the year. The Vatican has
asked that we retain Christmas Day, Ascension and one
Marion Feast on a non transferrable basis. The other Feast
days may be transferred. A final decision has not yet been
made on this. But it would seem that Ascension Thursday will remain a Holy Day of Obligation, on the Thursday.
10. Did some thought and even prayer to reflecting on a date
and place for a Diocesan Shrine. This Shrine would then
be our place of pilgrimmage.
11. Remember that vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood is our
top priority. Please continue to encourage the young men
and invite them to work for God in this Diosese. We also
need to decide on a place where young men could live while
they complete their secondary school education before going
to the Seminary. We have many young people who have the
elements of Vocation. However these elements never blossom
because they do not get enough encouragement or accompaniment. Let us do all in our power to encourage
Vocations. Please remind the young men that the next
vocations workshop will be held in Bizana in December.
The dates are December 7 – 10 th.
12. I have an offer from Gorta, an Irish Agricultural Development Group, who are willing to help in Agricultural
Development projects in the Diocese. Any ideas?
13. I will be away from South Africa, from September 22nd until
November 15th. For the first four weeks I will be Rome doing a course for New Bisops. Then I will take 3 weeks
Holidays with my parents in Irelend.
14. Let us keep up our work consciontising our people regarding
the proposals of the New Abortion Act. This is still in
discussion, but unless we speak now the following provisions
will become law for South Africa.
1. That abortion on demand must be allowed up to the first
14 weeks of pregnancy.
2. That no minor under the age of 18 needs the consent of her parents or guardian to have an abortion, nor need
she even notify them.
3. That all public Hospitals and Clinics must provide
abortion facilities, even those that are not entirely
subsidised by the State.
4. That women demanding abortions will be treated on the
same scale of benefit as all other medical conditions,
and therefore their abortion will be subsidised by the
5. That the only requirement for abortions on demand in
the case of minors under 18 is that they are counciled
as to options, risks, and abortion proceedure.
6. That in the case of situations where there is a severe
shortage of Doctors, that Bill intends “that no women be denied the privilage of having a abortion”.
7. That anyone preventing an abortion (including a spouse,
parent or guardian) and anyone obstructing access to
abortion facilities shall be guilty of an offence,
on conviction of which the guilty party shall be subjected to a fine not exceeding R100,000. or to
imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both the fine
In his recent encyclical the Pope makes a plea for then unborn “no one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.
In no way could this human being ever be considered an
aggressor. Here she is weak, defenceless, even to the
point of lacking that minimal from of defence consisting
in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears.
The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and
care of the women carrying him or her in her womb. And yet
it is sometimes precisely the mother herself who makes the
decision and asks for the child to be eliminated.
The Pope readily admits there often extenuating
circumstances in the case of procuring an abortion.
But these reasons can never justify the deliberate killing
of an innocent human being.
15. Please continue to ensure that, as we agreed in our Clergy
meeting in May, we institute financial councils in all our
Parishes. It is hoped too that Parishes will have Pastoral
Councils, so that next year we will begin to put in place
some of form of Diocesan Pastoral Council.
We had a wonderful day on the 19th August when we blessed
the new Church of St.Clare at Luyangweni in the Parish of
Mt. Frere. This Church which is a monument to the industry
and generosity of Brother Eric, was opened in scenes of
great joy and prayer. Father Bernard who was present with
his family. The people showed great joy in welcoming
Bernard who had worked so fruitfully with them in the
previous years. Our tourop. had organised everything
for the day and it was a day befitting a beautiful
new Church, a new place of prayer for God.
Sister Calisto with her valiant teachers, Mrs.Yolwa,
and Mrs.Mbhele, gave another weekend to the catechism
teachers of Thlwangeni.
Sister Melvina and Sister Mary who ran a new in service
training course for teachers here in Kokstad in August.
64 Teachers from our schools attended and found the course
excellent. It was run by Shell.
We had a wonderful day at Maria Telgte on the 26th August
when we had a day of prayer for Clergy. Father John did us
royally, and used the day to celebrate the Centenary of the
old mission of Telgte. It was a day of prayer, joyfull
get together, and celebration.
Many buses went from the Diocese at the weekend after the
Assumption to the annual pilgrimmage of Kevelaer.
We had a lecture which was attended by over 100 people in
the hall in Kokstad on August 22nd. We hope as next year
on falls to have a theology study circle in Kokstad with
occasional lectures during the year for the public. We
hope to cover the main themes of the Christian Religion.
Father Bill and Father Peter were extremely busy on the
weekendof the 1st – 3rd September at Bhongweni for the
annual Sacred Heart Retreat. Father Tom and his Parish
have prepared the place and so a great number of women and
men from all over the Diocese spent a few days in devout
prayer. They seemed to be extremely happy with this years’
17. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
1. Please remember in the farm areas, the children’s
Cathecetical week will be held at Maria Telgte Mission
from October 2nd – the morning of the 6th. Encourage
the children from the farm areas to be there. On the
same conditions as last January’s course.
2. The Holy Cross Sisters will leave Kokstad after 107
years on the 30th November this year. Needless to say
our hearts are filled with sorrow to lose this great
bond with our history and our past. However what the
Sisters have done will always live in the hearts and
minds and souls of the people. We hope to have a
Thanksgiving Mass on Saturday evening 25th November
at the Cathedral.
3. About 100 people from the Diocese will go to Johannesburg for the Popes visit.
4. Father Paul Manci, will be at Mt. Frere from the
evening of 17th November – 19th to conduct a work-
shop with conductors of Parish choirs.
5. Dates for Confirmation, Kokstad Cathedral 19th
Lowa Nceba on the 26th November.
Bhongweni on the 3rd December.
Tabankulu on the 17th December.
6. The next C.I.E. event for in service training for
teachers will be on the subject of school readiness
for teachers of the younger children in Std.A,b, and
1 and will take place at the usual centre here in
Kokstad from 23rd – 27th October. It will be run by
Itec and is a 2 day course. So there are 2 two day
7. Remember that in November, December Sister Priscilla
Dlamini from Eshowe will come to train women, not
nurses, on educating the youth for marriage and life.
8. Kokstad Parish will have a mission for the first time
in a number of years. The Redemtress Fathers are
sending Father Bafana Hlatshwayo, and Ivan Dawson who
will preach here from the 14th October – 29th.
The first week is mainly concerned with house visitation and home masses, and the second week is the
Preached Mission in the Cathedral.
18. There is a new Society being initiated by the Seminary
Department of the South African Bishops Conference.
It will be called the St. Augustine Society. It is
based on overseas Societies which encourage people to pray,
support, and finance vocations to the Priesthood in the
Church. All the materials, posters, booklets, membership
cards are available in Kokstad. So if you would like to
start small groups of people who will meet once a month and
pray together and finance vocations, please encourage this
St. Augustines Society.
19. The Aids epedemic is progressing rapidly throughout South Africa. It is estimated that there will be almost 1.2
million people infected at the end of 1994. Every day
approximately 500 more people get infected. Worse affected
are young adults in the 20 to 29 year age group. A national
survey of women attending ante natal clinics in November 1994 revealed that 7.57% of women overall are infected
compared with 4.25% one year earlier. The percentages were
highest in Kwa Zulu Natal – 14.35% and in Eastern Transvaal
12.16% It is expected that in the year 2000 6.0% of the
total population will be infected and 12.0% in the year 2010. According to official statistics more that 10,000
people have died of Aids as a result of HIV infection.
It is estimated that there will be 132,000 deaths from Aids
in the year 2000 and more than half a million in the year
2010. This would mean that every fourth person dying in the
year 2000 will dy of Aids, and every second person in the
We are trying to initiate a programme to conscientise and
prepare people for this epidemic. Misereor, from the German
Bishiops conference have offered to come and talk with us.
We would hope to begin to prepare people to nurse Aids
victims in their homes. Do speak to the people about it
so that volunteers will eventually come forward.
20, New Matatiele phone no. 0373 737.3515.
21. There will be a Legion day for the diocese on a date in December.