Iindaba # 011

8th December, 1995

1.   Congratulations to Father John Kerr at Maria Telgte Mission

for the Cathechetical workshop which took place there from the

2nd – 6th October. Sister Callista with her team of teachers instructed 150 children from the farm areas. The children were very enthusiatic and participated

fully in an excellent course.

Please note that the next such course will take place

again at Maria Telgte in Holy Week from the 2nd – 6th April

1996. Please encourage all the children of these areas to

attend. It will also allow them to attend some of the Easter ceremonies.

Congratulations also to Father John on repairing the Church

which this year has its centenary. Mrs. Jeanette Sandford

wrote a beautiful report on the history of the mission which

was sent to Rome. She is in receipt of an appreciative  letter from Archbishop Marchesiani. She has just now completed  a work on the convent of Kokstad. She hopes to wrote up all the Parishes as time goes by.

2.   Remembering that vocations to the Diocesan Clergy is our

top priority, please remember to advise the young men of

the Parish, those 15 years and over that there are two  vocation workshops in January. From 5th January – 7th at

Mt. Frere. And from 12th January – 14th in Hardenburg.

Also there will be three days for those who have already

made a committment regarding becoming Diocesan Priests.

This will be a three day workshop with the Bishop at Maria

Telgte from the 9th – 12th January. Only those who are in forms 3, 4 and 5 and who have expressed a definite desire to become priests and who have attended the workshops should come, we expect just 6 or 8 in all.

We welcome home Lulama Msungelwa, from the seminary in his

summer holidays. We also welcome Lizo Nontshe who has just

joined the Diocese.

It is hoped that the young men who are showing definite

signs of vocation and who we feel need of accompaniment in

their final years at high school will be able to go to

either Hardenburg or Mt. Frere to live and study their

form 4 and form 5. The details of this programme has to

be worked out but hopefully it will come into operation


3.   It is with great joy that the Diocese and Church of Kokstad

welcome the Precious Blood Sisters of the Province of Umtata who have come to found a Convent at Bizana. Sisters

Lea Yina and Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe, arrived in Bizana

on November 17th. Father Rodgers Sihlobo kindly made way

for them and gave them the priest’s house. Father Rodgers

moved back to the old lodgings at the end of the Church.

We hope with Brother Eric’s help to build a new Convent

in 1996 for the Sisters. The massive new Church in Bizana

is at roof level and should be in use early in the new year.

We must thank Brother Eric for his enormous work making this

place of worship available for a large community of some

8,000 Catholics.

4.   With great sadness in our hearts on 1st December we said goodbye to the last 3 Sisters, Sister Theresa, Sister Gisela and Sister Immolata from the Holy Cross Sisters in Kokstad.  The Holy Cross Sisters arrived on the 16th November 1888 and     so their departure from the town of Kokstad is deeply felt by the whole community.

Father Larry and the Parish Council had a number of re-

ceptions to express their gratitude and appreciation for

the work of the Sisters. The enormous congregations who

attended bear witness to the fruit of the Sister’s work.

We are certainly going to miss them. It is foreseen that

the Fransicans will use the Convent as a Postulancy, that

the Boarding premises will be used by the Diocese as a

Pastoral Centre or rented as offices, and that the Board

of Governors will continue administering St. Anthony’s

shool and pre-school. The other pre-school, the Holy

Cross pre-school has a lease of another 4 years.

5.   The Youth Retreat organised by Sister Natalia and the

Youth Executive, with Spiritual Director Father Giorgio,

will take place at the Convent and Boarding here in Kokstad

from 11th December evening until the morning of Thursday

14th. The Youth are invited and particularly we would like

to see all youth leaders present for these important days.

Also from 7th December – 10th Father Sihlobo is expecting

some 300 young ladies to come for a Retreat and career guidance in Bizana.

6.   Two very full buses of dedicated Catholics made the long journey from Kokstad to attend the Papal Mass in Johannesburg in September. We were very well represented.Videos of the  event can be purchased.

7.   Congratulations to the Cathedral Parish in Kokstad where

Fathers’ Bafana Hlatswayo and Ivan Dawson, both Redemptorists conducted a very successful Parish Mission

which was crowded out every night. A lot of preparatory

work done by the Priests and the Parish Council paid

dividends. Father Larry pointed out to the congregation

that exactly 65 years ago in 1930 a Father Hughes also a

Redemptorist preached a mission in the same Cathedral for

the people.

8.   We are delighted to have Father Bernard Hall back in the

Diocese of Kokstad after his brief exile in Witbank.

Father Bernard will look after the Diocesan collections

and the bursaries. We thank him for taking on this work

and have full confinence that he will do it with his usual

charm. He has just arrived back also from a two week

one man mission preached in Port Elizabeth. He

came back with orders for 3 new Parish Missions.

9.   At the end of September Father Finbar Russell went from

Lusikisiki and took up duties in the Diocese of Witbank. We

deeply appreciate his very hard work in the demanding Parish

of Lusikisiki and his supply work in Flagstaff for 3 months.

We record with sadness and with prayers the burial of Father

Mathias Macsweeney in the local cemetary on 14th November.

Father Mathias and his brother Father Edward worked in the

Diocese of Kokstad for many years. May he rest in peace.

10. We had celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Cathedral in Kokstad on 19th November, Lower Nceba on 26th November, Bhongweni on 3rd December.

Forthcoming Confirmation ceremonies are at Matatiele on

10th December, Tabankulu 17th December, Gogela 3rd February,

Brooks Nek 17th February and Maria Telgte 2nd – 3rd March.

11. Mrs. Daisy Dlamini and members of the Secular Fransican  Order request to visit your Parish speaking to the people

regarding their way of life. Please make them welcome.

12. At the moment we are conducting negotiations with the

Eastern Province Department of Education and the R.D.P.

about the possible use of St. Anthony’s Centre in Kokstad

as an Educational Centre. The Eastern Province Region

of North East wish to make Kokstad their centre and hope to  have 400 people employed in the town working in educational services. They tell us that there are 574,000 children at school in our area.

13. At a recent consultors meeting in Kokstad it was decided

to set up a Catechetical Core Group of about 10 people. They will meet frequently during the year and draw up proposals for a Diocesan Catechetical programme.

They will also be resource personal for all Parishes or

Stations which need instruction formation and update for

the local teachers. In conjuction with the Priests of the

Diocese it is hope that this Catechetical team will work

out a clear outline of policy for the thousands of children

who are our repsonsibility.

14. Congratulations to Sister Dionys who stepped in at the last

moment to rescue a course in church music for

choir leaders from the Diocese. It was very well attended and arranged by Father Arturo at Mt. Frere. However the

directors of the course did not turn up and Sister stepped in

at the last moment and conducted an excellent experience for

all who attended. Encourage music conductors as we hope to have another such course soon.

15. Sincere gratitude to Brother Eric who has built a beautiful

reception house for visitors to the Poor Clare Convent.

In spite of all the work he has to do Brother Eric found

time to build these beautiful premises for the Sisters.

May their prayers and intercession assure him a great

reward from the good God.

16. We are sorry to loose Sister Callista for a time,she has

done trojan work in the Diocese in the area of Catechetics

for years on end. Sister Callista is going to Cedara to take

a 5 year study in Theology. Then we are very hopeful that

she will come straight back to Kokstad.

In her place we hope to welcome Sister Bridget who has much

experience in Spiritual direction and teaching. Probably

she will be stationed in Flagstaff and we hope that she will

contribute to the area of Catechetical formation. Sister

Caritas also stationed in Flagstaff has worked very hard with the youth in the area to encourage them over the past

few months.

17. Dr. Gertrude Solidad of the mission institute in Wurzburg

in Germany visited the Diocese and spoke with the leading

members of the Catholic Nurses Guild on the Aids Apostolate.

It is to be feared that Aids is becoming rampant in our area

and we need to make our people aware of the disease, how it

spreads, of its dangers, and try to remove all superstition

and useless fear in its regard. The Catholic Nurses Guild

hoped to have a special Sunday of prayer in which the nurses

hands will blessed and their apostolate involve a commissioning from the church at Bhongweni on Sunday 28th January. Please encourage all Catholic Nurses to attend on that Sunday at Bhongweni.

18. Over 90 people were commissioned by the Bishop at Mt.Frere

Parish early on the morning of November 26th at Sunday Mass

as members of the P.C.C. and P.F.C. and leaders in the

local outstation communities. Father Arturo is to be highly

commended for the work he has done in instructing the Parish.  It is obvious that there are many very willing

people in our area who want to live our their Christian  vocation and mission, please encourage them.

Mr. Thomas Ncanisa who is so well known as a Catholic

Formator in the Diocese of Umtata will conduct a course

on the responsibility of the Lay Christian at Flagstaff

16th and 17th December. This course organised by Father

Egbert is highly commended. As the whole future of our

work depends upon the utilization of the laity in their

charisms we all must simply make adult training and formation an absolute priority for 1996. Laboring on alone, doing everything ourselves is exhausing and counter productive.

19. The Council of Religious Sisters of the Diocese met at the

Bishop’s house on the 27th November chaired by Sister Gertrude from Lusikisiki. Here it was decided that the

Sisters would have a Diocesan day in Kokstad on 14th

February 1996 where they will spend a full day in prayer

reflection and planning. It is hoped that the Sisters will

have days together in prayer during the coming year, and also that they will organise in local groups for prayer and

reflection. The Diocese must commit itself to support the

Sisters in this generous endeavour. Father Bernard Reigal will act as Spiritual Advisor to the Religous Sisters for the


20. At present the Catholic Institute of Education is staffed by Brother Jim Murtagh and Sister Mary Kinney resident here in

Kokstad. Brother Jim and Sister Mary have continued to

visit Catholic Schools and Teachers all over Kokstad and

even into Umtata.

During 1995 they conducted a large number of inservice training programmes for teachers, particularly for those

from farm schools. Perhaps over 200 teachers attended in

the course of 1995. They have many plans to help our Catholic teachers during 1996.

In visiting the teachers in schools subsequent to these  courses they found a great new enthusiasm among them. The teachers in our area have been badly neglected

by both State and Church for many years. We now have an

excellent opportunity with Brother Jim and Sister Mary to

reach out to these very important Formators of the New

Generation. So I appeal to all Priests and Religious Workers in our Diocese to find out what Brother Jim and

Sister Mary are doing, to work with them and encourage them.

They hope to hold three one day Retreats for Rural teachers

around the theme of “teaching as a ministery and communities

of faith”. They wish to conduct whole

school renewal for schools. Also,Paul Farrer, an expert on

Religious education will visit the Diocese in early February

1996. It is hoped that in particular he will address the

communities of Kokstad and Matatiele.

Brother Jim and Sister Mary will act as education advisors

to the Diocese and to all who need advice.

21. We welcome Siegfried Peppe, a seminarian from Germany to the  diocese, to Mount Frere, where he will work with the youth of the parish.It is very good to have him.

Posted in Iindaba.