13th JUNE 1996
1.The Diocese thanks God for the life and service of Sister Gabriel of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart who died on 8th June. Sister Gabriel worked in this Diocese with deep faith and good humour for over 30 years. She had a special Apostolate for young people and children. Noted for her self sacrifice in the work of the Church, she had a special interest in people; she had friends everywhere. We ask God to give eternal rest and joy to this woman of Faith. And we extend our sympathies to her Congregation on the death of such a committed Sister.
2.Father Bernadine Dore, celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood this year. Barney has been for 50 years working in the Diocese, using all his gifts in the service of the people of our Church. We wish to celebrate this and will do so on Monday July 8th at the Cathedral at Kokstad. All Priests, Brothers and Sisters are invited to a celebration which will begin with a Mass at 11.00 am in Kokstad. It will followed by lunch.
3.The Vocations live-in will take place at Mt. Frere starting on Monday 8th July and will continue until 12th. Those young men in form 3, 4 and 5 who are seriously considering becoming Diocesan Priests should also come to the celebration of Father Dore at the Cathedral. From there we will arrange their transport to Mt. Frere for the live-in. Continue to encourage the people to pray for the Diocesan Vocations.
4.Excellent work continues to be done with the youth in the Diocese by the Executive led by Sister Natalia and Father Giorgio. They had a meeting in May in Kokstad and arranged that the Diocesan annual youth retreat will take place here in Kokstad at the Cathedral 16-19th July. Please encourage your youth leaders to attend. There were also services for the youth at Lusikisiki at Hardenburg and Flagstaff. These were led by Sigibert, Sister Caritas. The youth were very responsive and the night of prayer and processons was deeply appreciated by them. Do invite the youth leaders of the diocese to come to your Parish.
5.We congratulate the Catholic Institute of Education on the completion of a new school building below the mission at Hardenberg. A lot of the finance was contributed through the C.I.E. and we were very happy to welcome its director Sister Bridgett Rose Tiernan for the opening on 26th April. The full excellent team of C.I.E., Brother Jim, Sister Mary, Mrs. Napier, and Mrs. Nakin, are to be congratulated in their work of in-serivce training, motivational inspiration, and continual organisation of Retreats for teachers. Note the A.G.M. of the Catholic Teachers, Saturday, August 24th.
6.Confirmation was celebrated at Tlangwini, Maria Telgte and Mt. Frere in the past two months. It was a joy to see well prepared young people and adults deeply appreciate what they become in this important sacrament. We pray that they will now really be Apostles of the Church.
7.Bizana Church is now complete except for the interior. Brother Erich is to be congratulated on a magnificent achievement. A meeting of artistic people took place on 22th May at the church to plan the decoration of the interior. Many excellent ideas came from the artist Dina Cormack, internationally well known for her work, who will be the person responsible for the final decoration and arrangement of the Church at Bizana. Also present was Sister Johanna, also internationally famous for her work in African Art, the Poor Clare Sisters, the Sisters of Bizana, and the Parish Priest of Bizana, with members of the Parish Council. Planning to deecorate the Church around the theme of its dedication has been a rewarding and Spiritual enquiry. It is dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The planned day of opening of the church is September 24th.
8.Let us pray in a special way for Sister Bernadette, Poor Clare, who will take her final vows in Lusaka on June 29th. This is a day of special joy for us in this Diocese as Bernadette is a member of the Community of the Monastery of Santa Chiara here in Kokstad. She has left her homeland to establish contemplative life in our Church. We thank God for her, for her community and we pray God’s Blessings on her final committment to him. On July 20th, Saturday, the Sisters at Santa Chiara invite us to participate in a Mass of thanksgiving with Sister Bernadette on her return to South Africa.
9.Consultations have taken place between the Diocese and the congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood concerning the building of a beautiful new Convent at Bizana. This will be built by the Sisters on the Mission site. We welcome them to the Diocese. It is also with joy that we announce that the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Childhood, living at Tabankulu, have plans to extend the house as they plan a bigger community to be resident there. They will be very welcome. We also extend our sincere sympathies to Sister Marwiga, on the death of her sister.
10.The Legion Acies service by which Legionaries re-commit and re-dedicate themselves to the work of the Church took place in May at Matatiele. The Day was organised by Father Manus the Diocesan director and was very well attended. Inspired by this example the Legionaries of Bizana now intend to revive their own society.
We say to Father Manus and Fathers Germaine, have a good holiday overseas.
11.Please note that the co-ordinator of Catechetics in each Parish, who is ex Officio a member of the Diocesan Catechetical committee, should remember that the next meeting of this committee takes place here in Kokstad on July 2nd at 10.00 am. One or two people responsible for Catehecetics in your Parish, and major outstations would be very welcome to attend. This is a very important meeting.
The previous meeting took place in Kokstad on May 6th and was an excellent sharing of the wonderful work being done Cathecetics in many areas in the Diocese. At Flagstaff, Lusikisiki, Bizana, Mt. Frere, Mt. Ayliff, Tabankulu and Hardenburg a whole program for Cathechism teachers is very much on the way. The Sisters, who are largely responsible for these programs, are willing to help in other Parishes or request. The idea is that we continue to give spiritual and pedagogical formation to all cathechism teachers on a regular basis. The idea is to call them together once a month or once in two months to deepen their formation and knowledge so that they take pride in this sacred ministry.
Sister Paulus Maria and Sister Dionys represented the Diocese at the National meeting which considered the program R.C.I.A. in South Africa.
12.Those who have children in churches in the so called farm areas should take note of the dates July 17th – 21st when the children of their areas will continue their winter schools at Maria Telgte. Make sure to have your children present on these days for their annual catechetical formation.
13.We hope to have a small team who will travel with the Bishop to Mariannhill area in August when the annual Bishops meeting hopes to consult with laity. We would hope to have four members of our Diocese present.
14.An excellent committee has been established in Kokstad to repair the Cathedral building. It is many years now since it was painted and examination has revealed that water is causing rather extensive damage. Repairs will inevitably cost a lot though the committee has continued to look at the situation and keep costs as low as possible. I invite all Parishes of the Diocese to take a collection to help with this work which will cost in the region of R200,000.00.
15.We pray in a very special way for Father Larry 0’Shea who is facing a major operation on June 18th. We were happy that his sister Mary was able to spend some time with him in these weeks previous to the operation. May God Bless them both at this time.
16.Again I wish to remind you that the South African Bishops have established the St. Augustines young Priests society. The idea is to have branches of this society in all Parishes of the country. Its idea is a monthly meeting of people who will make it their task to pray and make a very small financial contribution each month to the spiritual and financial requisites of the training of new Priests for our country. Perhaps there are people who a special vocation for Priestly societies, do invite them to start a society even if it were to have only three or four members, in your parish.
17. I note that the title “Queen of the family, pray for us” has been added to the Litany of Loreto. This invocation comes in after “Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary,pray for us”.
18. Next priest meeting of diocese at Kokstad, September 9th.
19. Next month we will launch a newssheet for the diocese. It will be sold cheaply and is for the people and will contain news,reports, information on dates, venues and subjects for meetings,sermons, general information on church matters, activities of sodalities etc. This is an experiment and hopefully will become a fixture if it has potential for information and formation.It will be in the languages of the diocese. Anyone with editoral ambitions?
Could the spiritual directors of sodalities, Saint Anne, Sacred Heart, Amadodana,Youth, Cathechetics, Children of Mary, St Joseph, Legion find a correspondent to forward their news?
20. The diocese is looking for a full time worker, preferably someone with nursing qualifications to take responsibility for a Health\Social work desk for us. Areas to be covered, Catholic moral teaching, Aids ministry, marriage preparation, formation of youth in sexual and marriage morality, Fertility planning,abortion counselling etc. A good wage will be paid, Fr Tom says.