25th August 1996
1. The next Priests Meeting of the diocese will take place at Kokstad friary on Monday morning, at 10 a.m., September 9th. The subject of conversation will be inculturation. Short addresses will be given by a number of priests and the matter will be open for discussion. The subject on the discussion will be healing and prayer.
2. At the consultors meeting on August the 5th it was decided to establish the leaders training group, to establish policy, a plan and syllabus for the training of people in all areas of spiritual leadership in the diocese. The committee which will be convened by the Bishop and comprises among others, Fr Egbert, Fr Bill, Sr Dionys, Sr Paulos Maria, Mr Manye and Mr Vuthela. Others may be co-opted unto the committee.
3. At the same consultors meeting it was agreed that the Bishop should meet the with Representatives of the three deaneries. Each Parish and out-station would send two members to these meetings. One member should be the member of the Finance committee and another a member of Parish or out-station council. Dates will be set for the meetings at Flagstaff, Matatiele and Kokstad. Matters discussed will include finance, training of the leaders, vocations.
4. It was also decided that Diocesan Pastoral Council would be held on a Saturday in November, possibly the 16th. In attendance would be Representatives of the Sisters and people of the diocese with all the Priests. Each out station would again send two members to this one day meeting.
5. We agreed to hold a day of sanctification for Priests at Hardenburg, on Monday September the 16th, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
6. As we know from the media, the year 1997 will be special year in the Universal Church dedicated to contemplating the Mystery of Christ. So in this diocese also the celebration of the year will begin on the Feast of Christ the King in November. A committee has been established within the diocese to make plans for the celebration of this year and make it a spiritual moment for all our people. On the committee are Sr Paulos Maria, Mr Neo Kheswa, Mr Lesly Dweba and Mrs Thandazwe. Other members will be co-opted.
7. The opening of the New Church at Bizana will take place on the morning of September the 24th. All are invited.
8. We welcome Fr Miguel Cobo, Franciscan of the Province of Valencia, in Spain, and a Missionary for 13 years in Argentina, who is learning Xhosa at the moment. We also expect Fr George William Byarugaba from Masaka in Uganda who is coming to work in this diocese as a Fidei Donum. Hopefully we will have 4 or 5 Seminarians studying for this diocese in 1997. Please keep up work for the vocations.
The vocation week spent at Mount Frere, and organised by Father Arturo and his vocation committee, was an excellent experience. Fourteen young men attended and they showed a great interest in becoming priests of our diocese. Please pray for them and continue to insist that all societies and imihlangano of the diocese continue to pray for vocations.
9. August 24th at Kokstad the catholic teachers in areas of the diocese of Umtata and Kokstad met at the Cathedral to celebrate the Annual General Meeting. They were addressed by Brother Jude, on the question of the New Educational Bill. They also had Mass and the Elections. Congratulations to the C.I.E on wonderful organisation and great achievement in our area with the teachers.
11. The Health desk of the diocese is in the process of being established. Nurse, DAISY DLAMINI will act as a Part Time Volunteer worker. She will be helped by a Health Committee. I invite good Catholic Nurses, Sisters, Doctors to be part of this Committee. With a good Committee we can plan our programme which will benefit our diocese and training of our people.
12. Please remember in a very special way three excellent leaders of our diocese who passed away in close succession in the last two months. Remember Mr Ndaba, of St Anthony’s in Hardenburg, who since 1960 has been an outstanding leader of the local Church. Also remember Mr Johannes Phoswa of Lower Mnceba in Tabankulu who equally played a very important role in keeping the community together in his area. And finally Mr Tserere of Saphukanduku in Tabankulu also passed away leaving a great void after lives dedicated to the local Church. May the Lord give Eternal rest to these ancestors of the faith in our diocese.
13. I hope you have seen our attempt at a Newspaper, INKWENKWEZI. As you can see the lay out and printing is very well done, although much more editing and variation of the reports will have to be done. So photographs and reports from all the Parishes will be great appreciated. We can use this paper in order to form our people as one family in the faith.
14. There will be an inculturation workshop in Mount Frere, from the 3rd to the 5th of October and ten people from each Parish are invited. They are expected to pay ten rand per person. Priests who are experts in inculturation will address the meeting. Please make contact with Fr Arturo about your arrangements.
15. Brother Val of the Christian Brothers celebrated 50 years in the congregation, his Golden Jubilee, in a quiet ceremony with his prayer group and community in Kokstad in July. Then he left on a short sabbatical. We express gratitude for the wonderful contribution of Brother Val to our local Church, to our people and to the community of the diocese. He is quiet and prayerful life is a gift from God to us. We congratulate the Christian Brothers on the beatification of Brother Ignatius Rice, the wonderful founder of the Irish Christian Brothers.
16. Those children in the farm areas are reminded of the catechetical week at Maria Telgte Mission. Please contact Fr John regarding the travel and dates.
17. We wish to express a sincere word of gratitude to Fr Bernard Hall and to the Catholic Womens League of Kokstad for providing the beautiful lunch on the occasion of Fr Bernadine’s Diamond Jubilee on July the 15th. They had to cook this beautiful lunch twice. Snow prevented us arriving to celebrate on the original date. We also thank Fr Bernard for preparing lunch every monday for our meetings. It is very much appreciated. The hospitality of Fr Tom in Kokstad is a great contribution to our diocesan life.
18. We must note with sincere gratitude the contribution of Sigibert Pappe a seminarian from Germany who spent one year working in the diocese. He helped the youth in an excellent way, visiting them, encouraging them and sharing their lives. We wish him every Blessing in his future Apostlolate. The Youth Retreat organised by the Youth Committee of the Diocese under the Chairmanship of Sr Natalia and assisted by Fr Giorgio, was very successful at the Holy Cross Convent during the extremely cold days of July. In spite of snow in the mountains, the youth thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. About hundred and sixty attended.
19. Do encourage our people to remember our Holy Father,the Pope, who celebrates the 50th Jubilee of Priestly ordination between the 7th and 10th of November this year. Encourage our people to thank God for the work of Our Holy Father in the Church.
20. Also remember that October the 20th is Mission Sunday. We receive a large contribution of finance each year from the Pontifical Missionary Society in Rome. This money is passed on to us by the society from the collections made by poor people all over the world. Our people must continually pray for the our benefactors.
21. August the 26th the Cathecetical Committee of the Diocese will meet at the Parish Hall in Kokstad at 10.a.m.
22. According to the New Act for Social assistance Priests and
Sisters are treated the same way as other Old Age people. The qualifying age for women is 60 years and for men is 65 years. When they reach this age they may apply for pensions.
23. Confirmation takes place at the Cathedral in Kokstad August Sunday the 25th, congratulations to the Priests and to a special way to Mrs Margie Shaw who did wonderful work to prepare young people for confirmation.
24. The Dicastery in Rome has asked that we regard the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from now on as an obligatory memorial and not just a memorial ad libita.
25. I ask the priests that in a special way they make clear reference to the church position on Abortion during the coming Sundays. It is obvious that certain elements in our society want to push abortion on demand on a country which does not have this as a traditional value. Also we the Catholic Church abhor this culture of death. So please make the provisions of the New Act known to our people and in all its provisions. Our people must be prepared to fight this plague.
We congratulate the priests and parish of the Cathedral on their day of special prayer, Friday,Aug. 23, asking God’s assistance in the struggle to keep the New South African within the culture of life
26. The Annual Winter school has been discontinued due to lack of popular response this year and indeed in preceding years.
27. The Namibia Catholic Bishops said good-bye this year in August at Mariannhill to the Southern African Bishops Conference. They will now establish their own Conference. There are three Bishops in Namibia.
28. A group of four people representing the laity of this diocese went to Glenmore in Durban on August the 10th to meet with the Bishops to discuss the future of the National Laity Council. However the proposals put to the meeting did not achieve the two thirds majority necessary to have a new committee. At the moment there is no National Council of the laity. Suggestions are invited to how to structure our church in such a way that the laity are involved and participative role.
29. The new Xhosa Bible, first edition and therefore valuable, is now selling in Kokstad at the Christian book store at R 21.50.
30. The Society of St Augustine has been promulgated by the Bishops in an effort to encourage prayer and finance for priestly vocations. Fr Arturo has established the Society in his area and you may contact him for information, booklets and medals.
31. Days of Prayer with teachers in Bizana, Mount Frere and Lusiki during Saturdays of October.
32. Please inform all Catholic nurses of Nurses Day of Prayer on Saturday, September 21, cathedral,9.30 am.
33. Church and Family, open lecture by Bishop, Cathedral Hall,Sept 17th, evening.