13TH OCTOBER 1996
1.There will be a preaching course for local leaders, men and women, in Maria Telgte from Monday the 6th of January 1997 to Saturday the 11th of January. Encourage the leaders to come to this course in spirituality formation and pastoral practise.
2.Congratulations to Father John and Sister Natalia for the Catechetical week for the farm children which took place in Maria Telgte from September the 30th to October the 3rd. Well over one hundred children attended and benefited enormously. However, from a few areas no children were present. Please underline the dates of the next course which will be from the 13th Monday January to the 18th of January also at Maria Telgte. Please make sure the children know and are ready to attend.
3.As you know, in preparation for the great Jubilee of the year two thousand the Church Universal is celebrating three preparatory years. The first of these years, 1997, will open during Advent of this year. Our committee in the diocese of Kokstad have decided to open the year 1997 on the 7th-8th of December this year. The committee has organised a night vigil, pilgrimage, Mass, at the Cathedral ground for that night. Included in the programme is the following.
4.(a) 7th December 7 p.m Saturday night, penitential service.
Led by the Choirs of Lusiki-siki and Flagstaff, co-ordinator Mrs Jwaqu.
(b) 8 o’clock English service led by Kokstad Cathedral group.
(c) 8:45 first Mass. Choirs Hardenburg, St Anton’s and St Matthews, co-ordinator Teresa Mjwara.
(d) 10:30 Youth service, leader Mr Mangqalaza of Flagstaff.
(e) 11:30 candle light procession, choirs of Mount Frere, Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu, co-ordinator Mrs Dolly Ngwadla.
f) 12:30 Eucharistic adoration, choir of Matatiele.
(g) 1:30 Imvuselelo M.C Mr Lesley Dweba.
(h) 4 o’clock a.m, December the 8th, Mass led by Bhongweni Choir.
That will be the close of the service.
5.Two additions of the Inkwenkwezi Newspaper have now been distributed. We will have, it seems, to produce more copies- by popular demand. I invite the leaders, spiritual directors of the Youth, Sacred Heart, St Annes, Legion, the Amadodana to contribute regular reflections, news items, motivational items, for the members of their societies. Anyone with photographs of these events could please also send a few to us.
6.Please note the following retreats for teachers, both Catholic and Non-catholic in government and Catholic schools. Bizana October the 12th, Mount Frere October the 19th, Lusiki-siki October the 26th. All will begin at 10 a.m in the morning in the local Church.
7.The Bishop will be on retreat from October the 28th to November the 2nd, and he will conduct the Umtata Diocese Retreat at Coolock House from October the 14th to the 18th.
8.Congratulations to the Christian Brothers on the wonderful occasion of the beatification of Edmund Ignatius Rice, the founder of the Congregation. We hope to have an article on Brother Rice in the next issue of the Inkwenkwezi. Let us pray that through his intercession we may take seriously the Apostolate of the Youth and formation of children in Christian values.
9.It is a pity that only a small number of people from our diocese attended an excellent course on inculturation at Mount Frere from October the 3rd to the 5th. However, we did have an excellent consultation on inculturation, healing aspects thereof at the Cathedral on September the 9th when almost all the Priests were present. It was very clear from contributions at the meetings that our people believe totally in the value of Christian healing. However,it was pointed out we must base all healing work on a deeper faith, encouraging our people to depend upon God, not to fear witch-craft, to forgive each other, to get rid of envy and jealousy, and to have more services within our sodalities for those who are in need.
It was also pointed out that we can do much more in the line of healing services, visiting of people in hospital and elsewhere, listening to needs of people- even to their dreams and deepest anxieties. The laity must be taught to deal with people who are suffering. We also need to make the Sacraments come alive, for they are the medicine of the eternal life. The Sacrament of confession in a particular way is a wonderful Ministry to touch the souls and even the sick bodies and minds of our parishners. We need to believe more in the Sacraments ourselves. We must also preach God, Who is Love. Our preaching must continually emphasise the great Word of God in the scriptures for this is the basic nourishment of faith.
10.The Youth Executive of the diocese met under the Chairmanship of Sister Natalia and with its Spiritual Director for Father Giorgio and make plans for the December holidays and for the year 1997. They hope to have a choir competition in Kokstad on the 14th of December, a Saturday, please watch the Inkwenkwezi for details. Also the Youth intend to set up a team to help with Youth to Youth retreats. We find that many youth who have been baptised in the Church fail to continue in the church. It is easy to say that the reason is due solely to easy baptism. However, our local outstations and their leaders are not able to provide adequate spiritual care for today’s critical youth. So we wish to provide the Youth with youth retreats assisted of course by priests and sisters. Please encourage your youth to have their own Parish programmes or to invite the diocesan team.
11.An event of great significance and joy for the diocese was the arrival of FIDEI DONUM priest Father GEORGE WILLIAM BYARUGABA from the Diocese of Masaka in UGANDA on September the 21st. Father George is very welcome, we are delighted to have him. He has already been visited by his colleagues from his own diocese Father Bonaventure and Father Vincent who are working in Umtata. He has begun his study of Xhosa at Mount Frere.
12.One of the great highlights of the life of the diocese this year was on September the 24th when the New Church of the Holy Paraclete was dedicated in Bizana. Enormous crowds, perhaps six thousand people attended, among the attendance was MPONDOMBINI THANDIZULU SIGCAWU and THE PRINCESS. She made the vestments for the occasion. The Church is the work in every sense of the word of Brother Eric Fischnallar from Mount Frere. We hope that a good video team will leave us excellent records of a day of great joy. Brother Eric not only drew the plans, he raised most of the money from benefactors and from his own work, he oversaw building and had his men involved with the contractors. The art work was supervised by Dina Cormick though it is far from complete yet. Father Rodgers SIHLOBO the parish priest must be congratulated on organising the day with his people. They contributed generously to the building of the Church. Over twenty priests attended but the men of honour of the day were former priests of Bizana, Father GERMAIN, Father BRUNO and Father WILFRED BYRNE from PRETORIA. Over 50 sisters were present of whom 15 were born in the parish of Bizana. It was a day of great joy for the diocese.
13.A day of reflection and prayer for the Catholic nurses took place at the Cathedral on September the 21st. It was a day of prayer and recommitment on the side of the nurses. Many questions were asked about the very difficult medical questions facing nurses today. It is obvious that we must provide guidance and formation for the nurses. Many of them have very little idea of Catholic morality in the areas of contraception and abortion.
14.Regarding abortion, the struggle for an abortion free South Africa is now in full swing. At various retreats and through our paper, INKWENKWEZI we have continually informed the people of this entire issue. Please preach on abortion on the first Sunday of November. Encourage the local people to take part in the ANC BRANCHES to make the people aware of the danger of this new legislation. In many diocese especially in the bigger cities parades and processions take place where letters are handed over to Government Officials. This can also be organised on the local level. But make November the 2nd an anti abortion day, make all our people aware and involved in the struggle.
15.Congratulations on the great turn out for the day of prayer for priests at Hardenburg Mission September the 9th. It was a day immensely enjoyable, and made so by the work of Fathers BILL, PETER and VINCENT. They made us welcome and looked after our needs.
16.Thanks in a particular way to Father TONY and to Father VINCENT ZUNGU for their assistance to the priestless parish of Lusikisiki. Once a month each of them goes for three days to the Parish. They are able to visit twelve stations in all in those 6 days. Let us continue to pray for more priests. Never forget to keep continually before the people the need of our vocations. They must be continually encouraged pray for vocations and hold Holy hours for this intention. We have quite a number of young men very interested in our diocese. Let us not rest until we have vocations from every parish in this diocese studying in the Seminaries.
17.With God’s help we hope to welcome the little sisters of the Immaculate who work in MAHOBE, to live in the Old Convent in MATATIELE. With God’s help they will come in December, the parish is preparing a home.
18.Congratulations to Father SIHLOBO on his work with the Amadodana during the month of September when they elected the new Executive for the diocese. This society of the Catholic men has great potential, but they do need serious formation. It is hope that each year we will be able to take them for at least five days serious study and prayer. Encourage them to prepare for such days and to participate. We continue to lose men who have for a long time played a constructive role in the Catholic life of our Parishes. Just in the last few weeks we have lost MR SERGE BALL from LUSIKISIKI and MR KHATYWA from DUTYINI in BIZANA. They were long and faithful friends of our Church. Condolences of the diocese to sister AGNES on the death of her father, MR KHATYWA. His father in turn was one of the pioneer Catholics of the whole area of Bizana, which now numbers over 8 thousand Catholics.
19.Congratulations to the C.I.E team who organised the annual catholic teachers assosiation meeting at our Cathedral on August 24th. About 80 teachers from schools in Umtata and Kokstad attended. Brother Jude Pieterse, former General Secretary of the Catholic Bishop’s conference, and now one of the CENT negotiators on behalf of the church in discussions with the government on the future of education, addressed the meeting. Brother Jude outlined the conditions and clauses of the New Education Act and invited us to prepare our people to be involved on school boards. The intention of the New Democratic Government is to make schools as democratic as possible. Their chief means of doing this is through giving tremendous power to parents groups in the administration of schools. We should see that our Catholic people are involved at these crucial areas.
20.Retreat group for the diocese has been established. Their intention is to offer our Catechism teachers a day of retreat once or twice a year in the teachers home parish. For example this retreat group would meet with all your catechism teachers on a Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday morning. The meeting will provide prayer and reflection and formation for those who battle to try and educate our youth in the catholic faith. Invite them and they will come to your parish.
21.The next meeting of the diocesan catechetical committee will take place on October the 14th at the Hall in St Patricks. It is also felt that we should design a uniform, or a simple scapular for all our catechism teachers. Also we will try and send inspectors to the parishes to examine our people in catechism as the time goes on.
22.The St Annes of the diocese had their annual meeting at Bhongweni from the 4th to the 6th of October, and on the same week end the Sacred Heart sodality met at the Holy Cross Convent in Kokstad. Congratulations to Fathers, PETER and TONY on organising this week end. The women signed the petition against the introduction of abortion. This was sent to the whip of the ANC PARTY in CAPE TOWN.
23.The Bishop spoke to the Town Council of Kokstad on the need for peace if we are to see development in the town. There is a struggle within the ANC on the question of Provincial Boundaries. The Bishop’s talk was wel received by the town council and the Mayor. The Bishop also spoke on behalf of the diocese to Bishop Davies and the Anglican Synod which opened on September the 27th in Kokstad. And the Bishop also spoke to a packed St Patricks Hall on September the 17th to a large group of Kokstad people on the question of the church and the family. He was also happy that on Sunday September the 22nd to be able to speak to the Catechetical teachers of the Cathedral Parish. Here are teachers many of whom are highly motivated and who give great service.Congratulations to Father LAURENCE AND Father BERNARD on motivating these teachers. Their great assistant is MRS LORNA WICKS who co-ordinates the Cathecatical programme for the Cathedral. The same Cathedral Parish had its annual confirmation on Sunday August the 25th. MRS MARGIE SHAW taught these children for two years, a class every week. Father MAXIMO give them an excellent day retreats just prior to the ceremony.
23.It was lovely to celebrate the TRANSITUS of St Francis with the Poor Clares on the 3rd of October. More of the FRIARS could avail of this beautiful opportunity each year on that date. We also welcome to the diocese Father MARTIN from the DUTCH PROVINCE who is visiting Franciscans in preparation for the chapter on the 25th of November. I hope he remembers Kokstad when they come to decisions at that chapter.
24.In a number of Parishes groups and clubs sodalities for young children are beginning to flourish. Please enquire and get people to start this wonderful initiative. The Poor Clares place would be happy to offer possibilities for a day retreat for groups of these young people.
25.Please note that the next diocesan consultors meeting will be at the Bishop’s House on October the 21st Monday.
26.Remember that October is the Month for the Missions. So it is the time to pray for Missionary work and also to take up these very important collections. Father BERNARD reminds all the priest to make sure to make October the 20th Mission Sunday for the people and to take up and send in to him as soon as possible these important collections. We will receive a lot from the Pontifical Mission aids societies, let us show that we co-operate with them in encouraging our people also to give.