8 DECEMBER 1996.
1. At Diocesan consultors meeting on December the 2nd it was decided to have the proposed retreat for parish leaders at Maria Telgte from the 7th January, Tuesday evening until the 11th, Saturday morning. Man and women leaders are invited. Four deligates are invited from each Parish to be selected by the Priests. In making selection the following categories should be borne in mind:-
(a). Chairman of the PPC or his delegate.
(b). Leader of the Catechetical team.
(c). Leader of Sunday services.
(d). A committed person, preferably of younger generation deeply engaged in service in the church and who has displayed faith and an ability to work with others.
The cost is twenty five rand per person. The course will emphasise the nature of the church, leadership and service, faith through witness of life, working with others and delegation in the ministry of the church.
The basic skills training for leaders will not be done at Maria Telgte. Skills training is the initiative and plan of the Parish.
2. The farm childrens’ workshop will take place at Maria Telgte from January the 13th to the 18th, morning. The team of September will be back. Please encourage the farm children.
3. We are very happy that in 1997 we will have four students studying for the diocese. Joining BONGANI and LULAMA will be LIZO NONTSHE who will be doing first Theology is ST JOHN VIANNEY and THABANG GABRIEL LESOHLA who will be going to the CAPE TOWN. We congratulate the Vocation commission on their work and we welcome the new Seminarians to the Diocese.
There will be a special live-in for young men who have already expressed a desire for priesthood at Mount Frere from December the 30th to January the 3rd. Please encourage those who have already made contact with us to attend this. They should be in Form lll, lV or V. Many others who are younger or who are just beginning to express interest, or whom you think will benefit from contact will be visited by the vocation committee in the Parishes during the year.
4. In the New Year the Bishop intends to visit all Parish Councils. He will discuss with them questions of Financing the Parish, Vocation promotion, the state of Catechetics, training of leaders etc. These visits will also, hopefully, help to set in motion the machinery for the first Diocesan Pastoral Council which will come in the place during 1997.
5. CATECHISTS During the course of 1996 a big number of Diocesan Catechetical meetings took place under the Chairmanship of Father EGBERT. These were very useful.It is highly encouraged that each Parish have a Central Register for all teachers of cathecism. Again we will send around a proposed ceremony by which the priest will appoint the catechism teachers for the year at a Sunday Mass.
The Catechism teachers are very keen to wear a simple Uniform, SCAPULAR, when they teach. This Uniform could be given each year in this ceremony for appointment. Congratulations to the Parishes which had representatives at catechetical meetings in Kokstad each month. It is very helpful to have a person or two to represent each Parish at these meetings. The person on your Parish Council for catechetics would be involved in planning for the Diocese. Also, they would help to plan workshops for the Parish with courses for teachers.
We are extremely happy that Sister AMBROSE TSHABALALA, of Mount Frere will be taking over the Family and HEALTH desk for the Diocese in the New Year. Sister Ambrose has worked in this Diocese with great Apostolic zeal for many years, she is a Medical Nurse. It is hoped that Sister and her assistant MRS DAISY DLAMINI, will be available for all Parishes and Youth Clubs, to help arrange formation in preparation for marriage, growing up, Aids, natural fertility planning etc.
6. We are finalising arrangements for a Sister to specialise in Creche Care. This will involve establishment, training and on-going formation of people who run creches. There is a demand for Pre-school preparation, many people want to be involved, it is a source of employment.
7. The Diocese congratulates Father ROBERT STEWERT who has been re-elected as PROVINCIAL OF OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE province. His vicar is Father DAVID BERNARD a son of the Diocese. We congratulate them and their council of definitors; Father VUMILE NOGEMANE, Father TEDDY LENNON, Father RICHARD DUARTE, Father HYACINTH, and Brother JOHN BRICE. We also welcome with joy the coming of the Franciscan Postulancy to Kokstad. We wish them every Blessing and assure them our co-operation in their formation work. We hope they will get many vocations here.
8. C.I.E This was a fine year for the C.I.E team of our region. Brother JIM, Sister MARY, MRS NAPIER and MRS NAKIN were busy during making contact with schools and Catholic teachers. They had six prayer-days for Catholic teachers,most recently in Bizana, Mount Frere and Lusikisiki. A great pool of teachers has been contacted and have been assisted in the living their call. The team has also offered in-service training courses, concentrating on the most neglected-in farm schools. Programmes like READ have been successful. Mrs Napier and Mrs Nakin will be specialising in this course in the New Year. Brother Jim will assist teachers in Mathematics.
The Government’s New Education Bill, democratic in the extreme will throw the weight of responsibility for Education on Parents. We should motivate our Catholic parents to be involved in the Governing board of schools. This Governing board will have manager’s powers appointing and dismissing teachers, forming the ethos of schools and even determining the religious instruction. The C.I.E team is available to help with conscientising of Parents in their tasks.
The Bishop said Mass for Brother Jim’s mother ANN, who died recently and for the daughter of Mrs Nakin, Karabo, who passed away at a young age. We send our condolences and sincere sympathy on their bereavement.
9. We made available a portion of St Anthony’s Centre in Kokstad to the Creche. There are one hundred and sixty poor children attending this and space was made available by having the swimming pool filled in. Negotiations are in an advance stage regarding leasing of St Anthony Centre to a department of Education for a resource and training centre.
10. OTHER EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS St Patricks school board have acquired 30 hectares on the old racecourse at Kokstad to build a New Secondary school. This Secondary school will continue the Primary school work done at the Cathedral school. As well they are leasing a room in the boarding section of the Convent as Library and Computer room for their primary school.
11. Congratulation to everybody who took part in the struggle against abortion. Though we did not succeed in preventing the Act’s adoption, the people have been very much conscientised by the struggle and are more aware of the moral issues involved. However, it is very clear that our people are not deeply informed on this issue and many other related moral issues. The Law, of course, is a great teacher, and so this law will sow confusion and evil.
During the struggle against abortion the nurses, the Sacred Heart Society, St Anne Society and some parishes organised days of prayer, processions, reflections, proposals to local ANC committees. The local president of the Democratic party, Doctor JEREMIAH BOSMAN has resigned from the Democratic party in protest. We communicated with Mr GEOFF DOIDGE, who is an ANC WHIP. He replied quite a number of times but then voted in favour of the Bill as we can read in the Southern Cross. We will be remembering him in the elections in 1999.
12. Father TOM BRUNO BYRNE, represented the Diocese at the ZULU PASTORAL REGION MEETING in Durban.
13. Sister VERONICA NAMOYO, the foundress of Our Poor Clare Monastery came on a very welcome visit during October-November. We were delighted to see her for a short period. The convent has an addition completed which will allow the sisters new kitchen and a work room and 11 cells.
Individuals who wish to make retreats can contact the sisters. Groups of children, especially girls who would want a day retreat can go to the convent. Encourage girls who may be interested in vocation to visit the sisters. The Sisters also enjoyed the hospitality of Father JOHN and the Mission of Telgte during October when they went there to polish their Xhosa.
14. EVENTS The Youth in Flagstaff were very busy during the month of November with Father EGBERT and Sister Caritas. They had a successful concert raising finance. They have now more money than their Parish Priest. And at the end of November from the 22nd to the 24th they took part in a workshop discussing vocation, and questions of life. This was informative and their many questions, and the nature of the questions asked, indicate their need for guidance.
The youth of Tabankulu and Mount Ayliff had a workshop on the 1st of December.
Father TONY got the men of Umzongwana together for an excellent day on their role in the church.
Father JOHN and Teachers at Maria Telgte said good bye to the Standard Seven children with a beautiful meal and concert at the Mission on the 20th of November.
There was a good turn out of Catholics and non catholics for a talk of the Bishop at the Cathedral Hall on November the 19th on the theme JESUS THE SAVIOUR. Work continues apace at the Cathedral repairing the damaged stone work.
At Lusikisiki twenty children were received into the society of the Soldiers of Christ, the King, on November the 17th. Another group joined the Children of Mary on the 1st of December. Societies for children are great means of keeping the children together in formation and prayer in those years in which they are not preparing for a particular Sacrament.
The Secular Franciscan shook the rafters at Hardenburg Mission at the reception of new members. Many who had wished to join the Francican family were received. Visitors came from Durban, Umzimkulu and Marianhill. Father BILL led the dancing.
The Diocesan retreats for the Secular Franciscans took place at Bhongweni on the 30th November-1st of December.
During the year the sisters of the Diocese and Father BERNARD REGIEL a spiritual assistant, got together to share days of recollection. We hope that Father BERNARD gets well soon as he is suffering from very painful shingles.
Sister Marwiga is formulating a catechism for the children of Tabankulu. This work in Xhosa centres on the Eucharist.
15. We will open the years of preparation for the great Jubilee at the Cathedral on the night of the 7th-8th of December. A committee has met four times to prepare the programme, the choirs of the Diocese will lead various moments of the night and lead our people to contemplate the theme “Who do you say I am?”.
During this coming year we will have to organise various ceremonies to develop this theme.
16. On Sunday evening,Dec.22, at 6.p.m at the Cathedral there will be a carol service for the peoples of the parishes of Bhongweni and the Cathedral. We can try to express our rainbow nature by common worship and joy at Christmas. Hopefully, in the new year the two parish councils will come together o consider their work and service in the community.
17. The Bishop met with some church leaders in Kokstad and it was decided to seek a local Council of Churches. To assess a response to the idea it has been decided to meet at the town hall at 10 o’clock on January the 25th. The various churches, the parish councils, are invited to send four people.
18. Next meeting for Catholic Nurses of the diocese, January
25 at the Cathedral.
Next Diocesan Catechetical meet,Kokstad, January 13th.
Bishop will be at Bishops’ Conference, January 14th-24th.
19. Youth Concert, School Hall, Kokstad,December 14, 10 a.m.
20 Children of Mary retreat, Bizana, 21 December.
Happy Christmas to all.