20 – JULY 1997
1. With great joy the diocese of Kokstad welcomes two new priests who have come to help us in our Ministry. They come from Kerala in India and will spend the first months studying Xhosa. We say very hearty welcome to Fr Jose Thomas and Fr Joseph Methanath Joseph. We thank God for the Apostolic heart of the Church of Kerala and its zeal for God’s Kingdom. They are very welcome among us as our brothers in ministry.
2. Brother Eric has been very busy in Lusikisiki over the past two months. The people of Hombe and of Mfinisweni have collected money, they have received help from the parish council of Lusikisiki and from the diocese to construct new churches. Brother Eric oversees everything. He has also been re-building the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Lusikisiki. With his other hand Brother Eric is building a new convent for the Precious Blood sisters in Bizana.
3. In Tabankulu during May the Rosary was prayed every evening with the Sisters of the Holy Childhood. In the Sacred Heart retreat new members were received. At Lower Mnceba brother Eric built four new classrooms for the school. The former Catechist of Saphukanduku, Mr Tserere, was remembered with a gravestone. The people of Tabankulu went to Mount Ayliff for a Catechetical workshop with Sister Mary Dionys.
4. 600 women of St Annes had their annual retreat at Bizana. The retreat was conducted by Fr Sihlobo, Fr Manci and Fr George. Beautiful liturgies of reconciliation and celebration made a deep impression. Members from Flagstaff and Lusiki were present.
5. The St Annes in the Parish of Mount Frere have recommited themselves to their congregation with rejuvenated spirit. For the last number of months they have been restudying the law and spirit of congregation with workshops and classes with the sisters to help them understand the meaning of their call in life. On a given day they will take off the medal and insignia and come to be re examined on their rule. If they pass they will re-commit themselves.
6. The youth retreat conducted in Flagstaff by Fr Egbert, Fr Vincent and Sister Khumbuzile was extremely successful with almost 300 young people attending. They discussed life today and how to live as a young Christian in the present age.
7. The Catechetical teachers of the diocese had two meetings in May and again on Monday the 7th of July at Kokstad. These meetings were conducted by Fr Egbert as Chairperson, assisted by Fr Bernhard Riegel. The teachers requested a workshop cum retreat from the 10th to the 12th of October. This will take place in Kokstad and will be conducted by Mr Ncanisa and the catechetical team. All catechetical teachers are invited.
8. The Christians in the parishes were Fr Baptist and Fr Serafin Kennedy worked in the 1960s and 70s will be very happy to know that both priests will pay a visit to Kokstad during the month of October and will visit their old stations.
9. We congratulate Sister Paulus Maria Mncwabe and her work with the Abantwana bakaMaria. 45 new members were received in Mount Ayliff, and 32 in Flagstaff and a retreat is planned for Kokstad in September.
10. The parish pastoral councils of Bizana and Mount Frere have decided to use the year 2000 as an ideal occasion for the renewal of the whole parish. Taking up from what was done in this diocese some 25 years ago they have constructed a large wooden Cross. This is taken in pilgrimage around the parishes beginning with the furthest out stations. The people received the Cross with great devotion and so began a time of Imvuselelo. The Cross is either left in the individual station or taken to houses which are experiencing troubles. The people pray the stations of the cross, sing or read the scriptures and share together. It is received with the Mass and celebration and an Imvuselelo for everybody. The cross may remain days or even a week in a particular station.
The cross is carried by foot with hymns and prayers and preaching and many non-catholics have taken this opportunities for prayer and renewal.
This year is the centenary of the Catholic parish of Mount Frere. It is hoped that on November the 15th and the 16th, this parish will celebrate the occasion. Priests and Sisters are asked to make a mental note of the date.
11. The four seminarians from the Diocese, Bongani, Lizo, Lulama and Gabriel and five young men who are aplying to go to the seminary went with the Bishop to Melville for a short three day holiday from the 16th to the 19th of July. Seminarians return to the seminary on the 27th of July.
12. We thank God for protecting brother Eric in a recent car accident. Brother was coming back from Lesotho and approaching the town of Maclear had a serious accident. He did not receive serious injuries even though the car was severely damaged. We thank God for protecting our brother.
Everybody in the diocese is praying for the speedy recovery of Sister Mary who was injured in the line of duty working with the teachers in Mariazell. Having fell she was taken to Matatiele and after valued assistance there taken by ambulance to Durban. She is now recovering with her sisters at Merrivale.Tel 0332 304186.
13. The two priests Fr Joseph and Fr Jose had to use much initiatve in the journey to South Africa. Trying to approach Bombay airport in India to come to South Africa they found a riot in progress. No cars, no vehicles, no people were allowed to travel to the airport. One of the priests has a sister who is a nurse in a hospital in Bombay. She found them an ambulance. They were strapped into the ambulance as two patients and taken through the riot.
14. The Holy cross boarding school in Kokstad is being refurbished for use as a pastoral centre. It will be used for workshops and courses and for some retreats. However, the number it can accomodate will be some restricted— perhaps about 80 adults. It should be ready mid September.
15. Sister Ambrose presided at a meeting in May with Personel dealing with medical and family problems in the diocese. This meeting made many suggestions on how the church can serve better in these life areas. The meeting for June had to be posponed due to the snow fall and the next meeting will take place in August on Monday 18 at 10 am. Spiritual Leaders of the youth in the diocese are invited also.
16. Sister Lucia Rai, OP will be in the diocese in Kokstad from the 3rd to the 8th of September to conduct the course for marriage counselling. Can we find a person in each parish who could be trained to help with marriage problems? Obviously they will not be qualified counsellors but they would help young people prepare for marriage and also listen to people with marriage problems and make suggestions. The family seems to be a structure which is under severe pressure.
17. Seven Youth from the Diocese will join young people from almost every country in the world for the catholic youth international week in Paris from 17 to 31 August. We had great difficulties in some cases getting the ID documents and the passports, but last minute efforts were successful.
18. Sister Hilda is working with the Amasotshnayana ka Kristu uKumkani and will help the movement expand and become co ordinated in the diocese.
19. Over seventy people were confirmed in a joyful service in Lusikisiki on Sunday the 13th of July. The Bishop was met outside the town and popemobiled into the church. He emphasised the importance for young people being engaged in all activities in the parish. To be confirmed is to offer oneself to serve Jesus Christ in the church. Afterwards a concert and reception took place in the hall which was beautifuly prepared by the people of Lusiki.
20. The Mount Currie Council of Churches adopted a new constitution on the 22nd of July. The Catholic church is a full member of this new body. Its aim is to cooperate when local problems arise and express our call to unity.
21. The Bishop’s Conference will take place at Marianhill from the 6th to the 14th of August.
22. Fr Richard from Ghana will come to join the diocese and its pastoral work on the 15th of August 1997.
23. The pilgrimage to Keveler takes place on the night of the 16th of August. This year the Bishop will be a preacher.
24. Sister Magdalena will renew her simple commitment to her congregation at Matatiele on Saturday the 16th of August.
25. The SACBC, The South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference will celebrate its Golden Jubilee at a special Mass on the 22nd of September in Johannesburg. This will co-incide with the opening of Secam, the all Africa meeting of bishops’ conferences.
26. Preparations have been finalised for the theology study at Maria Telgte from the 22nd to the 26th of September. Fr Sonwabiso Zilindile will be the presenter. When sending about four from each parish it may be better send the group from one outstation as they then will work later together. This is a follow up of the January meeting.
27. Priests are reminded of the diocesan meeting for all priests to take place at Coolock House from the evening of Monday 13th October until the morning of 16th October.
28. Lumko is trying to find an alternative to the old Winter School and asks priests these questions;
1. How do you keep yourself updated in the areas which affect your present ministry? (Please list the kind of learning you engage in and an estimate of the amount of time per year/month given to this)
2. What difficulties do you face in your ministry?
3. How could SACBC support your effort to remain updated in the various theological disciplines?
4. Did you attend any of the last three Theological Winter Schools? (African Healing Ministry 1996, Pastoral Counselling (1994) and the Scriptures and Pastoral Ministry (1993).
If you did attend, how useful was it for you?
If you did not attend, please state your reasons.
29. SACRIFICIUM CONTRIBUTIONS
KOKSTAD DIOCESE 1997
FRANKLIN – R1 450,00
LUSIKISIKI – R1 503,73
HARDENBERG – R4 730,00
MOUNT FRERE – R750,00
MATATIELE – R3 560,85
FLAGSTAFF – R2 662,00
KOKSTAD- R2 293,03
MARIA TELGTE – R920,00
UGANDA MISSION – R2 919,20
BIZANA – R916,23
TABANKULU – R840,12
CEDARVILLE – R200,00
MOUNT AYLIFF – R953,85
TAILORVILLE – R407,00
T O T A L – R24 106,01
Day retreats for teachers with the Bishop and CIE
Hardenberg: Sat 23. Aug, at 9.30 a.m
Mount Frere: Sat 30. Aug, at 9.30. a.m
Bizana: Sat 6.Sept, at 9.30 a.m.
Lusikisiki: Sat Oct 4 at 9.30. a.m
Kokstad: Oct 7 at 4.30 p.m
Consultors: Sept 29.
Committee of Jubilee Year 2000: Kokstad Sept 20.
To plan Parish missions for diocese, those priests interested can meet with Fr Bafana Hlatshwayo in Kokstad on Monday 15, Sept at 9.30 am.
Confirmation: Mount Frere Aug 31.
Talk: St Patrick’s Hall, Aug 25; Christ the Way.
Health desk: Kokstad, Monday 18, Aug at 10.00.
Theology for laity at Telgte: Sept 23 (Evening) -Friday evening 26.