17 Sept 1997.
1. With great joy the Diocese welcomes Father Richard Kugbe-Kassin. Father Richard is from the diocese of Wa, in Ghana. Through the kindness of his Bishop and in his own generosity he has come to Kokstad. He was ordained in 1975 and has worked in his own diocese as a director of pastoral formation. He has a degree in Social Sciences from the Gregorianum University in Rome.
We welcome back to the diocese Father Jose Chackalackal and Father Joseph Methanath, both from Kerala in India. For the past two months they have been in Cala studying Xhosa. They will continue their studies at Mount Frere.
We also welcome Sister Mulumba to the Poor Clare Monastery. Her life of prayer and silent Union with Christ will enrich all our lives. We receive her with joy.
2. Centenary of the Christian Brothers in South Africa.
We join the whole country in extending our congratulations to the Christian Brothers who came to establish their first school in South Africa in 1897. At the Jubilee celebrations in Kimberley we were represented by Brother Jim-well represented. It is impossible to adequately describe the quantity and quality of the work of the Brothers in one hundred years of South African Education. We ask God to continue to bless them as we invoke the intercession of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice. We pray for our own brothers in this diocese.
3. On August the 16th at Matatiele Church sister Magdalena Fortuin of the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate renewed her vows. The Bishop took the opportunity to bless the beautiful Chapel in the sisters house and to welcome the sisters to the diocese of Kokstad. It is obvious that the people of Matatiele take great joy in their presence. They are very involved in the spiritual life of the people of Matatiele and Cedarville.
We thank Brother Erich for the beautiful furniture and design of the Sisters’ chapel.
4. Father Peter and the Executive of the Umhlangano weNtliziyo organised the Annual retreat at Bizana, 5th to the 7th of September. About 300 hundred members took part in what was a devotional weekend of prayer, sharing, instruction and witness. Fr Sihlobo made everybody welcome and the Society itself organised the program. On the same day the Society of St Annes had their retreat at Flagstaff for the Pondoland area. Fr Egbert led the weekend prayers.
5. The Legion of Mary continues to show signs of life. Fr Vincent Zungu preached their Annual retreat in Matatiele where a good crowd attended. They worked to build up many of the parishes in the past. Their potential for commitment is still great.
The Children of Mary continue to expand with almost all parishes having members and groups. The Sisters everywhere are to be commended in giving the youth a focus for their devotion and spirituality.
Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani
The society for the smaller children is coming along. All these societies must be encouraged by the parishes, especially the parish Councils so that all the young are drawn to the church and given a share in it. These societies will offer times for meeting, prayers, instructions and Annual retreats.
5. Vocations committee.
Father Arturo and Father George with sisters, Khumbuzile, Annastasia and Paulus Maria met to discuss the programme for the vocations. This committee is highly congratulated on their work. The fact that we have six applicants for the diocese for 1998 is due in large part to their work. We must also thank Father Sihlobo for having a number of them live at the Mission in preparation for seminary.
I appeal to the priests to contact Father Arturo or Father George to invite this committee to come some weekend and speak with the communities in your parish. I’m convinced there are many good vocations within our diocese if only we encourage the boys and girls. Let us especially remember contemplative vocations.
6. Sister Ambrose chaired a meeting of the Health Desk of the diocese in Kokstad on the 18th of August. The next meeting was arranged for the 26th of October. Having listened to the reports, suggestions regarding the formation of Youth in preparation for family life were put forward. We needd to warn them of the dangers of improper sexuality. It was agreed to focus on these issues at the next meeting.
It was agreed to send a letter to the following people inviting them to come to the October meeting. We want the establishment of a team which will concentrate on the formation of young people in home and family matters. The people suggested; Miss Hela of Mount Frere, Mrs Ngwadla of Mount Ayliff, Mrs Dlamini of Bhongweni, Mrs Setsubi of Matatiele, Mrs Machoba of Bizana and Mr and Mrs Denge from Bizana, Mrs Jwaqu from Lusiki, Mrs Dweba from Lusiki, Doctor and Mrs L Kembe from Bizana and Mrs Gakha. Is there someone from your parish here? There were many more people you might suggest. If you have their names please send them to the diocese. We will try and meet with them on a number of occassions to help them know Catholic teaching in areas regarding abortion, procreation and marriage.
It was suggested that the leaders of the youth, Father
Giorgio, Sister Natalia, Sister Khumbuzile should also attend.
7. From the 4th to the 7th of September at Kokstad Sister Lucia Rai OP conducted two sessions on marriage counselling. Some ten people from a few parishes in the diocese attended during the day and a group from the Cathedral parish attended in the evening. The feedback on this meeting which was also attended by Brother Sydney was very positive. Please note that the next such session will take place again at Kokstad from the morning of November the 6th until the midday November the 8th Saturday. Encourage people who are wise, mature and committed to attend. It offers possibilities to help our marriages in the diocese.
8. St Ambrose is available to the parishes to come and speak to the parents and the youth on home and marriage. Please invite her from Mount Frere. If the priest calls the people she will happily come and make presentations.
In the same vein Sister Mary Dionys Ngcobo can come to parishes, if given sufficient notice, to speak to the Cathechism teachers, examine the children in Cathechism and provide on-going training for teachers. Again it depends on the priest availing of such experts and setting up the meetings.
A great crowd of people from almost every parish attended the annual pilgrimage to Kevelaer.
9. Congratulations to the Cathedral on the recent draw raising money for the repair of the Cathedral. Money was made and good prizes, up to R5 000, were given to the winners.
10. Thanks to the work of the painters and Mr Anthony Napier, the old boarding premises at the Holy Cross convent in Kokstad is now almost ready for use as a Pastoral centre. It has been painted, matresses acquired, the kitchen is coming into order and meeting rooms. At present, the toilets and washing facilities are being improved.
11. Do remember a very important date. On the 24th and the 25th of September Father Sonwabiso Zilindile will come again to Maria Telgte to offer deeper formation in theology and motivation to pastoral work. The meeting will begin at 9.a.m. on the 24th and end at midday, 27th. Father Sonwabiso will be there for two days.
12. Another very important date is October 10th to the 12th, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Father Egbert and the Cathechetical committee will invite Mr Ncanisa and his team to pray with and lead all cathechism teachers at Cathedral and Pastoral centre.
13. From the evening of the 13th to the morning of the 16th of October all priests and brothers are invited to Coolock House for prayer and diocesan reflection.
14. The Bishop hopes to meet with all the sisters of the diocese on the 18th of October at Cathedral from 9.30 am.
15. Coming confirmation ceremonies; 21st September at St Antons, 28th Makhoba, 19th of October at the Cathedral.
16. The Bishop has begun the visitation of the parishes. On the 2nd of October he will be at Flagstaff to meet with the PPC and the PFC. On the 5th of October he will say Mass and meet the Parish and Finance councils of Lusikisiki. On 2nd November at Mount Ayliff. It is his intention to visit all the parishes and speak to the parish councils and the priests on money, support for the parish, vocations promotion, cathechetical programe and the training of lay leaders.
17. The Catholic Institute of Education led by Brother Jim, Sister Mary, Mrs Nakin and Mrs Napier continue their work of in-service training and formation of teachers. They are presently engaged in helping the church to make agreements with provincial authorities on the future and ownership rights of the church in regard to government schools.
They offer teachers, principals, parents and Board Members training to implement the provisions of the New Education Act.
Already the CIE and dthe Bishop have conducted teachers’ days of prayer and reflection at Hardenberg, where 45 attended, and at Mount Frere 20 attended, Bizana 15. Next, at Lusiki on the 4th of October and at Kokstad on the afternoon of the 7th.
18. S.E.C.A.M. the Conference of all African Catholic bishops conferences will meet in Johannesburg on September the 22nd for 5 day meeting. The Bishop will represent the diocese at the opening Mass. This Mass also celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the South African Catholic bishops Conference.
19. At the pastoral centre there will be a retreat for Abantwana BakaMaria, 22nd to the 24th of September.
September the 20th is the next meeting of the committee for the year 2000 at the bishop’s house.
15th September Father Bafana Hlatswayo, Redemptorist will reflect with those interested on methods of conducting missions throughout the diocese over the next few years.
We wish to offer the people healing services, opportunities for confession, preaching, night vigils, adoration and devotion, and a general intensification of recommitment to Christ at this time of grace.
20. October 12th, will be the Diocesan day of prayer for Sanctity of Life issues.e.g.Abortion, Euthanasia and the Family. Please invite all the people at Mass or otherwise to pray. We concentrate especially on the Rosary.
Another text if USapho olungcwele, page 253 in Hymn Book.