1. We open the Year of the Holy Spirit at the Cathedral in a night vigil on the 6th of December starting at 7 p.m.
The programme is as follows:-
7:00 : Service in English. Led by Fr Larry.
8:00 : Service on reconciliation. Fr Bill.
Choirs : Matatiele and Hardenberg. Masolenyana.
9:00 : Mass of the Holy Spirit. Fr Egbert.
Choir : Flagstaff
10:30 : Youth Service. Fr Giorgio, Sister Natalia.
11:30 : Rosary Proccession. Sisters, Children of Mary.
Choirs :St Mathews and St Antons.
12:30 : Service of Adoration. Bishop.
THEME (HOLY SPIRIT)
Benediction (Lusiki Choir)
Service of the Sick (Bizana Choir)
2:00 : Umlindo. Led by Amadodana
4:00 : Mass of the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
2. The year of the Holy Spirit should be pursued in each Parish in every way we can create. We especially wish to revigorate the small christian communities.
The theme of the year will be the Bible and the Holy Spirit. There will be a meeting for all leaders of the small christian communities at Kokstad on February the 7th. A team will introduce them to the 7 Step method again, and will introduce a service of Enthronement of the bible for parishes, stations and homes.
At Mass on the night of the 6th December the leaders of the izigodi will be blessed to lead the small christian communities.
3. Please pray in a very special way for Fr John Kerr who is seeing the Doctors. Pray also for Sister Intulo of the Poor Clares that she may get well.
4. A great congregation celebrated the Centenary of the parish of Mount Frere on the 15th and 16th of November. Former parish priests, Fr Tom (1992-1959), Fr Harry on two occasions, and Fr Bill (1977-1982) all attended. Many Precious Blood sisters who worked in the parish were back.
A wonderful feature of this celebration was that it concluded the procession of the Holy Cross for the Year of the Lord which has been an outstanding success in the parishes, stations and homes.
The bishop has already met the parish council and finance councils of Flagstaff, Bizana, Lusiki and Mount Ayliff to discuss financial matters, parish planing, catechetical matters, training of leaders and family and youth problems.
5. Confirmation was celebrated with joy at Makhoaseng, Makhoba, Mantlaneni, the Cathedral and Polile. We are challenged now to follow up the young people that they be true witnesses in church and world.
6. Please call the youth, especially those recently confirmed and those back from schools, for the Annual Youth retreat. From Thursday afternoon-4th-6th December, Cathedral.
7. Our six youth who went to Paris to meet with the Pope had a wonderful experienceand report back to the youth in December, they have an account in the Inkwenkwezi.
8. On the feast of Christ the King, November 23, hundreds of young children were received into the societies of the Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani and Umtwana Jesu in many parishes. Congratulations especially to the sisters and parents who encourage the little children in church, religious formation, training in Apostolate, and training in prayer.
9. The executives of St Annes society in the diocese meeting in September led by Fr Tony made a pilgrimage to pray at the Poor Clares. Saturday afternoon they had adoration at Santa Chiara. The Sisters prayed with the people who were greatly impressed and strengthened. All groups should use the opportunity during the retreats to pray at the Poor Clares and also we might encourage the people to materially support the monastery with food etc, supporting the Sisters who support us totally with their witness of faith and prayer.
10. Congratulations to the vocation team on their work this year. Please remember to invite them to your parish and major outstations during the course of 1998. Father Arturo and Father George.
Our four Seminarians will be on holidays from November the 28th. Please make them welcome throughout the diocese. They are our brothers, very much part of the family of the diocese.
11. Father Egbert, Fr Bernard and the Cathechetical committee organised a week-end for 100 cathecism teachers at the Holy Cross pastoral centre at the Cathedral, 10th to the 12th of October. This was lead by Mr Ncanisa with great assistance from Sister Mary Dionys Ngcobo.
Please contact the cathechetical team to organise training for your teachers during the course of next year. They will bring your people together and inspire and motivate them.
12. The Health desk had a meeting at the Bishop’s house on the 18th of October led by Sister Ambrose Tshabalala. Many people present wish to work with the youth showing the dangers of unrestricted sexual practises, Aids and the need for proper marriage preparation.
Sister Lucia Rai spent two periods with a small group speaking about marriage problems. There is an interest in becoming marriage counsellors in the diocese.
13. We are making contact with Marriage Encouter and hope to have a Kokstad diocesan group meeting. If you have good catholic couples encourage them to participate. It will enrich their own marriages and train them to prepare the young.
Contact Sister Ambrose for lectures, and discussions with your youth in the parish. If you give Sister timely notice she will certainly come with others to speak to your youth.
14. CIE. The Catholic Institute of Education so ably led by Brother Jim and Sister Mary organised days of prayer for Catholic teachers in Government schools at Bizana, Kokstad and Mount Frere during September and October. These were well attended, with more encouragement more teachers would come. With Jim and Mary Mrs Nakin and Mrs Napier form the team.
Using materials made available by READ they made a number of presentations and found ready response from many schools. They hope to train forty teachers in the methodology of READ in February 1998.
They introduced OLSET. This is an NGO which specialises in language teaching using charts and tape recorders. Twenty-seven schools have shown lively interest and are using this material which is given free. The CIE conducted three courses and followed up with monitoring during the past two months.
Working with Miss Grace Sibeko CIE gave a number of courses of the OPEN SOCIETY specialising in Maths. Though planned for 40 some 87 teachers came.
In Matatiele 45 teachers registered.
The CIE now brings the schools together in clusters to follow up courses given over the past 3 years. They are finding a tremendous interest from teachers who are improving in teaching ability and confidence. Please apprise catholic teachers and indeed any schools in your area of these facilities. To contact Brother Jim– Number 037 (7271223).
15. There were two diocesan meetings in October. From the 13th to the 16th of October the priests and the bishop met at Coolock House. On the 18th of October the bishop met with all the sisters of the diocese at the Poor Clares.
The discussions centered on life in the diocese, problems and plans. The consensus of the two meetings was remarkable.
Father Arturo was re-elected representative to SACOP for another 3 years with Father George Byarugaba his alternate.
There were reports from the vocation committee, plans for youth, discussions on celebrating the Year of the Holy Spirit, we discussed finance, and adult training.
We agreed to have a uniform for our leaders at priestly services and funerals. This outfit should be a black cassock for men and a black dress for women of the same material. This would be supplimented in the case of woman with a shawl or scapular as designed by the Poor Clares in consultation with Father Arturo. A committee would select the exact design and colour of the scapular.
In speaking of our financial situation Father Bruno use the word “alarming” on a few occasions. It is crucial that our people be enlightened on their serious obligation to support the diocese and the parish. We are a growing diocese with many seminarians- hopefully 4 or 5 more next year. Each seminarian’s cost for formation is R20 000 rand per year. So our people need to become seriously cognisant of the need for financial support.
Again in providing buildings, we only do so when qoutations are given, when the consultors of the diocese have agreed and where the people themselves give financial help and request such a building.
Both priests and sisters meeting discussed youth and the break
down of family life. It was agreed that a very serious effort be made to inform our youth about Aids. People bewailed the condom mentality of our time where sex has been totally commercialised. Our youth are getting very little guidance even from the church itself.
We will bring out a pastoral letter, have more talks from our Health Desk, use the opportunity of youth retreats, give more sermons on marriage during the year; also we suggest that we celebrate marriage and marriage annivesaries with emphasis.
It was suggested that we bring out a booklet on Catholic content reg. sexual and family life, that we use the Home and Family Institute in Marianhill to train people to form youth. Government finance might assist efforts reg. Aids epidemic.
16. The New Xhosa hymn book is now available at R20 at the bishop’s house. As we had to acquire 6000 of these at a cost of R138 000, we must get back some of this through sales. Enourage your people to buy at Christmas.
17. We discussed with Father Bafana Hlatshwayo CSSR the question of giving missions\revivals week-end retreats in our parishes. We hope during the Year of the Holy Spirit to have a team of priests, sisters and laity from the diocese who will visit our parishes and our major outstations for parish week-ends. These will speak with youth, sodalities, parents and the general population.
Such missions will comprise healing service, service of reconciliation and confessions, preaching and instruction, processions and para-liturgies with the Mass as the centre of all.