1 JULY 1998
1. The CIE has arranged the following reflection prayer days for Catholic teachers in Government schools;
Lusikisiki – August 16th after Mass
Bizana – August 23rd after Mass
Mt Frere – August 26th after Mass
Hardenberg – August 30th after Mass
Please advertise and encourage teachers to attend.
2. One of the constant needs emerging from our meetings is the state of the family and the Education of the young in family values. We are trying to help parents to enter more fully into their marriage vocations. Sister Lucia, a Marriage counsellor, will be at the Cathedral, the 27th to 29th August. Those who might help young people in marriage, sexual and family matters should attend.
The Home and Family Institute in Mariannhill will conduct a seminar on “Healthy Christian marriage life”, 18th and 19th of September.
And always Marriage Encounter invites couples to attend their sessions. These can be contacted through Father Sihlobo. Also Retrovette provide sessions for couples struggling with their marriage.
3. Father Arturo who has done so much in Mount Frere for five years and who has taken a lead in promoting diocesan vocations will take a study year in Mexico in the renewal programme provided by the Congregation. Fr Arturo will be sorely missed within the Diocese, we hope he returns to Kokstad. Fr George Byarugaba has been appointed a Consulter in his place.
4. We must make a special effort to celebrate the Feast of St Clare. The Poor Clare sisters are totally dedicated in prayer and life to the Christian life of the diocese. I suggest that we have Mass on Monday morning the 17th of August at 9 a.m at the Poor Clare Monastery to celebrate the feast.
5. Remember in your prayers Fr Ernest Manasse RIP who worked sometime here. Remember the brother of Fr Thaddeus Xolelo Khumalo, a policeman in Johannesburg. He was buried at home at Gogela near Kokstad on the 9th of May. He was thirty-eight years in the Police service, he was murdered with his own gun.
6. RECENT EVENTS: The bishop spoke on the nature of the church at St Patrick’s Hall to an open congregation on May the 13th. St Theodula, Professor of religion at UNITRA, on the invitation of CIE, spoke with teachers on the 18th of May at St Patrick’s hall.
A Healing service was conducted during an all night vigil at Mount Frere on May the 16th. The people came in good numbers and were enthusiastic.
It was wonderful to see the Corpus Christi prosession taking place in public at many parishes including the Cathedral.
The Bishop preached at the National Sacred Heart annual retreat at Centocow on the night of June the 27th. He lead the Holy hour devotion.
7. The week for Christian unity was celebrated in Kokstad. The celebration took place at the Cathedral on May the 26th and was attended by a large congregation from many churches. The collections taken during the various functions during this week for Child Welfare realised R3000.
8. The annual celebration of ngQuza mountain where eleven people were shot by the Police in 1960 and some twenty of those arrested were later hanged for involvement in the struggle for freedom took place on June 6th. Fr Sihlobo, Vicar General, and Fr Egbert attended.
9. The workshop on family life had representatives from every parish. Mrs Dweba from Lusiki, Mr and Mrs Vezi from Mariannhill, Mr and Mrs Denge from Bizana and Sister Ambrose from Mount Frere all gave excellent input and fielded many questions from the keen audience.
There is no doubt that our people, parents and the youth are extremely worried about the state of their home family life. Everywhere this theme is presented we find the people responding with enthusiasm and with many questions.
We priests could assist by dealing with these issues in a sympathetic and understanding manner in sermons and talks.
10. The Bishop attended the IMBISA meeting of all bishops of Southern African Countries in Swaziland from the 6th to the 11th of June. Bishops from Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland attended. The theme was the ” powerful word of God”. It emphasized very strongly the absolute role of the Word of God in the Mission of the church. The opening Mass was a celebration of joy when 70 bishops entered the Cathedral in Manzini.
11. About one hundred adults were confirmed on Pentecost Sunday in Bizana. Many of these had been attracted to the church by the visitation of the Legion of Mary. There is no doubt that this society is most effective in spreading the faith. It would be excellent if we could transmit some of the Apostolic Spirit of home visitation to the other societies.
Two weeks later on the 14th of June hundred and ten members of the Legion of Mary renewed their commitment to the Apostolate in the annual Acies ceremony. On the same day hundred and thirty young children were received as Amasotshanyana kaKrestu uKumkani. Hundreds more are in preparation in the outstations.
The childrens’ soceities, Amasotshanyana, Abantwana baka Mariya and the youth offer fomation for our children. Our sisters are to be highly praised for their work. All the help that parents and priests can give them should lead the children to attractive prayer, community and Apostolate.
12. At the Cathedral on June the 20th almost a hundred Leaders of small Christian communities gathered to review the work of the communities in the diocese. The reports showed that in some areas the small christian communities are functioning but in other areas nothing is yet happening.
Sister Paulus Maria, Sister Khumbuzile, Sister Bridget and Sister Florentia led the day with input on the importance of Biblical Apostolate, ceremony for the enthronement of the Bible, and question reg. difficulties in running small Christian communities. The next meeting will take place on the 22nd of August at the Cathedral again.
13. The youth executive of the Diocese met 22nd of June to plan the Youth day on July the 3rd. Parishes will provide entertainment with plays, choirs and other items of interest. This is not a competition, prizes will be offered for any excellent effort. This will cut down on competion and underline celebration and appreciating others talents.
Members of Youth executive will help your parish youth to have their own days and retreats during the year. Contact Sister Natalia or Sister Khumbuzile.
14. We are making bags of soup available for poor people and especialy poor children anywhere in the diocese. Already in five different parishes people organise to prepare the soup and to distribute it a few days a week.
In Kokstad, the women have taken an initiative to make the soup of greater quality adding vegetables, bones and other items. It is true that distribution of soup can be abused , but we cannot allow children during these cold months and times of unemployment and family distress to go hungry.
15. The parish councils of the Cathedral and Bhongweni with their Priests Fr Bruno and Fr Larry met at the Cathedral hall on the evening of 23rd of June to exchange experiences. The discussions centered on catechetics and on youth problems. Father Tom challenged people to see what they can do as the christian community to work for reconciliation, for the improvement of peoples’ lives, for peace in the community and for the spread of the faith.
16. Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin and Fr Joseph Methenath represented the diocese at a Regional meeting of Justice and Peace committees at Newcastle from April the 30th to the 2nd of May. We must now proceed to set up a small committee at the diocesan level to keep issues on our agenda.
Fr Peter Wilson represented the diocese at the Pastoral meeting of the Sotho region held in the Free State. This is the first time in a number of years we have attended. 20% of our catholics are Sotho speaking.
We welcome the seminarians home on holidays for their July break. Bongani will have a break after an excellent six months hardwork at Flagstaff with Fr Egbert.
We wish Fr John Kerr speedy recovery. His 350 boarding children await his return. John has battled with post operational difficulties and we hope he gets well soon.
Books and religious articles can be had from Father Joseph at the Bishop’s office. We continue to encourage the sale of the Xhosa Hymn books. We have a supply of Saints’ lives in Xhosa and some papal encyclicals and other printed material.
Please continue to prod the people to buy the Inkwenkwezi. Sales are good but still much more could be done. It will supply some religious reading in homes where many youth have no contact with the church. Fr Joseph has tidied up the archives at the bishop’s office. Sr Theodata and some of the other Holy Cross sisters gave us short accounts of the sisters who worked here in Kokstad over the years. Sisters, brothers, priests who have had members engaged in Kokstad diocese and who are now deceased are requested to send in a short account so that we can keep the memory alive in our archives and necrology. We have some Franciscans in the booklet compiled by Fr Hyacinth.
17. Mother Veronica, Namoyo, who is the foundress of Our Monastery here at Santa Clare in Kokstad has been visiting sisters in the Monastery for two months. It is a great joy to have her. We welcome with a very great joy sister Clare who has come to join this community. We are happy to have her, to have an Apostle whose life will be dedicated to prayer for the Church.
At the same time we expess sincere appreciation to sister Mulumba who on the 27th of May returned to Lusaka. She had been loaned to us for one year. Her life of prayer and dedication to the rule and life of the community was a great contribution.
Please continue to advise young girls of the beauty of this vocation. Please assist girls to visit the Monastery and see the life of the sisters. They can come for a day of prayer.
We rejoice with the profession of the sisters from the diocese at Glen Avent, Umtata. Sister Mary Jane Sosibo from Bizana, Sister Krysostoma Kolman from Hardenburg.
On October the 4th at Bizana church, Sunday, Sister Annacleta Daki will take her final vows as an FMM sister.
18. The bishop will be away at the major religious Superiors meeting from the 21st to the 24th of July in Mariannhill and from 24th to 31st of July he will be at Nairobi for a meeting of Seminary Rectors in English speaking countries in Africa.
19. Let us remember the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Let us try and put on something special for our people to underline this great feast of Mary and the role and the importance of Mary. We can challenge and invite the people to remember fundamental devotions. We can also use this feast to educate our children in the celebration of Mary.
20. Work has begun on the building of the new St Patrick’s college. It will retain the old name on the new site at Kokstad as it was inspired by the tradition and work of Holy Cross sisters at the Cathedral.
21. Fr Vincent Zungu preached May 22nd to the 24th to over 200 leaders of St Anne Society. He emphasised their participation in the seven step method, sharing the Word of God. We say goodbye with gratitude to Ulrich who came as a Comboni Missionary helper at Mount Ayliff for a year. He worked with enthusiasm and kindness among the people.
Tabankhulu Youth had a weekend at Pentecost. Umzongoana church has been redone and the priests’ house. Extensions with a new house at the priests’ residence in Bizana. A hall with accomodation has been completed by Brother Erich for Mount Ayliff. Fr Egbert is lifting bricks in Bukuveni. Fr Tom is looking at sites and feeling pockets in Bongweni. Lower Inceba and Hombe churches are complete.
Invite the Vocation committee.