1 September 1998.
1 Ms Prisca Hadebe conducted a rather spectacular marriage workshop and reconciliation service in Bizana on August 8. Some 15 couples attended. Input focused on relationship, communication and mutual acceptance in the home. People were deeply moved by the reflections. In the Reconciliation service many tears were spilled- even by the men, when they reflected on the hurt and suffering which people had caused each other.
All our diocesan meetings have returned repeatedly to the agonised question of family life in our parishes. Yet we are finding that people, at least some, want help, they are suffering. We hope other parishes will invite Prisca.
September 3-5, at Mariannhill, Retrouvaille, led by Mr and Mrs Vezi. This is a week-end and especially helps couples who have had serious trials in their marriage.
September 18-20, at Cathedral Kokstad, led by Home and Family office of Mariannhill, an intensive session on A Healthy Christian Marriage. This is open to all whom you see might benefit in their marriage, in preparation for marriage, or in training to help young couples understand marriage and family life.
October. The follow-up course of Marriage encounter. This is in Glenmore and is for those who have already been encountered. The week end will establish these couples as trainers. We hope, through them to have our own diocesan M.E.
2. Meeting of the Committee of the Year 2000 at Bishop’s House on October 10. Next year is dedicated to the Father with the invitation; Come back to the Father’s House. Try and have a person from the parish as you have had over the past two years.
The New Year will open with the usual all night vigil in Kokstad- at the Town Hall on night of 5th December.
Hopefully we can use this year as a year of Reconciliation and Healing. Fr Sihlobo is exremely interested in this ministry and hopehully will be able to give us some outlines.
We had healing services, night vigils in Thlangwini, Mount Ayliff. Mount Frere, and people have responded with enthusiasm.
3. This Year of the Holy Spirit has been dedicated to the Bible and Bible Christian Communities. Next meeting, of all leaders of Christian communities at Cathedral on September 12. Will be led by Sr Paulus Maria, Sr Khumbuzile and Sr Florentia.
4. Xhosa pastoral region meeting at Queenstown, October 27 afternoon to 29th. Representing us, Fr Sihlobo, Fr Peter Wilson and Fr George Byarugaba.
5. Youth annual retreat at Maria Telgte, December 3 to 5th. They should come to Kokstad on own steam and will then travel to Telgte by bus; they will return to Kokstad for Night vigil of Dec 5th and find their own way home.
6. Theology in Telgte as before, January 4th to 8th. Best send a group of leaders, men and women, from an outstation or two as a team.
7. Farm children will have their camp in Telgte, September 21-24. A few days of catechism and prayers for children especially from Telgte, Franklin, Cedarville and Kokstad.
8. St Clare was truly celebrated this year, with Fr Vumile leading novices and postulants on the feast day and many priests and people present on Monday 17 for a special Mass.
9. Sr Hermanegild has been elected new Provincial superior of the Umtata Province of the Precious Blood Sisters. We assure her of our prayers and congratulations. We are very grateful to Sr Christophora, the outgoing Provincial for her interest and care.
10. Directors of Masolenyana meet Kokstad on Monday, Sept. 28.
11. Day of Recollection for diocesan priests, Tuesday 29 Sept.
12. Final Profession of Vows, Sr Annacleta Daki, Bizana, Oct. 4th.
13. Retreats for Catholic teachers were held in August, 16th in Lusikisiki, Kokstad 19th, Mount Frere 26th and Hardenberg 30th. Upcoming is Bizana on 18th October. Also on 22 August the CIE hosted the Catholic Teachers Annual Meet for Umtata and Kokstad.
14. Bishops’ Conference, August 6th-12. Emphasised strongly lay formation; will organise a syllabus to help diocesan planners and programs; will issue a new South African Church Ordo; will soon come up with the new Xhosa, Sotho, English catechism; has new plans to replace the moribond Winter school; revised its ecumenical
directory with some help from Our Friends; went to Richmond, has a letter for the new holy year; is debating a report\analysis on the economic situation of the country.
The Conference resolved that the ordinary Mass Stipend of the Territory should be raised to R20. Advised though, that priests may accept a lesser amount.
The Conference encourages the whole church and therefore, each parish and community to see if they can promote a process of reconciliation and healing. Any ideas? Are our populations showing any signs of unity or fraternity? Or are we the same as in the old days?
The Bishops also passed this Resolution; ” The Conference resolves to request each bishop to engage in consultations whether a new Pastoral Plan should be drawn up. The Plenary Session of January 1999 will study the results of these Consultations and will take a decision on the matter”.
” In consideration of the lifelong devoted service to St John
Vianney Seminary of Frs Norbert Carrol, Matthew McDonald and Bonaventure Hinwood, the Conference resolves to negotiate with the Franciscan Provincial concerning its contribution towards their pensions and medical expenses”… Has a Bishops’ Conference ever passed a resolution naming people before?
” The Conference resolved that the diaconate ordination of students of St John Vianney Seminary take place sometime after completion of seminary training.”
15. Coolock House Prayer and Meeting for Priests from Monday 9th of November to Wednesday 11th. Sessions will begin on Monday at 4 p.m. and complete at lunch on Wednesday. Those who wish be there Sunday night or for lunch on Monday or who wish to remain till Thursday morning should please let Fr Joseph here know a week before hand.
16. Study of Charism in celebration of golden jubilee of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart presence in South Africa at Coolock November 26, a Thursday to 28th, Saturday, lunch.
17. Meeting of diocesan executive of Children of Mary, chaired by Sr Paulus Maria at Kokstad, November 21, morning.
18. Welcome home to Fr Tony and Fr Maximo from overseas’ holidays.
The Bishop will be in Ireland until September 25th.