10 January 2000
1.The diocesan consultors and the bishop made the following appointments after the meeting January the 10th:
Cathedral Kokstad, administrator; Fr Joseph Methanath.
Parish priest, Lusikisiki; Fr George Byarugaba
Parish priest, Flagstaff; Fr Francis Lemau
Parish priest, Matatiele; Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin
Parish priest, Umzongwana; Fr Jose Chackalakal
Parish priest, Bizana; Fr Egbert O’Dea.
Fr Rodgers Sihlobo will go on Sabbathical in July this year.
Fr Tony Hardiman will join the community at Hardenberg.
Fr Lawrence O’Shea has been transfered to the Transvaal.
Fr Vincent Zungu has been appointed Novice Master at Besters.
2. The Daughters of Charity made the following appointments:
Umzongwana; Sisters Agnes, Clothilda and Sibulelo.
Lusikisiki; Sisters Constancia, Mary Antony and Mary Clare.
Hardenberg; Sisters Egbert, Natalia, and Beauty.
Flagstaff; Sisters Vianney, Mary Joe, Alice, Gertrude and Margaret.
3. The diocese has great joy in welcoming a community of the Daughters of St Francis from Assisi to Maria Telgte. Sister Mary Anne has been working in the Catholic Institute of Education with Bro Jim. Sister Chrysantha will work as parish sister in Franklin. Sister Consolatrix will teach in the school in Maria Telgte. And another sister will join the community to keep the house.
4. With joy the diocese received a visit from the Superior General of the Comboni missionaries from Rome. Fr Augusto Manuel Ferreira paid a visit in the company of local provincial, Fr Bernard Riegel. We had the opportunity of expressing the gratitude of the diocese for the presence of the Combonies Missionaries here.
5. The youth retreat which took the form of a pilgrimage by foot to Kevelaer this year was a great success. We must thank Fr Joseph Methanath, Fr Giorgio, and Fr Gunter and Sister Natalia. We wish also to thank Sisters Margaret, Helena and Caroline who walked with the pilgrims.
It may be an idea, specially in the troubled areas of our diocese, to have peace marches through the troubled areas, marches filled with praise of God and prayer.
6. The priests of the diocese will meet at the Cathedral on February the 7th at 3 p.m. This arises from our meetings in Coolock. The object is to exchange pastoral experience, to socialize, to make plans for co-operation and work.
7. The diocese wishes to revive working in deaneries. During the month of February the bishop will try and meet the priests and later the apostolic teams of the deaneries on particular dates. These dates will be announced later.
8. The success of the Marriage encounter programmes initiated and organised by Fr Sihlobo at Bizana is very welcome. This new initiative deals with a central problem with the Christian life of the diocese. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of all the parishes getting involved through Fr Rodgers.
9. Congratulations to the Cathedral parish for starting adoration. Every Thursday from seven until six in the evening all are invited to participate.
10. It is with sorrow and yet gratitude that we say good bye to Fr Lawrence O’Shea who has been associated with Kokstad diocese for 43 years. We must express gratitude for the work he has done in many places over these years.
11. Sister Bridge McKenna’s programme is in the Southern Cross of 16th January. She has two priests retreat,in La Verna and Cape Town. She will not be coming to Kokstad.
12. Please note that the diocesan pastoral council has been postponed. In the light of plans which we need to make for the new year the consultors felt it would be better to wait.
13. The bishop will meet with all the sisters of the diocese at Coolock house. The feast of the Purification, 2 February, dioceses are asked to be aware of the great contribution of religious. The sisters will meet in Coolock on January the 31st until the morning of 3rd of February. Each congregation is asked to bring a symbol of their charism.
14. Please speaking about the danger of Aids early this year. We cannot allow our youth to destroy themselves. Even though Saturday funerals remind us of the deadly nature of Aids, we need to underline this and to name it for our people.
15. We rejoice in the presence of Brother Herman at Mt Frere. He has much experience in the Eastern Transvaal, Mpumalanga in Agricultural projects. Please contact Brother Herman.
16. Brother Erich has been very creative for the year 2000. He has made three beautiful crosses, type one,- for every parish in the diocese, please send it around from outstation to outstation to encourage the devotion of the people.
In tykpe two cross,Brother Erich produced beautiful family crucifixes ( 8 Rand). Type three is a small cross, a beautiful imposition of the figure of Christ costing R5. This latter is very popular around the country and is ideal for each Christian as a symbol of commitment to the Holy Year.
We remember in a special way however to emphasise the Word of God as the centre of our devotion and prayer during this year.
17. On the 24th of December at Christmas Mass the bishop opened the Holy Year at the Cathedral. We followed the Vatican rite of enthonment of the Word of God, the hymn of praise of the Jubilee year, and the Papal letter.
On the 31st of December in the diocese we offered midnight Mass with ringing of the bells, proclamation of the Word as our entry in the New Millenium.
18. The priests should note the dates for the meetings of the diocese this year at Coolock house. The first is from the night of the 13th of March until the morning of the 17th of March. In October from the evening of the 16th of October to the morning of the 19th of October.
19. On the 16th of December the parish of Hardenberg organised a wonderful centenary celebration. Bishop Bitsoane of Qashas Nek, 16 priests, a number of religious and a great congregation of faith were present. See Inkwenkwezi.
20. We offer our sincere gratitulations to Sr Callista, born in Hardenberg, who spent her apostolic life also working in Hardenberg on the occasion of her silver Jubilee as a Sister. This was celebrated on the 18th of December. We have a great appreciation for the work done by Sister Callista.
On the same day Sister Sibulelo from Umzongwana made her final commitment as a sister in the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We offer her congratulations. We rejoice that young ladies from our diocese have made their full commitment to Christ.
A highlight of the Christmas season was the final vows at Makhobas on the 27th of December of Sister Khumbuzile Helga Mathe. This was a day of immense joy for a great congregation. The singing and preparations made by Fr Peter and Sister Natalia and the parish with the hospitality of the community and families of Makhobas made this a special day.
21. We hope that the leaders of the Masotshanyana and the Bantwana bakaMaria will call the leaders of the various parishes early in the year to make a programme for the full year.
22. It is one of our top priorities of our diocese to have local vocations to the priesthood and also to religious life. So the work of the vocation committee is of crucial significance please ensure that the vocation committee are invited to your parish during the course of this year. Please invite them as soon as possible. The person to contact would be Fr Joseph Methanath at the Cathedral.
23. The bishop will be away from the diocese from the 19th of January to the 29th of January at the annual South African Catholic Bishops Conference in Pretoria.
24. Very important; would each parish and outstation have a ceremony of blessing and sending of all catechism teachers on a Sunday early in the year. A text, with a little adaptation can be found in the Hymn book, page 170.