12 August 2000
1. A Course for training and up-dating of leaders of priestless services and funerals will take place at the Cathedral from evening October 25th to 28th.
Please send people for training, both men and women. Also send groups, if for example you wish leaders for a particular outstation to be trained, please send at least two, and if possible three, from that place.
2 This course will be conducted by our diocesan team who have just come back from a month at Glenmore when they studied Lumko materials. On the team are Mr Qwesha from Mount Frere, Mr Dweba and Ncedo from Lusikisiki, Patrick Jojo and Sr Chrysanta from Maria Telgte, Sr Helena from Matatiele, S Beauty from Hardenberg and Sr Constantia from Tlangwini.
In their studies they paid special attention to Small Christian Communities, the RSIA program, the formation of leaders, the Church as a family of teams. Let us give them every opportunity to play a full role in the church, working with the priests and the parish councils.
3. Our diocese was very well represented at the National Forum during the Bishops’ conference at Mariannhill. With the bishop on the team were Fr George, St Natalia, Mr Jojo and Mrs Jwaqu and Mrs Godlo.
Bro Michael Burke, a Christian Brother who conducted the day, presented the assembly from every diocese in the Conference with the findings of the national survey on developments since launch of the Pastoral Plan in the late 1980’s to today. Clear advances were evident in much increased lay involvement in the Church and in the Catholic awareness of the role of the Bible in Christian life.
The challenges facing the Southern African Church today were exactly those highlighted at our own diocesan pastoral council in May, viz. Family and Marriage life is in a disasterous plight, the Youth are being touched only superficially, and leadership formation must be radically prioritized. These clearly are the areas where we must be over the next number of years.
Please prepare for the next Diocesan Pastoral Council in November by ensuring that each parish has a functioning parish council and representatives to send to Kokstad.
4. The bishop will be overseas from 18th of August to 18th of September, preaching in Austria and on holidays in Ireland. Fr Sihlobo leaves on a Sabbatical in September, his program will take him to Rome and Israel.
5. Mrs Patience Nogabe and Nomvano Qwebeba, who have had special training in Home care of the sick, especially in the care of Aids victims, have conducted three very succesful courses in the diocese. Please invite them as soon as possible to your parish and provide them with a group of good people who can engage in home visitation. They feel that what they have done so far has been very succesful.
Three of their ‘pupils’, three secondary schools boys, gave a presentation to 700 of their fellows in Langa High School in Flagstaff with resounding success. The home visitors, especially those in Lusiki, are doing very valuable work. Please engage our youth and people. Contact the team through Fr Joseph or Brother Sydney.
6. Dr Miriam Duggan, the Franciscan sister spend an excellent week working with 50 youth leaders in Kokstad from July 31th. She has trained these teams to offer Behaviour change to our youth. Her programs are credited with outstanding work in Uganda , Zambia and elsewhere. She was very pleased with our Kokstad youth. Thanks to the parishes who sent these youth.
Let us continue to meet with youth, even informally, encourage them. As those in Lusikisiki who are engaged in this work have said themselves, they have seen people who had given up all hope of living rise up and begin life again. Here we have a wonderful chance to offer youth a challenge which will do more for their human and spiritual growth than anything else. It is amazing how good young people are if called upon.
7. The youth pilgrimage, by foot, to Kevelaer will take pace from December 12th for four days this year. Please announce. Each one will pay Rand 50. Last year we had a wonderful experience. The few who were not serious were small girls who paid nothing and were just sent from some parishes to fill up numbers. There will be a big crowd this year and we want serious pilgrims only who can walk and who want to do something for God and to pray in this Jubilee Year.
8. The diocesan celebration of the Jubilee will be a Sunday event, November 26th. Please advertise in time. It will take place here in Kokstad and involve a march past with all parish groups trouping together. All priests are invited to Kokstad for that Sunday, invite the people to make this Jubilee effort.
9. On the same day and as a highlight of the Jubilee in the diocese Bro Bongani Mbhele will be ordained a priest, the first Kokstad born diocesan priest for this diocese. A team led by Fr Giorgio will meet to plan both Jubilee and Ordination liturgy. On the team will be Srs Natalia and Margaret and Paulus Maria; Mr Leonard Mokoena, Mrs Jwaqu and Mrs Godlo, Bro Bongani Mbhele with Fr Joseph and Mr Anthony Napier.
10. Coolock house for clergy, please note dates; October 16 (evening) to October 19 (morning). It will include a Jubilee theme for priests, led by Fr Joe Slattery and Fr Mkheseni Xulu.
11. Catholic Nurses International have their conference at Esselen Park, Johannesburg from 18 to22 September. Bishop will preach. Is it too pious a wish that a few nurses attend?
12. Many groups and professions have pilgrimages to Rome this Jubilee Year. The dioceses are invited to use the same dates to have celebrations for these groups at home. Of note is October 8, the Jubilee of Families. Could we have renewal of marriage vows, prayers, sermon etc on that day through out the diocese?
13. From the Bishops’ Conference, August 2000;
Fatima House to be bought for extension of seminaries. Will house some of the post-internship students who attend St John Vianney Seminary.
Fr Sithembele Sipuka appointed Rector of St John Vianney Seminary to succeed Bishop Pius Mlungisi Dlungwana.
Special representations to be made to the government on behalf of Angola and Sudan which were visited by groups of bishops. Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo who recently incurred President Mugabe’s ire attended a session to thank the Conference for its support.
A delegation of bishops to finally have a meeting with the Minister and Directors of Dept. of Home Affairs regarding the throny and troublesome question of visas, permits and residences of Church workers from abroad.
Review of the Aids desk in Khanya house and the difficulty of gaining access to funds.
Issues dealing with the use of Church land. While certain government figures had tried to say that churches owed 7% of the Land of the country the inventory drawn up by the Catholic Church shows in fact that the area owned by all churches together come to a percentage of 1%. Sizeable Catholic farms in the country are only 17. And 80% of church holdings are of less than 1 hectare. Experience shows that handing over, free, a large peice of land for sustainable agriculture could cost the Church One million rand.
In the light of new tax legislation the dioceses have to draw up lists of moneys and property which will be considered exempt under the category of non profit organisation.
The church will attend the Amnesty application by Eugene de Kock and friends for their burning of the Secretariat at Khanya House in 1988.
The bishops were briefed on the declaration on Justification made in conjunction with the Lutheran Federation.
Besides the Saturday Forum, the Bishops celebrated the consecration of Bishop Dlungwane at Mariannhill on Sunday, 6th , and the Wednesday Jubilee celebration at Kingspark Stadium. Sr Paulus Maria , our representative on the Inculturation committee of the Metropolitan area brought about 100 people from here. The new study book on Inculturation for use in all parishes was launched and soon will be available.