15th September 2003
1. Forth Coming Events.
1. Preach Retreat to Mariannhill CMM.. Bishop – September 14th to the 20th .
2. 20th – 21st of September. – Confirmation retreat and Confirmation Tabankhulu. Bishop.
3. The bishop will be away on holidays from the 22nd of September to the 20th of October.
4. Canonisation day of St Daniel Comboni. Rome. 5th of October 2003.
5. Seminary Department meeting . Pretoria. Bishop 22nd – 23rd of October.
6. Diocesan Priests’ Day of Recollection and prayer . Maria Telgte October 14th .
7. Thanksgiving celebration and Mass for our new saint, St Daniel Comboni at Mt Frere. October 26th beginning at 8.30 am. Vigil the previous night. All invited.
8. Diocesan consultors meeting 27th of October at Coolock at 4.pm.
9. Coolock meeting for all the clergy of diocese – 27th of October to the 30th of October.
10. Durban Metropolitan meeting of Bishops. 30th of October, 9 am.
11. Bishops of Metropolitan meet with religious provincials Durban, 30th October 2 pm.
12. Day of recollection and prayer for the parish of Mt Ayliff. 1st of November, Bishop.
13. Confirmation at Cathedral in Kokstad , 2nd of November. Bishop.
14. Catechetical Diocesan team meet in Bishop’s House on November 3rd.
15. Bishops’ SACBC Board meeting in Pretoria 4th to the 7th of November.
16. Confirmation at Mechailing, St Francis November the 9th .
17. Talk to the book club at Kokstad, Bishop , November 10th .
18. REAP meeting in Cape Town 14th November. Bishop.
19. Confirmation in Naledi , Hardenberg 16th November.
20. Our Faith as Catholics. Public talk, Bishop Kokstad 19th November.
21. Umzinto celebration of Blessed Mary of the Passion November 21st .
22. Confirmation in Mt Ayliff November 23rd .
23. Diocesan Pastoral Council, November 29th Kokstad .Convenor is Fr Bill Lovett. Each parish will have three representatives. Bishops House at 9.30.
24. Confirmation at St Antons 30th November.
25. Confirmation in Bizana 7th December.
26. Family day of parish of Bhongweni14th December.
27. Ordination to priesthood of Bro Aaron Nakufa ofm at Mbhongweni 16th of December. All are welcome.
28. Masses around Christmas and New Year Mt Frere.Bishop.
29. Theology school for leaders in whatever capacity will take place at Maria Telgte Mission from the 24th of November until the 28th .The fee is R25 per person.
30. Pilgrimage of the Youth to Kevelear will take place from the 8th to the 12th of December . It will be led by Fr Vincent and Youth Executive with Fr Gunther being managing director. All sisters who can help please come.
2. The Catechetical team of Sr Callista, Sr Chrysanta, Sr Paulus Maria are available for all parishes to help our catechism teachers. Please welcome them in the parish and encourage many teachers to attend. We know how bored children are with professional teachers at school. If we do not offer our catechism teachers some food for their spirit and mind they will also make catechism a bore.
3. The Youth in the diocese. The chaplain Fr Vincent Bwete is there to help. Beyond the pilgrimage to Kevelear we should also plan something for our youth during the December /January holidays. It is true many youth are away during this time. But also many youth are sitting around doing nothing. It is a time for the parish to provide something for our Youth’s formation.
4. Fr Solly is the Commander-in-chief of the AmaSotshanyana ka Kristu uKumkani. This group can be formed during school holidays. A little program for them for each week and especially a small retreat run by the Sacred Heart or St Anne’s? Sister Vianney continues to do wonderful work with the Amajoni in her area. Great numbers were received in Bhongweni on the 24th of August.
5. Congratulations to Fr Sizwe the chaplain of the Sacred Heart Society in getting the members of the Sacred Heart in St Antonstrained as Volunteers for Sinosizo. It is obvious that we have to engage the members of our Sodalities in actual work in the parish.
6. Fr Bongani Mbhele is the Vocations Director. There are promises of Vocations for this coming year. Please do speak to the young men of your parishes and encourage them and put them in contact with Fr Bongani. We will have vocations occasions during holidays. The sisters are also encouraged to make contact with the girls and show them the challenge of religious vocation.
7. Marriage Encounter is making great strides in certain areas. Frs Lulama, Sihlobo and Bongani have now offered many couples in the diocese the experience of marriage encounter. Almost all participants are very exited. It has enriched their marriages and their lives and their communication. We are now training a team to establish marriage encounter in Kokstad diocese. At the moment they have been very active in Bhongweni, Bizana, Cedarville and Matatiele. It would be good if it could expand into other parishes.
8. Sister Death has continued to visit us. Fr Xolelo Khumalo’s Father was laid to rest in Gogela.
Sister Sosibo of the Congregation of the Precious Blood Sisters, a young sister from Bizana was buried on the 7th of July at Glen Avent. We send sympathies to the Congregation and to her family.
Bishop Johannes Brennickmeier OP was laid to rest on the 12th of July in Kroonstad.
Mr Libopua Bereng who was the co-ordinator of the CIE office in Kokstad died suddenly
on the 4th of August. The King was present at his funeral in Lesotho. We had a full Cathedral for his memorial Mass two days previous to the funeral. Teachers appreciate the work of Catholic Institute of Education. At the moment they are hoping to run Whole School Development programs for up to twenty schools in Bizana area. This is a great contribution of the diocese and the Church to the youth and their teachers.
9. Sinosizo. Nomvano Qwebebe and Ms Patience Nogabe work throughout the diocese training volunteers and seeing their work with the sick and the dying. The Supervisors have met each month. Each area has a supervisor. When the supervisor is working well and volunteers fill the cards we offer a little incentive to encourage. It is excellent Christian training for our people. If their eyes are closed to orphans and abandoned sick then we are not going any place in a hurry as Christians.
Please pick up soup and maize here on Mondays for Sinosizo, it is easy done and means hungry people have something to eat and soften the suffering of their lives.
Mrs Sodala, Assistant head of Social Welfare, addressed the supervisors and thanked them for their excellent work accessing Government assistance and documents.
Fr Sizwe has trained a team who are efficient in bringing children and parents for Government social services. It is obvious that in many outstations people have no idea of Sinosizo, have no Volunteers, and very few have welfare. We as priests, brothers and sisters must be involved here. Each place must train Volunteers and assist Sinosizo.
10. This is the year of Rosary. October will be the Month of Rosary. This calls for an extra special effort in all parishes to invite people to say the Rosary, particularly the family rosary. The statues are available in certain areas.
11. I have distributed a number of copies of the new work- book for confirmation candidates prepared by the Sotho Pastoral Commission. These books, in English, makes excellent reference books for Confirmation- our last chance to speak to the youth of their faith.
12. The diocese was very happy to welcome Bro Philip Pinto, the Superior General of the Christian Brothers. He came to visit Bro Val and Bro Alan on the 9th/ 10th of August.
The diocese is deeply appreciative of the presence and work of the Brothers. Their generosity and commitment to the Church and the diocese is exemplary.
13. We celebrated the Assumption of Mary, the national religious holiday, at the Cathedral with Mass and lunch on the 18th of August. Almost all the priests and sisters were present and it was a day and celebration and joy.
14. Lenten Appeal had its best year ever this year. Congratulations to Bro Val and to all the priests in that the money realised was 11% higher than last year. We have been granted certain monies from this appeal already.
15. The bishop has met the parish councils of Mt Ayliff, Tabankulu, Lusikisiki, Kokstad, Maria Telgte, Mt Frere in the past month. He is still waiting for dates to visit the parish councils in the remaining parishes.
16. Inculturation Seminar for religious Clergy and laity, 3rd to the 5th of October 2003 at Koinonia ,Botha’s Hill. Those who can attend that weekend are invited, the cost is R300.
17. Because of the increase in students numbers in the seminary building will begin at St John Vianney by the end of September this year. It is hoped to eventually build for 150 students.
18. Please make sure that there is a parish finance committee in your parish. Try and see that they have proper books and that administrative details are kept. Administration of books, financial records and accounts is important, carelessness here can lead to real suffering later for people and ourselves and lead to divisions in the parish and growth of mistrust. Please also keep a Chronicle of major happenings in your parish.
19. a The bishop’s at the August plenary session discussed many issues including;.
i. The Conference endorsed the Education for Life program and encourage its introduction in the whole country. (We have a team in the diocese waiting for the invitation to come to your parish to present Education for life Youth program. Please consider them during December – January). Contact Sinosizo.
ii. The conference approves a program of reflection around marriage and the family based of Sunday readings of week 21 to 27 of cycle B. Parish priests are urged to use these readings to help people to improve their family life.
iii. There is a. Family Planning office in the General Secretariate which offers advise regarding the regulation of births. This office can come on invitation.
iv. There were major discussions on issues surrounding accusations of sexual abuse. It was decided that where accusations of sexual abuse concerning minors have been substantiated these have to be reported by parents and guardians; if they failed to do so then the church authority will report to the commissioners for Child Welfare.
Accusations made by adults concerning abuse which they suffered while still minors have to be reported to Senior members of the detective branch by the victims or if they fail to do so by the Church authority.
20. Note regarding Marriage Officers from Khanya House. The Department of Home Affairs informed us about some of the problems and difficulties encountered with applications received from our Catholic office in Pretoria. In order to assist them to speed up our applications we are asked to attach the Residence/Work Permit to the application form.(Important)
We also ask you to send us the priest’s renewal of his Residence/Work Permit before the expiring date. (Very Important).
Test for a Marriage Officer.
A priest must acquaint himself fully with the contents of the manual before he can arrange for an appointment within a six months period from the date written on the letter from the Home Affairs.
The priest must also be fully conversant with the Marriage Act 1961 (Act No 25 of 1961). The passing mark is sixty percent.
We ask the priests to keep the Test appointments. The Home Affairs say, they are tired of priests asking for a re-test and not turning up for the re- arranged appointment.
Change of Address:
When a priest is transferred from one diocese to another, the chancery must inform Khanya House immediately so that we can furnish the Office of Home Affairs about the new address of the Marriage Officer.( Very Important)
When a priest has been transferred from the diocese to another, he or the diocesan secretary must notify the nearest District Home Affairs to transfer the priest’s file to his new address (very important)
We also ask that you inform us immediately when a priest departs from this world (Dies), leave priesthood or leave the Republic of South Africa. The chancery must also arrange for the return of all documentation of that Marriage Officer: i.e the Letter of Designation, the Books containing Marriage Registers (B1-30) and Marriage Certificates (B1-27) to the nearest District Representative of the Department of Home Affairs (Very Important).
We would appreciate that all bishops inform priests about the above information from the Home Affairs, Pretoria.
21 We welcome Sister Annuarite Chulu from the Poor Clare Monastery of Lusaka who is now resident in Santa Chiara. It is very good if the priests make an effort some day to offer to visit the Poor Clares, say Mass, have a time of prayer and be encouraged in their faith by the presence of our Sisters who are dedicated to a life of prayer for the Church and Diocese.
22. We all rejoice that Fr Richard Kugbeh Kasin is recuperating well with great patience. He is still inspiring Justice and Peace behind the scenes, keeps up with his reading and prayers. It is good to have him in the house.
23. Priests must make an annual retreat; as we do not organise a diocesan retreat each one is free to arrange his own. It is highly recommended to have a preached or directed retreat.