15th November 2007
1. The following are the various responsibilities in our diocese of Kokstad.
a. Vicar General, Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin.
b. Consultors, Fr Mariano, Fr Peter, Fr Lucas, Fr Francis, Fr Joseph, Fr Lizo.
c. Chancellor, Fr Joseph.
d. St Annes Sodality, Fr Lucas Bambezela.
e. Liturgy, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza.
f. Sacred Sodality, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza.
g. The Amadodana, Fr Silindile Yalezo.
h. Abantwana bakaMariya, Fr Thabang Letsohla.
i. Legion of Mary, Fr Thabang Letsohla.
j. Youth, Fr Sihle Mbhele.
k. Vocations Director of the Diocese, Fr Lizo Nontshe.
l. The Amadodakazi, Fr Aaron Nakufa.
m. Amajoni , Sr Vianney and Fr Sihle Mbhele.
n. Protocol issues, Fr Mariano and Sr Natalia.
o. Marriage Tribunal Judge, Fr Vincent Bwete.
p. Diocesan Secretary, Mrs Lorna Wicks.
q. Diocesan Pilgrimage to Telgte, Fr Francis Lemao.
r. Catechetical Director of the diocese, Sr Callista.
s. Sinosizo Director, Mrs Patricia Napier.
t. Project Manager, Anthony Ciro.
u. Agricultural Development, Bro Herman.
2. The Diocese was deeply saddened by the sudden death of Sr Mary Joseph of the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who died on her way to Mariannhill Hospital on the 22nd of September. Sr Mary Joseph served this diocese with great faithfulness for forty years.
She was a teacher and formed generations of young people. We mainly associate her with Hardenberg though she spent the last number of years at Flagstaff. Sr Mary Joseph fell ill and while her Provincial was taking her to Mariannhill her condition took a serious turn on the way, she had to be taken to Rietvlei Hospital and there she died. Sr was laid to rest in Matikwe. The bishop said Mass on Sunday in Flagstaff thanking God for her service and asking God to receive her into Eternal life. We send our sympathies to the whole congregation.
3. We welcome Fr Memo, a Comboni Father from Mexico who has come to join our diocese. Fr Memo will live at Mt Ayliff and assist Fr Melese in Mt Ayliff and Tabankulu. We are so happy to have him with us.
4. On the 27th of September St Danuta and Joanna of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate in Matatiele celebrated their Silver Jubilee of Religious Life. In a beautiful celebration in the church in Matatiele the Sisters give thanks to God for His faithfulness to them. Both are playing very important roles in the life of the Church in Matatiele, and we thank God for their presence among us and pray God to give them many more years of religious life and many more years in Kokstad.
5. In an effort to offer our people a sign of hope Fr Melese has had the beautiful idea of erecting a cross over the towns of Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu. In two separate celebrations with large congregations Fr Melese went on pilgrimage to the hills overlooking those villages and erected the cross, our sign of hope and final victory. This Cross is to remind the world of those who are sick and suffering, it calls us to serve them and pray for them, the Cross is also a sign to those who are bereaved that the dead who die with Christ will rise like him. These visible signs of our catholic faith build up a sense of faith in the events of ordinary life.
6. The Marian diocesan pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to Maria Telgte on the 6th of October this year was well attended. It is true that many people were unable to attend because on the previous week both Sacred Heart Sodality and St Annes celebrated their retreats in Kokstad. Yet, a fine crowd of Youth attended and it was a joyful night of prayer and togetherness in the Lord. The Diocese express sincere thanks to those priests who led us during the night, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza, Fr Lizo Nontshe, Fr Sihle Mbhele, Fr Silindile Yalezo, Fr Melese Tumato, Fr Francis Lemao, Fr Mbulelo ofm and a special word of thanks to Sister Henrietta Madlala and Fr John at Maria Telgte. Appreciation too for Fr Joe for the sound. The Sisters are very faithful to this Night of prayer and give a good example.
7. From the 9th to the 18th of October the bishop with Anthony Ciro and Mrs Clotilda Damane, Mrs Ethel Ntshebe, Mr Gwanisheni and Mr Vanana visited Ireland as guests of RESPOND.
RESPOND is a social housing unit which has 25 years of proven accomplishment providing housing and villages for people in Ireland. They are now becoming involved in our Diocese in Kokstad and they invited us to participate in their Jubilee celebrations.
Our people from Bizana were delighted to see Ireland and experience the faith of people in Ireland and see how live is lived over there.
RESPOND will begin its development work at Shayamoya. It has drawn up detailed plans and has advanced negotiations with the Municipality for this work. Mr Niall Hopkins has come from Ireland and will acquire a house in Kokstad to direct the operation with Anthony Ciro and David Gardiner. They also have plans for Bizana and Maluti.
8. The Bishop offered short retreats and celebrated confirmation with the faithful in Emakolonini in Mr Frere, in Matatiele town and at Mt Ayliff recently. Congratulations to the priests and parents who prepared their people for this important decision of faith and commitment to the gospel in their lives.
9. On Sunday the 11th of November the Bishop blessed the New Church of St George at Dante in the Parish of Mt Ayliff. Present were Fr Benno the present Provincial of the Comboni Fathers, and the incoming provincial, Fr Joseph Sandri. In dedicating the church to St George we remember in a special way Fr Giorgio Stefani our well beloved colleague who laboured with such dedication in Mount Ayliff for seven years and died so tragically. We pray that this simple but nice new church will be a focus of faith and a source of life and community for our people.
10. During Advent please take the envelops for the Diocesan collection. These are the envelops with the photo of the bishop on the front. And this collection is for the work of the Diocese while part of the collection is dedicated to various other collections we failed to subscribe to during the year, like the Mission collection.
11. Sister Callista who is the director of the catechetics and Nombini and Sr Chrysantha continued their work throughout the diocese during 2007. On November 12th they reviewed the state of Catechetics during this year.
Sr Callista was very positive in that in many areas the catechism teachers attended workshops and responded generously. She thanks the priests, some of whom are making great efforts in order to pass on their faith to others.
In a few places that does not seem so be so successful. This is a serious indictment. Sister says that she found a growing commitment to the work of catechetics. Many teachers come to their workshops using their own money as the priests and parish councils seem incapable in some instances in providing assistance. Very many have a deep desire to know more about their faith. They are happy to do this work. Sister recommends that we have two retreats, spiritual retreats in 2008 in order to build up our people as Evangelisers.
The New Catechism from Sr Theodula in Umtata is being used more extensively now. It will soon be in Sesotho. It is easy to useand it is founded on the bible.
Sister is also happy that at the workshops some fervent parishioners who are not catechism teachers come to deepen their own faith.
Sister asked that each parish conduct ongoing formation for the parish each year.
Sister found difficulties in that the RCIA has not been adequately developed. She also found that many of our catechism teachers are over extended in that they are members of Sodalities, involved in Home-based caring and so are over extended.
12.The Rural Education Access Program (REAP) hopes to have many more successful applications this year. Tremendous work has been done by Lorna Wicks in interviewing candidates for bursaries. These bursaries are of invaluable assistance for bright but poor rural children. With these bursaries the door of Higher Education is open to them and their families. The average value of the bursary is about R10 000. We hope to have quite a number of new candidates at University next year.
The Bishop is the Chairperson of REAP in South Africa, this year we have 380 students from all over the country attending third level educations facilities. Without this assistance these students would have no way to pursue their studies.
One of our student is completing as a Chartered Accountant which is the highest qualification in that field. She is one of the first African woman in the country to attain this distinction.
She came to the bishop’s attention, though not a catholic one of our Indian Teachers at Brooksnek. Because of her excellent year grades she has received most of her Education free through bursaries. She also suffers from Polio and struggled to walk to school in the hilly area around Brooksnek. She is from Dutyini, but Dutyini in Mt Ayliff parish.
13.Would people please send in early the dates for their Workshops, Retreats and Diocesan Events. During this year 2007 many dates clashed and people were disappointed.
Also it is very important to book early with Fr Joseph or Mrs Wicks if people wish to use the facilities here at the Cathedral.
14. For Your Diary
a. 18th to 24th of November Bishop will be on retreat.
b. 25th of November, Confirmation at Mt Ayliff.
c. 27th of November, End of the Year Concert, at the Creche in Matatiele.
d. 30th of November to the 1st of December, the lay leaders meeting in St John Vianney Seminary.
e. Remember the 26th to the 30th of November, Theology School at Maria Telgte. People should pay R30 and transport will be provided from Kokstad to Telgte. However, if you can take your people directly to Maria Telgte it will be a great help.
Those who will lecture there this year, Tuesday, Fr Silindile Yalezo Wednesday, Fr Lizo Nontshe
Thursday, Fr Sizwe Mkhonza
Sister Callista Fr Mariano and the Bishop will also be in attendance and offer various lectures.
f. December the 2nd, Confirmation at the Cathedral in Kokstad.
g. Kevealer: 3rd to the 7th of December will be the Youth Pilgrimage by foot to Kevealer directed by Fr Sihle Mbhele assisted by Fr Vincent and Fr Melese.
h. 6th of December 60 years Jubilee of St Annes Sodality of Mariannhill Diocese.
i. 5th to the 8th of December, the Abantwana bakaMaria Retreat at the Cathedral.
j. 8th of December, the Amadodakazi have retreat at Bhongweni, Fr Aaron.
k. 11th of December will be the Consultors meeting 9:30.
l. December 11th again we will have a short Christmas service at 11: 30. All priests and sisters are invited to this and will celebrate Christmas dinner afterwards.
m. 16th of December Rasheni, Mvenyane, Blessing of the New Church and confirmation Congratulations to Fr Thabang.
n. 17th of December , Ordination of Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni at Bhongweni.
o. On the 18th of December 5 of our girls will be taking the first vows as religious in the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart at Matikwe. On the same day 3 more girls from the diocese will be received into Novitiate. Congratulations and rejoicings.
ACCODATION AT BISHOP’S HOUSE – BOOKINGS 2008
Friday 8th February
Friday 4th April
Friday 30th May
Friday & Saturday 27th – 28th June
Friday 1st August
Friday – Sunday 26th – 28th September
Friday 31st October
Friday 28th November
Friday – Sunday 1st – 3rd February
Friday – Sunday 11th – 13th April
Friday – Sunday 17th – 19th October
This is a Kokstad diocesan initiative which employs and trains members of the communities some of whom are themselves sick and poor, to deliver a range of services to meet the need of the area. It has been set up on a non-denominational basis in its management committee, its staff and its target groups amongst the poor and the sick. It aims to support the statutory problems. From the past eight years Sinosizo has trained hundreds of local people, mainly housewives, as volunteers to care for their neighbour who are ill and children who are vulnerable.
Dividing the area into three regions being Kokstad (KZN), Maluti (EC) and Flagstaff (EC), each with a regional manager, members of the community, trained to care for the sick in their homes, are recruited from within the communities they serve.
ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC)
Careworkers offer support and assistance in childbirth registrations in the case where children have been orphaned. Where children have been registered and are in receipt of child grant, help is offered to settle the child in the new home, to ensure appropriate standard of shelter and oversee regular attendance at school and participation in community activities. We also offer services such as Psycho Social Support, Legal Aid etc. We offer limited nutrition to needy cases especially vulnerable infants.
Sinosizo also has its own garden projects which help with food parcels to the needy.
ANTI-RETROVIRAL TREATMENT (ART) SUPPORT
Careworkers assist patients by referring them and sometimes accompanying them to clinics to have themselves tested and provide counseling to patients on treatment.
These patients are being monitored by careworkers to ensure that they receive their treatment regularly, thus making it possible for the hospitals to attend to more urgent cases.
EDUCATION FOR LIFE PROGRAMME
Sinosizo undertakes to provide information and support to young people on a range of personal development issues, particularly those which will impact on building healthy and responsible relationships and avoiding HIV infection. It is aimed at a behavioural change.
Communities and schools are targeted in order to maximize the number of young people contacted, and follow-up meetings and activities are organized in an attempt to sustain the impact of the programme.
1 Finance officer
1 ARV Statistics officer
3 Regional managers
1 Education for Life Project Manager
68 OVC careworkers
108 HBC carewokers
No of patients : 997
No of Orphans: 2547
No of Vulnerable Children: 223
A great support with food, clothes and nourishment is the work of Sr Christina who manages to find donors in every shop in Kokstad and get food out to the poor all over the diocese.
16.COOLOCK HOUSE MEETING OF THE PRIESTS –
Oct 29-Nov 1
i. Fr Mariano spoke on Evangelization and told us that Evangelization means a transformation in the person’s life due to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Evangelization leads to personal conversion, to values and beliefs which give direction to life.
So we have to ask ourselves, ‘does our pastoral ministry touch people’s hearts and minds?’
We have to ask ourselves again what is the heart of my pastoral ministry?
What meaning do I give to my pastoral activities?
Or again what kind of priest is necessary to evangelise our diocese?
And are priests the only the evangelizers? The Christian baptized community?
ii. Points made during the following discussion:
Each person must make a personal private act of sincere faith.
Catechetics contributes to evangelization but is not the same thing. Most of our children can learn catechism, but many of them never personally encounter Jesus themselves.
Sacraments are meant to be moments of personal response, of personal faith, of personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
How are people actually prepared to receive Sacraments. Is something, is anything happening when people receive Sacraments?
Evangelization is the basic demand of the Pastoral Forum at Botha’s Hill this year when people from all over the country spoke about what they need from the church.
People leave the church for ‘spirituality’, yet to be evangelized is to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus, why?
Why do people not need, not fill the need of the Sacraments? Every day they seem to have a 1000 needs, needs for forgiveness, comfort, hope, friendship, salvation, peace, healing nourishment? Why do people say the Church is an Institution? Is there therefore life, encounter in our Pastoral Ministry?
iii. Reflection: What is hindering evangelization?
a. The type of society influences more strongly than the church.
b. Poor training and poor support for catechism teachers.
c. No post confirmation courses or classes for many people.
d. The Institutional set up the church makes us take automatic steps at certain stages.
e. We don’t convince people.
f. Modern society offers more tangible response than the church.
g. We don’t own the Sacraments personally and only approach them because of peer and parental pressure.
h. There are few Catholic families so young people don’t digest the faith.
Equally there are no catholic schools to help them internalize that faith.
i. Priests not involved in the formation of faith. We don’t convince our people that our services, our sacraments, our teaching, our preaching, our ministry, are channels of grace.
j. We need to evangelize all the sodalities.
We made the following decisions in Coolock House
a. We adopted the RCIA as our method of leading our people of faith, our means of evangelization.
The bishop is to issue a letter outlining the use of this program.
b. Report of Sacop. Fr Tabang spoke about the meeting of priests of South Africa at which he was our representative. He said they reflect on Sacraments as healing, they noted that many priests do not attend, renew courses.
He says that AGROP, the association of young priests needs to be promoted by the diocese.
Priests need to support each other.
c. Fr Lizo was asked to investigate how our priests can become involved with Broadcasting on UMHLOBO WENENE and the media. Fr Lizo is the Editor of the INKWENKWEZI.
d. Fr Sizwe offered a reflection on the recent diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte . He made many suggestions and the result was the establishment of a committee. The committee will be convened by Fr Francis Lemao. It would comprise Fr Sizwe, Fr John Kerr, Mr Michael Khumalo, Lungelo Jojo, a Sister from Telgte and Anna Mbopheni of the St Annes Sodality.
e. The Telgte summer school this year would have lectures
Fr Sizwe on Evangelization.
Fr Lizo on the Sacraments, a general introduction.
Fr Silindile who will speak on Liturgy, Music and the use of the Hymn book.
There would be also contributions from Sister Callista and Fr Mariano.
Telgte will take place between the 26th and the 30th of November.
f. Fr Vincent Bwete reported on his work as Judge in the Marriage Tribunal. He will supply the priests with pre-marriage enquiry forms.
g. There was a long discussion on the relationship between Sodalites and parishes. It was agreed that the parish priest must approve those to be admitted to sodalities.
Ceremonies of admissions are to be ordinarily performed in the parishes. It is absolutely essential to check on the preparation of candidates regarding baptism, confirmation, marriage, good name, general commitment to the catholic faith.
While diocesan formation is excellent and priests can avail of its input, the program of the local parish priest must take precedence. Hopefully priests will be able to assure the Diocesan Director that their candidates are well prepared.
h. The Youth
Fr Melese reported on the excellent work with the Youth Cross in all parishes. The visit of the Youth Cross was a great call to prayer and commitment in all parishes.
The Kevealer pilgrimage will take place between December the 3rd and the 7th from Franklin, each parish will pay R150. Each person attending will pay R35.
Each group from each parish should have some adults accompanying them.
The Leader of the pilgrimage is Fr Sihle with help from Fr Sizwe, Fr Melese, Bro Thabo and Sr Natalia.
It is agreed that the diocesan Youth Cross will be erected at Maria Telgte.
Fr Melese spoke about the International Youth meeting in Australia 14th to the 20th of July 2008. He will attend and represent us.
It was strongly advocated that Education for Life Programme of the Diocese should be used for all Youth life formation.
i. Fr Tabang will direct the Abantwana baka Maria, they will meet in Kokstad for the retreat from December the 5th to the 9th .
It was agreed that the boys of the Abantwana should wear the blue uniform which should be the waist-coat . More emphasizes on boys participation.
j. Fr Tabang has help the Legion to establish three Curiae and on Commitium.
It was agreed that more needs to be done for the vocations in the diocese especially for the diocesan priesthood. Besides your own parish work and prayers (Holy Hour in the parish etc) for vocations please work fully with Fr Lizo.
k. Fr Joseph handed out Statutes of PPC and PFC and it was agreed that the question of having a Diocesan Synod would be discussed in March.