Easter – 2010
1. We welcome with great joy Fr Francis Appiah-Kubi and Fr Patrick Kofi Boadu from the diocese of Kumasi in Ghana. They have come to work in Kokstad and we thank God and their home Archdiocese that they could come to us. They are studying Xhosa, staying with Fr Vincent for the moment and have already rendered great assistance over Easter ceremonies in Kokstad, Franklin and Lusikisiki.
2. Please find a form at the back of this Iindaba upon which you are requested to register now before the 1st of May the names of those catechumens who are preparing for baptism at Easter 2011. These registers should be submitted to the Bishop’s office. Keep a copy for yourself. Only those registered now can be considered for baptism next year. They should be introduced to RCIA and begin an intense preparation for their baptism.
Thank you for the Lenten collection last year. It was a R150,000. Lets hope that this year we will reach the same sum. It is money for the poor and the work of the church.
3. On the 21st of March we celebrated the blessing of the new Church of St Joseph at Nqhume in the parish of Flagstaff. Congratulations to Fr Francis Lemao, the Parish Council of Flagstaff and particularly the people of Nqhume and all who helped to build this beautiful church. It will be a great service to many villages in that area. This was a day of spectacular community involvement and pride.
4. We have now approved plans for a church at Shayamoya, the building of which will begin soon. It will be part of a complex which will include a large training/skills centre, a meeting place for elderly people, and a health centre with a crèche.
5. Work will begin almost immediately on a new church at Lukholweni down at the coast. This is a growing area and our present church is totally inadequate for the present population. We thank Brother Fidel for his work in this area under the guidance of Fr Thabang the parish priest.
6. We record with sadness the passing of Nurse Patience Nogabe. She is to be buried on the 10th of April in her home parish of Mt Frere.
Pat was one of the founding members of Sinosizo, Yondl’abantu. With Nomvana, she trained many (700) of the Home Based Carers. She brought a professional approach to her work, she knew and respected people, she had a wealth of experience, she was committed to her catholic faith. Sister Pat had a great ability to teach, explain and was very practical in the formation of people. She was also excellent in Education for Life Programs as she could speak the language of the people in a no-nonsense, forthright manner.
7. We remembered as a diocese at the Coolock meeting of Priests the passing of Fr Bernadine Dore, Ntate Thula. His Passing away in Ireland is a historic moment. Ntate Thula was a man who spent 54 years of his life totally committed to building up the church in Hardenberg, Cedarville and Tabankulu. On the grace of God realized in the work of people like Fr Bernadine our church is built. May God give him eternal rest and reward for his labors.
8. We note the passing of Mrs Juniper Nakin, mother of Doctor Nakin, one of the great catholic teachers of the past generation. Besides founding a Secondary School which is now flourishing , Mrs Nakin was a teacher for many years in Hardenberg, in Marialinden and was boarding mistress at Mariazell. In later years her experience was used to build up teachers in government schools, working with the Catholic Institute of Education. Since her girlhood Mrs Nakin was a devoted Legionary of Mary. May she rest in peace.
9. On the 11th of April at Lusikisiki the Daughters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will celebrate the Final profession of Sister Nosisa Mpathane. Nosisa comes from the Christian community of Lusikisiki and her parish is proud of her. The Bishop will lead the ceremonies.
10. We remember the passing of Mrs Davies, Cardinal Napier’s Aunt.
11. Fr Joseph organized a parish retreat which was led by Fr John Dimba, the Malawian Provincial of the Holy Spirit Fathers from 15th to the 20th of February. This excellent preacher drew a large attendance, his words were an inspiration and a challenge to all.
12. A high point in the history of our diocese was the celebration of the 27th and 28th of February of the 125 years of the Cathedral and 85 years of the present building. This was organized by Fr Joseph and the very active parish of St Patrick. We were privileged to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop James Patrick Green, Cardinal Napier, Bishop Stan from Umzimkhulu, Bishop Khumalo of Eshowe, Fr Augustine Khanyile, Provincial of the Franciscans, Sr Theresa representing the Holy Cross Sisters and the Last Superior of the Community in Kokstad. Also in attendance was Geoff Doidge, the National Minister of Public Works, a parishioner.
There was an extended procession through the town on Saturday morning with floats illustrating the history of cathedral and its role in the life of the town. Speeches painted the development of the schools and churches and stations. Bhongweni and the Cathedral choirs performed, the youth danced, the Indian community offered a beautiful dance, the Bhongweni youth gave us modern dancing. This was followed by an excellent lunch served by the parish to over a 1000 people. Mass on Sunday was led by the apostolic Nuncio while the cardinal preached. Another parish banquet served over a thousand people. On the following morning His Excellency , the Nuncio met with the priests and Sisters and spoke of his role in the church.
Fr Joe and his parish are to be congratulated on this great event.
13.The executive of the Diocesan Pastoral Council under the Chairmanship of Fr Bongani met in Kokstad on the 6th of March to discuss the future form of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. It will take place later this year at the date to be announced.
14. A new development this year was the invitation to the staff of Maximum prison in Kokstad to attend a service of intercession on their behalf at the Cathedral on March the 17th.. Correctional service officials work under extremely stressful conditions today due to the sophistication of criminals and they need our gratitude and support.
The Church was full with officials and administration staff and they expressed appreciation for the service. The prison choir sang.
15.The Mother General of the Franciscan Nardini Sisters and her secretary and the provincial Superior, Sister Isabel and the Father Superior of the Congregation visited the community in Kokstad during March. The sisters make a marvelous contribution to the apostolic work of the diocese in Kokstad.
16. The Coolock meeting for the priests took place from the 8th to the 11th of March. Fr Patrick Rakeketsi gave an inspiring reflection on the life of priests. Fr Mike Deeb, O.P spoke on Justice and Peace. The sisters meeting at Coolock took place from the 21st to the 24th of March. Sister Emmanuel led the meeting in prayer on the first day and Bishop reflected on the life of the church in South Africa and in the diocese. There was also a reflection on the meaning of religious life and its Apostolic expression in the diocese.
17. Hugh congregations attended the Holy Week ceremonies from Palm Sunday till Easter Sunday this year. Reports from all areas indicates a great attendance and lively participation. It is gratifying to see so many young people attending these important ceremonies.
Notable events included the ecumenical way of the cross through the town of Kokstad followed by the usual service of Good Friday, at the Cathedral.
Fr Mawethu invited all the graduates in the parish of Hardenberg to put on cap and gown for the Mass on Palm Sunday. And some 40 graduates duly obliged. This was to emphasize the respect with which the Catholic Church holds education.
Fr Sihle organized an devotional day of Repentance at Kwa Matthias in the Parish of Chibini. The day ended after Mass and confessions with the way of the cross over a journey of 12km. Songs hymns and prayers accompanied the people who carried the cross all day.
The Mass of the Oils had a wonderful attendance, gratitude to Fr Vincent and Bhongweni Choir for leading us in Music on that day.
18. From the SACBC. At the Bishops’ Plenary this year at the end of January the Bishop was re-elected as chairperson of the Evangelization committee of the Bishop’s Conference. However, he has completed his time with REAP the Bursary Fund in Cape Town. This will now be taken over by the retired Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Henry. The Bishop will attend his last REAP meeting on the 30th of April. During this time 500 young people have been assisted to go to University from Rural areas.
The SACBC has asked that a special day for prisoners be held around the time of the feast of St Peter in Chains, in August in each parish. You must not neglect the prisoners who are the poorest of the poor.
We remember that Jonathan Meth is willing to come around and help our parishioners to visit the prison, he will also visit the prison on behalf of the church.
The requirements for Seminarians to enter the Seminary in Cape Town, the Orientation Seminary, is that they get 25 points in their Matric and 50% in English. If they do not acquire these marks then we send them on a preparatory year i.e. to Port Elizabeth for a year. This is to prepare them for Seminary studies both with language, Introduction into Church, and formation in prayer and church life.
The year in Port Elizabeth is equivalent to 5 points in the Matric.
The Bishops Conference has bought the former Carmelite pastoral centre in Benoni and established Lumko there.
19.We thank God that 13 members of the Sacred Heart Sodality escaped serious injury when they had a nasty accident at Cedarville on the way back from a meeting at Bhongweni. All were bruised but no one was very seriously injured.
20. The Bishop attended the Pastoral Agency’s meeting as Chairperson of the Department of Evangelization. At the moment bishops are trying to formulate a new Pastoral Plan for the Country. It is hoped that over the next three years after discussions with priests, religious and people the church will renew itself, deepen its identity, and commit itself evermore to pastoral and mission service. The formation of adults is a top priority of the Bishops Conference.
21.The Metropolitan meeting of Bishops took place on the 15th and 16th of March at Glenmore. On the 16th the bishops met with the major religious superiors.
22. Meeting of the Diocesan Chaplains and representatives of the Sodalities of the diocese on the 1st of March.
a. Appreciation was expressed to Fr Mariano who has formulated a Diocesan Calendar with all notable meeting dates and has produced these in the latest Inkwenkwezi It was pointed out that the Sodalities must work for the local Church and discuss their events with their parish priests. New members must be admitted only with the approval of the parish priest.
b. All sodalities should remember the priorities of the diocese viz, catechetics, Marriage and family, Youth. When Diocesan teams, especially catechetics, visit their parish they must give priority to this visit.
c. Sodalities must work together in peace, because public disagreements will cause scandal.
d. Some are loosing their catholic identity. We need to emphasize traditional catholic customs like the ringing of Angelus bell, respect for the Blessed Sacrament, processions, leading our own catholics’ funerals, going to confession and family prayer. It is good to have the singing of the Creed and the ten commandments before Mass and thanksgiving prayers after Holy Communion in Mass.
e. Formation of new members in the catholic way of life when they apply to enter sodalities is the responsibility of the Abaphathi.
f. The first Saturday of October is our diocesan pilgrimage to Maria Telgte in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. There should be no events in the weeks preceding this pilgrimage so that people can attend.
g. As regard the use of oils. No holy thing should be sold. But this oil which people request is not the same as the holy oil of the Sacraments. Please make this clear to people. People who are using this oil should use it only for personal use as holy water is used.
Healing services need to be celebrated in the conscious context of God’s presence- with recollection and dignity. Public battles with spirits generally excite people and must be carefully monitored. The more one talks of Satanism the more prevalent is may become.
h. More meetings of this nature will take place in the second half of the year.
23.Congratulations again to Fr Thabang and the vocation team. We are happy to have Andile Mkafane, Luxolo Ncama, and Aviwe Biata at Port Elizabeth. Mvikeli Mdunyelwa and Napo Swayi are in Cape Town for the Orientation year. Zonwabele Mjoki, Musawenkosi Jakuja study at St John Vianney while Fidel Muhase is doing internship in Bizana. We are also happy to have Ntlanhla Ntlapo, a Franciscan Theology student working at Hardenberg doing his internship with Fr Mawethu.
24. Fort Coming Events.
a. Fr Bongani Mbhele , Fr Silindile Yalezo will attend the Xhosa Regional Pastoral Council on behalf of the diocese, meeting with the bishops at Queenstown from the 13th to the 15th of April.
b. The Bishop will Chair the discussions on the Family Desk of the Bishops Conference on the 22nd of April in Pretoria.
c. The next Board meeting of the executive of the Bishops Conference will take place from 4th to the 6th of May.
d. The next consulters meeting of the diocese will be on the 3rd of May.
e. On the 11th of May the Bishop will give a talk to the priests of Umtata for the year of priests.
f. The Bishop will be away from 19th of May until 3rd of July. He will take a Holiday, he will celebrate 40 years of ordination and he will preach the Novena for St Anthony in the Franciscan church in Cork. He will also be fund-raising.
g. On the 17th of April there will be the opening and blessing of the new Respite centre at Hardenberg. This was funded by RESPOND in Ireland. Respond is a social housing project started by Fr Patrick Cogan ofm who was ordained with the Bishop. This has been a beautiful project and will offer counseling to orphans and who have been the victims of abuse.
It is hoped to offer a program of 30 such meetings every year to bring children to the centre for 3 to 5 days. A very formal program is presented to them. This will allow children to appreciate that the Church and the community are interested in them. There will be a bereavement opportunity where children discuss their worries with caring adults. The program will have Social Workers present, they will have games, they will have good nutritional food, and their home situation will be analyzed and hopefully it will radically change their lives. The program has been worked out by young women from RESPOND program in Ireland and has been planned with great care. Priest who would like to send teams of young people to these programs should contact YONDLABANTU here in Kokstad.
Already the program had taken place and the response of the Children has been overwhelming. Education for Life play an important part.
h. Fr Joao Rodriques of the diocese of Witbank will be ordained Bishop of Tzaneen on the 18th of April in Tzaneen.
i. The World Cup takes place from the 11th of June to 11 of July. You can get the churches preparation to it on the internet: www.churchontheball.org.za. Remember also to visit our own website: www.kokstadcatholicdiocese.org.za .
j. Do warn our people about the dangers of trafficking. Make sure to invite Education for Life Program led by Nosisa Ngwadla which will present an excellent program for our young people on the challenges of growing up in South Africa today
k. To see the forth coming programs of sodalities in the diocese consult the Final page of the Present INKWENKWEZI. Please support the INKWENKWEZI, bring it to the attention of your people and encourage the reading of it. Fr Mariano brings years of experience to his editing of the paper.
25. Having worked enthusiastically preparing for Sr Nonsisa’a profession in Lusikisiki Mr Maquza passed away that night having called Fr Yalezo to come and anoint him. He played a great role in the struggle for national liberation and spent years in Robben Island- with President Mandela. In the church he was a most loyal and supportive person, most trustworthy in the role as treasurer.