A long time has gone since the last issue of IINDABA was published back in February 2011. We all know the reasons why this diocesan publication was temporarily discontinued. Bishop William Slattery was appointed as Archbishop of Pretoria and he moved to the capital at the end of February.
With a mixture of joy and sadness we bid him farewell at the end of April in the Cathedral grounds.
Several months have gone by and now we pick up once again this wonderful tool of communication (IINDABA) in order to keep you informed of the activities that have taken place in the diocese in the meantime. I apologize to you if some activities are not mentioned here; it has been so many months since February that maybe some of the activities have already gone into oblivion. As from now on, I trust that this means of communication will help you to be informed of important diocesan events which will take place in the coming months and those which are already part of our most recent history.
The Year of the Faith: The Holy Father has just announced a Year of Faith. He has done it through an Apostolic Letter called “ Porta Fidei”, the “door of faith”. On paragraph 2 of the letter we read the following:
“Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all the Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead the people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life”.
Benedict the XVI continues as follows on paragraph 2: “In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith”.
The Apostolic Letter “Porta Fidei” is available to everyone in the internet, at the Vatican webpage: www.vatican.va
I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the latest priests, missionaries, who have come to our diocese. They are Frs. Louis, Arun and Tomas. The three of them belong to the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). They arrived in Kokstad on October 12. After a few days of adaptation to the local setup, on October 25 they moved to Mthatha in order to start learning Xhosa. I thank Sister Joan Ncapai, CPS, for helping the missionaries learning the local language. I also extend our gratitude to the leadership of the SVD for sending such young missionaries to our diocese. A fourth member of the community will hopefully join them in the next few months.
Fr. Sihle Mbhele took part in a workshop organized by the Bishops’ Conference on Catholic youth. The workshop was held at the Glenmore Pastoral Centre of Durban from the 24th to the 28th of October.
Our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Stanislaw Jan Dziuba, has been kept busy both in his own diocese of Umzimkulu and in our own diocese of Kosktad. We thank him for his availability and commitment to the diocese, while we patiently wait for the gift of the new bishop for our diocese. We trust that it will not too long to get a new shepherd.
I would like to thank all the priests who took part in the meeting at Coolock House from Oct 10 to Oct 13. Fr. Barnie McAleer led us into a morning of reflection on the nature of the Church and the second phase of the Inter- Diocesan Consultation which is taking place country wide. Some of the priests from Umzimkulu diocese joined us for the session
with Fr. Barnie. Thus they also had their share of ongoing formation of evangelization.
The Diocesan Pilgrimage to Maria Telgte took place on Oct 8-9. It all went well thanks to the good work of the committee and the commitment of the priests who attended the pilgrimage.
On October 24, an extraordinary meeting was held at the Bishop’s House in order to evaluate the pilgrimage. As a result of that gathering, these are some of the points mentioned there:
- Two Masses could be celebrated during the pilgrimage: the first one at the beginning of the pilgrimage –including other languages than Xhosa?- and another Mass as the closing activity of the pilgrimage.
- Our Catholic communities should be properly informed that on the weekend when the DP takes place THERE WILL NOT ANY MASSES CELEBRATED IN ANY OF THE PARISHES OF THE DIOESE.
- More space, time and participation could and should be given to the sodalities and to lay people in general.
- Many people come to the pilgrimage for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We need to acknowledge that longing and prepare them properly with a good catechesis for the reception of the sacrament.
- The Stations of the Cross –if well prepared- could be a wonderful tool as an immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
With regards to the Sacrament of Anointing, we discuss at length about the proper meaning of the sacrament and the use of the Oil of Gladness. As this point, it is good to recall that something has already been published as part of the diocesan policy. (See INDABA No 70, 22g).
- Several choirs, not only one of two, should be invited to participate actively in the different parts of the pilgrimage.
We thank the Lord for the gift of our diocesan seminarians. Currently we have eleven of them. Christopher Katleho from Hardenberg and Markus Aphelele from Lusikisiki are doing the bridging year at PE. Andile, Aviwe, Loxolo, Itumeleng and Pressure Phumlani are studying in Cape Town. Five senior seminarians – Napo Joseph, Mvikeli Gregory, Zonwabele Mjoki, MsaweNkosi Jakuja and Fidel Muhase- are doing their theological studies in St. John Vianney’s Seminary in Pretoria. Let us keep all of them in our prayers and keep encouraging young men in our parishes. Any one who is interested should contact Fr. Gabriel Thabang, who happens to be the priest in charge of vocations in our diocese.
ON DIOCESAN FINANCES
With the departure of Archbishop Slattery to Pretoria, we have seen our diocesan monies taking a sharp nosedive. We have agreed that some hard decisions have to be put in place in order to keep the diocese financially alive.
At the priests’ meeting at Coolock house it was decided that as from the end of November, when a quarterly financial report is due, all the parishes will start contributing a DIOCESAN LEVY. This levy will be a 10% share of all the gross income of the parishes; e.g. collection monies, monthly tickets, monies from the renting of premises, interests on saving accounts, etc.
According to a diocesan policy, the diocesan quarterly reports to the Bishop’s house are due on the following dates:
Quarterly reports to the Diocese: February 28;
May 31; August 31 and November 30.
AN UPDATE ON BUILDINGS
Parish Hall at Cedarville: The building has completed and it already being used by the people of the parish. Fr. Zanemvula is already making plans for an official blessing of the hall.
Extension of the priest’s house at Lusikisiki: Two new bedrooms, an office and a new dining room have been added to the house. We thanks Frs. Silindile and Francis Appiah Kubi for a work well done.
Maintenance at Flagstaff Mission: With the arrival of Frs. Valentino and Sebastian (AJ), the diocese embarked on doing some much needed and long overdue maintenance to the priests’ house. The reforms have been completed and slowly Frs. Valentino and Sebastian are getting used to the people and to the situation of the parish.
New church at Bonga, Mt. Ayliff parish: The new church at Bonga will soon be completed and blessed at the beginning of the new year. We thank Frs. Melese and Paul for their commitment to building a new place of worship in the parish.
New church at Esifolweni, Cibini: Fr. Sihle has been kept busy with the construction of the new church. The building process is well advanced and it should be ready for use in the next coming months.
² Catechetical Team: Sister Francina became ill at the beginning of the year and she had to be taken up to their mother house at Assisi. I thank Sister Vianney Majola, for stepping in and for leading the catechetical team all along this year. At the same time, we are happy to see that Sister Francina has recovered well and she is back at Maria Telgte and Franklin.
In the next few days the catechetical team will do an evaluation of the year and start working on the 2012 Year Plan. As they visit the parishes of the diocese, they regularly meet with the local coordinators and the parish catechists. It is on them that rest the hard work of passing the Catholic faith to our children and to the adult catechumens.
Heritage Day: The catholic youth of the diocese celebrate this South feast with a gathering at the Bishop’s grounds for a day of songs and dances. I would like to thank the priests who made an extra effort and brought many people to Kokstad. We should keep in mind that when young people gather it is our duty as priests to provide them with some spiritual nourishment and input. A gathering just to sing and to be together is not enough.
As we approach the end of another year, I trust that the priests who are in charge of the different diocesan sodalities will be able
to meet with the executive committees of the sodalities in order to make evaluations of the year and to draft some tentative dates for 2012. Great care should be taken when making plans so as to avoid important diocesan dates, e.g. diocesan pilgrimage, clashing with sodalities’ events.
This is the time of the year when students on their final senior school year are writing their matric exams. Let’s keep on praying for this year’s matriculants and give them all our support.
Mother Mdzakazi Mwanza, Mother Abbess of the Poor Clares, based in Lusaka, Zambia, paid a visit to our Poor Clares in Kokstad from Nov 26 till Dec 5.
I invite all the priests of the diocese to follow young girls who might be seriously considering their call to the religious life. The Poor Clares are always open to welcome these girls for weekends. We all have the duty to promote vocations for the religious life in the convents.
As you already know the current Nuncio to Southern Africa, Archbishop James Patrick Green has been given a new appointment in South America, Perú, and it becomes effective as early as from the first of December. We are sorry to see him leaving the Southern African region and we hope that before his departure, he will still find time to appoint a new bishop for our diocese. I call on all Catholics to keep on praying to the Holy Spirit for the sending of a new bishop to our diocese. Kokstad and Port Elizabeth are right the only two South African dioceses waiting for new bishops to be appointed.
Thieves in Flagstaff: On the vigil night of Heritage Day, September 23, some thieves tried to break into the hall of Flagstaff parish. It was a very scary moment for our priests, Frs. Sebastian Angu and Valentino Katzigazi, and the youth who were with them that night in the mission. I thank the Lord that nobody was seriously injured. It is a call for each one of us always to be careful, above all at night.
Fr. Robert Ochola left Mount Frere on 15 October in order to take up his new assignment as formator in the postulancy of the Comboni Missionaries in Silverton, Pretoria. We thank Fr. Robert for the four years he spent in Mount Frere. He left the diocese with a very sore heart because just on 10 October he went to Mthatha to say goodbye to some of his friends and his car was stolen there. It has not been recovered.
It is with sadness that we learnt of the death of Sister Leah Yina on 23 August. She spent many years working in our diocese, above all in Mount Frere and Bizana as a nurse in the hospitals. Many people still remember her very well. At the time of her death she was a member of the Cwele community and on the 3 September she was buried at the sisters’ graveyard in Glen Avent.
Sister Kieran Madikizela, who up to a few weeks ago was a member of the CPS community at Bizana, has been transferred to Glen Avent Convent where she is now the superior of the community.
On July 2 the Precious Blood Sisters celebrated 125 years of their foundation. The celebration took place at Glen Avent Convent and many people attended the event. The Precious Blood Sisters have been present in this diocese for many years,
both in Bizana and in Mount Frere. We thank them and the Lord of the Harvest for their commitment and dedication.
The Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries, Fr. Enrique Sánchez, and one of his assistants, Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse, visited South Africa during the month of September. On Sept 20 they held a meeting with Bishop Stanley. Present in the meeting were also the financial administrator and the vicar general of the diocese. The Comboni Missionaries are planning to gradually withdraw from the diocese of Kokstad.
Nosisa Ngwadla, Mama Malgas and Fanelwa Nxuseka from Mount Ayliff went to Germany to visit their sister parish St. Maria Aalen. They left South Africa on 28 September and returned on October 26. While in Germany they met Frs. Bernhard Riegel, Günther Hoffman and some other Comboni missionaries who had previously worked in the country.
FORTH COMING EVENTS
Theology Week at Maria Telgte: It will take place from Dec 5 in the evening till Dec 9 in the morning. This is an open invitation for all our lay leaders to take part: abashumayeli, catechism teachers, leaders of the different sodalities and all those who feel called to take an active role in church activities.
Some of the speakers at the Theology Week will be:
- Fr. Bongani Mbhele: The Sacrament of the Eucharist.
- Fr. Vincent Bwete: On Evangelization.
- Fr. Lizo Nontshe: On the Sacred Scriptures.
- Bishop Teddy Kumalo: On Self-Supporting Church.
Children of Mary: Their annual retreat will take place at the Bishop’s house from Dec 5 to Dec 9. All the members of the sodality are called to attend the retreat. Every parish is asked to contribute R300 towards the smooth running of the gathering. I thank Fr. Thabang for caring for our Catholic youth in such a committed way.
Soldiers of Christ: All the children belonging to this diocesan sodality are invited to attend the workshop which will take place on Nov 18, 19, 20 at Bhongweni. Sr. Vianney Phirimana, together with some other Sisters will be running the workshop. New members will be dressed during the Holy Mass on Nov 20.
Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage: From Dec 12 to Dec 16. The Catholic Youth of the diocese are to gather at kaMzongwana mission on Dec 12 in the afternoon. The following day, Dec 13, the youth will walk from Mzongwana to Maria Telgte. On Dec 14 there will be a workshop at Maria Telgte and a retreat the following day, Dec 15.
As the diocesan youth coordinator Fr. Sihle has requested that the priests help driving the youth to Mzongwana on Dec 12 in the afternoon and they should pick them up again on Dec 16 in the morning.
Every parish is expected to contribute R150 towards the normal costs of the pilgrimage. We wish to thank Fr. John for welcoming our youth at Maria Telgte.
I expect that some other priests will join Fr. Sihle in this pastoral activity for the youth in order to make a success of the Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage.
Christmas Party: We have set aside Dec 21 for our Christmas party in Kokstad. All the priests, brother and sisters of the diocese are invited to attend and join in a festive mood for the celebration of the birthday of our Saviour and for a moment of thanksgiving for the year which is about to end.
Annual Retreat for diocesan priests: The diocesan priests will gather at the Ukuphila Retreat Centre at the Bluff for their annual retreat from Nov 13 to 18. Father Urs Fischer, CMM, will be their retreat master. Unless there are major issues, every diocesan priest should make an effort to attend these days of prayer, silence, reflection and meditation.
Bishop’s Collection: New envelopes have been printed in place of the ones we have had for the last few years with the picture of Archbishop Slattery on them. This collection will be taken during the months of November and December. Please encourage all our Catholics to be generous in supporting the activities of the church.
According to the tradition of the Church, November is the month dedicated to praying for our deceased brothers and sisters. While we pray for them, we also minister to the families and relatives who cry for the loss of their loved ones.
With the feast of Christ the King – November 20- the Liturgical Year of the Church comes to an end and we are invited to get into the Liturgical Time of Advent. November 27 is the First Sunday of Advent. Let’s keep this sacred season as a time of waiting in expectation for the coming of the Messiah.