IINDABA 69

21st January 2010

1.     We have a web-site. It is www.catholicdiocesekokstad.org.za . Open this web-site and you will find news of the diocese including the Iindaba and all other issues from the very beginning. You will find your mission and photographs.

The Bishop’s e-mail address is slatteryws@telkomsa.net . You will find this on the web-site with many other details about the diocese.

Personnel   We were very happy to have Fr Richard Kugbeh-Kasin visit us over Christmas. Fr Richard is the Spiritual director of St John Vianney Seminary and came for Christmas to his home diocese, Kokstad.   We are delighted to see his health is good but he has great responsibility in the Seminary formation programme.

We welcome Fr Paul, a Comboni Father who will live at Mt Ayliff and work in the diocese. His home is Kenya and we are very happy to have him.

At the same time we are sad to say good bye to Fr Memo who was part of our family. Fr Memo was a friend to all, he will work in Johannesburg.

We offer congratulations to the Jubilarians, Sister Canisia from Mt Ayliff, Sister Agnes Mgijima at Cedarville and Sr Annuarite of the Poor Clare Sisters. We thank God for their great service to the church.

Sisters Nomsa and Veronica made their final Profession at Matikwe on December the 18th . Many priests of the diocese attended, our sisters are very committed to the diocese. We welcome back Sister Nomvula who is in studies but will be available at Umzongwana this year.

Also Sisters of Kokstad, Sr Nosipho Fenicia Ndlovu and Busisiwe Lucia Hlomani Ndlovu made their first profession in Matikwe.

We welcome Br Fidel Muhase our seminarian but will do his internship at Bizana for six months.

Also we look forward to the arrival of two young priests from Ghana who will come soon. Their papers are being processed at the moment.

Fr Lizo who is in Rome studying sends greetings to everybody.

2.     Forth Coming Events
a.     The Bishop ordains four new priests on the 16th of January at Phoenix.
b.     The consulters meet in Kokstad on the 18th of January.
c.     The Bishop will be away at SACBC annual meeting in Pretoria from the 26th of January to the 3rd of February.
d.     Fr Joseph Sandri, the Provincial of the Comboni Fathers will be ordained Bishop of Witbank on the 31st of January in Lydenburg. We send congratulations to Fr Joseph and to his brothers, we thank him for his help to us during his time as Provincial.
e.     On the 6th of February , Sister Thembile of the Presentation (Ntomb’futhi Langa) will make her first Professional vows at the Monastery Chapel at Santa Chiara at 10 am. We rejoice that Sister will dedicate her life and prayer for the church and diocese. Her home is in Umzongwana, all are invited to the celebration.

f.       February the 7th in Cape Town, Bishop Steven Breslin will be installed as Archbishop of Cape Town.
g.     The Cathedral will celebrate its 85th Anniversary on the weekend 27th 28th of February, the Apostolic Nuncio will attend, the Cardinal will preach.
h.     Consulters meeting, the 1st of March.
i.       8th to the 11th of March the Priests will meet at Coolock House.
j.       21st of March will be the opening and blessing of the new church at Mqhume in Flagstaff, St Joseph.
k.    21st to the 24th of March the sisters are invited to meet at Coolock House. Could those attending please let the office in Kokstad know so that we can tell Coolock to prepare for us.
l.       31st March the Chrism Mass will take place at the Cathedral.
m.  The 2nd of April will be Good Friday.
n.     The 4th of April will be Easter Sunday.

3.     Vocations
Fr Lizo and now Fr Tabang have worked very hard to encourage vocations in the diocese. This year we will send Andile Mkafane, Luxolo Ncama and Aviwo Beata to the Preparatory course in Port Elizabeth.
Promise Mbhata will probably work in the diocese for a year. Mvikeli Mdunyelwa from Tabankulu, Napo Swayi from Umzongwana   will go to the Orientation Seminary in Cape Town. Zonwabele Njoko from Bizana will go to St John Vianney Seminary to join Brother Musawenkosi Jakuja and Fidel Mohasa. There are other candidates but they have still some examinations to do. Please pray for them, please encourage them.

Fr Thabang has asked that we speak about vocations during the year. Underline the 4th Sunday of Easter which is Good Shepherds Sunday and is the World day for vocations. Make this a special day in your parish. As you know there will be a workshop for vocations in Kokstad in July and another one in December.

4.Lumko course
Following up on the discussions in Coolock House we are inviting the Lumko team to present Theology to our leaders. They will come three or four times this year from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. They will offer Theology, Scripture, Moral Theology and Liturgy. Each parish is invited to present four candidates for this course. They will stay here in Kokstad over night. Dates will follow.

This is a real effort to offer ongoing formation to our leaders in the diocese. We want them to have a better Catholic identity, know their tradition and be able to offer instruction and guidance to our people.

5 The Chaplains of the Sodalities are invited to meet in Kokstad on Monday the 15th of February at 11am. This comes from our discussions in Coolock.

The Chaplains are:

St Annes, Fr Mawethu,
Sacred Heart, Fr Zanemvula
Amadodana, Fr Yalezo
Children of Mary, Fr Tabang
Youth, Fr Sihle
Amajoni, Fr Lemao
Amadodakazi, Fr Vincent
Justice and Peace, Fr Robert
Nurses Guild, Fr Bongani

The meeting is to clarify our program for the Sodalities. It was felt that some of our Sodalities are acting independently of the work of the parish and the diocese. We need to help them to be the part of diocesan programs. We also need to look at co-ordinating dates and parish programs from here.

6.Sodality Leaders

At least two leaders from each sodality is invited to meet at Kokstad, Saturday the 20th of February at 10 am to continue discussion of the formation programs for the sodalities.

7.Fr Mariano is to be congratulated on providing a calendar of events for 2010 for the diocese. The Sodalities are requested to get in their dates as soon as possible. As you know there are Catechetical programs, Justice and Peace programs, workshops, retreats etc and we need to have a calendar to guide us.

8. RCIA
The RCIA program is weak. I just wanted to remind you that on the first and second Sunday of Lent those to be baptized this year Easter should be enrolled publicly and formally in the church before the community.
Obviously those to be baptized  have been under instruction from last year. One could also take this opportunity of enrolling those who will be baptized or received in 2011on the same occasion.

9  Sister Francina Mlitwa has given each priest the service for the commissioning of catechism teacher which should take place during this month of January.  It is an opportunity to remind all parents and the whole parish that they have a severe responsibility to pass on the faith. It also is the time to recognize and to thank and encourage those who are so faithful in teaching catechism.
In their report to the diocese at the end of 2009 the catechetical team made the following points.
Positive points
They said that many priests were present and this made a big difference in encouraging the catechism teachers
Again the majority of sowers/teachers attended when a catechetical team visited the parish. There was a keen desire on the part of sowers to know more about their faith and to get the training and help on how to teach.
They pointed our the following challenges.
Often outstations do not attend and are neglected in teaching of catechism.
Communication needs to be strengthened between the team and individual parishes. Hopefully all dates on Fr Mariano’s calendar will help the parents to know exactly when to expect a visit from the team.
It is necessary that when the team comes and the sowers have their workshop the parish should have some cooks ready to help. The team are also worried that there is not enough follow up. Meeting the team two times a year is not enough support for the individual sowers.
Another weakness is that there are very few young teachers, it is mainly older people\older women who are caring the responsibility for this task. Young people need to become involved in teaching catechism.
The RCIA program is very weak in our diocese and the formation of people, especially adults entering the church is not adequate.

As you know we expect each child to give R10 a year for catechism formation. R5 for local meetings and R5 to support the diocesan team.

10. Jonathan Meth with the help of those he has already trained is making a great effort to improve family and marriage life. However, people need to be encouraged\pushed to attend these sessions. It seems very unpopular with people to hear anything about marriage or family life.
And this is the area that is weakest in their Christian life and leaves them and their unfortunate children very vulnerable and helpless.

Jonathan is diocesan co-coordinator for prison-work. Needless to say the chief responsibility for prison work in your parish is with the priest. But Jonathan is available to visit the prisons, to train people to help. Prisoners are very neglected and hopeless. We should do all we can to help them.

11.We are expecting a visit from the Neo-Catechumenate to speak in various parishes.
The Neo-catechumenate is based on the policy and practice of the early church, the RCIA. However, this is a fully professional serious program. It involves people committing their lives to Christ. These people will come and speak at the invitation of parishes. They are looking for people who are willing to dedicate their lives totally to Christ in their homes, in their family and in their parishes.
They will come in the first part of the year. Please invite them to your parish and see if there are a number of people who really want to take Christian life very seriously.

12 Congratulations to Fr John on his welcome to the people who attended the Theology week in Maria Telgte. Special mention must be made of Fr Mawethu and Fr Bongani who gave full days programs to over 120 of our leaders. This years program was felt to be extremely successful and positive. People gained a lot from meeting each other, from the instructions, reflections and in the understanding of the church.

13 We hope that during the course of this year the complex at Shayamoya will be completed and the church added. By the end of January Hardenburg will be complete.

During this year we would hope to build a new church at Lukholweni and with God’s help we will start a parish church for Hardenburg. We ask the people in those areas to prepare themselves spiritually and financially for such a task.

14. The Catholic Institute of Education had a farewell Mass and lunch for Mrs Gloria Napier after years of great service. Gloria’s place will be taken by Anthony Ciro who will deal especially with Catholic Schools of our diocese. These are; Tafeni with learners 140, Ntsimbini-Telgte learners 350, Glen Edward 178 , St Paul’s Franklin 120, Tigervlei 80, St Teresa-Bizana learners 420 at the last count , Flagstaff 750. As well, Hardenberg School though a Government school wishes to retain its links with the Mission. It has 740 learners and associates itself with many of our programs.

Along with introducing our religious instruction books in the schools and helping the teachers to utilize them Gloria also brought literacy, numeracy, whole school development, English as second-language. She gave a tremendous boost to the morale of teachers.
Under Mrs Napier Echoing the Word Program was very successful in helping teachers to deal with the problem of teaching religion in schools. Last year 25 qualified.

We are very proud of Telgte and the great achievement and courage of Sister Jerome Ngcobo in creating a model school in Bizana.
AMAWELE– Twining with certain schools in Ireland enriches both Irish and South African teachers.

15 The three deaneries of the Diocese have as their deans;
Fr Vincent for the central area with secretary Fr Melese.
Fr Clement for the Maluti area with secretary Fr Zanemvula.
Fr Francis Lemau for the Pondoland area with secretary Fr Silindile.

16The Abantwana bakaMariya had their usual retreat at Kokstad from the 7th to 11th of December. This was very well organized by Fr Thabang who brought in a team of fine teachers. Also he has emphasized that boys have an important role to play in Abantwana bakaMaria. He took a fine group of boys to join their Mariannhill counterparts for retreats in July. This is a very healthy development.

17 The Youth pilgrimage which was organized by Fr Sihle and his team took place from Cedarville to Hardenberg. Great numbers of youth made this walk which is 35 km in distance for a full day and the next day spent in reflection and prayer together. They were very happy with the experience.
Every parish must try to have some program for youth during the year. Fr Sihle and his team have presented the program for 2010 but each parish should also have a program.   It is hoped that some of the Sisters of the diocese might form a retreat team offering para-liturgies and vigils during the course of the year in various parishes.

18. Sister Vianney is still and the commander of the Amajoni and she was present at Mt Ayliff on the 22nd of November, the Feast of Christ the King. 135 new members were received. This organization for the little children offers great potential for forming them in their faith and Christian action.

19 REAP. We thank Mrs Wicks for wonderful work done in this area. We expect 7 or 8 young people from the Diocese to get generous bursaries to assist them with Universities this year. The application forms for 2011 are now available. Confer the separate page at the end of this Iindaba report.

20. Fr Yalezo and his parish were very happy to have the blessing of their new Church at Ingozi in Lusikisiki on the 29th of November. In the presence of the King and the Queen and great crowds of people , the blessing took place in beautiful surroundings in the  mountains to the great joy and celebration of all.

21 On the 2nd of December the Bishop blessed New Municipal Offices for Kokstad and was given an Award for service to the town.

22 Great praise and thanks is deserved by the team at the bishop house who created a Christmas dinner for the Priests, Sisters and people of the diocese on the 22nd of December.

23 YONDL’ABANTU
Yondl’abantu is the new name of Sinosizo. We know Sinosizo because they work in all parishes helping orphans, vulnerable children and the sick and ailing people. During November I had the privilege of visiting the three areas of our diocese with Lindelwa, Nomvano and Sister Annastasia who are the regional managers.

I met about 130 care-givers who on their wonderful work. It is clear that Yondlabantu is reaching very poor and needy people.
From the reports one learned of the helplessness of many people in our area. Many have no one to cook for them, some have no food to cook, others have no fire wood or are unable to cook for themselves. Because of this they default with their medicine. The second line of default means death.
When our care-givers bring food from Yondlabantu or from Sr Christina they have only a limited number of food parcels while the demand is great.
People eat up their food parcels very fast and come back then to the care- givers demanding new food parcels. These parcels are available for a limited number of people.

The care workers meet problems in orphan care. Abandoned children cling to them and they find themselves using their own money and their little resources to relieve people whom they cannot abandon to die.

Many people cannot afford R50 the cost to travel to a clinic or town to collect medicine or to be tested or to see a doctor. All priests need to instruct people on the absolute importance of getting HIV tested. It is a matter of life or death. This can easily be presented in the notices at the end of Mass.

The Home-based carers fetch water, wash the sick, wash out houses and clean the beds of the sick. One woman spoke of carrying very sick patients up to 4km to the nearest taxi rank to get them to town. It is also difficult in places to get Social workers to visit, they say they have no transport etc.

While caregivers are doing great work it is clear that we need more supervision and continual re-training in the field. The new facility opening in Hardenberg, the Respite program, will offer something very promising  for the children. We are very grateful for the work of Respond in providing such a place to bring joy and hope into the lives of children.

The Education for life offers 36 programs throughout the diocese during the year. They offer some programs for the 10 to 14 year olds and others for the 15 to 21 group. Nosisa Ngwadla is the Director of this Institute and our priests are strongly advised to invite them because they offer training and awareness for our children. They also speak of such issues as human trafficking.

Posted in Bishops Corner.