PASTORIAL LETTER – Message to the Diocese of Klerksdorp

Bishop Phalana C of A

Bishop Victor PhalanMY MESSAGE TO THE DIOCESE OF KLERKSDORP

It is by God’s grace that I, the least among my brethren in everything, have been called to the see of Klerksdorp. It is a humbling experience. Thank you for receiving with such love and enthusiasm. You have no idea how scared I was before I came here. Your hospitality made me at home and your participation at my episcopal ordination convinced me that I am at home! May God bless your love and generosity.

It is my prayer that we, inspired by these two giants of the Church, these great evangelizers, we can reach out to lapsed and inactive Catholics. Our mission should include interacting with other believers as well, reminding them of the universal call to on-going conversion and holiness. I call upon all our sodalities, Small Christian Communities and all the baptized children, youth, men and women: You are called and sent. The work of Evangelization belongs to priests, to the religious and the laity. We all have the mandate. We can transform our society and make it more humane, respecting the values of our cultures and of the Gospel.

As a diocese of Peter and Paul, let us bring Christ and His message to all people, all over the world (Mk 16: 15-16). Are you ready to proclaim Christ in the streets, at schools, hospitals, prisons, informal settlements and in the city? I urge you to reach out to all through love, retreats, crusades, healing services, house visits, pilgrimages, night vigils, seminars and one to one encounters. Let us reach out to the disabled, the sick, the elderly, those who are lonely and those who are lost. Show them your care, your love and compassion. Let us teach them the benefits of behaviour change and faithfulness

PROVIDENCE HAS PLACED OUR DIOCESE UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF ST PETER AND ST PAUL.

ST PETER: Christ himself gave him a name Cephas or Peter. We, as Catholics, believe that Peter is the Prince of the Apostles. He is the pillar of the faith, the foundation of the Catholic Church, and he received the keys of the Kingdom from our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The pope is the successor of St Peter. In response to Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus stated: “Upon this rock, I will build my church (Mt 16:13-20).

Despite his human weaknesses, Peter was chosen to shepherd God’s flock (John 21:15-17). St Peter spent his last days in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64 AD. He was crucified upside down, at his own request, because he told his persecutors, who were about to crucify him that he was not worthy to die as his Lord.

ST PAUL: As a youth, Saul went to Jerusalem to become immersed in the Law and had as a teacher, Gamaliel. He acquired skills as a ‘tent-maker’ a work he continued even as an apostle. He discovered a flourishing Christian Community wherever he evangelized, a community he once persecuted. Paul came to faith in Christ around 34 AD, on his way to Damascus, to persecute Christians ((Acts 19:1-9). After his conversion, he proceeded to Damascus where he was baptized and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospel tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world. Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome where he was beheaded in the year 67 AD. He is buried in Rome, in the Basilica of St Paul outside the walls.

Paul was incredibly resilient. He endured many hardships for the sake of the Gospels. He was beaten, stoned, was shipwrecked and suffered many sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, cold exposure and terrible anxiety (2Cor 11:24-28). He teaches us then not to let anything keep us down, but carry our crosses and proclaim Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord, Saviour and Redeemer of all.

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