DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST
LIFE AFTER EASTER!
My dear brothers and sisters: Christ is risen. The Resurrection sets Christ apart. No other religious leader broke the power of death and conquered sin. The Resurrection proved that Christ was divine. The fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross does not prove in itself that he is God. Jesus proved his divinity by fulfilling the prophecies of his death and by his return from the grave. The Bible declares that “by being raised from the dead, Christ proved to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God himself (Rom 1:4).”
The Resurrection proved Christ’s power to forgive sin. The Word of God asserts, “If Christ had not been raised, our faith is worthless and we are still in our sins (cf. 1 Cor. 15:17). By rising from the dead, Jesus proved His authority and power to break the bonds of sin and to assure forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept his gift of salvation. Jesus is our forgiveness, Alleluia! Through Him we have eternal life, Alleluia!
The Resurrection revealed Christ’s power over death. The Word of God records: “Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has power over Him” (Rom 6:9). The Resurrection secured our victory over death as well and “lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 2:6). Christ will die no more, Alleluia!
The Resurrection defeated God’s enemy. From the moment of his original rebellion until the day of the Cross, the devil fought viciously and cunningly to overthrow the kingdom of God. Satan must have thought he had dealt the final and decisive blow in the age-old war. But this was the devil’s most serious miscalculation. The Cross was heaven’s triumph. And when Jesus Christ rose, the power of sin and death was forever shattered. Because of the Resurrection, Christians need never fear Satan or death again, Alleluia!
Now that the Easter Season is over, I would like to ask you: IS THERE ANY LIFE WITHIN YOU?
• If during the Easter season you were somehow moved to pray more often, there is still life within you.
• If during the Easter season your conscience spoke to you about changing your way of life, there is life within you.
• If during the Easter season you had the desire to set things right with the Church and with others, there is still life within you.
• If during the Easter season there was an injustice and some unfairness in our country and in the world – and you felt moved to address them, there is still life within you.
• If during the Easter season, you wanted to come closer to God, there is still life within you.
• If you wanted to begin again with the Lord, then you are not yet a dead branch, you are still connected to the Vine (John 15).
• To stay connected to the Vine, receive the Eucharist joyfully and in a state of holiness.
RENEW International was formed in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, USA in the middle of the 20th Century. RENEW has touched the lives of over 25 million people in 23 countries in the world.
RENEW was first brought to Africa in 1989 by Archbishop Dennis Hurley of Durban to implement the South African Council of Bishop’s plan – Community serving Humanity. Some Small Christian Communities are still running from that initial formation.
Assisted by Fr Albert Nolan OP and others as a RENEW Africa tem, RENEW was tailored for South Africa in the 21st Century and launched in the Port Elizabeth Diocese as RENEW Africa in 2008. Following the success of RENEW Africa in PE and under the direction of Archbishop Buti Tlhagale and the priests of the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese of Johannesburg began the RENEW Africa process on October 7,2012 with a launch in the Standard Bank Arena with over 5 000 people from all over the Archdiocese. Since the launch RENEW Africa has spread to over 100 parishes in the Archdiocese with membership growing exponentially every month.
The RENEW Africa process initially takes three years and is followed by one Season of Lenten Longings and Seasons of Why Catholic.
RENEW Africa connects the richness of Catholic faith with daily life, comes out of Africa for Africa, and responds directly to the needs outlined in the Synod for Africa.
• Formation for lay leaders
• Formation and support of small Christian communities
• Annual Parish Mission
Goals of the RENEW Africa process:
• Develop vibrant communities of faith and service
• Encourage forgiveness, reconciliation, and peacebuilding
• Provide concrete and practical means of evangelization
• Contribute to a truly self-sustaining Church
RENEW Africa has helped me to grow more spiritually and deepen my faith. It has taught me how to forgive and to reconcile with people who I thought I was not going to talk with anymore—because of what they did to me. But I say proudly that through my participation in RENEW Africa sessions I have been able to forgive them. I always had a hard time finding people to proclaim the Word or to be commissioned as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Since we have gathered in SCCs I’ve had lots and lots of people offering their services for ministry. Wow! Why was this not done many years ago? I feel so renewed and revived.
Training Workshop for Lay Leaders
• Implementation Team (Parish Core Community)
• Liturgy Teams
• Small Community Leaders
• Facilitation Skills
• Pastoral Circle training
• Input for each theme and its challenges
• Parish Leaders
• Small Community Leaders
• Mission Teams
• Liturgy Planning Teams
• Small Christian Community Resources
• Thematic faith-sharing book for each season
Faith Sharing in Community Leads to Mission
The Five Essential Elements
Prayer is the foundation of our Christian life and for that reason we both begin and end our small Christian community gatherings with set times for prayer. Just as the leader is encouraged to prayerfully prepare before the meeting, so too, the leader is urged to encourage the small community members to pray in preparation.
At a small community meeting, a passage from sacred Scripture is read. Members listen attentively to hear what God is saying at this moment in their lives. They have prepared by reading the scripture and the commentary beforehand. Now they move to a deeper level of learning by connecting the Scripture with their lives.
3. Faith Sharing
The heart of small Christian community meetings is faith sharing. Faith sharing is sharing some facet of one’s relationship with God or connecting a personal event with a passage of Scripture or an aspect of our Christian faith.
4. Mutual Support
As small community members share and get to know one another, relationships naturally form and people begin to support one another in prayer as well as in other ways. Whether it is support through a crisis or an ongoing support of knowing there are others who share your desire to live the Christian life.
In his Letter, St. James reminds us to “be doers of the Word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves” (1:22). As a response to the Word of God and the shared word among the small community members, there is always an invitation to respond. Ideally the response ought to flow from the Word and the sharing. Action does not necessarily mean adding on “something else.” It means following God’s call to live our faith. Through the faith-sharing experience, communities grow in their awareness of their own gifts and in their ability to put them at the service of the Mission in a variety of ways.
DYNAMIC SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
As a small group grows in living out the five essential elements of small Christian communities, it becomes a living witness to the Word of God. By God’s grace as members incorporate these elements in their lives and, therefore, in the life of the community, they may truly come to be called a small Christian community on mission with Christ in the world. “Small Christian Communities incarnate in the Church the support which arises from the joy of belonging to a family. Since the Christian life is human life, by necessity it takes place in the context of a family. Acts of solidarity, an expression of Christian charity, are occurring in exemplary fashion in these communities. In some places, the Word of God is read, shared and lived at this level. The role of lay animators in these communities is particularly important in ensuring a leadership-service which assists members to grow in their faith and become involved in efforts for reconciliation and a more just and peaceful society.
Our DIOCESAN RENEW AFRICA TEAM is led by Fr Francis Manana, Mrs Tshidi Manyobe and seminarian Gerard Mosomane. Their office is in Jouberton ext 6. Before the launch of Renew Africa, probably around the Patronal Feasts of Sts Peter and Paul in 2018, we will do a lot of training workshops. All the teams mentioned above must be trained properly. Our cooperation will help us to train the people well and to encourage our communities to embrace Renew as our Diocesan Renewal and Pastoral Programme.
INVITATION TO RENEW TRAINING
We invite every parish to send two representatives for training on 12th of August, 2017 at Rabbuni. We are to choose two people who are not overly committed in the church. These two people must know that their main focus in the parish will be Renew Africa as a priority. It would be good to have people who have either administrative or marketing skills. They must be good co-ordinators, organizers and communicators. They in turn will train other members of the Renew Team in the parish.
May I express my thanks to you for your support of Harvest 2016. From our consultation of the Diocesan Finance Committee, Diocesan Fundraising Committee and the Diocesan Pastoral Council, we have decided to challenge ourselves further by raising our target to R1 Million this year. Our Diocesan budget exceeds R5 Million. It is important therefore to try and raise our Harvest target to R1 million. It is achievable. All that we need is to be convinced, as members and leaders in the Church that we have to become a Self-Supporting and Self-Reliant Church.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE LEARN TO GIVE
Our former rector in the seminary, the then Fr William Slattery OFM, reminded us always to teach our people to give. He mentioned the fact that the poor and rich people of his country knew how to give. They supported their own local churches and the missions. Most of those were simple farmers, pensioners, and peasants! But they all learnt to give generously. Notice that in 2 Corinthians 9:7 it says that “God loves a cheerful giver.” God values not the size of the gift (Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 16:2) but the heart of the giver (not reluctantly or grudgingly) and the willingness of the giver (a cheerful giver).
We see that principle played out in the Old Testament. When the temple needed to be rebuilt, Joash put an offering box out for those who would give to this important work. 2 Chronicles 24:10 says, “All the officials and all the people brought their contributions gladly, dropping them into the chest until it was full.” Notice that it says they gave to the rebuilding of the temple gladly. They were glad to give and provided a model for what Paul calls a “cheerful giver.”
We are also to give sacrificially. As Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he told them of the sacrificial giving of the Macedonian Christians. He said, “. . .for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means…” (2 Corinthians 8:2-3).
Consider that on the one hand Paul is talking about their “profound poverty” but then goes on to say that they still gave “beyond their means.” I don’t know too many people who today are giving beyond their means. I know quite a few people who are giving less than their means. This is our time, to start teaching our people that the work of the Kingdom and the work of the Diocese is their responsibility. We cannot rely on aid and relief from overseas. Sources are drying up quickly. We received a lot of services from the church, churches were built, missionaries were supported and young priests were trained and formed, but, BY WHOM? What was the local contribution towards all these good things?
I wish that we can pray: “LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVING KINDNESS. IN YOUR GENEROSITY, YOU GAVE US YOUR ONLY SON AS THE RANSOM FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION. TEACH US TO BE GENEROUS AND TO SUPPORT OUR CHURCH TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY. AMEN.
NOVEMBER IS HARVEST MONTH
OUR HARVEST COLLECTION WILL BE DURING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. The bishop will visit each deanery during its Harvest Thanksgiving Mass. The process will be like this:
i. Each parish in the diocese will do its part to try and raise money for the harvest. Some might want to do an auction, a gala-dinner, a raffle or anything creative to raise the money. We ask for the active-participation of all in giving ideas and suggestion and in implementing whatever decision you have reached. The parish envelope will be presented to the bishop by the parish executive at the harvest mass.
ii. Each family will be given an envelope from the diocese. These envelopes will be brought to the bishop at the harvest mass by those families or individuals. To explain this further: after the presentation of the parish envelope, all families or individuals from that parish will bring their own envelopes.
iii. The money from the parish envelope or the deposit slip will be recorded and the money from the families will be counted and announced.
iv. The total amount of the Deanery Harvest will be announced on the same day.
THE DIOCESAN THANKSGIVING MASS
It has been proposed that we come together as a diocese, towards the end of January, around the feast of the Conversion of St Paul our co-patron, for Thanksgiving. Here we will celebrate the Eucharist and pray for healing. We are planning a raffle draw where a car can be won. It is in this Mass that the total amount of our Diocesan Harvest Collection, coming from our 4 deaneries, will be announced. In this Mass there will be no special collection, only the ordinary Sunday collection.
During this month of June, we ask you to make a second collection for Peter’s Pence. We also ask you to make a second collection in July for the Mini World Youth Day. Once you have done the collections, send them to the diocese with the relevant reference.
We have received a lot of interest from the youth concerning the Vocational Camp. We had already booked Rabbuni for that and they required R1000 for those days. Many young people cannot afford that amount and we are not in a position to subsidize them. We suggest that we look around for a cheaper place. The challenge is that a cheaper place will not have the luxury of beds, hot showers, cooked meals, etc. Our new venue is St Peter’s Jouberton. It will now cost R250 per person. Bring a Bible, writing pad, toiletries and warm blankets. We will organize matrass.
At the beginning of July I will send a formal notice and procedures for Elections. The process must start with us conscientizing our people in understanding the role of Laity in the Mission of Christ. We are a church that believes in collaboration between the clergy and the lay faithful.
It is my hope that these elections can be completed by the end of November. By the end of January 2018 the outgoing PPC’s will hand over to the incoming PPC’S. Our Sodalities are invited to elect new members according to their constitutions.
In February, we will focus on Deanery Elections. In March, we will form Diocesan Committees.
Those who are elected will work for 3 years.
THE DIOCESE OF KLERKSDORP
The former Prefecture of the Western Transvaal was established by a decree of Pope Paul VI on the 14 October, 1965. It was raised to the status of a Diocese of Klerksdorp by a Papal Decree dated 27 February, 1978. This is an opportunity for us to mark these two dates and to see which one of these should be our other Diocesan Feast, besides the feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul. Next year, in February we mark 40 years of our existence as a Diocese. It will be 52 years since we were erected as a Prefecture.
We were originally part of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. The Diocese is bounded on the East by Johannesburg, on the South by the Kroonstad and Bloemfontein. On the West, we share a border with Kimberly Diocese and on the North we have the Diocese of Rustenburg.
The Diocese of Klerksdorp is found in the interior of Republic of South Africa. South Africa is divided into nine (9) Provinces. This Diocese is found in the North West Province. This Province is predominantly rural, with minimal employment opportunities. The Province is further subdivided into four Regions, namely, Ditsobotla Region, Bojanala Region, Dr Kenneth Kaunda Region and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati Region. Two of our parishes are in the Province of Gauteng, namely Wedela and Kokosi.
The Diocese has parishes in Ditsobotla Region and covers also a wide range in Dr. Kenneth Kaunda Region. According to the Statistics of South Africa (office responsible for population census in South Africa) the population size of these two regions is about +/- 2 500 000, based on the 2010 population census. Out of this figure+\- 46000 are Catholics.
The Cathedral and the Chancery are in a town called Klerksdorp (Matlosana), which is about 170 km from Johannesburg, the economic hub of the South Africa. It is 210km from the Capital City of South Africa, Tshwane, which was known as Pretoria. Johannesburg and Tshwane are part of Gauteng province.
As a Diocese we face these kinds of Socio-Economic challenges
• Poor road infrastructure
• Poor sanitation
• Lack of fresh running water system
• Child headed households
• In Some areas we have long walking distances to the nearest schools and amenities.
• Prostitution and drug addiction is rife
• We have a High Crime rate.
• There are incidents of TB and a high infant mortality.
• Abortions have been legalized by government for children as young as 12years. Abortion is regarded as a normal procedure.
• There are free contraceptions for teenagers and adults; from public institutions.
• Illiteracy among adults.
• We have a phenomenon of “fatherless children”, as a result of migratory labour.
• We have just experienced serious drought and we witnessed the plight of farm workers.
• We have the phenomenon of gangsterism. We are not able to deal with it.
The Church is affected by these challenges. How can we be a relevant church if we do not acknowledge these challenges and are not doing something to deal with them?
We are a poor but growing diocese in South Africa. We are struggling as a result of under-development. We are a rural diocese and most of it is farmland. Farm owners are mostly white (Dutch Reformed) and most farm workers are black and mainly Catholic.
We used to have prosperous mines, but unfortunately local black communities did not benefit from all those minerals extracted from their land.
A very disturbing phenomenon here is the closing of mines. This means that most mine workers are without work. We have very few industries. The main employer here is government and shops.
We are not giving up. We still continue to strive to be a self-supporting and a self-sustaining diocese in the future.
3 Main Categories of Parish Financial sustainability in the Diocese
A. Parishes which are substantially self-reliant and financially viable are requested to do everything to meet the financial pastoral needs of the Parish and the needs of Priests; these include accommodation, sustenance, transport, medical support, remuneration, etc. These parishes, in addition to being self-supporting, also have obligation to contribute to the Diocese. The contributions from the parishes are also used to support the Priests in other Parishes which are not financially sustainable. Hence the obligation of transparency and of sending their quarterly returns to the Diocesan Finance Department.
B. Certain parishes are only able to meet the basic financial needs for pastoral coordination and for the needs of Priests, such as housing, sustenance, medical aid, transport and remuneration. The finances of such parishes are analysed by the Diocese, and any deficiency in the financial support and well-being of priests is subsidized by the Diocese, provided they are transparent and give their quarterly returns as per agreement.
C. We also have parishes which are not financially viable due to poverty, unemployment and the deprivation of many parishioners. These parishes require diocesan support. We do try our best to help them to the best of our ability.
The Diocese has a responsibility to support:
i. Our Chancery
ii. Priest and Medical Aid
iii. The Bishop
iv. Permanent Deacons
vi. Lay minsters
vii. Evangelization and Outreach ministries
viii. Justice and Peace, Caritas and other departments
ix. Formation programmes
x. The Youth
xi. Maintenance of Buildings and Insurance
xii. New projects
xiii. The formation of seminarians
a) We thank the Cathedral Community for allowing us to use one of their buildings for Caritas. We are spending a lot of money, trying to renovate and equip that office for that purpose.
b) We are busy renovating an office at Extension 6 for Renew Africa. We will still have to equip it and make sure that it can coordinate this Diocesan Programme flawlessly.
c) We are in the process of negotiating with the Oblate Farm Community, to purchase a piece of land in their property. This will allow us to have in our possession a title deed. It is my hope that in the future we can put up drug rehabilitation centre to help our people who are victims of drug and alcohol addiction. We can also think of something we can build, which can generate income for the diocese.
d) We have just completed plans for the Diocesan Pastoral Centre. At the moment we are thinking of putting it at the Alabama, St Joseph’s Hall precincts. In my thinking, we could name the centre under our Bishop Emeritus, Daniel Verstraete, OMI. He purchased that piece of land and it is proved to have been a visionary decision. We have already applied to the Papal Foundation for assistance, to start with the building project and my hope is that our sodalities will not only help us in building it, but that they will also help us in the management of it.
e) We have the challenge of constructing three priests’ house in this order: Ventersdorp, St Ephraim and Wedela. Fortunately, the local communities are willing to do their part, but they require diocesan support as well.
f) We would like to make sure that priests who are facing challenges of water and sanitation are being assisted. We are already doing that in Itsoseng and Bodibe.
g) We would like to make sure that priests have cars to be able to do their pastoral work with joy.
Our finances are not in a good shape at the moment. It is mainly as a result of a donation which was promised but not yet realized. It is not the fault of the donor but some unfortunate circumstances which delayed the donation. It is for that reason we must keep the 10% of our parish incomes coming. We survive through them. We run the chancery and the whole diocese through them. We sponsor most of our projects and formation programmes with that income. We are still pleading with you to send us your Quarterly Returns (Financial Report backed by Bank Statements). Every parish, no matter how small, must send us their 10%. Every parish must support our Harvest initiative. These two incomes are necessary for the survival of this diocese.
The draft of the Catechetical policy is in place. It is one of the projects I gave to our candidate seminarian, Joachim and he has done a marvellous job. I would like to distribute it to you so that you can look at it, discuss it with your catechists and give us feedback. We will do our best to incorporate
SUNDAY SERVICES IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRIEST
Thank you for sending your people to this workshop. Thanks also to the priests who made it for their workshop. I would like us to start implementing this new way of conducting services by December this year. For this, we can give you Sr Phuthunywa’s presentation so that you can use it in your training. We will also make the Tswana booklets available. For the congregation, we have the English copy for R40. For the lay minister – the copy is R200. Copies in Tswana: R30. We can give you a soft copy for the Tswana version, for you to print for your congregation. The Sotho, Afrikaans and Zulu booklets are almost ready.
THE BISHOP’S COMMITMENTS FROM JUNE TO AUGUST
DATE ACTIVITY/VENUE TIME
I6 JUNE YOUTH DAY, ST JOSEPH’S HALL 8AM
17 JUNE PPC MEETING, VENTERSDORP 2PM
18 JUNE OUTSTATIONS BODIBE FR PAUL. CONFIRMATIONS AND BAPTISM 10AM
24 JUNE ST AGNES & ALOYSIUS 10PM-4PM
25 JUNE MASS OF THANKSGIVING CAPE TOWN 3PM
27-29 JUNE VOCATION CAMP
1 JULY OPUS DEI JOHANNESBURG 8AM
2 JULY PASTORAL VISIT WEDELA/KOKOSI 8AM
4 JULY FUNDRAISING MEETING
PROPERTIES MEETING 18:00
9 JULY PASTORAL VISIT TO MMATLOA
11-14 JULY LCCL (JOINT WITNESS)
29 JULY WORKSHOP WITH PFC CHAIRPERSONS AT RABBUNI 10h30AM TEA
30 JULY (DIOCESAN EVENT) MEN’S FORUM MAKWASSIE 10:00
1-8 AUGUST MARIANHILL PLENARY
12 AUGUST BARADI BA ST.ANNE
RENEW AFRICA TRAINING AT RABBUNI
13 AUGUST CONFIRMATION IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY 8AM
26 AUGUST INTERVIEW ST CHARLES LWANGA
27 AUGUST CONFIRMATION ST CHARLES LWANGA 9:30AM
01 SEPTEMBER MEETING WITH PARENTS,SPONSOR & CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES AT ST PETERS
02 SEPTEMBER WOMEN’S FORUM BLOEMHOF
03 SEPTEMBER ST. PETERS JOUBERTON CONFIRMATIONS 07:30AM
09 SEPTEMBER MEETING WITH PARENTS,SPONSOR & CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES AT ST. MICHAEL’S POTCHEFSTROOM
10 SEPTEMBER CONFIRMATIONS ST. MICHAEL 09;30AM
16 SEPTEMBER HOLY CROSS CELEBRATION AT HOLY CROSS
17 SEPTEMBER ST. MARTIN DE PORRES CONFIRMATIONS
23 SEPTEMBER VENSTERSDORP ST.THERESA
24 SEPTEMBER VENTERSDORP ST. THERESA CONFIRMATIONS
25 SEPTEMBER WOMEN’S FORUM DITSOBOTLA & POTCHEFSTROOM DEANARY
30 SEPTEMBER -03 OCTOBER CAPE TOWN
08 OCTOBER ST. EPHRAIM CONFIRMATIONS
15 OCTOBER ST. PAUL’S CONFIRMATION
20-22 OCTOBER WOMEN’S FORUM RETREAT
22 OCTOBER FR. MAURICE MASS WITH OUTSTATION
27 OCTOBER MEETING WITH PARENTS,SPONSOR & CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES AT CATHEDRAL 18:00PM
28 OCTOBER MEETING WITH PARENTS,SPONSOR & CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES AT CALVARY
28 OCTOBER CATHEDRAL CONFIRMATIONS 16:30
29 OCTOBER CALVARY CONFIRMATIONS 08:00