05 September 2017
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
LAUDETUR IESUS CHRISTUS! NUNC ET IN SAECULA SAECULORUM, AMEN.
PRAISED BE JESUS CHRIST! NOW AND FOREVER, AMEN.
A MORENA JESU KRESTE A BAKWE! JAANONG LE KA BOSENA-BOKHUTLO, AMEN.
I would like to thank you all for your great love and loyalty to Christ and to his Church. I can see your efforts in trying to make this diocese a wonderful, active, spirit-filled, evangelizing and generous place. Thank you for bringing your talents and making them available for God and His people. We have, in general, many vibrant sodalities, committed catechists and lay ministers, effective Parish Council and accountable Finance Committees. We have so many committees, sub-committees and ministries that keep our diocese going. On a personal level, I continue to enjoy the collaboration of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors and the Sodalities’ Forum. Let us continue in this way and build the Kingdom of God in this part of the world.
This year is the election year. I had promised to give some guidelines on this.
1. ALL PARISHES ARE TO START THE PROCESS OF ELECTING NEW PARISH COUNCILS. THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS OF DOING THIS. WE WILL ALLOW YOU TO FOLLOW YOUR OWN PROCESS. FOR THE PARISHES THAT ALREADY HAVE SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES, WE START FIRST BY ELECTING NEW LEADERS IN THE SCC’S AND SODALITIES. THE CHAIRPERSONS ARE AUTOMATICALLY PART OF THE NEW PARISH COUNCIL. THE PRIEST IS ALLOWED TO NOMINATE NOT MORE THAN 5 PEOPLE INTO THE NEW PARISH COUNCIL. THE PARISH CAN THEN DO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PPC CHAIRPERSON AND THE VICE CHAIRPERSON AND HAVE THE WHOLE PARISH TO VOTE FOR THEM, FROM THOSE WHO ARE NOMINATED. THE OTHER PORTFOLIOS CAN BE FILLED BY THE NEWLY ELECTED PPC. ALTERNATIVELY, THE PARISH COUNCIL CAN DO ITS OWN VOTING FOR ALL THE PORTFOLIOS OF THE EXECUTIVE. THE PARISH COUNCIL CAN ALSO SEE TO IT THAT COMMITTEES ARE FORMED AND CHAIRPERSONS OF THOSE COMMITTEES MUST REPRESENT THEM IN THE PPC. THEY WILL BE ELECTED FOR A PERIOD OF 3 YEARS, STARTING IN 2018, ENDING IN 2020.
CHAIRPERSONS OF COMMITTEES MUST ALSO MEET FREQUENTLY WITH THE EXECUTIVE. The Chairperson of the Finance Committee must be part of the top 5. (Committees include Justice and Peace, Caritas, Renew Core Team, Repairs and Maintenance, Finance Committee, Fundraising Committee, Youth Committee, Liturgy Committee, Catechetical Committee, Family Life Desk, etc.) We leave the formation of these committees into your hands. We will provide the duties of each committee as soon as possible.
2. ALL SODALITIES ARE TO START THE PROCESS OF ELECTING NEW DIOCESAN COMMITTEES.
We would like to request Sodalities to elect new leaders now, so that they can harmonize with Diocesan elections. They must follow their own constitutions. Their two top leaders will automatically come into the Parish Council. For those who are not able to elect a new leadership, we need to get their reasons in writing. Once Sodality elections do not harmonize with the diocesan elections, the diocese suffers a lot of disruptions. I really plead with them to put the diocese first!
SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER 2017 – Elections
DECEMBER 2017-JANUARY 2018 – Transition
FEBRUARY – Installation of new PPC AND PFC.
APRIL- INSTALLATION OF NEW DEANERY PASTORAL COUNCILS
JUNE – INSTALLATION OF NEW DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL AND SODALITIES’ FORUM
JULY – APPOINTMENTS OF DEANS, DIOCESAN CHAPLAINS, THE COLLEGE OF CONSULTORS, ETC.
PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL
A diocese is a geographical division made up of several Parishes with a bishop as its canonical authority. A bishop must appoint a vicar general, who is his principal deputy and assists him in administering the diocese. The Diocese – is the People of God: the Bishop and the Clergy. The mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. Go to the whole world and proclaim the Good News of the Lord. We are founded on Jesus Christ. This community does not direct itself It is led by Jesus Christ, it is led by the Holy Spirt.
The Diocesan Bishop- is the successor of the Apostles, we do not have a church when there is a flock without a shepherd- because where there is no shepherd, there is chaos. We are a community of the faithful. I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DISSOLVE A PARISH COUNCIL TO MYSELF OR TO THE VICAR GENERAL IN MY ABSENCE. NO PRIEST CAN DISSOLVE A PARISH COUNCIL. HE CAN ONLY RECOMMEND A DISSOLUTION OF A PARISH COUNCIL AND MUST LEAVE IT TO THE BISHOP’S DISCRETION.
The indispensable helpers of the Bishop- are the priests, the priests depend on the Bishop and are not independent of him. A priest must at all times be in communion with his Bishop. A priests acts in the name of Christ and renders Christ to the people: Christ present in the Eucharist. A priest also acts in the name of the bishop and by his presence in the parish, he renders the Bishop present in the community. The Bishop is the Pastor of the Diocese.
A parish is made up of the community of the faithful. The foundation is Jesus Christ. It is a group of individuals and families who know each other and who relate with each other. We are related by faith, by baptism. We interact with each other, we do not travel alone. Jesus send his apostles out in teams. We worship together. The parish has boundaries. We live in the determined area.
The parish does not exist in isolation, it is a section of the diocese- it is constituted in the Diocese. A parish is a basic geographical division. Churches are built within parishes to accommodate the worship of a congregation. The religious centre of the parish is known as the Parish Church; this church will have the baptismal font and is where members of the parish must go for baptisms and weddings (unless permission is given by the pastor to do so elsewhere). A priest is assigned to each parish as its pastor and has canonical authority over the parish. He may be assisted by one or more parochial vicars, also priests. A deacon may be assigned to the parish by the bishop, is under the supervision of the pastor, and assists in its public ministry, but may not perform Mass, Last Rites, or give Absolution.
“An elephant that walks alone- walks to its death” is a well-known African proverb. St John Paul, when he ushered the Church into the new millennium, said that the church should be a home and a school of communion. We must realize that “I am linked to others by baptism.” The PPC is responsible for building the community and for providing conditions for a community spirit to thrive. As a parish community you must live the life of the Trinity, the life of communion, the life of unity in diversity.
THE PARISH PRIEST
The Parish Priest is the pastor of the local community. In the Catholic Church, a parish priest (also known as a pastor) is a priest appointed by the bishop to represent him to the local parish, which is a collection of neighbourhoods in one small area. He belongs to the presbytery. The parish is under the entity of the Bishop- obedience by the priest and obedience by the parish- goes to the Bishop. The supreme pastor is the Bishop. The pastoral care of the Diocese – is left to the care of the Bishop, in communion with the parish Priest. There has to be collaboration – Deacons- lay leaders and the religious- working together. “Without the priest there is no Eucharist; Without the Eucharist there is no Church.”
Thus, the entire life of the parish, as well as the significance of its apostolic commitments to society, have to be understood and lived in terms of an organic communion between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood; of fraternal and dynamic collaboration between pastors and faithful, with absolute respect for the rights, duties and functions of both, and mutual recognition of their respective proper competence and responsibility. The parish priest, “in close communion with his Bishop and with his faithful… should avoid introducing into his pastoral ministry all forms of authoritarianism and forms of democratic administration which are alien to the profound reality of the ministry
PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL (PPC)
Pastoral= Shepherding- feeding the Lambs. The PPC exists to fulfil the mission of Christ in the local community. They do this by being salt and light of the world.
The PPC is not a management committee.
The PPC is not a Parish Finance Committee.
The Parish Pastoral Council is an advisory body to the priest and collaborates with him in the pastoral care of the community of believers. They must show special care about the proclamation of the Word, faith-formation, catechesis, liturgy, justice and peace, evangelization, family life, caring for sick and the poor, etc.
THE PURPOSE OF A PASTORAL COUNCIL
The parish pastoral council, hereinafter, the “PPC”, has the following purposes:
1. to collaborate with the parish priest in the mission of the parish so that the pastoral welfare of all in the parish community may be promoted as effectively as possible and community life promoted and enhanced;
2. to provide a forum for hearing the views and proposals of members of the parish community in all that concerns the life and mission of the parish;
3. as a planning body, to study the life and activity of the parish, research its needs, and establish short and long-term goals to
COMPETENCE OF THE PPC
The following matters shall be considered as falling within the competence of the PPC:
Section 1: Fostering an identity with the local Church in collaboration with the parish clergy and the parish representative on the DPC, to foster within the parish community a genuine and lively sense of being a part of the local Church of Klerksdorp, through which the parish is inserted into the life of the universal Church;
Section 2: Liturgical
With the parish priest, to establish a liturgical committee whose role shall be to plan, oversee and evaluate all parish liturgies and devotions, always ensuring that liturgical norms are strictly observed.
Section 3: Catechetical Instruction
Together with and under the direction of the catechetical coordinator, to plan a programme of catechetical instruction for children in the parish and to encourage all catechetics teachers to participate in programmes offered by the diocesan catechetical commission.
Section 4: The Catechumenate
Where the catechumenate programme has been established in a parish, to collaborate with the parish priest and the diocesan director of the catechumenate in planning and implementing a programme for the reception of adults into the Church according to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, observing the provisions of decree 22 of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, “The Catechumenate and Adult Baptism” (August 14, 1995);
Section 5: Evangelisation
In collaboration with the parish priest and under his direction, to plan regular classes for the ongoing instruction of the faithful and those wishing to be received into full communion with the Church, to support evangelization programmes like Renew and to encourage the parish to be part of it.
Section 6: Apostolate to the Unchurched
To seek effective ways of making contact with lapsed Catholics and the “unchurched” living within the parish community to be part of the RCIA;
Section 7: Basic Christian Communities/Small Faith Sharing Groups
In collaboration with the relevant parish committee, to encourage and facilitate the establishment of basic Christian communities/small faith sharing groups in the parish;
Section 8: Family Life Desk
To collaborate generally with the parish family life group in strengthening family life in the parish, in planning parish-based programmes for those preparing to marry and in organising support programmes for newlyweds, for the widowed, divorced and any single parent family;
Section 9: Social Apostolate
To collaborate generally with various societies and groups in the parish such as Caritas, St Vincent de Paul Society, the home visiting group and the caring or compassionate group, in seeking ways of rendering assistance to the poor, the grieving and the needy on a regular basis, in ensuring that all newcomers to the parish are formally welcomed, and that the sick, the infirm and the aged are regularly visited.
Section 10: Youth Apostolate
Together with and under the direction of the diocesan chaplain for the youth, to plan programmes and activities specifically for fostering the spiritual welfare of the youth, their unity and active participation in the parish;
Section 11: Community Activities
Are to organise social functions to help foster a sense of community;
Section 12: Vocations
Together with the parish priest and other parish clergy and religious in the parish, to work towards the fostering of vocations to the priesthood, religious life and the dedicated lay apostolate;
Section 13: Ecumenism
To foster an outreach to members of other Christian Churches as well as those of non-Christian faiths with a view to developing a better understanding and to promoting common projects within the community, especially for the needy and deprived;
Section 14: Justice and Peace
In collaboration with the diocesan justice and peace commission, to conscientise members of the parish community as to the need to work for social change and reconciliation in our society and to seek ways to involve the community in such a process.
Section 15: Additions to and Maintenance of Existing Immovable Property
Together with the parish priest and the parish finance council, to consider proposals for any major building or major repair/ renovation programme in the parish. The final decision, however, must always rest with the parish priest, having heard the parish finance council in accordance with the norm of law, and having obtained the necessary permissions, observing the provisions of Decree 18 of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, “Acts of Extraordinary Administration” (January 10, 1997).
ROLE OF THE PPC
In accordance with the norm of law, the PPC has a consultative vote; its role is to collaborate with the parish priest in an advisory capacity in the entire pastoral mission of the parish. However, while the parish priest is not bound to follow the advice given by the PPC, even if it is unanimous, nevertheless he should not act against the advice of the PPC, especially if it is unanimous, unless there be a reason which in his judgement is overriding (cf canon 127,§2,2º). One of the reasons why people resign in the PPC’s is that they see that the pastor does not consider their views and ignores their advice. It is advisable to work with the PPC and to take their advice seriously.
The parish needs shepherds who can look after or taking care of the sheep. We speak of co-responsibility or shared responsibility – the Priest is the Presider. He presides over every PPC meeting. The role of chairing is given to chairperson. There cannot be a meeting of the PPC without the knowledge of the priest.
• The Chairperson is a close collaborator with the parish priest and not necessarily a friend who chairs meetings but does not dominate. All must be given a chance to share
• He or she must maintain order during meetings. People cannot talk all at once.
• He or she must be a team worker. He or she must be able to work with the Parish priest and other members.
• While all of us must take responsibility, the parish needs to see collaboration between chairperson and priest. This does not mean that the Chairperson must be a “Yes Boss” type. He or She must be firm and respectful, kind and principled at the same time.
• Records minutes; Prepares minutes for PPC meetings – Reminds members of things that need to be done, or tasks to be accomplished.
• He or she must have Organizational skills and writing skills
• The secretary must help the parish to be organized- Have a parish program or Year Plan.
• Prioritize activities of the parish. Avoid clashing of dates.
• Make announcements; do the bulletin; use technology for communication.
PARISH FINANCE COMMITTEE
THE ROLE OF THE PFC
Section 1: The PFC is a consultative body which advises the parish priest as administrator of the temporal goods of the parish, in all matters of major financial concern, in particular any acts of “extraordinary administration” (see Article IX).
Policy is carefully discerned by the PFC together with the parish priest in accordance with the provisions of the Code, the diocesan Directives and these Statutes. However, while the parish priest is not bound to follow the advice given by the members of the PFC, even if it is unanimous, nevertheless he should not act against their advice, especially if it is unanimous, unless there be a reason which in his judgement is overriding (cf canon 127, §2,2º).
Section 2: The PFC, through close cooperation with the parish priest, is to consider carefully the financial needs of the parish and develop and promote a plan of action to meet those needs.
Section 3: Together with the parish priest, the PFC is responsible for preparing an annual budget for parish operational and capital expenditure. It is also responsible for assisting in the preparation and the approval of an annual statement of income and expenditure to be submitted to the diocese.
To assist the members of the PFC in these tasks, the diocese provides formation programmes for them. Insofar as possible, parish priests are to ensure that the members of the PFC avail themselves of these opportunities.
Section 4: The PFC, together with the parish priest, is to ensure that the annual statement of income and expenditure submitted to the finance department of the archdiocese is made available to the members of the parish (cf canon 1287, §2), in whatever way is deemed appropriate.
Section 5: The PFC is to review the income and expenditure of the parish on a regular basis and to determine whether the parish is operating within its budget.
Section 6: The PFC is to review all parish banking arrangements.
Section 7: The PFC is to co-ordinate planned giving campaigns in the parish and make recommendations for increased participation of parishioners on planned giving, pledges, 1-3% and for other fundraising projects in the parish.
Section 8: The PFC is to review annually, together with the parish priest, the inventory of parish movable property and, together with him, to conduct an annual inspection of parish buildings and grounds and make recommendations for necessary repairs, renovations and general maintenance.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Membership of the PFC shall consist of ex officio and appointed members. The PFC shall have a three-year term of office.
Section 2: The senior assistant priest and the senior parish deacon shall be ex officio members of the PFC.
Section 3: The parish priest shall appoint at least three lay persons to the PFC after consulting the Parish Pastoral Council executive. The size of the parish and the availability of expertise in the parish should be the determining factors with respect to the number of appointed members. (You can have a civil lawyer, an accountant, a banker, etc.)
Section 4: Those appointed to the PFC shall be members of the Christ’s faithful (canon 537) in communion with the Church and be resident within the parish and be registered on the parish roll or registered on the parish roll, though resident elsewhere. They should be outstanding in moral integrity, actively involved in the life of the local Church, possess expertise in and/or experience in financial management/administration.
• the chairperson of the PFC represents them in the Parish Pastoral Council
Looks after the temporal goods of the church- administrates the goods of the church.
• Accounting- Financial administration. Prepare budget for income and expenditure Implement budget
Special collections- Draw Financial Reports- Give reports at the PPC meetings, remind the faithful to provide for the material needs of the church- Be self-supporting. Inventory of movable and immovable. UIF- contracts for employees.
WHO CAN BE A MEMBER OF THE PPC AND THE PFC?
1. A confirmed and practicing Catholic. Must be God-fearing.
2. Must align him or herself with the Teachings of the Church.
3. Must be married in Church sacramentally, or living a single life. Masihlalisane, Vat en Sit and trial marriages are not according to Church teaching. Customary marriages are not enough. Civil marriage is not enough. We want a church marriage – a Sacrament.
4. Must attend church. Contribute time, talents and resources to the church, especially pledges and other church dues.
5. Must be respected by the community as a leader. Must be a team-worker, a builder of unity and reciprocal love.
6. Must be a hard-worker, committed and available to the Work of Christ.
7. Must be able to work with the parish community, the parish priest and the bishop.
8. How does he or she make a living? Is it in an honest way?
OTHER IMPORTANT DIOCESAN MATTERS
I) THE DIOCESAN HARVEST
Enough was said about the Diocesan Harvest in the June Pastoral Letter. Please get yourself a copy or check in the Diocesan Website. All I ask is that all pastors and lay leaders must work together to make this a success. This is our way of truly being a self-supporting church. We must support the Deanery Committee and make their lives easier instead of putting obstacles on their way.
The diocese encourages young people to seriously consider the call to Priesthood and to Religious Life. We have organized a vocational workshop for girls. Contact the parish priest for details. All young men considering entering the seminary next year must contact the Vocation’s Director. You must contact us soon so that we can assist you with the filling of the forms. We give first preference to the youth of our diocese.
III) MINI WORLD YOUTH DAY
We would like to encourage the youth of the diocese to attend the mini world youth day. We ask you to contact the youth chaplain, Fr Ledimo or the diocesan chancery. Pay your deposit immediately and cooperate with the organizers.
IV) DEANERY YOUTH:
The Diocesan chaplain and myself, have called for the meeting of Deanery Executives, with their additional members and ASB’s to attend a meeting on the 30th of September. I am concerned about the state of our Deanery Youth Executives and Parish Youth Groups. Are they alive? Are they working? Are they committed? How can we help them? The deanery chaplains are invited as well. The four deaneries and the diocesan council must give an honest report about their life and work. May I ask Fr Gerard and ACTS to come with a report. We need a report from the Life in the Spirit Youth as well. Fr Pharoe OMI to come so that we can look at the Youth Choirs and an activity we promised to organize for them.
V) ANNUAL RETREAT
The priests and deacons must attend their annual retreat. The parish must help to pay for the retreat. Dates, venue and theme have been sent.
VI) STUDY DAY AND RECOLLECTION
10 October 2017 – Study Day on Leadership by our new priest Fr Emmanuel Aghbor MSP from 9h30 to 13h00. In the afternoon we will look at diocesan matters. I am committed to continue with the on-going formation of the clergy through these Study Days. Please attend and benefit from the input and the discussions that follow.
11 October 2017, A recollection on the theme of Leadership, from 9h30 to 1pm.
VII) RENEW OFFICE
We blessed the Renew Office at extension 6. Please read June Pastoral Letter and share it with the parish and the deanery concerning Renew. Let us support our Renew programme by making sure that you select the best people into your Renew Parish Core Team. This is the time for training. Invite the Diocesan Renew Team to talk to your Deanery Pastoral Council. You can also invite them to talk to your parish community and to answer your questions. We are planning to launch Renew in the diocese around June 2018. Let us work hard to set up Renew teams and committees in the parish, so that they can be trained.
VIII) CARITAS OFFICE
Thanks to Fr Sithole, the Cathedral Administrator and the Cathedral PPC for giving us a place to use for our Caritas Office. Very soon we will be blessing the new office and handing it over to Fr Bernard and his team. This office can only be effective if we have Small Caritas Teams in parishes. This team can be made up of volunteers, sodality members or ordinary parishioners, young and old. Their task is to look around and see all the signs of poverty, suffering, hunger, malnutrition, disease and lack. When they see them, they must ask themselves: What can we do about this? Do we have enough resources locally to deal with this? If they do, they must then involve their parish and find ways of helping. If they do not have the resources, they must write a proposal to the diocese, signed by the Caritas Team itself, the priest and the PPC representative. The Diocesan Caritas will see how to help or how to seek for help on your behalf.
Our priority at the moment is the training of members. Our project at the moment has to do with gardening. So we would like to see gardens in most parishes as our way of fighting hunger and promoting food security. Where there are challenges with water, please let us know so that we can help. We have registered our Caritas with Social Development and with SARS so that we can assist whenever there is a crisis, a natural disaster or a tragedy in the community. We will continuously use Social Media to give our Caritas members Scripture passages and meditations from the popes and other authors on the Spirituality of Caritas. Use that for your own parish sharing. Wherever there is poverty and human suffering, we need Caritas. Wherever there is injustice, violence, corruption, oppression, abuse of State resources, abuse of the law and lack of Service Delivery, we need Justice and Peace. Caritas exists in order to save lives, relieve suffering and help rebuild livelihoods and affected communities.
Whenever people suffer as a result of conflict, the effects of climate change and humanitarian disasters, Caritas must step in boldly and motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Caritas supports sustainable development, responsible management of the environment in the light of Laudato Si, empowerment of local economies and Integral human development.
IX) DIOCESAN MARIAN SHRINE
During my visit to Matlwang outstation (St Ephraim, Potch), the community led me a place near Matlwang, which used to be a Catholic School and Mission. The place is suitable for a Marian Shrine. Some sodalities have already made contributions towards the shrine and we appreciate that very much. On our side, we have already approached an Archdiocese in Ireland, to see if they can help us with putting up a Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in our diocese. It is a shrine with a very powerful message. I was privileged to visit the shrine last year. Let us all start to pray for it. Pray for our negotiations with the Barolong community of Matlwang, who were forcefully removed from the place and who know that the site was once a Catholic Mission to be kind enough to allow us to repossess our site and to start the hard work of erecting a Shrine which will be the spiritual powerhouse of the diocese. It will be a place of prayer and adoration. It will be a pilgrimage place. In this holy place, Mary will be honoured and God will be worshipped. It will be a spiritual well, where all of us can go and drink at any time. Fr Pharoe and his Pastoral Council, the Matlwang outstation, Fr Sithole, Deacon Masibi and Naledi will be doing the negotiations on behalf of the diocese.
X) DIOCESAN PASTORAL CENTRE
There is consensus in the Sodalities’ Forum, the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the clergy of the diocese that we need a Pastoral Centre for our sodalities, for retreats, workshops, formation and conferences. Our original plan was to put up that centre next to the Alabama, St Joseph’s Hall, but now the clergy are asking us to consider putting the centre at the Oblate Farm. This is a new idea, and we will talk to the architect about this. Pray about this issue as well. We are in dialogue with the Oblate Farm Community about the purchase of the site where the church is. They are cooperating with us, especially Catholics who are living in the farm and Fr Maurice. Pray for the negotiations to be a success. They are willing to sell a portion on the land to us and they are doing it with good will. Fr Sithole and Naledi are leading the negotiations. We will involve conveyencers to do the legal side of things.
XI) ST BRIGID SISTERS
Last week, the consultors met with the leadership of the Brigid sisters and discussed the possibility of them opening a house in our diocese. We think that they can be of great help in the Lichtenburg area. They are ready to help with the formation of children, especially Masolenyana, Pastoral Council, SCC leaders, Youth, Family Ministry, Charismatic Renewal and Facilitation. They will be of great help to that Pastoral District, to the Deanery and to the Diocese as a whole. We are going to meet with them in October, to continue our discussions. We have invited other congregations, local and international, to come to the aid of our diocese. Let us pray for positive responses. I would like to see a situation in the near future, where Women Religious are part and parcel of our mission and our vision for this diocese.
Our Vicar General, Fr Donaat Bohé, OMI celebrated his 80th Birthday last month.
This month, the parish of the Holy Cross celebrates its Golden Jubilee.
The diocese must still find a way of saying thanks and goodbye to Fr Samyn OMI, who is now on retirement. He gave his best to God in this diocese and we will forever be grateful
Congratulations to the Sacred Heart Sodality who celebrated their 50 years of their existence in this Diocese. We will celebrate with them in the next Diocesan celebration. (This was my promise to them).
Congratulations to Fr Louis Rets’elisitsow Sehlabo who got his Licentiate/Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology in the Catholic University of East Africa. He did it at record time and is energized and determined to come and bring his knowledge and experience to his diocese. We welcome him back and will celebrate with him after his graduation.
In June this year, His Lordship, Bishop Emeritus, Zithulele Mvemve celebrated 48 years as a priest and 31 years as a bishop. May the Lord grant him health and strength.
XIII) THE BICENTENARY OF CHURCH IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Catholic Church celebrates 200 years of its existence in South Africa. A prayer card to celebrate this bicentennial jubilee of our Church is available in the chancery. We must expect an invitation from the Archdiocese of Cape Town, for all of us, clergy and laity in South Africa, to travel to Cape Town in Jan/Feb 2018 for a national celebration. We have taxis and buses going to Cape Town but when the time comes, I am going to recommend that we hire a coach in one of the trains traveling to Cape Town so that we can travel together in a safe way to this celebration. We will allow you to organize the trip in your own way.
The Bishops Conference has already suggested that after the national celebration, every diocese must organize its own diocesan celebration of the bicentenary. For us in Klerksdorp, we will be celebrating the 4Oth Anniversary of the diocese. We were established as a prefecture of the Western Transvaal on the 14th of October 1965, with Monsignor Verstraete as the Prefect Apostolic. We were raised to the status of a diocese on the 27th February 1978 with Right Reverend Bishop Daniel A. O. Verstraete OMI, as the first bishop. He was ordained on the 14th of May 1978.
We can see how we can include these celebrations in our Harvest Thanksgiving Mass in February and in the Renew Launch of June 2018. I do not think that we can afford to have more than two diocesan celebrations in a year. I will ask the Presbyteral Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Councils to apply their minds to this and come up with a plan.
Reap is a Catholic initiative, assisting learners from poor backgrounds to get tertiary education. They give funds to cover their study and accommodation. They support them, guide them and encourage them to study hard. In our diocese, which is considered a ‘rural diocese’, Reap is willing to consider not only children from farms and villages but also from townships. There are conditions of course: the first condition is that your parents must be from a poor background and you must have proof to that effect.
The second condition is that you must have obtained a 60% pass mark at Grade 11 June and December. You must apply for Reap while you are still in Grade 11 because that is when the process of selection begins. I urge all the clergy and youth leaders to take this issue seriously and identify hardworking kids from poor backgrounds, to benefit from this programme.
In the past two years, the majority of beneficiaries from the Klerksdorp diocese are non-Catholic. This is quite embarrassing! From my part, and from the side of Deacon Chabedi, we have done our best to promote Reap in the diocese without success. How do you feel, when you have poor, bright, deserving and hardworking young people in the parish, who are idling, hopeless and depressed when they could have benefitted from Reap? Please tell the children about Reap when they are still in Grade 9 and 10. Invite our Reap representatives to come and speak to your parish youth and parents about it. I will invite them again to come to our next Clergy meeting.
XV) MEN AND WOMEM’S FORUMS
We would like to thank the men of our Diocese for a wonderful Mass and their generosity at Makwassie. We raised over R40 000 and enjoyed the talk by the CEO of Mandela Foundation, Mr Sello Hatang. Thanks to Deacon Baothae Masibi and his team. Our procession through the streets of Makwassie was both a prayer and a form of evangelization. Keep up the energy Bontate and your loyalty to Christ and His Church. We need you. Let us work together with the new team.
In the absence of Fr Joseph, who is on holiday, the Women’s Forum met at Bloemhof, bringing together the Wollies and Kosh Deaneries. They managed to raise well over R68 000. They showed dedication, generosity and determination. We are very grateful to all the parishes and to Fr Vusi and his parish choir. The Mass was great indeed! Their great hospitality and organization is highly appreciated. We pray for fruitfulness in all areas of your life! Oh what a wonderful talk by Dr Mphela, we were all empowered to seek Inner Peace!
POTCH AND DITSOBOTLA DEANERIES WILL be meeting on the 25th of September in Atamelang. Let us keep up the good work and show the spirit of unity and solidarity. With you, the diocese will stand firm and proud. Our work of evangelization and formation will succeed with your support.
XVI) NEW CATECHETICAL POLICY
Catechesis, the work of religious education, is essentially an ecclesial act. The Church, therefore, has a right and an obligation to ensure that each baptized person has the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ in his teachings and in the lived tradition of the Church itself.
The goal of catechesis is to help the catechized come to know and love Jesus Christ. To that end, the policies and procedures in this draft policy, have been established to provide for the catechetical needs of candidates, catechists, priests, pastoral council and parents. The general overarching policy for Catechesis in the Diocese Klerksdorp, is that every baptized person has a right to a full, comprehensive catechesis in the truths of the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ that leads to a personal relationship with Christ and a sincere desire to worship God and participate in the faith life of the Church.
At the end of August I handed over the draft Catechetical Policy of the diocese to the clergy. We gave them extra copies so that they can discuss with the catechists in the parishes and give us feedback. Look at it. It is comprehensive. We tried to make it easier to follow. It guides us from children’s catechesis to adult catechesis. Your comments must be in by the end of October. In 2018 it will be our official policy. Let me give an example of the new policy: The age for confirmation is strictly 16 or above. The young person must have done four years of formation including seminars, workshops and retreats before receiving the sacrament.
XVII) ENGAGED ENCOUNTER
We are still pleading with our engaged couples (le ba ba ntsheditsweng magadi), to be part of the Engaged Encounter weekend in September. It is a very important weekend since it will prepare the couple to understand what a Christian marriage is. It will prepare them for their marriage vows and for life after the wedding! Our Married Couples and the Family Life Desk must attend without fail. They will observe how it is done so that in the future they can run such weekends for us. If you are a stable married couple and you want to come and observe, you are most welcome. R1700 per couple. It is worth it! We have invited an experienced team from Gauteng to come with the priest to run this seminar for us. Let us support!
XVIII) FAMILY LIFE MEETING IN DUBLIN.
We invite the Family Life Desk of the Diocese and other families to try and attend the meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, next year. The date is 21-26 October 2018. Deposit is R4500. Full amount is R35 000 per person for flight, accommodation, food and transport, all included. It is an International Congress of families and will give families an opportunity to attend workshops, catechesis and exhibitions. The climax will be the Papal Mass with Pope Francis. Let us have some representation from Klerksdorp please!!!
XIX) CATHOLIC DATA BASE OF SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS
I spoke to the clergy, requesting them to identify Catholics with knowledge, skills and experience in various fields, who can be available to help the Church in Southern Africa, when it requires such skills. Send your CV to the chancery, firstname.lastname@example.org and Ms Kelebogile Olifant will compile that database. Some of the needs of the Bishops’ Conference database is in the area of Justice and Peace, Caritas, Communications, Seminary Lecturers and formators, Accounting department, HIV/AIDS coordination and administration, Rural Development Support Program (RDSP), Rural Education Access Programme (Reap), Siyabhabha Trust for capacity building for integral development, Bishops’ Lenten Appeal, Police and Army chaplains, National Youth Chaplain, Laity Council National coordinator or secretary, Family Life Desk coordinator, Catechetical coordinator, Liturgy department secretary, Catholic Theological Society, Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue secretary, Pontifical Mission Society coordinator; Catholic Institute of Education (CIE)– Admin staff. Catholic Health Care (CATHCA), Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP); Dennis Hurley Peace Institute; Migrants, Refugees and Itinerants, etc.
Whenever there is a vacancy, the bishops would like to give the clergy and laity of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland first preference. Non- Catholics and Catholics from other countries will receive a second preference. The problem up to now, is that these three countries do not have a solid database from where they can head-hunt or even approach certain individuals to apply for certain posts. Priests, Religious and laity of these three countries must submit their CV’s and must identify an area of interest or their qualifications. Are you available to serve the Church of Southern Africa when they need you? Sometimes it might mean relocating to Pretoria to live and work closer to the Secretariate. Please cooperate!
On a personal note, I am ready and willing not only to send priests for further studies. I will gladly consider getting scholarships for laity, especially in the areas of a Catechesis, Liturgy, Small Christian Communities, Theology, Philosophy, Pastoral Counselling, Justice and Peace, Development, Media and Communication, Spirituality and Scripture with the hope that they can come back and work full time for the diocese and for the Bishops’ Conference when they are needed. If you are interested, please indicate.
XX) MISSIONARIES OF ST. PAUL
We welcome missionaries of St. Paul from Nigeria who are coming to help in the Tswaing/ Delareyville Pastoral District. We hope for a good and long working together and we say to Father Emmanuel WELCOME!. We expect another Missionary to join him in 2018
Once More thanks to you for your spirit of oneness and cooperation. Let us all be there for each other and for the diocese. Let us play our part in building vibrant parishes and a vibrant, viable and spirit-filled diocese. Thank you for making your time, talents and resources available for the Church. I will always be grateful to you for what you are doing for our Church. You are truly proudly Catholic.
May St Peter and Paul, the two Patrons of our diocese intercede for us and give us their courage and wisdom.
Let us grow in our love for each other. We love people for the love of Christ, for Christ is so connected with His people (Acts 9:4-5; Col. 3:18-25). We “love as Christ loved.” Christ is the ideal prototype of love; He is the divine love Incarnate for us. In Christ the love of God is poured out upon us (Romans 5:1-11), and Christians must imitate Christ in His love: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” “Love…just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 4:32; 5:25). We have “opened wide our hearts to you…open wide your hearts also” to receive us (2 Corinthians 6:11-13). We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:7-8). “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And above all these, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:12-14; cf. Phil. 1:8-9; Philem. 10.20). “Love one another earnestly, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
May God bless you.
† V.H. PHALANA
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese Klerksdorp