PASTORAL LETTER NO 1/16 – April 2016

Bishop Phalana C of A




GREETINGS. This is my first letter in 2016 and it is a follow up letter to the one dated 20 December 2016. If you did not receive the letter of the 20th of December, please consult our office for a copy.
1. At the meeting of our diocesan leadership, made up of clergy and lay leaders, we agreed on a vision to guide our diocese for now. The Vision Motto is: CALLED FOR TRANSFORMATION, SENT TO EVANGELIZE. I would like to explain what we mean by this. I invite you to reflect about your own understanding of this motto, andto share with us your suggestions on how it can be implemented.

CALLED FOR TRANSFORMATION: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The word for “transformed” is metamorphosis in the original Greek. This denotes something lasting and enduring: not the change of one’s appearance or image, as in worldly fashions, but the change of one’s organic and substantial form. St. Paul is not saying that we are to change our fashion or appearance, but that we are to change who we are. The Christian transformation, also called conversion, means renewing our minds to reflect the will of God.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what it is that is good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
2. This transformation process requires both putting off the bad and putting on the good.
“That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
3. In the ultimate transformation, Christ’s followers will be like Him!
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

The process is as follows:
•The caterpillar starts its life out as an egg.
•Then it becomes a caterpillar.
•As a caterpillar its job is to eat and eat and eat some more until it bursts out of its skin.
•When it is mature, it stops eating and starts spinning a silken pad, called a chrysalis, all around itself.
•Then it rests. During this special period of rest, cells now become energized and turn into the wings, legs, eyes, and other parts of the adult butterfly.
•It stays in this chrysalis for a long time. Some varieties stay inside for a whole year!
•When God determines that it is ready, the former caterpillar slowly bursts out of its silken pad and is now a butterfly. It no longer has to crawl, it can now fly!
God uses nature to teach us spiritual lessons. I believe that the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is one example of this. As human beings, we are meant to grow: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
•Feeding Stage: Where we “take in” and “feed on” the Scriptures and on the Eucharist, focusing on learning about God through Jesus and becoming full members of the community. This is when our foundation is built.
•Resting Stage: Where we digest what we have learned, meditate on God’s character, start to trust Him and praise Him. This is where we learn what Liturgy, fellowship and worship is.
•Activity Stage: After being fed, and after resting in God’s presence, we will be empowered with a new perspective on life and will desire from deep within to make a difference in our world, to serve and to give generously. We will fly and God will be the wind beneath our wings. This stage can be compared to the journey of a faithful Christian. Our characters and personalities will be moulded through hardship during this time. We will learn to “exercise” our faith during these times and our “faith muscle” will become stronger and stronger. If we had no struggles to overcome, our faith muscle would be flabby!
This is God’s plan for us. In Romans 8:29 it says that we are to be “conformed to the image of His son.” To become like Christ – is our ultimate goal! For this we need to grow. We need to make a difference in people’s lives.
In the book of Ezekiel, God says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”.
Transformation starts with rebirth by and in the Holy Spirit with the new identity in Jesus Christ and proceeds with the growth process so that we conform to the image of Christ in the whole person of body, soul and spirit.
God changes lives. From hardness to gentleness, from selfishness to generosity, from passivity to engagement. He moves you from alienation to community through his grace. He is able to transform you, moving you from mercilessness to compassion. The living water from the pierced side of Christ can transform you into a new person, a beautiful person, an example and a model. Surrender to his call.
In my next letter, I will talk more about New Evangelization. In my last letter, in the last quarter of the year, I will talk about Social Transformation, especially in the light of the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism.


We are moving ahead with putting up structures for our youth. I made a request for all Deanery structures to elect Deanery Youth Commissions with an executive. From the executive we will form the Diocesan Youth Commission. Those elections must take place in the presence of the parish youth executives of that deanery and must be conducted by the ASB and the chaplain if you have one. I asked for the same procedure to be followed by the Altar Servers of each Deanery. Their chaplains and ASB’s must help them as well. Thanks to all the altar servers who came to the special gathering at the Cathedral on Easter Monday. It was wonderful. All deaneries were represented. Thanks to the parents, the ASB who accompanied them and the parish priests. One lesson from that event is that – after using a venue, we need to spend enough time to clean inside and outside. The Cathedral community is not impressed that we left their place in such a bad state. We apologize.

We thank the youth who attended the Youth Workshop. You worked hard. You prayed. You sang and you left us with a lot of hope for the diocese. Thank you for your full participation in all sessions. Give a report back to your parish and to Parish Pastoral Council. One lesson learnt: We allowed too much freedom, and many of our youth abused it. Some people did not sleep until the wee hours of the morning and that was against the rules. There was ill-discipline at night and perhaps some damages in some rooms of Rabbuni. I am worried about this state of affairs. I wonder if we brought the right people to the workshop! From now on, we will not have a youth gathering of any sort without the Adult Supportive Body (Men and Women), and tight security. We need to police the youth during the day and during the night so that the naughty and ill-disciplined youth do not get a chance to spoil our events. Let us go ahead with our next event of June 16. Let us not spoil it. We are giving you yet another chance to prove yourselves. If our events are marred by misbehaviour and lawlessness, we will have to rethink. At the moment, I still believe that the great majority of our youth are disciplined and good. I need your cooperation. Always travel with your ASB.

2. We have effected the following changes in the diocese: Fr Bernard Sangwa has gone to Stilfontein- Khuma pastoral district. Fr Oupa Kgage is now at Kanana Pastoral. Fr Modise Nthutang is going to Itsoseng and its outstations. Fr Corneille Nkeba is going to Jouberton St Peter and its outstations. Fr Mathaha will continue looking after Vaal Reefs and take over Orkney pastoral. Fr Joseph Kyeyune will continue with Alabama but will take over St Paul – Jouberton and Kreste Motsogi. Deacon Baothae Masibi will assist Fr Melusi Hlatswayo in the Wolmaranstad Pastoral. Their Pastoral district include Makwassie and Leeudoringstad among others. Fr Vusi Mdlalose will take over Bloemhof and Christiana and create new outstations. Fr Valentine Mphoso will take over Ventersdorp pastoral and has been appointed Dean of Potch Deanery. Fr Tom Maretlane will take over Wedela and Kokosi. Fr Abie Tlhapi will take over Boikhutso and its outstations. Fr Pieter Peeraer OMI will take over Welverdiend. Fr Lebohang Malemoha OMI will continue with Calvary but will also take care of the Sotho/Tswana community of Promosa.Fr Paulin Kayukwa will take care of Bodibe and its outstations.Fr Donaat Bohe, our Vicar General continues with the Healing Mass in St Michael Potchefstroom but will celebrate a Healing Mass once a month in Promosa. In the next issue we will clarify all the other portfolios of the clergy in the diocese.

We thank our priests for their generosity of spirit. We thank you, our parishes for receiving them and for supporting them. Please work together peacefully and build strong, united and worshipping communities. Do not allow the spirit of divisions and negativity to take over your parishes. Submit yourselves to the Spirit of the living God and work in harmony (Phil 2:1-1-4).
3. Try and resolve parish problems peacefully through your parish pastoral council. Those are your elected leaders and they, together with the pastor, must give you a hearing and try to solve the problems of the parish amicably, in the spirit of Christ. When you are not able to solve your problems locally, you can reach out to the Dean and ask him to intervene. That is one of his responsibilities in the Deanery. He represents the Bishop in the deanery. He can attend to parish matters alone or with the assistance of some of the Deanery leaders, to try and mediate. If the dean fails to solve the problems, he reports to the Bishop and the Vicar General, who, with the assistance of Consultors, will come up with a strategy on how to deal with the problem at hand.

The Bishop or the Vicar General might get personally involved or might set up a commission to investigate and recommend the way forward. Christ is our source of unity. He always says to us: Love one another (John 15:9-17). Let us respect each other and behave like followers of Christ. Let us stop offending each other and setting up traps for one another. Respect others and they will respect you.

4. I met with leaders of our sodalities. Our group used to be called: Laity Council. We have changed the name to: Sodalities’ Forum. I am concerned about the health of our sodalities. I would like to see them grow in their spirituality and particularly in the knowledge of their charisms. I would like to see them flourish in holiness, in the spirit of prayer and in spiritual and corporal works of mercy/works of charity. They must contribute first of all to the parish and then to the sodality.

The parish comes first. We have asked them to assist the diocese by contributing generously to the Seminary Fund. We wish all those in leadership and their chaplains well. Let them give leadership in the spirit of Christ-the-Servant. Let them be generous in their service and be ready to sacrifice. Sodalities are not money-making-machines. They are meant to build Christians in personal sanctification or holiness, in community life, evangelization and in the apostolate. Money is important but it comes last.

5. We continue to thank you for your generosity. We are slowly moving towards becoming a self-sustaining and self-supporting diocese. We will continue with our Diocesan Fundraising, which will include a Golf Day and Harvest. In our previous meetings, a suggestion was made:to try something new. It was suggested that we celebrate our Harvest Day on Deanery levels. I am willing to give it a try. We will have our normal Harvest Day celebration for Kosh Deanery on the 28th of August. I request the collaboration of the Deanery Pastoral Council and the Cathedral community.

The other deaneries: 10 July -Potch Deaner; 25 Sept Wolmaranstad; 09 October Ditsobotla. Let the Diocesan Fundraising Committee assist you in your plans and implementation. Remember that we have set a target of R100 000 per deanery. We are aware that some deaneries are bigger than others and perhaps they should be more generous. Come up with creative ways of raising money on the deanery level and encourage all parishes and outstations to play their part.

We are aware of the economic situation of the country. We are aware of the reality of poverty and unemployment affecting our diocese. That is why we would like you to be creative and to come up with innovative ways of raising money for the diocese. Those who cannot reach the target must not give up. They must try and we will be satisfied with what they have reached. It is not just the result that we are interested in. We are also interested in the process and in the effort you put in. Start to work and let us make a great success of this. INVOLVE EVERYONE!

6. Continue to observe the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the recommendations I gave last year. Thank you for all your efforts. Thank you for your Jubilee Year initiatives. You can revisit the Pastoral Letter I issued on the Year of Mercy and see what suggestions you can implement. As adiocese I would like us to come together and to celebrate the closing of the Year of Mercy on the Feast of Christ the King this year(20 November 2016).

This is one of the suggestions we received as we were discussing The Year of Mercy. The Presbyteral Council, the Sodalities’ Forum and the Diocesan Pastoral Council will help with the necessary preparations. On the parish level, we agreed with all the clergy that every parish will organize a Parish Mission. The Redemptorists are the best to do that; but as you can imagine, the whole South Africa needs them this year. Try your luck and if they are not available, try the Missionaries of Mercy of SACBC.

7. We congratulate Reverend Deacon Aubrey Chabedi on his ordination to the diaconate on the 19th of March 2016. He has been appointed to assist Fr Bongani Sithole at the Cathedral. He will continue to serve as our REAP representative. He will continue in the Diocesan Pastoral Team and has been appointed to work with Fr Joseph Kyeyune in the Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Desk. I will work with him and with Fr Don to revive the Diocesan Bursary Fund so that we can try to assist our poor and deserving youth who are struggling with Registration feesin Tertiary Institutions.

8. Some men of our diocese have already approached me indicating a desire to train for the diaconate. I would to request our formation team to be ready to start with the formation course of deacons from the beginning of July. Men who feel that they are called to serve God as deacons, must come forward and present themselves to their parish pastoral councils first. With the blessing of the pastoral council, they can apply to the diocese. Formation courses will be open to men who are over 35 years of age. They must have been married sacramentally for more than 5 years. The Course will take about 3 to 4 years. It will be given in English and participants will be expected to write assignments.

9. We are very sad to say goodbye to Fr Gerard Vandesompele OMI. He has decided to leave our diocese after many years of faithful service. I have received many testimonies from the faithful of this diocese concerning his dedication; his involvement with the youth; his involvement in the struggle for justice in South Africa; his involvement with Catechesis and lay formation; his care for the poor and for those who are HIV positive; his care for communities, parishes and in building new churches and structures, etc. etc.. He gave us the best. He gave his all. We owe a lot of gratitude to this Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate. May the Lord bless him. May he enjoy his spiritual break and the new ministry the Lord might have in store for him in Belgium. He knows that Klerksdorp is his second home. He can always come back and share his experiences with us. Till we meet again!

10. THANK YOU to those sent in their Holy Childhood collection in February/March. We asked all to parishes to make sure that the Good Friday collection for the Holy Land is sent to the account of St Michael – Potchefstroom with proper references of location, parish name and Good Friday. For those who are yet to send their Lenten Appeal, please do so before the end of April. Reference must be – parish, town and lent. At the end of June we will make a special collection for Peter’s pence.

This money is for the support of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. In October we will make a collection for Pontifical Mission Society (PMS). This year was a very bad year for us. We sent a disappointing R18 000 to Rome and I know we can do better than that. Most of the parishes did not send even one cent! (We do not participate in some of the SACBC collections because of our own diocesan economic situation. There is Bible Sunday Collection in August and Communications Sunday in September. There is also an Advent Collection in most South African dioceses. We are not part of these collections. We are trying to get our house in order. Once we are financially stable, we will consider joining in).

11. Parishes have disregarded our diocesan policy of Financial Reports accompanied by Bank Statements that must come to the Chancery office. When I came to the diocese, priests complained about having to send monthly reports. I made an agreement with them that we will do away with monthly reports and replace them with quarterly reports. We are not receiving any report from parishes. People do fundraisings, projects, events, celebrations, spending a lot of money in the process and we are not informed. This is wrong and it must stop.

Sending your report and declaring your financial status is not an option, it is compulsory. I expect to see, by the end of April all financial reports of 2015 (Annual Financial Report). You must also send your January to March Financial reports and bank statements. I asked the Diocesan Finance Committee members to be ready to visit problematic parishes to assist them to comply with Diocesan directives. I will also do that during my pastoral visits this year. Parishes must show accountability and transparency. Our Diocesan Finance Committee is very much concerned about the lack of financial accountability; parishes not receiving financial reports and the misuse of parish money.

This has to stop. Make sure you have a budget. Make sure you have a Finance committee which reports regularly to the Parish Pastoral Council and, either monthly or quarterly, gives reports to the parish.It is the responsibility of the Parish priest, PPC chairperson and PFC chairperson to comply with Diocesan Directives.

12. Our diocesan budget for 2016- February 2017 is just over R2 million. That is what it costs us to run this diocese. For that reason, you are expected to send 10% of your monthly income to the diocese. Some parishes have sent us ridiculous amounts. Every parish must contribute to the running of the diocese so that we can become more and more independent from outside help. Those who have received more, must give more. Thanks to the Cathedral having sent R76 000, their 10% for 2015. St Michael sent about R90 000 as their 10%.

13. I will be travelling a lot this year. Towards the end of May I will go to Nigeria, to visit a community of Sisters who are keen to work in our diocese. I need to explain to them our needs and expectations before they can come. In June I will visit the USA for the celebration of the Martyrs of Uganda and also to see the possibility of cooperation between our diocese and one of the dioceses there.

I hope to initiate the twinning of our diocese with one of the American dioceses so that we can share both spiritual, evangelical, human and material resources where possible. In July till early August, I will attend my first World Youth Day in Poland together with Fr Oupa Kgage. Unfortunately we have sent appeals overseas to try and get sponsorships for 4 youth representatives to attend with us, to no avail. In September I will attend the canonization of Blessed Mother Theresa in Rome and immediately after that, I will attend the Bishops’ Course. This particular workshop of more than two weeks is meant to assist new bishops and to empower them for the better administration of their dioceses.I will need your prayers for all that.

14. On the 29th of June or we will observe the Feast of St Peter and Paul in our parishes. It will be a Wednesday. Try to organize a special mass and use the time to explain to the people about these two diocesan patrons. You can also celebrate it on Sunday 3 July. Let us all pray for the diocese of Klerksdorp on that day. It is our Diocesan Patronal Feast.

15. We sent out a prayer service for the week of Christian Unity. This means that we must organize Ecumenical services in our churches. You can do this in collaboration with the pastors of other churches near you. Invite them to the parish for a meeting, and come up with a programme detailing how you are going to visit each other’s churches. We, Catholics, must initiate it and remember to identify an Ecumenism contact person in your parish and send the name to the chancery. If you did not get the prayer service guidelines, please let us know. Share this with your parish council so that they can help.

16. We are busy discerning the best way to respond to the Pastoral challenges of our diocese. We invited the co-ordinator of Renew to come and present the Renew Programme to the clergy. We will call the Johannesburg Renew Team to come and present this programme to the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Sodalities’ Forum. Once we think we can benefit from Renew, we will adopt it for our diocese and start with the training and formation of Renew leaders and facilitators before it can be launched.

17. For Vocations to the priesthood, contact Fr Melusi Hlatswayo in Wolmaranstad.

18. I would to request all our Directors, Heads of Departments, Co-ordinators and Chaplains to send me their reports. The reports must give a short evaluation of 2015 and the plans and strategies for 2016. I have been waiting for these reports and time is running out.

19. We are praying and discerning if it is the will of God that the diocese of Klerksdorp should have its own Diocesan Congregation of Sisters. Help me to pray about this. There is an inspiration towards that direction, but we need to be sure and to pray for the gift of foundation. The Founding of a new congregation is huge task, both spiritually and materially. It must be a fruit and a result of our prayers, sacrifices and efforts. Many young women would like to become sisters. How wonderful would it be if they can belong to our diocese and serve here, while at the same time being available to serve the Universal Church!

20. Congratulations to St Conrad’s School. Their matric results last year were impressive. The school is also trying hard to remain faithful to the Catholic Ethos. The works of mercy, the social contribution of the school is exemplary. I was happy to hear about their outreach programmes. I am overwhelmed when I hear about their projects in poor communities. Please reach out to them and learn from them, you can do great things as well.
21. I will be meeting our Lay ministers, Funeral ministers and catechists or Sunday school teachers in our deaneries from this month. On the 27TH Of April – Potch deanery and on the 7th of May is the Ditsobotla deanery. Programmes have already been sent.

22. My April –August schedule stands like this:
• 30 April 0 Episcopal Ordination of the Auxilliary Bishop of Johannesburg.
• 03 – 06 May 2016 SACBC Bishops’ Board meeting
• 08 May 2016 Pastoral Visit to Boikhutso outstations(Bakerville 08:00 and Coligny 11:00 Bessiesvlei :15:00)
• 11 May Lumko Workshop for new missionaries in South Africa
• 09- 14 May Week of prayer for Christian Unity
• 14 May 9:00 – 16:00 Renew Africa Rabbuni for Diocesan Pastoral Council and Sodalities’ Forum.
• 14 May 18:00 to 20:00 St Anne – 15 May St Anne Pentecost Mass
• 17 May Clergy Study Day at Rabbuni from 9:30 – 17:00
• 18 May Presbyteral Council Meeting from 09:00 – 13:00 at Rabbuni
• 18 May Consultors Meeting from 14:00 – 17:00
• 20- 22 May Family Life Desk Training workshop At Rabbuni
• 20 – 22 Christian Healing Workshop for Tzaneen Diocese
• 23 – 24 May Botswana Charismatic Revival
• 25 May Nigeria
• 03 June Umzikhulu Sacred Heart Feast Centercow
• 09 June Visit Lichtenburg with St Bridgid Sisters
• 10 – 30 June United States
• 09 July Youth Revival Potch Deanery at St Ephraim
• 10 July Harvest Potch Deanery
• Confirmations at Assumption of our Lady 16 May Saturday Meeting with Candidates Parents, ConfirmationCandidates and Sponsors – 17 May Sunday Confirmation Mass
• 17 July – 04 August World Youth Day
• 9-18 Aug – Bishops’ Plenary Session – Gaborone.
• 21 Aug – St Theresa becoming officially Baradi Ba Anna
• 21 August – Feast of Assumption (Patroness of South Africa)
• 27 August – From 9:00 to 1pm meeting with confirmation Candidates of St Michael (Late afternoon Confirmations)
• 28 Aug – Harvest for KOSH Deanery.
• 30 August – Ecumenism Department of SACBC
Lesedi Newsletter is now available in the office come and collect your copy for only R5 each .
I am sorry that I may sound a bit frustrated but I would like to enjoy the cooperation of all the clergy, Parish leaders and sodality leaders. It is a pity that that cooperation is lacking. WHERE IS THE LENTEN APPEAL MONEY? WHERE IS THE 10%? WHERE ARE THE FINANCIAL REPORTS? Let us all comply.

Yours faithfully

† Bishop P. H. Phalana.
Diocese of Klerksdorp