We Pray and also Socialize!!!

As we have it on our church calendar the 22nd January is a special day for St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr. Our Pallotine brothers and fathers celebrated this special day on Monday the 25th together with the Conversion of St Paul Feast. The Pallotines formerly known as the “Society of the Catholic Apostolate” SAC celebrate this day yearly in our diocese. They come together in prayer to remind themselves of their founder. As we know he was had an intense devotion to the Holy Trinity and to the Blessed Virgin Mary to the extent of being considered a saint by his contemporaries in his life. He was proclaimed blessed by Pope Pius XII on the 22nd January 1850 and canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1963. He was named the principal patron of the Pontifical Missionary Union of Clergy on the 6th April 1963.

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It was such a beautiful day on Monday, we started with Holy Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Reabow SAC one of the senior priests in our diocese and Pallotine community. Mass was so uplifting as Fr. shared with us his experiences since the time he joined the religious life. He mentioned to us that, there was no time that he felt he was on his own as a religious because of the love he draws from St. Vincent Palloti each day. He emphasized on the community life and encouraged us to be a living gospel like Palloti did during his time.

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We were also encouraged to do works of mercy especially this year.

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It was indeed a beautiful day to almost everyone who was there. Special thanks goes to the laity who left everything and grace this day with their presence and sang nicely at Mass. All the best to our Pallotine Brothers and Fathers.

Confirmation and Opening of Grotto: St. Vincent Palloti Parish-Ezibeleni

It was a sunny with a beautiful weather day when the Ezibeleni/Ilinge District come together in great celebration. Since the 31st January 2016, St. Vincent Palloti Parish will never be the same. The celebration started with Holy Mass led by the Chief Shepherd of our Diocese, His Lordship Bishop D. Mpako who welcomed everyone at the beginning of Mass as he usually do. He thanked God in a special way for having brought everyone to this new year still with the gift of faith which is our strength as believers. He also thanked Him for the gift of the people who were to be confirmed in His church to be true witness of Christ through words and actions.

 

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In his homily he reminded everyone of their calling to be Christians and also their responsibilities which are not very easy. Together with those who were confirmed he also reminded the people of God that in confirmation we are transformed into being prophets. As we know it, a prophet is a person who foresees things. He sees all sorts of things that other people cannot see, he reflected on this in a different way saying, we show the prophetic mission by the way we live the Gospel. Our Christian lifestyle is the one that shows our desire to do God’s will.

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He furthermore,   described the prophet as the one who always wants to know what God wants of them. He mentioned also that one cannot be a Christian if they are not prophet. As much as it is not easy to be a prophet but we should persevere. People will forever challenge you if you see things in a different way and they will go to the extent of neglecting you and also call you names. We need at all times to fulfill the Christian calling of being prophets and do as the spirit directs us. He gave a fatherly advice that self introspection is very important. Know yourself, identify your mistakes, be able to forgive yourself and use the faith you got in confirmation as a took to help others grow spiritually and otherwise. 

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Candidates for confirmation received their special grace, Mass continued as usual after which the congregation proceeded to the beautiful newly built Grotto where there was a special celebration for its blessing. His Lordship thanked all those who supported the idea of the Grotto, those who funded the project itself and their priest in charge Rev. Fr. Mlungisi Emmanuel Maphumulo for such an achievement.  

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The Holy Door is Opened in the Diocese of Queenstown!!!

It was exactly at 10h00 when all the Roman Catholic Church of Queenstown Diocese gather together on Sunday the 13th December in the year of our Lord 2015. This special celebration started from outside unlike the normal celebrations.  It seemed everyone was looking forward to this as most people were very early. After the whole congregation gathered started the procession of servers with the seminarians, deacons, priests and our Bishop. The Bishop greeted everyone in a usual way and introduced the celebration itself. In his address he mentioned that the whole world is doing the same opening the door of Mercy as the Holy Father has given us this special year to be that of Mercy. He invited everyone to take part in all the activities that will be done to show mercy starting within us and looking outside to see all the good works the Lords wants us to do. The special gospel from Luke 3:10-18 was read in both languages we  use in the Diocese, that is, IsiXhosa and English. The Gospel itself is about John the Baptist’s preaching and the crowd asking him the big question, “what then should we do”? He answered this in many ways, we cannot exhaust the answers. This is a challenge to us as we begin this year of Mercy as the church because we need to ask ourselves as to what should we do to show mercy to one another. His Lordship challenged us to go and do good works that will show people that God is always there listening to their prayers. In his teaching he showed that ours is not to judge because there is only one supreme judge, but ours is to make Him proud by the good works we do in the world.

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There was a message of the Holy Father about the Year of Mercy which was read by Fr. Thulani Gubula in English and IsiXhosa for everyone to understand. We then moved to the “Door”itself, what we noticed here was the slight difference from what we used to. The procession was led by incense with the cross like we always do but the Bishop was just there after the cross with all the clergy behind him and then the whole congregation. This on its own told us that something wonderful was happening not only in the church history but in us more especially. When we got to the main door of Christ the King Cathedral which was closed tightly, the bishop gave the instruction that as of Sunday the 13th December 2015 to the 20th November 2016 the main door of the Cathedral will only be used as a Holy Door. The Cathedral community was asked to use only the side doors for their celebrations and when they decide to take the pilgrimage of Mercy then they will use the main door which is a Holy Door. He also mentioned that all districts of the diocese should organize themselves and communicate with the administrator of the cathedral to have their pilgrimages and enter through the Holy Door to get all the blessings we need in our lives.

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He blessed the door using holy water and incense. He ceremoniously opened the Holy Door and asked everyone to enter through it and not other doors. He ordered that it shall only be used for special occasions, that is, when people go there as pilgrims and not on normal Sundays or weekdays.  Inside the church mass continued in a usual way with the reading of the 3rd Sunday of Advent. In his homily, the Bishop, mentioned that our joy should be in the Lord. He did not run away from the fact that even when we are in God and with God things that we see as ungodly will always happen. He asked us not to backslide when such happen but be even stronger in God through the faith we have. He said the Kingdom of God is a sign of the joy we have in the Lord, “Rejoice in the Lord, I say rejoice”. All what God wants of us is to be joyful. We can achieve this even by entering through the gate, the Holy Door, which will give us inner peace. He mentioned also that our God is a merciful one, who forgives our sins and wants us to be holy as he is holy. The Lord of Host is with us, God of Jacob is our stronghold, so we should try to be holy and blameless before him so as to achieve the inner peace which we all need. May the good Lord be with us throughout the Year of Mercy!!!

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120th Anniversary of the Church at Keilands 1895-2015

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF KEILANDS

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Keilands is a farm in the Stutterheim Magisterial District on the right side of the Kei River. It was bought in 1886 by Fr. Alfred Weld S.J. (Jesuit Superior) In 1888 Bro Theodore Nigg began building a small chapel-he could not complete the building as he died on 10 August 1891. In 1894 the foundation of the church was laid by Fr. Kerr. The church was blessed on 09 September 1895 by Fr. Gillet. In 1894 seven Dominican Sisters were sent from King William’s Town and they started teaching children in a newly opened school. Jesuit fathers Horning and Bick made contact with Chief Saliwa with the intention of opening a school among his people and in 1895 a modest start was made with about 10  children. The people, however, were opposed to the establishment of a Christian Mission and School, fearing interference with their customs. Later they were willing to grant site to the school, but insisted on getting a trained teacher. The son of the chief, Peter Gidini who had been converted in June 1896 was a great help in these negotiations.

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In 1897 Bishop McSherry came to Keilands for the first time, also paying courtesy visit to the old chief. When the Bishop came again in 1899, the Christians of Saliwa made a procession across the river to Keilands and twelve of them were confirmed. In 1900 Fr. Apel took possession of Zigudu and in that year a school was started. The Jesuits were withdrawn from the Cape and transferred to Zimbabwe. In 1908 Keilands was handed over to the Trappists of Mariannhill. The new missionaries had their first experience of the vicious climate of the Kei valley when a violent storm removed the church roof. The Trappists started three schools and Fr. Huss taught the people proper farm skills. He experienced many problems. His concern was the notoriously bad road from Keilands to Dohne Railway station and long periods of drought. There are factors that made the mission work at Keilands difficult: bad roads and inclemency of climate.

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The mission was taken over by the Pallotine Fathers in 1928 July 01 with Fr. Rackl as the first Pallotine priest in charge there. In 1929 he obtained a welcome assistant in Fr. Ruebsamen. At the end of 1929 schools were conducted at Saliwa, Nciba, Zigudu, Sabalele, Matakane and Nonquthu. A lot of priest and brothers did work there, to mention a few, Frs Peter Graeff, Gross, Wergen, Anton Vay, and also brothers Stephen and Michael Phako.  Regardless of all the difficulties in that mission but it is important to mention that the only congregation of sisters in this diocese was born there. When Keilands celebrated its 75 years Jubilee in February 1961, the foundation stone was laid, the constitution for the Congregati Matris Didini Amoris (CDMA) – Congregation on The Mother of Divine Love was completed and submitted to the Bishop and to the Roman Authorities. We are so proud as the Diocese to see this congregation still active in our diocese and working in some important branches of the church’s foundations like Catechism.

 

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On this speci d the community of Keilands and neighboring parishes. He challenged us to look at the stones that are building the church which are still there and useful after 120 years of the church’s existence, he therefore, reminded us that we are also the stones that build the church of Christ. We should always try to work hand in hand for the growth of the Kingdom of God. We should join our hands for the mission of the church to continue. People were singing nicely and joyfully. The church was packed even the gallery itself was full. There was a lot of nice food served after mass.

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Fr. Tulani thanked the Bishop for taking his time to celebrate with the Keilands community and everyone who took part in that celebration. He thanked in a special way the church of Carthcart both english and xhosa speaking communities for all their generosity for the success of this special celebration. The Mother General of the CDMA Sisters, Sr. Pascalina Ndata also was given a chance to say a few words as their congregation is the child of Keilands. She expressed their joy as the congregation to see that place still existing, she also mentioned that on this very year of Consecrated Life they are praying in special way for vocations and she is very much convinced that they will get some as she made this prayer from where their roots are. “Thanks so very much Fr. Tulani for the good works you are doing at this place, the last time i came here the place was like the forest, even the church was not in a good condition but now i can see even the windows are replaced and there is life if we look around this place.” These were the words of the Bishop to the priest in charge. Congrats Keilands Community and God Bless!!!

 

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Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me!!! Sacred Heart and Outreach Program

Our Diocesan Sacred Heart Sodality as always embarked on their mission at the beginning of last month following their constitution. One of their objectives is to take Christ’s love and concern to all people especially those in need, the poor and the oppressed, it is of this reason that members of the sodality in the diocese of Queenstown ensures that each year they are involved in the outreach program. This program we are told rotates among the three deaneries. The council together with their spiritual adviser sit in a meeting at the beginning of each year and plan as to which deanery will be visited. This year was the council mandated the Eastern Deanery to choose a place for such a mission. The deanery committee decided on the home for the abused and abandoned children in Butterworth called Siyakhana. The home takes about fifty children between the age of three months and seventeen years.

 

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At the beginning of the year the deanery committee was sent to assess the situation there as well as to identify the things that the home needs for children and also for the home itself to be what it should. The manager told the team that they are not fussy, they are accept any donation. The team that was sent there noticed that there were no floor mats, there was also one television set which the staff claimed that children always fight over it.

 

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The 8th August 2015 was the big day at the home as members of the Sacred Heart painted the yard of the home navy as they were on their full uniform. They bought 50 inch  flat screen television set, floor mats, second hand clothing, a cake for the children’s celebration as well as drinks. A sum of R300 was also given out for the electricity. You can imagine how touching was this celebration. Thinking of those young stars with innocent faces. Truth be told, all those children need their mothers by their sides but they are denied of that chance. We thank the Sacred Heart Sodality for being so considerate.We understand that it is not that they have it all but the love of Christ in their hearts make them not to rest till they contribute in some other people’s lives.

 

20150808_132735 Special thanks goes to Rev. Fr. Sivuyile Wani for his dedication as the spiritual adviser of the Sacred Heart in our diocese, Ms Ntombi Gijana the president of the sodality and her executive for the good work they are doing we so thank the Almighty God. Keep on touching more lives and more people through your good works will not see you but the works of Jesus Christ through you. Facts of this story were provided by Ms Siphokazi P. Bongweni the Diocesan secretary of the sodality and pictures by Fr. Wani.

 

Edited and published by Fr. Thembela 0723024959

mthemngoma@gmail.com