The door of Mercy closed and people are sent to do the corporal works of Mercy

We have just had a celebrated the closing of our year as the Diocese of Queenstown in style. It was a two in one celebration, that is, Patronal Feast “Christ the King” and the official closure of the Year of Mercy. It was a huge success and we thank God who touched our hearts on such a special celebration through the good music of our choir and a beautiful spirit filled homily by the servant of God Bishop A. D. Mpako.

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Our celebrations began exactly at 10h00. We had testimonies from different deaneries and sodalities that we have in the diocese. They were all sharing about how it touched them as well as the works of mercy that they have done throughout the year. It was wonderful to hear that in deed Pope Francis gave us a year on what we really needed to grow into. It became clear that our people have grown in the spirit of sharing what they have. Starting with the spirit of prayer and also the material things.

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It was also wonderful to see such a beautiful attendance from all corners of the diocese. All sodalities, starting from that of the child Jesus upwards. In his homily His Lordship started by explaining the solemnity of Christ the King together with the closing of the Year of Mercy as that which identifies for us what the renewal we have been undergoing during this Jubilee Year is and which should be, that is, witnessing that all people are brought to a right place in minds and hearts where they will fully become dwellers in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Universal King. 2016-11-20-09-59-57                                                            2016-11-20-10-09-43                        2016-11-20-10-11-11             2016-11-20-10-13-49                                         2016-11-20-10-51-05             2016-11-20-10-54-12               2016-11-20-10-55-58 2016-11-20-10-30-00                   2016-11-20-10-51-12               2016-11-20-10-51-23                2016-11-20-11-10-20 2016-11-20-11-10-22

This kingdom of Christ the King is a way of being in the world, a way of relating, a way acting and behaving which is informed by the spirit and the example of Jesus Christ the King. This way of being touches not only our external actions but also our innermost thoughts, emotions, attitudes and dispositions. He (Bishop) also stressed the words of the Gospel by saying that indeed the forgiveness is demonstrated and a new life given to a lost soul, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…. Indeed I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.” The kingdom of Christ the King is the Kingdom of a king who hangs upon the cross as he gives himself in unconditional love so that through his death all may have life.
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He also encouraged us that this renewed faith should not only bring us to be full and active citizens of the kingdom of Christ the King. It should also make us agents of the establishment of the kingdom of Christ the King in the whole world. Everyone saw life in a different way and we got some sort of a new experience in our faith.

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The people of God gave out different gifts in cash and also clothes and food for those in great need.  All the donations were taken to our Philani Project which deals with the needy people in our diocese under the leadership of Sr. Felicitas CMDA. Anyone who wishes to donate as well for this good work to keep on going and touch the hearts of the poor feel free to contact me or the diocesan office.  After the concluding prayer the whole congregation went out of the Cathedral. As we had a special celebration on the opening of the Holy Door, so there was an official closure. Burners of the year of Mercy were rolled down, the Bishop himself closed the door of mercy and encouraged people to go and do the corporal works of mercy though the Holy Door is closed.

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HOLY FAMILY PARISH-IDUTYWA WITH PHILANI CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT

Our Diocesan development program is still functioning well amidst all the challenges. PHILANI QUEENSTOWN CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT visited Holy Family Parish. This of course was done under the supervision of the Priest in charge of that district, Fr. Mthokozisi Thuthuka Madlala TOR. Families in need were organized in time and invited in a special way for this day. Sr. Felicitas, tells us that everything went well there, people felt the Mercy of God in their hearts and houses. The day went as follows, Sr. opened with a prayer and explained the purpose of the project which focuses more on the orphans and vulnerable children, ministering to those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS and related diseases. As it is known the main aim of the project is to help these people get a quality of living in the spirit of serving Christ and give them the dignity they deserve.

There were twenty families there we are told, and (46) children. The way the situation was made Sr. Felicitas realize that there was a great need for the project to visit that place. The saddest part of it all is that most of the families that were there are child headed families. They all got some food parcels and the priest in charge gave a final blessing which marked the end of that special day which brings some sorrow though.

Special thank to His Lordship Bishop A. D. Mpako for pushing this project even when the well looks dry, we also to extend our heartfelt thank you to Sr. Felicita Solani CMDA for taking her time to keep this office going. Any donations on this office will be highly appreciated. We really want to reach all corners of this Diocese but the challenge is finances. People are in need, this is the year of Mercy, and as we know, we need to show Mercy so as to receive it in return. Be merciful like the father and help those who cannot help themselves.

Let us pray for one another to succeed in all what we do. We ask the heavenly Father to save us today from all weaknesses, infirmities and short-comings to which we easily succumb, from demanding standards from others which we do not try to keep ourselves. Save us from being too hard on others and too easy on ourselves, being critical and wide-open-eyed to the faults and failings of others and totally blind to our own, taking for granted the many kindness shown to us today and help us to respond with respect and gratitude not only to all our well-wishers, but also to those who may be critical of us. “Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.” Matthew 5:7

 

My First Easter experience in the Diocese of Queenstown and Whittlesea Pastoral District

He is truly risen, Alleluia!!!!! Here is an experience of our Reverend Deacon Richard Njanje SAC from Whittlesea Pastoral District of this year’s Easter Celebrations. He has this to say:

Easter as it should always come with the Good News that the Lord is risen an the greeting of the day is Alleluia. I have had a number of Easter Celebrations over the years but the one of this year, 2016, was a special one. It was unique for two reasons: it was my first one in the place I assigned to serve, Whittlesea Pastoral District, and secondly it was my first one as the deacon to serve at Easter which gave me an opportunity to baptize 12 children.

After the 40 days (Lenten Season) of the preparation, the Sacred Paschal Triduum which every Catholic was looking forward to finally arrived. It was was quite amazing to see how the faithful, in all the Sacred Paschal Triduum, filled up the St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church at Sada.

Holy Thursday: on this day the church was full with the faithful of all the main STATIONS, Sada, Ekuphumleni and Thornhill together with all the small communities under them. The readings of the day all point to the self-giving and the humility of Christ. On this day we remember in a special way the institution of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. It is always amazing too think of Christ’s love for humanity. It is in occasions as this that a famous analogy of a pig and a chicken in an egg and bacon business is used in attempt to understand the love of Christ.  It is this love that made Christ to give himself totally – His body and Blood; to humble Himself to the point of washing His disciple’s feet; and giving up His life on Good Friday.

As the day came to and end on friday everyone present was deeply touched with the sad memory of how Christ was crucified, this made everyone present to to be in a deep meditation; contemplating the Passion of Christ. The Easter Joy however covered all the grieving of the Good Friday. Christ the light of the world overcam the darkness of Good Friday. The Easter Vigil celebration started at 19h00 at St. Gabriel, Sada. The church was packed, faces of the people of God filled with the Joy of Easter; singing the song of the victory – the Gloria. The message to take home was ‘Christ is the Light of the world and as followers of Christ we ought to have our lights lit to dispel darkness in the world.’ Each one of us should always as themselves if their Easter light is still lighting.

IMG_2954[1] (2) Deacon Njanje SAC

May the risen Lord bless us and keep us always safe for the Kingdom. Thanks to our Deacon for sharing his experience with us, may God bless you abundantly. HAPPY EASTER TO ALL OF YOU DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD!!!

CHRISM MASS 2016 “NIBE NENCEBA NJENGOBAWO”

On the sunny Monday of the 21st March 2016 morning gathered together in our beautiful Christ the King Cathedral in celebrating two precious things at once, that is, the Chrism Mass as well as Human Rights Day. The spirit was excellent from all angles. The attendance was beautiful than last year. Choir excelled in leading us, indeed we experienced what St. Augustine’s says, he who sings prays twice. We felt the spirit of God anew in us.

The main celebrant was the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, His Lordship Bishop D. A. Mpako as it should. The Bishop welcomed everyone present and their trouble and means to come to this special celebration as there were so many things they could have done on the day. This celebration as we know it gives an opportunity to the Bishop to see his sheep that he shepherds in faith in one venue. It also gives a chance to the faithful to see all the clergy of the diocese together, it excites everyone to partake in Chrism Mass.

In his introduction he mentioned how important for us to take the celebration of the human rights serious. He said we all need to give each other the dignity they deserve. He made all the faithful aware of the letter by the SACBC on Racism. In his homily he focused mostly on three things,
i. The role of priesthood to the people of God.
ii. Year of Mercy to everyone and
iii. Church internal politics.
He appreciated the work the priests do in different parishes and mission stations, he made us understand that without his priests his mission will not be achieved in this diocese. He reminded the priests of their primary role which will make their ministry effective on their mission stations. To be there for their parishioners especially when they have lost their loved ones, visit the sick, administer sacraments, be available to celebrate masses with the people of God. He encouraged his priests to be servants and not to expect to be served.
He challenged the priests to be merciful like our Father, by forgiving and not condemning the people of God, to be humble priests than arrogant, to be selfless than glorified. He mentioned at the same time that he is very much impressed with the feedback he gets from the various parishes about how priests dedicate themselves in serving the people, their time to listen to the peoples challenges, their time and also physical presence to give support to the people.
In his homily he also reminded the people of God of their role to pray for their priests as their are not angels among them. He asked the people not to ask for extra-ordinary things from the priests but support him especially the moral support. He encouraged priests to be punctual for celebrations at their respective parishes.

He emphasized that parishioners should work hand in hand with their priests. They should be strong in faith, support the priest and make it a point that they use all the structures they have at their parishes than taking them to him. The oils were blessed, the national anthem was also sung before the final blessing to show that we understand what was celebrated nationally. All clergies and religious were invited for a finger lunch by the Administrator The Very Rev. Fr. S. Vanqa SAC

PASTORAL LETTER ON RACISM BY THE SACBC

PASTORAL LETTER

SOUTHERN AFRICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE

 A CALL TO OVERCOME RACISM

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We need to have a candid conversation on racism and its manifestations in order to adequately and seriously address racism and racial divisions in our country.

We realise that this is not an easy conversation, one that many of us may prefer to avoid. Our invitation to such a dialogue may in itself evoke a range of emotions, including self-justification and self-righteous feelings; or, guilt and denial; on the other hand, feelings of anger and sadness.  Dialogue, rational and respectful, is necessary so that we open ourselves to receive God’s healing.

The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others was something which St. Peter and the early Church overcame through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Truly I now perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Our invitation to become part of this dialogue comes from a realisation that the Holy Spirit calls us as a country to be healed; to build and develop relationships of equality, dignity and mutual respect.

In this third decade after gaining our democratic freedom and rights,

  • We need to address the issues of our social trauma as a country which result from the violence of centuries of colonialism and the violent decades of apartheid. We need to dialogue and work together to achieve healing as a nation.
  • We need to acknowledge the link between race, power and privilege.
  • We need to redress urgently the economic inequalities present in our society as a result of past racial discriminatory laws and practices; to allay unfounded fears and promotes justice.

Our responsibilities within the Church

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as Church in Southern Africa, we commit ourselves to a credible and comprehensive conversation on racism. This will mean acknowledging the presence of racism in the Church before and during the apartheid era and in these years of democracy. In humility, as St. Peter confessed, we your pastors prostrate before God and before all who are in pain, ask for forgiveness for our historic complicity with racism in the Church.

As we seek God’s mercy that comes with the Jubilee of Mercy, we challenge ourselves as your pastors and we call upon all the faithful and all people of goodwill to do all in our power to address the problem of racism in our society and in the Church. To this effect, our Conference will be adopting a process to be used in small group reflection in our dioceses and parishes engaging all in dealing with the issues of racism.

Furthermore, we encourage this open dialogue at the level of our parishes, availing parishioners of the opportunity to look at how people can grow in positive appreciation of cultural diversity and how this is expressed in the liturgy and other activities of the parish. Our experience of the Gospel call us to rejoice in diversity, to become more culturally inclusive and more enthusiastic in our appreciation of God’s gift of racial diversity. This leads us to appreciate that in our parishes, in our religious communities and in our dioceses, the glory of the body of Christ is enriched and mediated through the various rich cultural, social economic contributions that each race and all ethnic groups contribute from their basket of traditions and social identities.

Through our celebration of the Eucharist, the symbol of unity in the body of Christ, we ask the Lord to heal and transform the relationships in our dioceses and our parishes so that we become communities of faith where there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.” (Galatians 3: 28).

Personal responsibility of each

If we want our conversion to contribute to the building of a South Africa freed from racism, we must strive to lead lives worthy of the Gospel (cf. Phil. 1.27; Eph. 4.1), refrain from loving only people who are just like ourselves.  In loving only those who share our racial and ethnic backgrounds, we fall short of fulfilling the demands of love which the Gospel calls for. The words of our Lord challenge us that if we greet only our brothers and sisters, “what more are you doing than others? Do not even the non-believers do the same?”  (Matthew 5: 47)

While reaching out to one another, in open and honest dialogue, the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes especially important and meaningful because through it we come in our sinfulness to our all merciful Father for healing and forgiveness.

A call to prayer

The task of reconciliation therefore requires watchfulness and ardent prayer on the part of each. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we ask all parish priests and parishioners to commit themselves to a parish campaign to overcome racism, e.g. a parish prayer campaign or a family prayer, special days of prayer and fasting, co-operating with other parishes across racial lines and working with organisations promoting the dismantling of racism. We ask each parish to organise and commit themselves to do this.

May the Lord of Peace grant our nation the peace, the healing and the reconciliation that we seek. (cf. 2 Th. 3.16).

 

Archbishop Stephen Brislin

President of Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference