Archive for the From the Bishop Category

Diocese Policies Edition

 DIOCESAN POLICIES ALREADY PUT IN PLACE

1. Towards parishes that are financially self-sustaining

Our diocese is presently going through an unavoidable transition from a missionary diocese, largely dependent on external financial assistance, to an autonomous local Church that must be self-supportive and self-sustaining financially. Practically, this means that every parish or pastoral district in the diocese must move towards becoming financially self-sustaining. Now that the source for external funding has dried up, the diocese is not able anymore to subsidise parishes as was the practice previously.

In the light of this reality, as from January 2012 the diocese will not give out subsidies to parishes. Parishes and pastoral districts are asked to support themselves in all their needs. The needs in question include support for the priest in all his needs, maintaining the parish plant and catering for the daily running of the parish. Henceforward, subsidies will be given only to those parishes or pastoral districts where there is a proven genuine need for external help. This will be on the basis of clear monthly financial statements submitted.

2.    Financial support of parish priests

In order to make sure that the legitimate needs of the priests are adequately met and that there are no unfair discrepancies in the financial support given to individual priests, a common system of allowances has been established. All parishes and pastoral districts are to adhere to this system. Only in consultation with the Bishop and after his explicit approval can the figures laid down be altered.

  1. Allowances

The monthly figures for the different allowances are as follows:

a)     Household expenses: R1, 500.00

b)    Pocket money: R1, 000.00

c)     Petrol allowance: R1, 500.00 (basic)

  1. Holiday allowance

This will be in the form of a thirteenth (13th) cheque of R4, 000.00 given to the priest in the month when he takes his annual leave after having given timely notice to the parish pastoral council and to the finance committee.

  1. Medical scheme

As from the 1st of March all our priests will be on a medical aid scheme. This is to make sure that the medical needs of our priests are adequately taken care of. At the moment the average monthly premium we are required to pay is R1, 730.00. This is to be included in the financial support given by parishes to parish priests. This amount is to be included in the parish budget and to be paid out monthly to the Diocesan Chancery.

3.     The ordinary sources of parish income

It is the duty of every individual Catholic to take personal responsibility for providing for the needs of the Church. In this regard, the law of the Church states (Canon no. 222.1):

The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.

To this end, in addition to contributing regularly to the Sunday collection, every adult parishioner with an income is expected to make a voluntary pledge according to his or her financial situation. The following guidelines are meant to assist the faithful in carrying out this important responsibility.

  1. Plate collections

As part of the offertory in every Sunday Eucharist or on other days of obligation a collection is taken. This offering is first and foremost a sign of offering ourselves to God together with the gifts of bread and wine. Secondarily, this constitutes a source of regular income for the parish. While no amount can be stipulated for this kind of offering, the faithful are encouraged to give a significant donation and to do so generously. This requires that there be conscious thinking about how much will be given before a person attends Sunday Mass. The acquired habit of giving the small change that is of no use to the family is not at all helpful in this regard.

  1. Planned giving or pledge (tickets)

As mentioned above, the practice in the Catholic Church is that every adult parishioner with an income is expected to make a voluntary pledge according to his or her financial situation. Ideally, this is to be done monthly in order to ensure smooth cashflow in the budget of the parish. The faithful are asked to budget for this and to contribute voluntarily and generously as a sign of stewardship, i.e., expressing our gratitude to God by using the gifts God has given us to assist the work of God carried out through the Church.

The following figures are given only as guidelines, to establish the minimum expected.

a)     Those on social grants: a minimum of 1% of monthly income

b)    Those employed or self-employed: a minimum of 5% of monthly income

  1. Donations and Fundraising

Those among the faithful who are able to give special donations to the Church are encouraged to do so. The faithful are also highly encouraged to consider including the parish or the Diocese in their last wills. Parish fundraising projects are also another helpful source of income for the parish. Let us look for creative ways of doing this.

  1. Stole fees or offerings for the reception of Sacraments

It is an ancient tradition of the Catholic Church and a provision of Canon Law (Can. 848) that the faithful should give an offering for the administration of the Sacraments as determined by the competent authority. These offerings are commonly referred to as stole fees. The stole fee should be a meaningful and significant donation given according to the means of each parishioner and the nature of the particular celebration conducted. For example, an offering for the celebration of a marriage is expected to be more than an offering for the baptism of an infant, etc.

Again, the following figures are given only as guidelines, to establish the minimum recommended in offering stole fees.

a)     Stipend for a mass intention: R50

b)    Stole fee for Baptism: R50

c)     Stole fee for First Holy Communion: R50

d)    Stole fee for Confirmation: R100

e)     Stipend for a supplying priest: R100 + Petrol

f)     Stole fee for a Funeral: R150

g)     Stole fee for Marriage solemnisation: R300

All stole fees with the exception of stipends for a mass intention are to be paid to the parish as part of the ordinary income of the parish. Stipends for mass intentions are to be given to the priest who celebrates the mass as a form of additional financial help. It is to be kept in mind always that poor parishioners who genuinely cannot afford to give the stipulated amounts should be helped without insisting on the payment of stole fees.

4.     The importance of transparent bookkeeping

The culture of self-support requires that we adopt the kind of practices that are conducive to and facilitate this kind of culture. Paramount among these is the handling of parish finances in a responsible, accountable and transparent manner. For this reason, the keeping of clear and up-to-date financial records as well as regular reporting to the parishioners regarding parish finances must become a common practice in all the parishes in our Diocese. In addition to reporting regularly to the parishioners, each parish is required to give quarterly returns to the Diocesan Chancery for the attention of the Bishop and the Diocesan Finance Committee beginning from the end of March 2012.

Of importance also is the drawing up of an annual budget which will act as the overall guide in the administration of parish funds. Again, as from January 2012 all parishes and pastoral districts in the Diocese are required to have a budget which must be submitted to the Bishop for final approval.

Templates for both budgets and general parish financial record-keeping have been produced in order to assist parishes in this important task and are available for collection at the Diocesan Chancery.

5.     Guidelines for the Conducting of Funerals

A matter which has been found to necessitate urgent attention concerns the conducting of funerals in our parishes and pastoral districts. In this regard, after having given due consideration to this matter in consultation with parish priests, I would like to present the following as the diocesan policy to be followed henceforward:

  • Ordinarily funerals are not to be conducted on a Sunday as this is the day for all Catholics to attend the Sunday Eucharist which is the central form of worship for us. Catholic families must therefore take all possible steps to make sure that their funerals do not take place on a Sunday.
  • While all those who ask for assitance from the Church with a funeral will and must be assisted, however, as a matter of justice and fairness to the parish community, the manner in which the funeral service is to be conducted must be according to the status of the deacesed regarding the practice of the Catholic faith. It is important to clarify that this has nothing to do with judging the spiritual status of the deceased before God. Only God can make that judgement! As I have said, this is solely in the interest of justice and fairness as far as life in the parish community is concerned.
  • Those who were full and active Catholics at the time of their death are to be given a full funeral service conducted by a priest which includes the celebration of Holy Mass in Church.
  • Lapsed Catholics who had ceased to be active members of the parish community as well as non-Catholic relatives of practising Catholics who ask for assistance with a funeral will be given a funeral service without the celebration of Holy Mass in a church. In these and other similar situations the service will ordinarily be conducted by a Lay Minister.
  • While adhering faithfully to the above guidelines, parish priests have the power and the responsibility to determine the exact procedure to be followed in those peculiar cases which do not fall neatly under the abovementioned categories.

6.     Communion under both kinds

In some of our parishes communion under both kinds has become a common practice. However, it has come to my awareness that this is not always done with the necessary dignity and respect that should always be accorded to the Blessed Eucharist. For this reason, I would like to bring the following to your attention:

  • Our faith is that Christ is fully present in both species of the Sacrament. Thus when we receive the body of Christ, as is usually the practice in many Catholic churches, we receive the fullness of the sacramental presence of Christ. However, “so that the fullness of the sign may be made more clearly evident in the course of the Eucharistic banquet,” the Church allows the practice of communion under both kinds when circumstances, as judged by the diocesan Bishop, permit this to be done with respect and dignity.
  • I hereby decree that when this is done the following must be observed:
    • only those confirmed or have reached their sixteenth (16) year of age are to be ordinarily admitted to receive the precious blood of Christ;
    • the set-up of the church building must be such that it allows for communion under both kinds to be carried out without difficulty;
    • there must be enough commissioned ministers of Holy Communion to assist in the distribution;
    • the stipulated liturgical vessels needed for the distribution of the precious blood must be available;
    • Ideally, for every one ciborium there should be two chalices.
    • All in all, parish priests must ensure that communion under both kinds is always carried out with dignity and respect.

7.     A New Vision for Catechesis

Following the approach adopted by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) in their Statement on Catechesis, we are in the process of working out a new program of catechesis in the Diocese. In essence, we are moving away from a sacramentally based catechesis which focuses on preparing people for the reception of sacraments. We are working out a program of catechesis that will be an on-going journey of the deepening of faith, making the faith of people living, conscious and active.

As far as children are concerned, this process will extend from Grade R all through the different stages until they are confirmed at the age of 16 or so. We need volunteers to help us carry out the implementation of this program of catechesis. Members of the Diocesan Catechesis Commission will soon be visiting the different parishes to explain this new approach and to ask for people to offer themselves to be catechists.

First Compilation

Issued on 1 March 2013

+Dabula A. Mpako

Bishop of Queenstown

From the Bishop’s Desk

To the clergy, the religious and the faithful of the Diocese of Queenstown

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is hard to believe that we are already well into the new year. Naturally, I would have liked to communicate with you at the beginning of the year but, unfortunately, it is only now that I am able to do so. Quite a few important things have happened since my last letter to you.

The Pope’s Resignation

Understandably, the resignation of Pope Benedict VI took all of us by surprise, as it is something that has not happened in the Church for a very long time. However, after recovering from the shock, we are able to appreciate the reasons for which the Pope has had to make this decision. We pray for him and we pray that God may protect and guide the Church during this time of transition.

For the official response of our Bishops Conference to the Pope’s resignation, I refer you to the letter written by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, the President of the Southern African Bishops Conference (SACBC), which is published as part of this edition of our newsletter.

New Priorities for the Local Church

Beginning with the August Plenary Session of 2012, the bishops have been working out a new vision and a new pastoral plan of action for the Church in Southern Africa. To this effect, a set of priorities has been worked out in order to guide us in our pastoral work as we strive to become a “Community in service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.”

I call upon all in our Diocese to familiarise themselves with these identified priorities and to seek for effective ways of implementing them as part of our pastoral plan as a diocese. Again, these are published at length as part of this edition of our Newsletter.

The Year of Faith

Let us all continue to apply ourselves to the spiritual renewal we have been committed to by the Holy Father during this Year of Faith. I continue to urge parish priests and parish pastoral councils, in particular, to find ways of facilitating this renewal in all our parish communities. We are still working out other appropriate ways of celebrating the Year of Faith as a diocese. These will be made known as soon as definite arrangements have been made.

Priest Transfers

After the transfer of parish priests that affected quite a few of our parishes the present situation regarding the distribution of priests is as follows:

  • Cathedral Parish: Fr. Barry Reabow SAC
  • Queenstown Pastoral District: Fr. Ludwe Jayiya and Fr. Mlungisi Maphumulo
  • St. Theresa, Afrikaans: Fr. Edward Tratsaert SAC
  • Whittlesea Pastoral District: Fr. Heinz Schöder SAC and Fr. Dijo Matsoso
  • Stutterhein/Cathcart P. District: Fr. Siphiwo Vanqa SAC and Fr. Thulani Gubula
  • Lady Frere Pastoral District: Fr. Mthuthuzeli Mncwabe
  • McKay’s Neck Pastoral District: Fr. Mark Fongoqa
  • Qoqodala Pastoral District: Fr. Matthias Nsamba
  • Zigudu Pastoral District: Fr. Stanley Hatile
  • Cofimvaba Pastoral District: Fr. Karl Frings SAC
  • Tsomo Pastoral District: Fr. Sonwabiso Zilindile
  • Butterworth Pastoral District: Fr. Sivuyile Wani
  • Idutywa Pastoral District: Fr. Anthony Shai
  • Willowvale Pastoral District: Fr. Dezilina Mbulawa

I thank all the priests for their cooperation in the carrying out of the transfers. I appeal to the faithful to accept and welcome warmly their new parish priests and to support and work well with them.

I hereby extend my blessing and best wishes to all for the upcoming Easter celebrations.

Yours in Christ,

+ Dabula A. Mpako

Bishop of Queenstown

From the Bishop’s Desk

To the clergy, the religious and the faithful of the Diocese of Queenstown

Dear Brothers and Sisters

It is time again to update you on developments in the life and ministry of our diocese through our Diocesan Newsletter which, thanks to the tireless efforts of Fr. Edward Tratsaert SAC, is increasingly becoming something of a masterpiece publication.

My Recent Visit to Rome

From the 2nd to the 16th of September 2012 I had the privilege of attending the course for recently ordained bishops in Rome, Italy. It brought together all the bishops ordained in the last two years from the missionary dioceses that fall under the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (Propaganda Fide). There were ninety (90) bishops in total from Africa, South America, Asia, Oceania, the Carribean and Eastern Europe. While we had a rather hectic programme of talks and group discussions, the course proved to be a very good and enlightening experience.

Besides it being a wonderful experience of coming together with other bishops from all over the world and having a practical experience of the catholicity of our Church, it provided us with a good introduction to the work of the different offices of the Holy See. I now have a clearer understanding of how the Church operates at that level and of how I as a local Ordinary fit into the system. Of course, the climax for all of the newly ordained bishops gathered in Rome was the meeting with the Holy Father in his summer residence of Castel Gondolfo.

The Upcoming Launching of the Year of Faith

In a circular letter issued recently and also posted on our diocesan website I gave an explanation of the Year of Faith to be officially launched this month. On the diocesan level, a special Mass will be celebrated at the cathedral on Thursday the 11th of October at 11:00 a.m. During this Mass special candles for the Year of Faith will be lighted with each parish having its own candle to take home and use throughout the year. In our parishes, the opening of the Year of Faith will be done on Sunday the 14th of October. Ideally there should be a joint Mass for all the communities making up a parish or pastoral district during which, as in the cathedral, there will be a candle service in which all the sattellite communities light their candles from the parish candle. I call upon all in the diocese to wholeheartedly embrace this opportunity offered to us for the renewal of our faith and to enter fully into this Year of Faith.

On the personal level the Year of Faith must be a time for us to renew ourselves in our faith living. If we had become somewhat lukewarm in our commitment and in our practice of our faith, this is an opportunity for us to rekindle our faith and to renew our commitment to live it out in our daily lives. Included in this renewal is to participate more actively in the life of our parish communities, attending church more regularly and making one’s contribution to the life of the parish. By virtue of our baptism we are all charged with the responsibility of being evangelisers (“light to the world and salt to the earth”). The Year of Faith ought to be an opportunity for us to intensify our efforts to reach out to others and to share our faith with them.

At the parish level this could be done through visiting our lapsed brothers and sisters and encouraging them to revive their faith commitment and their participation in the life of the Church. In this regard the establishment or the rejuvenation of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) would go a long way in assisting in the renewal and deepening of the faith of individuals. We again encourage all to think creatively and imaginatively about other things that could be done at the parish level as part of the process of the renewal and deepening of faith which the Year of Faith calls us to.

Our New Catechesis Programme

For us, an important part of the activities that will mark the Year of Faith is the launching and setting in motion of a new programme of catechesis in our diocese. I have explained this more at length in another circular letter sent out recently and again also posted on our diocesan website. Catechesis is most fundamentally about the strengthening and deepening of faith in those who are being catechised. The establishment of the new catechesis programme for our diocese thus fits in very well with the Year of Faith. I therefore hereby commit all the parishes and pastoral districts in the diocese to make this the number one activity in the list of things to be done as a way of observing the Year of faith.

Practically, the first step to be taken in every parish or pastoral district is to establish a structured group of catechists with a parish coordinator of catechesis who will work closely with the parish priest. In this regard, one way of responding to the call of the Year of Faith is for individual Catholics to offer themselves for the ministry of being catechists. I strongly encourage especially those who are teachers by profession to seriously consider taking up this challenge. For the training of catechists in the new programme of catechesis, a Diocesan Animation Team presently made up mainly of religious Sisters from Ntaba Maria is being set up and prepared for this task.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council

Saturday the 27th of October will be a historic day in the life of our diocese. On that day there will be a meeting of the first ever Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) in our diocese. Invitations have been extended to those who are to constitute this very important diocesan structure. A Diocesan Pastoral Council is a diocesan structure strongly recommended in the law of the Church whose purpose is to assist the diocesan bishop in setting the direction of the diocese in various pastoral matters as well as by surfacing for the attention of the bishop areas of pastoral concern among the faithful entrusted to his care.

The DPC is meant to be a microcosm of the diocese as a whole. For this reason, members will be drawn from the whole range of the Christian faithful in our diocese, namely clergy, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially laity. The bulk of the membership will be made up of the Executive Committees of the deanery pastoral councils of our three deaneries which are already in office. The rest will be constituted by representatives of the other different bodies and associations that exist in our diocese.

The Laity Council

As a way of promoting the involvement of the laity in the life and work of the diocese my predecessor, Bishop Herbert Lenhof, had established a body known as the Laity Council which played an active role for a while in encouraging the active participation of the laity in the running of the diocese. The understanding, right from the beginning, was that this structure would later on evolve into a Diocesan Pastoral Council. So, in an important way, the foundation for the forthcoming launching of the Diocesan Pastoral Council was laid by the formation of the Laity Council.

Now that this intended goal has been accomplished, the chapter on the Laity Council is hereby being closed. We thank all those who participated in the Laity Council and for the preparatory work they carried out. One important activity carried out by the erstwhile Laity Council was the encouragement of all the faithful to contribute financially to the upkeep of the diocese. To this effect a Laity Council bank account was established into which contributions were paid by those who responded positively to this appeal.

With the dissolution of the Laity Council, this bank account has accordingly been closed. In its place a Bishop’s Fund bank account has been established into which the faithful are now encouraged to make their financial contributions. As the name of the bank account suggests, the aim of such contributions is to directly assist the bishop in meeting the financial needs of the diocese. I strongly encourage all those who are able to seriously consider helping me by contributing regularly to this fund. However, let us all keep in mind that the primary responsibility of every individual Catholic is to contribute to the upkeep of the parish to which he or she belongs. The bank account details of the Bishop’s Fund are:

DIOCESE OF QUEENSTOWN T/A BISHOPS FUND

ACC NO 082641218

STANDARD BANK

QUEENSTOWN BRANCH – 051120

Transfer of Parish Priests

In the past year as Bishop I have been able to carry out pastoral visits to all the parishes and/or pastoral districts in the diocese. This has enabled me to have a clearer picture of the situation and the needs of the different areas that make up our diocese. At the same time, I have come to know the priests in the diocese much more closely. This has enabled me to have an appreciation of the gifts and the strengths as well as the struggles of each priest. In order to ensure a distribution of priests which will better serve the common good of the diocese, I am now in the process of trying to match the strengths of each priest with the needs of the different areas of our diocese. Accordingly, in the near future I will be announcing transfers of some of the priests. I have decided to exempt from this process all parish priests who are at or near the age of retirement. All parish priests have been duly informed of the pending transfers and requested to psychologically prepare themselves for the likelihood of being moved from one parish to another.

Naturally, change of any kind is always an unsettling experience as it marks the coming to an end of what has been and the beginning of something new. Understandably, for both priest and parishioners the envisaged transfers will be to one degree or another something unsettling. However, we should all keep the common good of the diocese in mind in dealing with this experience, for this is what we are all called to be about instead of just being intent on maintaining and/or securing the comfort of the familiar. Accordingly, I hereby appeal to all and sundry to prepare ourselves to openly and willingly embrace the transfers of parish priests when eventually announced in the near future.

Thanks

As this will most probably be the last edition of our Newsletter for this year, may I take this opportunity to extend a sincere word of thanks to all those who have assisted me in one way or another in the running and the administration of the diocese in the year that is coming to an end. I thank Fr. Siphiwo Vangqa SAC, the vicar general, for his faithful and generous support. I thank the Chancellor, the college of consultors and the coordinators of the different diocesan commisions for their collaboration and support. A special word of thanks goes to the Chancery staff, in the different offices, for their tireless efforts in making sure that the administration of the diocese continues to go smoothly. Last, but by no means least, I thank Fr. Edward Tratsaert SAC for making sure that our diocesan Newsletter and website are kept running and ever improving.

I hereby extend my blessing and best wishes to all for the end of the year holidays and celebrations.

Yours in Christ

+ Dabula A. Mpako

Bishop of Queenstown

5 October 2012

Our Bishop on the new catechesis program our diocese.

27 August 2012

To: All the clergy, the religious and the faithful of the Diocese

Re:  A NEW CATECHESIS PROGRAM FOR OUR DIOCESE

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In my communication to you in February this year, among other things, I drew your attention to the fact that the Diocese was in the process of working out a new Catechesis Program.

The statement I made then read thus: “Following the approach adopted by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) in their Statement on Catechesis, we are in the process of working out a new program of catechesis in the Diocese. In essence, we are moving away from a sacramentally based catechesis which focuses only on preparing people for the reception of Sacraments. We are working out a program of catechesis that will be an ongoing journey of the deepening of faith, making the faith of people living, conscious and active.”

After looking at what is being done in other dioceses around us, I have decided to adopt the program of catechesis worked out by and followed in the diocese of Mthatha. It is an elaborate and systematic program with a clear syllabus for the different stages (or cycles) worked out according to different age groups. We are grateful to the Bishop of Mthatha for allowing us to adopt their program and to adapt it to our own situation.

The first phase in implementing the new program will involve the following:

1.    Every parish and pastoral district must recruit more voluntary catechists so that there is an adequate number of catechists in every parish community.

2.    The catechists will be trained in the new program by the Diocesan Animation Team which is presently being prepared, and which is part of the Diocesan Catechesis Commission.

3.    The catechists will structure themselves under the supervision of the parish priest in such a way that there is a Coordinator of Catechesis in every parish community.

4.    The children will have to be organised into different stage-groups according to their ages and catechists assigned to the different stages (or cycles) as explained in the policy book.

5.    Separate RCIA groups for adults will be established and catechists assigned to them.

6.    The implementation of the new system is set to begin with the opening of the Catechesis Year at the beginning of February 2013.

Providentially, this process of implementing a new Catechesis Program for our Diocese happens to coincide with the Year of Faith proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Catechesis plays a central role in the renewal of faith envisaged for the Year of Faith.
Let our efforts to implement this new Catechesis Program be therefore further inspired by the clarion call by the Pope for all of us to deepen our faith so that it becomes something living, conscious and active.

I call upon all to openly and enthusiastically adopt the new Program of Catechesis and embark upon the first steps required in its implementation. Undoubtedly, it will take a while before the program is in full swing in all the parishes and pastoral districts. What is important though is that we all take the first steps required.

With my blessing and best wishes, I remain

Yours in Christ,

+ Dabula A. Mpako
Bishop of Queenstown

Our Bishop on the year of faith.

To: All the clergy, the religious and the faithful of the Diocese

Re: YEAR OF FAITH

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has called for a Year of Faith to be observed from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The Year of Faith “aims, above all, to support the faith of believers who, in their daily trials, never cease to entrust their lives to the Lord Jesus, with courage and conviction.” The Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Vatican Council II and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Following this call by the Holy Father, I hereby invite all the Catholics in the Diocese to prepare themselves to enter fully into this time of renewal in faith. In order to observe the Year of Faith, special activities will take place at the level of the Diocese and also at parish level. In addition, each individual Catholic is exhorted to work out his or her own special way of engaging in the envisaged spiritual renewal.

Some of the activities already decided upon include the following:

  1. Opening Mass for the Year of Faith at the Cathedral on Thursday 11th of October 2012 at 11:00 a.m. This Mass will be for all the clergy and religious of the diocese and for all those among the faithful who are able to attend.
  1. The launching of the Year of Faith in all our parishes and pastoral districts on the following Sunday, the 14th of October 2012.
  1. Special candles to mark the Year of Faith will be produced and made available to all parishes, pastoral districts, Convents and Schools. The lighting of the candles will form part of the ceremony on the 11th of October at the Cathedral.
  1. Special Year of Faith pamphlets with a picture, a prayer and the Nicene Creed will be produced by the Liturgy Department of the Bishops’ Conference and translated into the vernacular to be used throughout the year.
  1. The diocesan Pilgrimage on Pentecost 2013 will be a special diocesan celebration of the Year of Faith.
  1. There will be a special diocesan closing of the Year of faith in November 2013. The details of this are still to be worked out.

Some suggestions have been made and given to all parish priests regarding some of the things that can be done at the parish level in order to participate in a meaningful way in the spiritual renewal envisaged for the Year of Faith. I hereby exhort all parish priests in consultation with their parish pastoral councils and other relevant bodies to take up this challenge and prepare their parish communities to enter fully in the Year of Faith.

Let us all take up this time of grace to proclaim the Gospel anew by living and professing our faith with more conviction, faithfulness and dedication.

With my blessing and best wishes, I remain

Yours in Christ,

+ Dabula A. Mpako

Bishop of Queenstown