This is the message for the New Year from Arch- bishop Buti Tlhagale:
I can’t stress enough the importance of vaccination especially in the light of new strains of Covid-19 emerging all over the world.
We have not reached the 70% vaccination rate set by government. It is a shame that people are not taking this up especially now that the holidays are upon us here and people are going to be mingling with the family and friends.
I am also appealing to people to come back to Mass.
“The numbers of people allowed in are opening up. People have become lazy and no longer feel the obligation to attend, but the pandemic is no longer a valid excuse and watching it on TV is not the same.
We need good numbers in churches to renew our faith – faith means a lot to many including sharing their burdens. Everyone faces their demons and sharing these with other faith community members means a lot in easing these burdens. Sharing means being in the same boat and taking courage from one another which cannot be done on Facebook or social media.
A community worshipping together is psychologically soothing as opposed to being alone at home. People together can share the path of joy of life physically and psychologically, giving one another support.
The strongest way of renewing faith is to identify with other community members. In church, members can confront Covid-19 together, share the pain and overcome it together.
Migrants and refugees These are my main concerns and have been for the past six years.
This is a worldwide problem which is experienced in every corner of the world, including Uganda, Mexico, Syria and Lebanon. We hear daily of people who die trying to cross borders into other countries for better lives.
This, in South Africa in the main, is caused by unemployment and unequal distribution of wealth which has been around for the past 20 years and has not been dealt with. It has caused xenophobia, yet nothing has really been done about these root causes. What I am aiming for is to see is each diocese having its own computer and projector to establish a database to help these migrants and refugees apply for the papers online which can easily be done these days.
This will help alleviate delays, because once they have papers, they can start finding jobs and get access to other resources and avoid been exploited by those that pay them less knowing they are here illegally.
It will also help them to find access housing. Online applications are easy and help avoid fraud.
This issue of migrants and refugees is so big that it overshadows justice and peace projects which tackle, amongst others, racism and unfair labour practices.
South Africans have taken to abusing refugees accusing them of taking jobs, yet these migrants are entrepreneurial and often start their own businesses. In almost every village in the country, one finds migrants who have started spaza shops, African medicinal shops and others. They have to fend for themselves as they are alone and vulnerable.
It is no use blaming them for this and for buying RDP houses it is South Africans that assist them with this.