Documents for Catechetical Month.
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Documents for Catechetical Month.
The Department of Evangelisation invites all PPCs, PFCs, Sodality Committees, Youth Leaders and all interested people of God to attend the Lay Leaders Conference 2017.
Date: 16th September 2017.
Venue: Blessed Sacrament Parish, Malvern, 15 Mullins Road corner Pandora Road, Malvern East.
Time: 09:00 – 15:00.
Theme: Should the Church be involved in Politics.
Contact: Dept Evangelisation 011 402 6400.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees hosted over 100 homeless people for Mandela Day.
They treated the destitute to a braai. The people, many of whom live in makeshift shelters on the Yeoville ridge and others who squat in peoples’ garages or on corners of peoples’ houses in the Bertrams/ Bez Valley areas are given daily support by Bienvenu monthly with food parcels, school fees, uniforms stationery and clothes.
“But today they are having a treat of braaied meat and, chicken, as well as fruit and a drink – things that are not normally in their diets. We are doing this in honour of the great man, Mandela,” said Sr Kadia Prigol, head of the shelter. Read more
Sisters of St Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians) converged on Koinonia from 7 – 9 July for the first-ever regional meeting in Africa.
Scalabrinians are represented in 27 countries. They form part of bishops’ conferences working in dioceses, parishes and borders, focussing on migration and refugee concerns. The countries that took part in the assembly were South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique.
The opening Mass was celebrated by the Episcopal Vicar for Migrants and Refugees, Fr Ivaldo Bettin cs. Read more
From time immemorial, pilgrimages to the Marian Shrine have always been associated with penance. Pilgrims acknowledge human brokenness and a deep desire to be made whole again. Undertaking a journey to go on pilgrimage is in itself considered an act of penance. For example, pilgrims walk from their villages and towns to go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima yearly on May 13th. Penitent pilgrims within the precinct of the Shrine make their way to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on their knees. Where Stations of the Cross are erected on the hillside, as the pilgrims climb the hill, they call to mind the Way of the Cross of Christ Himself (via crucis). It is customary for pilgrims who go to the Basilica of St. James in Compostela, Spain, to walk the last part of their journey on foot. Pilgrimage means a break-away from the familiar in order to insert ourselves into a different spiritual environment. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an integral part of the different spiritual exercises. A penitent with a broken heart seeks God’s mercy and a cure: “in your tenderness wipe away my faults” (Ps. 50.1).
On our journey to the Mother of Mercy Shrine, we identify ourselves with Mary who accompanied her Son on His way to Calvary. Her Son bore His cross. We too have our minds, hearts and souls burdened. We are in search of relief and consolation. As pilgrims we symbolically identify with Mary as she stood at the foot of the cross. She stood there like a tower of strength in one of the most devastating moments of her life. This is the image many mothers carry in their hearts as they face turmoil in their families; as they face abject poverty, abuse, rape, exploitation and rejection by husbands whose solemn vows evaporated soon after they were pronounced.
Mary beneath the cross conjures up images of a mother whose child is consumed by illness or destroyed by drugs or who languishes in prison, or struggles to find a job. Mary stood firm and strong in the face of the mighty and powerful who ordered that her Son be mercilessly nailed to the cross. It is this admirable strength and confidence which parents seek when they go on pilgrimage. The healing words of Jesus are not lost on penitent pilgrims when He says: “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23.34).
Every penitent pilgrim prays fervently in order to experience the power of forgiveness in his or her heart. The refrain: “pray for us sinners” in the ‘Ave Maria’, and the refrain: “forgive us our trespasses” in the ‘Our Father,’ underscore the internal disposition of the penitent pilgrim. For the pilgrim, forgiveness means to be released from the burdens that weigh us down and leave us weak, vulnerable, and gasping for air. Forgiveness lifts up drooping spirits, inspires confidence and the courage to be of service to others.
Forgiveness triggers the “new person” in us and makes us want to out on the mask of Christ, to be Christ-like for as long as our physical and spiritual energies permit us (Gal. 2.20). Hence the devotion of pilgrims to Mother Mary who never tires to bring her children closer to her Son. Pope Paul VI observes that after all, “the ultimate purpose of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is to glorify God” and to exhort Christians to embrace fully the demands of the Gospel, (Marialis cultus no.39). There is therefore a close movement between the act of venerating Mary, the growing acknowledgement of Christ as Lord, and the change of heart of the penitent pilgrim.
Being on a pilgrimage brings back to mind that Mary is the Lady of Sorrows, “Mater Dolorosa,” who suffered grievously with Her Son. She is the “blushing rose,” (rubens rosa) that bore pain with dignity. Throughout the history of Christianity, the narration of the Passion of Christ would be considered incomplete without the visible presence of Mary. Pilgrims, mindful of their own unworthiness rallied around Mary as the “efficacious companion,” their “powerful intercessor,” advocate and “Associate of the Redeemer” (M. Rubin, 132,243,250). Mary is considered as the New Eve who through her Son, “unmade” the sin of the old Eve.
Mary, because of her Immaculate Conception, “leads her children to combat sin with energy and resoluteness” (Marialis cultus no.57). Pope Paul VI asserts that “it is impossible to honour her who is “full of grace’ without thereby honouring in oneself, the state of grace, which is friendship with God” (Marialis cultus no.57).
A Marian pilgrimage has about it a somber feeling of a Lenten Season. The ingredients of Lent, namely: a quiet environment, the reading of the Word of God, participating in the Eucharist, reciting the Rosary during the Stations of the Cross, fasting and committing oneself to works of charity. The Sacrament of Penance occupies a centre stage because, in the words of Pope Francis: it “enables people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands” (The Face of Mercy, no.17). It liberates. It gives one a glimpse of what possibly Redemption could mean. It offers one the kind of overwhelming feeling the Prodigal Son had upon being received back by his merciful father. It is the spirit of Mary, the Merciful Mother, that helps to create a welcoming disposition among pilgrims in search of the healing power of God’s mercy.
+Buti Tlhagale o.m.i
Good Friday, 14/04/2017
World Refugee Day is celebrated on 20 June to raise awareness on the plight of women, men and children who flee persecution, famine, war and other catastrophes, from their countries of origin. The City of Johannesburg, the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Bienvenu Shelter, Jesuit Refugee Service and other humanitarian agencies gathered at the Cathedral hall to observe this day.
The episcopal vicar for the department of Pastoral Care and Migrants, Fr Ivaldo Bettin cs, gave the opening and welcome.
Representing the City of Johannesburg was Cllr Mpho Phalatse. In her keynote address she said, “If you have never been in a situation where you have been forced to leave the comfort of your home, you will never understand the predicament refugees find themselves in.
“The City of Johannesburg takes the plight of refugees very seriously and has established migrant help desks in seven regions. The aim is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are received warmly and informed of their rights.
Mpho also spoke against the manner in which refugees are treated in host countries. She said out of fear of lack and insecurities, locals are wont to exhibit xenophobic tendencies towards refugees. “Our aim is to help locals change the manner in which they perceive non-nationals and to help refugees understand the position of locals,” she explained.
Asylum seekers and refugees need to participate meaningfully in government programmes. They should be able to visit libraries if there is one and be welcome to be part of the Integrated Development Plan processes.
“As government we are legislated to engage with citizenry and they perhaps have solutions for the city as refugees also bring with them skills and talents,” she said.
Dear Parish Priests and Chairs of PPC’s,
You will have by now received the letter from the Archbishop announcing a review of the implementation of 2008 Synod resolutions. This evaluation is a necessary step in the preparation for the Synod of 2019.
We have prepared a short questionnaire for you to fill in, which is available online at the URL address below.
Please cut and paste this into your browser and it will take you to the questionnaire:
If for whatever reason you are not able to go online to fill in the questionnaire, please let the Department of Evangelization know, so that we can send a paper version to you. Each parish need only fill in the evaluation sheet once. All evaluations need to be done by the 15th of August, before we proceed to the next phase of our preparation.
Yours in Christ
Fr. Bruce Botha SJ
(Vicar for Evangelisation)
The Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees and the parishes in the Archdiocese are still in the spirit of the World Refugee Day. The Pope invited all communities to pray and reflect about the “Minor migrant and refugees -the vulnerable and the voiceless”. According to UNICEF 65 million children around the world are on the move running from conflict, poverty and extreme weather. They are searching for a better life and a place to call “home”. They are among the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, numbers have been increasing. It becomes more and more a challenge for all humanity.
During the World Refugee Week, in the Archdiocese, we had the opportunity to participate in different workshops and events. The main debate and formation linked to the issues concerning the life of children.
The various activities confirm that they are the most vulnerable. Many of them are out of school due to lack of documents and therefore stateless.
Pastoral Care, with other organisations like the Bienvenu Shelter, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, continue to be concerned especially about the reality of migrant and refugee women and children.
The focus goes in particular to those without documents for they become vulnerable victims to trafficking, abuse and exploitation. Their families often find themselves victims of discrimination, poverty and social marginalisation.
We continue the same challenge that Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini found in his life and ministry: “How to put a remedy to this situation”. He referred to the many migrants he met. Today, we still facing the same reality: family and children who become the victims.
We are challenged to assist the minor migrant and refugee children. We see the need to integrate them in our society; to be positive actors in the process of social inclusion and for better social cohesion.
The Department of Pastoral Care with these organisations are committed to empower the children with their families and assist them to build a better society.
Schooling, legal assistance for documentation, accommodation and emergency support are among the many services provided to help the children to build up their lives in a dignified way. Become involved through the representatives to Pastoral Care in all parishes.
Sr Maria de Lurdes mscs
HOD Department of Pastoral Care and Migrants
For the 103rd World Refugee Day message, Pope Francis decided to focus on child migrants, the vulnerable and refugees.
In light of the Archdiocesan for Migrants and Refugee Day and the Pope’s message, various organisations the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service, Bienvenu Shelter and Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa and the community conducted a workshop on child protection at the Cathedral on 15 June.
Bienvenu Shelter director, Sr Kadia Prigol mscs, in her welcoming remarks said: “I hope we will work together to protect children who are vulnerable and depend on us for them to live their lives with dignity.”
Nicole Breen from the Joburg Child Welfare said rights that are relevant to a child include children who are non-nationals. These are – equality, dignity, name and nationality, access to food, shelter and healthcare, not to be abused, neglected, degraded and having the best interest of the child at heart.
“Statelessness is when a person does not have a claim to any nationality,” said Lusungu Kanyama-Phiri from Lawyers for Human Rights. Registration of birth is one way of avoiding statelessness.
She said all states require proof of where the child was born and to whom. Some of the impacts of statelessness include challenges in enrolling into schools, access to medical care and public services.
Ace Maunatlala, Pastoral Care’s volunteer and also an employee at the Department of Home Affairs said he was impressed that the workshop was mostly attended by women, but wished to encourage them to involve their partners/spouses.
He said it is important to document the birth of a child. “People are given 30 days to register the birth of a child. Failure to do so, on day 31, your child could be registered for a late registration of birth.”
If both parents are non-nationals, they should have their documents in order, otherwise the Department of Home Affairs will not issue a record to prove birth of child in the country.
Sr Maria de Lurdes mscs gave a vote of thanks to all the organisations and participants for honouring the invitation and making the workshop a success. Sr Therese Musao mscs closed the workshop with a prayer.
If you feel that a right of a child you know is being violated, people can contact 011 298 9500.
MARY, CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Reversal of roles
It is significant that in many of the recorded apparitions, children or the youth, were the ones favoured with the encounter of Mary, the Mother of God. They were the privileged communicators of her message to the people. Custom in hierarchically structured communities would have accorded this face to face encounter with the supernatural to the seniors, the elderly of society. Ritual matters, mediation and communication are religious activities generally reserved for the elderly. But in the case of the apparitions, we find a remarkable reversal of roles. The youth are the recipients of the heavenly message. They assume a leadership role in matters of faith, ethical behavior, invitations to conversion and in the spread of popular devotions to Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. Within the Church, the pioneering child missionaries have ensured that Mary is called blessed from generation to generation, and in so doing, they have enriched the faith of all those who yearn for God’s mercy through Mary’s intercession (Lk.1:48).
Children, heirs of the Kingdom
The position and the role the youth in the phenomena of the apparitions is consistent with the perspective on children found in the Gospels. In the eyes of Jesus, children occupy a special position. The reign of God belongs to children who are generally described as dependent, vulnerable, ignorant, immature and socially inferior. The Kingdom of God belongs to them because they are in need and are dependent on God. Jesus rebuked his disciples who prevented people from bringing little children to him so that he might touch and bless them: “Let the little children come to me for to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mk.10:15). The condition for entry into the Kingdom of God is to be “like a little child”. Becoming “like a little child” means ‘taking a humble place”, embracing a low status (Gundry, 170).
“The last shall be first”
When the disciples of Jesus were embroiled in an argument about their status in God’s reign, Jesus took a little child and placed it next to himself and said: “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me … for the least among all of you is the greatest” (Mk.9:48). Honoring children by welcoming them, receiving them and granting them hospitality, will be like honoring Jesus himself. The virtue of humility, fully associated with children, goes hand-in-hand with greatness. Besides, “many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mk.10:31). The lowly status of children has been catapulted into a status of honour and a pride of place. This is reminiscent of Mary’s Magnificat: “He has pulled down the princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (Lk.1:48) (Gundry, 189).
The above-cited Gospel passages that deal with children are deliberately subversive. Jesus turns the hierarchical order of society up- side- down. The young are put before the elders. The lowly status of children and the marginalised has become the status of honour. Positions of power and privilege have been disrupted in order to give way to the power of weakness and vulnerability, which are the characteristics of children. In this inversion of societal expectations, children who are traditionally and culturally the last on Read more