- Parish and Church
This annual formation and creativity day, organised by the Catechetical Department with assistance of the deanery coordinators, was held at the Cathedral on 25 August. About 650 catechists in the Archdiocese attended making it a great success.
The event was based on the Creed and themed “This is our Faith”. Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Fr Paul Beukes OMI was the main celebrant at Mass. He was assisted by Vicar for Catechetics, Fr Boniface D’Souza and Fr Kgomotso Sebopela.
In his homily, Fr Paul encouraged all catechists to reflect on the question “Who do you say I am?” from the gospel of that day (Matthew 16:13-16). He further encouraged catechists to have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
As teachers of the faith – it’s important that they encounter our Lord, Jesus Christ in their everyday life. Fr Paul stated that the answer to the question “Who do you say I am?” should come from catechists having a relationship with Jesus and living in union with God
He asked whether if Jesus asked them the same question, whether they would they be able to answer based on their relationship with Him.
Fr Paul also asked them to be careful about how they carry themselves before the children. Jesus looked at the scribes and Pharisees and realised they were not practising what they were preaching. Catechists must not fall into the same trap – they must try to live what they teach.
This year’s event focused more on the formation and it was facilitated in two sessions by Fr Patrick Mphepo CP, who is a visiting lecturer at St John Vianney seminary and Fr Arvin Tauro, OCD a chaplain at OR Tambo International Airport. Fr Patrick gave a talk on “Profession of Faith” whilst Fr Arvin spoke on “The Paschal Meal”.
Catechists were also entertained by Thabang ka Mmimo from St Matthews Primary, Moroka with a dance related to the Creed.
As always, catechists were generous by donating some toiletries, non-perishable food and clothes to the friends St Martin de Porres, a shelter chosen by the Far East Deanery.
Department of Catechism
NATIONAL RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CO:ORDINATOR
The CIE is a dynamic, creative NGO serving Catholic schools in South Africa.
The position of National Religious Education Co-ordinator has become vacant and we are looking for an innovative, passionate Religious Educator to fill the position. The CIE invites applications for this post to start as soon as possible.
The successful applicant must have:
In addition the candidate must be able to travel extensively across South Africa, have a driver’s licence and excellent writing skills. This is a Johannesburg based position.
Applications, together with a CV and contactable referees, to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 October 2018.
Caritas is a new department of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg under the leadership of Auxiliary Bishop Duncan Tsoke, at different levels within the diocese.
Training for volunteers starts this month, from 4 to 8 September in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Parish priests are invited to promote Caritas at parish level and, more precisely, at the level of the basic Christians communities. This makes a presence in society to fulfil and carry out effectively the work of charity.
According to Pope Benedict XVI, in his document Intima Ecclesia Natura, Caritas is the social arm of the Catholic Church and, as such, it is under the responsibility of the Catholic bishops, who send Caritas to fulfil the mission of charity.
The work of Caritas is one of the three dimensions of the mission of the Catholic Church: diakonia (ministry), Martyra Kerygma (preaching of the Gospel) and Litourgia (liturgy). The three are inter-linked and pre-suppose each other and consequently, Diakonia becomes part of the mission of the Church (Pope Benedict XVI Encyclical- Deus caritas Est).
As the socio-pastoral instrument of the Church, Caritas, along with the other Church organisations, and under the leadership of the Bishop, is called to implement the work of charity in coordination with the other services of the Church.
The mission of charity is a pedagogical work of building a community of love and solidarity as was the case in the early church – charity liberates and restores social justice for the poorest.
Caritas Johannesburg follows the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The Caritas interim coordination committee has met with some deaneries and would like to thank to the deans and the priest for the support and appreciation shown to them. They will continue to visit other deaneries according to the schedule given to the department.
On 25 August, a Caritas meeting was held with the interim committee, coordinators of each parish and other organisations. Caritas Johannesburg is growing and God is blessing us with many people eager to volunteer themselves for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Caritas South Africa has organised training for diocesan Caritas coordinators to be held in Pretoria from 4 to 7 September, who will be trained by Aloysius John and Moira Monacelli from Caritas Internationalis.
Further training will be taking place on 8 September for the coordinators of Caritas Johannesburg, including parish coordinators and Catholic charitable organisations. The venue will be at the Small Hall of Cathedral of Christ the King from 9:30 to 15:00.
For more information, please contact the Caritas Johannesburg Office at the Chancery of Johannesburg on 011 402 6400.
Sr Maria de Lurdes
National Co-ordinator of Caritas SouthAfrica
A statement by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
It is widely accepted that the matter of land ownership in South Africa calls for urgent attention. The consultations conducted throughout the land have evoked and are evoking strong feelings which cannot be ignored or simply brushed away. A nerve with strong historical roots and which cries out for healing and the restoration of justice, has been touched.
Based on Biblical teaching (1) and further developed by the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, we affirm that the land is meant for all the peoples of the earth and is held by us in a sacred trust. There is no such thing as the absolute ownership of land. (2) Human Beings are always at the centre of our social and economic life. It is a matter of human and divine justice that people have access to the land and that it be equitably distributed. In this perspective, priority has to be given to the poor and the landless. (3)
To ignore these fundamental realities is to invite a backlash that can only be harmful to all the citizens of our land.
The framing of the debate in terms only of the expropriation of the land without compensation is at best only the beginning of the process, at worst the opening of a Pandora’s box. There is no easy or simple solution to this vexed matter. In order to appreciate the complexity of the matter we have only to consider the following facts amongst others:
the magnitude of the demand for land; the shortage of land in sought-after urban areas; concurrent claims to the same land; the problem of long and drawn-out litigation; the reality and danger of corruption in the process; the limited capacity of the State in dealing with the whole process – cf. the present backlog… And so, the list continues…
It is no exaggeration to say that the present situation calls for a great leap of creativity. At this crucial time in our history we have to make this leap.
In urgently seeking a creative response we need to broaden the conversation beyond that simply of expropriation without compensation. (4) Amongst the many factors that have to be taken into account, are the following:
the unacceptable gap between the rich and the poor; a pervasive greed both old and new – a stubborn holding on to and a relentless pursuit of privilege; the collapse of the rural economy and the influx of people into our cities; the involvement of Traditional Leaders and security of land tenure; the productivity of the land; the building of capacity and access to markets; a destructive and dehumanizing consumerism; …. etc.
We affirm the need at all times for the following: respect for human life and human dignity; a democracy at the service of the common good; transparent and incorruptible leadership; responsible dialogue; non-violence; respect for the Constitution and the judicial process; practical wisdom and the rejection of populism…etc.
Both old and new ideas must be revived and re-imagined, as for example: the publication of successful models of shared ownership; the active encouragement, development and incentivization of such models; the generous involvement of civil society and business; renewed economic decentralization and the revival of rural areas; the opening up of marketing bodies; support for socially responsible entrepreneurial initiatives; the encouragement of voluntary initiatives and the promotion of simple and selfless lifestyles…etc. These examples only serve to highlight the urgent need for new creativity in the conversation around land and the other factors of production.
We the Bishops of the Catholic Church, maintain that these and other broad human and divine values are imperative. To ignore these would be dangerously irresponsible, morally unacceptable and harmful to human persons and the common good. Our call is addressed not only to our own Catholic leaders and communities but also to all people of goodwill who are passionately concerned to see a true and just flourishing of our Beloved Country – and indeed of the whole Southern African region and further afield.
At this critical time and recalling the best of decisions leading up to 1994, we believe we are once again called to respond to the critical challenge of this time. Guided by the noblest of human values and divine truths we pledge ourselves to be a part of this creative process.
President Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Archbishop William Slattery OFM
Archbishop of Pretoria and Spokesperson for the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
+ 27 83 468 5473
Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, quotes Pope John Paul II as follows “The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct and ‘the first principle of the whole ethical and social order.’”
The event was organised by the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Bienvenu Shelter, the Department of Justice and Peace, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa.
Mass was celebrated by the episcopal vicar for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Fr Pablo Valesquez and Fr Thabo Motshegwa. They were assisted by deacons Raymond Oupa Matseke and Philippe Lukusa-Lumpunga.
Wishing to drive home the importance of the four pillars that Pope Francis speaks of in his 104th letter for the World Day of Refugees, he enlisted the help of children to help dress a teddy-bear. This was aimed at welcoming, protection, promotion and integration of refugees.
Fr Pablo drew parallels between St John the Baptist and refugees in that John was regarded as an outcast, was persecuted, jailed and even killed.
Robinson Sathakge from the City of Johannesburg said as South Africans, we need to understand the push and pull factors that drive refugees to flee their native countries and the challenges they go through. He encouraged South Africans to understand, embrace, welcome and protect them until their issues are resolved. “Together with organisations like Pastoral Care, the City host events, dialogues and promote social cohesion in communities,” he said.
Water is a scarce natural resource which should be preserved, not only for human beings, but for vegetation and wildlife as well. On 4 May, the Justice and Peace Department, together with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and members of Palm Spring’s Section A cleaned a stream coursing through the area.
The stream was assessed for safety and depth. DWS donated rubber boots, masks and rubber gloves. Equipped with their own picks, shovels, spades, wheelbarrows and hoes, the community got down to business.
To build an environment that is clean, liveable, beautiful and conducive to health, everybody has to play their part, said the committee. They noted that illegal dumping is exacerbated by non-collection of waste by the municipality. Some of this waste unfortunately ends up in streams.
During weeks in which weeks waste bins were not collected, households had elected to bring them to a common area where they are taken to a landfill site to be emptied.
Because the stream crosses areas, the task team has committed to creating awareness in neighbouring areas as some of this waste streams into their area.
Tebello Rampo, a Justice and Peace volunteer who champions for an end to pollution, said when the church introduces something, it is important that they include the community. The community will, in turn, embrace the initiative and be responsible for it.
The Justice and Peace Department joined international organisations to raise awareness about guns and gun violence. St Francis De Sales, in Lawley Kristo Nkosi, Kwa-Thema and St Francis of Assisi, Yeoville organised talks during Mass.
“A gun is often present in a huge number of violent incidents, but it goes undetected and almost unnoticed. A gun is often one of the obvious common denominators in political killings; suicide; femicide; family killings; crime and robbery; car hijackings; cash-in-transit heists; taxi violence; and gang violence. It is so obviously present, but few seem to see it – and therefore it stubbornly remains unspoken of,” said Joseph Dube, head of the Justice and Peace Department.
It is not surprising then that South Africa is one of the 10 most violent countries in the world: 21 people are shot and killed in SA every day. Of these, 21 are gun-related deaths, 19 are men, mostly young men between the ages of 18 and 24; and two are women, who are most likely killed by their intimate partners owning legal guns.
“Our children are also not immune to gun violence, especially those living in urban areas with gangs in their communities. For example, between 2010 and 2015, 261 children were shot in the Western Cape, of whom 89 were killed. The guns used in their murders were stolen by a police officer and sold to gang leaders in the Western Cape,” said Joseph.
The monthly vocations discernment workshop sought to highlight the beauty and importance of the vocation of marriage on 24 June.
The day started with marriage preparation, with counselling couple Mahadi and Robert Buthelezi sharing their journey of marriage.
They were followed by Nono Sibuyi who described the sacrament of marriage as a communion of life and love, designed by God, which is full and intimate, freely given, faithfully lived, forever for the good of the spouses and for children.
She also described marriage as a covenant which is indissoluble. “Once you are married, in the eyes of God you can never be divorced”.
Lolo Nkamankeng encouraged young people to be celibate until marriage as sexuality is a gift from God which should be enjoyed in conjugal union. As there were young ears in attendance, the groups were separated according to age. Sr Esther Okoro and Sr Dawn Niro facilitated the session with the little ones.
The speakers sensitively and deftly answered difficult questions such as why the church deems masturbation immoral and why she does not recognise same-sex unions and polygamous marriages. Mass was said by Fr Peter Neeman Aboki He commended Sr Esther and the vocations department for organising a programme on the vocation of marriage ‘as it is the primordial vocation’. He said he, Br Sicelo Ntuli, a seminarian who was helping during Mass, Sr Esther and Sr Dawn would not be called to their respective vocations had it not been for the sacrament of marriage which has always been there for a long time.
Young people who had earlier expressed that they did not believe in marriage as they are yet to witness exemplary unions, came out of the workshop converted.
She listed vocations as priesthood, religious life and married life.
Giving an analogy of people being across a ditch with God on the other side, Sr Esther said Jesus provided a bridge through the divide.
“We need to use the wood of the cross to move over to unite ourselves with God. This bridge can shake and we can fall, but we need to journey ahead on that cross.”
Encouraging young people, she said we need more sons and daughters to take the baton as priests or religious brothers and sisters to serve the Archdiocese as “we cannot pin our hopes on missionaries”.
Furthermore, she encouraged parents to pray for vocations and to support young people.
The parish already has a group of young people who are attending discernment programmes every last Sunday of the month at the Cathedral.
These young people received a special blessing from parish priest, Fr Victor Ngwenya.