DITABA 27 – 1 APRIL 2017
EASTER, the Triumph of Goodness
The message of Easter is the “Triumph of Goodness”. The awful destruction of Jesus through malice, injustice and corruption does not have the final word.
There is a great painting in Jerusalem of people on the Saturday after Good Friday. They are in deep mourning, sitting disconsolately against a wall each one locked in lonely hopelessness. Jesus has been crucified. Has the journey ended in despair?
Early next morn at dawn a group of women go to the tomb, it is empty, and He is alive. Yes, here is the promise of life after death. But this is not the prime message of Easter. The real meaning is that Christ is amongst us now. He is accompanying us. He will continue his glorious work in us. Goodness and Truth will ultimately triumph.
And this is an important message for us today in South Africa. Social disillusion, inequality, unemployment, violence, state capture, ostentatious consumerism and abject poverty are not the final state of humanity. Easter promises that there will always be the in-break of goodness.
The resurrection is not an event of the past. It contains a vital power which has permeated the world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. As Kgalema Mathlante said at Kathrada’s funeral; “we must become diligent and passionate activists for social change and justice”.
Encountering the risen Lord, the mourners of Calvary were totally transformed and went out to change the world.
Just outside Pretoria is Little Eden, a home for people discarded by the world. There you will find Sipho shot in the head and left to die by a father who executed his only brother and his mother before committing suicide. He was utterly abandoned until Domitilla Hyam embraced him. He has lived at Little Eden for many years now with hundreds of discarded children and adults cared for with care, security and love. What inspired Domitilla and her husband Danny is faith that Jesus is their friend, their companion. Empowered with His love they must continue his caring for the poor and abandoned. There are millions like them in history.
Little Eden with its 300 inhabitants is possible because of those around our city who support the work there and are still motivated by meaning of Easter that what we do for the little ones is done for Him.
Faith in Easter is not escapism but a transformation; it is not opium but a power. He said, “Behold! I make all things new”. It is He working through His friends who offer hospitality not xenophobia, offers concern not indifference, offers tenderness and not cruelty. Pope Francis likes to say “when we encounter another person in love we learn something new about God”. In fact we are with Jesus.
The life of that very first community of Easter Christians was filled with the sense of His Presence amongst them still. St Paul in his letters defines Christianity as being ‘in Christ’ and used the phrase 260 times. In this globalized world of indifference and profound anxiety we are not alone for He is always with us, living in us.
The Archdiocese of Pretoria has drawn us together from all over South Africa, the Continent – and with our diplomats – from all over the world. We need a mystique of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another which must become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, and a sacred pilgrimage. That is the gift we are offered in Easter.
Let us make the ceremonies of Holy Week a special time for our people. It is the Liturgical highlight of the year. All the Liturgical celebrations of the year find in this Paschal mystery of Christ the source of all its grace and power. In the events of Holy Week, Jesus lived out the unique event of history which does not pass away. His Paschal Mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique; all other historical events happened once, then they passed away, swallowed up in the past.
The Paschal Mystery of Christ by contrasts cannot remain only in the past, because by His death He destroyed death, and all that Christ is participates in the Divine Eternity, and so transcends all the time while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection ABIDES and draws everything towards life.
- The Justice and Peace Committee of our Archdiocese organized an excellent day of prayer for the security cluster, police, prisons, and army at the Cathedral on 4th February.
- The attendance at the Mandate ceremonies this year was excellent. What a wonderful joy it is for us to find over 800 excellent people volunteering to teach Catechism and do evangelization this year. Dear Priests, it is of great importance that you follow-up this start and facilitates the work of these catechists. It is a great worry and a great challenge to us to share our faith with the Youth and with the Children. Many times we fail and they leave us. This is surely one of the great demands made upon our Priests.
- On February 9th we celebrated the Feast of St. Bakita. This year we celebrated it with a walk to the Cathedral to bring attention to the abuse of women and children. We do need sometime during the year to speak to our people on issues of rape and abuse.
- On the 11th of February, I had the joy of celebrating mass for 8 Jubilarians Sisters of the Holy Cross at Lady Selbourne. Can you believe it, 5 of them were celebrating 75 years of religious life.
- We are very grateful to Fr. Sefiri, our Judicial Vicar, who gave a Workshop to all the recently elected Parish Councils and Parish Finance Council executives.
- Deacon Thsepiso, the Vicar for Evangelisation, and Sr. Laura have arranged that the Renew program be transmitted every Monday evening at 8:00 PM on Radio Veritas. This is an excellent opportunity to offer all the faithful an opportunity to listen and deepen their faith.
- On 26th of February Fr. Emmanuel organized an Academic Mass for our university students at the University of Pretoria. ACTS, is the Catholic university movement, is also present at the Institutes of Technology. Please tell our Catholic Students who attend 3rd level education to contact ACTS. One often finds that it is the students from other African countries who are the most devoted to our Catholic liturgies.
- This will be a very full year for our Youth. We have sent out a few pages of questions for them to consider. These questions relate to Youth and the Church. The questions, in fact, come from the Vatican, a preparation for next year, 2018 Synod of Bishops in Rome. Fr. Ben Makhata and Melese are working in a very promising way with our young people.
In fact, Fr. Ben is on the National Planning Team preparing for the Youth, Mini World Youth Day in Durban, 3 to 10 December 2017. It is essential that youth prepares in faith for this church event.
- On Ash Wednesday this year the Archbishop was invited by the Municipal Speaker of the City to speak on Xenophia at the Apostolic Church in Sunnyside.
- During February we said goodbye to Msgr. Kevin at the Nunciature. He gave wonderful service to the church in Southern Africa. He has now been appointed to Mexico, one of the biggest Catholic countries in the world with over 80 million Catholics. And we welcome Msgr. Roman who has come to take his place.
- Sr. Marianne Moriarty is coordinating a lot of social work around the city. She is the Secretary of many committees bringing together church leaders to deal with homelessness, university student issues and ecumenical prayer.
- Vocations. We pray for our seminarians, 2 of whom will be completing in May. There are 3 who are being guided by the Vocation Committee within the Archdiocese who hope to begin studies. Please pray for and encourage promising young people to think seriously about the Diocesan priesthood and religious life. We have a great need for more local priests. Our Archdiocese is very big and continues to grow. It will need a lot of pastoral care in the future. Please put candidates in contact with Fr. Isaac Ramakgolo. Recently, the Archbishop was invited to induct the 24 new theologians at St. John Vianney Centre.
- Congratulations to the Parishes which offer our people the program of Renew. Once again, I invite all Parishes to listen to Radio Veritas on Monday evenings at 8:00 PM to enrich by Renew discussions.
- I am very happy that the local priests have offered their services as Chaplains in the school of their parishes. Violet Ramathunya and Peter Ross visit the 16 catholic schools in the Archdiocese to maintain the Catholic ethos. These schools were built with great sacrifice by religious sisters and brothers and by the Catholics of the previous generations. They have something wonderful to offer South African students of today, and it’s very important to maintain our presence and our influence there. The Archbishop had the joy of leading the Mass where 300 teachers begun this academic year. The day was hosted by Queenswood School.
- March the 4th at the Cathedral, the Women of St. Anne hosted the International Day of Women’s Day of prayer. It was attended by all Sodalities and women of many churches.
- As Archbishop, I was delighted to participate in the Election ceremonies of our Adult Catechumens at the Cathedral at the 1st Sunday of Lent, 5th March. The Cathedral was absolutely full, upstairs and in the side chapel.
- 11th of March, Mr. Van der Merwe was installed as Grand Knight of the Knights of Da Gama. An impressive ceremony of Council Four.
- The meeting of the Metropolitan Bishops of Pretoria took place at the Comboni Centre in Lynnwood on the 13th and 14th of March. There are 6 Dioceses in this Metropolitan Province. The Bishops also met with the major religious superiors living in the area.
- Mrs. Kekana who was medical supervisor for the province of Limpopo and who is now retired has offered to pilot a screening scheme for non-communicable diseases in our parishes. This is a free invitation especially to poor people who cannot afford regular medical exams.
- Fr. Ledwaba met with all the new applicants who are receiving formation to enter the Sodality of St. Anne’s. There must be 80 new members this year.
- Congratulations to Fr. Isaac and the Parish at Diepsloot on the creation of a beautiful Grotto in honour of our Lady. We also blessed the Father Louis Blondel Skill Centre on the Church ground, assisted by a project called “Wotsif”. They are offering excellent opportunities to hundreds of young people in many skills.
- The Diocese was happy to offer hospitality to Stigmatine Formators from all over the world, 28 of them, reflected on the formation of young religious today.
- Congratulations to Sam and Mpho Mathe who have outlined the program for Family and Marriage Enrichment for 2017. Almost 60 attended at Jolivet the Special Coordinator’s Day. The idea is that these Coordinators living in different parishes will facilitate special occasions, workshops, celebrations, inputs to assist people engage in family life. We are also very fortunate to have Andy and Flor de Guzman from the Couples for Christ (CFC) available as facilitators. Also we are honoured that Mr. and Mrs. Motiang are on the SACBC National Family Team. Mr. and Mrs. Sofala have also a lot of experience in Marriage Preparation and Marriage Enrichment. Do call such people to help your parish for special days.
- This is the centenary of the apparition of our Lady of Fatima, 1917 – 2017. The Priests and Parish of Sta. Maria in Pretoria West will have a very special celebration and an outside procession in the City on Saturday evening, 13th of May at 6:00 PM. All are invited. There will be a reception afterwards.
- Our Archdiocese has a very heavy National responsibility this year. The Archdiocesan Executives of the Sacred Heart and the Catholic Women’s League have been chosen to lead both these great movements as National Leaders. Let us pray for them and work with them.
- Do remember that the novena for Christian Unity takes place in Southern Africa from Ascension Thursday, 25th of May, until Pentecost Sunday, 4th June. There are special prayers for that Novena. It can also be a response with the prayer of Jesus “May they all be one” to organize with other local churches praying for Christian unity.
FORTHCOMING EVENTS and APPOINTMENTS
|1st April||National Executive of the Sacred Heart Sodality at Bertoni Centre|
|4th April||Priests Meeting at Sta. Sophia|
|Meeting with the Executive of the Catholic Men’s Association and Spiritual Chaplain|
|5th April||Department of Formation at St. John Vianney’s|
|Reconciliation Service at Queenswood, Christ the King Parish|
|6th April||AGM Radio Veritas|
|7th April||Day of Protest at Union Building. While political decisions are the matters for political parties, individual citizens have every right to protest for just causes. All Catholics who wish to protest are free to do so in their own initiatives.|
|8th April||TV video for Metanoia Services|
|9th April||Palm Sunday – Bishop to Kgomo Kgomo. The service at the Cathedral presided over by Archbishop Peter Well.|
|10th April||Message and video for Pretoria News|
|12th April||Mass of the Oils at Cathedral at 9:30. Renewal of commitment for Priests. All invited.|
|13th April||Service of the Last Supper at the Cathedral.|
|14th April||Good Friday – Archbishop to St. Vincent Tembisa for confession at 12:00 noon followed by the service for the passion at 3:00 pm. Archbishop Daniel Gabriel will celebrate the service at the Cathedral.|
|15th April||Vigil for Easter at the Cathedral led by Archbishop William Slattery.|
|16th April||HAPPY EASTER TO ALL. Archbishop to Dennilton.|
|17th April||Pilgrimage to Little Eden, Bapsfontein. All invited. Celebration of Golden Jubilee of establishment of Little Eden. People will arrive at 10:00 and mass will be at 1:00 PM. Bring a lunch pack.|
|19th April||Meeting of religious at the Chancery 10:30 AM|
|20th April||Mass for School at Tsogo at 9:00 AM|
|21st April||Meeting at Jolivet House to plan spiritual formation, renew, Jesuit Institute, Neocatechumens, and Koinoni.|
|22nd April||Workshop for Catechist at Bertoni Centre|
|30th April||Blessing of New Church at Naledi Ya Meso|
|2nd May||Priests Meeting at Sta. Sophia. Presentation from Fr. Benedict and Youth. Reflection on vocation promotion.|
|Meeting at University with students at 2:00 PM|
|7th May||Confirmation at St. Marks – 8:30 AM|
|9th May||Ecumenical Meeting at Bishop’s House|
|13th May||AGM Radio Veritas|
|14th May||Confirmation at Mabopane – 8:30 AM|
|16th May||Churches meeting|
|20th May||Confirmation at Pretoria North – 1:00 PM|
|21st May||Celebration of Feast Day and Confirmation at Refilwe – 9:00 AM|
|28th May||Africa Day
Confirmation at Moya, Tembisa – 8:30 AM
|Confirmation at St. Clare, Soshanguve – Archbishop Daniel|
|Christian Unity Meeting with other Churches at the Cathedral – 12:30 PM|
|30th May||AGM of Clergies. All Priests to attend|
|2nd June||Mass for Loreto School at the Cathedral – 7:30 AM|
|4th June||Confirmation at Winterveld – 9:30 AM|
|Jubilee celebration of 40 years at Charles Lwanga|
|Prayers for Christian Unity – 12:30 PM Lutheran Church|
|10th June||Mass for Deacons at Bertoni Centre – 9:00 AM|
|11th June||Confirmation at Mater Ecclesiae, Ga-Rankuwa
Confirmation at St. Anthony of Padua, Soshanguve
|13th June||National Chaplains of the Security Cluster Meeting in Springs|
|18th June||Confirmation Kgabaletsane – 9:00 AM|
|Celebration of Corpus Christi, Renewal of sending of Extraordinary Ministers|
|24th June||Coordinator of Catechetics|
|25th June||Confirmation at Leratong – 10:00 AM|
|Mass at the Cathedral for Loreto School’s Conference – 15:30|
|28th June||Apostolic Nuncio celebrating special mass at the Cathedral anticipating the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and in gratitude for Pope Francis’ election.|
|7th May||St. Mark Parish, Mabopane|
|14th May||Christ the King Parish, Mabopane|
|20th May||St. John the Baptist, Pretoria North|
|21st May||St. Eugene, Refilwe|
|28th May||Moya Catholic Church, Tembisa|
|28th May||St. Clare, Soshanguve (Archbishop Daniel)|
|4th June||Good Shepherd, Winterveld|
|11th June||St. Anthony of Padua, Soshanguve|
|2nd July||St. Peter, Cullinan|
|9th July||St. George, Saulsville|
|16th July||St. Peter, Makapanstad|
|23rd July||Mary Help of Christians, Mamelodi West|
|30th July||St. Emmanuel, Tembisa|
|10th September||St. Peter Claver, Mamelodi East|
|17th September||Holy Rosary Parish, Ivory Park|
|24th September||St. Vincent Parish, Tembisa|
|1st October||Our Lady of Perpetual Help, West Park|
|8th October||Christ the King Parish, Queenswood|
|15th October||St. Daniel Comboni, Mahube Valley|
|21st October||Holy Rosary Parish, Waverley|
|22nd October||Church of the Beautitudes, Zwavelpoort|
|29th October||Church of the Presentation, Montana|
|29th October||St. Raphael, Mamelodi Central|
|4th November||St. John Fisher, Lynnwood|
|5th November||St. Gabriel, Mmotla|
|12th November||St. Joseph, Eersterus|
|19th November||St. Anthony of Egypt, Siyabuswa|
|26th November||St. Martin de Porres, Sunnyside|
|3rd December||Holy Trinity Parish, Midrand|
|10th December||St. Joseph, Pretoria West (Archbishop Daniel)|
+William Slattery OFM Archbishop of Pretoria
1 April 2017