SACBC: eKhanya Vol 6

eKhanya Vol 6; November 1; 2013


Catholic Information Service for Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland

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stmarysSouth Africa’s Only Catholic Hospital
“In Turmoil”

The sole surviving Catholic hospital in South Africa, St Mary’s Hospital, Mariannhill is facing a number of crises. On Thursday, 31st October, workers staged a strike demanding salary increments backdating to April 2013, a moratorium on staff retrenchment and independent forensic audit of the hospital’s finances. The memorandum threatened appealing for the Vatican’s involvement on the matter. On Tuesday 29th October , the hospital management had released a statement explaining the financial situation and announcing meeting to be held on the 7th November with the Head of the Department in KwaZulu-Natal.

Bishop Kevin Dowling In London For Mission Sunday
Bishop Kevin Dowling CSsR travelled to London at the invitation of Missio in the United Kingdom for its 2013 Mission Sunday Appeal. For five days, he gave talks to various groups including “Ambassadors” of Missio led by Baroness Scotland, a Catholic primary and secondary school in Chelsea, key funders of Missio and an all-day Justice and Peace conference with participants from the dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood. He also gave a video interview at the Bishops’ Conference offices as well as an interview with The Tablet. He also had a lunch meeting with Baroness Scotland and two other peers at the House of Lords. The visit culminated in the Mission Sunday celebrations. He preached at six weekend Masses at Westminster Cathedral and he joined Archbishop Vincent Nicols at the evening Mass for migrant groups and their chaplains.

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Rustenburg’s HIV/Aids Centre Gets a “Presidential Thumbs Up”.
The Deputy President of South Africa, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, lauded the Church’s commitment to the poor and pledged government’s support especially through anti-retroviral treatment. Mr Motlanthe was visiting Tapologo hospice in the diocese of Rustenburg during. He was accompanied by the Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, North West premier, Thandi Modise, MEC for Health, Dr Magome Masike, and the members of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC). Tapologo has been operating with funding from PEPFAR administered by the SACBC’s Aids Office headed by Sr Alison Munroe OP.

Fr Louis Blondel Centre: Light in the “Diepsloot” Tunnel.
Amidst pain and violence following the horrendous murder of two toddlers, Yonelisa and Zandile Mali, in Diepsloot, a youth skills development centre named after Fr Louis Blondel MAfr was opened early this month. Fr Blondel was the pastor of Sacred Heart parish Diepsloot when he was murdered during a robbery in 2009. The centre was blessed by Archbishop William Slattery OFM of Pretoria in the presence of the French ambassador, Elisabeth Barbier, members of Fr Blondel’s family, benefactors and local community members. Fr Blondel’s sister, Francoise Delepier, said that the family held no grudge for his murder. She said her brother would have been proud of this centre the initial funding for which came from his estate.

Screen_shot_2013_11_01_at_8.34.49_AMMission To End Human Trafficking
Sister Melanie O’Connor HF of the Counter Trafficking in Persons office (CTIP) recently conducted workshops for priests, religious and laity in the dioceses of Aliwal North and Dundee. While participants in Dundee did not immediately recognise the concept of human trafficking, Aliwal North identified the problem of unaccompanied and undocumented minors from Lesotho in their area.

Many of these are being exploited for farm or domestic work, receiving as little as R200 a month, and are also physically abused. Participants agreed that such conditions are slave-like, amount to human trafficking and need to be looked into. The CTIP office which is a joint venture of the SACBC and LCCL (Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life) has received praise from the South African government and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its ground-breaking ministry against human trafficking.

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The “Annulment” Priest Gets Papal Award.
Fr Marius Bessemans OMI received the “Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award for his long service as Judicial Vicar of the Metropolitan Province of Bloemfontein. As a Judicial Vicar, Fr Bessemans presides over the process of annulment of marriages. Annulment is a declaration by the Church, after thorough investigation, that a marriage that seemed valid actually lacked one or more essential qualities and, therefore, was invalid and could be declared null and void.

Fr Bessemans noted that “South Africa had seen an unprecedented divorce rate increase”. The issue of divorce and remarriage has featured recently in the Vatican due to the publication of a “letter” by the German Archdiocese of Freiburg envisaging new pastoral possibilities. On the other hand, the forthcoming Special Synod on the Family is exploring whether “simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond [can] provide a positive contribution to solving the pastoral problems of the persons involved.”

Gaudiamus Igitur” As Seminarians Graduate.
On 23rd October, twenty-six seminarians received degrees in a graduation ceremony presided over by Bishop Anthony Dabula Mpako of Queenstown. Bishop Mpako is, as a chairperson of the Seminary Department, the Grand Chancellor of St John Vianney Regional Seminary, Pretoria. The keynote speaker, Dr Maximus Sefotho of the University of Pretoria, spoke extensively about “disabled” people who, he stressed, were not “disabled” but “differently-abled”. Ten students received the degree Bachelor in Philosophy and sixteen received the degree Bachelor in Theology. The seminary is registered with South African Qualifications’ Authority and, as such, no longer offers degrees in affiliation with any pontifical university.

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Two sisters, one deacon and one priest: A Year of Hope In Tzaneen.Year_of_Faith_Side_Bar
The diocese of Tzaneen saw a profession of two young Sacred Heart Sisters, Grace Kenyonga and Nkiru Okafor on 19th October. On 10th November Adrien Ntwa Ilondo will be ordained a deacon. On 7th December, Boitumelo Magoro will be ordained a priest. In the recent edition of e-Khanya, Bishop Joao Rodrigues announced that 2014 will be the Year of Hope for the diocese of Tzaneen. Top of the list of “hopes” is an increase in priestly and religious vocations.

The Apostolic Nuncio Joins Bethlehem To Close the Year of Faith.
Still mourning the death of the vibrant and young Fr Tsepo Motaung in a tragic car accident, Bishop Jan de Groef MAfr, the clergy, religious and the lay faithful of Bethlehem will gather at Goble Park Stadium on the Solemnity of Christ, the Universal King to close the Year of Faith. They will be affirmed in faith by the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Mario Cassari, who will be the main celebrant. The day will also feature the Eucharistic procession, the return of the Year of Faith banner that has been circulating in the parishes, the annual diocesan fundraising campaign and will close with a solemn Benediction.

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World Family Day Celebrations Brought Home.
As thousands gathered in Rome for World Family Day after the 21st Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, seventy persons (married and single) gathered at the Christian Brothers’ College, Pretoria from 25th-26th for a Cana Conference. Though organised by the Pretoria’s Couples-for-Christ and Family Life team, the conference which had the Wedding at Cana as its creative title attracted participants from as far as Botswana, Kimberley and Durban. The conference was graced by the presence of Archbishop William Slattery who presided over the Eucharist. The Vicar for Family Life, Fr Peter Switala, praised the lay-led conference and recommended such events not only for the married couple but also for the clergy.
On 13th October, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier had blessed the renewal of marriage vows of over 300 couple at an annual marriage event hosted by the Emmanuel Cathedral, Durban.

SACBC President Supports A Ban on “Spanking”
The president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stephen Brislin, says that “spare the rod, spoil the child” statement in Proverbs 23:14 might actually mean guidance of the shepherd who guards and provides for the sheep (Psalm 23:4). He was commenting during an interview on Carte Blanche’s discussion of the bill to ban corporal punishment at homes. Archbishop Brislin said that the bill should be supported within the context of rampant domestic violence. However, he stressed that some form of discipline was necessary in the raising of children.

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Acts Becoming Relevant and Contextual.
The Executive Committee of the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students met on the 12th October at Holy Cross Pastoral Centre in Pretoria to plan for 2014. Among other things, they elected members to relevant portfolios. The new officers are Mr Bennett Makau of the University of Limpopo (ABCD Lifestyle), Mr Simphiwe Siko of the University of Free State (Liturgy), Ms Fecility Bopape of the University of the North West (High Schools), Mr Xola Mananga of the University of Fort Hare (Gender), Mr Yongama Ncube of the Durban University of Technology (Projects), Mr Sipho Matseme of Tshwane University of Technology (Alumni), Ms Simanye Mvinjelwa of the University of the Western Cape (Academics). The next national gathering will be the Leadership Conference to beheld at the Koinonia Retreat Centre in Johannesburg on the 2nd-7th December 2013.

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Denis Hurley Centre: In Honour of One of the Founding Fathers of SACBC
The building of the new Denis Hurley Centre in Durban has begun. Named after the late Archbishop Denis Hurley, this centre caters for refugees/homeless people and people living with HIV/Aids. It will also feature a skills training facility, a resource centre (museum, library, bookshop), feeding scheme and will be available for conferences, exhibitions and social events.

To create a strong link between the old Parish Centre and the new Denis Hurley Centre, 500 bricks were saved and will be used to construct the counter in the coffee bar. Past pupils of St Augustine’s School, which was for 50 years housed in the Parish Centre, are selling these bricks at R100 each. All who purchase one or more will have their names listed on a plaque in the coffee bar. The centre will be built by master builder Tony Stals a past pupil of St Augustine’s. For further details about how you can buy a brick, contact Daphne Goad (084) 606 6151, Ekkie Esau (084) 337 7368 or Peter Stalls (078) 6525373.

Moreover, Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral will host the Cardinal’s Concert of 2013 on the 1st November at 18h00 and proceeds will go to the Denis Hurley Centre.

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CPLO Publications

  • Briefing Paper 332: Refugees and Their Rights by Kenny Pasensie
  • Briefing Paper 333: South Africa’s Peacekeeping activities in Africa (Part 2) by Lucy Dunderdale
  • Briefing Paper 334: Civil Society Leadership by Peggy Mhone
  • Response to “MidTerm Budget Policy Statement by Adv Mike Pothier.

They can be accessed at

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  • 2 November: 47th birthday of Bishop Valentine Seane of Gaborone.
  • 4-6 November: SACBC Administrative Board, Pretoria.
  • 6 November: Conferring of papal awards on Longest-serving Seminary Professors, Pretoria.
  • 7 November: 15th episcopal anniversary of Bishop Frank Nabuasah SVD of Francistown.
  • 11-15 November: 10th Imbisa plenary assembly, Gaborone.
  • 24 November: Patronal Feast of Queenstown.
  • 24 November: Official Closure of the Year of Faith
  • 2014 commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family
Please, remember to tune into Radio Veritas (AM 576, DSTv Audio 870 or on Thursdays (10-11am) and Sundays (9-10am) to learn about the projects of the departments, offices and associate bodies of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.