October 19 to October 25, 2011
r5,50 (incl VaT rsa) reg No. 1920/002058/06
The rich menu of our Catholic faith
The things our priests must go through!
Fr Rolheiser’s new weekly column begins
A cry from Bethlehem to Bethlehem By Mokesh Morar
OURISM representatives from Bethlehem in the West Bank came to Bethlehem in the Free State to encourage pilgrims to the Holy Land to meet with Palestinian Christians. Remi Kassi of the Alternative Tourism Group, a Palestinian non-governmental organisation, assured his audiences in Bethlehem and in Bohlokong, Clarens, Senekal and Bloemfontein, that it is safe to visit the Holy Land. “As pilgrims and tourists you are free to travel anywhere. In fact, you have more rights in terms of travelling than we [Palestinians] have.” Mr Kassi explained Palestinians are required to always carry on them their ID and passport, of which there are different categories. “The two of us, for instance, cannot visit Jerusalem, even though Bethlehem is very close. Due to the severe [travel] restrictions, it is easier for families from Gaza and the West Bank to meet in South Africa than it is to meet in Palestine.” He said that pilgrimages or tourist trips to the Holy Land should be planned carefully, warning that Israeli tour operators often bypass or restrict visits to holy sites in areas populated by Palestinians. “When you return to your home country, share your experience and invite others for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Come and see the holy sites, walk where Jesus walked, but also look and look critically with the eyes of Jesus,” Mr Kassi said. He said the Alternative Tourism Group (www.atg.ps) can arrange for visitors to stay with Palestinians families “to experience what is it like for ordinary people to get to know each other”. South Africans can obtain a three-month visa at Tel Aviv airport. “As long as you do not mention that you come to support the Palestine cause openly, you are totally accepted by the Israeli government and state,” Mr Kassi said. Mr Kassi also talked about the conditions under which he and other Palestinians live. “When we go on a family holiday, there are over 250 checkpoints, and some of them just 20m apart. Each time we are forced to
stop, present documents and be searched. It’s a nightmare and so we stop traveling,” he said. “My children keep on asking: ‘Why are we treated like this in our own country?’” He said that since Israel built the 700km security barrier, which in many places, including Bethlehem, is a 8m high concrete wall, families have been separated. “They find it hard to visit each other due to the daily harassment by Israeli security forces and the Israeli settlers. The latter are people—some claim to be Jews from America, Russia and Europe—who have more rights than Palestinians. We have lived here since time immemorial, and until recently we lived in peace with Jews, Muslims and others. These settlers come and build their house on top of those of the Palestinians”. He recounted how the Israeli government had welded shut the front doors of some houses occupied by Palestinians. “People, the elderly and the sick, are forced to enter their houses through windows, using ladders, or via their neighbours’ roof tops,” Mr Kassi said. “Life is made unbearable, and that is why more and more Christians are leaving Bethlehem and the Holy Land. The illegal occupation of Palestine has been continuing and the international community hardly pays attention to the suffering, including the cry of children for a normal life,” he said. The visit was organised by Sekwele Centre for Social Reflection in Bethlehem and Kairos Southern Africa. Meanwhile, a group of Christians issued what they termed the “Bethlehem Declaration”, expressing their “sympathy for all the suffering, especially by innocent women and children, as well as our wishes of solidarity for all the people of Palestine and Israel”. The declaration supported Israel’s right to exist, but also recognised the right of Palestine “to be a sovereign and independent nation, living side by side in peace and justice with Israel.” Last month Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations to accept Palestine as a member state. The United States have indicated they would veto an approval of the application.
a statue of Pope John Paul II, which was created by sculptress elisabeth Cibot, is seen in front of the basilica of Notre-Dame de fourviere in lyon, france. (Photo: robert Pratta, reuters/CNs)
London house named after Hurley sTaff rePorTer
UMBER 14, Quex Road, London NW6 is now known as “Denis Hurley House”, after the late archbishop of Durban. The naming ceremony was part of a “Service of Blessing” led by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, retired of Westminster, and Fr William Fitzpatrick, the English provincial of the late archbishop’s order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Bishop David Konstant, retired of Leeds, and Fr Stephen Tully, administrator of Durban’s Emmanuel cathedral, assisted. The terrace house in the north London suburb of Kilburn is the home of the
Oblates’ “Partners in Mission” programme, which seeks to draw young people into action for justice and peace in the service of the poor. Soon the Denis Hurley Association, which is currently being set up in Britain as a charitable trust to raise funds for the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban, will be based there too. The naming ceremony noted that “Archbishop Hurley was an influential father of the Second Vatican Council, a distinguished liturgist, a committed opponent of the apartheid system, a dedicated prophet of justice and reconciliation in his native South Africa and a revered pastor in the province of KwaZulu-Natal”.
Bishop hopes pope will let him run for president By Paul Jeffrey
HE “Red Bishop” of Honduras says he will run for president of the Central American nation, if he gets permission from Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Luis Santos Villeda of Santa Rosa de Copán (pictured) will celebrate his 75th birthday in November and will immediately submit his resignation to the Vatican, as required by canon law. Once his resignation is accepted and he is freed from the responsibilities of bishop, Bishop Santos says, he will run for president as a candidate of a progressive faction of the Liberal Party, whose last president, Manuel Zelaya, was deposed in a 2009 coup. “I don’t aspire to be president of Honduras. This isn’t my idea,” Bishop Santos told Catholic News Service. He said he was first asked by Liberal Party leaders in the 1990s, and
again in 2009, to become a candidate, but both times he declined. “But now that I’m retiring as bishop, I hope to speak with the pope and get his permission. I would no longer be bishop or have any Church office, but would remain a priest. I could celebrate Mass privately in the morning before showing up in the presidential office at 8am,” Bishop Santos said. The bishop has long been a public supporter of the Liberal Party, whose red flag contributed to his nickname. He was also a strident opponent of the 2009 coup, a position that put him at odds with Tegucigalpa Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, who backed the coup. Analysts say the cardinal’s support for the coup cost him political capital; the cardinal is seen much less often in public these days. Bishop Santos, on the other hand, remains highly visible, despite his
remote western diocese, which includes some of the poorest communities in Central America. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Resistance, the loose-knit coalition of civil groups opposing the government since the coup. However, not everyone would be
pleased with a Bishop Santos candidacy. “The decision of the bishop to get involved in politics after stepping down as bishop does damage to the Church and damage to politics,” said Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, director of Radio Progreso, a station closely identified with the Honduran left. “Politics here is historically closely linked to clericalism. So when a bishop or priest decides to participate in partisan politics, that doesn’t help us move toward a political culture of citizenship,” said Fr Moreno. “And it would damage the Church because he’s not a bishop of unity, rather, he has fostered confrontation. So it would divide Catholics even more than they’re divided now, and not in the name of the struggle of the poor, but rather in the name of party politics. Bishop Santos rejects the notion that Church leaders should remain
outside partisan politics. “Why do I get involved in politics? Because it is politics that has screwed the poor,” the bishop said. He said “it’s politics that makes people poor, that leaves the clinics and hospitals without medicine, that robs money from the villages. It’s politics that supports the rampant corruption in Honduras. As a bishop, I can’t be disinterested in the health and education of the children, the least of my sisters and brothers,” Bishop Santos said. “This is a rich country, with productive land. But there’s a lot of injustice,” he said. Bishop Santos said he has no interest in modeling his possible presidency after that of Fernando Lugo, the Paraguayan bishopturned-president, “because he gave up everything. He left the ministry behind and was elected as a layperson. I’m going to remain a priest, but without any position within the Church.”—CNS
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
New development course to be offered in Cedara By ClaIre MaThIesoN
T Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal, will offer a new programme on Development Studies in the new academic year. It will be open to priests, religious, and lay people, Catholic or not. According to academic dean Fr Raymond Mwangala OMI, the Development Studies Department through its two academic programmes, Higher Certificate in Human and Social Development and Advanced Certificate in Human and Social Development, seeks to provide a service to the Church and society in general through the formation and training of leaders guided by a Christian ethos. Fr Mwangala said the development studies department aims to empower students with the basic understanding of how societies develop and function, give an understanding of the main concepts and theories of human and social development, and provide students with basic knowledge that will prepare them for further studies in the areas of human and social development. St Joseph's has been involved in the training and formation of ministers for the Catholic priesthood since 1943 as well as women religious since 1994, when the Institute was formally separated from
the Oblate Scholasticate. “In 2000, a specific programme, Religious Studies, was introduced. This was intended for religious, both men and women, who were not preparing for ordained ministry. After an institutional audit carried out in 2009, it was decided to discontinue with the programme and to introduce development studies. Hence, the new courses,” Fr Mwangala said. The course is designed to train leaders for society and for the Church who will “serve in a professional and ethical manner”, Fr Mwangala said. As such the three areas of focus for the qualification will include formation, leadership training and social services provision. The programme is one year in length for full-time students. Prospective students must have a National Senior Certificate or equivalent and be proficient in English. Fr Mwangala said students who successfully complete the Higher Certificate in Human and Social Development will be qualified to work in NGOs, faith-based organisations and care centres, work in local government and community development projects and chaplaincy work—something which “contemporary society and the Church both need: leaders who serve in a professional manner and with a high degree of integrity”, he added.
Romero expert to give Hurley lecture sTaff rePorTer
HE leading English-speaking expert on Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred archbishop of San Salvador, will visit South Africa to deliver a series of lectures. Julian Filochowski (pictured), former CEO of the British Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (Cafod), will talk on the topic of: “Oscar Romero, Bishop and Martyr: Guiding Light for the 21st Century”. He describes the lecture as the story of Romero as “an icon of holiness whose life and martyrdom find resonance throughout our globalised world; like Denis Hurley, a credible witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for these sceptical times”. The lectures, hosted by the Jesuit Institute South Africa, will take place in Johannesburg on October 22 at 10:00 at the Pauline Cultural Centre, Kensington, and in Cape Town on October 26 at 19:30 at St Michael’s parish hall, Rondebosch. Mr Filochowski will also deliver the Hurley Lecture, which will for the first time be given in
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Emmanuel Cathedral Hall—the site where the Denis Hurley Centre will be built—on October 20. The event will commence with a dinner at 18:00, followed by the lecture and discussion at 19:00, and a candlelight procession at 21:00 to Archbishop Hurley’s tomb in the cathedral, led by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban. Archbishop Romero, and out-
spoken champion of social justice in the Central American state of El Salvador, was assassinated while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980. His cause for beatification has been introduced in Rome, and Mr Filochowski is assisting the process. According to Paddy Kearney, coordinator at the Denis Hurley Centre, Archbishop Hurley never met Archbishop Romero, but they were both students at the Gregorian University in Rome in the early 1930s. Archbishop Hurley liked to speculate that they might have passed each other in the corridors, Mr Kearney recalled. “It is likely that both archbishops were strongly influenced by Pope Pius XI whose prophetic denunciations of Nazism and Stalinism were admired and keenly discussed by seminarians in Rome at that time,” said Mr Kearney, who wrote a biography on Archbishop Hurley. Mr Filochowski currently is the strategic development adviser at Jesuit Missions in London, a director of the Catholic weekly journal The Tablet, a Denis Hurley Association Trustee, and chairman of the Oscar Romero Trust.
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Educating the Church on the Digital Landscape By ClaIre MaThIesoN
EDIA expert Pauline Sister Rose Pacatte presented a series of talks during October in the archdiocese of Johannesburg, highlighting the benefits the digital landscape can have in faith formation and communication within the Church. The Daughters of St Paul community in South Africa invited the media specialist from America to visit the country to give a series of presentations and workshops on media, communication, and culture as part of the Hope&Joy network in preparation for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The order’s charism uses media to communicate the Gospel as well as teaching skills to understand and critically navigate the media culture and produce media content that reflects human and Gospel values. Sr Pacatte is the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, California, and is a noted international media literacy specialist, an award-winning film/TV columnist for various publications and contributes to periodicals and journals on media literacy education, spirituality, theology and catechesis. In Johannesburg, Sr Pacatte presented at various events, including the Hope&Joy festival (see page 8), and was left with the impression that there
sister rose Pacatte is “much interest in bridging the media world and faith, faith formation, spirituality and theology”. She told The Southern Cross that while the religious participation was low, those who did participate in the events made it a “meaningful encounter about Catholic Christian communication flowing from the gift that is the Second Vatican Council”. Sr Pacatte referred specifically to the documents Inter Mirifica (1963) and Communio et progressio (1971); the follow-up document called for by Inter Mirifica. “Few people know that the first document issued by Vatican II was Inter Mirifica, on communication and media. The constitution on the liturgy was issued the following morning,” she said. Media and digital communi-
cation could be and should be the work of the Church, she said. Accordingly, Sr Pacatte’s visit to the country was “happily” sponsored by the local Pauline community as part of their Hope&Joy contribution. The presentations about media, communication and culture were very fitting to the celebration of Vatican II, she said. Her presentations included lessons on the digital age and faith formation, as well as lessons on faith which one can learn from secular television programmes. “We looked at clips from mainstream television and film to explore theological concepts and spiritual themes, beginning with a young Clark Kent who must learn to hear when he loses his sight,” Sr Pacatte said of the Superman-like television series Smallville. The show, she said, is a good example of “the self-comunicating love of the trinity, the communion that eternally flows between the three divine persons, is the same love that we are trying to pass on in our own communication”. Her second presentation explored the digital landscape and digital age which is today influencing catechesis and faith formation in the parish, school, and family. Sr Pacatte also answered audience questions on how the Church can use these tools can be used responsibly, positively and faithfully.
The Pre-Grade r class of st Dominic’s Priory in Port elizabeth performed in their annual concert, “Priory’s shining stars”. The concert showcased the many talents of the children between four and five years of age. The show included musical performances, go-karting and gymnastics. an audience of about 200 people were amazed by the children’s abilities and talents given to them by the grace of God. an amount of r450 was raised from a silver collection at the door which will be donated to the priory’s outreach programme. Photographed is go-kart driver liyen Mudaly.
Knowing the rosary sTaff rePorTer
NEW booklet of the mysteries and prayers of the rosary has been published, titled The Beauty of the Rosary. Written by Redemptorist Father Seán Wales, the 56-page booklet includes the origins, structure and nature of the rosary as well as how to adapt the rosary to feast days or when to choose to meditate on something specific. The booklet explores the origins of how the rosary started out with the first Jewish tradi-
tions of praying the psalms everyday, how it gradually turned to the way we pray the rosary today. The Beauty of the Rosary also explains the mysteries as part of the rosary prayer. Each mystery is accompanied by an illustration, a scripture verse and a reflection reading. Fr Wales is the parish priest at Holy Redeemer church in Bergvliet, Cape Town. His previous booklets include Catholics and Divorce and Right and Wrong: How Catholics Tell the Difference. nThe Beauty of the Rosary can
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
In Italy, pope calls for silence, slams organised crime By Carol GlaTZ
NDLESS news, noise and crowds have made people afraid of silence and solitude, which are essential for finding God’s love and love for others, Pope Benedict said during a visit to the diocese of Lamezia Terme in Calabria, south-west Italy. Progress in communications and transportation has made life more comfortable, as well as more “agitated, sometimes frantic”, he said, especially in cities, where there is a constant din, even all night.
Young people seem to want to fill every moment with music and video, and there is a growing risk that people are more immersed in a virtual world rather than in reality because of the constant stream of “audiovisual messages that accompany their lives from morning to night”, he said during a visit to the Carthusian monastery in Serra San Bruno. “Some people are no longer able to bear silence and solitude for very long.” Monasteries, he said, remind people of the need for silent reflection, which lets people delve
into the apparent emptiness of solitude and experience real fullness, that is, God’s presence and true reality. The pope spent one day in Calabria—a region still struggling with organised crime, corruption and high unemployment. During an outdoor Mass, the pope called the region a “seismic territory, not just from a geological point of view” but also because of the upheaval caused by negative social and behavioural patterns. “It’s a land where unemployment is worrisome, where often
ferocious criminality tears the social fabric, [a] land in which there is a constant feeling of being in a state of emergency,” he said in his homily. “Don’t ever give in to the temptation of pessimism and turning inward,” he said, urging those gathered to use their faith in God to foster collaboration, help others and promote the common good. Monasteries are indispensable for society because they remind people of the need to put God and the common good before selfinterest, he said after the Mass.
Today’s societies are not healthy; the air “is polluted by a mentality that is un-Christian and inhumane because it is dominated by economic interests, concerned only with earthly things and lacking a spiritual dimension”. Not only is there no room for God, but other people and the common good no longer have a place in society, the pope said. “Rather, the monastery is a model of a society that puts God and fraternal relations at the center,” something “we really need in our day, too,” he said.—CNS
Famine’s ‘lost generation’ By Carol GlaTZ
OT only are millions of lives at risk in the Horn of Africa due to hunger and drought, those who escape the famine then risk becoming a lost generation due to a severe lack of stability, education and resources, according to a top Vatican official. “The millions of displaced people on the move now in an effort to survive will tomorrow become refugees, illegal immigrants, without a nation, without a home, work and a community,” said Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. “A whole generation risks being lost,” he said during a Vatican news conference. The only way to guarantee a future after the humanitarian crisis abates, he said, is to create schools where skills, communities and futures are built. The cardinal launched an appeal for a school to be built in every village. “Where there is an education, there is a possible future, there will be work for tomorrow and families will form,” he said. The Church has a long tradition of education and forming moral consciences, so Catholics should be especially dedicated to this initiative, he said. Cardinal Sarah led a panel of speakers presenting ideas that came out of a Vatican-sponsored meeting with major Catholic charitable organisations on the situation in the Horn of Africa. Cor Unum also invited a rep-
kenyan port workers in Mombasa load rice to a somalia-bound ship to help in the humanitarian crisis in somalia. (Photo: Joseph okanga, reuters/CNs) resentative of the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury for the meeting. According to the United Nations, 13 million people in the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of emergency aid, particularly in Somalia, where thousands of people risk death. Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of 165 national Catholic charities (represented in Southern Africa by the Siyabhabha Trust), has helped 1,1 million people in the region, especially the most vulnerable like the elderly, women, children and the disabled, said Michel Roy, the confederation’s general-secretary. Through its appeal campaign, Caritas Internationalis has raised 31 million euros (about R334 million). Mr Roy called on the inter-
national community to step up donations and help Somalis with nation building since one of the root causes of the instability and hunger is the lack of a central government. Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, who also is apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia, said the Church must also find ways to collaborate with Muslim organisations that provide aid for those affected by the food crisis. He also supported the emphasis on building schools, saying Catholic schools “are the best combatants against terrorism”, because people from diverse ethnicities, religions, nations and backgrounds come together in Catholic institutions where they learn “to live together and respect one another”.—CNS
Abuse victim walked 500km to give Pope Benedict a message By CINDy WooDeN
RANCESCO Zanardi walked almost 500km to deliver a letter asking Pope Benedict to meet Italian victims of clerical abuse and to work harder to ensure bishops around the world follow Vatican norms for dealing with accusations of abuse. Mr Zanardi, 41, set off from Savona, Italy, and walked almost all the way to Rome. He said he was abused by a priest when he was about ten years old, but by the time he reported it to police in 2007, the statue of limitations had expired. Although more victims of the same priest came forward in 2010 and police are now investigating, Mr Zanardi said, “this priest is still free. He lives in an apartment owned by the Church.” The Italian police who patrol St Peter’s Square stopped Mr Zanardi and Alberto Sala, president of an Italian organisation that cares for abused children, at a checkpoint. The men were unable to deliver Mr Zanardi’s letter to the Bronze Doors of the
francesco Zanardi, 41, who says he was abused by a priest when he was about ten years old, outside st Peter's square. (Photo: Paul haring,CNs) Apostolic Palace, but a Vatican employee accepted the letter. “All accusations should be investigated and accused priests should be isolated from children during the investigation,” Mr Zanardi said. In addition, he said, “it’s important to respond to the victims—they need an incredible amount of help. It’s taken me 20 years to overcome the trauma and that’s fast. I wanted to die. Victims feel they are at
fault, that they are dirty. They need help.” Mr Zanardi said it isn’t right that Pope Benedict has met with victims from the United States, Australia, England and Germany, but not victims from Italy. In fact, he said, while his registered letters have reached the Vatican, he has never had a response from the pope or any Vatican official. He said in his experience, guidelines issued by the Vatican over the past ten years to improve child protection and deal with accusations of abuse “are not being applied. They exist only on paper.” In addition to asking for a meeting with the pope and for the application of Vatican norms, Mr Zanardi also wants the Vatican to hand over its files of accusations to legal officials in the countries where abuse is alleged to have taken place. Bishops are obliged to report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accusations against priests that appear well-founded.—CNS
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
SSPX to study Vatican offer By JohN ThaVIs
EADERS of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX) have met to review the Vatican’s conditions for full reintegration into the Catholic Church, and said that a response would be given after further study. The meeting in Albano, a hill town outside of Rome, brought together 28 of the society’s officials, including seminary rectors and regional superiors from around the world. They examined a document presented by the Vatican in September, a “doctrinal preamble” listing several principles the society must agree with in order to move toward full reconciliation. A brief statement from the traditionalist society said participants “manifested a profound unity in their will to maintain the faith in its integrity and its fullness, faithful to the lesson which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre left them...‘I have handed
over what I myself have received’”. The late Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated in 1988 after ordaining bishops against papal orders. The Vatican in 2009 opened a series of doctrinal talks with the society, in an effort by Pope Benedict to repair the rupture. The contents of the doctrinal preamble have not been made public. In its statement, the society said the preamble would be further analysed by the top leaders of the organisation, including Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the society, and two assistants, Frs Niklaus Pfluger and Alain-Marc Nely. It said they hoped to present a response to the Vatican “in a reasonable time”. In an interview published on the society’s website in early October, Fr Pfluger said that “corrections” to the doctrinal preamble may be necessary. “It is our duty to send Rome an answer that reflects our posi-
tion and unambiguously represents the concerns of tradition. We owe it to our mission of fidelity to Catholic tradition not to make any compromises.” Fr Pfluger also criticised the upcoming interfaith meeting in Assisi, convened by Pope Benedict, as a sign that the Vatican was still going down the wrong path in implementing the Second Vatican Council. “Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II, but also many other examples, make it clear that the leadership of the Church, now as before, is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences,” he said. “Therefore any ‘offer’ made to tradition must guarantee us the freedom to be able to continue our work and our critique of ‘modernist Rome’. And to be honest, this seems to be very, very difficult. Again, any false or dangerous compromise must be ruled out,” he said.—CNS
Church fears over Syria revolution By DoreeN aBI raaD
RESSURE being put on the Syrian government could have very bad consequences, especially for Christians, warned the patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church. Attempts to collapse the government “will very probably lead to chaos,” Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan told Catholic News Service. “This chaos, surely—with no means to implement security— will lead to civil war,” said the patriarch, who stressed that a civil war in Syria would not merely be a struggle among political parties to control the power. “It will be confessional [religious], and war in the name of God is far worse than a political struggle. And this is what we fear.” Patriarch Younan said that what Syria needs is a lot of reforms, a multiparty system of government and freedom of speech. He said the Church “is all for reforms” and does not support a particular regime. “But those reforms have to be executed or accomplished through dialogue,” he said, expressing a need for a neutral third party “that could unite those who are in conflict,” the government and the opposition. The patriarch said the West should push for true democratic reforms rather than just trying to change political systems which they believe are dictatorial “into an unknown system
syrian children and women arrive in northern lebanon after bloodshed in syria left hundreds of people dead. (Photo: omar Ibrahim, reuters/CNs) where the very, very respect of civil rights is absent”.
aronite Catholic leaders also have called for dialogue on the situation in Syria. Archbishop Paul Sayah, vicargeneral of the Maronite patriarchate in Beirut and former archbishop of Haifa said that Syria’s small, minority-represented government—the Alawites who have been running the country for 40 years—are not going to let go easily because they know if the Sunnis take over, “it’s going to be very dangerous for them, to put it very mildly”. The bishop pointed to the slogans launched near the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March: “Christians to Beirut; Alawites to the coffin.” Those might be only slogans, “but they are significant”, he warned.
If change is not brought about peacefully, “there is a risk that it may go from an oppressive regime to a more brutal one, especially now that the atmosphere tends to be rather fundamentalist in the region,” Archbishop Sayah said. He also expressed concern about a potential civil war. The conflict in Syria is a “terrible dilemma” for the country’s Christians, said Habib Malik, professor of history at the Lebanese American University and author of the 2010 book Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East. “Their values and beliefs can’t allow them to condone the brutality of the regime against people. On the other hand, they are genuinely scared of the alternative to the regime—the inevitable slippery slope toward Islamic extremism,” said Prof Malik, whose late father Charles Malik was one of the architects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Christians in Syria largely have not participated in the protests to overthrow the Syrian regime. Their silence, explained Prof Malik, could be interpreted as overall support of the current regime. As a result, they could end up as a target of revenge attacks should the regime be overthrown. “They are genuinely scared and feel in danger,” he said.— CNS
Coptic Christians carry coffins during a funeral at abassaiya orthodox cathedral in Cairo. at least 26 people, mostly Christians, were killed when troops broke up a peaceful protest against an earlier attack on a church in southern egypt. (Photo: amr abdallah Dalsh, reuters/CNs)
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Happy clergy an ad for priesthood By NaNCy fraZIer o’BrIeN
HE best advertisement for vocations to the priesthood, it is often said, is a happy priest. That’s why Mgr Robert Panke, newly elected president of the US Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, hopes research showing that priests are happy in their lives gets wide play. “Vocations directors already know that, but it was great to get some ammunition,” Mgr Panke said at an symposium highlighting the conclusions in Mgr Stephen Rossetti’s new book, Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests. “Now we have to get the news out,” he added. “Too many people think the priesthood is a sad, lonely life.” Mgr Panke said one of the biggest obstacles to his vocation
work is the opposition of parents. “They believe the lie that priests are not happy, and they want their children to be happy.” Bishops “would be wise to encourage every one of their priests to look at himself as a recruiter,” he said, noting that although 80% of US seminarians say a priest’s encouragement was a primary factor in their decision to become a priest, only 30% of priests say they have given such encouragement. Mgr Panke also discussed the state of screening and formation of seminarians. When Jesus recruited Peter, Andrew, James and John to become “fishers of men”, as recounted in Matthew 4, there was “no interview, no battery of testing, no psychological interview”, Mgr Panke said. “Jesus can do that; we need to do a little more work.”
But he said vocations directors and bishops also need to know when to turn down a candidate for the priesthood who is not ready. “There is a lot of brokenness out there, and we have seen the world of harm that a lack of screening can do,” he said. Mgr Panke emphasised Mgr Rossetti’s conclusions about the importance of personal prayer in the life of every priest. “Prayer is key to happy and healthy priests,” he said. A priest who prays at least 30 minutes a day “is less likely to be emotionally exhausted because Christ is feeding him.” The Washington priest said he was personally buoyed by Mgr Rossetti’s finding that retired priests are the happiest of all. “That gives me great hope that it just gets better and better and better,” he said.—CNS
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Mission field youth
E hear the complaint often: our young people are not interested in the Church any longer. Of course, it is true that young Catholics leave the Church as the message of a secularising society finds ever greater traction, and the entertainment value of evangelical and pentecostal churches offers what they believe to be an alternative to our liturgy. When such Catholics leave the Church, there may well have been failings in their Catholic formation—in the home and in the parish. It is not easy, however, to pinpoint a general cause for the formation deficit. Indeed, the reasons may vary vastly, with some methods of formation working for some, but not for others. We must also acknowledge that many young people simply have no interest in being formed as Catholics, but go through the motions for reasons of culture or parental expectation. Some good work is being done to identify the religious character of the generation labelled the Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000). Those tasked with that age group’s formation would do well to study these insights, and shape their catechetical and evangelical pursuits accordingly, with the necessary flexibility and cultural awareness For example, our report this week on the experience of Youth Alpha in the parish of Paarl suggests that teenagers respond better to one type of catechetical programme than they do to others. This does not mean that Youth Alpha will invariably work in every parish, but it shows that parishes must have access to alternative catechetical programmes which can be introduced according to the needs of the youth, and the means to implement them. At a time when the message of religious faith and salvation competes with the constant din of other messages, the youth is becoming a critical area of the Church’s missionary activities. Catechists who have experienced uninterested teens texting on cellphones while in catechism class will know the value of an engaging catechetical programme. They will also know the difference between young Catholics who have been raised to regard themselves as members of the Church, and those whom one
might call accidental Catholics. In a world of unlimited choice, noise and distraction (and, indeed, detraction), both groups, and those who fall in between them, require on-going formation. The social media—Facebook, Twitter and so on—are a fertile mission field. For many pastors cellphones and the Internet are key in performing their pastoral work, among all age-groups, but in particular those who have been conditioned to have shorter attention spans than preceding generations. Because the social network is so immense, it is also a good way of reaching those who have left the Church. Pastoral activity on the Internet must not, however, replace human interaction. Like the traditional missionaries, who went out to far-off places to evangelise the unchurched, so must the Church go out to meet those whom it seeks to form, on their territory. The time when the Church watched people leave and, like a haughty matriarch, expected them to return of their own accord, are gone. The Church must be in the world, without being consumed by it. Parishes must offer young Catholics the means to live their faith. For some young people, it means access to active participation in the liturgy, for others the opportunity to strengthen their meditative life (for example by silent adoration or by group prayer), or being given leadership roles in the parish. Perhaps those best placed to serve as missionaries to young people—and others—are young people themselves. They can do so in particular by means of performing altruistic acts, especially social justice projects that appeal to youthful idealism, by which they can show that serving others is a meaningful way of living out Christ’s mandate to love. We are aware that many young people feel disconnected from the Church. The next step is to find ways to attract their attention, to persuade them of the Catholic faith, and to fully integrate their diverse spiritual and pastoral needs into the life of the Church. In this way, the youth is very much a mission field.
Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ e ﬁrst book to be learned well is Jesus Christ cruciﬁed; Go and proclaim the Gospel.
Who are the Stigmatines? What is their mission in the Church? If you want to know more about us write to: Vocation Promoter, P.O. Box 16239, 0116, Pretoria North. Tel.+27 12 546 4619, Cell. +27 79 962 7116
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
OME weeks ago our parish had the parish finance figures shown to us. The picture was not pretty, unless one likes downward slopes. Our parish is not a small one and seems to be well attended, certainly on Sundays and, judging by the number of elegant and expensive motor cars parked outside the grounds, has members who can well afford to donate generously to the well-being of the parish (unless of course, the cars have all been purchased on credit, the curse of modern finance).
WAS ashamed to be a South African when the government refused the Dalai Lama an entrance visa. That our misguided government can deny a man of God, a man of peace, a visa is despicable. We then abstain from a vote in the United Nations condemning human rights abuses in Syria. Principles sacrificed for silver; just like Judas. The ANC in exile received worldwide support in the fight against apartheid. It is too bad that the just struggles of others now leave them so cold. Our country is becoming godless. Signs of decadence abound. Steve Lincoln, Ekurhuleni
Seamless garment flawed
HE pamphlet Catholic Link which is sent every week by the Redemptorist Pastoral Publications (October 9) extolled the seamless garment philosophy propagated by Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago. In essence, this philosophy states that one should not campaign against any particular evil without simultaneously acting against all other evils across the social spectrum. Many Americans saw this as a thinly veiled attempt to blunt the “pro-life” movement which was not then or never will be politically correct. Thus this philosohy should at best be viewed with circumspection and certaily not be lauded unconditionally. Damien McLeish, Johannesburg n A theology itself cannot be blamed for the misinterpretations or misuse that arise from it. The theology of the seamless garment holds that issues such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, and social and economic injustice all demand a consistent application of moral principles that value the sacredness of human life. In other words, one can not pick
We listened to the sermon with the usual feeling that the Church is always asking for money. We heard how good it was with the Protestant churches whose members tithed, the implication being that we too should pay tithes as instructed by the Bible. How does one estimate one’s income to be able to fulfil the requirements of tithing? After taxes in various forms, huge Catholic school fees, enormous medical bills, high transport costs, exorbitant food bills and so on, not much is left to tithe. If we tithed on our salaries and other incomes, there would be very little, if anything to live on.
Times have changed, though not for the better. There are wars throughout the world, political violence and drug wars. There are droughts and floods. All these add up to mass hunger, pain and disease, all requiring attention and assistance. Among the major care-givers are members of the Catholic Church, the nuns, priests and even lay people. They need the support of prayers and finance. We need to assess our attitudes to Church support and how it is spent. Christianity relates more to giving than to getting. R Auret, Thornville, KZN
and choose on which issues one wants to be pro-life, because the Church teaches that all human life, from conception to natural death, is sacred. Understood that way, the seamless garment principle guards Catholics from moral relativism. There has been no Vatican condemnation on the theology, which was adopted by the US bishops. The late Cardinal Bernardin stressed that the seamless garment principle “should not be understood as implying that all issues are qualitatively equal from a moral perspective”. To suggest that the theology intends to blunt or diminish the Catholic objection to abortion is, at best, uncharitable.—Editor.
face huge financial burdens concerning paedophile cases. Cardinal O’Malley has proved himself quite well. Many wonder how the new archbishop of Philadelphia will cope. Hopefully, it will not be as he handled it in Denver, but rather like his confrère did in Boston. When Archbishop Chaput arrived in Philadelphia, he was asked why Rome sent him there. His reply was that he didn’t really know, but that he simply obeys Rome. Such blind servility could have repercussions and open Rome to bigger issues where lawyers, seeing diocesan funds running dry, will seek to sue the Vatican, which claims the last word in local Church affairs. Is Archbishop Chaput showing us where the buck stops and who is responsible ultimately? Does Rome take the onus with the bonus? Allan Moss OMI, Pietermaritzburg
A tale of two cardinals
WAS reading about Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was recently transferred from Denver to Philadelphia, and who, as archbishop of Philadelphia, will no doubt become a cardinal one day. When he was the archbishop of Denver, he personally contributed in blocking children of questionable parents from entering into a Catholic school. On the other hand, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, when he was a bishop in the West Indies, personally intervened in getting a rejected child (of a prostitute) into a Catholic school. Interestingly, both bishops are Capuchin-Franciscans, born within three months of one another in 1944, and began their religious life at the same novitiate. One wonders, for a Capuchin, which approach is more in the spirit of St Francis. Boston and Philadelphia both opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in letters to the editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
Where’s the interest? WAS disappointed by a recent
ImyRedemptorist parish mission at parish. None of the parish
priests were in attendance at any of the mission nights. If the community heard the talks, how could they go about implementing anything as their parish priests weren’t present? The talks were more informative than anything else. Post-mission, the homilies are still the same old, same old! I wonder whether the priests are in sync with the community’s needs? I look around and it’s mainly the elderly in church, and the young people that do attend seem to glaze over, which makes you wonder what message is being taken home, if any? A programme called Renew Africa is being promoted within the parish. If the mission couldn’t get the community kick-started, will this new programme? Are any other parishes experiencing the same problems? Manuella da Silvera, Boksburg
Is God calling you to the Religious Life in the Franciscan Family?
We franciscan sisters of the ImmaculateConception strengthen our relationship with God by prayer in order to serve him and his people. We work with all agegroups and where the Church needs us. If you wish to know more about us, contact: The Vocations Directress at PO Box 2912, Middelburg, 1050. Tel (013) 243 3410, 072 213 4671
The menu of my faith
FTER a hard day’s work, either at the office or at school, there is nothing better than a warm plate of food to still those nagging hunger pangs that have built up throughout the day. Snacks and nibbles just don’t seem to be satisfy me anymore; my body now needs a home-cooked, well-balanced meal, prepared at home and shared around a table. This meal I would compare to my Christian faith. It is nutritious and filling, balanced and essential. The meal is necessary for my body’s growth and its sustenance, giving me the correct nutrients required to continue with energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes it’s hard work to prepare a decent plate of food (or maybe a recipe book was consulted to confirm forgotten steps), but in the end I know that the unseen task of this balanced meal will immune me against stray germs and bacteria while strengthening and nurturing me at the same time. Ah, so my hunger has been satisfied. But there’s more: the dessert. It is an entirely optional ending (I’ve never heard of a dessert being forced down!). My all-time favourite is fullcream vanilla ice-cream, topped with melted Bar-One chocolate sauce and
sprinkled with chocolate vermicelli. This decadent dessert I see as the practices of my Catholic faith. The added treat of the vermicelli sprinkles is the added joy of Our Lady, the many saints and my guardian angels. They are there to turn to when I am in need of sweet solutions. Their exemplary
Morals need God’s presence
AST month I wrote about the “Ecclesia” pastoral programme that has been launched in the archdiocese of Cape Town to encourage formation through small faith-sharing groups. Ecclesia is also trying to equip us against the challenges of polemics. The polemicists (atheists, agnostics, and so on) want to prosecute the intellectual contradictions of our faith lives, whereas the faithful prefer to explore them. Since the era of the apostles, polemics have looked at the cross as sign of contradiction and foolishness, while the faithful, like St Paul, do so in the wisdom of our unfathomable God. No matter how many metaphoric approximations we hurl in an attempt to describe God, we only go as far as Aquinas—that is, describing God only by what God is not. Even the word “God” is not enough to describe the “incomprehensible ground of man’s transcendent existence” (as Fr Karl Rahner put it); we use it for our convenience. The idea of God being unreachable terrifies us, which is why God, in his unfailing grace, reached out to us through incarnation. Beyond that, God refuses to be made into a metaphor or to be subjected to scientific dissection to satisfy our unhealthy curiosities. But we can still investigate religion (that is the study of how we, as human beings, relate to God); in fact, even Karl Marx said this was the most serious project an intellectual could undertake. “Any sociologist will agree that religion, true or not, is useful for the solidarity and moral consensus of society,” the contemporary German Marxist Jürgen Habermas argues, echoing the sentiments of most polemics. “The problem,” her adds, “is that this utility depends on at least some people actually believing that there is the super-
natural reality that religion affirms. The utility ceases when nobody believes this anymore.” So the polemicists see religion only as a convenient weapon for social cohesion. They respect religion only for its useful public function, quite apart from its private consolations (the encounter with a living God). Everyone agrees that the “colonisation” of society by “turbo-capitalism” has created a cultural crisis that undermines the societal solidarity without which democratic rationality cannot function. Which is why it is agreed that even in the “post-secular society” only the “moral intuition” that religion supplies can hold things together (at least for now, until something more “enlightened” comes along, it seems).
ut the polemicists are irritated by the believers who claim that without God, no morality can exist. Catholics, based on the philosophic arguments of Aquinas, believe that God willed things because they were good, and not that things are good because God wills them. It would seem then that morality, for Catholic Christians anyway, is grounded in reason, not the will of God. This helps the polemic argument, which probably is why they think Catholicism, “stripped of mambo-jumbo of Mass”, is one of the highest rational religions. There is, of course, the scenario dramatically demonstrated in Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, which says that without God everything is permissible, and consequently there will be no need for morality. “If God does not exist, then anything is permitted,” Ivan Karamazov declares. It follows, by modus tollens, that if there are sanctions (such as the apple story in the book of Genesis), then God exists, but in
Barbara Hoffman Point of reflection lives, uplifting words or their silent presence, knowing they are all around me with an ever-listening ear, is a comfort I seek often. The chocolate sprinkles are generously scattered on top of warm, melted chocolate sauce which slowly slides down balls of ice-cream. The rich, flowing sauce represents the many prayers that cover me throughout the day. From the quiet of my morning offering to the sanctus at sunset, for every feeling and for every emotion, a prayer awaits to be said to and guard me through the day. It is this optional meal of sweetness that gives me that extra joy and enrichment to my already balanced meal of knowing that Christ has already fed my hunger. After enjoying this complete meal, I look hard at those around me. For those of us not afflicted with the heart-wrenching poverty that plagues our country and our continent, it has become the spiritual meal—one that is so often ignored— that aches deeper than the physical. Everyone needs to eat. Everyone deserves to be nourished. Take-outs just don’t do it for me anymore.
Mphuthumi Ntabeni Pushing Boundaries the absence of God the question of morality has no absolute meaning. It would seem to me that the real importance of God is not that God rewards the good and punishes the evil, but that God grounds the very distinction between good and evil. Without an objective moral order, good and evil are mere preferences (whether cultural or individual). In the absence of that objective order, for instance, Mother Teresa would be morally equal to Adolf Hitler. There would be no way to adjudicate who of those two is good and who is evil, because the very terms would be meaningless. That is why I believe that an objective moral order can come only from God. If God does not exist, then we have only our preferences, with nothing beyond consensus to say that my preferences are better than yours. Even our cultural preferences and position on practices—such as female circumcision, slavery, genocide, or honour killing—would depend only on perceived goodness, but without absolute grounds. For the faithful, the motivation to be good is not fear of hell, but because not to be good is a betrayal of the moral order inherent in creation (reason), hence the loving creator who put it there. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”, for example, is not just a Christian moral consensus but a divine rule according to the Bible. And the mere fact that many Christians do not perfectly honour it is not an argument against the absolute goodness of God who created it, but rather serves as an exposure of human moral weakness that is unable to live up to the perfection of the divine absolute. Without the divine imperative, therefore, morality rests on brittle ground .
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Michael Shackleton open Door
What can Eucharistic ministers do? Please clarify the rules governing the duties of the extraordinary ministers of holy Communion at Mass. Is it correct to say that, when the priest distributes communion with the help of one or more other priests or deacons, it is not permitted for extraordinary ministers to do so at the same time? I do not think our parish, and perhaps other parishes, have been given enough explanation about what these ministers may and may not do. HE ordinary minister of holy Communion is a bishop, priest or a deacon. Any other authorised minister is always considered extraordinary, that is, exceptional. This means that when there are enough priests or deacons present at Mass, it is their duty to distribute Communion. It is not the duty of other ministers, and it would be incorrect for these ministers to distribute. More especially, the Church disapproves of priests or deacons who are able to distribute Communion but who do not do so, rather letting laypersons do this instead. These norms appear in Redemptionis sacramentum, the instruction issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 2004. This clarifies that the services of extraordinary ministers of holy Communion are required only for reasons of real necessity, and must not be regarded as the norm. When there is only one priest and possibly one deacon, as happens often during well attended Sunday Masses, the Instruction allows the extraordinary ministers to assist in the distribution. Also, if the priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age from giving Communion at Mass, the services of the extraordinary ministers will be necessary. In the parish liturgy there is generally no problem because both priest and people appreciate that if only one or two are giving out Communion to large numbers of communicants, it can prolong the Mass unduly. In unforeseen circumstances, the Instruction says the priest may depute a person who is not a commissioned extraordinary minister to administer Communion for that single occasion. These are some of the things the extraordinary ministers are expected to do. What they may not do is to ask other persons who are not extraordinary ministers to take over from them and distribute Communion. The Instruction specifically will not allow an extraordinary minister permit a family member of a sick person to give Communion to that person, unless, naturally, the family member has been commissioned by the Church as an extraordinary minister.
n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.
Wednesday 2 November 2011 in Cape Town His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Henry will celebrate Holy Mass for the Souls in Purgatory at 10:00 am on Wednesday 2 November 2011 at the All Souls Chapel, Woltemade Cemetary, Maitland, Gate 1 PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ATTEND THIS MASS
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
A festival of hope and joy sTaff rePorTer
M above: a group in discussion at the hope&Joy festival in Johannesburg, and (right) the entrance procession at the Mass that concluded the event. (Photos: Dennis seelen)
ORE than 250 people assembled at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg to enjoy a Festival of Hope&Joy. The event brought together speakers from across the network of Hope&Joy organisations to deliver a range of talks about being “a Church in the modern world”. Raymond Perrier, director of the Jesuit Institute, explained: “Some talks were on traditional religious subjects such as Scripture, prayer, meditation and liturgy—how do we as a modern Church develop the traditions of the past?” He continued: “Vatican II tells us that anything that is genuinely human finds an echo in the hearts of Christians. So we also had talks on film, economics, refugees, science, literature, radio, education, politics and the environment. Given the numbers of people and speakers these not only found an echo—they found a loud cheer of response.” In Durban and Cape Town similar festivals were organised recently by their diocesan pastoral offices. The Johannesburg Hope&Joy Festival was organised by the Jesuit Institute. It was the first of its kind in Gauteng, though it drew on many lessons from the Johannesburg Catechists Creativity Day in August. “We hosted it in a school because it was constructed like a school day,” said Frances Correia of the Jesuit Institute. “Each hour we would ring an old-fashioned school bell and people then disappeared into ten different classrooms off the main quad to engage with the speaker of their choice.” One of the few complaints about the day was that people found it hard to choose from the rich range of speakers, said Mr Perrier. In his opening address, Mr Perrier invited the group to reflect on the question: Where is the Church? He pointed out that Trevor Manuel, chairman of the National Planning Commission, had posed this question to a group of bishops and lay Catholics earlier in the week. “Post-1994, it looks as if the Church is no longer on the streets or in the media, but instead is hiding away on the sanctuary or in the sacristies,” Mr Perrier said. “The idea of the festival is to be inspired by some of the ways in which we, as a Church, can and do engage with the modern world. And that means all of us here—mostly laymen and women. Vatican II renewed for us the dignity of ‘the priesthood of the people’—but we have to be worker-priests!”. In keeping with the spirit of Vatican II, the event was not exclusively Catholic, but also included speakers and participants from other Christian traditions. Anglican deacon Dr Maria Frahm-Arp of St Augustine College delivered a talk on God and money. “Pope John XXIII was keen to invite other Christian leaders to contribute to the Second Vatican Council. I am pleased that as an Anglican deacon I was invited to speak at the Hope&Joy Festival,” she said. Other examples of talks included: • Fr Chris Townsend, information officer of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, shared his experiences of World Youth Day—which was held in August in Madrid, Spain—and showed how working with young people was challenging the Church to embrace modern communications. • Sr Rose Pacatte, a media expert from the Pauline Sisters in Los Angeles, showed how we can find our deepest religious values in the most apparently secular of films.
• Fr Peter-John Pearson described the work of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, of which he is the director, and how it looks for constructive ways of bringing God into politics. • Dr Merrill van der Walt of the Origins Centre at Wits University in Johannesburg explained how it is possible to believe in both creation and evolution, and that this is mainstream Catholic theology. • Mark Potterton of the Catholic Institute of Education talked about the state of South African schools, and suggested that Catholic schools as “public schools on private property” might provide a model for the wider education sector. • Thelma Ngwenya, who works in the medical industry but is a volunteer with the Jesuit Institute, gave her group a taste of Tsoseletsa, the Ignatian spirituality programme delivered in township parishes. • Aline Johnson of the environmental group Blue Blue Earth invited her group literally to step into the notion of environmental responsibility by using Sacred Heart’s peace garden as a base. • Fr David Holdcroft of the Jesuit Refugee Service explained how Catholic social organisations (such as the JRS) are “children of Vatican II”. On hand throughout the day was Radio Veritas which made an energetic multi-media presentation on the importance of Catholic media, recorded many of the sessions for broadcast, and also auditioned people to become radio presenters. “When we take up our medium wave licence in the next few months, we will be producing many more programmes; so we need to find new and exciting Catholic voices,” said programming manager Olinda Orlando. Other network members hosting stalls or giving talks included the Catholic Bible College, Society of St Vincent de Paul, Knights of da Gama, St Anne’s Sodality, Marriage and Family Life Renewal Ministry (better known as Marfam), Catholic Schools Office, Catholic Health Care Association of South Africa and Good Shepherd Sisters. The day ended with a rousing Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, who chairs the department for evangelisation. The music at the Mass was led by the youth choir from St Martin de Porres parish in Orlando West. Archbishop Slattery shared a story from his recent visit to Assisi. “Many people believed that St Francis was still alive but waiting to wake up and renew the Church. It feels as if Vatican II was a chance for the Church to wake up after hundreds of years of slumber and be renewed,” the Franciscan archbishop said. “At the end of the festival, participants were asked to indicate by a show of hands whether they would return for a similar festival next year,” Mr Perrier said. “Every hand went up.” n For more information about Hope&Joy go to www.hopeandjoy.org.za, or e-mail info@ hopeandjoy.org.za or call 011 482 4614.
St Patrick’s Missionary Society Be a Priest An ambassador of Christ for God’s People Contact fr Terry Nash on 011 918 5243 or 072 668 2705 st Patrick’s Missionary society P o Box 139488 Northmead 1511
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
A new vision: Everybody a missionary H
Anthony Egan SJ
OW many of us remember those Catholic missionary magazines of days gone by, with their stirring stories of fearless a Church of Fathers and self-sacrificing Sisters hope and Joy bringing the faith and western civilisation to the unsaved “natives” of Africa, Asia, the Pacif- colonial elite. And Vatican II was about to change the way we all ic and Latin America? thought and did mission. Pictures always abounded: a They say that sometimes things burly, often bearded Father in his must change to stay the same. white cassock somewhere on the Vatican II certainly did not abolish savannah, possibly smoking a pipe mission—if anything the Council (to keep away mosquitoes!) build- expanded and adapted it to new ing yet another church; Sister in circumstances and broadened the full, usually white, definition of who was habit (but no antia missionary to all malarial pipe in Catholics. Ad Gentes Vatican II drew sight) dosing out (1965), the decree on medicine to a sick mission activity, in a much woman in a mission affirmed that mission hospital. needed more wider group of was The names and than ever. places changed, but However, what the people as the theme was the Council did was to same: conversion to link mission to a partners in Christianity and much bigger picture civilisation is neverand draw in a much ending and essential, evangelisation. wider group of people so please good as partners in evangelaypeople back home: lisation. As a serving donate money to your favourite church at the service of the whole missionary! of humanity, this historic dimenBy the 1960s this was all chang- sion of mission was re-emphasised. ing. Fewer places had never With a more open attitude to encountered the Gospel. Colonial- other Christians, to other religions ism was dying. The unfortunate, and all people of good will, the perhaps inevitable, cooperation Church encouraged cooperation between the Church and colonial between herself and these “others” powers was generating anti- in the service of human need. Church hostility from the new After all, did we not affirm that (usually mission-educated) post- God’s grace and the risen presence
of Christ touched all? Missionaries themselves were charged with shifting their own style of direct evangelisation. Central to this was the need to inculturate the Gospel. Where once conversion to Christianity was de facto identical to conversion to Western culture, Vatican II insisted that Christ should be proclaimed within all cultures. Adaptation, within reasonable limits and without watering down the essentials, was to become the norm. Liturgy in the vernacular and acceptably diversified forms of worship (including music, instruments and dance) expressed this most clearly.
nother theme that the Council stressed was respectful dialogue between Catholicism and other religions (even Protestantism!). Part of the mission of the Church was to promote areas of common ground between faith communities in areas such as human and social development, as well as the promotion of justice— a shift from colonialism to integral liberation. And, on yet another level, the Council emphasised that mission was a task for all Catholics, not just missionary clergy and religious. Lay people were also by nature missionaries, because by baptism they shared in the common priesthood of all believers. Some of them would take up the role directly, as lay missioners in foreign countries. Many of these laity would have better skills—in education, medical care or devel-
Missionary nuns toil in the fields of the lord in this photo that appeared in the missionary publication Maryknoll Magazine. Where missionary activity once was limited to priests and religious, Vatican II entrusted it to all the faithful. (Photo courtesy of Maryknoll) opment work—than the Fathers, Brothers and Sisters who had courageously paved the way. In the past the laity’s role, as they paged enthralled through the missionary magazines, was to pray for the missions, contribute to them if they could, and perhaps consider, if they were still single, a missionary vocation. Now they too had their own mission, even if they could not go off to far-off places: bearing wit-
ness to Christ as laypeople in their own societies (often secular and increasingly in need of what John Paul II would call the “new evangelisation”) in the public realm (politics and business) and through their witness to Christian values in their private lives. A challenge: If you were editor of a missionary magazine today, what stories would you feature and what pictures would you show?
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
The challenges of being a priest Priests are always subject to judgment by parishioners, and sometimes they just can’t win. saMuel fraNCIs IMC, a theology student at St Joseph's Theological Institute in Cedara, explains.
N his homily in the Mass that concluded the Year for Priests last year, Pope Benedict pointed out that the priest is not a mere office-holder like those which every society needs to carry out certain functions. The priest, the pope said, does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way changes our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation—words which make Christ himself present, words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite the world to God. The priesthood, then, is not simply an “office”, even if some of the cleric’s tasks are managerial; the priesthood is firstly a sacrament. St John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of priests into whose care Pope Benedict entrusted the Year for Priests, once noted that without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail; that it is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth. The priest said holds the key to the treasures of heaven; that it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the
administrator of the Lord’s goods. The priest therefore, is not a priest for himself; he is a priest for you. So, what exactly do you know about your priest? Apart from seeing him dressed in the liturgical vestments, performing liturgical rituals, what do you know about his attributes and his limitations? The priest is a human person with flesh and blood; he is not a log of wood, he has feelings. He can become angry and hungry; he can weep and bleed. He can become exhausted; he snores and dreams. He can sweat. He has tastes and preferences; he has likes and dislikes. He can be impatient and anxious too. The priest can also rejoice and be glad, he can have fun. He can love, and would like to be loved in return. His humanity notwithstanding, the priest has been called from among people so as to lead people back to God.
cripture says that God chooses the weak in order to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:27). Pope Benedict has added that God makes use of the poor men in order to be, through them, present to all men and women. The pope said that this audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings—who conscious of their weakness, and yet considers them capable of acting and being present in his stead—is the true grandeur concealed in the word priesthood. Society has placed the priest very high on the social ladder and consequently his humanity is often almost forgotten. A priest is expected to act like an angel and behave like a saint, even though angels and saints are spiritual beings who do not physically reside with us in this corporeal world. Moreover, even today’s saints were yesterday’s sinners, as we all are; they were human beings who struggled to be holy while sometimes making mistakes.
Priests don’t only offer the bread and wine; their work holds huge responsibilty in the Church and is often judged by parishioners. Society expects the priest to be everything to every person. He should have all the answers to every question and all the solutions to every problem. Every
Capuchin Franciscans “You too following in his footprints, especially those of poverty and humility, can without doubt, always carry him spiritually in your hearts.” – St Clare
Wouldn’t you like to follow in Our Lord’s footsteps? St Francis did!
• Cape Town: Fr Albert 021 696 6713 email@example.com • Port Elizabeth: Br Matthew 041 368 3033 firstname.lastname@example.org • Pretoria: Br Kees 012 345 5290 email@example.com (If they are not in on calling, kindly leave a message with your phone number)
priest is called to be exemplary and to live according to the gospel values of which he is the custodian. Unfortunately, however much a
priest tries his best, he is sometimes led into temptation by the very people to whom he ministers. They test his patience, test his intelligence and tempt his faithfulness to the evangelical counsels. It is absurd that when a priest does something good, very few people notice it, but when he is involved in some sort of scandal (real or imagined), the whole world talks about it. The lives of these dedicated men are full of challenges. Many demands are placed on them and much is expected of them. However, no matter how hard a priest tries to do his best, somebody will find a fault. If a priest preaches for more than ten minutes, he is long-winded, but if his homily is short, he did not prepare. If he visits parishioners, he is nosy, but if he doesn’t, he is an uncaring snob. If he takes time in the reconciliation room to counsel sinners, he takes too long, but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t care. If he celebrates Mass in a quiet voice, he is boring, but if he puts emphasis on his words, he is an actor who likes to show off. If he starts Mass on time, his watch is fast, but if he starts late, he is holding up the people. If the parish funds are kept secret, he is not transparent, but if he mentions money, he is money-minded. If he is young, he is inexperienced, but if he is old, he should retire. Either way, somebody will always find a fault. And when he dies, there might be no one to replace him! Priests need you and me to be better ministers. They need to be valued, loved and welcomed, appreciated and encouraged. Let us appreciate the priests we have, support those in formation and encourage our youth to start seeing religious life as an option. As the scripture says: “The harvest is rich, but the labourers are few” (Mt 9:37).
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Extract from the message of POPE BENEDICT XVI for World Mission Sunday 2011 “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21)
1. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others On the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, at the beginning of a new millennium of the Christian era Blessed John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed the need to renew the commitment to bear the proclamation of the Gospel to everyone, sharing “the enthusiasm of the very first Christians” (Novo Millenio Ineunte, n.58). Continuous proclamation of the Gospel …invigorates the Church, her fervour and her apostolic spirit. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others! It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support” (Redemptoris Missio, n.2.).
2. Go and proclaim This objective is continually revived by the celebration of the Liturgy, especially of the Eucharist which always concludes by re-echoing the mandate the Risen Jesus gave to the Apostle: “Go…”(Mt 28:19). …All those who have encountered the Risen Lord have felt the need to proclaim the news of it to others, as did the two disciples of Emmaus. After recognising the Lord in the breaking of the bread, “they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the Eleven gathered together” and reported what had happened to them on the road (Lk 24:33-34). Pope John Paul II urged the faithful to be “watchful, ready to recognise his face and run to our brothers and sisters with the Good News: “We have seen the Lord!” (Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, n.59).
3. To all The proclamation of the Gospel is intended for all peoples. The Church is “by her very nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Ad Gentes, n.2). This is “the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelise” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n.14). Consequently she can never be closed in on herself. She is rooted in specific places in order to go beyond them. Her action, in adherence to Christ’s word and under the influence of his grace and his charity, is fully and currently present to all people and all peoples, to lead them to faith in Christ (cf. Ad Gentes, n.5). This task has lost none of its urgency... We cannot reconcile ourselves to the thought that after 2, 000 years there are still people who do 5. Building Communion not know Christ and have never heard his Therefore through co-responsible participaMessage of salvation. And this is not all. A cul- tion in the Church’s mission, the Christian tural change nourished by globalisation, by becomes a builder of communion, of peace currents of thought and by the prevalent rela- and of the solidarity that Christ has given us, tivism, is taking place. This change is leading to and he or she collaborates in fulfilling God’s a mindset and lifestyle that ignore the Gospel plan of salvation for all humanity. Message, as though God did not exist, and exalt May World Mission Day reawaken in each the quest for well-being, easy earnings, a career person the joy and desire to “go” out to meet and success as life’s purpose, even to the detri- humanity taking Christ to all. ment of moral values.
4. Together in Faith The universal mission involves everyone, everything and always. The Gospel is not an exclusive possession of those who have received it, but it is a gift to be shared, good news to be passed on to others. Mission Day is not an isolated moment in the year, but a precious occasion for pausing to reflect on whether and how we respond to the missionary vocation: an essential response for the life of the Church. Evangelisation is a complex process and includes various elements. Among these, in missionary animation particular attention has always been given to solidarity. This is also one of the objectives of World Mission Day, which, through the Pontifical Mission Societies, appeals for help to carry out evangelising activities in mission territories. It involves supporting institutions necessary for establishing and consolidating the Church through catechists, seminaries, priests; and also giving one’s own contribution to improve the living conditions of people in nations where poverty, malnutrition, above all infantile malnutrition, diseases, lack of health care service and education are most serious.
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
VENERABLE PAULINE MARIE JARICOT (1799-1862) FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH
Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot (1799-1862)
You could say Pauline Jaricot had it made. Everything was going for her. She was the youngest of seven children in a loving family. Her father was an industrialist in the silk manufacturing city of Lyons, France, and the family lived in luxury. Pauline was pretty with dark hair and bright eyes, a stylishly dressed and popular belle of young Lyons society. She once danced the soles off her slippers at one wedding reception. Pauline also was the envy of the other girls who even copied her hairstyles. She was also good at designing accessories for her dresses. They copied these too. Pauline Jaricot was a very good girl. In spite of a hasty temper, a quick tongue and a lot of vanity. Then, in October 1814, at age 15, Pauline had a fall that left her partially paralysed and in terrible pain. Not long after this, her mother died. It took Pauline many months to recover emotionally and physically. When she did recover, she resumed her social whirl, though with somewhat less delight than before. Her heart, she wrote at this time, was “made for the whole world”. However, one Sunday in Lent of 1816, a moving sermon preached by Abbe Wurtz, SJ on vanity touched and troubled Pauline to the core of her being. She sought the Abbe as her spiritual director. She began to dress in plain, simple clothing and to give her time and her love to the sick-poor of her city, often at the Hospital for Incurables. Pauline Jaricot was born in the wake of the destruction of the French Revolution, with turbulence continuing between Church and State. This was the era in which she formed her great wish to help missionaries. She was spurred on in this desire by her older brother, Phileas, who was preparing to be a priest.
In 1817, while she was praying, Pauline had a vision of two lamps. One had no oil; the other was overflowing and from its abudance poured oil into the empty lamp. To Pauline, the drained lamp signified the faith in France.
The overflowing lamp represented the faith of new Christians in the Missions. Their faith could revitalise the faith in her homeland! Pauline knew then that she must work for missionaries. One evening in 1819, a plan came to her as her family played cards and Pauline herself sat by the fire praying. “Circles of ten” describes her plan: people would commit themselves to sacrifice a “sou” a very small coin worth about a penny, every week. Each of these friends would find ten others who would do the same, and on and on. Pauline recorded that “...it astonished me that no one had thought of such a simple scheme before. Then I wrote to my brother to tell him of the schemes.” Her first recruits were girls working in a silk mill, young women for whom even a sou would be a sacrifice. By 1820, 1 000 people were involved. Their pooled offerings were sent through the Paris Foreign Mission Society for its work in China. Pauline hoped to expand the distribution of these funds to other missions as well. The progress of her idea, however, was not to be smooth. Opposition to her successful plan arose and Pauline found herself attacked by some as being overly ambitious. On May 3, 1822, in Lyons, a group of men called “Les Messieurs” gathered to discuss a request for funds for the missions in Louisiana in the United States. A representative of Louisiana’s Bishop Doubourg, Father Angelo Inglesi, hoped at this meeting to have an organisation set up similar to Pauline’s “Propagation” which was doing so well. The organisation he had in mind would be formed to help the missions in Louisiana which, at that time, extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. But “No!” responded Benoit Coste who was one of “Les Messieurs.” He made the point that no one single mission should be sole beneficiary of funds that were gathered. Any society “Les Messieurs” would sponsor must help all missions everywhere. (This was just what Pauline had been hoping to do herself.)
Today, the Propagation of the Faith…the “fire” lit by Pauline Jaricot… is, under the direction of the Holy Father, the Church’s central means to foster in all Catholics a deeper sense of universal mission and to gather the support necessary for what the Second Vatican Council called “the greatest and holiest duty of the Church,” the proclamation of the Gospel to all the world (Ad gentes 29). On the 9th January 2012 the Society of the Propagation of the Faith will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of Pauline Jaricot.
The Prayer to obtain the Miracle by her intercession LORD You inspired Pauline Marie Jaricot with the foundation of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the organisation of the Living Rosary and the true dedication to the redemption of the working world. Grant that through her intercession we may obtain the healing of…. which we beseech in accordance with Your Will. Hasten, Lord, the day when the Church may celebrate the saintliness of her life. May Christians everywhere be inspired by her example to dedicate themselves to spreading the Good News of the Gospel, so that all men and women throughout the world may come to know your boundless Love, manifested in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. AMEN.
Another of “Les Messieurs,” Victor Girodon, spoke glowingly about the structure of Pauline Jaricot’s “Propagation” and the group voted to adopt it. After a short period of time, Pauline consented to uniting the collections of her group to that of the (With Ecclesiastical Approval, new group, reflecting that it was “a gain for 28 December 2002) Asia and for other parts of the world….” Pauline was, as she said modestly, “the Please contact the address below indicating match that lights the fire.” any Graces received through the In time, and in accord with the Propagation intercession of Venerable Pauline Marie of the Faith goal to help all missions, the Jaricot: extraordinary cures, conversions or range of distribution expanded to include Africa, the middle East, the Pacific Islands exceptional favours.
and Australia in addition to the mission areas of China and the United States (Louisiana and Kentucky) which were the beneficiaries of the first distribution by the newly-formed Propagation of the Faith in 1822.
SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH 12, Rue Sala -69287 LYON Cedex 02- FRANCE
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
WORKING TOGETHER Your offer of support for the UNIVERSAL SOLIDARITY FUND OF CHARITY Even though the present economic climate is harsh, Please help the Pontifical Mission Societies to assist our less fortunate brothers and sisters in their medical, educational, human and evangelisation needs. Donations can be sent to:Rev. Msgr. Gregory van Dyk, National Director, Pontifical Mission Societies, P.O. Box 2630 Bethlehem, 9700. Name of Bank Account: Pontifical Mission Societies, Account Number: 404-860-5313 ABSA BANK Bethlehem Branch SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH (SPF) COLLECTIONS & SUBSIDIES FOR THE YEAR 2010-2011
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
WORLD MISSION ROSARY
A GREAT CHAIN OF PRAYER ACROSS THE CONTINENTS
Let’s pray for the Missions to Our Lady by offering a decade for each of the 5 continents of the World. AFRICA Where the Church is still young and vocations are many, but where there are great sufferings, mostly from Aids, hunger, racialism and also persecution.
Each decade of the World Mission Rosary calls to mind an area where the Church continues her evangelisation Mission: RED for the fire of faith that brought missionaries to the AMERICAS. GREEN for the forests of AFRICA. WHITE for EUROPE, the home of the Pope YELLOW the morning light of the East for ASIA BLUE for the ocean surrounding the Islands of the Pacific (OCEANIA).
AMERICA Continent with a major contrast between the northern and southern countries. In Latin America the Church is alive but there is a lot of suffering from lack of social justice and major differences in the nations. EUROPE Countries with Christian traditions, that have a history of Christian life and who gave the Church many great Saints but lack the practice of faith. So the Pope speaks about the need of a new evangelization. Many countries, where in past years missionaries were sent to, now need to be reevangelised. OCEANIA In Australia and New Zealand the church faces similar problems like in the western secular world. The hundreds of islands in the Ocean create problems because of long distances between them and the so many cultures and different languages. From a population of 25 million, only 8 million are Catholics.
In reflecting on his work for the Propagation of the faith, archbishop sheen used to say it allowed him to “push back the classroom walls”, where he spent his early years in the priesthood, and “embrace the world”. In his memory, will you embrace the world of the Missions? your support will help mission priests, religious and lay catechists as they offer the good news of new life lived in Jesus Christ.
THE LIVING ROSARY ASSOCIATION was founded by Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot at Lyon, France in 1826, at the age of 27. The Association was approved by Pope Gregory XVI, and accorded official canonical status on 27-01-1832. After the death of Pauline Jaricot in 1862, the Association slowly faded away. It was revived on December 8, 1986 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) by Richard and Patti Melvin, a couple from Texas (USA). The Association Venerable Pauline has St. Philomena for its patroness and proMarie Jaricot tector. The Association has 11 million members worldwide. For more information go to: www.hail-mary-rosaries.com/Living-Rosary. The Living Rosary consists in dividing the traditional 15 Rosary Mysteries among a circle of 15 ‘associates’, each of whom pledges to pray one decade for a specific Mystery, everyday for life. In this way, each circle of 15 associates would pray an entire Rosary everyday, forming a ‘Living Rosary’!
ASIA Where the population is enormous and is ever growing but where the Catholics are a small flock, sometimes consisting only of 3 or 4 per cent. So an effort is being made so that nations of different religions meet between them; in practice Catholics in many countries are very badly treated. China is one of the countries with difficult problems. The Pope desires us to give special attention to this continent.
THE WORLD MISSION ROSARY was begun by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1951 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. He was the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in North America from 1950 to 1966. Archbishop Sheen once said: ‘Peace will come only when the hearts of the world have changed. To do this we must pray, and not for ourselves, but for the world… Archbishop Fulton To this end, I have designed the World Mission Rosary. Each decade is of a different J Sheen colour to represent one of the five continents. Praying using these special Rosary beads would help the Pope and his Society for the spreading of Faith by giving him practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor missionary countries of the World”. When the Rosary is completed, one has circumnavigated the globe and embraced all continents, all people in prayer.
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Is religious life still relevant today? Some people are questioning whether service in religious orders or congregations is still relevant. NyaMaDZaWo sIBaNDa CMM argues that it is not only important today, but necessary.
OOKING around and experiencing the good work the Church is doing through different religious congregations and orders, it seems superfluous to ask whether religious life is still relevant. And as a member of the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill and as a product of a school run by the Christian Brothers, I clearly do believe that religious life remains relevant. Different religious orders are tirelessly working in schools, hospitals, various charity and social institutions, and some are fully involved in the secular corporate world. Their commitment is there for anyone, Catholic or not, to see. Many people still prefer religiousrun schools, colleges and hospitals. And yet, people are still questioning the relevance of religious communities today. One of the reasons may be attributed to the accomplishments of the Second Vatican Council which empowered the laity to participate in Church activities which previously had been the preserve of religious men and women. Now lay people could run Catholic orphanages, schools, and hospitals, give catechetical instructions and so on. Leaving aside cloistered and contemplative religious, who offer something that is unique and inaccessible to the laity, the question of whether religious orders are still needed naturally arise? Another reason might be that some religious congregations and orders, besieged with contempo-
founder, st eugene de Mazenod
rary challenges, are now focusing more on reaching out to the People of God in a Christo-centric manner. As Vatican II’s council fathers put it, “it is not clear [anymore] that the Spirit who continues to evoke new spiritual movements in the people of God is also constantly urging those religious who already have dedicated their lives to a certain type of service in the Church” (from the Introduction of Perfectae Caritatis, the council’s “Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life”). Vatican II was geared to propose a renewal of the various organs of the Church, and helping them adapt to the modernising environment in which the Church found itself. The other task of the council fathers was to help define certain organs which where by then clouded in disorientation and lack of identity. That is what the Perfectae Caritatis, as one of the conciliar documents, was aimed at doing in the lives of different religious institutions. Starting with, or even preceding, Western monasticism, “men and women have set about following Christ with greater freedom and imitating him more closely through the practice of the evangelical counsels [vows], each in his own way leading a life dedicated to God”, Perfectae Caritatis notes. The Church has always valued this kind of commitment and treated it as part of the economy of the Church and its vehicle of redemption. The Church aims at all times to renew, under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, all those who freely choose to respond to this special vocation, towards the “perfection of charity” as part of the Church’s conviction that this kind of life is still relevant and has a necessary role to play in the circumstance of the present age, for the greater good of the people of God.
owever, for different religious orders and congregations to remain relevant and be that muchneeded part of the Church, there is need for constant renewal and
“Come and learn who you are in the eyes of God.”
Oblates choose to live in community, sharing their life in faith and prayer, working in solidarity with those who are poor, excluded or searching for meaning. Like Eugene, every Oblate desires to lead people to recognise their human dignity and come to know the life that is offered in Jesus Christ, life to the full, free of injustice, alienation, and lack of opportunity.
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Northern Province of South Africa PO Box 44029 Linden 2104 GAUTENG
Br Patrick letswalo made his final profession of vows as a De la salle Brother at st Charles in Victory Park, Johannesburg. he is seen here with family and friends. In his article Nyamadzawo sibanda CMM argues that the religious life remains necessary even today. (Photo: Br George Whyte) adaptation. They cannot afford to recede deep into the confines of their traditional practices which have lost their impact in the Church and world of today. Adaptation and renewal, however, do not only entail the adjustment of our religious dress, or modernising the architecture of our convents and monasteries. It requires the constant maintenance of our proximity to the Gospel values and the constant striving of faithfully living the evangelical
counsels and the constant reflections on the spirit of the founders, which gives each institution its particular identity and charism in the Church’s salvific activities. That constant inner renewal provides the road map of operation and precludes unintended consequences of irrelevancy and fruitless novelties. Let all we do “spring from the interior encounter with the love of Christ” and help posit religious profession as a true and “fuller expression of baptismal consecra-
tion”, as Pope John Paul II put it in his encyclical Redemptionis Donum (1984). This kind of renewal will water the contours of religiosity in our societies, even in our present day which is afflicted by relativism and scientism. Through active works and prayer life, the religious are devoted primarily to the welfare of the whole Church, which as a body has many parts that ought to be sound. It is a challenge that religious orders, who may be tempted to hibernate in the present hostile socio-political climate, be renewed and continue (or resume) to offer that special message which the Church needs to offer to the world of today. When orders and congregations run institutions, they must do so in a Christo-centric way; when they offer a public service, they must give priority to the Gospel values and thereby renew the face of the earth. Religious communities must promote among their members awareness of the contemporary human condition and of the needs of the Church, and not act as though they exist on their own accord and for their own good. Of course religious life remains relevant. Indeed, the Church and our world need even more religious to attest to the presence and love of Christ and to the Gospel values through their deeds and their witness. n Nyamadzawo Sibanda CMM is studying at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, KwaZuluNatal.
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Meet the locals with an open mind A missionary must encounter the indigenous culture which he serves with an open mind, argues Marist Brother sIMeoN BaNDa, a missionary himself.
NE challenge a missionary faces is cultural domination. If I go to a new land with a conquest mentality, I operate with a cultural superiority, and a homogeneous, ethnocentric view of culture. But with this understanding I make Christianity alien to the indigenous people whom I seek to bring Christ to. Uniformity never believes in diversity. To preserve uniformity one works to destroy the indigenous culture, or just ignore it as a reality. Uniformity never believes
in cultural distinctions. When the Italian Jesuit missionary Fr Matteo Ricci went to China, he adopted the dress and lifestyle of the Buddhist monks, thereby making the Buddhists less hostile to the Christian faith. Fr Ricci changed when he discovered that Buddhism was not the dominant religion in China, and adopted the identity of a Confucian scholar and Mandarin in order to win over the intellectual masters of a society dominated by Confucian ideas. He called himself “Ma Dou”, a Chinese version of Fr Ricci’s name. With this he succeeded to penetrate the imperial city at Peking. The Chinese appreciated European astronomy, mathematics and physical sciences, and with that, Matteo started a dialogue with the Chinese religious culture. This gave way to a Christian reinterpretation of Chinese culture. It is known that by the time of Fr Ricci’s death in 1610, some
3 000 Chinese had been baptised. Chinese rites were accepted as compatible with Christian faith and morals. The Chinese traditional title “Lord of Heaven” was equated with the Christian God. Things were going well in the Chinese mission field, but in 1704 came a decree condemning the Chinese rites, issued by Pope Clement IX. The decree was finalised by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742. Fr Ricci’s experiment had come to an end, and Christianity did not grow in China. The late Pope John Paul II said that “a faith that does not become culture is not fully accepted, not entirely thought out and not faithfully lived”. This insight gives us, the indigenous people of Africa, an impetus to research our cultures and determine those aspects that do not betray our Christian faith and morality. Here we talk about
compatibility. For example, when we refer to the Church as a Family in Africa, it echoes well with our worldview. In the family there traditionally is warmth in relationships, solidarity, care for others, trust, dialogue, respect for life until its natural end, keeping the elders with us, and respect for authority and elders. Now the issue we Africans have to overcome is ethnocentrism, a plague which has accelerated many genocides. We may be Christians together today, but when war breaks out, you might become a mortal enemy. Derogatory tribal insults are very much alive among our people. Once, when I was shopping in South Africa, I was called a Makwerekwere. This means that if l go as missionary to another place in Africa—as I, a Malawian working in Mozambique, have done—I risk being considered an alien if I can-
not speak the language of the people, and my evangelising mission will be in jeopardy. Today respect for new cultures must become the norm. The message of Christ encourages universal brotherhood. The language a missionary needs to use now is the love of God and love for the people he is sent to evangelise. When a missionary puts into practice the love of Christ, he will succeed in his evangelising task. To be more effective, the missionary has to live what he preaches. A missionary who becomes a dictator will chase new converts away. We need to believe that conversion is a process. A missionary who imposes his culture on the indigenous people is doomed to fail. Faith is accepted when those who receive it are able to use it in their daily life. n Br Simeon Banda FMS serves as a missionary in Matola, Mozambique.
Let children be missionaries too The Second Vatican Council called all the faithful to be missionaries in the vineyard of the Lord. fr ralPh De hahN explains how children must be included in the evangelisation apostolate.
We are a Religious Missionary Family: Sisters, Brothers, Priests and Lay people, from different countries, living in international and intercultural communities located in Africa, America, Europe and Asia. Our specific characteristic, or charism, is “To give to the world the Good News as God’s consolation, Jesus”, as Mary did. Mary Consolata is our “Founder”, our Patroness our Model, and our Mother. God might be calling you to share this beautiful task.
If so, do not say “No!” For more information contact: Tel/Fax: 012 332 4326 Vocation coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org Consolata Missionaries www.consolata.org P.O.Box 31072 http://consolatasa.blogspot.com/ 0134 Totiusdal
T takes so little to please and even fascinate the average child. A child that feels loved and needed is flexible to almost any appeal. We need missionaries, but not only ordained ministers and consecrated people who are acknowledged for their heroic lives in foreign lands. There is also a need to motivate children to help other children. Imagine a million children saving another million children! We seem to have lost the true meaning of church and why it was established by Christ. We need to evangelise and proclaim the Kingdom. Why should the children in our schools and parishes not be involved in that? Perhaps we need to restore in our Catholic schools that deep love for the poor, for the far-off missions and for the millions of diseased and illiterate children who need to hear and learn that there is a better world out there—and that we care. Words and occasional prayers are far from enough. Surely we can inspire our healthy Catholic children to send their love in a truly tangible, loving manner, and so make known to others that they are true missionaries. No doubt there are already some schools involved in this beautiful apostolate. In the not too distant past most Catholic schools operated the “mission-ladder”, with each pupil adopting a suffering child, and by regular acts of generous sharing, these little images moved up the ladder to
learners from st Joseph’s Marist College in Cape Town, handing out food parcels to the needy. In this article fr ralph de hahn explains how children can become missionaries. (Photo: Claire Mathieson) heaven, so to speak. It meant a lot to the child: she saved a child for God. She was a real missionary. Today such a crusade for our children should prove even more effective because of the power of the media and impact of images that are now more widely accessible. There is so much to motivate and inspire our children to become mission-conscious, compassionate and enthusiastic in seeking the spiritual and temporal welfare of the less fortunate on our own continent, or even in those poor missions closer to home. A number of popes have spoken strongly about the Church’s missionary commitment. Pope Pius XI, who raised this work to pontifical status, spoke of “the Catholic children’s ineffable apostolate of exquisite and appealing love”.
As always, so much depends on the zealous teacher and those entrusted with the delicate care of children. It would be necessary for these instructors to avoid having the children bombarded with too many charities, however praiseworthy. The emphasis must be on becoming a missionary. Pope Benedict XV appealed to parents, teachers and religious to help and support this children’s crusade, saying that “it is the most efficacious means of keeping them in the path of virtue”. Of course, daily prayer is essential. The prayer should be compiled by the teacher with the children—it is their prayer and their mission. I have little doubt that most children will find great joy and achievement in aiding other children. n Fr Ralph de Hahn is a priest of the archdiocese of Cape Town.
Theme for October 23: Hallelujah
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
a group of men share their feelings in a healing circle in McGregor, Western Cape. Men’s fraternity is an organisation that aims to offer support and development to men.
Helping mend men Men’s Fraternity, an organisation formed to address the issues facing men today, aims to create a safe place for men to share and explore emotional and personal development. ClaIre MaThIesoN speaks to SA founder Kevin Johansson about the group’s important mission.
HEN it comes to psychological and emotional needs, men are neglected, says one Catholic man who wants to equip South African men to find their true identities and to have a clear definition of “what a man is” in today’s society. Kevin Johansson of Men’s Fraternity in South Africa said the organisation was formed to address the issues in the lives of men today—and in doing so reduce the oppression of women and gender violence. “In our world today, men are often isolated and dysfunctional, facing many new and confusing challenges regarding their role in their families and in society, and the often ambiguous expectations placed on them,” Mr Johansson said. When men don’t have a safe environment in which to deal with their issues, negative repercussions including violence could follow, he pointed out. “Essentially, there is a need for men to find a safe environment in which to address these challenges and to explore, validate and reconnect with their feelings.” Mr Johansson said the need to care for men is reiterated by academics like Dr Gary Barker, an American psychologist who said that many men who have made women’s lives hell have had hellish lives themselves. The mission of Men’s Fraternity is to provide men with a safe confidential environment “in which to explore their manhood and to provide training in interpersonal and relational skills that will equip them to live more effectively within their homes, their place of work, and in society as a whole,” Mr Johansson said. “Men today need to get their voices back, take their rightful place alongside women, and become relevant in their children’s lives,” Mr Johansson said. Increasingly, the fraternity has found that men need to find a safe environment in which feelings can be dealt with—an opportunity that is not readily available to men. espite being first established in the United States, the mantra of the fraternity is relevant in South Africa. “We want to help men discover the kind of man they’ve always wanted to be,” says its website (www.mensfraternity.com). Mr Johansson said many of South Africa’s problems could be solved if we started working with the men involved in the issues long before these start. Mr Johansson said he had in his own life suffered from emotional turmoil which required psychological help—an expensive and long-term route, he added. “There was very little that was being addressed in men’s circles or even in our churches. I also realised that I was not the only one suffering, most of my male friends also were struggling with their relationships and most marriages merely existed, with very little real emotional intimacy.” Mr Johansson said a solution was needed that would suit the every man—both financially and in accessibility. He believes Men’s Fraternity is such a solution.
Mr Johansson noted that over the past few years an emphasis had been put on developing resources to empower women and children, which he said is an “essential target market”. However, very few resources and little time is devoted to the men in the family. “The missing father is always a hot topic of discussion at workshops and forums, yet we see very little being addressed in this vital area.” Mr Johansson said that working with abused women and children is very important, but it is also necessary to preempt these situations by helping men before they become potentially abusive. He suggested that organisations such as Men’s Fraternity could help solve the problem. “We believe that this neglect of men’s issues has a detrimental effect on the issues with which women and children contend. By attending to the issues of masculinity and men’s relationships with their children, partners and selves through various programmes, we hope to address some of the causes of our society’s problems.” he Church, Mr Johansson said, tends to help men with their spiritual needs, but not the emotional side. Organisations like Men’s Fraternity are doing the work in the community that the Church is often unable to do. Men’s Fraternity networks with other organisations and individuals who work in the field of men’s development and spirituality which includes work at correctional facilities. Through workshops, seminars and small group participation, Mr Johansson said, the organisation highlights the importance of practical help which will guide men through the process of making “responsible choices”. Mr Johansson said the organisation currently prioritises support groups called “healing circles”. These groups offer emotional and personal development through first-line therapy. “We want to see healing circles set up across communities in the country,” Mr Johansson said, adding that Men’s Fraternity was currently looking to train more peer facilitators to take healing circles into local communities and parishes. These facilitators are supported by a network of male psychologists and counsellors. “We help answer the questions: What is a man? And how does a man become a good role model in his home and at work?” Mr Johansson said. These answers are as relevant to male correctional officers as to men in the business world, he said. However, for men who work in tense situations—such as those correctional officers face—special support and training to help them cope with their fears, anxieties and their emotions is entirely necessary, Mr Johansson said. “If they do not bring these unconscious negative emotions to consciousness, it will adversely affect their relationships in their families and with their work colleagues. Special coping skills are required to deal with these emotions, and coaching is being done through leadership programmes and emotional support groups.” The support groups assist men with being husbands, fathers and friends. While the country experiences various social issues regarding the family, Men’s Fraternity believes that assistance must be given to all members of the family and networks with other organisations in order to help heal society holistically. Establishing groups of men sharing and dealing with their feelings would assist not only the men but also their families and their communities which Mr Johansson said is “definitely God’s work.” n For more information or to get involved contact Kevin Johansson on 082 371 1370 or kjohans email@example.com
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Tribute to a faithful servant THE SHEPHERD OF BETHLEHEM, by Fr Dikotsi William Mofokeng (ed). Mariannhill Press, 2011. 138pp. Reviewed by Günther Simmermacher N 1956 three young priests left their home in the Bavarian diocese of Regensburg to serve as Fidei Donum missionary priests in the Eastern Cape diocese of Aliwal North. They toiled in the mission fields in the rural diocese, and eventually all three became bishops in South Africa. The Shepherd of Bethlehem is a Festschrift, or tribute, to the youngest of them: Bishop Hubert Bucher, the first of the Regensburg trio to be elevated to the episcopal rank. The other two were Bishops Fritz Lobinger (appointed in 1987 in Aliwal North) and Oswald Hirmer (1997 in Mthatha). All three of them were reunited in retirement in Mariannhill, where Bishop Hirmer passed away earlier this year. In this book, several voices recount and pay tribute to Bishop Bucher’s journey of service to the people of Aliwal North and Bethlehem—and indeed to the Church of all Southern Africa. It serves as a letter of appreciation and love for a loyal servant of God and his people.
In his chapter, Bishop Lobinger recalls how the young Fr Bucher asked his bishop for an appointment in the remote farming area of Dordrecht, where there was only one Catholic family living in what was then called “the location”. With much energy, imagination and missionary zeal, Fr Bucher converted many of the local Xhosa people, building farm schools and, eventually, a Catholic community. He spent his days off, every Monday, with his fellow missionaries from Regensburg, who worked in neighbouring areas. Meeting in nature, they would discuss their pastoral challenges, problems and successes. These meetings, Bishop Lobinger notes, “were in fact a mini mobile pastoral institute”. It is no wonder that these three clerics, as priests and bishops, were very much at the vanguard of the local Church’s pastoral development. Fr Bucher was preparing to take charge of the missiology department of the Lumko, the bishops’ pastoral institute, when he was unexpectedly appointed bishop of Bethlehem by Pope Paul VI in 1977. His almost 32 productive years at the helm of the rural Free State diocese obviously takes up the
bulk of this book. It is apparent that Bishop Bucher was a popular ordinary who cared deeply for his priests and enjoyed making pastoral visitations to parishes that would span whole weekends. He was passionate about vocations and the development of a local diocesan clergy in a diocese that had been under the care of the Spiritan Fathers. The book’s editor, Fr Mosebetsi Mokoena, explains in some detail how Bishop Bucher set about meeting the objective. By the time he retired in 2009, Bishop Bucher had ordained more than 20 local priests (one of them now a bishop himself: Bishop Xolile “Teddy” Kumalo of Eshowe). Added to the diocesan clergy were priests from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Missionaries for Africa, whom Bishop Bucher invited to the diocese to participate in his catechetical and pastoral programmes. His successor, Bishop Jan de Groef, belongs to the latter congregation.
ishop Bucher clearly was an organised administrator, to the point of conforming to stereotypes of teutonic efficiency. He might have liked to crack a joke, but he was a strict boss with limited patience for inadequate work.
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that Bishop Bucher, like all of us, has his human failings (the present reviewer also knows that the bishop compensates for these with admirable humility), but a book of tributes is not the place to deal with those. And what a blessing it is when somebody takes the initiative to compile a tribute in the subject’s lifetime! Fr Mofokeng offers a couple of welcome bonus features: six chapters of Bishop Bucher’s 2004 “Preparation and Purification” series, and 14 pages of colour photo on gloss paper. n To order The Shepherd of Bethlehem at R100 a copy, contact 058 303 3072 (telephone) or 058 303 9378 (fax).
500 years on, Jesuit’s method of mission is still relevant A JESUIT IN THE FORBIDDEN CITY, by R Po-Chia Hsia. Oxford University Press, 2010. 359 pp. Reviewed by Jeffrey Gros FSC HE 16th century is often remembered for the great events of the Catholic and Protestant Reformations; even more theologically interesting and world-transforming, however, were the great missionary developments in the New World and Asia. Among the great milestones in this Christian pilgrimage was the opening of China to the Gospel and the creative and, yes, reforming initiatives of the Jesuit missionaries there. Communities created in this period, at the turn to the 17th century, continue to this day, as do the debates on appropriate inculturation of the Gospel and the interaction with the world’s great religions. In fact, Fr Matteo Ricci, the subject of R Po-Chia Hsia’s theological biography titled A Jesuit in the Forbidden City lends his name to four institutes on both sides of the Pacific and is seen as a challenge and model to those, Jesuits among them, who focus their mission on re-establishing unity among Catholics in China and the universal Church. Fr Ricci’s legacy is not only a spur to Christian mission, theology, the interaction of cultures and of religion and science in the 21st century. His memory has also been the ideological ground for Italian fascist pretentions to imperial expansion and Marxist Chinese nationalisms in the 20th century. Unlike the mission heritage of the evangelisation in the Western hemisphere in the same period, there exist many records of the literature, cultures and religions outside of Christianity that give us a three-dimensional account of the life, thought and cultural impact of the first Europeans to settle in China as missionaries. Fr Ricci’s strategy was to iden-
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He was also a practical bishop who declared September “Guttercleaning Month” in his diocese as a way to encourage good maintenance of Church buildings. This came with detailed instructions in exactly how maintenance was to be conducted. There are many lovely touches in this collection of tributes and memories. From his housekeeper, Sr Veronica Tshabalala, we learn that Bishop Bucher’s mood could be gauged by his whistling. The chancery’s gardener, David Mofokeng, recalls how the bishop taught him horticultural skills. Bishop Bucher was a strong opponent of apartheid who would engage the Church’s network to assist people detained by the regime. His prophetic opposition even made news in Germany when Bishop Bucher strongly criticised the pro-apartheid activities of Bavaria’s premier FranzJosef Strauss. Edited by Fr Mofokeng, The Shepherd of Bethlehem is a labour of love and a joy to read. It clearly was not subjected to ruthless editing, but in a book like this, rawness of the prose is part of the charm. The Festschrift is a tribute, so one should not expect a dispassionate critique of the bishop’s life. The book’s editor points out
tify with the local cultures and, where possible, elements of religion compatible with the Gospel, and to approach conversion through dialogue, friendship, intellectual respect and persuasion. He also had the advantage of preceding colonisation and conquest.
he volume charts the course of his life and ministry from childhood in Italy, formation in Rome, and gradual penetration of the mainland, beyond the coastal colonies of the period, ending his life in the imperial capital, Beijing, as guest of the Ming imperial establishment. His strategy was to find language in the Chinese vocabulary for Christian concepts, which in the course of his career and after had to be continually modified as the Jesuit mission became clearer about Chinese cosmology, theology and philosophy and the subtleties of concepts and meaning in their languages. He was a well-trained scientist, schooled by the Jesuits who moved the West from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. He found a sophisticated astronomical, mathematical and cosmological science in China, from
which he was able to learn, but also which he was able to enhance and correct from Western learning. Even though both systems were pre-Copernican, his erudition and scientific knowledge was a window and attraction for the Gospel to many Mandarin Chinese elites. He learned the class and bureaucratic structure of Chinese society as best he could, and tried to provide a credibility to Western scholarship and wisdom that made the Gospel attractive to the sophisticated Chinese. The original strategy was to come as Western monks, in the style of Buddhists. However, after careful study of the religions of China—Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism—Fr Ricci became a critic of Buddhist theology, changed his habit and style to that of a Confucian scholar and provided an exposition of Christianity in dialogue with the Confucian classics. His prodigious publishing record in science, religion and philosophy made the mission not only an exotic curiosity for Chinese elites—including the emperor—but also a respected intellectual centre even for those who did not opt for his Christian theology. The Jesuits maintained a credible Christian witness and modest stream of conversions until, ironically, inter-Christian debates and the final suppression of the Jesuits by the pope undermined the mission and elicited persecution. The great land of China today faces yet a new set of challenges as a culture, and the debates among Christians continue as to how best to promote this new evangelisation. Certainly the spiritual tenacity and intellectual creativity of Fr Ricci remains a model, as his ideas provide a stimulus for an intelligent approach to the Christian mission in this vast world.—CNS
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Sometimes Alpha is better Can the Alpha course be an effective programme of catechetics for teenage Catholics? ClaIre MaThIesoN and ThaNDI BosMaN found out.
HAT is the meaning of life? Alpha is helping people all around the world answer this. From faith-sharing in prisons, bible-study in old age homes and religious education in schools, Alpha is a tool of evangelisation whose mission is to clarify questions of faith and to introduce Christianity in a practical way. And one area that Alpha is seeing positive results in is confirmation preparation. St Augustine parish in Paarl, Western Cape, has been using Alpha as part of their confirmation course. Catechist Xavier Carolus said that the standard catechetic programme focuses on the sacraments and Church teachings. Youth Alpha, on the other hand, is aimed at growing the relationships between young people and God. “The programme is more focused on the individual and is aimed at assisting them with what ever they may be going through and giving them the ‘tools’ from a faith point of view to overcome their troubles,” Mr Carolus said. “This is something that is lacking in our standard catechetic programmes.” Developed in the 1980s and ’90s by Anglican clerics Charles Marnham and Nicky Gumbel, Alpha aims to cover the basic beliefs of the Christian faith for those new to the faith or those who need refreshing. The course asks questions such as: Who is Jesus? How can we have faith? And is there more to life than this? The ecumenical course is offered in 163 countries by Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Orthodox and Catholic churches. To date, more than 15 million people have reportedly attended the Alpha course worldwide. The Alpha course has been adapted for use in the Catholic Church to incorporate Catholic teachings. Paarl parish introduced the Alpha course two years ago, and it is the youth where the course has proved to be most valuable. Mr Carolus said that the parish leadership saw a lack of interest among the youth in the standard catechism classes, which persuaded them to introduce Youth Alpha. “Before, we were giving classes
on the theoretical teachings of the Church, [but] the youth could not see the need to apply it to their own lives,” Mr Carolus explained. He said the youth and the parish catechists had given positive feedback at the end of the sessions. “We have had many youth thanking us for the programme and sharing their enjoyment with us. Many young people have even been interested in presenting a session. The youth really do look forward to the interaction, and our attendance numbers have been fairly stable”. Two pre-confirmation candidates shared their enjoyment about Youth Alpha with The Southern Cross. They said that the course had helped them grow closer to God and meet new people just like themselves. “It was honestly something I looked forward to. Before Alpha started, we just had to sit in the church and they would give us a lecture, and we all would get bored or not pay attention because the way everything was presented to us wasn’t interesting. It just seemed like a bunch of facts that they would say to us,” said participant Michelle De Sousa. Michelle said that Youth Alpha made her see “the bigger picture in life” and helped her realise what it is like to be a Christian. “Alpha helped me understand things that I always wondered about and mostly, Alpha brought me closer to my friends. It made me see people from a different perspective, taught me to not let people come into my life if they are a negative influence because that will only lower my self-confidence and distract me from the good things life has to give us”. Another pre-confirmation class member, Lara Peach, said: “I feel that I am more cautious in the way I live and more aware of what I have. I am more grateful and appreciative of what I have”. Mr Carolus said that Youth
Alpha has helped young people open up about their lives, the faith and God. Youth Alpha provides a non-judgmental space for open discussions. “Youth Alpha is a way of reminding [the youth] that there is more to life than fitting in to different crowds. For once in their lives they can have open discussions about God and their faith, without being judged”. He said that that Youth Alpha has helped not only the youth. “It’s allowed me to grow as a person and to learn from the youth and my fellow peers. It has also allowed for an awakening within me to realise what difficulties many young people are going through.” Renato Acquisto of Alpha for Catholics in South Africa said the course has been seen to benefit the Catholic community both in terms of numbers and spiritual growth. “We have seen that parishes around the country have seen growth in numbers and missionary zeal by running the Alpha course.” Mr Acquisto added that Alpha as a mission is something that anybody can get involved with. Not only is it an opportunity to participate and learn more about the faith, but it is also a good opportunity for the laity to take the mission to heart and spread the word. “Alpha is so polished and mature, that the course just needs laity who have a heart for evangelisation of people to run it and follow the recipe. It works!” The pre-confirmation and confirmation candidates of Paarl recently went on a retreat to St Anthony of the Valley in Stellenbosch. It was a time for the candidates to grow spiritually and strengthen their belief system, said Mr Carolus. “A retreat is always a memorable occasion and it’s something that we all treasure. It’s one of those times when you can share your religious opinions freely, without being judged and in a comfortable environment,” he said. Talking about the retreat, Michelle de Sousa said: “Youth Alpha grabbed my attention at
the first few lessons when we had the day away; it was the most amazing day. To be able to go to adults from Alpha and have a one-to-one and just let everything go and have them pray for us made me feel like God was talking to me through them.” The patron of Alpha for Catholics in South Africa is Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, who has said he is excited about the opportunity this course presents in getting the youth more
involved in the Church, adding that it is “in line with the Church’s call to a new evangelisation”. The Alpha course is missionary in nature. It welcomes participants to the faith, stimulates interest and encourages participation beyond the course. Archbishop Tlhagale said Alpha is a “dynamic tool for evangelisation”. Alpha mobilises laity to evangelise, the very essence of mission work. Alpha is a tool that helps the evangelised become evangelisers.
HOLY CROSS SISTERS LIVING IN A WORLD OF CONSTANT CHANGE ARE CALLED to an ONGOING SEARCH FOR GOD AND ONE’S TRUE SELF To live: A vow of self-emptying - POVERTY A vow of love expansion - CHASTITY A vow to listen – respond – convert – OBEDIENCE. OUR GOAL • following Jesus and being true to the vision of our founders, we commit ourselves to respect, protect and promote life. • We uphold the dignity and rights of every person. • We stand in solidarity with the disadvantaged, especially the women and children. AS A YOUNG WOMAN IN OUR CONTEMPORARY WORLD COULD GOD BE CALLING YOU TO THIS SAME SEARCH?
IF SO WHY NOT CONTACT: sr. Bernadette Duffy holy Cross sisters, P.o. Box 48775, herCules, 0030, Telephone: 012 379 8559 email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Confirmation candidates with the diocesan apostolic administrator, Mgr Brendan Deenihan from st augustine’s cathedral in Port elizabeth. (Back from left): Ikenna okere, Mgr Deenihan and Jessica okere, (middle) Casey lee, ashley Ndhlovu and Jade Petersen, (front) Dominique rodrigues and shree francis. (submitted by Norah Beukes) The enviro Club of st Dominic’s Priory in Port elizabeth hosted a fashion show. Many of the outfits which were modelled were made out of recyclable material. Damelin College students from the design department helped by agreeing to showcase many of their outfits on the evening.
Send photographs, with sender’s name and address on the back, and a SASE to: The Southern Cross, Community Pics, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 or email them to: email@example.com Edited by Lara Moses
The Carmelite Tertiary order, or lay Carmelites, celebrated the reception of the right of admission to formation for eunice Da Camara leme and renee rossouw (both left) and the rite of Definitive Promises (or final profession) for kim Webster (right) in retreat, Cape Town. They are seen with retired archbishop lawrence henry. (submitted by Toni hoffman)
The national mangement team at the 26th National Conference of the Catholic Women's league, held in Durban. (Back from left): Margaret Deeb, Pat Mcewan and Pat skanke, (front) Tottie Bremner, fr Desmond Nair, Gabi van der Merwe and Michelle Crawley. (submitted by anna accolla)
COME AND SEE THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH We the sisters of Nazareth, founded by Victoire lamenier and inspired by the Gospel, are committed to the Mission entrusted to us, by the Church. Together with the people of God, we aim to present the love of God to all, especially the poor, through the ministry of care and education. We value and respect the dignity of each human being, based on the words of Christ, “you did it to me”. Mt: 25-40 Contact: sister helen o’Connell Nazareth house, 1 Webb street yeoville, Johannesburg 2198 Phone: 011 648 1002
at the Palencia town hall, Bishop stefan hondero, the bishop of Palencia, spain, and the city mayor with other town officials met with south african and french World youth Day pilgrims who participated in the Days in the Diocese programme in the city. (submitted by lebo Wa Majahe
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT The Catholic schools Board, Cape Town, provides support and leadership to the Catholic schools in the Dioceses of Cape Town and oudtshoorn. The Board wishes to fill the position of administrative assistant. The duties include: • handling office reception and telephone • General office management • Basic set up of venues for workshops skills required • Computer literate (MsWord, excel and Powerpoint) • fluent in english and acceptable level of afrikaans • able to work on your own and under pressure • Willingness to uphold the ethos of our schools • Managerial skills • Team player within a small staff. recommended experience in a school, church or NGo an understanding or experience in religious education While the post is a mornings only position, the successful applicant will be required to work occasional afternoons. (Drivers licence and own car required). Commencing date 1 January 2012. send CV (2 pages) with names of referees to fax 021 7618088 or to firstname.lastname@example.org Closing date 28 october 2011
BLIND READERS OF A group of readers is preparing audio tapes of excerpts from The Southern Cross, including editorials, selected articles, and regular features such as Fr Nicholas King SJ and Chris Moerdyk, as well current affairs in the Church. Anyone wanting to receive tapes as part of this service, available for an annual subscription fee of only R50, is invited to contact Ms Veronica Vieyra at “Clareinch”, Union Ave., Pinelands, 7405 or phone 021-532 0661.
The Post Office will deliver and return tapes without charge. Should you know of any interested blind person, please inform them of this service.
Maryvale high school’s Grade 11 class from Johannesburg participated in the lovematters II course held at Bosco youth Centre. Photographed is the school’s basketball team. (submitted by Nhlanhla lucky Mdlalose)
Camdon Bland, a student at Pretoria university, recently organised 12 fellow students from the Mamelodi campus to go out and entertain 50 abandoned and abused children who stay at the Tshwaraganang orphanage in hammanskraal. They took clothing, toys and prepared lunch for them. (submitted ken Bland)
The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
The st Vincent de Paul society (sVP) conference in outdshoorn diocese embarked on a "sponsor-a-scholar” project for 2011. The sVP identified 11 needy learners with the help of the principal and staff of st Blaize Primary, a Catholic school in Mossel Bay. The sVP paid a portion of their school fees, school function commitments for the year as well as the purchase of school uniform. some of the households now also receive support in the form of food parcels from the sVP. seen here are fr edward alkaster and st Blaize principal Mr Claassen with the 11 learners at the handing over of the school uniforms. (submitted by Trevor loxton)
Cheslyn louw created this flower arrangement for our lady during the time of the feast of the assumption at st Mary's in Grahamstown. (submitted by Thomas Jacobs)
The Good shepherd catechism classes st anne’s parish in Belgravia, Johannesburg, held a birthday party for our Blessed Mother on the feast day of our lady’s birth. They invited some of their older siblings, and after adoration of the Blessed sacrament candles were blown out on her cake.
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The southern Cross, october 19 to october 25, 2011
Missal: The tale of two translations T
HE biggest task facing the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) in 1969 was the translation of the Order of the Mass. The 1969 Roman Missal provided the original text and this had to be translated from Latin into appropriate English. The big question was “How do we do it?” The concept of Dynamic Equivalence had been used in the translation of the Bible for some years and some of the translations that had resulted from this proved to be very popular. They were already used extensively in other Christian churches. The best known of these were the Living Bible and Good News Bible, but there were others. The intention here was to produce a text that was easier to read and to understand than the King James version which was written in what had become archaic English. Dynamic Equivalence involved interpreting the Latin, Aramaic, Greek or archaic English (depending on which source material was being used) and re-writing it in a way that gave the reader an insight into the intention of the original writer and, through that, of the meaning of the text, as interpreted by the editor/translator. The objective was to give people a version of the Bible that
Chris Busschau New Missal Decoded could be read as easily as a newspaper article or modern novel. ICEL took the view that the use of this approach to translating the Order of the Mass would bring the Mass to life for the “average Catholic”, and it definitely succeeded in making the language of the liturgy more tangible and easier to understand, more everyday in style, less mysterious, almost conversational. One of the reasons why many people have been unhappy about the new English translation in the liturgy has been the return to the almost “mysterious” wording of the Latin original in the Roman Missal, which has always focused on the mystery of the presence of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection in our celebration of the Eucharist. It is interesting that it is this very aspect that has led to the decision for ICEL to move back to direct translation (also known as Formal Equivalence). The view developed over time that the Dynamic Equivalence version did not provide a full encounter with the profound mysteries that are
explored every time we come together to participate in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, and simultaneously to celebrate the other mysteries that we find in the community elements of priesthood, prophecy and kingship.
nother concern was that the use of Dynamic Equivalence for the English translation differed from many other language translations of the universal Church (most of which had followed Formal Equivalence) and was therefore out of step. This was particularly evident in our own country where the translations used for most of the African languages were Formal Equivalence translations from the Latin, but the English translation in use was noticeably different. This was at odds with the concept of a united people of God, with unity of worship and with community. Over the next couple of weeks we will examine some of the changes that have emerged from the decision to change to the Formal Equivalence approach to translation that we now find in the new translation. As you will see, the Dynamic Equivalent versions are simpler, more everyday English—a very attractive characteristic. On the
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Congregants use the missal at Mass. In the third of his seven articles on the new translations of the missal, Chris Busschau explains why one way of rendering the latin missal into english was appropriate after Vatican II, and why another method is necessary now. other hand, the direct translations make it clear that we are dealing with deep, complex, mysterious matters of both theology and philosophy that demand study and guidance. The mind of the Church is that we should all embark on this journey of discovery and through this to deepen our experience of our faith through the liturgy. Of course the other important motivator for these changes is
that the English translation now moves back into line with the translations used for other languages—including the indigenous languages of South Africa. This ensures that people will not experience a different sense when they celebrate Mass in different languages. n This is the third of seven articles by Chris Busschau on the new English translations of the Roman Missal.
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Sr Veronica Chapman SND
ISTER Veronica Chapman died on October 6, in Craigend, Scotland, aged 91, after 71 years in the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Born in Johannesburg, the eldest of five children, Margaret began her schooling with the Holy Family Sisters and matriculated at the Convent of Notre Dame in Kroonstad. She worked for two years before entering the novitiate of the Notre Dame Sisters in Ashdown, England, one day before the outbreak of World War II. After her first profession in 1942, she spent four years in England, doing her teacher training at Mount Pleasant college in Liverpool and then teaching in St Helen’s, Lancashire. Returning to South Africa after the war, Sr Veronica began her teaching ministry, in which she was very gifted. She is remembered with much appreciation by many of her former students. Sr Veronica taught in Notre Dame schools in Embakwe, Zimbabwe, in Kroonstad, in Cape Town, and in Martindale, and was principal in several of them. She often cited the formative impact on her that teaching in St Francis Xavier, Martindale had in the stormy apartheid years of the 1950s. She formed clubs for the Sophiatown tsotsis, who had dropped out of school, to get
them off the streets, and she was a frequent visitor to Sophiatown police station on Monday mornings facilitating their release after a weekend’s detention. In the 1970s she was viceprincipal of the St Francis Adult Education Centre in Langa, Cape Town, her final ministry in formal education. In 1967 Sr Veronica became the first South African-born provincial of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Southern Africa. She attended the renewal chapters following Vatican II, and was passionate in her desire to implement the calls of Vatican II among those she had been called to serve. This passion remained with her throughout her life and in her years of retirement from formal education, she was able to facilitate study and reflection groups with women of all ages. From 1984 Sr Veronica lived in the Notre Dame community in Melville, Johannesburg. She worked tirelessly organising the archival material that had accumulated since the Notre Dame Sisters first came to Southern Africa in 1899. An historian by training, and a secular politician by inclination, her ability to tell the story of the congregation’s life and involvement in some of Southern Africa’s most turbulent years left her audience spellbound.
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Sr Veronica loved beautifying the garden in Melville and was frequently seen working alongside Alpheus Matlakala, whose death preceded hers by three months. She was an avid reader, especially of The Tablet, but dropped whatever she was doing whenever a visitor arrived. Hospitality was something very precious to her. In January 2005, in failing health, Sr Veronica transferred to the Notre Dame retirement and health care facility in Craigend in Dumbarton Scotland, where her final years were accompanied by outstanding love and care. Her requiem on October 11 was presided over by Fr Gerald McLoughlin SJ, brother of Notre Dame Sister Marie McLoughlin, and himself now living in Edinburgh. Sr Biddy Rose Tiernan SND
Southern CrossWord solutions Family Reflections October 23: 30th Sunday. Mission Sunday. The Commandments of Love. The two great commandments according to Jesus are to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Love is an active, working thing and so loving includes peacemaking at times of inner conflict, turmoil within our families and beyond and even at times making peace with God. Pray especially for missionaries who are sent out to foreign countries that they will contribute to peace wherever they go.
Liturgical Calendar Year A Sunday, October 23, 30th Sunday Exodus 22:20-26, Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51, 1 Thessalonians 1:510, Matthew 22:34-40 Monday, October 24, St Anthony Claret Romans 8:12-17, Psalm 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21, Luke 13:10-17 Tuesday, October 25, feria Romans 8:18-25, Psalm 126:1-6, Luke 13:18-21 Wednesday, October 26, feria Romans 8:26-30, Psalm 13:4-6, Luke 13:22-30 Thursday, October 27, feria Romans 8:31-39, Psalm 109:21-22, 26-27, 30-31, Luke 13:3135 Friday, October 28, Ss Simon and Jude Ephesians 2:19-22, Psalm 19:2-5, Luke 6:12-16 Saturday, October 29, Saturday Memorial of the BVM Romans 11:1-2, 11-12, 25-29, Psalm 94:12-13, 14-15, 17-18, Luke 14:1, 7-11 Sunday, October 30, 31st Sunday Malachi 1:14,2:2, 8-10, Psalm 131:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 2:79, 13, Matthew 23:1-12
Word of the Week Scholasticate: 1. A course of study for seminarians, especially Jesuits taken prior to their theological studies. 2. A school or institution offering academic priestly training. Application: The Jesuit programme of priestly formation, of which the scholasticate is a part, takes between 4 and 8 years.
SOLUTIONS TO #467. ACROSS: 4 Earmark, 8 Behead, 9 Travels, 10 Doubts, 11 Ginger, 12 Alhambra, 18 Plectrum, 20 Uplift, 21 Bandit, 22 Midrash, 23 Grieve, 24 Atheism. DOWN: 1 Obadiah, 2 Thought, 3 Bantam 5 Abrogate, 6 Moving, 7 Relief, 13 Baptists, 14 Bridget, 15 Smitten, 16 Spoilt, 17 Fierce, 19 Chairs.
Community Calendar To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail email@example.com, (publication subject to space) BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed sacrament. 058 721 0532. CAPE TOWN: Good Shepherd, Bothasig. Perpetual eucharistic adoration in the chapel. all hours. all welcome. Day of Prayer held at springfield Convent starting at 10:00 ending 15:30 last saturday of every month—all welcome. for more information contact Jane hulley 021 790 1668 or 082 783 0331. Fundraiser Car Boot Sale and morning market at st Brendan’s church, Cnr longboat rd (off ou kaapseweg) and Corvette street, sunvalley, fish hoek. last saturday every month. all welcome. Info
and stall reservations: Maggi-Mae 021 782 9263 or 082 892 4502 mvidas@ mweb.co.za DURBAN: St Anthony’s, Durban Central: Tuesday 09:00 Mass with novena to st anthony. first friday 17:30 Mass—Divine Mercy novena prayers. Tel: 031 309 3496. JOHANNESBURG: Exposition of the Blessed sacrament: first friday of the month at 09:20 followed by holy Mass at 10:30. holy hour: first saturday of each month at 15:00. at our lady of the angels, little eden, edenvale. Tel: 011 609 7246. PRETORIA: First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. st Martin de Porres, sunnyside, 16:30. Tel shirley-anne 012 361 4545.
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FROSLER—(née o’keefe) florence. Dearest mother, grandmother, great-grandmother age 80, died peacefully at Nazareth house (elsies) on october 5. 2011. lovingly remembered by the Boonzaier family. TRYBUS KAROL (an oudtshoorn Camp World War 2 war orphan) died 23 september 2011. kochani wife olga,steven, elaine, Gillian, Jane and families. MERCURY—Thelma. (née Magolie) of Nooitgedacht. Passed away on september 30, 2011, at the age of 77 years. a loving mother gone to rest, for all of us she did her best. rest on dear mother. from your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sonsin-law, daughters-in-law and all other families and friends.
IN MEMORIAM DIAB—Pearl. In loving memory of my dear wife, who left this life 26 years ago. still think of you and missed every day. May your dear soul rest in peace. your loving husband, Ben. OLSEN—William (Bill) on the anniversary of my husband Bill, october 20. Please remember him in your prayers and joy to Bill and all those in need of God’s love. Merciful God please give him rest, peace and joy. Daily remembered by his wife elaine (Charnie). VERGOTTINI—laura. In loving memory of our beloved mommy and granny, who passed away october 24, 2005. I recognise your voice at the windows of my memory. I can reach you always, because you dwell forever in me, and in spirit I share so much with you. you traveled with me to see alfred in New Zealand. you picnicked with me on the beautiful islands, and walked beside me on the sandy sea shores of auckland. you have engraved yourself in exquisite lettering upon my soul, my precious mommy. Death hides your loving face, but can never divide. Wendy, Walter, anthony, alfred and grandchildren.
PERSONAL ABORTION WARNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, undetected, soon after conception (a medical fact). see website: www.humanlife. org/abortion_does_the_pill. php
SERVICES ANNUAL REPORTS, newsletters, books etc, designed and edited at competitive rates. Phone Gail at 082 415 4312 or firstname.lastname@example.org PAVE-SAVE (Western Cape) We specialise in all
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PRAYERS SAINT THERESA, the little flower of Jesus, please pick a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. I beseech you to obtain for me the favours that I seek. (mention here your request) recommended my request to Mary, Queen of heaven, so that she may intercede for me with you before her son, Jesus Christ. If this favour is granted I will love you more and more and be better prepared to spend eternal happiness with you in heaven. saint Theresa of the little flower pray for me. Jh. HOLY SPIRIT you who makes me see everything. you showed me the way to reach my ideal. you who give me the divine gift to forgive and forget all that is done to me and you are in all the instincts of my life with me. I want to thank you for everything and confirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. This prayer should be said on 3 consecutive days, after the 3rd day, the request will be granted, no matter how difficult it may be. Promise to publish the entire dialogue with the condition of having your request granted. rM
ACCOMMODATION OFFERED CAPE TOWN, Cape Peninsula: Beautiful homes to buy or rent. Maggi-Mae 082 892 4502. Colliers International false Bay, 021 782 9263, maggi email@example.com
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION BALLITO: up-market penthouse on beach, selfcatering. 084 790 6562. BETTY'S BAY: (Western Cape) holiday home sleeps six, three bathrooms, close to beach, r600/night (winter) r800/night (summer). 021 794 4293 marialouise @mweb.co.za CAPE TOWN: Vi holiday Villa. fully equipped selfcatering, two bedroom family apartment (sleeps 4) in strandfontein, with parking, r400 per night. Tel/fax Paul 021 393 2503, 083 553 9856, vivil firstname.lastname@example.org FISH HOEK: self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. Tel: 082 774 7140. bzhive@ telkomsa.net
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JEFFREY’S BAY: fully equipped self-catering flat, two bedrooms, sleeps six, 50 metres from the beach. 072 462 3993. KNYSNA: self-catering accommodation for 2 in old Belvidere with wonderful lagoon views. 044 387 1052. KOLBE HOUSE: Is the Catholic Centre and residence for the university of Cape Town. Beautiful estate in rondebosch near the university. from mid November, December and January, the students’ rooms are available for holiday guests. We offer self-catering accommodation, parking in secure premises. short walks to shops, transport etc. Contact Jock 021 685 7370, fax 021 686 2342 or 082 308 0080 or kolbe.house @telkomsa.net LONDON, Protea house: underground 3min, Piccadilly 20min. Close to river Thames. self-catering. single per night r250, twin r400. Phone Peter 021 851 5200. MARIANELLA Guest house, simon’s Town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” fully equipped with amazing sea views. secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. special rates for pensioners and clergy. Tel: Malcolm salida 082 784 5675 or mjsal email@example.com SOUTH COAST, uvongo: fully furnished three bedroom house, Tel: Donald 031 465 5651, 073 989 1074. SOUTH COAST, uvongo: secure holiday unit, with lock-up garage. sleeps 6. In complex. 078 935 9128. STRAND: Beachfront flat to let. stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3. r450 p/night for 2 people—low season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607 UMHLANGA ROCKS: fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, DsTV. Tel: holiday Division, 031 561 5838, holi firstname.lastname@example.org
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31st Sunday: October 30 Readings: Malachi 1:1-14, 2:2, 8-10, Psalm 131: 1-3, 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9, 13, Matthew 23:1-12
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Nicholas King SJ sunday reflections cisely this ancestral covenant in which Israel put their hope, the guarantee that God was on their side; and religious leaders above all are obliged to pay attention to its demands. The psalm offers a way ahead; it is one of the loveliest in the book, one of those songs that the Israelites used to sing on their way up to Jerusalem on the annual pilgrimage. It is an excellent remedy for religious figures who are getting above themselves, a reminder of who is really in charge: “O Lord, my heart is not proud, and my eyes are not lifted up; I have not been thinking things too big for me.” That may be a model for us: eyes on God, not on our own exalted status. Then we are offered a lovely image: “Instead, I have calmed my soul, and hushed it like a weaned child...on its mother’s lap.” That is followed by a reminder to Israel (and to us) of where our hope really lies:
“Israel, hope in the Lord, from now and for evermore.” The second reading continues our gallop through the first document in the entire New Testament, and is a reminder of how Christian leadership is to be exercised: “We made ourselves infants in the midst of you, just as a nurse nourishes her own children.” The key to leadership is loving service: “In affection, we were delighted to share with you, not only the gospel of God, but also our own souls, because you had become beloved to us.” Then Paul reminds them that he had not sat about waiting to be fed; “remember our labour and toil—working day and night, so as not to put a burden on you, we proclaimed the gospel of God to you.” After that, he returns our attention to God, where it belongs: “And because of this we give thanks unceasingly to God for you, because when you accepted the message that you heard from us, it was not a human message that you accepted, but God’s message (that is what it really is): God is at work among you who believe.” That is where our Christian responsibility lies. The g o sp el for next Sunday is a thoroughly uncomfortable business. It is Jesus’
Getting our numbers right T
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Where our Christian responsibility lies
S the liturgical and school year dips towards its close, the church wakes us from our stupor with some very challenging readings, aimed at professional Christians, which, I am afraid to say, includes you who are reading these words (so it is no good your saying, “I quite agree— these modern priests are terrible”). In the f i rst re ad i n g , the prophet Malachi, in the 5th Century BC, turns his attention to the priests of his age, working in the Temple, which has been quite recently rebuilt. He starts where he should, with God, “I am a great King, says the Lord of Hosts, and my name is to be feared among the Gentiles”; but then he turns his attention to the priests: “If you do not listen, if you do not lay my commandment in your heart, to give glory to my name, then I shall send a curse upon you.” And why? Because “you have turned aside from the way, and have made many to stumble over the Law; you have cancelled Levi’s covenant...so I have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you do not keep my way, and have cancelled out the covenant of your ancestors”. We should shiver at this, for it was pre-
ODAY we don’t attach a lot of symbolism to numbers. A few, mostly superstitious, remnants remain from former ages, such as seeing the number seven as lucky and the number thirteen as unlucky. For the most part, for us, numbers are arbitrary. This hasn’t always been the case. In biblical times, they attached a lot of meaning to certain numbers. For example, in the Bible the numbers forty, ten, twelve, and one hundred are highly symbolic. The number forty, for instance, speaks of the length of time required before something can come to proper fruition, while the numbers ten, twelve, and one hundred speak of a certain wholeness that is required to properly appropriate grace. Knowing that the ancients invested special meaning in certain numbers is critical to understanding a very challenging, and neglected, story in the gospels: the parable of the woman with the ten coins (Lk 15:810). Without grasping the symbolism of the numbers, this parable loses its meaning. Here is the parable as Scripture gives it: A woman had ten coins and lost one. She became extremely anxious and agitated about the loss and began to search frantically and relentlessly for the lost coin, lighting lamps, looking under tables, and sweeping all the floors in her house. Eventually she found the coin and her joy in finding it matched her agitation in losing
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI living with faith it. She was delirious with joy, called together her neighbours to share in her joy, and threw a party whose cost far exceeded the value of the coin she had lost. Why such anxiety and such joy over the loss a coin and the finding of a coin whose value was that of a few cents? The answer lies in the symbolism of numbers: In her culture, nine was not a whole number; ten was a whole number. Both the woman’s anxiety on losing the coin and her joy in finding it have little to do with the value of the coin. They have to do with the value of wholeness. A certain wholeness in her life had been fractured and only by finding the coin could it be restored. In essence, this is the parable: A woman had ten children and these constituted her family. With nine of them, she had a good relationship, but one of her daughters was alienated from her and from the family. Everyone else came regularly to the family table, but this one daughter did not. The woman couldn’t find rest in that situation; she needed her alienated daughter to rejoin them. She tried every means
“Sister’s mission is to find who planted the bubble gum.”
to reconcile with her daughter and, one day, in a miracle of miracles, it worked. Her daughter reconciled with her and came back to the family. The family was whole again, everyone was back at table. The woman was overjoyed, withdrew her modest savings from the bank, and threw a lavish party to celebrate the great grace that her family was whole again. There’s an important lesson here: Like that woman, we are meant to be anxious, not able to rest, lighting lamps and searching, until our families, churches, and communities are again whole and those who will no longer sit at a table with us are back in the fold. Nine is not a whole number— and neither is the number of those who are normally at our family or Eucharistic tables. We need to be constantly uneasy: Who is not at table with us? Who no longer goes to church with us? Who feels uncomfortable worshipping with us? Who will no longer join us in a conversation over morality or politics? And, most importantly, are we comfortable with the fact that so many people can no longer join us at our family, Eucharistic, moral, or political tables? Sadly, today, too many of us are comfortable in families, churches, and communities that are far, far from whole. Sometimes, in our less reflective moments, we even rejoice in it: “Good riddance! Love us or leave us! She wasn’t a real Catholic in any case! His views are so narrow and bigoted it’s just as well he isn’t here! We are better off without that kind! There’s more peace this way! We are a purer, more faithful, family or Church because of her absence!” But it’s this attitude and lack of healthy solicitude for wholeness that, perhaps more than any other thing, explains the joylessness and hardness that is so evident everywhere today in our families, churches, and political circles. Unlike Jesus, whose heart ached with God’s universal salvific will and who prayed in tears for those “other sheep who are not of this fold”, and unlike the woman who lost one of her coins and would not sleep until every corner of the house was turned upside down in a frantic search for what was lost, we content ourselves with just nine coins, an incomplete set, instead of setting out solicitously in search of that lost wholeness that would again bring us completeness and joy.
assault (there is no other word for it) on the “scribes and Pharisees”, with a total of seven “woes”. But we cannot sit back and gleefully watch them taking their punishment, for Matthew is well aware that these terrible words apply quite as well to church leaders, who “sit on the throne of Moses: everything they tell you, you are to do and keep. But don’t behave as they behave—for they talk and don’t act.” Then he describes the dehumanising activities of these church leaders: “They tie up heavy burdens and put them on people’s shoulders, and do not lift a finger to shift them; everything they do is for public consumption...bigger vestments...the best places at dinner parties...greetings in the streets...being called by the right titles.” Then he reminds us how we are to behave: no special titles, “for you are all brothers and sisters; don’t call anyone ‘Father’ on earth, for you have one ‘Father’, the Heavenly One”. And finally, we are reminded of Jesus’ own example: “The Biggest among you is to be your servant.” There is much for us to ponder, this week.
Southern Crossword #467
ACROSS 4. Set aside. It’s for hearing the evangelist (7) 8. Take principal job of the axeman (6) 9. Somehow alerts five of Gulliver’s (7) 10. Is undecided about faith (6) 11. Will it liven up the beer? (6) 12. Moorish palace of Granada (8) 18. It will pluck the guitar strings (8) 20. Give spiritual elevation (6) 21. Musical group joins it as outlaw (6) 22. Marsh I’d find Hebrew commentary in (7) 23. Make sorrowful (6) 24. Disbelief in the divine (7)
DOWN 1. Shortest of Books of the Prophets (7) 2. Idea you would think in the past (7) 3. Boxer weighing like a fowl (6) 5. Abolish boat rage (8) 6. Not still touching your feelings (6) 7. Aid to the poor is outstanding (6) 13. Christians who joined John in the Jordan? (8) 14. Saint of Sweden (7) 15. Struck by a strong feeling? (7) 16. Broth of too many cooks (6) 17. Untamed (6) 19. Takes the parish meeting (6)
Solutions on page 11
HERE once was a rich man who prayed that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him when he died. An angel appeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars. When the man died and showed up at the gates of Heaven, St Peter seeing the suitcase asked: “What’s in the bag?” The man explained that he had permission to bring his wealth with him to Heaven. St Peter opened the suitcase to look and exclaimed: “You brought pavement?” send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The southern Cross, Church Chuckle, Po Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.