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www.scross.co.za

April 11 to April 17, 2012

Fellowship leads to church unity

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Is there salvation for prisoners?

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No 4770

Explaining Divine Mercy

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SA’s ‘sweetest’ organ turns 100 BY PADDY KEARNEY

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HE centenary of the dedication of the organ of Emmanuel cathedral in Durban will be marked by a unique recital on April 17 at 13:00, when six well-known organists will display their talents as well as the celebrated sound of the cathedral organ. Entry for the recital is free, with no need to book. A hundred years ago, on April 17, 1912, a large crowd of music lovers flocked to Durban’s Emmanuel cathedral to hear the first recital on the new organ, filling the church long before the starting time of 19:30. The Natal Advertiser publicised three organ recitals for that week. On the next day, St James’s Anglican church in Morningside would be dedicating their organ, and on the Saturday evening there would be a grand recital in Durban’s City Hall. That was clearly a heyday for organ music: today we count ourselves lucky if there are three organ recitals in one year, and the magnificent organ in the City Hall has long been silent. Over the past one hundred years this organ has added splendour and dignity to countless liturgical celebrations and special events including the consecration of the cathedral in 1939, the consecration of 31year old Bishop Denis Hurley in 1947, many special celebrations during the Marian Congress of 1952, the installation of Archbishop (now Cardinal) Wilfrid Napier in 1992, the burial of Archbishop Hurley in 2004 and the centenary of the cathedral in the same year. The organ has survived “being rebuilt and converted to electric action” in the early 1950s, and being put out of action when an electric storm in late 2010 totally destroyed the computers in the console and the organ itself. A slow process of replacing various parts with spares flown out from Germany as well as insurance complications, caused a delay of nearly eight months, according to Pretoria organ builder Joop Admiraal. The wooden case in which the organ stands is itself a work of art, made of Austrian oak, designed in Durban by TPC McEvilly, with architectural features of several English churches including Westminster abbey. For the occasion of the dedication a hundred years ago, the Cathedral Choir was augmented to 67 voices (21 sopranos, 17 altos, 14 tenors and 15 basses) conducted by their

The 100-year-old organ of Durban’s Emmanuel cathedral and (inset, from left) organ builder Joop Admiraal, cathedral musical director Pinkie Mtshali and cathedral administrator Fr Stephen Tully. (Photos: Costa Criticos) choir master, Patrick Beresford Smyly, and with F E Lee from Johannesburg brought in specially to play the organ for this great occasion. Admission was by ticket only and these could be purchased “on the payment of a small charge” of 2s 6d at the various “music sellers” in town. Ladies were reminded that “hats must be worn in the church”. The organ recital included music by Bach, Mozart, Rossini and Mendelssohn and a few less well-known composers.

The organ has come to be regarded as the finest “romantic” organ in KwaZuluNatal. Mr Admiraal said it is “unrivalled in South Africa for the sweetness of its sound”. For the centenary, Pinkie Mtshali, director of music at Emmanuel cathedral, has organised a unique ecumenical recital in which six local organists will play on April 17. They are Fr Henry Ratering CMM, organist of the Monastery church in Mariannhill; Christopher Cockburn of the University of

KwaZulu-Natal’s Music School; Melvin Peters, organist of St Paul’s Anglican church in Durban; Barry Carbis, former organist of Emmanuel cathedral; Peter Carruthers, organist of Durban North and Stamford Hill Methodist churches; Don Powell, organist for several Congregational and Methodist Churches. A retiring collection will be taken at the end of the recital to help defray expenses. Secure parking will be available in the cathedral grounds.

German students give school a make-over MAURICIO LANGA

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Two students from Düsseldorf fix German and South African flags on top of Mariannhill Primary School, which they helped to renovate. (Photo: Mauricio Langa)

ARIANNHILL Primary School pupils received a pleasant surprise when they returned from their Easter break to a renovated school, thanks to the work of a group of German high school students who pooled their time and resources to give the school a make-over. A group of 14 students and two mentors from Max-Planck-Gymnasium in Düsseldorf gave the Mariannhill Primary School, which had been in a dilapidated state, a facelift. They were inspired to do so after meeting Bishop Pius Dlungwane of Mariannhill. Max-Planck-Gymnasium has an organisation known as Signs of Life for Africa as a component of its social responsibility programme. As part of the project, the group worked tirelessly in renovating the school during the Easter holidays. The refurbishments included fixing broken windows, replacing gutters, and painting the roof, doors, window frames and classroom walls.

“As we carry on with this comprehensive refurbishment, we hope to maintain this good relationship with the school and ensure that the children not only get a good education, but also that they study in a good and conducive environment,” said Carl-Wilhelm Bienfeld, a religion teacher at Max-Planck-Gymnasium. “We call it concrete peace service as we are committed in helping people of Africa in different ways, hence the name ‘Signs of Life for Africa’,” he said, adding that as a teacher for religious studies he came to understand that it is not enough to provide religious teaching without putting it into practice. Student Jakob Pluschke said the group found the experience fulfilling and interesting. The Signs of Life for Africa was established soon after the devastating tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 that killed hundreds of thousands in Asia. The organisation is currently also building a nursing training college in Uganda.


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LOCAL

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

Cape Town home raises fund for pregnant women BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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HE Cape Town-based home for abused women and women in a crisis pregnancy, Mater Domini, will be hosting a fundraising event in May with their patron, Archbishop Stephen Brislin. The home hopes to raise funds to buy a vehicle that will aid the home in its work around the archdiocese. “Our vision is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our clients to rest, heal and grow in. We strive to offer assistance, and provide an environment

where their babies can be born into a home of love, support and care, and they can start out afresh on their new journey,” said the home’s Debbie Taylor-Auld. “We also provide on-going support and encouragement to women who have resolved their crisis and returned to their communities,” said Ms Taylor-Auld of the Claremont-based home. “Mater Domini Home is run with a specifically Catholic ethos—providing a loving, caring environment that respects the sanctity of life and freedom from abuse for all human beings. We do not discriminate against residents,

and will help any woman regardless of race, creed, marital or economic status, who is in an unwanted or crisis pregnancy. At Mater Domini, we provide nonjudgmental counselling; and medical and spiritual support to women and their babies.” “As you may well imagine, most of the women who find themselves under our care have been through turbulent times. They suffer not only financial poverty, but by and large emotional and spiritual poverty as well.” Ms Taylor-Auld says the home survives on donations and committed volunteers and the masque ball fundraising event will assist the home in assisting these women. The fundraiser will take

Archbishop Stephen Brislin visits Mater Domini home for women and children in Cape Town. He is greeted by the Oblate Sisters of St Francis De Sales who run the home. place on Friday, May 11 at the Italian Club in Cape Town. Tickets cost R275 and include a threecourse meal and live band. All pro-

ceeds will go towards the purchase of a vehicle. Contact 021 433 1785 or e-mail Debbie@travelbyappoint ment.co.za

Public demand calls for follow up CD to Ngiyavuma Baba BY MAURICIO LANGA

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HOLY FAMILY COLLEGE Parktown

40 Oxford Road 2193 Parktown PO Box 87159 2041 Houghton T: 011 486 1104/5 F: 011 486 1017

Founded by the Holy Family Sisters, Holy Family College is a Catholic, co-educational, independent day-school with learners from Grade R to Grade 12. It has a proud 107 years of education in the service of God and people. Holy Family College invites applications for the following posts and the successful candidate must be able to assume duties from the dates indicated: The posts available are as follows: •

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Life Sciences Grades 11 & 12 (from 11 April or as soon as possible) English (Home Language) Grade 8 (from end of April) RE Co-ordinator (as soon as possible)

The successful candidate: • Will respect the ethos of Holy Family College • Have the necessary academic and professional requirements • Be registered with SACE • Demonstrate a good working knowledge of the NCS / RNCS and current educational developments in South African schools

All applications must be accompanied by a one-page CV and certified copies of all qualifications, and the contact details of three recent referees. Applications should be addressed to: Mrs Anne Russell, fax to 011 486 1017 or e-mail russea@hfc.org.za. Applications will close on 23rd April 2012. The Board of Governors of Holy Family College reserves the right to make no appointment. An application itself will not entitle the applicant to an interview or appointment.

OVICES of the Mariannhill Missionaries have released a followup to their popular debut album, Ngiyavuma Baba, which was released last year. The Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill 2012 Novitiate Choral group’s new ten-track CD is titled Sisize Baba. It was produced as a result of public demand, said novice director Fr Lawrence Mota CMM. In response to people’s “cry for more spiritual food”, Fr Mota said, the group found itself back in the recording studio barely a year after the release of their first CD. “The second volume is not only a response to the public demand, but also a response to the peoples’ needs of hope and freedom for being children of God,” he said. He said that while the message of the debut CD was aimed at inspiring people to cope in life despite the difficulties or problems they may be facing, “the message of the Sisize Baba is that if we seek help from God with faith, God will grant us that help. [It is] an encouraging message.” Fr Mota said he has learnt a

Fr Lawrence Mota CMM displays a copy of Sisize Baba, the new CD by the CMM 2012 Novitiate Choral group, its second gospel album in less than a year. lot from the young people since he started working with them. For example, he has realised that every novice joining the congregation comes with different musical talents. “Our first CD helped us to recognise that each and every individual is different in spite of their background, their efforts help to nurture their talent to fruition and we need to facilitate that as a way of empowering our young people to face reality with hope,” he

said. Through Sisize Baba, there is a message for the youth to realise their purpose and contribution in the society. The priest expressed his and the group’s gratitude to the CD’s sponsors, the Tshepo and Gumede families, whose “tireless effort” ensured that the project was realised. n Sisize Baba can be ordered at R80 a copy from the Mariannhill Monastery Repository by calling 031 700 1031.

Kolping South Africa is a Catholic, lay, membership organisation whose core purpose is to empower people in their holistic development, spiritual growth and service to others. The organisation has training centres in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Dysselsdorp (Oudtshoorn) and Johannesburg.

The following vacancy exists for a suitably qualified and committed person to work from the organisation’s head office in Durbanville, Western Cape:

SENIOR FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATOR

Job Purpose: Provide financial management of KSA’s finances inclusive of preparation and monitoring of budgets, income and expenditures, Donor Reporting and implementation of proper financial controls and procedures.

Requirements: Diploma/degree in Bookkeeping/ Accounting/ Financial Management or its equivalent with 3 years working experience or 10 years Bookkeeping /Financial Administration Work experience. Functional competencies needed: • Knowledge of Pastel Accounting essential • Reconciliation of Bank Accounts • Financial Reports • Creditors • Payroll Administration, Statutory and Vat Returns • Asset Management • Budgeting and general financial procedures • Computer skills with proficient knowledge of MS Excel essential

Generic competencies needed: • Good communication skills, written and verbal • Experience in NGO environment and Donor Funding advantageous • Valid driver’s license and own vehicle an advantage

Forward, by email, your application, Curriculum Vitae, copies of certificates/diplomas/degrees, Driver’s License and ID to the National Coordiator, ceo@kolping.co.za. Closing date for applications 20 April 2012.


LOCAL

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

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Radio Veritas finally launched on MW STAFF REPORTER

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LAUNCH event for Radio Veritas’ permanent medium wave presence was attended by many dignitaries, including Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria and Mgr Eloy Alberto Santiago Santiago, charge d’affaires of the apostolic nunciature. Radio Veritas went live on 567AM across Johannesburg and as far afield as Mozambique, Keimoes and Durban. The station can still be heard on DStv channel 170 and streamed on the Internet via the station’s web-

site (www.radioveritas.co.za). Cardinal Napier addressed those in attendance at the launch about the importance of Catholic media and in particular Catholic radio. He congratulated founder and station director Fr Emil Blaser OP on the achievement of getting Catholic radio on the airwaves. Cardinal Napier also thanked the staff of Radio Veritas and those involved in bringing the station to this point, after 12 years. Both Cardinal Napier and Archbishop Slattery invited the participating guests to help in the initial financial support of the station. Fr Blaser and adviser Carlos Henriques took the guests through a presentation of the journey so

far, and how Radio Veritas is set to move into an exciting future. They emphasised the need for advertising and sponsorship and the need for financial assistance to broadcast. The speakers also identified the need to acquire a vehicle equipped with a mobile studio which would enable Radio Veritas to move into the community and do grassroots recordings and live broadcasts. Archbishop Slattery emphasised that the Catholic Church in South Africa is supported by ordinary people who initiate schools and other Church institutions, and that it is now time for the enthusiastic support of our Catholic radio station.

New home for Cape Town prison ministry STAFF REPORTER

The Prison Care and Support Network celebrated the acquisition of its new premises, Cara House, with a Mass that was concelebrated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town and retired Archbishop Lawrence Henry. PCSN chairman Leonardo Goosen quoted from Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, reminding those assembled that the “joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties’’ of those who are suffering including those of the incarcerated ought indeed to be the concern of Christians. In his homily Archbishop Brislin compared the work done by PCSN to the seeds of faith planted by St Patrick, which, given time and appropriate nurturing, would grow into giant oaks. Fr Arackathara explained

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that within the next few months the organisation would be launching a transition house to assist homeless, newlyreleased ex-inmates with their transition to a new crime-free life outside the prison. The organisation is therefore in need of material support in the form of monetary contributions and furniture for the house, as well as the skills of persons in the areas of finance, human resources, fundraising, counselling. n To assist the Prison Care and Support Network call 021 531 0550 or e-mail prison care@mweb.co.za

STAFF REPORTER

HE Diakonia Council of Churches offers to enhance ministry,” said Lutheran Rev Sybil Chetty at a briefing for clergy new in Durban and new to the ecumenical organisation, which was founded by Archbishop Denis Hurley. “Diakonia is there to help us serve our congregations better. It equips us with relevant tools and challenges us to take action on social justice issues,” she said. Rev Chetty urged local clergy to take advantage of the tools and support structures that Diakonia offers to enhance their ministry. The council, formed in 1976 with the aim of developing a more effective inter-church witness has brought together the Durban faith community through ecumenical and interfaith activities. Rev Chetty said of particular influence to her was the 2009 Social Justice Season under the theme Building Bridges. “The season helped me a lot to build bridges in my church in Phoenix which was a very divided church. I have also been using the bible studies with students and challenging them to build

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purchase the new transmitter. The entire proceedings were aired live on 576AM.

Ecumenical organisation helps enhance ministry

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HE Prison Care and Support Network in Cape Town (PCSN), a non-governmental organisation operating under the auspices of the Catholic Church, celebrated the acquisition of its new premises, Cara House, with the celebration of Mass. The new premises were acquired with the financial support of Misean Cara, an Irish development agency. Archbishop Stephen Brislin concelebrated the Mass with retired Archbishop Lawrence Henry, vicar-general Fr PeterJohn Pearson and numerous other priests. Many religious as well as a number of lay people also attended. Fr Babychan Arackathara MSFS, PCSN coordinator, and Loreto Sister Marie Brady, a founding member of the organisation, explained that the PCSN is engaged in many activities to support inmates and exinmates. These iniatives included visits to the incarcerated to provide spiritual and emotional support, structured programmes in the prisons such as Restorative Justice and Alpha, a bursary programme, support for the families of inmates through a nutritional programme for children, and a post-release programme for exinmates. In his words of welcome

At the launch of Radio Veritas’ medium wave broadcast were (from left) Mgr Eloy Alberto Santiago Santiago of the apostolic nunciature, Archbishop Buti Tlhgale of Johannesburg, station director Fr Emil Blaser OP, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban and Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria.

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bridges in their lives.” The reverend was joined by her husband, Rev Chundran, who said the council’s workshops and briefings as “relevant to our times and helps keep churches abreast of current affairs”. He urged the clergy to be ecumenically minded and meet with clergy from other denominations at the forums Diakonia provides. The highlight for his involvement with Diakonia, he said, was the annual ecumenical Good Friday service. “The service is a particularly moving experience for me as a clergy man. It is unique to us in Durban and it unites us in our diversity. The carrying of the cross through the streets of Durban is a special thing for me,” he said. Rev Chetty concurred with her husband adding that the service had been adopted by her congregation as part of their Easter weekend. Currently, the Diakonia Council has six Catholic representatives, the largest contigent of all the churches. Both Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Bishop Barry Wood, auxiliary bishop of Durban, who recently stepped down as chairman of the council, remain active members. n For more information about Diakonia contact 031 310 3500 or visit their website www.diakonia.org.za

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The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

INTERNATIONAL

Church, rabbis demand justice BY CAROL GLATZ

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A traditional Vietnamese drumming group performs at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, a three-day annual event which drew 40 000 Catholics from 41 countries, some of whom watched a live webcast of the events. (Photo: Elisabeth Deffner, Orange County Catholic)

VATICAN-JEWISH dialogue commission said moderation, honesty and a fair distribution of world resources are the ingredients for a more just economic order. National and international leaders and policymakers should also turn to ethics consultants as part of their decision-making process, representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews said in a joint statement. The statement came at the end of a three-day meeting of the dialogue commission in Rome. It was the 11th meeting in a dialogue that began in 2002. The promotion of economic justice includes “the universal des-

Vatican wants focus on autism BY BRIDGET KELLY

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HE Church needs to address the alienation often surrounding those living with autism, especially children and young people, by coming to the aid of those affected, said Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski. The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, said those who draw near to people with autism can help break down the barriers of silence and join in them in solidarity and prayer. The archbishop made his comments in the council’s message for the Fifth World Autism Awareness Day.

“The Church sees as impelling the task of placing herself at the side of these people—children and young people in particular— and their families, if not to break down these barriers of silence then at least to share in solidarity and prayer in their journey of suffering,” said the archbishop. Along with suffering often come frustration and resignation, especially from the families of those affected, said the archbishop. Families experience repercussions and are often “led to be closed up in an isolation that marginalizes and wounds”. Archbishop Zimowski said he hopes that all people of good will and the Church may become

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needs, such as the protection of life, sustenance, clothing, housing, health, education and employment.” The statement said since the crisis was proof of a serious lack of ethical consideration, it was “imperative that institutes and academies of economic studies and policy formation include ethical training in their curricula, similar to that which has developed in recent years in the field of medical ethics.” It added that “ethical counselling to decision makers on a national and international level” was vital. The joint commission also heard talks given by Meir Tamari, the former chief economist of the Bank of Israel, and Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Vatican bank.—CNS

Bishop condemns poll attack

“travelling companions” with people suffering from autism and express their awareness, supportiveness and sensitivity to those affected. He thanked families, communities, health care workers, educators, professionals and volunteers for their constant support. He also encouraged the continuation of scientific research and health care policies that could increase diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative responses to autism. Archbishop Zimowski concluded his message by reminding family members that, “they are passionately loved by God,” and they are never alone despite their challenging duties.—CNS

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tination of the goods of the earth; a culture of ‘enough’ that implies a degree of self-limitation and modesty; responsible stewardship; an ethical system of allocation of resources and priorities; and the critical importance of honesty, transparency, gratuitousness and accountability”, the statement said. The recent global economic crisis reflected “a crisis of moral values in which the importance of having, reflected in a culture of greed, eclipsed the importance of being”, it said. The well-being of individuals and societies comes about when people recognise their obligations and responsibilities towards others and engage in real solidarity, it said. “This posits the obligation to guarantee certain basic human

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HE diocese of Malindi in Kenya has condemned a recent attack on officials of the independent electoral commission and police officers by suspected members of the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council. Three police officers were roughed up by the group when they were manning the polling station during a mock election conducted by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in Malindi and Kajiado north. Bishop Emmanuel Barabara of Malindi condemned the violence and appealed to the community in the region to guard jealously the peace they have experienced over decades. Bishop Barabara said as the

country nears the general election date, government should solve the issues with the Mombasa Republican Council to avoid a repeat of post-election violence of 2007/08. “Without taking sides in the ongoing conflict, we warn that violence cannot be used to solve problems,” Bishop Barabara said. “It goes against the truth of all our religions and destroys what it claims to defend; the freedom, dignity and life of human beings.” The bishop also condemned the use of youths as agents of violence.He urged youths to shun ideologies that are divisive and destructive to the society and become agents of peace and development instead.—CISA

Pope gives R760 000 to aid Syrians BY CAROL GLATZ

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OPE Benedict has donated $100 000 (R760 000) to help the people of Syria. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican’s charity promotion and coordinating office, announced that the pope made the donation to fund “the charitable work of the local Church in

Syria supporting the population” that has been hit by the ongoing violence in the country. In predominantly Muslim Syria, the Catholic Church helps all people in need through its charitable organisations. The pope also earmarked the collection taken up at his Holy Thursday evening Mass for use for humanitarian aid to Syria.—CNS

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INTERNATIONAL

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

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US survey shows why Catholics lapse BY CAROL ZIMMERMANN

C A woman waves Spain's flag as Pope Benedict leads an audience with World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. In attendance were young people from Spain who participated in the international WYD last August. While the international WYD, held every two or three years, is attended by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, the annual event in Rome during Holy Week is a smaller affair. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)

Irish bishops: God not missed much in Europe BY SARAH MACDONALD

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UROPE today is a culture in which God appears to be “silent and unmissed in the lives of many” the Irish bishops warn in a pastoral letter. The 12-page document, “Repent and Believe the Good News”, deals with the importance of repentance for the Irish Catholic Church. In their discussion of the European context in which the Irish Church is forging its path, the bishops said that today there are “many spheres of life in which even believers rarely recognise the relevance of the Gospel”. They reiterated Pope Benedict’s question of whether the West, “the heartlands of Christianity”, is tired of its faith, bored by its history and culture, and no longer wishes to know faith in Jesus Christ. Explaining their reason for promoting repentance, they say the reflection builds on the summons to renewal made by Pope Benedict to the Catholics of Ireland in his 2010 pastoral letter. It is also a motif emphasised in the summary of the findings of the apostolic visitation in Ireland;

that summary was released in midMarch. Acknowledging that “none of us remains unaffected by our culture”, the pastoral reflection states that it “takes a real effort in a busy and noisy world to ask the fundamental questions about what our lives mean and where they are leading” and to make the space to get priorities right. The primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said in a statement that repentance was the only path to real renewal for Ireland and the Church. He urged the faithful to resist the temptation to put convenience, celebrity, domination, blindness, dishonesty, pride or any other ambition, craving or comfort in the place of God. Referring to the preparations being made for the forthcoming International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June, Cardinal Brady suggested Catholics should receive the sacrament of reconciliation and renew the practice of making the sign of the cross as they pass a church “in acknowledgment of the real presence in the Eucharist.” —CNS

HURCH leaders should take to heart reasons why Catholics have left the Church, according to a priest who has conducted an “exit poll” of former Catholics in the United States. Above all, their departure highlights how the Church must offer a “fresh explanation of the Eucharist”, said Jesuit Father William Byron, professor of business and society at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, pointing out that those who leave the Church separate themselves from the celebration and reception of the Eucharist. “This calls for a creative liturgical, pastoral, doctrinal and practical response,” he said, to help Catholics understand what the Sunday Mass obligation is really about and what they’re missing when they leave. Fr Byron conducted the study last fall along with Charles Zech, professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University’s business school. They surveyed 298 nonchurchgoing Catholics in the diocese of Trenton in New Jersey. They have written about the study for the April 30 edition of America magazine. Fr Byron said the idea of the survey came about after a conversation he had about the number of Catholics who have left the Church, which according to a 2007 Pew Forum report is one-third of those raised Catholic in the United States. In the course of the discus-

sion, a retired CEO told the priest that if the Church were a business, it would conduct exit polls to find out why people left, or in business terms to “know where your losses were from.” That’s what Fr Byron and Zech set out to do with the study “Empty Pews: Survey of Catholics Regarding Decrease in Mass Attendance”. They reached participants through advertisements in Catholic and secular newspapers and bulletin announcements. As Fr Bryon pointed out, the survey did not involve a random sample but more a “sample of convenience”. Still, the answers could provide an important tool for Church leaders, he said.

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he survey presented participants with a variety of questions about their parish experience: Did they feel they belonged to their parish? Was the pastor approachable and the pastoral staff welcoming? Was there anything their parish could do to make them return? Participants also were asked specifically about their departure, if it was a conscious decision or the result of “drifting away?” Did they leave their parish, the Catholic Church or both? Did they join another faith community? Were there Church teachings they found particularly troubling or if they had a bad experience with anyone in Church? They were also asked what they would like to discuss with their bishop if they had the

opportunity. The median respondent was a 53-year-old white female. Fr Byron noted that although respondents were from a “disaffected group”, they were primarily positive and appreciative for the chance to express their views. He said the respondents’ views on “non-negotiable” Church teachings points to the need for more pastoral and clear explanations of what the Church teaches and why. Respondents cited disagreements with the Church’s stance on women’s ordination, married priests, contraception and samesex marriage, he said. He labelled other issues that prompted people to leave as “negotiable”, such as dissatisfaction with homilies and negative clergy image. Some wanted their bishop to apologise for the clergy abuse scandal; others said they wanted to hear fewer appeals for money and more about care for the poor. Overall, most respondents said they left the parish and the Catholic Church and were ambivalent if their departure was a conscious decision or not. Many had positive reactions about their parish, saying the staff was welcoming and the pastor approachable for the most part. They also considered themselves members of the parish, but some were disheartened that they had not been missed when they left. Most did not have a bad experience with the Church and the vast majority did not join another faith community.—CNS

Catholic Oscars for Hugo, Modern Family

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HE feature films Hugo and The Way, the documentary I Am and the television sitcom Modern Family have been named winners of this year’s Catholics in Media Awards. The Martin Scorsese film Hugo, the filmmaker’s first feature given the 3-D treatment which won five Oscars this year, receives the Film Award from Catholics in Media Associates, sponsors of the prizes for the 19th year. The Way, starring Martin

Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez, won the group’s Board of Directors Award. I Am, directed by Tom Shadyac, won the organisation’s Documentary Award. In the movie, Shadyac relates his experiences and personal journey following a devastating 2007 bicycle accident. Modern Family , which is aired on Wednesdays on M-Net, was chosen for the Television Award. The series has already won a Peabody Award, an Emmy Award, a Screen Actors Guild

Award and a Golden Globe Award. The Catholics in Media Awards were created by prominent Catholics in the entertainment industry to “promote and applaud individuals, films and TV programmes that uplift the spirit and help us better understand what it is to be part of the human family”, according to a Catholics in Media Associates announcement. A Mass and award ceremony honouring the winners will take place on April 29.—CNS


6

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

The Christian protests

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VER the past few weeks Catholics, and Christians in general, have found cause to stand up against what they perceive to be insults to their faith—with mixed results. First energy drink Red Bull flighted a TV commercial that made light of the story from the gospels of Matthew and Mark of Jesus walking on the water. The advertisers likely intended no insult. We must believe their protestation that they meant to be playful, and some Christians might well have understood the ad in that way (nonetheless flinching at the profanity at the end). And yet, Red Bull crossed a line in two ways. Firstly, it used Christ to gain a commercial advantage, which in itself can be seen as a profanity. Secondly, it satirised the gospels, which Christians hold sacred. Consumers, at whom the commercial was aimed, have a right to object when they feel that their religion is being ridiculed in an advertisement. In the event, broadcaster e.tv agreed with that view by pulling the ad, and Red Bull did likewise by discontinuing it. The furor over the Red Bull commercial had barely settled when 5FM presenter Gareth Cliff responded to a news report on the arrests of human rights campaigners in Cuba by describing Pope Benedict as “a sleazy old man” for visiting the island nation, apparently because a papal visit is seen as an endorsement of its political system. Of course Mr Cliff is free to hold unfavourable opinions of Pope Benedict, but he did not explain in which way visiting Cuba is more “sleazy” than visiting other human rightsoffending countries, such as China or Pakistan, as many world leaders have done. It seemed evident that the comment was founded on a particular antipathy towards the pope, as Mr Cliff’s response to The Southern Cross (published in the March 28 edition) seems to bear out. When listeners feel that a presenter on public radio—and as an SABC station, 5FM is supported by our licence fees— unfairly abuses their religious sensibilities, then they have a right to have their objections heard.

While Christians had cause to be offended by the Red Bull commercial, and Catholics by Mr Cliff’s slur on the pope, some Christians have distorted their faith by voicing their indignation at a retailer which labelled hot cross buns halaal, thereby marking it as suitable for consumption by Muslims. According to the protesters, the hot cross bun is not merely a baked confectionery produced for commercial transaction, but a Christian symbol which presumably is profaned when it is prayed over by a Muslim cleric. The objection has the flavour of anti-Muslim bigotry. The retailer, Woolworths, has announced that next year it will sell non-halaal “hot cross buns” and halaal “spicy buns”. It is a compromise which should not be welcomed by fair-minded Christians. Fr Chris Townsend, information officer of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, rightly dismissed the sentiments of outrage voiced by what he termed, with just the right measure of wit, “hot cross Christians”. The hot cross bun is a Lenten tradition, but it is not in any way sanctified (indeed, some theories ascribe to it pagan origins). It is good, and not objectionable, to share our traditions with those of other faiths or none. It is a profoundly dismal reflection on Christianity in South Africa that Fr Townsend has received hate mail for rejecting, correctly, the intolerance that was intrinsic to the bun protests. Indeed, the act of sending hate mail should cause decent Christians much greater offence than an ill-considered cartoon ad, the inexpert commentary of radio DJs, or halaal stickers on buns. It is right that Catholics should make known their objections to that what they feel is offensive. But that licence is subject to responsibilities. Firstly, the offence taken must be reasonable and defined with clarity and charity; secondly, a campaign of protest must be fair and take into account the rights of others. The lines between fair and unreasonable objection can be very narrow. When this is so, it is better to err on the side of caution.

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.

From the old to the new HE Jewish Passover this year, was tion” for both the Passover and also a wonderful way “in” to John’s the Sabbath. (Jn 19:14,31,42). T John, with a great sense of symaccount of the Passion. At the same time that Christians celebrated Easter, our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrated the Passover. This year, the Jewish Passover started on Holy Saturday, which means that the Passover Seder meal was on Friday night...Good Friday night! “Good heavens!”, you might exclaim, “we couldn’t imagine a Passover meal on Good Friday night!” Well, that is exactly what John’s gospel invites us to do. In John’s gospel, the Friday on which Jesus dies is the “Day of Prepara-

bolism, shows us the significance of Jesus’ death by placing it at the time that the Paschal lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover rituals in the Temple. However, that is not all that was happening on the Day of Preparation: it was for the Passover meal that night and preparation for the Sabbath when no further cooking could take place on the following day. There would have been much activity in the homes of all the Jewish people, especially for the Passover meal on that Sabbath eve. So, if you wanted to imagine your

Bible debate: Help request AM at Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre (KSCC) maxiRSV versus NRSV Imum security prison and would like

C

ONCERNING the RSV versus NRSV letter by Fr Szypula and Sr Coyle (March 21), a visit to websites on this topic will lead one to question those who are questioning the decision of the Holy See to opt for the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible rather than the earlier 1952 edition or the New Revised Standard Version. An interesting observation by one of the researchers is that at least one of the translators working on the New Revised Standard Version expressed surprise at finding “inclusive language” in the NRSV text where it had not been there when the text last passed through the hands of the translators. Is that translator implying that the text was “doctored” or “emasculated” post factum? Two serious talking points on one of the websites focused on: (i) the NRSV text of Isaiah which states that “the young woman is with child”, as if something has already happened; as compared with the RSV text which talks about something still to happen: “the virgin will conceive and bear a son.” (ii) the NRSV text of John 7:39 which states: “For as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” By contrast the RSV reads: “For as yet the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The latter has grave consequences for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity! So, while the NRSV maybe more accurate, is it better liturgy and for theology? If you are interested google “RSV versus NRSV”. At least a dozen sites will come up—all most informative! Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban

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N response to Mlebana Majahe’s letter in The Southern Cross (March 14). Catholic schools have indeed changed, and not only in the townships. I teach at a Catholic school which is not situated in a township, and sadly, discipline in not what it used to be. This can mainly be attributed to the large classes that we have to deal with: classrooms designed for probably 30 pupils have to accommodate learners of up to 40 and more. Most of the learners at Catholic schools are non-Catholic, and the majority of them do not attend church services on Sundays, and therefore do not know how to behave at Mass. I fully agree with your correspondent, what is the use of taking nonCatholics to Mass when they do not appreciate being there? When learners enter church, it is as if they are entering an auditorium or a theatre to attend a show. And they do not understand that they have to be silent, even though Mass has not begun. Also, too much is expected of teachers at certain Catholic schools, where even governing body teachers who earn less than half of their government-paid counterparts, are expected to conduct assemblies and clean their own classrooms in the afternoons. I do hope that the Catholic Institute of Education is taking note. Name Withheld, Cape Town

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priest to any extent is probably a member of some church committee where, of necessity, they interact with the priest. Not all of us can be members of church groups, so where does that leave the majority of the people who make up the parish? Out in the cold? Small wonder our Catholics find it quite easy to walk away from the Church without a single regret and join another community where they are made to feel they “belong”. If the parish priest is detached from the people he is supposed to serve, what are the chances his congregation will ever become a close and warm unit where strangers would feel welcome? Jesus walked among the people, why not our priests? Lily P Fynn, Johannesburg

Mary, truly blessed

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APPLAUD the article by Fr Ralph de Hahn on the different English translations of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to the Blessed Virgin in Luke 1:28 (March 21). An interesting point (not mentioned in the article) is that Mary is addressed, in Greek, with the title Kecharitomene. The angel does not even mention her name, Mary. No English Biblical translation comes anywhere near the meaning of that Greek word (Luke 1:28) which means: “The one most full of God’s gracious gift of his life undiminished in all time” (see Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating). As Fr de Hahn points out, no other person in the entire Bible is addressed in that way. In Greek, “full of grace” would be pleres chariots, which is used for Christ in John 1:14 and for Stephen in Acts 6:8, not kecharitomene. Mary, Theotokos, and our Mother, is also Panaghai, the All Holy One, as the Orthodox refer to her. She is not only “blessed among women”, but blessed among all mankind! John Lee, Johannesburg

Human rights?

attracted my attention in The Personal ministering T Southern Cross of March 14.

MONK?

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to learn about the Catholic faith. I am humbly asking for any books or magazines about the Catholic Church. I would also like to join a church near the prison, hoping they will keep me strong in the Lord. Thank you in Jesus Christ. Sikwetha Ndivwuwo, Pvt Bag X2006, Makhado, Limpopo Province, 0920

way into John’s gospel, imagine yourself as one of Jesus’ followers (who were Jewish, after all)—man or woman—who was not brave enough to stay with him for his crucifixion. Imagine that you have spent the day preparing for the Passover meal, and the Sabbath, and the others have come back to tell you of his death. Can you imagine the quandry, their questions? “How will we manage the Passover and Sabbath meal tonight just after our beloved Jesus has died?” Easter, according to John, offers a rich possibility for prayer. And may we delight in God who through the generations has nourished his people. Yolande Trainor, Cape Town

The Prior Benedictine Abbey Subiaco PO Box 2189 Pietersburg 0700

ISHOP Pius Dlungwane of Mariannhill addressing newly ordained priests last year spoke of an “urgent need to revive the spirit for priests to visit the faithful in their homes”. Priests, who know their flock personally, present their specific congregations with more meaningful homilies, simply because they know where their people are coming from. They cannot do this if they have no idea who these people are to whom they preach Sunday after Sunday. And quite often, sermons have absolutely no bearing on the lives of the people to whom they are preached. A parish where people know their priest, and he them, is truly enriched, inclusive and therefore, more cohesive. Their priest is someone who cares enough to get to know them at grassroots level. The faithful too, can confidently go to the priest with their troubles, instead of seeking help elsewhere. These days anyone who knows his

WO

confusing

statements

Claire Mathieson in her Hope&Joy feature “Upholding values is to protect human rights” writes that gays and lesbians are marginalised members of society who sadly have not come to perceive human rights as applicable to them. On the other side, Cardinal O’Brien of Edinburgh is reported as writing that at the behest of a small minority of gay activists attempts are undertaken to redefine marriage for the whole of society. What now? Are homosexuals deficient of human rights or abundant in them? JH Goossens, Dundee 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.


PERSPECTIVES Rev John Davis

Fellowship will lead to unity

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NGOING, meaningful fellowship between Christians is the key to unity. Only, it demands a price— the setting aside of time and money to host and to be with others. This, though, is merely the beginning; fellowship across the barriers, meeting regularly, acknowledging our common unity in Christ and getting to know one another is so important. We know this, but find it difficult to put into practice for a variety of reasons. Jesus—the eternal, compassionate Son of God—sees the potential of his divided, fragmented Church and must be both gladdened and saddened at the response we give. In Our Lord’s high priestly prayer offered in Holy Week (Jn 17:11,20–23) there is a deep, divine longing for the glory of unity, which Jesus himself is experiencing, to be shared with his friends, disciples and loved ones: “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (17:23). Once the Spirit has cut us to the heart with her double-edged sword (Holy Spirit is feminine in the Greek), leading us to repentance, we need on-going inspiration to know what each of us must do to fulfil that prayer, for it is offered so powerfully and so lovingly that it requires an perpetual response from the Spirit-filled community, holding long-term implications for those who dare to take their faith seriously. My wife and I had made friends with many youngish Catholic clergy in the 1960s, so it was no surprise when a group of them attending a conference in Grahamstown rocked up at our home out of the blue, and we had a wonderful party together. I have never forgotten that—a sign of the unity which is Our Lord’s divine will for his Church. In my less charitable moments I imag-

ine the young, vital Lord sending the angel Gabriel to admonish the leaders of the Church—Catholic and Protestant— for their astonishing luke-warm attitude towards their birthright in the Body— Unity. “Listen carefully,” he warns in my musings, “the Lord of the Church is losing patience with the foot-dragging attitude of so many leaders preventing the Spirit from cementing unity amongst his people. I have been sent to warn you that two full years is all you have before the Divine Patience ends. At that time he will act unilaterally and set new, fresh goals for his Church which no-one will be able to ignore or set aside.” Exciting, exacting words, or “garbage”? Since it is true that we have the mind of Christ, we need to tread gently upon this holy ground. The Church, as we know, is divided both geographically between East and West and also between those who love a centralised unity and those who love the freedom of a more flexible, democratic church system.

Members of an inter-denominational choir sing at a Christian unity event in New York. (Photo: CNS)

New Vines, New Skins: An ecumenical series

Believers without bishops or leaders exercising oversight often discover that fragmentation is their lot. How we are going to be one in Christ (even in a socalled spiritual unity) is Our Lord’s closely-guarded secret but which he whispers from time to time to his loved ones. For me it is important to challenge the Church at the local level to discover what we hold in common and not allow differences to divide us. One important principle I have discovered is that Jesus cannot keep away when two or three believers meet in his name (Mt18:20). Since this is an important, divine principle, Holy Communion can no longer be judged, in my view as an Anglican cleric, as being “valid” or “invalid” depending on whether the presiding clergyperson has been “properly ordained” or not (also, whether they be male or female). If Our Lord sees fit to accept what sometimes or often is termed an “irregular” ministry, and to be with his very own baptised flock in person, who am I to argue? But we do argue and can so easily be offended by challenges to our well-nurtured and orthodox upbringings; this is where we need the gentle annointing of the Spirit to guide us into all truth. The sacrificial, agapé love of Jesus is going to have his way, long-term, and build up the Body of Christ to the glory of God the Father. Ongoing, meaningful fellowship between believers is the way forward. Let us thank God for helping us to know his mind as we move together into his carefully-prepared divine plan for the Church, his kingdom and his world. n John Davis is a semi-retired Anglican priest in Kenton-on-Sea, Eastern Cape

What exactly do we bring to the table?

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RECENTLY had the joy of having lunch with friends. It was truly a pleasurable experience for more than one reason. Firstly, I enjoyed the company of the people around me, they were people I wanted to be with and with whom I could easily spend hours on end. Secondly, there was wholesome, delicious food to eat and refreshingly enjoyable drinks. And thirdly, it was in a home that was welcoming and warm. The hosts were easygoing, happy and ready to serve. The table was filled. What a perfect setting for an enjoyable and memorable lunch experience. As we were feasting on one delicious dish after the other, we realised that the hosts have prepared the favourite meals of the invited guests. So, even before we arrived, we were already in the minds and hearts of our hosts. They knew us, they knew what we enjoyed and they prepared just that for us. While we were eating, our hosts were continuously saying things like, “take some more”, “can I pass this on to you”, “would you like some more to drink?”. These questions and suggestions to the guests speak of the host’s desire for the guests to share with them, to be part of their meal and to enjoy deeply with them. During the meal we recalled other memorable occasions and then shared those with each other to enjoy once more. Around such a table we experience

the true nature of community. To be intimately close with others, serving, caring and sharing with each other. An enjoyable lunch is not just about the food; we bring ourselves to the table. The most exquisite meal can be tasteless when there are tensions and hostility around the table. It is only when we bring ourselves completely and we place ourselves at the service of others and we are willing to share about ourselves around the table that we really enjoy the feast–the food and the people. In our organisations, this is also true. Each board room and meeting room is the table where colleagues gather. Our plans, ideas, progress reports and presentations and so on are the dishes we place on the table for each other to enjoy. Our attitudes of understanding, constructive

A family eats around the table, a place where we experience the true nature of community, Judith Turner writes.

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feedback, genuine praise, appreciation and congratulations are what we feed from during the meeting to experience the sense of community within our organisation. Often this is not the case, however. Many times we bring suspicion, hidden agendas, attacks and unfair criticisms to the table. And we reap the results of that as well. How many times have we not heard people say: “Oh please, not another meeting.” Such expressions speak volumes of what happens during meetings and what the state of community within the organisation is. The meeting table is also a place where we have to bring ourselves, to truly share where we are at, what we are struggling with, where we are succeeding and this needs to be received with an attitude of genuine appreciation for what is going well and positive, constructive feedback on how we can move forward in the areas that are challenging. Whether it is a lunch table or a meeting table: the table is the place where we can become food for each other. It is a place where we can experience Christ who has prepared a table for us.

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7

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Point of Reflection

The end isn’t nigh

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NE thing that will never end is speculation about the future. We imagine and talk about our hopes, worries, goals and our possible demise. Throughout history, there have been theories and predictions from many great minds about the end of the world. Some people have taken much time and effort to build up supporting evidence from religious texts, historical trends and numerology to point to the end of the world. Most of these prophets wisely leave the date unspecified, presumably to avoid embarrassment when the end of the world fails to materialise. Others have put the date far into the future, long after their corporeal bodies have returned to dust. However, there are those few brave souls who are willing to stick their necks out and give the world a date in the near future, when they themselves will presumably still be around to either bask in the glow of glory or suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, should the cosmic plan go awry. These predictions, unfortunately, have at times confused many devoted believers of various religions and cults. Speculation about the end of the world is nothing new. Many Christians of the first generation were intensely apocalyptic and believed that Christ’s second coming was imminent. At the dawn of our new millennium, Ugandans were shocked by a tragic end of a doomsday prediction. After the world failed to end in December 1999, as predicted by the Movement for Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, hundreds of the sect’s followers were clubbed, strangled, hacked to death or poisoned. Trouble started when some cult members who had been asked to sell their possessions and give the proceeds to the church had apparently demanded their money back when a prediction that the world would end on failed to come true—so the cult leaders decided to kill dissenting and unruly cult members. In the year 2006, members of the House of Yahweh, a religious sect in Kenya, braced themselves for the doomsday warning issued by their USbased spiritual leader, Yisrayl Hawkins. They started building special shelters to protect themselves from the prophesied nuclear war which would bring three and a half years of great tribulation. As we know, the nuclear calamity did not happen. Last year US Christian radio host Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, sweeping the globe, time zone by time zone. When the expected failed to occur, Camping feigned an error and postponed the end of the world to October 21, 2011. That also passed without the predicted apocalypse. It was reported that many of Camping’s followers had sold all their possessions and quit their jobs in anticipation of the rapture. This year the world is scheduled to end again, based on the Mayan Calendar and other sources. The reason is that the Mayan long-count calendar ends on December 21, 2012 and so this date supposedly will mark the end of the world, just four days before Christmas. The bottom line about all these predictions is that they have all been wrong, just as the December 21 doomsday will prove wrong. The authors of New Testament—Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude—all gave warnings about the deceivers that had, in their time, already emerged and also about those that would come in the future. Jesus warns about false messiahs and false prophets who will arise. Believers should not preoccupy themselves with constructed philosophies about the end of the world, but rather focus on the message that will free people from sufferings of earthly existence. Jesus did tell us, however, to stay alert and be prepared: “Of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mk 13:32). Let us hold on to the words of Jesus: “Take courage…do not be afraid!” (Mt 14:27).

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8

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

COMMUNITY

Sean Ross and Julia Hawkin married at Holy Trinity Church in Durban.

Members of the newly established Catholic Women’s League in Plumstead, Cape Town, photographed with Anne Deary (diocesan president) and Pat McEwan (past national president of the CWL). (Submitted by Mrs Adele Dawson)

St Mary’s in De Aar diocese had a fundraising stall at the Karoo Central Show where they sold cool drinks, sausage rolls, prego rolls and Russian rolls. Volunteers from the parish took turns working shifts. Photographed are some of the volunteers: (from left) Joseph Sequieira, Ines Orfao, Conceious Coreira, Coleen Orfao, Ivalda Sequeira and Rose Sequiera. (Submitted by Carol Smith)

Kabelo Huma and Nondumiso Jwara from the SACBC Aids Office were in Mariannhill from for a home-based care refresher training conducted by Hospice Palliative Care Association. In attendance were 31 caregivers. Ten from Ithembalethu Outreach Project in Estcourt and 21 from Mariannhill Diocese Aids Programme. Bishop Pius Dlungwane was very grateful for the training. He presented the participants with certificates of attendance. (Submitted by Alison Munro OP)

Carmen Clothier (back left) and Purvine Wagner (back right) received their first Holy Communion at Christ the King in Worcester, Oudtshoorn. They are photographed with the parish priest Fr Enrico Parry, Lauren Hill, Johain Wagner and Amber Leigh Wagner. The Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur celebrated their 208th anniversary. Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad blessed and participated in the formal opening of St Peter Claver High School, at the site of the Old Notre Dame Convent in the diocese. He is photographed with Br Michael de Klerk, who was MC for the ceremonies, Zunelle De Ru, head of school, and Sr Marie McLouglin SND.

RELAUNCH Prior to the special Hope&Joy sms SERIES, readers of The Southern Cross might have subscribed to the REDEMPTORIST sms SERVICE

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY To reactivate or initiate the subscription to the Redemptorists’ THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, sms the word CATHOLIC to 31222 to receive an inspirational DAILY message for only R7 per week. To opt out, sms STOP CATHOLIC to 31222. customer care +27 21 702 3333

Built in 1885 Ss Simon and Jude church in Simon’s Town, Cape Town, is replacing the original church roof tiles. The replacement and repairs to the roof have been funded by the parish as well as by a donation from the archdiocese of Cape Town. (Submitted by Peter Fewell)


HOPE&JOY

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

And salvation for all Claire Mathieson

S

ALVATION is the deliverance from sin and its consequences through Jesus Christ and is accessible to us all—regardless of whom we are or what we’ve done. This sentiment is even extended to convicted criminals. Some, especially victims and their families, find it hard to forgive those in prison but it is “by his death [Jesus, the Son of God] has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all,” said Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio (1990). And as Christians, we are called to support the prison ministry because we are dealing with human beings—people who have made wrong choices and each of us has made a wrong choice at some point in time in our lives, says Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, the liaison bishop for specialised ministries, which includes prison ministry. “We are called to help restore these people,” says the archbishop, adding that prisoners have some famous ancestors such as John the Baptist, St Paul and Jesus, who all spent time behind bars. “It is also the will of the Lord. We need to care for prisoners because he wants prisoners to be saved. It is the will of God and therefore the duty of the Church,” says Archbishop Slattery. Fr Babychan Arackathara MSFS of the Prison Care and Support Network in the archdiocese of Cape Town believes that “once we accept Jesus as our saviour we experience salvation. And when we live in communion with Jesus we experience salvation.” Everyone has the potential and opportunity to achieve salvation Fr Arackathara says. “With Jesus, all are entitled to receive salvation.” The St Francis de Sales Missionary says God himself commands us to visit the prisons: “We read in Matthew 25:36-40, ‘I was in prison and you visited me...in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine you did to me’.” He says the role of the Church is to preach the Good News of salvation to all. Fr Arackathara refers to Mark 2:17, “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright but sinners.” “In my work with the prison population I have learned that a huge percentage of the offenders

A Church of Hope and Joy

were victims before they became criminals. Our call as Christians is to share the Good News to all— especially those on the margins of the society. The image of God in the parables of the Prodigal Son, lost coin, lost sheep is that he is a compassionate and forgiving God. If I profess to be a Christian, then I have a responsibility to believe that every offender or sinner has the potential to be a saint,” Fr Arackathara says. Mariah Paulsen, an unsentenced inmate at Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town, says that thanks to the love and support of the Catholic Prison Network, the inmates have a feeling of hope and love has been found within prison confines. “We are so much in need of forgiveness to ensure love becomes a citizen in this prison and all other prisons in the country and all around the world,” she says. Ms Paulsen says many inmates have reflected on their lives. “Most of the time what bothers people is the lack of forgiveness from their families, community and those they directly offended.” She says this leads to harbouring self-abuse, guilt builds up and fear, doubt and hopelessness set in. “There is no way for love and change. Instead worthlessness gains ground and the chance for light and love loses the opportunity to grow—hence the continuous violent or crime related tendencies.” Prison is quiet, says Archbishop Slattery. “There is time to reflect, there is time to learn and to grow in prison. A lot of people come out better, others come out worse than before—and that’s where our work is important.” The archbishop says that everybody needs forgiveness and “we can grow in forgiveness”—something very positive and a positive outcome of prison. Fr Jordan Ngondo, deputy director of Correctional Services in Gauteng, says prisoners are human and created in the image and likeness of God. “They are our brothers and sisters from our own families, schools, churches and neighbourhood. They are people who make mistakes like you and me and they deserve to

Salvation is available to all—regardless of who they or what they’ve done. Archbishop William Slattery is seen with prisoners on World prayer day for prison ministry on August 25, 2011. be forgiven and given a second chance.” Fr Ngondo says that potentially every person could end up at a correctional facility—even Jesus Christ, “which is why we must forgive”. Prisoners need forgiveness, but for victims and their families, granting forgiveness is not always easy. “For families that have been destroyed by crime it’s very difficult to forgive and impossible to forget,” says Archbishop Slattery. The prison ministry ministers to these families who “also need our help to be encouraged”, the archbishop says. “Over time, our hearts begin to warm. It is a slow process but it is important.” The archbishop says an old French saying sums up the importance of forgiveness: “‘To understand all is to forgive all.’ Empathy and understanding is an important part of healing for families, and this is equally important for the prisoners.”

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o healing for those on both sides of the bars is achieved through forgiveness. Ms Paulsen says in her experience, inmates serving sentences or those awaiting trial who know they are forgiven “walk in peace and love no matter how dark the road ahead, because love surrounds their hearts and carries them through”. She says that there are wonder-

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APRIL 13 - 15 The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Our Christian Life Repeat of Lenten Lecture by Mgr Paul Nadal APRIL 20 - 22 Question and Answers: About your journey to God Led by Fr Urs Fischer NOVEMBER 9 - 11 Search for Life by Fr Pierre Lavoipierre

NOVEMBER 23 - 25 Mary, the Mother, has the message by Deacon Tony de Freitas DECEMBER 7 - 16 8-Day directed retreats by Fr Urs Fischer and Br Crispin Graham DECEMBER 24 - JANUARY 1, 2013

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9

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ful people “waiting in prison, patiently, to be forgiven and eventually to forgive themselves”. “There are inmates here that have peace, but there are many waiting. God taught the message of forgiveness which will save a life from self-destruction and hatred,” Ms Paulsen says. “When people begin to hear about the major reasons of crime and incarceration in our country and listen to the stories of transformed offenders, they realise the need to support the pastoral outreach to prisoners,” says Fr Arackathara. The Southern Cross contributes to the prison ministry by sending copies of the newspaper to all prison ministries that request it. The initiative is subsidised by the Southern Cross Associates’ Campaign. “We receive quite a bit of feedback from prisoners who receive spiritual nourishment from reading The Southern Cross,” says editor Günther Simmermacher. “Copies get passed around widely, and they present the prisoners with a link to the world outside as well as with a possibility of changing their lives.” Mr Simmermacher said that one inmate even converted to Catholicism on account of having read about the faith in The Southern Cross. “Another prisoner sent the Associates’ Campaign a donation of 50 cents in appreciation of

receiving The Southern Cross.” Archbishop Slattery says the South African Church recognises the importance of aiding the country’s incarcerated people and is working towards having a desk in each diocese to ensure the care of prisoners. “The Church is there to offer a new family to these people,” many of whom were once involved in gangs, says the archbishop. “We want to help prisoners encounter Jesus and be friends with Jesus and through him find salvation.” Through prison care, inmates are offered many courses to “restore the individual and rebuild the person,” Archbishop Slattery says. Correctional Services offer the inmate studies, spiritual care and counselling—an opportunity to make right one’s previous mistakes. Fr Arackathara says the prison ministry is gaining support but “the need is great and we’ve got to attract more people to assist us to reach out to the hidden population of our country”. “I’m grateful to those who took the time to teach about forgiveness,” says Ms Paulsen. “I finally got it after three years hardened by anger. I am now of love.” Ms Paulsen says that because of the gift of salvation “fruits of this labour of love—to forgive and to help others—are guaranteed in life, in death and in heaven.”


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FAITH

The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

Devotion to the Divine Mercy enriches growth The Divine Mercy devotion remains contentious among many Catholics. COLLEEN CONSTABLE argues that the devotion enriches spiritual growth and is relevant in reaching out to those who need God’s mercy.

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HERE are different perspectives about the devotion to the Divine Mercy: while there is growing support among the faithful, others say that the devotion is not for everyone; some clergy support the devotion and others question it. There are also priests who spend their lifetime researching, writing and promoting the devotion to the Divine Mercy. One such testimony is that of the late Reverend Professor Ignacy Rozycki, a former critic of the devotion and the specific private revelation. He refused to take part as a “theologian-expert in the beatification process of the saint”. Later out of curiosity, he did a casual reading of the Diary of St Faustina, followed by a methodical reading. This led him to undertake a strictly scientific study on the cause of St Faustina. It took him ten years to complete and the findings changed his perspective. His prejudice turned him into becoming “the greatest defender of the devotion to the Divine Mercy”, writes Fr George Kosicki CSB in his book Tell My Priests. Understanding the devotion requires spiritual reading and an open-minded approach. The devotion is forward-looking: it challenges you to ponder your own spiritual readiness and to contemplate the Risen Christ in a contemporary

world. First, the devotion has a spiritual and anthropological context. It prevents lip service: the tendency to follow devotional practices as a religious activity, when the soul and mind, the whole being of a person is not connected to it, and living it. The devotion to the Divine Mercy requires a prayerful and Eucharistic spiritual life, trust in God and living the message of his mercy in daily life. It eliminates religionism: faith without works. Second, it is important to have clarity about the devotional practices. Fr Seraphim Michalenko MIC writes in The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion that “Divine Mercy is at the heart of the Gospel...mercy is essential to understanding [God’s] message of love and salvation. Mercy even reveals his very identity...God’s very nature is love (Jn 4:8): infinite, eternal, self-giving love among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...This Divine Mercy is compassionate love—a love that seeks to meet the needs and relieve the miseries of others.”

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he chaplet to the Divine Mercy is a eucharistic prayer, a powerful intercessory prayer, addressed to God the Father, offering the sacrifice of his son. In his book Special Urgency of Mercy, Fr Kosicki describes this aspect of the devotion as “a concrete way of exercising mercy in spirit” and links it to Luke 6:36 and 10:42. Hence it can be asked: who can offer daily such a prayer on behalf of others and not experience inner healing of self? There is an element of liturgical spirituality to the devotion: the link between celebration of the Eucharist and adoration. The Hour of Great Mercy has become a communal practice across the world. In some churches overseas people gather on a daily basis to offer the chaplet to the Divine Mercy. It

is a combination of vocal and kataphatic prayer: there is usually an image of the Divine Mercy placed in the church. Or the prayer is offered during exposition of the Holy Eucharist: integrating vocal prayer and a silent gaze upon the Eucharist: an apophatic manner of contemplation. Fr Michalenko writes in The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion that the image of the Divine Mercy represents “the graces of Divine Mercy poured out upon the world, especially through baptism and the Eucharist...” The feast of Mercy is the most important aspect of the devotion. According to Fr Michalenko, Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, is in accord with liturgical tradition: St Augustine called the eight days of Easter, referring to the Octave, “days of mercy and pardon”. Fr Kosicki writes “that the feast of Divine Mercy reflects the Old Testament feast of the Day of Atonement when all sin and debts were wiped away (see Lev 16 and Sirach 50)”. The novena to the Divine Mercy is part of preparation for the feast of the Divine Mercy prescribed by the Lord. “The fact of a novena, nine days of preparation and waiting, echoes the great novena in preparation for outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” writes Fr Kosicki. He refers to the aspect of “constant prayer” until the day of Pentecost, as indicated in Acts 1:14 and Acts 2:1-4.

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hird, to contemplate the Risen Christ in daily life and take action: the aspect of Christian love, the love of neighbour. There is an interconnection between love of God and love of neighbour. See Mt 22:37-39. And Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Dives in Misericordia (1980), states: “An act of merciful love is only such when we are

deeply convinced at that moment that we perform it that we are at the same time receiving mercy from the people who are accepting it from us” (14). In April 2007 a group of us started a Divine Mercy prison apostolate to support the spiritual development needs of Catholic inmates. At the time it included a group of dedicated parishioners from three parishes. The parish responsible for implementation performs the coordination function. Among many other spiritual supports offered to inmates, the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday remains a priority: an opportunity of reconciliation and healing. In 2008 a programme against gender-based violence was developed and implemented with support from various stakeholders. This programme focuses on survivors, family, and perpetrators and integrates Christian spirituality, social policy and the concept of ubuntu. One of the programme highlights in 2009 included reaching 83 inter-denominational women survivors of domestic violence through an integrated work session of clinical psychology, Christian spirituality, leadership and social justice and to assist them to establish a domestic violence support group.

Sacred Heart Private Primary School

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The following criteria will also be considered; • Strong management, organisational and leadership skills preferably in a Catholic educational environment. • A committed Professional with a dynamic, visionary approach to challenges of present-day education in South Africa. • Be fully acquainted with current trends and developments in Education in South Africa. • The ability to contribute to the development and implementation of strategic planning. • Suitable teaching Qualifications with experience in a primary school. Salary package is negotiable. Please apply in writing to: The manager, Sacred heart primary school, P.o Box 5826, Taung 8584, Cell: 0848409142, Email: Saheta@lantic.net, Giving details of Qualifications, experience and names of two contactable referees. Closing date; 20 May, 2012

The school reserves the right not to proceed with the filling of the post. An application will not in itself entitle the applicant to an interview or appointment and failure to meet the requirements of the advertised post will result in applicants automatically disqualifying themselves from consideration. Only short listed candidates will be contacted.

A work session was held with 80 inmates convicted of gender-based violence and profiled for re-integration into the community. A clinical psychology session was followed by a modern leadership framework discussion which includes reflection on what the Merciful Heart of Jesus represents in the context of exercising leadership in everyday life. An inmate commented afterwards: “The knowledge that you have imparted was very valuable and has definitely empowered us. This session has taught us that though we have the desire, courage, belief, commitment, we have to put it into action. It has to be positive, constructive, meaningful and contributive.” Works of mercy is a labour of love that results in a state of prayerfulness and a changed mindset for those who perform it. And it improves the quality of life of others. If the devotion to the Divine Mercy strengthens our spiritual life, increases our sense of social responsibility and cohesion, promotes positive values, increases our levels of emotional intelligence and inspires us towards a fresh sense of activism that benefit those most vulnerable or marginalised in our society, then it is indeed a relevant devotion in our time.

vocationslcm@zol.co.zw


The Southern Cross, April 11 to April 17, 2012

CLASSIFIEDS

Sr Therese Wightman IBVM on the institute’s council in Rome. On her return to South Africa she served as provincial leader for nine years, facilitated meetings of other congregations and formed part of the Tertianship team. In the 1990s she moved back to Cape Town and for a number of years she served the parish of St Catherine of Siena in Kleinvlei as parish sister. Right to the end of her life she was always gracious, wise, compassionate, an excellent listener and she retained her sense of humour. She read widely and contributed in a positive way to all our deliberations. It was when she was provincial leader that she led the initiative to invite lay persons to take over the administration of our schools, a decision we have never regretted. She trusted sisters and invited those who felt called to discern and undertake various other ministries.

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ORETO Sister Therese Wightman died on January 19 in Cape Town. She was born Phyllis Veronica Wightman in Kimberley on December 10, 1927, the second child in a family of five. Upon the death of her father, the family moved to Cape Town and it was there that she finished her schooling at Loreto Convent School in Sea Point. She began her novitiate in Pretoria in 1945. Sr Therese was a much loved and respected woman, not only among the Sisters of Loreto worldwide but also by those with whom she was in contact—her family, pupils, teachers, members of other congregations with whom she worked. She held many positions in the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the Loreto congregation is formally known. She was principal of the school in Sea Point, novice mistress in Pretoria and Ireland; she served for six years

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #492. ACROSS: 1 Salome, 4 Herbal, 9 Long-suffering, 10 Novices, 11 Eagle, 12 Scrap, 14 Usual, 18 Estop, 19 Accedes, 21 Good attribute, 22 Rushed, 23 Gossip. DOWN: 1 Solent, 2 Long vacations, 3 Music, 5 Elevens, 6 Brings and buys, 7 Lagger, 8 Of use, 13 At peace, 15 Beggar, 16 Canto, 17 Asleep, 20 Cairo

Liturgical Calendar Year B

Sunday, April 15, Second Sunday of Easter Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24, 1 John 5:1-6, John 20:19-31 Monday, April 16, feria Acts 4:23-31, Psalm 2:1-9, John 3:1-8 Tuesday, April 17, feria Acts 4:32-37, Psalm 93:1-2, 5, John 3:7-15 Wednesday, April 18, feria Acts 5:17-26, Psalm 34:2-9, John 3:16-21 Thursday, April 19, feria Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36 Friday, April 20, feria Acts 5:34-42, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, John 6:1-15 Saturday, April 21, feria Acts 6:1-7, Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19, John 6:16-21 Sunday, April 22, Third Sunday of Easter Acts 3:13-15, 17-19, Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9, 1 John 2:15, Luke 24:35-48

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MEMORIAM

During her latter years Sr Therese was cared for at Nazareth House in Cape Town, where she died peacefully. Her Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Peter’s church in Strand. She is survived by her brother Frank and her sister, Joan Addison. Sr Rosaleen O’Kane IBVM

Word of the Week

Psalmody: The chanting of psalms in divine worship; it passed over from the synagogue to the early Church, following the example of Christ. Application: In biblical times professional singers chanted psalms during Jewish religious services. Occasionally, the congregation interpolated a short refrain between the chanted verses. The alternation of soloist and chorus is called responsorial psalmody.

Community Calendar

To place your event, call Lara Moses at 021 465 5007 or e-mail l.moses@scross.co.za Central: Tuesday 09:00 BETHLEHEM: Mass with novena to St Shrine of Our Lady of Anthony. First Friday Bethlehem at Tsheseng, 17:30 Mass. Mercy noveMaluti mountains; Thursna prayers. Tel: 031 309 days 09:30, Mass, then 3496. exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 058 721 0532. JOHANNESBURG: CAPE TOWN: Rosary at Marie Stopes clinic, Peter Place, SandDay of Prayer held at ton. First Saturday of every Springfield Convent starting month, 10:30-12:00. Also at 10:00 ending 15:30 last Gandhi Square, Main Rd. Saturday of every month— Third Saturday of every all welcome. For more month, 10:30-12:00. Tel: information contact Jane Joan 011 782-4331 Hulley 021 790 1668 or 082 Sr Rosemarie of the Holy Exposition of the Blessed Cross Sisters is looking for Sacrament: first Friday of musical instruments (new the month at 09:20 followed or used) for the elderly and by Holy Mass at 10:30. Holy adult patients of the psyHour: first Saturday of each chiatric ward to help make month at 15:00. At Our a “holy noise to the Lord”. Lady of the Angels, Little Contact Sr Rosemarie at Eden, Edenvale. Tel: 011 the Holy Cross Convent, Modderdam Road or call 609 7246. 021 934 6006. You can PRETORIA: leave your gift at reception First Saturday: Devotion at Nazareth House, Upper to Divine Mercy. St Martin Mill Street, Cape Town. de Porres, Sunnyside, DURBAN: 16:30. Tel Shirley-Anne St Anthony’s, Durban 012 361 4545.

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Pilgrimage to Poland September 2012 Visit Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow Wadowice and more Follow the footsteps of Blessed Pope John Paul II And Saint Faustina Call Elna at 082 9750034 e-mail: elna@holysites.co.za Website: www.holysites.co.za

NTSIHLELE—Flora Mpho. In loving memory of Flora Mpho who passed away on April 12, 2011. You have been a dear supportive sister to Evelyn and Gladys, a caring aunt to our nieces and nephews and a willing “surrogate” grandmother to our grandchildren. Missed by all of us. Always remembered in our prayers. May your soul rest in peace.

PERSONAL

ABORTION is murder— Speak out on this issue. ABORTION WARNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, swiftly and undetected. It clinically makes the womb inhospitable to, and reject those early ‘accidental’ conceptions (new lives) which sometimes occur while using it. (Medical facts stated in its pamphlet) CAN YOU be silent on abortion and walk with God? Matthew 7:21 See www.180movie.com CARER with nursing experience looking for a five day week job to care for frail and bedridden persons. 021 797 4073. LOOK AT santuario-fa tima.pt. Show your friends.

PRAYERS

O MOST beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me where you are, Mother of God. Queen of heaven and earth I humbly beseech you from the bot-

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tom of my heart to succour me in my necessity. There is none who can withstand your power, O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands. “Say this prayer for 3 consecutive days and then publish. G.E.

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11

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LONDON: Protea House: Underground 3min, Piccadilly 20min. Close to River Thames. Self-catering. Single per night R300, twin R480. Phone Peter 021 851 5200.

To advertise in this space call Elizabeth Hutton 021 465 5007 or e-mail

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 mjsalida@ mweb.co.za SEDGEFIELD: Beautiful self-catering garden flat sleeps four, two bedrooms, open-plan lounge, kitchen, fully equipped. 5min walk to lagoon. Contact 082 900 6282. STELLNBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, micro-wave). Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain walks; beach 20 minute drive. Affordable. Christian Brothers Tel 021 880 0242, cbcstel@gmail.com STRAND: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3-4. R450 p/night for 2 people-low season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607

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PH 021 447 4727

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3rd Sunday of Easter: April 22 Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19, Psalm 4: 2, 4, 7, 9, 1 John 2:1-5a, Luke 24:35-48

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NE important part of our celebration of Easter is to rejoice with the fact that resurrection means that our God can cope with the mystery of sin. The first reading for next Sunday has Peter addressing an astonished crowd, who are clearly Israelites, in the aftermath of his healing (“in the name of Jesus”) a beggar who had been lame since birth; he accuses his hearers of “murder” and betrayal of their history as People of God. For “God had glorified his son Jesus, and you people handed him over and denied him before Pilate...the Holy and Just one; you asked for a man who was a murderer to be given to you, you killed the pioneer of life, whom God raised from the dead”. Then comes the important phrase, which we shall hear again at the end of the gospel: “We are his witnesses.” Next Peter turns to deal with the mystery of sin: “I know, my brothers, that it was in ignorance that you acted, you and your leaders”; and the way to cope with sin is to know that God is in charge, and to turn back to that God. The psalm is a personal lament, begging God “answer me when I call...be gracious to me, hear my prayer”; things are in a bad way, for “many say, ‘may we see good’” But the

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The mystery of sin Nicholas King SJ

Sunday Reflections

psalmist, as always, is confident in God, “in peace I shall lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me lie down in confidence”. There is nothing with which God cannot cope. The second reading continues our journey through 1 John, and is still dealing with the mystery of sin: “My children, I am writing to you in order that you may not sin—but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus the just Messiah”, who is described as “the means of taking away our sins”, and, the author makes it clear, “not just our sins, but the sins of the entire world”. This raises the question of how we gain access to this, and the answer is that “we keep his commandments”, which is the true sign of “the love of God being made perfect” in us. The gospel for next Sunday is virtually the end of Luke’s gospel; it takes place immediate-

ly after the lovely story of the road to Emmaus. Cleopas and his co-walker come rushing back to the rest of the Church in Jerusalem, and discover that they knew it already: “He has appeared to Peter.” So they report their extraordinary experience, the transformation of their misery, “as he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread”. But once more, this time in the midst of their excitement rather than their misery, Jesus is present to them; and we notice that it seems the most natural thing in the world as he addresses them in words of the lovely Jewish greeting, “Peace to you”. However they have clearly not taken it all aboard (have we, in this third week of Easter?), and they are “startled and fearful, thinking they were looking at a spirit”, and not at all sure about this Resurrection business. So Jesus rebukes them for being “so disturbed, and questions arising in your hearts”. Then he gives them stark evidence: “Look at my hands and my feet—it is me!”; they are invited to touch, and see that he has ”flesh and bones”, and once more they are shown his “hands and feet”. They have still not got it, however, and Luke (charitably enough) describes them as “disbelieving out of sheer

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joy, and startled”. So they are given another piece of evidence: “Do you have something to eat?” When they give him “a portion of grilled fish”, he devours it before their eyes. Then the talking starts, and Luke sums up the whole gospel, as he shows us Jesus dealing with the disciples’ lack of faith. It is an Easter sermon, and we must listen to it, for it is addressed to us quite as much as it is to those incredulous early followers. He starts by reminding them of what he had always said, “when I was still with you: everything written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms about me had to be fulfilled”. Luke comments, “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (and we might pray that it will happen to us also, this week). Slowly, therefore, their unbelief is removed, as he teaches them that “it was written that the Messiah suffered and rose from the dead on the third day”. We are still dealing, of course, with the mystery of sin, in the shape of our (and their) unbelief, and so the sermon concludes that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins is to be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem”. That of course, is the story of Acts, which we are reading all through this Easter Season, both on Sundays and on weekdays. The story ends with a phrase that should leap off the page at us unbelieving sinners, as we go out into our Monday world: “you are witnesses of this”.

Southern Crossword #492

The midwives of ‘Galilee’ I

T’S no accident that when Jesus rose from the dead he appeared first to women. Why? During his pre-resurrection ministry, at least so it seems, he called mainly men to be the principal actors. Why a certain reversal at the resurrection? We can only speculate, but one reason might be that women are midwives. Something new is being born in the resurrection and women are the ones who attend to birth. That’s a metaphor worth reflecting on, not just in terms of the importance of women in ministry, but especially in terms of how we are all, women and men alike, called to respond to the resurrection, namely, by becoming midwives of hope and trust. And it’s a needed vocation because all of us, perpetually, are in the agony of struggling to give birth to trust. Why? Because we’ve all been wounded by betrayal, abuse, broken promises, broken relationships, and empty words. By the time we reach adulthood there is enough disillusionment in us to make it natural to say: “Why should I trust you? Why should I believe this? Why is anything different this time? I know how empty words can be!” The older we get, the harder it is to trust and the easier it is to become sceptical and cynical. Yet none of us wants to be this way. Something inside us wants to trust, to hope, to believe in the goodness of things, to again feel that trustful enthusiasm we

Conrad

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

once had as a child, when we were innocent (and “innocent” means “unwounded”), when we could still take another’s hand in trust. No one wants to be outside the circle of trust. But it’s a struggle, an agony of sorts, as we know. We’d like to trust, but often we can’t give birth to it. That’s where a midwife can be helpful. When a baby is born, normally the head pushes its way through the birth canal first, opening the way for the body to follow. A good midwife can be very helpful at this time, doing everything from giving support, through giving reassurance, through giving instruction, through teaching us how to breath, through actively helping to pull the new life through the birth canal. Her help can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, and it always makes the birth easier and healthier. That’s true too for trust and hope. A good midwife can be helpful in bringing these to birth. What can she bring that’s helpful? Insight, support, reassurance, certain spiritual “breathing exercises”, and experienced hands that can, if necessary, help pull the new child through the

birth canal. And one of the things a midwife of hope needs to do is what Jesus did when he met people, women and men alike, after his resurrection. He sent them back to “Galilee” where he promised they would re-find their hope and trust. What is “Galilee”? In the gospels, “Galilee” is more than a geographical place. It’s a place of the heart: the place of falling in love, of first fervour, of being inflamed with high ideals, of walking on water because one is naive and trustful enough to believe that this is possible. “Galilee” is the place we were before our hearts and ideals got crucified, the place inside us where trust and hope are gestated. A good midwife of hope, like Jesus on the morning of the resurrection, invites people to “Galilee”. How? Here’s an example: The famed American educator Allan Bloom tells a story of how a particular distasteful incident in a classroom once helped change forever the way he teaches. Sitting in a lecture hall as an undergraduate, he felt assaulted by a professor who began his class with these words: “You come here with your small-town, parochial biases, your naiveté; well, I’m going to bathe you in great truth and set you free!” Bloom remarks how this reminded him of a boy who had very solemnly informed him when he was seven that there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. This was no great truth, just an invitation to cynicism, like the professor’s comment. Reflecting on this, Bloom resolved to forever teach in exactly the opposite way. He would begin his classes this way: “You come here with your many experiences and your sophistication; well, I respect that, but I’m going to try to teach you how to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny again—and then maybe you’ll have some chance to be happy!” The resurrection of Jesus is about more than believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny, but, even so, Bloom’s pedagogy tells us something about what it means to go back to “Galilee” and give birth to trust in our lives. Somewhere in life we lose the child in us and lose too the trust and hope that go with that. It’s a painful struggle to give birth to trust again and, in that struggle, a midwife of hope, someone who believes in the resurrection, can indeed be a wonderful friend.

ACROSS

1. One of three who brought spices (Mk 16) (6) 4. Two short men connected with Basil (6) 9. Bearing hardships patiently (4-9) 10. Being virtuous, they enter monastery (7) 11. Bird on course but under par (5) 12. Get rid of a morsel (5) 14. Commonplace (5) 18. Legally impede poets (5) 19. Agrees to short month back in disturbed case (7) 21. Approved characteristic puts a bitter god out (4,9) 22. Ran to describe part of river where baby Moses lay (6) 23. It has tongues wagging (6)

DOWN

1. Stolen about near the Isle of Wight (6) 2. They may be overseas holidays (4,9) 3. Orchestral sounds pleasing to your ears (5) 5. Cricket teams at tea-time (7) 6. One does it to support parish bazaar (6,3,4) 7. He’s slower than the others (6) 8. Having utility value (2,3) 13. State of departed soul? (2,5) 15. One like Lazarus (6) 16. African town contains part of long poem (5) 17. Please, not being aware of it (6) 20. Air co in Egypt (5)

Solutions on page 11

CHURCH CHUCKLE

O

LD Mrs Watkins awoke one spring morning to find that the river had flooded the entire first floor of her house and the water was still rising. Two men passing by on a rowboat shouted up an invitation to row to safety with them. “No, thank you,” Mrs Watkins replied. “The Lord will provide.” The men shrugged and rowed on. By evening, the water level forced Mrs Watkins to climb on top of the roof for safety. A man in a motorboat offered to pick her up. “Don’t trouble yourself,” she told him, “the Lord will provide.” Pretty soon, Mrs Watkins had to seek refuge atop the chimney. When the Red Cross came by on patrol, she waved them on, shouting: “The Lord will provide.” Eventually the old woman drowned. Dripping wet and thoroughly annoyed, she came through the pearly gates. “What happened?” she cried. “For crying out loud, lady,” God said, “I sent three boats!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 120411  

11 April - 17 April, 2012

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