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S outher n C ross

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New head of Justice & Peace appointed

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Church NGO now looks to the future

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Crime: Priests are ‘soft targets’ By PoRtiA MtheMBu


Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft (right) hands a certificate from the South African Jewish Board of deputies to Fr Stephen Giles (Photo: Jana Bekker)

Jewish award for priest By Luky WhittLe


HE Jewish community of Kroonstad has presented Fr Stephen Giles, administrator of the city’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, with a certificate naming him a long-standing friend of the Jewish community and a devoted champion of the Jewish heritage of the town. Fr Giles’ name has been inscribed in the Golden Book in Jerusalem. The citation by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies marks the climax to the life-long friendship that has reigned between Fr Giles and the Jewish people. It started when he was a young boy in England in the late 1950s when he was asked by the local rabbi’s wife to pick up a burning coal that had fallen from the fire in her house and to sweep around the hearth in her house, since Jews are forbidden to perform creative labour on the Sabbath. After he had obliged, the rabbi asked Fr Stephen to become a Shabbat goy (Sabbath gentile) and they became friends. The rabbi always wore long sleeves but one day he had rolled up his sleeves. The young boy asked: “Rabbi, why do you have

numbers on your arms?” He explained that the numbers were tattooed on him at Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp. Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, the Travelling Rabbi of Sub-Saharan Africa, presented the certificate at a gathering which was attended by Bishop Peter Holliday of Kroonstad and members of the Jewish and Christian communities of the town. Rabbi Silberhaft praised Fr Giles for his friendship towards the Jewish community at a time when Jewish cemeteries have been vandalised throughout South Africa. “Jacob and Esau were diametrically opposed to one another,” the rabbi said. “Each of us has both brothers inside us. Fr Stephen is able to spread a message of goodness and kindness. This is what Jacob stood for and became what Israel stood for.” Fr Giles replied that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were Jewish. This created the common heritage shared by Christians and Jews, “our older brothers and sisters”, despite the “unhappy history” Catholics and Jews have shared. “To be Christian and anti-Semitic is a contradiction in terms because of our common heritage,” he said.

RIESTS and churches have become soft targets for criminals, a Pretoria priest said after two attacks on priests in South Africa in a week. Fr Mathibela Sebothoma spoke after brutal attacks on Fr Craigh Laubscher (pictured) of Lynwood, Pretoria, and another priest in the Western Cape, who asked not to be identified. Fr Laubscher was brutally beaten, strangled and left for dead by an intruder. He had helped the main suspect a week before the attack. “Assailants know that priests do not carry guns or weapons, and that some priests live alone,” Fr Sebothoma said. Priests and churches are therefore seen by criminals as soft targets. The priest, who has been robbed at gunpoint on two occasions and once narrowly escaped a carjacking, said: “I am praying for my attackers. Those who are persecuting priests are actually fighting against God and they will not succeed.” Fr S’milo Mngadi, information officer of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said that the priests’ ministry “requires trust of people and from this they cannot be protected”. Priests cannot simply reject people who approach them for help, he said, and this leaves them highly vulnerable. “So it is like this: it is dangerous but I will continue to expose myself because the urgency of saving souls is more important than being extra careful about my personal safety,” Fr Mngadi said. He suggested that the solitary lifestyle of priests might be re-evaluated. “Maybe a priest can stay with some family members in his house, as is done in other countries.” Fr Victor Phalana, vicar-general of Pretoria,

advised priests to be cautious. “Do not trust too much. You are allowed to be suspicious.” He said that parishioners need to protect their parish priests. “In the cathedral we now have CCTV cameras and beams which discourage potential robbers,” he said. Archbishop William Slattery told the Pretoria News that Fr Laubscher was attacked on the church premises. “There was a long struggle between the two as Fr Craigh tried to keep him from entering the house,” the archbishop said. The intruder, who a week earlier had received food from Fr Laubscher after asking for his help, battered the priest “with the handle of a power drill and strangled him”, Fr Sebothoma told The Southern Cross. Archbishop Slattery said that Fr Laubscher had told him in hospital that the assailant had intended to kill him, “because he knew the exact pressure points as he was strangling him”. The intruder managed to get the key to the house and locked Fr Laubscher in the office— leaving him to die. Fr Laubscher managed to contact his brother who dispatched security and police to the crime scene. The priest, whose entire face and body was severely bruised in the attack, was admitted into Jacaranda Hospital. The intruder took off with some money and broke into a car. He also managed to break into the gardener’s house where he stole a television and DVD player.

Pope: RSVP to God’s party invitation By Cindy Wooden


EING on God’s “guest list” is not enough for salvation; a person must respond to the offer of faith and actively participate in the life of the Church, Pope Francis said. Being a Christian means accepting God’s invitation to believe in Jesus and to celebrate with the whole Church the joy of being saved, the pope said during a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives. “A party is a gathering of people who talk, laugh, celebrate and are happy,” he said. “It’s

always a gathering of people. “The Church isn’t only for good people,” the pope said, because “all of us sinners have been invited” and called to form a community. A Christian cannot say, “I’ll go to the party, but only to the front room with the three or four people I know,” Pope Francis said. “You can’t do this in the Church. Either you enter with everyone or you stay outside. You can’t choose; the Church is for everyone, as I’ve said, beginning with the marginalised. It is the Church of all.”—CNS

CANONISATION PILGRIMAGE Join The Southern Cross and Radio Veritas on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi to witness the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in the Vatican

Led by Fr Emil Blaser OP • April 25 to May 4

Canonisation Ceremony | Papal Audience | St Peter’s | Sistine Chapel | Catacombs | Ancient Rome | Baroque Rome | Major Basilicas | Castel Gandolfo | Assisi | Porciuncula | Hermitage of the Carceri | Greccio (where St Francis invented the Nativity Scene) | Fonte Colombo |and much more.

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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013


SA’s water crisis needs action By PoRtiA MtheMBu

of free water per month. “This is commendable,” said Mr Tjahjono. “South Africa has provided a good example for other countries in the region.” However, even with these in place, the country still faces a major challenge in responding to the needs of those living in poverty. “People find that because the water service is usually unavailable they have to buy water at increased prices. “Sanitation services are also limited or unavailable, resulting in the susceptibility of inhabitants to water-borne diseases,” read the Vaal Water and Sanitation Declaration, declared by the FI members. “The accessibility to safe water is a fundamental human right,” Mr Tjahjono told The Southern Cross. The members of FI committed themselves to “journeying with

faith communities and the people they serve, advocating and promoting their rights to safe water and adequate sanitation”. They also promised to “engage in continuous dialogue with policy makers and invited like-minded people to join in preserving the purity of water as a common good”. Sharing the same sentiments was Virginia Molose, senior training specialist of the Mvula Trust, South Africa’s largest water and sanitation NGO. Having attended the conference she said that although Mvula allied itself with civil activism and not necessarily religion, it was “interesting to see that it shared the same approaches as the FI to support communities in accessing basic services—communicating the overall goal of the right to water”.

Salesians seek help to save youth organisation

Home to sing for the season


ATER depletion is occurring at an increasing rate and it is the legal duty of the South African government to ensure the preservation and accessibility of safe water and adequate sanitation to all citizens. This was the topic of discussion that saw local and international delegates gather at La Verna Retreat Centre in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, for the third International Water and Sanitation Conference. The workshop was organised by Franciscans International (FI), a non-governmental organisation in Geneva that works with the United Nations to deal with issues that affect the poor and most vulnerable around the world. The NGO has a general consultative status at the UN where it presents the concerns of Francis-


HE Salesians’ Life Choices is transforming lives in Cape Flats communities, including that of Piwe Ncetezo, a peer educator within the organisation. “I doubted myself because I failed Grade 10 … but being a peereducater made me feel important. My confidence and self-esteem grew,” Mr Ncetezo said. “Today I’m not a bad statistic; I have a job. Life Choices gave me the key; it is up to me which door I want to open.” Since 2005, the Salesians’ Life Choices programme has been running in Cape Flats communities. Every day the staff work to provide health services, academic support, family unification and spiritual leadership interventions. Since its inception, Life Choices has received support from the international community to do its work. However, with international funders pulling out of South Africa, it is now in need of local support if it is going to survive.

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can representatives, who work at the grassroots to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. “We’ve learned that raising the concerns of the disadvantaged to the decision-makers can bring a long-term change in their lives,” said Fr Markus Heinz OFM, member of the steering committee and director of FI. Also in attendance were representatives of South African governmental and non-governmental organisations. “The policies implemented in South Africa are ones we know of and are interested in learning more about,” said Mr Budi Tjahjono, member of the steering committee of the conference and an advocacy officer of FI. As a fast-growing economy, the need for water in South Africa is increasing, due to both the growth

Life Choices needs the Catholics of South Africa to come to the rescue now. Catholics can help save Salesian Life Choices by donating as little as R100 every month for one year. Become a monthly donor through its website ( Once-off donations of any amount can be made through its website or by making a deposit in its bank account (Standard Bank, Salesian Life Choices General, 070860823, Kromboom branch, 020909). “Become a fundraiser, let your social networks know about Life Choices and campaign to support the programme,” said a Salesians representative. “Organise a fundraising dinner with your friends, donate your birthday money. Be creative, as every cent counts. Salesian Life Choices’ fate could be in your hands.” n Salesian Life Choices, Our Lady of Help Parish, 312 Imam Haron Road, 7780 Lansdowne. Tel: 021 696 4167.

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in household consumption and also because of industrial and commercial needs, Mr Tjahjono told The Southern Cross. “Given the kind of ecosystem South Africa is embedded in, it probably should not be an industrial nation, yet it is among the most industrialised economies in the world,” wrote Fr Victor Phalana of the Justice and Peace Department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.


he South African government has embraced the Blue and Green Drop policies. Municipal service providers are certified with a “blue drop” if they fulfill certain requirements and with a “green drop” for meeting municipal wastewater treatment criteria. The government has also adopted a policy in which each family is granted six cubic metres


young people at a Life Choices meeting. the programme needs more funding to help benefit youngsters across the Cape Flats.

HE children of Little Eden in Johannesburg will host their annual Christmas concerts in November, on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 at Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home in Edenvale, and on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 at Elvira Rota Village in Bapsfontein. All concerts will begin at 10:00 and end at 12:00. Entrance is free. Refreshments will be served and tems such as special baked goods, cookies, cheese, Christmas cards, second-hand itens, and the homes’ famous pecan nuts will be on sale at the Christmas mini-market after the concerts. “The children thrive on having an audience to applaud them, and the Christmas concerts are a highlight of the year for them,” said Nicolette Muthige of Little Eden, a home for people with profound intellectual disability. n RSVP to Minah Diala, by November 18 at or 011 609 7246.

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Pilgrimage to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Sammy Mabusela 31 Aug-13 Sep 2014 Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Maselwane 7-20 Sep 2014

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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013



‘Ngiyakuhalalisela’ to a winner StAFF RePoRteR


GRADE 9 learner of Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg has placed first in the national isiZulu Olympiad. Masego Mafata achieved first position with 93%. Another Sacred Heart learner, Cassidy Wood, received 70%. Sacred Heart College offers Afrikaans and isiZulu as compulsory subjects from Grade 1 to Grade 9. “To be successful in a country like South Africa, one must be multi-lingual,” says Colin Northmore, head of Sacred Heart College. “It is not just about learning a language, but through learning another’s language one learns more about another’s culture.” Zodwa Mentoor, the administrator of the Olympiad, says the isiZulu Olympiad was launched this year in order to motivate learners to challenge themselves in building

their isiZulu vocabulary. This year, 407 Grade 9 and 10 learners wrote the Olympiad. There was a tie for first position in both Grade 9 and Grade 10. In Grade 9 Sacred Heart College’s Masego tied with Nombulelo Mkhize from St Anne’s in Pietermaritzburg. “The level of the competition was appropriate to each grade and the questions were ranked according to difficulty,” said Ms Mentoor. “Round 1 was moderate, and Round 2 was challenging as the multiple choice questions required complicated thinking rather than just circling the answer. Round 3 was more challenging as the competitors needed to use skills of evaluation, synthesis and analysis,” she said. “Overall, I was very impressed with the result. The turnout was also pleasing, and we hope to grow each year.”

Malcolm Salida, the new director of Catholic Welfare and development, and a marimba player at the organisation’s annual general meeting. (Photo: Sydney duval)

New CWD director shares vision for agency’s future By Sydney duVAL


Brittany Ward, a Grade 11 pupil at holy Rosary School in edenvale, Johannesburg, won the prestigious eastgate Look of Fashion 2013. She also won Miss Photogenic and Miss Personality. Brittany won a trip to Las Vegas where she will compete in an international competition representing South Africa. (Photo: Photosbypaul)

New J&P head By eMiL BLASeR oP


DOMINICAN priest has been appointed to succeed his confrere, Fr Mike Deeb, as coordinator of the Justice and Peace Department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Fr Stan Muyebe serves as parish priest of Our Lady of Mercy in Springs and as the episcopal vicar for education for the archdiocese of Johannesburg. He is currently vicar to the Dominican Fr Stan Muyebe provincial, Fr Sikhosiphi Mgoza, and bursar of the Dominican order in Southern Africa. He recently represented the Dominicans of Southern Africa at their general chapter at Trogir in Croatia. The new coordinator is a qualified canon lawyer, and taught at St Joseph’s Scholasticate in Cedara. He studied law at Stellenbosch University. Fr Muyebe has an ardent passion for human rights and Catholic social teaching. He has been involved in human rights activism through various NGOs. He has also been part of a research team on Catholic social ethics at the Angelicum University in Rome. Fr Deeb OP has been appointed the Dominican order’s representative at the United Nations.

ATHOLIC Welfare and Development’s new director Malcolm Salida used his inaugural report to share his vision for the future, describing his first six months as a challenging road from day one—“difficult at times, but richly rewarding and meeting many goodhearted people along the way”. He told the AGM of the Cape Town developmental agency that he was honoured to be director of an organisation with a significant history of creating self-reliant and caring communities in the greater Cape Town area for more than 40 years. This had been achieved through the loyal financial assistance of so many, enabling CWD to continue providing assistance and skills-based training to the poor and vulnerable from communities across Africa fleeing abuse, violence and poverty to seek employment and a better life in Cape Town. “My own sense of pride is tempered with a strong sense of reality, having assumed this role at a time of huge financial challenges facing so many non-profit organisations,” Mr Salida said. “With my own financial background and managerial experience, along with my social development work across Africa and Madagascar, I wish to direct CWD into far more sustainable paths.” The future would need strong partnerships and strengthening ex-


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isting relationships to achieve collaboration on all levels, he told the meeting, attended by CWD patron Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Henry and a strong contingent of clergy, laity, religious and staff.


WD could not have the greatest social development impact if it acted as an individual organisation, Mr Salida said. Working with other community-based stakeholders, and owning the crucial solutions that were key to our survival as a society, would mean service to an even wider net of beneficiaries. “I feel that as an organisation we are far too centred on physical structures—we need to engage more with communities at grassroots level. We need to discover where the real poor, hungry, vulnerable and lonely are— they are not always the ones that have access to our community centres or feeding kitchens.” Mr Salida continued: “Serving others obliges us to discern critically what we do and how we do it, if we are doing it unsparingly, without prejudice and with sincere hearts. Let us always respect those we serve and those who make it possible for us to continue this purposeful work. “The aim over time is to not only increase our footprint across the Western Cape, but to expand to other areas in South Africa.” He emphasised the importance of loyal and continuing financial sup-

port from donors, funders and partners to back CWD’s great works of charity and love: “I ask each of you this coming year to walk alongside us a little closer, as we reach out to even more beneficiaries and build a far more professional, accountable, efficient and sustainable organisation.” In his chairman’s report, Donovan Adonis noted that the past year had been extremely difficult, with dwindling resources. He thanked CWD staff and loyal funders for helping to perform miracles. Core funding had been depleted requiring hard choices: retrenchments, retirements, cutting costs and streamlining operations. Archbishop Brislin said a difficult year would be followed by a time of transition, including a recommendation for a new constitution that would need to be completed in the next 12-month period. Members of the previous board had offered to stand down, but he had asked them to continue to give new board members time to ensure a smooth transition. The new board members are: David Taylor, Manuel de Ponte, Felicity Harrison, Nonhlanhla Chanza, Eugene Jackson and Achmat Satardien. Office bearers will be chosen at the November board meeting. The AGM was followed by Mass in Sacred Heart church where Archbishop Brislin blessed and formally installed Mr Salida as CWD director.

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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013


Family synod to be based on ‘doctrine, not popular opinion’ By FRAnCiS X RoCCA


LTHOUGH preparations for the 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family will include an assessment of Catholics’ attitudes toward relevant Church teachings, the synod’s work will be based on Catholic doctrine and not on current public opinion, officials said. “Certainly the doctrine of the magisterium must be the basis of the common reasoning of the synod,” said Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, at a Vatican news conference. “It is not a question of public opinion.” As the synod’s relator, Cardinal Erdo will synthesise the remarks and recommendations of his fellow bishops in two speeches during the gathering, which Pope Francis has called for October 2014. In October 2013, the synod’s general secretary, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, sent bishops’ conferences around the world a preparatory document that in-

cluded a 39-item questionnaire asking about the promotion and acceptance of Catholic teachings on marriage and the family, and cultural and social challenges to those teachings. Among the topics of the questionnaire were divorce and remarriage, cohabitation, same-sex unions and contraception. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales put the questionnaire online in late October, on the SurveyMonkey site, leading to news stories about “polling” Catholics for their opinions and suggestions. Asked at the news conference whether that action was something other bishops’ conferences should emulate, Archbishop Baldisseri said the “question answers itself” and was “not worth considering”. The archbishop said that pastors were expected to provide summaries of the views and experiences of parishioners, and that their findings would be “channeled” in turn through national

bishops’ conferences for ultimate consideration by the synod. However, Archbishop Baldisseri said, individual Catholics are also welcome to communicate their views directly to the synod’s offices at the Vatican, for consideration by his staff during preparation of the synod’s working document, which should be published in May 2014. Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, special secretary of the 2014 gathering, was asked if the consultation process might encourage a “rift” between Catholics who accept or reject controversial Church teachings. “Listening so openly naturally means running these risks,” Archbishop Forte said. “What we know in the Church is that there is an ultimate reference point, which is the discernment of Peter.” The synod will document any such disagreements as honestly as possible, he said, and “propose to the Holy Father the questions and possibilities that open up”.—CNS

Prayer day for human trafficking in February? By CARoL GLAtz


FTER Pope Francis entrusted two Vatican academies to study the problem of human trafficking, a group of women religious asked the pope to raise greater awareness in the Church about the issue by establishing a worldwide day of prayer and fasting. “The pope was very interested in our suggestion and asked us what date we would like the day to be,” said Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti. “We told him February 8, the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita,” a Sudanese slave who found freedom in Italy and became a nun in

the late 19th century. Sr Bonetti, a leader among religious women in Italy working against human trafficking, was one of about 80 people attending a working group on trafficking at the Vatican. She told Catholic News Service about her informal meeting with Pope Francis in late September when she and three other sisters attended the pope’s early morning Mass at his Vatican residence. After the Mass the sisters presented the pope with a signed poster, photographs and letters from women who have been rescued from traffickers, but are being held in a detention facility in Rome.

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They also gave the pope a small white and blue rug that detainees had made by crocheting strips of paper bed sheets with a plastic fork, Sr Bonetti said. While he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future Pope Francis had been a strong supporter of local activists and initiatives fighting human trafficking and supporting rescued victims. Worldwide, at least 21 million people are victims of forced labour, including sexual exploitation. An estimated 100 000 to 300 000 minors are victims of sex trafficking at any given time, according to the US Justice Department.—CNS

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, blesses Catholic heidi kühn with water from the Jordan River at the Qasr el-yahud baptismal site in the West Bank. Ms kühn is founder of the Roots of Peace: Mines to Vines project, an international effort to remove landmines and plant the grounds with indigenous, sustainable plants and trees in war-torn areas. Some places in the Jordan River area, including an abandoned Franciscan monastery, are inaccessible because of landmines. Qasr el-yahud, which faces the baptismal site in the kingdom of Jordan, was long off-limits but has been completely cleared of mines and is now a popular place of pilgrimage. See for more on the project’s work in the region. (Photo: debbie hill/CnS)

False alarm caused stampede


RCHBISHOP Valerian Okeke of Onitsha said a stampede that left at least 25 people dead was caused by a false alarm raised by someone not yet identified. In a statement read by Fr Uche Ukor, archdiocesan social communication director, the archbishop said that the stampede in the early hours of November 2 at Holy Ghost Adoration Centre in Uke was not caused by a snake or any act of sabotage, as had been suggested in media reports. “It is also an unfortunate inci-

NSA wire taps: Vatican not bothered


HE Vatican has no evidence its calls were monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA)—and, even if they were, “we have no concerns about it”, the Vatican spokesman said. Asked about the possibility that the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping programme had monitored Vatican calls, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told reporters: “We have no evidence of this.” The spokesman made his comments as the Italian newsweekly Panorama reported

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from the NSA Public Affairs Office. “Assertions that the NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy’s Panorama magazine, are not true.” The magazine’s story was prepared in the midst of growing European coverage and anger over the NSA’s alleged call-monitoring programme. Revelations have included that the NSA eavesdropped on telephone calls made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other high-profile individuals in Western nations.—CNS

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that phone calls to and from the Vatican were among the 46 million calls in Italy allegedly monitored between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013. The magazine said it also is possible the eavesdropping continued for months and included calls made on the eve of the conclave that elected Pope Francis in March. The NSA said in a statement the eavesdropping claims were false. The agency “does not target the Vatican”, said a statement

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dent, and my heart goes out to the families, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives,” the archbishop said. He said each first Friday, a vigil is held at the centre, and the crowd was larger than usual because it was All Saints’ Day, a holy day of obligation. Fr Ukor said Archbishop Okeke would not delve into politics or speak for any politician. Elections for the governor of Anambra state, where Uke is located, are on November 16. Several politicians were in the crowd.—CNS

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Cardinal: John Paul II tried to reform curia By Cindy Wooden

Polish Cardinal Stanislaw dziwisz, who served as personal secretary to Pope John Paul ii, prays at the tomb of the late pontiff in St Peter's basilica. in a new book he defends Bl John Paul ii from charges that he was soft on clerical abuse. (Photo: L’osservatore Romano/CnS)


LESSED John Paul II’s 2004 meeting with and praise of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ—who later was banished to a life of penance because of sexual abuse—was a mistake, said the late pope’s longtime secretary. “The Holy Father should not have received that individual,” said Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who served as personal secretary to the pope for 39 years. In a new book, Ho Vissuto con un Santo, (“I Lived with a Saint”), released in early November, Cardinal Dziwisz said the meeting was just one example of a serious lack of communication in the Roman curia, which Pope John Paul tried, largely without success, to reform. Although rumours had been circulating for years that the Legionaries’ founder, Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, had sexually abused seminarians, Cardinal Dziwisz said: “When the Holy Father met him, he knew nothing, absolutely nothing. For him, he was still the founder of a

great religious order and that’s it. No one had told him anything, not even about the rumours going around.” The cardinal continued: “Unfortunately, it was the consequence of a still extremely bureaucratic structure” where important information was not always shared. A similar lack of communication, he said, led to retired Pope Benedict XVI lifting the excommunication of traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson in 2009 before finding out the bishop was a Holocaust de-

nier when “it would have been enough to check the Internet” to discover it. After Pope John Paul was elected in 1978—the first non-Italian pope in more than 450 years—he said, “some in the curia called him ‘the Polish pope’, and I don’t think they meant it in a positive way”. The late pope tried to reform the curia, but did not succeed, Cardinal Dziwisz said. “Maybe the curia wasn’t ready to accept a reform that would return it

to an effective function of service to the pope and the bishops, and, therefore, to being an authentic instrument of communion between the Holy See and local churches.” Cardinal Dziwisz, who participated in the conclave that elected Pope Francis in March, said that in their pre-conclave meetings the cardinals discussed the urgent need to reform the curia. Pope Francis “already has made important decisions and launched a series of initiatives that are sure to bring big changes to the curial structure and to relations between the Roman curia and the local churches,” he said. The Polish cardinal also addressed criticisms by victims of clerical sexual abuse and some media, who believe Pope John Paul did not do enough to protect victims and punish guilty priests. In the book, presented as a “conversation” with Italian journalist Gian Franco Svidercoschi, Cardinal Dziwisz said that “from the moment the scandal erupted, especially in the United States, there was perfect agreement between John Paul II and

Rocket hits Vatican embassy By CARoL GLAtz


MORTAR round hit the apostolic nunciature in the Syrian capital Damascus, causing limited damage to the building and no casualties. Archbishop Mario Zenari, the Vatican nuncio, told Vatican Radio that if the rocket had been launched just a half-hour later, he would have been saying morning prayers on the terrace near where the mortar struck. “You can imagine what I would have encountered,” he said. He told the radio that he was just getting out of bed at 6:35 “when I heard a big bang, and I immediately threw myself onto the floor, trying to stay away from the windows because we’ve already had the experience that sometimes it’s not just one mortar, but two or three” that land in succession. “It’s not the first time that these rockets, this mortar fire,

have fallen near the nunciature,” he said. The single strike destroyed part of the roof, including the eaves of the building and part of the facade. If the strike had occurred later in the morning, after other employees had arrived at the nunciature, it could have caused injuries because of the falling roof shingles and flying debris, he said. Archbishop Zenari said they had no idea who launched the strike, but that it was “pretty powerful”. Sometimes the mortar lands where it was targeted; other times the rockets land where they do “by mistake”, he said. “I have to say, unfortunately, that these things happen every day” and few areas in the city are spared, he said. For example, a Franciscan monastery in Aleppo was damaged on November 2 by mortars and the Christian quarter in Damascus sees mortar fire

“with a certain frequency”. One densely inhabited suburb near the capital, he said, has been hit by 2 800 mortar shells since the start of the conflict nearly three years ago as rebels try to oust President Bashar Assad. “Therefore, we’re all in the same boat, in Damascus and in other parts of the country,” the archbishop said. The archbishop said there is growing concern among the country’s Christians. In the beginning of the conflict, the Christian minority was still “respected”, but lately their situation has become “a bit worrying”. However, all Syrians are worried, not just the Christians, he added. Archbishop Zenari said the international community and Syria’s warring sides “have to really double their efforts” to come up with a political solution to the crisis.—CNS

Tiny diocese hopes to grow big By Antonio AnuP GonSALVeS


LTHOUGH it is one of the youngest and smallest dioceses in south-east Asia, the apostolic vicariate of Brunei is a steadily thriving Church with growing spiritual activities in its communities. “Our logo is ‘Duc in altum’ (Put out into the deep), and we now have projects to empower and sustain the missionary dimension of the Church,” said Bishop Cornelius Sim, vicarapostolic of Brunei. “We are one of the smallest dioceses in Asia,” he said, adding that with only one bishop and three priests, “we hope to have vocations to the priesthood and religious life”. Brunei is a country of 5 700km2 located entirely on the island of Borneo, which is also home to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. It is a developed country, and one of the richest in the world. Malay is the official language, but English and Chinese are both widely spoken. The country is an absolute monarchy led by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. About two-thirds of the population is Muslim, and Brunei was recently noted for its adoption of Sharia law, though it is being applied only to Muslims. Around 10% of the population is atheist, 13% is Buddhist, and a small number have indige-

nous beliefs. Christians, half of whom are Catholic, constitute 10% of Brunei's population. Fr Arin Sugit, the bishop's assistant at Our Lady of the Assumption cathedral in the nation's capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, explained that a majority of the Catholic population, some 70%, are migrant workers from the Philippines. Another 20% are migrants from other countries such as Indonesia, India, and Malaysia, as well as countries such as South Africa, and the remaining 10% are indigenous Bruneians. “It’s fortunate to have a substantial Filipino congregation that makes our Church very lively,” reflected Bishop Sim. “They bring their faith, with popular pious devotions, and they enrich us and our faith very much.”


ather Sugit added: “We have lots of vibrant faith activities in our parish, and the faith is steadily growing; but of course it’s a slow process.” Fr Sugit was ordained in 2008. The apostolic vicariate's two other priests are Fr Paul Shie, pastor of St John's in Kuala Belait, who was ordained in 1999; and Fr Robert Leong, pastor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Seria, who was ordained in 2003. Bishop Sim and his three

priests serve the roughly 20 000 Catholics who live in Brunei. Catholics can freely practise their faith within the church compounds and at home, but public displays of the faith are restrained. Fr Sugit said that at Our Lady of the Assumption, 5 000 to 6 000 people attend Mass each Sunday. While the faith was first preached in Brunei by Franciscan missionaries in 1587, it has only been its own local Church since 1997. Prior to that, Bruneian Catholics were served by the diocese of Miri, in Malaysia. It was for that diocese that Bishop Sim had been ordained a priest in 1989. When Pope John Paul II established the apostolic prefecture of Brunei in 1997, then-Fr Sim was appointed prefect. Apostolic prefectures and vicariates are the precursors to dioceses in mission territories. In 2004, John Paul II decided to elevate the apostolic prefecture to a vicariate, which resulted in Fr Sim being consecrated a bishop. As the Church there grows, it may eventually be raised to a diocese. Bishop Sim optimistically noted: “It’s a humble beginning, and we have to move on to enrich our faith-based communities.”—CNA

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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in confronting the problem” and in deciding to transfer the cases from local dioceses to the congregation. “I find it insulting—I repeat, insulting,” Cardinal Dziwisz said, “that some people continue to put John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger—first as congregation prefect, then as pope—in opposition on this question, attributing to one or the other a desire to cover up this horrible plague.” Cardinal Dziwisz not only served as the pope’s personal secretary throughout his almost 27-year pontificate, but was his secretary in Krakow, had been a student of the then-Fr Karol Wojtyla in the seminary and was ordained to the priesthood by him in 1963. “I was convinced he was a saint from the moment Fr Wojtyla was my seminary professor,” he said. “This conviction was reinforced with the passage of time, living alongside him first in Krakow, then at the Vatican.”—CNS

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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013


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The ‘Fifth Gospel’


HE Holy Land is sometimes called the “Fifth Gospel”. It is an apt term as the land of Christ, his blessed mother, the apostles and the prophets tells the story of our faith in ways the traditional Gospels cannot. The Gospels tend not to give us much information about the places they mention. The Fifth Gospel brings Scripture to life through the senses. Actually seeing the theatre of the gospels enhances one’s relationship with the Scriptures immeasurably. In the Holy Land we are able to locate the physical Christ, the physical Mary, the physical disciples. In some places we can even pinpoint their presence with accuracy, supported by archaeology, history, and ancient texts. It is a folly to imagine, as some do, the Holy Land as a spiritual Disneyland, its shrines founded on pious legend, misunderstood tradition and pure deception. We can be certain that a flight of steps on Mount Zion, which dates at least to Herodian times, was walked on by Jesus. We can be certain that the fourth-century synagogue in Capernaum stands on the still visible foundation of the synagogue in which Jesus taught (Jn 6:3059) and healed (Mk 1:21-27), and that the ruins of a nearby house are those of St Peter’s residence, because ancient texts making the claim are supported by credible archaeology. And we can be certain that the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem covers Golgotha, the hill of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. These certainties are not a matter of excitable pieties but the result of serious scholarship. And yet, the veracity of sites which Holy Land pilgrims visit is not as important as the spiritual recalibration which prayer at these shrines makes possible. In the Holy Land, pilgrims experience a transfiguration which may not always be immediately apparent, but is no less profound for it. Pilgrims are advised to make their journey as part of a community of believers under the spiritual direction of a priest. Invariably, the daily Masses are at the centre of the experience, especially when they are located around key points of the Gospel narrative.

A Holy Land pilgrimage produces many graces. Some of these are self-evident highlights on a spiritual journey: touching the place of the crucifixion in the church of the Holy Sepulchre; praying at the rock of the Agony in the church of All Nations; renewing baptismal vows at the Jordan river; meditating in silence on the Sea of Galilee; following the Via Dolorosa. Other moments of grace are unscripted, the happy byproducts of circumstance. They might even arise from misfortune when in adversity pilgrims realise things about themselves and others, provided they are receptive to what God is telling them at that point. This week we cover over two pages the experiences and insights of pilgrims to the Holy Land. Of course, it isn’t possible to convey in 2 800 words the scope of experiences and emotions that accumulate during a Holy Land pilgrimage. It might not be possible to ever express these adequately. But a pilgrimage is not a journey to old stones alone. In the Holy Land, the pilgrim must be alert to the “living stones” of the region—our fellow Christians, whose unbroken presence there goes back to the very beginnings of our Church. It is necessary that Catholic tour operators support in every way they can the Christians of the Holy Land by using Christian-owned ground operators and Christian guides. Pilgrims must take an active interest in the experience of the local Christians, virtually all of whom are Palestinians and therefore affected by the policies of Israel’s government. Out of respect to them—and to accuracy—we must not refer to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a trip to Israel, since the typical itinerary also includes Bethlehem, which is not in Israel but in the West Bank, as are other popular sites of pilgrimage, such as Jericho and Bethany. A pilgrimage is not an act of tourism, even as the experience may include elements of tourism—shopping, photographing and so on. In its essence, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a journey to God, one which creates a richlylayered encounter which deepens one’s faith.

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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.

Drawing ex-Catholics back home OUR editorial “Call ex-Catholics The large hall was filled with Y home” (November 6) explores dancing couples and lively chatter. challenging and sensitive issues Fr Andrew explained the occasion: concerning those who stay away from church for various reasons. On a working trip to Vienna in November 1989 I stayed at a Redemptorist monastery/parish run by Fr Andrew Hiller CSsR, a classmate and friend of the late Archbishop Stephen Naidoo CSsR. On a Saturday night, while preparing a talk to the parish, Fr Andrew invited me to put my work aside. He wanted to show me something interesting going on in the parish hall.

Beloved chaplain


N Fr Hyacinth Ennis's obituary for Fr Matthew McDonald (October 23) I was surprised to find no mention of his service as national chaplain to the National Catholic Federation of Students (NCFS) in the late 1950s and ’60s. He was a revered chaplain whose friendly ways and astute grasp of essential Catholic teaching enabled him to inspire numerous students from all corners of the country. Encountering him again in Rome in 1964, while I was teaching there, and he was completing his doctoral studies, I was fortunate to have another opportunity to benefit from his unpretentious wisdom. May he now be revelling in the presence of the Lord whom he so devotedly served, and whom he brought so persuasively into our lives as students. John (Jack) Kearney, Durban

Heal, not condemn


EGARDING marriage annulments, in July Pope Francis suggested to reporters that it “has to be reviewed, because ecclestiastical tribunals are not sufficient for [resolving] this”. He has placed this matter for discussion at the Synod of Bishops, to be held in October 2014. Recently, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, published a 4 000-word document (reported on in your October 30 issue), re-iterating the Church’s stance on marriage and divorce. Is this a veiled warning for the pontiff to toe the doctrinal line of the Church? Just as Jesus did in his time, Pope Francis is bringing simplicity back into focus. And more important than simplicity, the pontiff is honing in on the very essence of Christianity which is outlined in the eight beatitudes. The so-called “tribunal” is hypocritical and it is obvious Pope Francis is well aware of this fact. How many young couples get married

“We hold gatherings for people who have left the Church or do not come to church for whatever reason. We invite them here, with no questions asked or judgmental comments. We simply want to keep the door open—that they can come in and join us and socialise. You never know what renewed contact can spark.” The issue of Catholics who have lapsed, and the reasons for their disconnect, is a troubling sign of the times for the Church, from Europe for the “wrong” reason? Immature and uncertain many may well be, but I’m sure that 99% of those who walk down the aisle have only visions of long-lasting happiness, even though it may not eventuate. For remarried Catholics to live together “as friends, as brother and sister”, whilst abstaining from sex, is not only an ideal a minority will achieve, but a naïve expectation as well. We know that celibacy is a cornerstone of the Church but it is essentially designed for clergy who live single lives. Archbishop Müller must hark back to Jesus’ words when the “sinful” woman was about to be stoned by the mob. And that is what our pontiff is highlighting: the need to heal as opposed to condemn. Patrick Dacey, Johannesburg

Abortion figures


CCORDING to the Johannesburg newspaper The Citizen (November 2), Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently stated as follows in a reply to a question in parliament by the African Christian Democratic Party. He said 200 abortions a day are performed in South Africa (in the public health sector) and a total of 82 920 abortions were performed across all nine provinces for the period April 2012 to April 2013. These are truly horrendous statistics. To its great credit, the African Christian Democratic Party has for many years courageously and vigorously campaigned in parliament against legalised abortion. If our Catholic Parliamentary Liopinions 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. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or or faxed to 021 465-3850

to North and South America to South Africa itself. In the spirit of Pope Francis, in solidarity with his call for a Church of pastors caring for their flock, there is work to be done to rebuild bridges, mend broken relationships, find lost sheep, the stragglers and drifters, rekindle what has become indifferent, and heal alienated minds and hearts. Together a compassionate Church community could reach out to reclaim families, friends and neighbours to the faith and roots that first nurtured them. Our spirited new pope is showing us the way. How can we follow? Sydney Duval, Cape Town aison Office has done likewise, we have not been informed of this fact; and if they have not done so, this situation should be urgently remedied. Damian McLeish, Johannesburg

Is it really a sin?


DON’T agree with Terry Throp (October 23). He is eager to tell us “Thou shalt not kill” but for those unfortunate women not on contraception and getting pregnant through rape, does Mr Throp want them to walk around with a hated monster in their wombs for nine months? I had a personal experience because I am female and not male like Mr Throp. May I ask where in the Bible is it stated that contraception is a sin in God’s law? Sharon West, Johannesburg

Help Hurley centre


VER the past three years, the following religious orders and congregations who worked closely with Archbishop Denis Hurley have donated R226 000 to the Denis Hurley Centre Project: Assumption Sisters, Augustinians, Cabra Dominicans, Comboni Fathers, Holy Family Sisters, Jesuits, King Williams Town Dominicans, Loreto Sisters, Marist Brothers, Newcastle Dominicans, Precious Blood Sisters and Redemptorists. We are most grateful to them for their generosity and support. If any other congregations or orders would like to join this great effort, it’s not too late. Please contact me on 031 2013832 or 072 8064417, at, or simply make a deposit in the Denis Hurley Centre Fund account: First National Bank (FNB), account number: 6220 4261 002, Durban main branch, 221426. Please indicate the donor’s name clearly on the deposit slip. Paddy Kearney, coordinator, DHC Project, Durban


The remarkable story of a Xhosa giant


IYO Soga’s 19th century hymn, “Lizalis’ Idinga Lakho” (Fulfill Your Promise) has been having a revival through the melodic singing of the singersongwriter Zahara. In most African churches its popularity has never waned. Those who know anything about the history of our liberation will know that this song used to be sung as some form of a national anthem at all African gatherings. In fact it was sung at Bloemfontein at the first meeting of the South African Native National Congress in 1912, which later became the African National Congress. The song obviously inspired Sontonga’s first verses of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (“God Bless Africa”), which became our national anthem, indeed a continental anthem. The iunfluence of Soga, who lived from 182971, is also clear in the verses added on later by S KE Mqhayi on that song. Soga wrote the hymn in July 1857, when he returned to Africa from his studies in Scotland. This was the tragic time when the Xhosa nation was losing its self-sufficiency after following the false prophecies of Mhlakaza’s niece Nongqawuse and her friend Nokosi. Soga arrived at what was then known as Algoa Bay (now Port Elizabeth) to be greeted by the trail of death caused by famine that followed the killing of the Xhosa cattle. Moved with compassion, he wrote the hymn “Lizalis’ Idinga Lakho”. The song as the whole is poignant, but the last verse is profoundly moving and captures Soga’s attitude to the historical events of that era. It is still very relevant for our times also: “O Lord, bless the teaching of our land; Please revive us, that we may restore goodness.” Soga was greatly influenced by the great Xhosa prophet Ntsikana, who came before him. Ntsikana prophesied the arrival of white settlers in the southern tip of Africa. He urged the Xhosa people, mostly amaNgqika, to choose from what the white people were bringing only the book with a red mouth (trhe Bible), and not the button without a hole (money). There was something Abrahamic about Ntsikana, his personal theology being formed by the religious apparitions to

which he was prone. This in turn laid for him a foundation to easily accept the Christian message. He was amoing the first major Xhosa converts to Christianity, and his conversion influenced a lot of people among amaNgqika. He wrote great hymns about Qamata, whose son he called Tayi, “Usifub’ Eside” (Broad Chest). Hence the Christian notion of one God with a son fitted well with him. His most popular song to this day is still sung by most Xhosa choirs, “Ulo Tixo omkulu, ngoseZulwini” (Thou Art the Great God in Heaven).


gqika, who gave the the amaNgqika clan its name, was very sympathetic to the Christian message, but he ended up being greatly despondent about the loss of amaXhosa’s independence and eventually took to alcoholism. This is the reason why his land proliferated with Christian missionary stations, most of which turned into great schools like Lovedale, where Soga had his early education. What later became Fort Hare is also in Ngqikaland.

tiyo Soga, who is considered by many to be the first major modern African intellectual.

Response to a critique S OMEONE with whom I discussed Fr Chris Clohessy’s critique of the bishops’ book God, Love, Life and Sex immediately retorted: “I wonder how many lay people, especially those who work with youth and children, Fr Chris Clohessy has consulted! I wonder how many medical people he consulted, and received input from! “I wonder how many other teachings of the Catholic Church he chooses to treat in this way because they are perceived to violate the norms of political correctness! I wonder what he as a Catholic priest actually believes and teaches in the areas under discussion! I wonder how the Gospels would measure up to his genre of critique! Will they too be found to have nothing about unemployment, ecology, etc, etc? Will they too be analysed as devoting too much to x, not enough to y, and too little to z?” Many lay people, medical doctors, youth and child workers, who were consulted in writing the book, commented on and in some cases contributed to the section in their field of expertise. Obviously others disagreed, just as Fr Clohessy does, with certain aspects or ap-

proaches. But then many theologians and experts of the Law disagreed with Jesus regarding what he taught, the way he taught, and even the ones to whom his teaching was directed. The least one would expect from one who committed himself to teaching what the Church teaches, to do what the Church does, is that he would direct himself first of all to the bishop and his successors to whom he promised obedience. That promise certainly is not honoured by sentiments like “Don’t just toss it away!

Mphuthumi Ntabeni

Pushing the Boundaries

Soga’s father Jotello was Ngqika’s advisor. When his wife Nosuthu, a fervent convert to Christianity, asked him to release her from marital duties to live with his son among the missionaries, he agreed. Soga ended up going to Scotland for his studies and became the first ordained black cleric, not that this saved him from the rampart racism of the times. He married a Scottish woman, Janet Burnside, with whom he had seven children. Ngqika’s militant first-born son, Maqoma, was de facto leader of amaNgqika during the Xhosa Wars (or Frontier Wars) against British encroachment on Xhosa land. He was greatly feared by white people, referred to as “Isitshingitshane” (the Tornado), he raided and burned down most missionary stations because he saw in them nothing but colonialism by the backdoor. Maqoma asked Soga to fulfill his duties to the clan by taking over the advisory job of his father. Soga refused, preferring to stay out of the military work, preferring instead to forge his war with pen and prayer. He also declined a position of translator offered him by the colonial government. Soga felt extremely isolated in his difficult short life. He felt personally challenged by the idea of black and white nations at war. He taught his children to walk the divide with dignity; to pull to the centre, and never be ashamed of being the product of the best of both worlds—white and black. In all his endeavours he had the unfailing support of a very strong and frugal woman in Janet, giving proof, as the Proverbs say, that a poor man with integrity is better than all wealth the world can give: “A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. House and wealth are inheritance from the father, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.”

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM

talking Frankly

Throw it away with all the force you can muster!”. That directed at the teaching of one to whom you swore allegiance! Doesn’t sound like reasoned, carefully weighed up, discretely evaluated opinion, does it? God, Love, Life and Sex is out there, like the Gospel, the teachings of the Apostles and their successors, like the major teachings of the Catholic Church down the ages—let those who are searching for the truth, who are looking for direction and guidance, who believe in reading the signs of the times with their archbishops, take, read, discern and live accordingly. I am convinced that all who do that with an open mind and heart will experience a real liberation from slavery to the heresies of this age, including political correctness, and will be in a position to make life-changing decisions under the guidance of their Fathers in Christ. After all, we are engaged here with truth, justice and love, not popularity or being “with it”.

the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013


Michael Shackleton

open door

Is there hope for divorced Catholics? As a divorced and happily remarried Catholic, I know I may not receive Communion. I have discussed this with a bishop and several priests and I fully understand the reasons. But these clergy are divided on whether the Church will permit persons in my position to receive Communion some time in the future. I am not hopeful. Any comment? Salome


N his interview on the flight back from Rio de Janeiro’s World Youth Day this year, Pope Francis was asked whether there was the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline on divorce and remarriage. He replied that divorce and remarriage has become a problem for everyone, needing to be looked at closely within the context of the pastoral care of marriage. The problem will be discussed at the Synod of Bishops that will meet in in the Vatican in October of next year. The pope has shown his concern for hurting Catholics in new unions after their divorce. From his general approach to pastoral care, he may want to remove the perception that divorced, remarried Catholics may not receive Communion because they are being punished. Denied Communion in these cases is not primarily a punitive measure. So, what areas could the Synod of Bishops examine? The question of validity is the obvious one, because the Church presumes that a valid, sacramental marriage remains valid until proven otherwise. Those who attempt another marriage while the first is valid, act unlawfully. Certain influences such as emotional immaturity, social pressure, fear, force or fraud can influence a spouse’s free will, and when marital consent is not given freely, despite the outward show of it, the union is null and void. Attempts to prove the nullity of a marriage require time in an ecclesiastical tribunal. Pope Francis suggested that this side of the matter would also need more attention. He noted that many couples do not fully appreciate that marriage is a life-long commitment. Although the pope mentioned in passing the practice in the Orthodox Church of permitting second marriage after divorce, he offered no word of approval but said it would be looked at by the cardinals. It seems, then, that many different suggestions will be discussed by the Synod of Bishops. Meanwhile, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Doctrine, has reminded us that for now nothing has changed in terms of the position of remarried divorcees. The pope wants the Church to show the compassionate face of Christ to all. He is sure to make the best use of the conclusions reached by the Council of Cardinals.

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A life-changing journey This year heLen ReynoLdS went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with 21 other pilgrims. Here she describes what she saw and felt during her life-changing journey.


UR pilgrim group was overwhelmed by feelings. Our collective energy could be felt immediately as we met one another, and this was to be a most amazing example of unity in the Holy Spirit. Everyone who took part in our pilgrimage to the Holy Land said they could not believe that a group of 22 people could all get on so well with one another, without any unpleasant incidents. Our journey began in Jaffa, the ancient port which now is a suburb of Tel Aviv, and ended in an old Crusader church in Emmaus—and all along the way we were able to seek the living memory of Jesus. Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast, took us back to the Roman and Byzantine times, to the seat of Pontius Pilate. A plaque from the first century mentioning Pontius Pilate’s name was found outside ancient Roman amphitheatre. Inside the amphitheatre we heard Chinese pilgrims singing praise to the Lord, and we realised that the acoustics where still the same as they were in those days of old. The teardrop-shaped Sea of Galilea was unspoilt and tranquil. In the silence on a boat in the middle of the lake one could close one’s eyes and “see the Master walking on the water”. The scene and experience has remained unchanged since the days when the disciples fished there. We were blessed with accommo-

dation at the Mount of the Beatitudes, 200m above the Sea of Galilee, where the Italian Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary delighted us with wonderful food and lodging. We shall never forget the scene from the portico of the church of the Beatitudes as the sun set—the lake was magnificent, silvery and mystical, and the sacred smell of roses from the surrounding gardens was ubiquitous. Later our spiritual director, Fr David Rowles, stood dressed in a white robe in the holy waters of the Jordan river as we renewed our baptism. Imagine how Jesus felt when he was baptised by John the Baptist! We felt cleansed, renewed and spiritually refreshed. Mass was said every day, and at every wonderful venue Fr Rowles donned the vestments of the church we visited. We were able to visit and meditate in those special places where Jesus lived moved and carried out miracles. In Cana, the place of the first miracle, as we looked back on joys and sorrows, amid tears and laughter, Fr Rowles led the renewal of our wedding vows and we married couples committed ourselves again to one other—another living memory to cherish! The churches of the Holy Land are truly inspirational. On Mount Tabor, where tradition places the transfiguration of Jesus, we feasted our eyes on the beautiful mosaics which depict him in shiny garments. The Byzantine church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where they say our Lord was born, was awesome, ancient and fascinating. The church of the Holy Sepulchre, with the rock of Golgotha and Jesus’ tomb, radiates an energy that one will never forget. Every church and shrine we went to had a message for us as we were seeking the living memory of Jesus.


Bookings for our 2014 pilgrimages to various Holy Sites and Shrines are now open Rome & Medjugorje – May Organized by Manny Baeta

Holy Land - June

Fr. Victor Ngwenya

Italy & Medjugorje – July

Organized by Fernanda Laranjeiro

Holy Land – August

Organized by Iman Chakir

Italy – September Fr. Mahatleng

Holy Land – August Fr. Joseph Wilson

Pilgrims take time out to prayerfully reflect in the Cenacle, a Crusader structure that marks the upper Room on Mount zion where Jesus instituted the eucharist. Left: the Byzantine crypt in the Church of transfiguration on Mount tabor (Photos: Günther Simmermacher) To see a real oasis is something that most people have never done, and Jericho was magnificent—palm trees for miles. Before we hit the road to Jerusalem, we had an engaging view of the Mount of Temptation, the desert where Jesus is said to have spent 40 days and 40 nights.


inally the triumphal entry into the centre of our pilgrimage—we rejoiced and as we entered sang “The Holy City” with its resounding chorus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing”. The bus rocked as we sang with gusto on our way through the city. In Jerusalem we found evidence which contradicts the popular belief that Israel is a state under a permanent state of siege. From the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended into heaven, we could view the entire Old City with its ancient walls, and in them the Golden Gate, through which the Messiah will one day return. At Paternoster church, the Lord’s Prayer is displayed in 110 lan-

guages, including Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Ndebele and Swati. At the church is a cave in which Jesus gave this prayer to his disciples. Inside the cave we formed a circle, held hands, and prayed the Our Father, thereby reliving the event in prayer. We continued down the Mount of Olives on the Palm Sunday route. At the foot of the mount we arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane with the gnarled, ancient olive trees, and shed tears of remembrance as we celebrated Mass in one of the gardens. During the day the Old City of Jerusalem is filled with activity, cacophony and movement on an operatic and grand sensory scale. In fact, it is quite packed, so with this in mind we arose early one morning, and while the city was still asleep we walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow, which follows the traditional path our Lord took to his crucifixion. Peacefully we visualised the agony of Jesus as we prayed the 14 stations, ending with Mass in the church of the Holy Sepulchre—an unforgettable moment. So too, for different reasons, was the wait in the large queue before we were allowed into the tomb of Jesus.

We saw many other incredible places but were told not to get too hung up on the various claims and assertions that “on this spot, so and so happened”. The Holy Land really is a theatre of the mind and the Bible literally comes to life as you see the places and understand the traditions handed down through generations of believers. One place that really stands out for me was the church of St Peter in Gallicantu on Mount Zion, which stands on what is believed to be the house of Caiaphas. Here Jesus was taken and imprisoned, and here Peter denied him three times. Mass in this church was truly divine. We prayed in the dungeon where Our Lord was imprisoned on his last night. Outside the church we saw the ancient steps on which he actually walked. I could go on and on talking about this life-changing journey, an event which truly develop the pilgrims’ relationship with Christ and inspires them in their daily lives. What really matters is that Jesus did walk this land, and when you experience it, you draw closer to God through these holy places— and are able to give thanks and praise!

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the Sea of Galilee, seen from the Mount of Beatitudes.


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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013


How the Holy Land brings Scripture alive In September a group of pilgrims from all over South Africa split into small teams to reflect and report on their experience and the insights they gained from seeing the places associated with Christ. Compiled by LunGie GodukA.


ILGRIMS from different provinces were represented in the “Ancient and Living Stones Pilgrimage” to the Holy Land (as well as Rome, Assisi and Cairo) in September 2013. Fr Tom Tshabalala OFM, a former tour guide in the Holy Land and now based at Maria Ratschitz in Eshowe diocese, was our spiritual director, and our fellow pilgrim Fr Siyabonga Dube of Durban became his de facto assistant. The meaning of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land varies from individual to individual, and is very personal. However, our group agreed that the pilgrimage had a special effect on our faith. It tested our commitment to our chosen spiritual paths, while strengthening and giving new meaning to our belief system. It also offered us an opportunity to establish new bonds with fellow Christians. We divided our group into groups to cooperate in presenting their impressions and insights.

A great guide The KwaZulu-Natal group summarised the pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a special time of walking in Jesus Christ’s footsteps, from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, where the story of the incarnation begins, to his crucifixion, burial and resurrection at Golgotha (or Calvary) in Jerusalem. “Every day, the Scripture readings at Mass and saying the Rosary deepened our faith. Individual or group reflections after daily Masses and evening prayers also made a great spiritual impact on our lives,” the group said. “We were very privileged to have as our tour guide Rimon Makhlouf, a Catholic whose depth and breadth of the history surrounding the life of Jesus shed light on his teachings at sites such as the Mount of the Beatitudes; on his miracles, such as the raising of the dead; his transfiguration on Mount Tabor; his denial by Peter on Mount Zion; his walk carrying the cross on the Via Dolorosa; and his crucifixion and burial on what today is known as the church of the Holy Sepulchre. “Rimon’s explanations made these events come alive to us, as if they were happening at that moment,” the group said. “We went home filled with ecstasy knowing that we achieved the following cornerstones of a successful pilgrimage: prayer; Bible reading/study; meditation; music at Mass; fasting; and, last but not least, making long-lasting friendship with people who at the beginning of the pilgrimage were total strangers.

The widow’s son The Gauteng pilgrims recalled visiting the village of Nain in Galilee, and having lunch at the Sahara restaurant there. “The realisation that it was in this town that Jesus resurrected the widow’s son (Lk 7:11–17) brought Scriptures to life in a very profound way. As we reflected on the Scriptures, we realised that Jesus’ compassion was driven by the thought that his own mother, who was also a widow, was soon going to experience the same pain of losing him, her only son,” the pilgrims said. “This event also taught us that God comes to our rescue just in the nick of time. God does not come earlier or later, but comes to our rescue at the right moment. Ours is to

the skyline of Jerusalem’s old City, seen from the Mount of olives. Right: A statue next to the church of Peter in Gallicantu on Mount zion depicts St Peter’s triple denial of Jesus. (Photos: Günther Simmermacher) have faith in him and know that when life seems to be falling apart, he will be there to lift us up ‘just at the right time’,” the Gauteng pilgrims said.

Wine and the wedding The Mpumalanga group reflected on Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2:1-11). Jesus attended a wedding along with his disciples and Mary, his mother. When the wine ran short, Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. Jesus was not open to the request, saying it wasn’t yet time for him to perform miracles. However, he was obedient to his mother’s request. The Bible calls this miracle the first sign that Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews. It was also the first of his signs to reveal his glory, and his disciples believed in him. “Disappointed wedding guests might have been getting ready to leave and the host was embarrassed that wine ran out. However, the God who is always watching for the needy and those who desperately await his help, provided wine. This miracle teaches us not to lose hope. It also teaches us that God is a great provider at all times, especially when people think all is lost, but have faith in divine intervention,” the Gauteng pilgrims said.

Bethlehem A pilgrim from the Limpopo province felt a particular connection with the Nativity of Our Lord. “Divine intervention arranged things so that Jesus—the King of the World—would be born in total poverty. Joseph and Mary did not even have what a poor family would have lovingly prepared for the birth of their first-born son. All they had were swaddling-clothes and a manger,” he said. “This story teaches us that we will never have genuine joy if we do not humble ourselves. From these humble beginnings Jesus rose to the highest throne. Like Jesus we must live humble lives, because the redemptive power of our lives can only work through humility. As food is seasoned with salt and pepper to bring up its delicious taste; we too must always season our lives with humility,” he reflected.

The Beatitudes Reflecting on the visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes, the Free State pilgrims felt spiritually connected to the voice of Jesus. “Jesus addressed all who are poor in spirit, gentle and merciful, who mourn, who care for what is right, who are pure in heart, who make peace and are persecuted. Blessed are you! “Jesus was actually saying: ‘Blessed are you who seem to be losers, because you are the true winners and the kingdom of heaven is yours!’ For us these words present a challenge which demands a deep and abiding transformation of spirit and a great change of heart,” the pilgrims said. “This is so because of another voice within and around us which is a contradictory one. It is a voice

which says, ‘Blessed are the proud and violent, those who prosper at any cost, who are unscrupulous, pitiless, devious, who make war not peace, and persecute those who stand in their way.’ And this voice seems to make sense in a world where the violent often triumph and the devious seem to succeed,” they reflected. “‘Yes,’ says the voice of evil, ‘they are the ones who win.’ But as we return home to our communities, the visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes has inspired us to motivate those who think they are ‘losers’ and warn them against those who advocate ‘war not peace’,” the Free State pilgrims said.

Mary and Elizabeth A pilgrim from the Western Cape found that “everything about the Holy Land had a deep and rich meaning for me; to choose one site or event is indeed difficult”. But one place that spoke in particular to her was the church of the Visitation at Ein Karem, where Our Lady visited her cousin Elizabeth. “The place itself is serene; it has a prayerful aura about it.” She noted that the wall in the church’s courtyard is decorated with the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise to God. “It is represented in many languages, which also reflects how Our Lady’s presence resonates

in the hearts of different nationalities,” the pilgrim noted. “I think the reason the visitation stood out for me is in how God chooses the ordinary and simple individuals to do his will. Most of the time, I feel as if I do not know what God is asking me to do; yet like Mary and Elizabeth, my answer should be a humble acceptance of faith in God’s plan for me,” she said. “As a young girl, Mary sought the guidance of her older cousin Elizabeth; and Elizabeth, as an older woman, sought the blessings and help from her younger cousin. This shows me that I should seek out and look for God and his goodness in everyone whom I come into contact with,” she said. “What I will do with my experience of the Holy Land, and especially the Visitation, is to live more consciously in the way I speak, think and interact with everyone I meet. I will look every day for miracles in my life and the lives of others and say ‘thank you’ in my own simple ‘magnificat’.”

Betrayal and forgiveness The group from the Eastern Cape focused on Mount Zion’s church of St Peter in Gallicantu, which takes its name from the Latin word for “the cock’s crow”, in commemoration of Peter’s triple denial of Jesus.

Next to the church stands a statue of Peter with the woman who questioned him and a Roman soldier. On the top of a column is a rooster, referring to Jesus’ prophecy that Peter would deny him three times “before the cock crows”. After the denial, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter... and Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Lk 22:61-62). He withdrew himself from the crowd to settle matters alone with God. “This teaches us that we must have a personal heart-to-heart dealing with God in our own space, because genuine repentance is personal,” the Eastern Cape pilgrims said. “In this shallow religious age in which we live, we know very little of personal heart-dealings with God. We grow up embracing a crowd religion and a crowd mentality. “We must be fully cognisant that our sins and failures are personal; therefore our repentance must be personal. If God is speaking to us about our sin, and we feel ashamed about our failure, we will not rush into the public space. Like Peter, we will go off to be alone with God to settle matters with him, not in the public assembly, but in the secret space where one meets with him without interruption,” they said. “Let us draw a lesson from Peter who at that dark moment remembered to settle matters with God alone in his private personal space. “This also teaches us that Jesus’ mercy, compassion and forgiveness are immeasurable, awaiting sinners who turn to him with unfathomed sorrow, remorse and repentance,” they said. The church of St Peter in Gallicantu communicates that “Jesus’ compassion for Peter in this darkest moment proved his unchanging and unconditional love for him”. The pilgrims saw the fruits of that forgiving, unconditional love a few days earlier at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee when they visited the church of Peter’s Primacy. “His forgiveness and restoration also culminated in Jesus declaring St Peter the ‘rock’, and ‘on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18),” the pilgrims noted. n Prof Lungie Goduka is a parishioner at All Saints cathedral in Mthatha.

THE JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME! HOLY LAND CAMINO Walk on the Jesus trail on two unique

PILGRIMAGES FOR 2014 Dominican Pilgrimage

Holy Land • Rome

31 August to 11 September

Led by Fr Emil Blaser OP

Holy Land • Jordan


18 -27 October Led by Fr Tom Tshabalala OFM

Walk spiritual and historical trails in Galilee, the desert, Jerusalem and more. Plus visits to major holy sites!

11 -20 August

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AUGUST 2014:

Holy Land • Jordan

Led by Fr Mbulelo Qumntu

Fatima • Lourdes • Paris • Avila

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14 - 24 September

Led by Fr Modisa Sekao


Canonisation of Two Popes


Led by Fr Emil Blaser OP




Rome • Assisi 25 April to 4 May

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the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013

Mr and Mrs Martin of St theresa’s parish in Welcome estate, Cape town, celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary. they are pictured with Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape town.


Mpho Majake (left) and Masechamba Mosiea (third left) were confirmed at St Gabriel’s parish in Steynsrus, Free State. Pictured with them are parish priest Fr Mahlomola khumalo and Bishop Jan de Groef of Bethlehem.

St Anthony’s parish in durban celebrated Catechists day. (From left) Andrea Pillay, terrensha George, Caitlin naidoo, Marylyn Pillay, Carmel Michael, terry koorbanally and Charmaine naidoo. Fellow catechist Gabriella david is not pictured.

thirty candidates were confirmed at St Matthew’s parish in Bonteheuwel, Cape town. Pictured with them are (seated from left) deacon Andrew Siljeur, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape town and Fr Peter ziegler.

Send your pictures to Applications are invited for the following post

CO-ORDINATOR - PRETORIA OFFICE (PART-TIME POSITION) Catholic Schools Board (CSB) Pretoria/Johannesburg

The Board invites applications from suitably qualified and experienced individuals for the position of Coordinator in the Pretoria satellite office of the Catholic Schools Office (CSO).

The CSO is the administrative arm of the Catholic Schools Board in the Archdioceses of Pretoria and Johannesburg. The CSO provides services, support and co-ordination to the Catholic Schools in the region.

Parishioners of St Anne’s mission in Mpophomeni, kwazulu-natal, celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in memory of Cicilia Perera, mother of parish priest Fr Jude Fernando toR. Parishioners gave gifts to ten mothers of the parish. they are pictured with Fr Fernando (left) and deacon Seraphicus nzimande toR.

The successful candidate will have the following key qualities:  A sound understanding and commitment to the ethos and mission of Catholic Schools  Ability to work closely with Principals, RE Coordinators and Boards of Governors  Strong leadership, management, and communication skills  Strong interpersonal and team skills  At least five years experience in a senior management position in a Catholic School, with a track record of effective application of management skills  Conflict Resolution Skills

Requirements:  Good oral and written English communication skills.  Computer skills.  Must have a car (plus appropriate licence) and be prepared to travel  Relevant educational qualifications (Teaching Diploma and Degree)

Fr Severiano Phiri of kimberley diocese conducted a workshop for the altar servers of the kimberley and klerksdorp dioceses at St Michael’s parish in Magogong, north West Province.

All applicants must address the key qualities listed above in their application and include a recent Curriculum Vitae (please limit your CV to two pages), certified copies of academic and professional qualifications, names and contact telephone numbers of three referees.

Applications can be emailed to: or posted to: The Director, Catholic Schools Office P O Box 2635, Saxonwold, 2135.

Starting date: 1 August 2014 Closing date for applications: 29 November 2013

The selection process is limited to applicants who have had experience in Catholic Schools. Only candidates short-listed will be contacted. The CSB reserves the right to make no appointment.

the third order Regulars of St Francis of Assisi attended their annual retreat at kwa St Joseph’s friary in hibberdene, kwazulu-natal. Fr Jude Fernando toR (standing left) of St Anne’s mission in kwazulu-natal conducted the retreat and is pictured with Minister Provincial Fr Angelicus Mchunu toR (standing second left).

the Southern Cross, november 13 to november 19, 2013

Sr Johanita Thömmes HC


OLY Cross Sister Johanita Thömmes died on September 15. She was born on April 2, 1922, at Breit in the Rhineland, Germany, to Johan and Anna Maria Thömmes, the fourth of nine children. Sr Thömmes joined the Holy Cross Sisters in Boppard on November 11, 1950, at the age of 28. All the candidates in Boppard were destined for the missions. Two years earlier her younger sister, Agatha, who became Sr Anne Bernadette, had also joined the Holy Cross Sisters. At the age of 30 Sr Thömmes left her family, friends and homeland and arrived in South Africa in July 1952, entering the novitiate a few weeks later. After completing her novitiate in Aliwal North and making her first profession on January 5, 1954, she was sent to Taung in the Setswana-speaking region of South Africa. She served in what was called,

“the mission kitchen”, cooking for the boarders at St Paul’s school and for the Sisters. Sr Thömmes also served in George, Lady Selborne, Maitland and Mount Carmel Farm. She was in charge of the kitchen or the house and laundry in places where there were the staff, boarders as well as the large communities of Sisters to cater for. In her last period of ten years at Mount Carmel Farm she helped out in a smaller community. Sr Thömmes was a person of few words who quietly went about her work and took pains to do it well. She was deeply spiritual and expressed this by delighting in giving surprises and joy to those who she served and lived with. Her companions found her always approachable and dependable. She was faithful in daily caring and always loyal to her community. Sr Thömmes had the gift of being positive even in negative situa-

Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1

Sunday, November 17, 33rd Sunday Malachi 3:19-20, Psalm 98:5-9, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, Luke 21:5-19 Monday, November 18, Dedication of the basilica of Ss Peter and Paul Acts 28:11-16, 30-31, Psalm 98:1-6, Matthew 14:22-33 Tuesday, November 19 2 Maccabees 6:18-31, Psalm 3:2-7, Luke 19:1-10 Wednesday, November 20 2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31, Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15, Luke 19:11-28 Thursday, November 21, Presentation of the BVM 1 Maccabees 2:15-29, Psalm 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15, Luke 19:41-44 Friday, November 22, St Cecilia 1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59, 1 Chronicles 29:1012, Luke 19:45-48 Saturday, November 23, Bl Miguel Agustin Pro 1 Maccabees 6:1-13, Psalm 9:2-4, 6, 16, 19, Luke 20:27-40 Sunday, November 24, Christ the King 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122:1-5, Colossians 1:1220, Luke 23:35-43

tions. In 2009, at the age of 87, Sr Thömmes retired from all responsibility and went to Fatima House in Aliwal North. She showed her strength of character in the way she endured her ailments, pains and disabilities during her last few weeks and months. She talked of these only when asked. She died peacefully in harmony with herself, the world and all around her, according to her sister, Sr Anne Bernadette who, after Sr Thömmes became completely bedridden, spent many hours sitting at her bedside holding her hand. Sr Thömmes died on the Feast of Mary Mother of Sorrows. at the age of 91. She had spent nearly 60 years as a Holy Cross Sister teaching her fellow sisters how to live with dignity and grace. Srs Mary Buckmann and Maureen Rooney

Community Calendar

To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail (publication subject to space)

CaPe TOWN: Mimosa Shrine, Bellville (Place of pilgrimage for the year of Faith) tel: 076 323 8043. November 21: Presentation of our Lady 7:00pm Rosary, 7:30pm holy Mass. December 8: Feast of the immaculate Conception (Patronal feast of the Chapel) Braai: noon2.00pm, 3.00pm Rosary and holy Mass. Padre Pio: holy hour 15:30 every 3rd Sunday of the month at holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet. Helpers of God’s Precious Infants meet the last Saturday of the month except in december, starting with Mass at 9:30 am at the Sacred heart church in Somerset Road, Cape town. Mass is followed by a vigil and procession to Marie Stopes

abortion clinic in Bree Street. For information contact Colette thomas on 083 412 4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br daniel Manuel on 083 544 3375. MPUMaLaNGa

COUPLeS FOr CHrIST South Africa invites all youth to the national youth Conference december 6, 7 & 8 at ebenezer Farm, delmas Road, delmas, 2210, For more queries and submission of your registration forms, please contact dillon naicker on 072 822 5139 / or Vincent Saplot at 073 873 3362/ vincentsaplot or contact the Pretoria Mission office on 012 326 5311- or CFC national Mission Center at 031-2071843

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 576. ACROSS: 1 Paving, 4 Red Sea, 9 General public, 10 Dressed, 11 Irate, 12 Stock, 14 Peril, 18 Theme, 19 Susanna, 21 Amateur sports, 22 Salute, 23 Prayer. DOWN: 1 Pagoda, 2 Vincent de Paul, 3 Norms, 5 Erudite, 6 Salvation Army, 7 Arched, 8 Blade, 13 Clement, 15 Steals, 16 Usury, 17 Raiser, 20 Super.



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CLOeTe—Samuel passed away november 20, 1991. My beloved husband, and father, we miss you very much, but you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Greatly loved and sorely missed by your wife Catherine, children Agnes and Martin, Bernadette and keith, Gregory and Carol, grandchildren Leon and Melissa, Celeste, Lyle, Grant and Mandy.

HONeYMaN—edmund. 20 november 1917–18 november 2012. edmund honeyman was essentially a newspaper man born in ireland on november 20, 1917. he was introduced to the Irish Times by his father; this became his first place of employment and the start of a career in reporting within fourteen different newspapers. he arrived in natal in 1948 and later moved to Cape town, where he joined the Cape Times, a morning newspaper, later to be promoted to sub-editor of the newspaper. For approximately 25 years he prepared and assisted with the editing of The Southern Cross. While on holiday in the south of France, he spent time in Villeveyrac, the home of his dear friend owen Williams, who described him as a journalist of great flair and style; it was here that the actual idea of writing a weekly column for The Southern Cross was planted. this led to the publishing of the book Any Given Sunday which was based on these columns. edmund retired to Paarl in october 2003 where he became a resident of huis Vergenoegd until his passing on november 18, 2012, two days before his 95th birthday. edmund honeyman has been described by his colleagues as a highly respected and kind man, with a love and enthusi-

asm for the news. his thought of the day: “Get on your knees and thank God you’re on your feet”, still brings a smile to both family and friends. A year has passed dear friend and you are truly missed, but you will remain forever in our hearts. May you rest in peace with our Lord Jesus—fondly remembered by your friend Jenny (Johanna van es) and family.


aSIaN lady, sixties, seeks mature gentleman for friendship. Write to Po Box 52108, Berea Road, 4007. kzn. aBOrTION is murder— Silence on this issue is not golden it’s yellow! Avoid ‘pro-abortion’ politicians! CaN YOU be silent on abortion and walk with God? Matthew 7:21 See www.abortioninstru is the graphic truth that will set you free. PeNSIONer (lady) urgently seeks reliable car to attend church etc, to pay off monthly. 021 856 2685, 078 213 8407. TaXaTION SerVICeS— tax & Vat Returns prepared and e-filed by SARS Registered tax Practitioner (45 years SARS experience now on your side) Contact Mike 082 929 9874 / 033 396 5471, mikewhite1@


GraTeFUL thanks to infant of Prague, Jesus of divine Mercy, St Faustina, our Lady, Ss Jude, Martin, Anthony of Padua, thérèse of Lisieux and St Joseph. Paul and Louise.


CaTHOLIC parishioner requires 2/3 bedroom home to rent long term in Fish hoek/ Constantia area. Please contact Anne 072 276 6040. MY NaMe is Michael eckard. i am married to natalie for 17 years and we have seven children. in the first week of Janu-

GOD BLeSS aFrICa Guard our people, guide our leaders and give us peace. Luke 11:1-13

CaSa SereNa The retirement home with the Italian flair. 7A Marais Road, Bedfordview, Jhb. Provides full board and lodging, medical services and transport. Senior citizens wishing to retire in this beautiful Home, please phone

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ary 2014 we are moving to be a “Family in Mission” working in different Catholic parishes in the diocese of Pretoria. We are looking for a three bedroomed house to rent from the beginning of January. Please call me 072 564 1780 or meckard@ God bless.


LONDON, Protea house: Single R350, twin R560 per/night. Self-catering, busses and underground nearby. Phone Peter 021 851 5200, 0044 208 748 4834. BaLLITO: up-market penthouse on beach, self-catering, 084 790 6562. CaPe TOWN: Fully equipped self-catering, 2 bedroom apartment with parking, in Strandfontein R400 or R480 (low/high season) (4 persons p/night) Paul 021 393 2503, 083 553 9856, vivil FISH HOeK: Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. tel: 021 785 1247. KNYSNa: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in old Belvidere with wonderful lagoon views. 044 387 1052. KZN—South Coast: Selfcatering garden cottage. Sleeps 4-5, fully equipped, plus lock-up garage. tranquil sea view from raised sundeck. R200 per person. Children under 12 free. Call Jenny 039 684 6475 or 082 964 2110 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 SeDGeFIeLD: Beautiful self-catering garden holiday flat, sleeps four, two bedrooms, open-plan lounge, kitchen, fully equipped. 5 min walk to lagoon. out of season specials. Contact Les or Bernadette 044 343 3242, 082 900 6282. STeLLeNBOSCH: Christian Brothers Centre. 14 suites (double/ twin beds), some with fridge & microwave, others beside kitchenette & lounge, eco-spirituality library. Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain views/walks; beach 20 minute drive. Affordable. 021 880 0242. www.cb cbcstel@ STraND: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. one bedroom, sleeps 3. Seasonal rates. From R600 p/night for 2 people—low season. Garage. Ph Brenda 082 822 0607. The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Coldset (Pty) Ltd, 10 Freedom Way, Milnerton. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.

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Solemnity of Christ the King: November 24 Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122: 1-2, 4-5, Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43

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Nicholas King SJ

Sunday Reflections

your gates, O Jerusalem”. There is a reference to the “tribes” who appointed David king in our first reading, but the important clue is in the mention of the divine name: “to give thanks to the name of the Lord”, and that brings with it another criterion, for any proper king must represent God, whose “thrones of judgment are there, the thrones of the house of David”. Not just any king will do, you see. The second reading for the feast sings to Christ as King, but see what it is that marks him out as such: it is the action of the Father, who “has made you fit for the allotted portion of the saints in life…has transposed you into the kingdom of the son of his love”. So it is all about God, and all about love. Then it sings of how Christ is first in every way: “the likeness of the unseen God, the first-

born of all creation, in him all…thrones and lordships and rules and authorities were created”. He is “before everything, and everything holds together in him, the head of the body, the Church”, which sounds great, until you proceed to read that he is “first-born from the dead”, which means that this is a king who has to die, “making peace by the blood of his cross”. This is no ordinary king. This becomes even more evident when we look at the gospel that the Church puts before us as an account of the kingship of Christ. It starts by listing the spectators at Jesus’ crucifixion (and the idea of a crucified king is of course a contradiction in terms—which should make us think a bit). The first group mentioned is “the people”. They have been there since the very beginning of the gospel, waiting outside while Zechariah had the vision that told him he was to be John the Baptist’s father, so they are faithful if puzzled observers. All we learn here is that they “stood”. Then we get three other reactions. First, there are the “rulers”, presumably the religious establishment, screaming at him, possibly hoping against hope, to “save himself, if this one is the Christ of God, the Chosen One”.

Words of comfort on death I


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What kingship really means

EXT Sunday the Church’s year comes to a sudden end with the feast of Christ the King. Now it is perfectly appropriate to call God (and Jesus) our king, but at the same time we have to be careful about any such language. That is what the choice of readings for the solemnity seems to be telling us. For the first reading recounts the moment when (all too briefly) all the tribes of Israel united at Hebron and invited David to become their king, in succession to the disgraced Saul. They offer three criteria for David’s kingship. First, they are “your bone and flesh”. Secondly, when Saul was king, it was David who “led Israel out and brought them back”. In other words, he was a good general, and close to his people (which he did not always manage in his later career, and that was when the disaster happened). Thirdly, they say, the Lord had told David: “You shall shepherd my people Israel.” Once again, this is a very intimate relationship. So the kind of king we have in mind is not a celebrity, nor a potentate, but a servant, close to the people. The psalm is one of the old pilgrimage songs, and the singer reflects on what it was like to “enter the house of the Lord”, and how “I” becomes “we”, as their “feet stand in

T is hard to say something consoling in the face of death, even when the person who died lived a full life and died in the best of circumstances. It’s especially hard when the one who’s died is a young person, still in need of nurturing and care in this life, and when that young person dies in less than ideal circumstances. As a priest, I have had to preside a number of times at the funeral of someone who died young, either as the result of illness, accident, or suicide. Such a funeral is always doubly sad. I remember one such funeral in particular. A high-school student had died in a car accident. The church was over-packed with his grieving family, friends, and classmates. His mother, still a young woman herself, was in the front pew, heavy with grief about her loss, but clearly weighed down too with anxiety for her child. After all, he was still just a boy, partly still in need of someone to take care of him, still needing a mother. She sensed how, dying so young, in effect, orphaned him. There aren’t many words that are helpful in a situation like this, but the few that we have say what needs to be said—even if on that day, when death is still so raw, they don’t yet bring much emotional consolation. What’s to be said in face of a death like this?


Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

Simply that this young boy is now in more loving, more tender, gentler, and safer hands than ours, that there’s a mother on the other side to receive him and give him the nurturing he still needs, just as there was one on this side when he was born. No one is born, except into a mother’s arms. That’s an image we need to keep before us in order to more healthily imagine death. What, more precisely, is the image? Few images are as primal, and as tender as that of a mother holding and cradling her newborn baby.


ndeed the words of the most-renowned Christmas carol of all time, “Silent Night”, were inspired by precisely this image. Fr Joseph Mohr, a young priest in Austria, had gone out to a cottage in the woods on the afternoon of Christmas Eve to baptise a newborn baby. As he left the cottage, the baby was asleep in its mother’s lap. He was so taken with that image, with

the depth and peace it incarnated, that, immediately upon returning to his rectory, he penned the famous lines of “Silent Night”. His choir director, Franz Gruber, put some guitar chords to those words and froze them in our minds forever. Moreover, when a baby is born, it’s not just the mother who’s eager to hold and cradle it. Almost everyone else is too. Perhaps no image then is as apt, as powerful, as consoling, and as accurate in terms of picturing what happens to us when we die and awake to eternal life as is the image of a mother holding and cradling her newborn child. When we die, we die into the arms of God and surely we’re received with as much love, gentleness, and tenderness as we were received in the arms of our mothers at birth. Moreover, surely we are even safer there than we were when we were born here on earth. I suspect too that more than a few of the saints will be hovering around, wanting their chance to cuddle the new baby. And so it’s okay if we die before we’re ready, still in need of nurturing, still needing someone to help take care of us, still needing a mother. We’re in safe, nurturing, gentle hands. That can be deeply consoling because death renders every one of us an orphan and, daily, there are people dying young, unexpectedly, less than fully ready, still in need of care themselves. All of us die, still needing a mother. But we have the assurance of our faith that we will be born into safer and more nurturing hands than our own. However, consoling as that may be, it doesn’t take away the sting of losing a loved one to death. Nothing takes that away because nothing is meant to. Death is meant to indelibly scar our hearts because love is meant to wound us in that way. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it: “Nothing can make up for the absence of someone we love. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; God doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, God keeps it empty and so helps us keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. “The dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. “The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves.”

Secondly, Jesus is mocked by the soldiers, who (if he had been a real king) would have been on their knees in homage. They give him vinegar instead of wine, and say: “If you are the King of the Judeans, save yourself.” And there is a (mocking?) inscription above his head to say: “This one is King of the Judeans.” The final piece of abuse comes from one of the two crucified with him, who, like the other two, talks about “save”: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself—and us as well!” Then something quite remarkable happens, for the other thief opens his mouth, and we assume that more abuse is on its way, but nothing of the kind. He rebukes his colleague, even at this dark moment, for not fearing God! He formally declares Jesus “not guilty”, and then proclaims his kingship in the most unambiguous terms, saying to the fellow-convict dying this appalling death (and we are electrified as we listen): “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Then comes the magisterial voice, with the regal response: “Amen I’m telling you, today you are going to be with me in Paradise.” What kind of a king is this? What kind of a king are you looking for this week?

Southern Crossword #576

ACROSS 1. On the patio it could be crazy (6) 4. Where the Israelites crossed over (3,3) 9. They are not particular at the church bazaar (7,6) 10. Decorated like a salad (7) 11. Pirates are angry inside (5) 12. Surname of Carmelite St Simon of the brown scapular (5) 14. Save us from ... and from woe (hymn) (5) 18. Musical notes recurring in the meditation (5) 19. Find her among Jesus, Ann and company (7) 21. Not professional games (7,6) 22. The soldier’s respectful gesture (6) 23. It raises your heart and mind to God (6)

DOWN 1. Buddhist temple (6) 2. Saint with society in South Africa (7,2,4) 3. Standard things when Ron returns with the manuscript (5) 5. Die true to being knowledgeable (7) 6. William Booth’s troops (9,4) 7. Heard C with eyebrows raised (6) 8. Sharp instrument in the grass (5) 13. Saint who takes pity (7) 15. Contravenes a Commandment (6) 16. Kind of interest that is unreasonably high (5) 17. He is rare to give you a boost (6) 20. Excellent man in the comic books (5)

Solutions on page 11



HE rabbi and the archbishop meet at the buffet table during a big gala event. After he has dished his plate, the archbishop turns to the rabbi. He asks with ironic commiseration: “My dear rabbi, when oh when will you be able to taste this delicious pork roast?” Without missing a beat, the rabbi replies: “At your wedding, Your Grace.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to the Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, Po Box 2372, Cape town, 8000.