S outhern C ross
February 19 to February 25, 2014
Reg No. 1920/002058/06
20 years democracy: Bishops look at SA today
R7,00 (incl VAT RSA)
Philomena, leadership books reviewed
The true Catholic school ethos
Priest: SA traded justice for peace STAFF REPORTER
I Holy Rosary High School in Edenvale, Johannesburg, has launched “Ride for a Purpose”, an outreach and community event aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence. The event is spearheaded by Holy Rosary debutante and Grade 10 pupil Amy Driver (sitting on the motorbike), to commemorate her aunt who was stabbed to death by her husband in 2010. The event will culminate on March 30 in a motorbike rally from Holy Rosary School to Hartebeespoort Dam. The Jes Foord Foundation, which was founded by a rape survivor, will benefit from this initiative. For more information, contact Shareen Driver on 073 130-2176 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Seen here with members of the “Old Hogs” motorbike group are (standing from left) Shellsea Branquinho, Kim Watson, Zarina Cooper, Kelsey Maskell, and Bianca-Jade Sutton with members David Cohen, Amy Driver and Gabriel Ferreira in front.
Final chance to see two popes canonised T HE Southern Cross/Radio Veritas pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi to see the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII is now fully booked, with only waitinglist places available—but there is one more way to stand a chance of witnessing this unique historical event. Radio Veritas is holding a draw for a winning ticket for two people to join the pilgrimage, which will take place from April 25 to May 4. It will be led by Fr Emil Blaser OP, station director of Radio Veritas, with Claire Mathieson, news editor of The Southern Cross. “For only R350 a ticket, the winner will receive two places on the pilgrimage—flights (from Johannesburg), hotels, breakfast and dinner, even the insurance—to the value of more than R55 000,” Fr Blaser said. The draw is a crucial fundraising campaign for South Africa’s only Catholic radio station, which is facing continuous financial pressures. “The draw is a very good way of supporting
Radio Veritas and at the same time standing a chance to win something really unique,” Fr Blaser said. He added that the draw is, of course, open to nonlisteners of the radio station, which broadcasts in Gauteng on 576 AM. To enter, SMS your name to 35710 and a memFr Emil Blaser ber of the team will call back with banking details and further information, or go to www.radioveritas.co.za or call Lydia at 083 601-6177 or Julia at 082 871-8360 The draw will be held in late March. To be added to the waiting list, please contact Gail at Fowler Tours: 076 352-3809 or email email@example.com. To view the itinerary go to www.fowler tourssa.co.za/canonisation-pilgrimage
N peace-building, justice is often the first casualty, and more times than not truth is a casualty. These were the words of Fr Sean O’Leary M.Afr, director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI), who presented the tenth annual Denis Hurley Lecture in Durban on February 14. The DHPI is an associate body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Fr O’Leary said political leadership in the anti-apartheid struggle prioritised political justice over criminal justice. He said the mentality was to forgive all past crimes—offering immunity from prosecution—provided that both sides agree to change the rules to assure political justice for the living. Referring to Nelson Mandela’s time on Robben Island, where the leader of the African National Congress realised the only way forward for South Africa was together, Fr O’Leary said that it was clear that the price for peace would be high. “Justice and much of the truth would have to be sacrificed for the quest for genuine, lasting peace,” the Missionary of Africa told the gathered crowd. “The fact that the perpetrators of so much horror were allowed to walk free was the price that the majority of people in South Africa paid for peace. Here amnesty and justice was traded for peace, irrespective of how the victims and survivors felt,” Fr O’Leary said. He said the rest of Africa had seen this too often. In Mozambique and South Sudan, independence and peace were traded in return for a promise not to pursue criminal justice. Referring to Kenya’s violent 2008 presidential election, Fr O’Leary said it was “common knowledge” that opposition leader Raila Odinga had defeated incumbent Mwai Kibaki. Mr Odinga’s agreement after negotiations to accept the vice-presidency “is another example of justice being sacrificed for something more important—the end of violence and the prospect of peace for the people of Kenya”, Fr O’Leary explained. Fr O’Leary said Zimbabwe was yet another case where justice has been put aside in order to sustain peace; Robert Mugabe has remained president despite losing the March 2008 elections to Morgan Tsvangirai, who had to settle for prime minister to avoid a
full-blown civil war. The price of peace is high and the poorest and those that have suffered the most are those that will pay the highest price for peace, Fr O’Leary said.
he DHPI director referred to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) where victims often did not find the truth. “When the truth was established, it often led to a call for justice...but individual justice was not an option open to the TRC. This at times was a hard pill to swallow for the victims. In fact, many felt victimised a second time by the TRC process. It was those who had suffered the most under the scourge of apartheid that paid the biggest price for the lasting peace that is the new South Africa today,” Fr O’Leary said. He said that democracy is a fine principle, “but so is peace, and sometimes the people will accept a solution which puts peace above a literal interpretation of democracy”. Accordingly, words like truth, peace, reconciliation and justice are being redefined on the continent, said Fr O’Leary. “In Africa, retributive justice gives way to restorative justice, and often the guilty do not acknowledge their responsibility for the violence they have caused, individually, institutionally nor even symbolically,” Fr O’Leary said. “Economic and socio-political amends or restitution is rarely made to those who had suffered loss of persons, property or human dignity,” he added. In most western countries the dominant justice paradigm is retributive justice. A crime has been committed, so a guilty party must be identified and punished, Fr O’Leary explained, adding that a key component to this form of justice was the role of the state. On the other hand, “restorative justice aims to heal broken relationships, to repair the damage done by the crime, and to bring harmony as widely as possible. The key actors are the victims and the perpetrators,” he said. “Africa in particular of late has chosen the restorative justice model. It is strong in traditional cultures and faith communities, and has communal roots. It focuses on the victim, the offender and the community. “What the DHPI has learnt from experience in trying to build peace in Africa, for over ten years, is not that there needs to be a trade-off between peace and justice but rather a trade-off between different forms of justice in the quest for lasting peace.”
Southern Cross to Fatima • Lourdes • Avila with Bishop João Rodrigues & Günther Simmermacher Join The Southern Cross and the Diocese of Tzaneen on a Pilgrimage of Prayer for the Sainthood Cause of Benedict Daswa to places of Our Lady in France, Spain & Portugal!
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
New NGO to help fund pro-life bodies By PORTIA MTHEMBu
C The core team of Holy Redeemer’s newly launched Life Teen programme is (back from left) Matthew Davids, Leo Da Silva, Orwell Mushaikwa, Paul De Roos, Sergio Sagrestano and (front) Jessica Risseeuw, Lesley Frans, Wanika Rusthoi, Monique Richards, Aldina Santos, Lorne Golden and Lorraine De Roos.
Life Teen keeps growing STAFF REPORTER
HE Life Teen programme has been officially launched at Holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet, Cape Town. According to Life Teen coordinator Wanika Rusthoi, 67 teens participated in the first Life Night and numbers are expected to grow. “After a year of planning, Life Teen replaces the former confirmation programme catering for teenagers aged 14 to 17,” Ms Rusthoi told The Southern Cross. Led by a team of 12 mixed-age volunteers, the programme is supported by parish priest Fr Seàn Wales CSsR. Holy Redeemer joins five other churches in the archdiocese which also run Life Teen: Durbanville, Table View, Rondebosch, Somerset
West and Paarl. The American-established Life Teen is a four-year programme in which Life Nights are run on Sunday evenings during school terms, after the evening Mass. These evenings are known for the fun, yet relevant, way in which they present the catechism of the Church to teens. “After just one night, some parents emailed to report what wonderful feedback their children had given them after the launch,” Ms Rusthoi reported. “Holy Redeemer is excited about bringing this programme to young people, who are, in the words of Pope Francis, ‘the future of our Church,’ ” she said. n For more on Life Teen at Holy Redeemer, or to sign up or help, contact the parish office on 021 712 2210 or visit www.holyredeemer.co.za
ULTURE of Life Apostolate (CoLA), a pro-life Catholic organisation, has established Bambisana Aid Foundation, a nonprofit group, to fundraise for charity organisations. “During our tenure on CoLA we realised that the work being done was of a very sensitive nature and the potential for negative publicity was very real,” Nigel Walker, chairman of Bambisana, told The Southern Cross. “Thus to continue the necessary fundraising and protect the good name of CoLA, we decided to set up an independent organisation.” The subsidiary maintains the underlying principles and goals of CoLA, but as an independent organisation is also open to nonCatholic Christian members, said Mr Walker. The name “Bambisana”, which means “working together” in Zulu, was chosen to represent what the foundation stands for. “This embodies the collective effort that we have all subscribed to,” said Raphael Lallu, communications officer. Since starting in October last year, Bambisana has received a very positive response, said Tom van der Marck, administration and fundraising officer. “Through donors, partners and functions we have already raised more than R50 000.” Currently, the foundation is fo-
Bambisana members (back from left) Nigel Walker, Ina Gradussen, Dave Wernberg, Tom Cox and Raphael Lallu and (front) Cobus de Bruyn, Tom van der Marck, Maureen de Bruyn and Denise Cox. cused on assisting the Divine Mercy Home. “We have identified many projects that need to be completed in the home,” Mr van der Marck said. “The electricity expenditure is high and to help manage this we are putting in solar geysers. “We plan to install a vegetable tunnel and an irrigation system to help the home become self-sufficient in growing healthy food. Any excess crops will be sold at the thrift shop that we will be opening up shortly.” Mr van der Marck encourages the participation of young people in the fundraising initiatives. “We are recruiting youth from the age of 17 years. We need the input of these
younger people who may have refreshing ideas that we as older people may not have.” Mr Lallu said there were also plans to invite people to breakfasts and lunches, to explain Bambisana’s intentions and request donations. Mr van der Marck said once Bambisana had registered with the Department of Social Development and the tax office, it would be able to receive larger amounts from both local and international donors and to hand over official certificates. n To learn more about Bambisana, visit its Facebook page, The Bambisana Aid Foundation or e-mail at email@example.com
The Nine First Fridays of Reparation to The Sacred Heart of Jesus Reparation for the outrages and offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and against Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar! The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after the death of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque to whom Christ appeared and revealed His Sacred Heart as a symbol of His love for mankind. In 1794, Pope Pius VI issued a decree approving the devotion and granting indulgences to those who practice it. On June 11, 1899, in what he referred to as "the great act" of his pontificate, Pope Leo XIII solemnly consecrated all mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Nine First Friday Devotion: The First Friday of each month was
designated by Our Blessed Lord Himself as a day to be consecrated to honouring His Most Sacred Heart. The object of this devotion is to make the Sacred Heart more ardently and more perfectly loved, and to make proper reparation for the outrages, indifference, and neglect against Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
The Great Promise: Is simply one blessing beyond compare, a death in a state of grace, in God’s friendship.(*see the 12th promise below)
“Behold this Heart which has loved mankind so much… and in return, I receive nothing but ingratitude from the greater number through the contempt, the irreverence, the sacrileges and the coldness shown towards Me in the Sacrament of love…”
Just TWO conditions are necessary to fulfill Our Lord’s request: 1. Confession – to ensure one is in a State of Grace. 2. Holy Communion – to receive worthily on nine consecutive First Fridays with the intention of making Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The following First Friday devotions are efficacious in honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: 1. Adoration of the Most BlessedSacrament. 2. Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 3. Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Twelve Promises of The Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: 1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life. 2. I will give peace in their families. 3. I will console them in all their troubles. 4. I will be their refuge in life, and especially in death. 5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings. 6. Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy. 7. Tepid souls will become fervent. 8. Fervent souls will rise speedily to great perfection. 9. I will bless those places where the Image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
10. I will give Priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts. 11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names eternally written in My Heart, never to be blotted out. 12. In the abundant mercy of My Heart, I promise that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they will not die in My displeasure nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their secure refuge in that last hour.
NB*** The Promise is not a substitute for living the Commandments, for carrying out one’s duties in life, from prayer or from the Sacraments.
The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
Friends and prayer are key for priests
By HuGH LAGAN SMA
HERE persists within popular culture a belief that Catholic priests live lonely and unhappy lives. Furthermore, the commitment to a celibate lifestyle by clergy is often assumed to stunt psychological health and promote psychosexual deviancy. These assumptions are challenged by the findings of recent research undertaken by Mgr Stephen Rossetti, with representative samples of Catholic clergy in the United States. His research suggests that the majority of priests experience high levels of satisfaction in their personal lives and public ministry. Similar work satisfaction studies across a broad sampling of occupations repeatedly report clergy as being the most satisfied of any career. Intuitively, these findings make sense as the ministry affords clergy the opportunity to live out their deepest convictions within a community of believers who share their values of compassion, service and social justice. While priests are as vulnerable as any other occupation to work stress and personnel challenges, these research findings would seem to suggest that the majority of priests enjoy being priests. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s Ongoing Formation Committee, in collaboration with the Society of African Missions and the archdioceses of Cape Town and Johannesburg, recently welcomed Mgr Rossetti to South Africa for a series of symposiums and workshops. He is considered one of the
Dominican novicemaster Fr Albert Nolan with novices (from left) Brs Boiketlo Mohlokoane, Sikhosiphi Mgoza, Ernest Mwape and Guide Marambanyika.
Mgr Stephen Rossetti addresses the symposium for priests in Pinelands, Cape Town. leading international authorities on the psychospiritual health of Catholic clergy and has written several books and numerous articles on topics related to priestly wellness. In a series of workshops, Mgr Rossetti spoke about his research and what predicts happiness among Catholic priests. Key factors include a personal relationship with God, commitment to daily prayer, living a purposeful life, a strong love for the sacraments, a realistic self-image, healthy friendships, good selfcare practices, a positive view of celibacy and respect for religious authority. Detrimental factors undermining priestly happiness included loneliness, anger management problems, sexual conflicts, low self-esteem and dysfunctional early life. The importance of healthy, appropriate and supportive interpersonal relationships was repeatedly emphasised by Mgr
Rossetti. He found in his research that the strongest predictor of a positive relationship with God was having close friends. The practice of daily prayer was also found to be a powerful protective factor against depression, emotional exhaustion and loneliness in the lives of clergy. There is no question that priests experience many challenges in the daily living out of this commitment within a secular culture which provides little validation. However, they also experience many consolations. The SACBC Ongoing Formation Committee is tasked to promote wellness among clergy and religious and facilitates annual sabbatical programmes and educational workshops. Many priests who attended the clergy day symposiums in Cape Town and Johannesburg reported feeling affirmed in their vocational calling and challenged to live their priestly lives with joy and gratitude.
Dominicans on the move STAFF REPORTER
HE year has started with great forward momentum for South Africa’s Dominican order as 20 Dominican friars gathered at La Verna, Johannesburg, for their annual retreat which saw not only a special time of bonding but multiple professions too. This year’s retreat was directed by Fr Bafana Hlatshwayo CSsR. After the retreat, the friars held their annual assembly. The theme this year was “Our Dominican heritage in Southern Africa”, in preparation for the 800th anniversary of order, in 2016. Br Damazio Ngoma was ordained to the deaconate by Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad. Many priests of the Kroonstad diocese and other friends came for the occasion. Br Damazio, together with Br Neil
Mitchell, had been training future deacons for the diocese. Br Damazio has now been transferred to EmaPhethelweni Priory in Pietermaritzburg where he will be the chaplain to university students while finishing his doctorate in moral theology. Br Damazio comes from Malawi, where he studied for the priesthood, and then came to Johannesburg, where he worked as a gardener for several years before joining the Dominicans. He did his novitiate in Nairobi, Kenya. The assembly took place in the presence of two official visitors from Rome—Fr Dominic Izzo, the assistant to the master general for North America, and Fr Gabriel Samba, the assistant for Africa, who were on an official canonical visit to the Dominican friars of Southern Africa.
Jo’burg holds a Day of Prayer By PORTIA MTHEMBu
HRISTIANS from the archdiocese of Johannesburg gathered in Pimville, Soweto, where a Day of Prayer was held. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale was requested by the archdiocesan sodalities to pray for the evils present in communities around the country. “Rapes, killings, Satanism, drug and alcohol abuse, abuse of
women and children, crimes in our communities and churches, abortions, accidents on the roads and many others are rife in our country”, Odilon Molapo, head of evangelisation, said. “As Christians we feel like we have lost our moral fibre and human values, ubuntu, and we are asking God to intervene and help us,” he said. The Day of Prayer commenced with a procession from Maponya Mall to the Nike Devel-
opment and Training Centre, to proclaim to all Christians that “Christ wants all people to live in peace and harmony, not with all the evil that is affecting us these days,” Veronica Pieterson, from the Department of Evangelisation, told The Southern Cross. Benediction, prayers and praise and worship also formed part of the event, which culminated in Mass concelebrated by the archbishop and priests of the archdiocese.
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
Poll shows strong support for Church teaching in Africa, Asia By DAVID AGREN
POLL by Spanish-language broadcaster Univision shows Catholics in Asia and Africa, where the Church is growing fastest, expressing strong support for Church teachings. The poll of self-identified Catholics in 12 countries showed high approval of Pope Francis, but split on subjects such as abortion, priests being able to marry and same-sex marriage. The split underscores what is perhaps one of Pope Francis’ most pressing challenges as he attempts to implement change in the Church. He must attend to fastgrowing congregations in less-affluent areas such as Africa, while renewing the enthusiasm of Catholics in Europe and the Americas, where the faithful are increasingly leading lifestyles contrary to Church teachings. “It’s clear that the major division in the Catholic world isn’t so much the global North-South but the Americas and Europe versus Africa and Asia,” said Andrew Chesnut, who holds the Bishop Walter F Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. It’s a tough balancing act, but not an impossible one, Prof Chesnut said, explaining that Pope Francis’ “unique combination of a preferential option for the poor meshed with an appreciation of
charismatic worship will help him bridge some of these major cleavages in the global Church”. Pope Francis’ personal appeal helps, too: 87% of Catholics worldwide rate his job performance as “excellent” or “good”. However, in Mexico, 26% of respondents rated the pontiff “mediocre” or “poor”. “Most political leaders would be quite envious of his poll numbers,” said Jesuit Father James Bretzke, professor of moral theology at Boston College. “He has the broadest appeal of any pope since Pope John XXIII.”
he survey captured a snapshot of the views and values of more than 12 000 Catholics on the eve of the first anniversary of Pope Francis being elected in March 2013. It also comes as the Vatican carries out its own survey of Catholics in advance of a Synod of Bishops on the family in October. Survey details from Germany and Switzerland—countries not surveyed by Univision—were released in early February and found the faithful often living lives contrary to Church teachings on family and sexuality. “If you map [the German numbers] onto this Univision survey, you would find confirmation of the basic trends,” Fr Bretzke said. “Clearly opinion about concrete moral issues is changing, and the older way of looking at [controversial practices] as an intrinsic evil,
that kind of concept is clearly not winning the day anymore among most people,” he said. “A lot of what these numbers reflect is where complex issues are not well understood by the majority of lay Catholics,” Fr Bretzke said. The survey, conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, gauged the opinions of Catholics in the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the Philippines. Uganda and the DRC showed 98% opposition to same-sex marriages, while the Philippines was 84% against. The three countries also were the only ones with majorities saying abortion “should not be allowed at all”. One-third of Catholics worldwide surveyed agreed abortion “should not be allowed at all”; 57% said it “should be allowed in some cases”. Majorities in Europe, Latin America and the United States disagreed with divorce rules denying Communion to those who remarry outside the church. The two African nations were 75% in agreement. Seventy percent in Africa and 76% in the Philippines opposed priests marrying; 70% in Europe expressed the opposite opinion. Only respondents in Uganda and the DRC showed less than twothirds support for contraceptive use.—CNS
This is the retired pope’s daily routine By CINDy WOODEN
N retirement, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI follows a daily schedule similar to that of any retired bishop or religious: he prays, reads, strolls, talks with people and offers them spiritual advice, the Vatican spokesman said. Although he “lives in a low-key way, without public attention, that does not mean he’s isolated or enclosed in a strict cloister,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the retired pope’s longtime personal secretary, told the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana about the
very normal daily life of a man who is in the unusual position of being a retired pope. “The day begins with Mass, then with the breviary, followed by breakfast,” Archbishop Gänswein, who continues as Pope Benedict’s personal secretary while also serving Pope Francis as prefect of the papal household, said. “The morning usually is dedicated to prayer and study, to the mail and to receiving guests.” Archbishop Gänswein and the consecrated laywomen who assist the retired pope join him for lunch at 13:30, and a nap always follows, he said. Pope Benedict spends the after-
noon dealing with his correspondence and listening to music until 16:00, when he and the archbishop recite the rosary while walking in the garden behind the former Vatican convent where he lives. They eat dinner at 19:30 and watch the evening news at 20:00. Fr Lombardi said the routine is that of “an elderly religious”. He said the retired pope’s guests come for conversation, for dialogue and “ask his advice and spiritual support”. Archbishop Gänswein confirmed that Pope Francis and Pope Benedict speak frequently on the telephone and have done so since the evening Pope Francis was elected.— CNS
The coffin of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman (inset after his Oscar win for Capote) is brought into St Ignatius Loyola church in New york for his funeral Mass. Hoffman, considered one of the leading actors of his generation, was found dead at 47 in his Manhattan apartment on February 2 after an apparent drug overdose. The actor, a baptised Catholic who described himself as a believer, played a priest opposite Meryl Streep in the 2008 film Doubt. (Photo: Brendan McDermid, Reuters/CNS)
Nuns in charts again for Lent By NAVAR WATSON
WENTY-TWO nuns beat Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album on Billboard magazine’s classical traditional chart last year. Now, they’re at it again with a new album that might top the charts. On February 11, the award-winning Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Missouri released their third album, Lent at Ephesus— just in time for the penitential season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is on March 5. Mother Cecilia, the order’s prioress, said popular demand prompted the recording of Lent at Ephesus. The nuns also have “long desired” to make a Lent recording. “The hymns and chants during this holy season are some of the most beautiful and expressive of the whole year,” Mother Cecilia said. After the success of the first two albums, Billboard named the nuns Top Traditional Classical Album Artist in 2012 and 2013, making them the first order of nuns to receive an award by the trade music magazine. Their 2013 album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, spent 13 consecutive weeks at No 1 on Billboard’s Classical Traditional Music chart.
“Sacred music enables people to draw closer to God through beauty, aiding them in a deeper level of understanding of the immortality of the soul and its ultimate end in God alone,” Mother Cecilia said. Multiple-time Grammy awardwinner Blanton Alspaugh, who produced the album, said recording with the nuns in their priory has been “one of the highlights of my career”. “Their singing has a very pure and yet sophisticated style. It certainly earns its place in the international arena of classical music,” said Mr Alspaugh.“Their talent is as remarkable as their sense of charity.”—CNS
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
Church: CAR war ‘not religious’ By JONATHAN LuXMOORE
HURCH leaders in the Central African Republic have reiterated that the media is wrong in reporting a “religious war” in their country and insisted Christians and Muslims are working together in government and society to secure peace. “We and other faith leaders have repeatedly urged the international press and peacekeeping forces not to present the violence this way,” said Mgr Cyriaque Gbate Doumalo, secretary-general of the Catholic bishops’ conference. “This isn’t a religious conflict, but a military and political one. Of course, it could acquire a religious dimension if it’s instrumentalised this way. But it’s completely false to imply religious leaders have played some part in it,” he told Catholic News Service. The country’s Transitional National Council, or parliament, called for firmer action to stop “murder, pillaging, lynching, rape and robbery”, especially in the capital, Bangui.
Mgr Doumalo said fighting appeared to have died down between remnants of the predominantly Muslim rebel Séléka alliance, which seized power in March 2013, and a largely Christian militia known as Anti-Balaka. He also said French and African peacekeeping forces had asked Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders to help mobilise support for their mission. “The population is ready to help them, although there’s also been some complacency in the disarmament process so far,” Mgr Doumalo said. At a joint news conference, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui and the city’s chief imam, Omar Kobine Layama, said attempts were being made to “impose a religious war on people who have always lived in harmony”, adding that there was “no reason to drag religion into a purely political conflict”. They said greater “financial and material means” were needed to secure the country and urged the United Nations to send more peace-
keeping troops as well as judicial investigators “so justice can be done”. Mgr Doumalo said Imam Layama had been sleeping at Archbishop Nzapalainga’s residence since late 2013, after receiving threats from the Séléka. He added that a grenade had recently been lobbed into Bangui’s St Michael’s church, badly injuring several worshippers, but that the archbishop had asked Catholics to “greet and ask forgiveness from Muslim brethren”. “Although many see the Muslim population as Séléka ’s accomplices, we’ve continually urged against this in our churches,” Mgr Doumalo said. “Politicians are still trying to use this conflict’s religious connotations. But we have to tell the truth if we’re to build reconciliation.” Séléka is composed partly of Arab-speaking Islamists from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, who suspended the constitution after ousting President François Bozizé last March. A mostly Christian proBozizé militia, Anti-Balaka, increased
Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic (right), walks with Imam Oumar Kobine Layama after a meeting of religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces. Catholic leaders in the Central African Republic reject media claims of a new “religious war” and insist that Christians and Muslims are working together in government and society to secure peace. (Photo: Luc Gnago, Reuters/CNS) revenge attacks on suspected Séléka sympathisers in Mr Bozizé’s northwestern home region, and the fighting spread. Mgr Doumalo stressed that “al-
though Anti-Balaka rose up in exasperation at what Séléka was doing, it isn’t a Christian militia. Nor are all Muslims on the side of Séléka.”— CNS
Pope: ‘Even with me presiding, Mass not a tourist attraction’ By CINDy WOODEN
N invitation to attend Pope Francis’ early morning Mass is a hot ticket in Rome, but the pope said the Mass—in his residence or anywhere else—isn’t an event, but a time for entering into the mystery of God. “Maybe someone would say, ‘Oh, I must get to Mass at Sanctae Marthae because the pope’s morning
Mass is on the Rome tourist itinerary,’” he said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. Addressing those gathered for one of the Masses, he said: “All of you come here, all of us gather here to enter into a mystery, which is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is God’s cloud that envelops us all.” Throughout history, God has spoken to his people in different ways:
through prophets, priests and the Scriptures, the pope said. But the Bible also tells of special moments, “theophanies,” when God is present in a more direct way. The Mass is one of those occasions when the Lord is present, Pope Francis said. The Mass isn’t a social occasion or even “a prayer meeting. It’s something else. In the liturgy, God is present.” The Mass is something different,
it’s not a re-enactment of the Last Supper, he said. “It is the Last Supper. It is living again the passion and redeeming death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.” The pope said it’s not right for people to look at their watches during Mass—“we must put ourselves there, in God’s time and space, without looking at our watches.”—CNS
The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Our fifth election
WENTY years ago South Africa emerged from the often violent and uncertain four-year interregnum that followed the nightmare of apartheid and the unjust regimes that preceded it. South Africans were now free to write a new chapter in the country’s history. The nation felt a sense of freedom, hope and expectation. In the time that followed, South Africa was an international goodnews story, with sporting success adding to a feeling, albeit fleeting, of unity. Politicians, by and large, still inspired confidence—mostly misplaced, as it turned out—that they would fulfil the promise of ethical leadership rooted in the sense of justice that had brought South Africa to this point. Twenty years after that hopefilled time, we are in a malaise. We are still far from solving our problems of racial bias, mass poverty, unemployment, infrastructural and social service delivery to the poor, sexual and general violence, deficient education, and so on. To these problems the country has added a widespread attitude of xenophobia towards African migrants. In labour relations, the basic human right to strike in collective bargaining efforts frequently has been abused as a weapon of destabilisation and economic sabotage, to the detriment of employers and of the nation in general. At the same time, it is difficult to see alternative ways by which workers might voice their frustration when the income gap is so unjustly increasing, and the greed for profit takes precedence over human needs. Corruption and maladministration in government and the civil service is so incontinent that officials barely bother to disguise it (which is not to say that the National Party regime was any less corrupt). Disturbingly, even some law enforcement officers now shake down civilians for bribes. The record of successive governments led by the African National Congress cannot be described as having been marked by selfless service in the public interest. Some decisions clearly have been taken in conflict with the common good. There have been some successes, of course. As the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Confer-
ence and the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life note in their joint pastoral letter, “statistics relating to houses built, water provided, electricity supplied, roads constructed, health facilities created, social grants implemented are some of the few indicators of the improvement of lives brought about by democracy”. After President Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous handling of the Aids crisis, the government has made some encouraging progress, especially in the area of treatment. Above all, South Africa’s civil society remains vibrant and courageous, as are pockets of the media, making full use of our constitutional democracy without fear of arbitrary detention. It is in this climate that South Africans return to the polls on May 7 in the country’s fifth national and provincial election. We may be confident that this year’s election, like the previous four, will be free and fair. The Zuma government will doubtless be returned, even with a track record which in a more competitive democracy would see it dismissed to the opposition benches. Nationally, the significant question is not whether the ANC will lose power, but by what margins it will retain it. In that way, the national election represents a referendum on the ANC’s performance in government. This is not to say that other parties are therefore insignificant. On the contrary, South Africa’s democracy is handicapped by the absence of an opposition that might pose an electoral threat to the ANC nationally, and empower the electorate to hold the government accountable for its failures through the ballot box. We must be concerned that many South Africans have no confidence in the democratic system and do not plan to vote. We have less than three months in which to reach those who are registered but are not motivated to exercise their right to vote—a right won with the blood of those who fought for a universal franchise. The Church, especially on parish level, must play its part in encouraging adult citizens to cast their vote on May 7, and offer its prayers that those who will vote do so responsibly, and that the leaders whom they elect will act on their mandate with integrity.
New Missal text lost in translation
OW that we have lived with the new translation of the Missal for more than two years, and longer in Southern Africa, what is the verdict on it? This is the opinion of one priest in Ireland: “I listen to the priest struggle with the opening prayers and the prefaces and I know that whoever was behind this new translation was not motivated by the desire to make the Eucharist more meaningful for the people.” And the editor of the Redemptorist periodical Reality, in the middle of a long editorial on the new translation, had the following to say. “If it was supposed to give people a new appreciation of the beauty of the liturgy, it has failed spectacularly.
‘Homophobia’ used as verbal weapon
OUR editorial on Africa’s antigay laws (January 29) was of the usual high standard that I have come to expect of you, and I have no fundamental disagreement with your arguments contained therein. However, your repeated use of the words “homophobia” or “homophobic”—nine times in total— gives me concern. The dictionary definition of phobia is “an exaggerated and illogical fear of something”. But now “homophobia” is used as a verbal weapon against those like me who accept the existence of homosexuality but regard it as neither normal nor natural. I do not believe that this view demonstrates a phobia with regard to homosexuality. The label “homophobic” is now attached to anyone who dares, like me, to attempt to state their views either verbally or otherwise. I believe the unreciprocated tolerance of homosexual behaviour by the majority of people has allowed the situation to arise where gay marriage is nowadays considered as a right by some. Paddy Ross, Cape Town
KISSED the picture of our Pope Francis holding up a box he called “spiritual medicine” (November 24, 2013). People who don’t buy The Southern Cross missed out on this. Our pope tells us to recite the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy as often as we can. Do we realise the valuable weapon we have in the rosary? The pope tells us about the 59 beads of the rosary which feed us spiritually. We say the rosary and leave out the first four beads, so we start with Our
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“If it was supposed to give the liturgy a more elevated and prayerful tone, it has succeeded only in making it a more awkward and less prayerful experience for priests and people alike. “If it was supposed to put a stop to ‘experimentation’ in the liturgy, preventing priests from ad-libbing or substituting their own words for those prescribed in the text, it has led only to more experimentation, with priests feeling obliged to edit or truncate the more unintelligible and unwieldy prayers so as to make them more comprehensible.” And this is what I am inclined to do myself if I don’t go back to the previous translation for something simpler and more understandable.
Father then move on with the mysteries. We need all 59 beads. The weapon we have keeps evil at bay. Reciting the rosary, we throttle the devil with the rosary chain. I recite the mysteries with meditation, for example the nativity. I think of a small child with her friends going to the top of their house on the roof because they can’t sleep, too excited about all the commotion happening outside. They lie on their bellies watching, seeing the lady with a baby in the stable, the shepherds, the singing. The small child’s mum awakes and says, “What are you kids doing on the roof? Come down now.” She says, “Mum, come see.” The mother says, “Why is there a woman with a baby in the stable? What happened?” And then she says, “If I knew, I would have given them a room in our house, poor woman, poor baby.” Imagine what happens if you meditate on the sorrowful mysteries and be there with Jesus? I love doing both in the early hours of the morning. I am a 75-year-old woman who wakes up early as old people do, and I have my spiritual pills and feel so well. Lucky me. Mary Bowers, Cape Town
need laity input Spiritual medicine We T would seem that Pope Francis
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wants to “open the stuck windows” of Vatican ll and let some fresh air in. Details of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family to be held in October are sketchy and the questionnaire seems more aimed at the bishops and clergy than at the laity. Even the language used is difficult to understand—let alone answer—from a lay point of view. It would be interesting to be informed by our bishops and clergy how they have gone about obtaining
So what is the South African verdict? Not being in parish work any longer I don’t have that kind of feedback. The Reality editor ended his editorial with this: “The quicker this unwanted and unhelpful translation is revisited and replaced, the better for the Church in the English-speaking world. The German bishops have ditched their version of the new translation. Our bishops must have the courage to do the same.” But what bishops’ conference would have the audacity/courage to tell the Congregation for Divine Worship: “Dust off the ICEL 1998 translation—approved by all the English-speaking conferences in the world which you rejected and put on the shelf—and give it back to us!” Fr Liam MacDermott OFM, Vanderbijlpark
meaningful feedback from the Family of God, the laity. It would also be interesting to know what percentage of families have responded and what those responses reveal. It is not clear from your report “Bumper Year of the Family” (January 15) whether Toni Rowland’s vision of the synod’s “pastoral challenges to families in the context of evangelisation or application of canon law” includes a meaningful participation by the laity? And, if not, whether Mrs Rowland and our bishops would agree that those with first-hand family experience should also be present to assist the synod with its findings? Has Mrs Rowland herself been invited in her official capacity? If not, who has? The international movement Catholic Church Reform has calculated that in the Western world, less than 1% of the faithful have been involved and responded to the questionnaire. Is that regarded as realistic? And thus far, has there been an indication of any lay involvement at the actual synod itself? I fear not, and the question remains of who would know more about family matters: a synod of ageing celibate men, informed by a 1% response, or actual “feet-on-theground” Catholic family members, supported by a panel of experts on family matters? Without lay involvement, will the synod have any real standing with Catholics, let alone the world? Geoff Harris, Rooi Els, WC Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or email@example.com or faxed to 021 465-3850
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PERSPECTIVES Chris Chatteris SJ
Pray with the Pope
Respect for women General Intention: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
SOMETIMES ask my seminary class whether their mothers, grandmothers and sisters are made in the image of God. They never hesitate to answer “yes”. That is because we Christians see all human beings, men and women, young or old, rich or poor, beautiful or disfigured, handicapped or whole, born or unborn, reflecting God’s image. By “God’s image” we don’t mean that we physically look like God. We mean that we can, within the limits of our human nature, reflect God’s powers of being able to think, create and above all, love. Although it’s increasingly accepted in today’s world, on philosophical or theological grounds or both, that women and men have equal rights, the debate continues in some cultures, including our own Catholic culture. And even where the debate is over, for example on the almost universally accepted right to equal pay for equal work, implementation is often poor, including in the Church. Sisters, for example, often receive substantially less for parish work than priests. Rights are rarely just handed over. The suffragette movement discovered this and had to fight against entrenched male political interests for the right of women to vote. Saudi women today will have to struggle just for the right to drive. Fortunately, education is a powerful force driving forward the enhancement of the rights of women (and men too, of course), and the Church has contributed hugely to this and continues to do so. Education opens up the possibility of a career outside the home. A career means that a woman can be the financial equal or even superior of a man. It means that she can widen her horizons. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the demand for women’s rights and dignity is going to fade away like a political fad. The more women get education—in every culture—the more insistent will be the demands for their rights and dignity to be recognised. Therefore, when we pray for women’s rights, we should also pray for greater access to education for women and girls.
Hear God’s call Missionary Intention: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel. AKE up the world!” That’s Pope Francis’ advice to religious in a fascinating, three-hour meeting he had with the Union of Superiors General of Religious men last November. Any young person who is contemplating a path of consecration to the Lord would do well to read the pope’s thoughts (get it at http://bit.ly/Jyrnxh) One of the liberating themes he proposes is the promise of freedom that the Gospel offers. “It is possible to live differently in this world,” he says. How counter all this runs to so much that we hear which implies that there is Pope Francis as no alternative but to fall in young Fr Bergoglio with the crowd. How different from the dull conformism offered by much of the advertising projected, particularly at young people, often under the guise of non-conformism. Apple flatters us by inviting us to “Think Different”. But this implied standing out from the crowd just comes down to buying one particular brand of computer or smartphone rather than another. Their message is “Apple = different-think; Samsung = same-think”. Are we really that stupid? Really thinking differently might prompt us to ask whether we actually need the device at all! We pray for young people who are listening to the Lord’s call. We pray for those of us who are older that we continue to believe that living the Gospel with all its radical demands is still possible. Let us continue to pray for vocations. Let us also pray for vocations directors.
The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
A truly Catholic education ethos O NE of the privileges in my job as director of the Jesuit Institute has been to work with people who are, or aspire to be, principals in Catholic schools. I have worked with the Catholic Institute of Education to support rural principals who succeed in delivering first-class education in the third-world circumstances of some of our towns and villages; and I have just started, for the second year running, working with the Catholic Schools Office in Gauteng to help form deputy principals and heads of department who might one day be leading our Catholic schools, both private and public. It is a privilege because these are people who demonstrate, day in and day out, their willingness to “go the extra mile” for the young people in their care. It is also a privilege to support one of the best ways in which the Catholic community has made and continues to make an extraordinary contribution to South African society. And it is even more of a privilege because these women and men are not all Catholic. Most readers will be used to—perhaps resigned to—the fact that only a minority of learners in Catholic schools are baptised Catholics. Although it varies from school to school, the average across all Catholic schools is only 30%. But perhaps you had thought (or hoped) that at least the principals and most of the teachers were themselves Catholic. Well, this is not the case, and from my experience this is nothing to apologise for. I have had the honour of working with Anglicans, Pentecostals, Dutch Reformed and even Muslims who hold leadership positions in Catholic schools in South Africa. I always stress that we are not trying to create “Catholic leaders in schools”; we are trying to create “leaders in Catholic schools”. And I have to say that some of
the best of them are not themselves Catholics. I hope I can explain why. Catholic education is characterised by a commitment to educating the whole child, as outlined by the Vatican II document on education and subsequent teachings of popes and our own bishops. To be a leader in a Catholic school you need to be not just in tune with that vision, but actually be willing to invest the time, energy and intellectual commitment that is needed to demonstrate that.
ducation does not divide into neat parcels of curriculum, and the job does not end at the school gates or at 3pm. The child’s physical, cultural, moral and spiritual well-being are just as important as their academic achievements. One principal, who had transferred from a government school, gave me a clear example of the difference: she had spent her Christmas holidays committing to memory the names and faces of every child in her new school because she knew that this was the standard that would be expected from her as a leader in a Catholic school. There are those involved in education who did indeed have baptismal water
Catholic school learners: the faith of those who guide them is less important that their commitment to a Catholic ethos, Raymond Perrier writes.
poured on their heads by a Catholic priest, but who are not committed to this vision. And equally there are many who are not baptised Catholics but who have shown that they can and do deliver this vision of Catholic education. Those of us who are involved in different ways in forming and supporting the teachers and leaders in our Catholic schools must also share that vision and be able to help those “on the front line” to deliver it even when faced, as is often the case, with distracted students, hostile parents, detached clergy and an unpredictable department of education. We certainly do not help them by wagging fingers about who is inside or outside some sort of holy club. So how do we accommodate within this vision the case of an unmarried teacher becoming pregnant? In South Africa we rightly worry about how we can protect our teenage girls from early pregnancy and what we teach them. The initial temptation therefore —as a diocese in America has recently done—is to fire the woman: “She broke the rules, so she must pay”. But does this support the whole-person vision we have of the learner? It certainly sends out a clear message of moral disapproval, even to the level of public humiliation. But it also sends other messages, intentionally or unintentionally. If you are going to break a rule, make sure it is not a sexual one. If you have sex, make sure you avoid pregnancy. If you get pregnant, make sure you don’t get found out. If you are a girl, expect to be treated more harshly than a Continued on page 11
of family life? Will there be an encouragement to families towards faith-sharing with a family focus, ending with shared prayer around the issues that have been brought out? Learning the latter technique needs skills and takes some effort, but those involved in Small Christian Communities or any kind of prayer or faith-renewal groups already know the faith-sharing technique. Simple guidelines for a family prayer time can be found in MARFAM’s little prayer book. A helpful formula is built on the four elements of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, forgiveness, petition. Talking with God needs to be appropriate for the family and the context, but restricting family prayer to a cute little children’s grace by the youngest member of the family is not enough. Family faith-sharing includes listening to one another and to God through his Word or Church teaching, and may demand some action to be taken. We hear that Pope Francis likes praying with the psalms and they do give plenty of scope for all kinds of situations, even if sometimes they are a little too blood-thirsty.
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Faith and Society
Let the families pray M ANY people are no doubt familiar with the old slogan, “The family that prays together stays together.” It was the motto for the Family Rosary Crusade of Fr Patrick Peyton in the US in the 1950s. It has stuck, even if the rosary is not as commonly prayed in families today. Radio Veritas gives listeners a number of daily opportunities to do so, but times have changed and whether it is prayed in families as families is another matter. On the cover of MARFAM’s compact Family Prayer Book is the line: “Don’t just say your prayers, pray your prayers”. Catholics tend to be more used to saying prayers that they either read off or have learned off by heart than being actively involved in praying those prayers. Over the centuries many really beautiful and meaningful prayers have been written, but sometimes the words or the images are not relatable to modern-day Catholic families. That is sad, but what has actually taken their place? Priests and catechists constantly complain that children don’t know how to make the Sign of the Cross or say the basic prayers. That is sad, too. Do they pray at all? Do they pray in their own language and their own way? We do hear stories of people who have been away from the Church for years but continue to say some prayer that is special to them, even daily. One of the campaigns for the International Year of the Family, also supported by the bishops, is the promotion of family prayer. What form does it take? Grace at mealtimes, morning or night prayer? Will there be in church a general prayer, a community prayer, or prayers for particular aspects
Any Catholic or religious bookshop will have shelves of books on prayer, addressed to adults, but also for teenagers, children and for all kinds of occasions. The Internet also has plenty of resources. However, it seems to me that the answer is to show the way, encourage and support families’ efforts, and to remember that if prayer doesn’t come from the heart, it is often empty and can even be an insult to God. Ask yourself how you would feel if someone came to visit and read you a passage out of a book instead of having a nice conversation, and then asks you for things. Our prayer should be more than just asking for things, as if God was some kind of ATM. In my catechism days we learned about meditation and contemplation, then there was centering prayer, Taizé and other forms. These are excellent mainly for individual and personal prayer, which are also very necessary. Ideally family prayer should be a raising up of the minds and hearts to God, together, with joy. I like to say: “The family that prays and plays together stays together. The family that walks and talks, eats and meets, dances and sings together can grow closer to one another and to God.” This could be a chosen Lenten activity, starting as a sacrifice and over time even become a joy and experience of unity. n A Family Prayer and other booklets for family faith sharing and prayer leaflets can be ordered from MARFAM at info@marfam. org.za or 082 552-1275. Some can be downloaded from www.marfam.org.za
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
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Sr Monique Fernande celebrated her 50th year of profession as a Little Sisters of Jesus religious at Manenberg, Cape Town. Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Henry of Cape Town, assisted by a number of priests, including the previous parish priest of Manenberg, Fr Wim Lindeque, celebrated Mass for the Little Sisters’ community. Representatives of other congregations and friends were also present. During Mass Sr Fernande described how she discovered her vocation as a young girl in her native France when the Lord led her through an early interest in and work with marginalised groups such as gypsies and immigrants. Sr Fernande took her first vows in Algeria in 1964.
The catechism class of Our Lady of Fatima parish in Durban North learnt about the gospel story in Matthew 4:18-20—“Leave your nets and follow me.”
The pastoral committee of St Anthony's parish in Sedgefield in the diocese of Oudshoorn received a blessing from Fr Brian Williams (back right). (Back row from left) Vincent Moult, Deacon Lucas Timmerman, Dave MorganSmith, Bernard Sheridan, Dave Jones and Fr Williams, (front) Beverley Steele, Helen Spengler and Judy Venter.
JACOBS WELL RETREATS 2014
St John Bosco parish in Booysens, Johannesburg, celebrated the feast of Don Bosco with an open-air Mass celebrated by parish priest Fr John Thompson SDB, which included a catechists’ commissioning ceremony. The image of St John Bosco was carried in procession at the start of Mass.
Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Bridgetown, Cape Town, hosted a high tea for its congregants.
5 to 12 April 2014
A Special Retreat for over 70’s The Tapestry of Aging Presented by: Annie Lunney, SMG Cost: R2000
23 April to 2 May 2014
Directed Retreat Fr Frank Doyle OSA
Preached Retreat Fr Charles Ryan SPS Theme: Story and Music
3 to 12 October 2014
Preached Retreat Directed Retreat Fr Martin O Connell Fr Scott Davidson CssR Theme: On retreat with SPS St Paul
11 to 20 December 2014
Directed Retreat Sr Deidre Harman IVBM
Preached Retreat Fr Sunday Ikpe OSA Theme: Discipleship and Witness, a Radical Choice
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St Dominic’s Priory was awarded the floating trophy for Outstanding Support and Service to the South African National Blood Service for the third year running.
The Catholic Women’s League of Our Lady of Fatima parish in Durban North held a workshop with the theme “Lets get back to basics”.
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
Bishops on 20 years of democratic highs and lows The Southern Cross in 1994
27 April, 1994. South Africa held its breath as the first democratic elections got underway. The snaking lines of people outside the voting stations, the images of joy as many voted for the first time ever, and the culmination of Nelson Mandela becoming our country’s first democratically elected president. These were proud moments. But what has taken place in the two decades since then? In a pastoral letter the bishops of South Africa reflect.
April 24, 1994 Prayer and witness sought for election Churches throughout South Africa have been preparing for the April 27 election through supporting voter education, appealing for prayer and urging their members to assist as observers, monitors and electoral officials. The Natal Church Leaders’ Group requested that members of its affiliated churches pray for peaceful elections and coordinated programmes to teach voters how to cast their votes. Church leaders in Natal also suggested holding a national prayer day which was hugely supported countywide. Every Christian congregation was asked to observe April 24 as a special day of reflection. Nelson Mandela casts his vote in the 1994 elections. (Photo: courtesy of European union election observation. (Inset) Ballot sheet from the 1994 election.
N a joint pastoral letter of the bishops of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life, the Church has celebrated the great strides made in the past twenty years of democracy. But while celebrations are due, their joint pastoral letter also decried the scourge of violence and corruption so common today and challenged people of goodwill to get involved. The bishops said the reflection had begun with the death of Nelson Mandela on December 5. “It became an opportunity to recall and appreciate the treasure of our democracy, which he was so instrumental in initiating, together with other leaders and ordinary people who sacrificed, some of them to the point of death, to lead us to where we are today.” The bishops hailed the country’s peaceful transition from apartheid to the democratic dispensation as well as the establishment of various constitutional mechanisms. The bishops said these mechanisms promote and foster the rule of democracy and the rights of all and “have seen us succeeding in restoring the dignity of the majority of our people, which was denied by the apartheid regime”. The positive statistics relating to houses built, water provided, electricity supplied, roads constructed, health facilities created and social grants implemented are some of the indicators of the improvement of lives brought about by democracy and worth cele-
brating, the pastoral letter said. But while giving thanks, “we also decry at the same time that many still live in intolerable conditions,” the pastoral letter said. “Many are left hopeless and unskilled. Many still lack access to quality care.” The bishops described the scourge of the country’s current situation, as stories of child abuse, rape, domestic violence and the abuse of the elderly continue. “We decry that life has become so cheap and how many are still entrenched in racially biased attitudes and behaviour.” The bishops have challenged the country’s Catholics and people of good will to get involved. “Let us pledge ourselves anew to strive to rebuild our country according to the values enshrined in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Let us work together at the eradication of crime and murder, the drug
trade and human trafficking. Let us put our efforts into making South Africa hospitable to all and banishing xenophobia and racially motivated evils.” The bishops called for greater transparency and accountability—both virtues which build democracy. “We should be able to hold each other accountable for the use of our freedoms and the use of the resources of our land. We should be able to hold police accountable for combating crime and teachers for educating our children, parents for loving and caring for their children, priests and religious ministers for the spiritual growth of our people. “The list is long but in the end we all are accountable to treating each other with dignity and respect.” Democracy, the bishops said, requires of political leaders the implementation of the policies for which they stood before the electorate. It also requires of everyone to become involved and make a contribution through civil and faith-based associations. “We are invited as an expression of our gratitude for the precious gift of our developing democracy, to pledge ourselves anew to making a positive and meaningful contribution to building our country and its peoples.”
May 1, 1994 Joy, belief banish election blues The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference welcomed “with joy and relief” the news that the Inkatha Freedom Party would participate in the election. In a press release on April 19, all those involved in the negotiations including State President FW de Klerk, president of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela and president of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi, were congratulated on their part in achieving this agreement. The conference hoped that members of the parties would show the same spirit of reconciliation and compromise and prayed that political intolerance, violence and death would be reduced if not ceased. May 8, 1994 Churches overseas show election support A group of 40 international observers, invited by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, were deployed throughout the country to observe the elections. The observers arrived as representatives of local churches from several continents in order to walk the last mile with South Africans on their road to democracy. They spoke of the intense interest and prayerful support in their home countries during the elections. Before leaving for South Africa, Bishop John Mone of Paisley, Scotland, wrote a letter to every Catholic parish priest expressing his surprise at the thought that the black bishops of South Africa will have a democratic vote for the first time. During their visit, the observers learnt of the general situation and conditions in South Africa and helped with the elections. May 15, 1994 Election participation showed God’s working The wonderful participation of people of all ages, positions in life and political persuasions in the elections was seen by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) as an extraordinary sign of reconciliation and of God’s working in and through people. In a press statement responding to South Africa’s first fully democratic election, the SACBC spoke of its joy after the country finally attained political freedom. The interim constitution, the new national symbols and the elections, have freed South Africans from centuries of oppression, the statement read. The generous acceptance of FW de Klerk’s defeat and the equally forgiving speech delivered by Nelson Mandela, was an example to all South Africans to see beyond their past and extend a hand of friendship and cooperation to all. The challenge for South Africans post-apartheid was the realisation that goodwill and cooperation are essential for the future good of the country. compiled by Portia Mthembu
Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago Compostela and Lourdes led by Fr Emil Blaser 10-23 October 2014 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land led by Fr Andrew Makgetla 23 June-03 July 2014 Pilgrimage to Turkey and Medjugorje led by Father Andrew Knott 25 September-10 October 2014 Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Teboho Matseke 14-29 September 2014 Pilgrimage to Fatima and Italy led by Fr Boostander 1-12 September 2014 Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes, Paris & Nevers led by Fr Cletus Mtshali 28 September-11 October 2014 Pilgrimage Fatima and Medjugorje led by Father Laszlo Karpati 10-21 October 2014 Contact: Tel: 012 342 0179/072 637 0508 (Michelle) E-Mail: email@example.com
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REMEMBERING OUR DEAD
“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins” (II Macc XII,46) Holy Mass will be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month in the All Souls’ chapel, Maitland, Cape Town at 2:30pm for all souls in purgatory and for all those buried in the Woltemade cemetery.
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The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
A Jesuit way of effective leadership POPE FRANCIS: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, by Chris Lowney. Loyola Press (2013). 200pp. ISBN 978-0-8294-4008-9 Reviewed by Chris Chatteris SJ EADERSHIP is Chris Lowney’s recurrent theme and he has done well in using the Jesuit mystique to interest readers in an alternative style of leadership and different approaches to forming leaders. So when a pope is elected who is both a Jesuit and is almost universally acclaimed as an outstanding and inspiring leader, who better than ex-Jesuit, ex-JP Morgan manager Lowney to analyse his leadership style and its Jesuit underpinnings? It’s a happy sequel opportunity to Lowney’s previous book, Heroic Leadership. Lowney pitches his book at secular as well as religious leaders. One can envisage parents, company directors and Catholic bishops perusing these pages with interest, enjoyment and, quite frequently, the painful but salutary shock of selfrecognition. His descriptions of hyper-busy, continuously connected modern managers who somehow never seem to find time to reflect on either themselves or their work, apply to many clerics, captains of industry and humbler members of the social or ecclesiastical hierarchy. Francis’ playful chiding of what he termed “airport bishops” springs to mind! Lowney is charmingly self-deprecating in his narrative, frequently
drawing morals from stories directed at himself. For example, he recounts of how as a Jesuit novice he did the daily examinations of conscience (“examen” in Jesuit terminology) in a rather routine way. Later, having left the Jesuits, he found himself taking reflective breaks from the overwhelming work of a manager at JP Morgan to help him cope better with his workload. The penny dropped only when he caught himself almost saying out loud of a new colleague who was “spinning” with the dizzying demands of the new job: “That guy should be doing his ‘examen’.” This “ah” moment made him realise that he was in effect doing an examen and how true St Francis de Sales’ dictum was that half an hour’s meditation is enough, unless one is very busy in which case it should be longer. Lowney’s discussion of the examen and its importance for all leaders, from parents to popes, is to my mind one of his most valuable passages. Interesting reflections are drawn from the then Fr Bergolio’s time as the rector of the Jesuit seminary in Argentina, a job he took up after his time as provincial. Some commentators have interpreted this as a demotion. Lowney sees it as the kind of investment in the future often made by Jesuits. Lowney highlights this tendency to “demote” very experienced men to the level of training as one of the secrets of Jesuit success in fostering leaders.
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Looking at the pope through the lenses of his Jesuit experience and the experience of leading large organisations and changing their “culture”, Lowney proposes a convincing analysis of the papal strategy. Except in Africa and Asia, the Catholic Church is in decline, he suggests. One percent of Brazilian Catholics quit the Church each year. Lowney believes that Francis’ programme is quite simply the reversal of these fortunes. The pope dares to believe that decline is not inevitable in the modern and postmodern world if the Church as a whole can be mobilised and put on a serious missionary footing.
ow will he do this? When he was the rector of the Jesuit seminary the then Fr Bergoglio was asked by the local bishop to establish a parish in the area of the seminary. He agreed and he began the work by drawing a map of the parish on the seminary board, breaking it up into smaller areas and sending the Jesuit students out to visit all the houses within the parish boundaries. “Learn from the people before you teach them anything,” he told them. Lowney asks what kind of an impact the Church would have if all 400 000 priests in the world sat down with their pastoral workers. Pope Francis wants us to knock on doors and go directly to people, especially the poor. He is asking us to aim for transcendence which Lowney defines here as “rising above self-interest for the sake of mission”. Lowney suggests that in Gand-
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hian terms, Francis is doing brilliantly, following the Mahatma’s dictum: “Be the change you want to see in the world”. But one man, no matter how inspiring, cannot change the culture of a vast and conservative institution like the Roman Catholic Church. “The new vision and culture change must be institutionalised to be sustainable,” Lowney says. And that means that truly missionary Catholics—clergy, religious and lay—have to be more the norm than the exception. Francis will have succeeded only when he is no longer the exception, says Lowney. Can the pope succeed? At 77, time is likely to be against him. Lowney makes the sobering point that even John Paul II, who wielded such authority for so long, was unable to stem the decline in Europe. Hence Francis has to make the most of this time and be careful of getting bogged down in things which sap the missionary energy. The reform of the Vatican, important an aim as this is, is a potential “sinkhole” and Lowney approves of the way Francis has enlisted others to help him with this. Will the Church leadership respond to Francis or to his interpreter Lowney? The pope certainly knows what he’s up against. “Careerism is leprosy.” That little statement suggests he has no illusions. So will those who in fact went for the priesthood motivated by ambition for preferment rather than pastoral service now suddenly have a change of heart? Will those who are in it for the
power-dressing and a nice car now change their ways in response to Francis’ Franciscan example in dress and mode of transport? Will dioceses and religious congregations attract more men and women fired with Francis’ vision for a Church of and for the poor? The laity, in general, seem to be delighted with the man, his manner and the matter of his message. Will the secular leaders listen? One has a sense that many know that Francis and Lowney are right, but that the sheer momentum of the vast machine in which they work will make it almost impossible for them to change. The crude power of profit is not easily put down. Business gurus mouth platitudes about how important it is to invest in personnel, their most valuable resource, but in fact the trend is often to skimp on training and apprenticeships, hire from abroad and make staff ever more disposable by placing them on contracts.
Philomena book more about the son she had to give away PHILOMENA: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty-Year Search, by Martin Sixsmith. Penguin Books (2013). 452pp. Reviewed by Rachelle Linner HILOMENA, originally published in 2009, has been reissued to coincide with the recently released movie of the same name, with Dame Judi Dench in the title role. (I have purposely not seen the movie before reading and reviewing the book.) Martin Sixsmith, a journalist and author, was a correspondent for the BBC from 1980-97 and then was the British government’s director of communications from 1997 to 2002. His research for this book began in 2004 when Philomena Lee’s family asked his help in locating the son she had been forced to give up in Ireland 50 years earlier. In 1952, a pregnant, unmarried, poor and lonely Philomena was sent to Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, a convent home in Ireland for unwed mothers. There, she gave birth to a boy, whom she named Anthony. Anthony spent the first three years of his life in the convent nursery while Philomena worked in the attached laundry to pay off the debt she owed the nuns. It was a difficult and sad life, lightened only by the adoring and adored child she saw for, at most, one hour a day. That precious closeness would be shattered in 1955 when Anthony was adopted by the Hess family of St Louis in the United States. Like other young mothers, Philomena was forced to “relinquish full claim forever” for her son so that he could be adopted. She also promised “never to attempt to see, interfere with or make any claim to the said child at any future time”. It is a promise she kept with fortitude and anguish. Marge Hess had come to Ireland with the intention of adopting 2-year-old Mary McDonald, but when she saw the bond be-
tween Mary and Anthony, she impulsively decided to adopt both children. So it was that Anthony Lee became Michael Hess. It was an unhappy family and, like many adoptees, he struggled with deep-seated fears that he had been abandoned because he was “no good”. As a young adolescent he suspected he was gay, but it wasn’t until his college years that he began to explore his sexuality.
ichael was intelligent, hardworking and ambitious. He received his undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of Notre Dame and then went to George Washington University Law School. Michael’s interest was electoral law and his expertise in gerrymandering and redistricting led to a position with the Republican National Committee. He eventually became their chief counsel—an ironic appointment for a gay man at a time when the Republican Party was at odds with the gay community. We learn (more than we need to know) about Michael’s pattern of engaging in risky behaviour even while in a long-term rela-
tionship. He was never able to extricate himself from the demons of self-degradation that he attributed to his adoption. Eventually he developed Aids and died in 1995. Several times during his adult life Michael Hess had visited the convent where he was born. The nuns always stonewalled his attempts to get information about his mother. Still, the connection to Roscrea was so strong that, when he knew he was dying, he asked to be buried there. With clues found on the headstone, Sixsmith was able to confirm that Michael Hess was Anthony Lee. Philomena is an engaging narrative, but the book is weak on analysis and context. The one exception to this is Sixsmith’s clear presentation of the collusion of the Irish government in the massive adoption scheme that enriched the Church at the expense of thousands of women and children. Despite its length, the book holds the reader’s attention. We grow to care about Philomena Lee and grieve the injustice she endured. We cringe over the Hess family dynamics, marvel at Michael’s success and are troubled by his reckless behaviour. Ultimately, though, the title is misleading. This book is not about Philomena. It is about Michael, the Republican lawyer who kept his own secrets as aggressively as Philomena kept hers. We learn some facts about Philomena’s life—after Anthony’s adoption she trained as a nurse, married, raised two children, was divorced, and is now remarried—but Sixsmith fails to give us a full portrait of this tenacious woman. That is unfortunate, because from what little we learn, Philomena seems like a woman of integrity, with deep reserves of fortitude, strength and courage and, above all, a remarkable lack of bitterness.
The Southern Cross, February 19 to February 25, 2014
CLASSIFIEDS Fr Thuso Gregory Mothibedi O BLATE Father Mothibedi died on February 3 after a short illness. He was born in Mothibistad, Northern Cape on June 20, 1969, and attended Isagontle Primary School, Iketleletse Middle School and St Mary’s High School in Mahikeng. His years in the Tirisano hostel under Fr Hannes Scheper OMI fostered his vocation. Fr Mothibedi entered Our Lady of Hope novitiate in Johannesburg and after his first vows on February 6, 1995, went to St Joseph’s Scholasticate in Cedara for his studies. He made final vows on February 14, 2000, and was ordained on December 1, 2001, by Bishop Erwin Hecht OMI of Kimberley in his home town of Mothibistad. As a missionary Oblate, Fr Mothibedi was sent to different parts of Southern Africa. Initially he was stationed in the Kavango at the mission in Bunya, Namibia, and later in Gobabis from 2003-05. From there he was sent to Ikageng in Potchef-
stroom where he served from 2006-09. He served at Holy Trinity, St Francis Xavier, Assumption, Holy Angels and Regina Mundi parishes in Kimberley from 2009 until his death. Fr Mothibedi was known for his inspiring preaching, good humour and competence in languages. He was also generous in helping in other parishes in Kimberley. Within the Oblate family he served as bursar, as a district superior and provincial councillor. Fr Mothibedi died at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.
The Catholic school ethos
is what do we mean by ethos? Is it a set of rules that include or exclude people from a club; rules that we hope the next generation will internalise and pass on? Or is it a way of treating human beings, of seeking the image of God in each person, and providing a counter witness to an education model that sees only numbers or grades or budgets or output? I am inspired that so many excellent leaders in our schools—Catholic and non-Catholic—are already committed to such vision; and that so many aspiring leaders—Catholic and non-Catholic—are invested in furthering such a vision.
Continued from page 7 boy (after all, we never hear of male teachers being fired for having sex with their girlfriends). If you are in trouble, don’t look for compassion from your Catholic school. In my experience, Catholic schools in South Africa should be commended for not immediately going for the knee-jerk reaction, and instead, for viewing such issues within a wider vision. Catholic schools are successful because of their ethos and they need to be able to enact it. However, the question we have to look at
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: February 19: Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria on the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. February 20: Bishop Peter Zolile Mpambani of Kokstad on his 57th birthday. February 21: Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban on the 13th anniversary of his installation as cardinal. February 24: Bishop Michael Wüstenberg of Aliwal on the 6th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.
Liturgical Calendar Year A Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday, February 23, 7th Sunday Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18, Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 1213, 1 Corinthians 3:16-23, Matthew 5:38-48 Monday, February 24 James 3:13-18, Psalm 19:8-10, 15, Mark 9:14-29 Tuesday, February 25 James 4:1-10, Psalm 55:7-11, 23, Mark 9:30-37 Wednesday, February 26 James 4:13-17, Psalm 49:2-3, 6-11, Mark 9:38-40 Thursday, February 27 James 5:1-6, Psalm 49:14-20, Mark 9:41-50 Friday, February 28 James 5:9-12, Psalm 103:1-4, 8-12, Mark 10:1-12 Saturday, March 1, Saturday Memorial of the BVM James 5:13-20, Psalm 141:1-3, 8, Mark 10:13-16 Sunday, March 2, 8th Sunday Isaiah 49:14-15, Psalm 62:2-3, 6-9, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6:24-34
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Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Holy Childhood of Jesus My most loving Father, you have promised, “I am the God who heals you” (Exodus 15:26) I place in your loving care my sick body, worried mind, my emotional wounds and sinful nature. I believe that only you have the power to heal me completely. Loving Father, I trust in
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8th Sunday: March 2 Readings: Isaiah 49:14-15, Psalm 62:2-3, 69, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6:24-34
HE secret of sensible living, whatever they are telling you in the advertisements just now, is to place your trust absolutely in God. This is not a bad slogan for the last Sunday before the start of Lent. In the first reading for next Sunday, Isaiah expresses this in a charming image, addressed to the children of Israel exiled in Babylon. They had decided (as you and I have frequently done) “God has abandoned me” and “The Lord has forgotten me”. In response to this, God (through the prophet) asks us to imagine that a mother might “forget her infant, fail to cherish the child of her womb”, and then springs upon us the shocking conclusion that “even if she forgets—I shall not forget”. We shall need to hold onto this insight in the week ahead. In the psalm, this picture is sharpened: “My soul takes rest in God—from him comes my salvation”, and we might imagine here the confidence of a child resting in its mother’s presence. The confidence is expressed in the twicetold mantra “My rock and my salvation; my haven—I shall not be shaken”. Then the idea that “my soul takes rest” in God is repeated, followed by the images of “my salvation…the
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rock of my refuge”, with “my glory” added to the mix. After this we are given the exhortation to the psalmist’s hearers to put their trust in this God, in whom the singer has so much confidence: “Trust in him at all times, my people”, and for the last time the idea of “refuge”: “Pour out your heart to God—he is our refuge.” This idea of trusting God is part of Paul’s solution in the second reading, to the divisions in the Corinthian church; the divisions go back to a cult of personality, it seems. So Paul insists that he and Apollos are unimportant, and to be regarded as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries”; so all that is required of them is that they be faithful, and that is a matter for God (and not the fractious Corinthians) to judge.
For it is God “who will shed light on the hidden places of darkness and reveal the intentions of hearts. Then each one will get their praise from God.” Now, therefore, is not the time to decide whether it is Paul or Apollos who matters; what counts is absolute trust in God. That is central to the gospel for next Sunday, where the compilers of the lectionary have omitted the verses that lie at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew’s treatment of the three great pillars of Judaism, namely almsgiving, prayer and fasting, and reminding us that they are to be done in secret, because it is in God alone, specifically seen here as “your Father in heaven” that we are to trust. Now we move on to the consequence of this: there is only room for one God, and therefore “no one can serve two Lords; because they will either hate the one and love the other, or put up with the one and despise the other”. Then the idea of two opposing gods is developed a bit; our choice is between “God” and “Mammon”. The latter is the Aramaic word for “money”, which often turns into a deceptively seductive alternative God, but in
The youth will always resist OMETIMES while presiding at the Eucharist or preaching, I scan the faces in the front pews. What do they reveal? A few are eager, attentive, focused on what’s happening. But a goodly number of faces, particularly among the young, speak of boredom, of drab duty, and of a resignation that says: “I have to be in the church right now, though I wish I was elsewhere.” These reactions are, of course, understandable. We’re human after all, flesh and blood, and when we try to focus on the world of spirit or on what relativises flesh and blood, mortality and self-sacrifice, we can expect that most times the reality of this life will trump the promise of the other world. Sometimes, gazing at those faces staring back at me in church, I’m reminded of a scene which Virginia Woolf describes in her novel The Waves. The scene is a chapel in a boarding school in England where one of the churchwardens is giving the students a spiritual admonition during a worship service. This particular churchwarden isn’t much respected by the students, but that’s not the deepest reason why one student, Neville, is put off by his words, and by what’s happening in general in that worship service. Something inside him is in resistance, not just against the words of this particular churchwarden, whom he disrespects, but against the very world of which this
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
churchwarden is speaking. In essence, young Neville’s blood is too warm at that moment to find palatable any words that speak of contingency, mortality, abnegation, the cross, silence, or the other world. Instead his youthful blood is silently pressuring for the opposite, health, youth, sex, companionship, status, fame, and pleasure. And so he seeks a distraction. He doesn’t want to see the churchwarden’s face, doesn’t want to hear his words, doesn’t want to hear about God, doesn’t want to hear about afterlife, doesn’t want to be reminded of human mortality, and doesn’t want to hear of sacrifice. Like a drug addict, he needs a fix and, in his case, that means fixating on something powerful enough to be religious, powerful enough to match the other world’s offer of eternal life, something worthy of the admiration that he somewhere knows he needs to give to somebody. And he knows exactly where to look. He fixes his gaze and his admiration on the one person in that chapel, a young man named Percival, who, to his youthful
mind, is a true incarnation of life and a god worthy of being worshipped. Here’s how Woolf describes it: “The brute menaces my liberty, said Neville, when he prays. Unwarmed by imagination, his words fall cold on my head like paving stones, while the gilt cross heaves on his waistcoat. The words of authority are corrupted by those who speak them. I gibe and mock at this sad religion, at these tremulous, grief-stricken figures advancing, cadaverous and wounded... “Now I will lean sideways as if to scratch my thigh. So I will see Percival. There he sits, upright among the smaller fry. He breathes through his straight nose rather heavily. His blue and oddly inexpressive eyes are fixed with pagan indifference upon the pillar opposite. He would make an admirable churchwarden. “He should have a birch and beat little boys for misdemeanours. He is allied with the Latin phrases on the memorial brasses. He sees nothing; he hears nothing. He is remote from us all in a pagan universe. “But look how he flicks his hand to the back of his neck. For such gestures one falls hopelessly in love for a lifetime.” I cite this description with more than a little sympathy because I too was once that young boy, Neville, sitting in various religious settings with my heart and mind in resistance, quiet outwardly, squirming inwardly, because I did not want to hear or acknowledge anything that didn’t, to my mind, honour the reality I felt so undeniably inside my own blood. I didn’t want to be reminded that my health was fragile, that my youth was passing, that this life wasn’t central, and that we weren’t supposed to be thinking so much about sex. I didn’t want to hear about mortality, that we will all die sometime; I didn’t want to hear about the cross, that it’s only by dying that we come to life; and I didn’t want to be asked to focus attention on the other world. I wanted this world. I accepted that the Church was important, but, for me, the sports arena was more real and more alluring. And, like young Neville, I too had my Percivals—certain peers, certain sports idols, and certain movie stars whose enviable bodies and perfect gestures were the life and immortality I, in fact, yearned for and whose lives didn’t seem to have the limits of my own. But, I think, God likes this kind of youthful resistance, and built it into us. Why? Because the stronger the resistance, the richer the final harmony.
fact will not satisfy us; and nor will any of those other pseudo-gods with which we seek to fill the great hole in our lives that is made to be filled by God alone. “You cannot be a slave of God and of Mammon”. Then we are offered some examples, to illustrate what this might mean: “No worrying about what you are to drink, or about your body—what you’re to put on it.” After this we are offered two examples, intended to make us smile, about the “birds of the air” and the “lilies of the field”. The former “do not sow or reap or gather into barns”, while the latter “do not labour or do knitting”, and yet “your heavenly Father” (or the mother of our first reading) feeds them in the first instance, and, in the second instance, “not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these”. It all comes back to “your heavenly Father” (the “mother” of our first reading), who “knows that you need all these things”. Armed with this absolute confidence, we are to go forward in faith: “Your first task is to look for God’s kingdom…so don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow can worry about itself.” There is cause here for us to rejoice in hope.
Southern Crossword #590
ACROSS 5. Take the part of the team (4) 7. Why nothing is impossible for God (10) 8. He came out of the ark (4) 10. Where John may have baptised Jesus? (8) 11. Lament (6) 12. He does a criminal investigation (6) 14. Arrange stones at gate (6) 16. It’s hidden in the present (6) 17. An ocean to cross (8) 19. Church window from the garden? (4) 21. Dares (10) 22. Aladdin character inside is small (4)
DOWN 1. Evangelist (4) 2. Catalogue of desires (4,4) 3. Rubs to make sturdy (6) 4. Each biblical chapter has them (6) 5. Take leading role in “On The Christmas Tree” (4) 6. Airport terminal for the dead? (10) 9. Holy day of duty (10) 13. Put the bishop in his place (8) 15. Parts a local ruler moves (6) 16. Indecisive (6) 18. Parchment holding the foot feature (4) 20. Seat in this direction (4)
Solutions on page 11
IET and Frikkie found themselves at a Catholic Mass in a remote Zululand church. Not knowing a word of Zulu or what to do at a Catholic Mass, they decided to follow the lead of the man in front of them. And as he rose to stand, so did Piet and Frikkie. They blushed when the whole congregation started laughing. After Mass they asked the priest what had been so funny. Father explained: “You attended the baptism of a baby, and I had asked the father of the child to stand up.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.