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June 18 to June 24, 2014
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20-Page Focus on Catholic Education
The Catholic story of future Proteas star
SA needs new moral code, says priest BY STUART GRAHAM
S Children of Holy Cross Primary School in Brooklyn, Cape Town, give a big cheer for Catholic education. The school is what is known as a public school on private property, which means it is funded by the state but owned by the Holy Cross Sisters. The Catholic Institute of Education has rebranded itself in a bid to better reflect the inclusivity of Catholic education. (Photo: Claire Mathieson)
CIE rebrands with new logo STAFF REPORTER
HE Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) has undergone a rebranding process to reflect “a single vision that is expressed by the different components of Catholic education in South Africa,” said Kelsay Corrêa, marketing director of the CIE. “The rich heritage of Catholic education is intrinsic in the new logo”, which features a scallop shell, a centuries old symbol for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain, said Mrs Corrêa. “The contemporary design of the shell encourages an interpretation of a network that is travelling alongside young pilgrims on their journey to unique destinations,” she said. “The scallop shell has been chosen as the symbol of Catholic education in South Africa because it shows how those involved with Catholic education come together and then move on to different destinations, in effect becoming pilgrims,” she explained. “Jesus, symbolised by the cross, is at the centre of each place of Catholic education and leads pilgrims towards fullness of life in him.” In South Africa, “Catholic education” is an umbrella term that covers a wide family of institutions, including the congregations, trusts and bishops that own schools, the national and regional service organisations that offer support and training to schools, and then the Catholic schools and skills centres, Mrs Corrêa said. “We needed a simple way to connect the pieces in order to understand the story of
Catholic education in South Africa. We have decided to do this through the use of a visual device—an icon—that links together the different parts of the network,” she said. The branding agency Interbrand Sampson was briefed to develop a logo for Catholic education in South Africa. The designers were briefed to avoid concepts that would make Catholic education seem exclusive—financially or religiously—or a network that tends to be backward-looking or inward-looking. Instead, the designers were encouraged to consider a design that would enhance the idea of Catholic education as promoting quality at all levels, being accessible to the whole community, being interested in the formation of the whole person and being values based. “It is in places of Catholic education, and the offices that serve them, that owners, teachers, parents and children come together as pilgrims on the journey,” Mrs Corrêa said. “Each pilgrim starts their journey at a different point: city or country, suburb or township, rich or poor, academic or gifted in other ways. It is in these different places of Catholic education that pilgrims learn to love as Jesus did, by studying, serving and teaching,” she explained.
OUTH AFRICA’S law-making processes must be fed by various sources and not only Christianity, the head of the Moral Regeneration Movement said as he called for a national debate on a “moral code” for the country. Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa commented on a call by Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for religion to be factored into the law -aking process. The priest told The Southern Cross that as many voices as possible should take part in drafting a moral code for the country. “Let us engage in the issue that the chief justice has raised,” Fr Mkhatshwa said. “Maybe we need a summit of some sort. But let it not be a conversation only among theologians. Economists, law experts, politicians, constitutional experts and ordinary people must all take part.” However, Fr Mkhatshwa added, there was no way that the role of religion could be ignored or downplayed in the law-making process. More than 80% of South Africans belong to one form of Christianity or another, he said. At least 15% are either Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or of another religion. “When the Chief Justice raises an issue like this, he has done all of us a favour. Nowhere in his speech did he say that religion must be imposed,” Fr Mkhatshwa Fr Mkhatshwa said a moral code of conduct should be used by everyone in South Africa. “You need something that every school must recite every day before class,” he said. “Every MP should recite it and every businessman.” The emphasis of that code must be on what is in the best interests of the people, especially the disadvantaged, he said. “For me this is a very positive challenge.”
In a speech at an African Law and Religion conference at the University of Stellenbosch, Judge Mogoeng decried the levels of maladministration and corruption in South Africa, saying these “would be effectively turned around significantly if religion were to be factored into the law-making process”. The chief justice received wide criticism from constitutional law experts who pointed out that South Africa has a secular constitution with a Bill of Rights that in section 15 guarantees freedom of religion. George Devenish, a professor emeritus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who helped draft the interim constitution in 1993, said in an open letter that a government must favour no specific religion, nor may the state favour believers over non-believers. “All the great religions and philosophies of the world have a common moral core,” he wrote. “It is these secular moral values that need to be promoted and not religious dogma.” The Chief Justice and all other judges should, in public pronouncements and addresses, adopt a completely neutral role in relation to religion, Prof Devenish said. This was required by the constitution and the independence of the judiciary, which is “a cardinal tenet” of a constitutional democracy. Fr Peter-John Pearson, director of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), an associate body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said religion is a source of values, wisdom and insight. It forms a framework in which people interpret their history. He said the CPLO exists to create a space for as many voices as possible in the legislature. “The public representatives are our representatives and they need to hear as many voices as they can,” he said. “Religion is a public good and should have a voice in the formulation of law,” he said.
Pope accepts invitation to Mexico
EXICO’S President Enrique Peña Nieto has announced that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit his country. “Without doubt, this is cause for great joy,” he said after a private meeting with the pontiff in the Vatican. The dates for the visit are not known, but could come near the pope’s possible visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting for Families in late September 2015. Such a visit to
the US has not been confirmed by the Vatican. Mr Peña Nieto said he told the pope that the people of Mexico are mostly Catholic. Pope Francis reportedly replied: “They are Catholic but especially Guadalupano,” referring to their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mexico was the first country St John Paul II visited as pope. Pope Benedict XVI visited the nation in 2012.—CNA
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
National seminary opens new wing BY SIPHO MTIMKULU
HE newly constructed residential complex on Pretoria’s St John Vianney campus, home to the country’s national seminary, has been officially blessed and opened by Bishop Dabula Mpako, chairman of the seminary commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC). The period 2006-09 marked a drop in the number of vocations in the region. So the SACBC sold one of its seminaries in Pretoria, St Peter’s in Garsfontein. The two seminaries were merged in 2008, and St John Vianney (SJV) became home for all seminarians of the SACBC region. The merger was completed by the building of the new St Peter’s li-
brary at SJV in 2011. However, 2010 marked a blessing for Africa as the local Church experienced a remarkable increase of priestly vocations as the bishops of different dioceses enrolled 31 young men at the orientation year at St Francis Xavier seminary in Cape Town. The number of vocations has been maintained at that level, resulting in SJV struggling to accommodate all its incoming students. To alleviate this shortage in the short term, in 2013 the archdiocese of Pretoria availed the SACBC of their property adjacent to SJV, Santa Sophia, and it was used to accommodate final-year students. But a long- term solution would come in the form of a new residence and building started in July 2013.
The new building accommodates 30 students and two priest formators, and has been named after the one of the Church’s most recent saints, St John XXIII. The official opening and blessing of the new building took place in the presence of Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, and Archbishops Stephen Brislin and William Slattery. The ceremony was led by Bishop Mpako and included an address from the rector Fr Molewe Machingoane and George Deeb of the SACBC finance department. Bishop Mpako reminded the students that seminary life is a time of discernment, obedience, and fellowship in Christ. Bishop Mpako, assisted by Archbishops Brislin and Slattery, blessed the interior and exterior of the new building.
Waves of Change in the fishing industry
Holy Communion at Little Eden BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
T’S a rite of passage for any young Catholic, but there’s something even more special when a group of residents from Little Eden received their First Holy Communion at Holy Family chapel in Bapsfontein in the Johannesburg diocese. The home for the intellectually disabled cares for 300 residents ranging in age from infancy to adulthood. This year, 11 of the residents received the sacrament. According to the home’s Nicholette Muthige, the residents listened attentively “as Archbishop Emeritus George Daniel of Pretoria explained to them that Jesus is in their hearts, before he offered them their First Communion”. It took a period of one year for the residents to be prepared and ready for this special day. Clémence Marlé assisted the Sisters of the Imitations of Christ to prepare the residents. Ms Marlé arrived in 2013 with Hélène Petremant through FEDESCO International to volunteer their services to the work of the society for two years. Ms Marlé said the time she spent with the residents during catechism was a time she would treasure. “During the preparation, I saw
Staff and students gather for the official opening of the new residence at St John Vianney seminary. (Photo: Sipho Mtimkulu)
Eleven Little Eden residents received their First Holy Communion, a time of joy for all. the residents for one hour, once a week. We prayed together, spoke about Jesus, shared about Jesus’ life, the disciples, and what Jesus did for us. During their first Holy Communion Mass, I saw that the Lord touched them,” she said. “Their faces were really shining with joy and happiness.”
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Ms Muthige said spiritual therapy is viewed as an important element in the development of the residents at Little Eden. n To visit Little Eden or for more information about the society, contact Nichollette Muthige by phone on 011 609 7246 or e-mail email@example.com
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OR the past four years the Salesian Institute’s YES Project has been assisting disadvantaged unemployed youth to find employment within the fishing industry. As most of these young people come from very poor backgrounds, minimal levels of education and crime-ridden communities, a job means a way out of hopelessness and despair. And the programme is now bearing fruit. However, in order to enter the industry, they require South African Marine Safety Authority-approved documentation, which is expensive. The Salesian Institute and various sponsors assist them financially to obtain these documents. At the beginning of 2013 the Salesian Institute, together with fishing company I&J, saw the need for these young people to attend a life skills programme before they entered the fishing industry. The one-week programme is called Waves of Change. Life skills has now become a compulsory component for employment within the fishing industry and has made
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a difference in the way the youth handle themselves and their earnings—the budget component of the life skills course has enabled them to make more responsible decisions about their salaries and to provide for their families. One such success story is Alex, who was placed in the Don Bosco Hostel as an emergency youth, having arrived from the Eastern Cape without friends or family. Alex completed the Seagoing Familiarisation Course at I&J successfully and also the Seagoing Medical Certificate. Alex’s big break arrived when the Protea Fishing Company hired him to sail as a deckhand to Walvis Bay in Namibia to deliver a trawler. The YES Project had to very quickly arrange for an emergency passport so that Alex could enter the borders of Namibia. After the trawler had been delivered, Alex and the rest of the crew were flown back to Cape Town. He is currently permanently employed by I&J, on one of their wet fish trawlers as a deckhand, fishing in South African waters.
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
News editor bids fond farewell to Southern Cross STAFF REPORTER
HE byline of Claire Mathieson has become familiar to Southern Cross readers—but this is her final issue as news editor of the newspaper. After nearly four years with The Southern Cross, Ms Mathieson has said a fond farewell to the paper’s staff and readers. She is heading into the green world to act as the communications manager for a company promoting sustainable development while addressing climate change. “It was not an easy decision, but this is also not the end of my relationship with The Southern Cross,” the outgoing news editor said. Ms Mathieson included in her highlights at the newspaper leading the recent Southern Cross/Radio Veritas canonisation pilgrimage, getting to know the region’s bishops, and seeing the great work of the Church—but, she said, the best part has been meeting interesting people in the Church. “I’ve enjoyed the day-to-day interactions the most. I’ve formed lifelong relationships with my colleagues and have been blessed to
Outgoing news editor Claire Mathieson with her successor, Stuart Graham. meet so many people doing something positive,” Ms Mathieson said. “There are one billion Catholics in the world and each has a story. Working at The Southern Cross has given me the opportunity to write just a few of those billion-odd stories,” she said.
Golf day to be held to raise funds for crisis pregnancies BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
HE Culture of Life Apostolate (Cola) in Johannesburg is hosting a golf day in order to raise much-needed funds for its work with women in crisis pregnancy situations. According to Raphael Lallu, Cola was set up as a response to Archbishop Buti Tlhagale’s appeal to assist him with counteracting the problem of abortion and to defend and serve human life from conception to natural death, “in accordance with the teachings of the magisterium of the Catholic Church”. The organisation promotes the recognition of and respect for human life at its most vulnerable stages. Mr Lallu said Cola has been working to promote the dignity of women and motherhood. Most of their work is done in response to crisis pregnancy situations, providing support and shelter. At present, Cola has two pregnancy crisis homes. The home in the West Rand area accommodates expectant mothers aged 19 years and older, while another home on the far East Rand accommodates young expectant girls, aged 18 years and younger. “The shelters offer stressed and
“I’ve loved working for The Southern Cross. I’ve grown not only as a writer but also as a Catholic,” said Ms Mathieson, adding that she has become “increasingly more proud” of the work of the local Church. “Initially, I wanted to focus on writing positive news—the Catholic
Church before Pope Francis tended to only appear in secular media for the wrong reasons. I wanted to help change that and I thought it would be a challenge. Little did I know how easy that would be! The Church is filled with positive news and it’s been a pleasure working with people who want to make the world a better place.” Ms Mathieson said she will strive to do the same in her new job, albeit in a different realm. “I’m still trying to save the world one word at a time!” Southern Cross editor Günther Simmermacher described Ms Mathieson’s departure as “a great loss to the newspaper and to the Catholic community”. He recalled appointing Ms Mathieson on the very day he received her application in July 2010. “Her covering letter was written with such crystal clarity that I knew that Claire would be a great addition to our team. I interviewed her the same day and at the end of the meeting offered her the job,” Mr Simmermacher recalled. “Claire’s passion for the Church and for The Southern Cross has shown
in her writing and in her presence in our office. We will miss her a lot, as a very talented journalist and even more as a very special person.” Journalist Stuart Graham has been appointed to succeed Ms Mathieson. He brings with him a wealth of reporting experience. Most recently he covered the funeral of Nelson Mandela and the Oscar Pistorius case for various international agencies. “Some of my earliest memories are of reading The Southern Cross over my mother’s shoulder while we were waiting for Mass to start at the Lemon Squeezer in Victory Park,” Mr Graham said, referring to the shape of Johannesburg’s St Charles church, which has also produced Southern Cross staffers Claire Allen and Mary Leveson. “It’s a privilege to be part of a newspaper with such a strong and long history at a time when Pope Francis is setting such a wonderful example for us to follow. It’s an exciting time to report on the Catholic Church,” Mr Graham said. n Stuart Graham can be reached on 021 465 5007 and by e-mail at email@example.com
Health bodies meet BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
traumatised pregnant mothers, who would otherwise terminate their pregnancies, with the emotional, spiritual and material support necessary. The shelters will provide the opportunity to choose and embrace new life for both the mothers and their newborn children,” said Mr Lallu. “Our aim is to empower these women and thereby promote their overall wellbeing.” While the homes encourage mothers to keep their children, should the mothers choose not to, Cola works with children’s homes and adoption and foster agencies. Mr Lallu said the golf day will help raise funds for the home to offer food and shelter to the mothers in distress, professional services such as social work and medical services, as well as skills training to help the mothers back on their feet. Mr Lallu said the homes receive mothers who are victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or abandonment, victims of physical and emotional neglect, and often destitute. They have been open for two years and have saved 42 babies. n The golf day takes place at the Parkview Golf Club on Friday, June 20. Halfway House voucher and dinner included in cost to register. Please e-mail Marilyn Cheketri at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 461 2592 for information.
HE Catholic Healthcare Region Network Conference has concluded as “successful and stimulating”. The conference drew healthcare workers from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Swaziland, among others. South Africa was represented by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s health department, Cathca, and Bishop Stanislaw Dziuba. The conference aimed at enhancing the sharing of knowledge, expertise and experience, particularly in the area of maternal and child healthcare as well as the renewal and cementing of relationships between countries. It was also an opportunity for delegates to report back on projects in their home countries, discussing the successes and challenges they had experienced over the past year. The meeting was opened and chaired by Cathca’s Dr Douglas Ross. “It was unanimously decided that South Africa should hold the secretariat for another three years. It was felt that this period would allow it to cement the good work it had started,” said Teresa Whitaker, head of the secretariat. “While it accepted the vote, South Africa said it felt four years was too long for one country to hold the secretariat, and that this
also was dependent on funding. It made the counter-suggestion of a maximum of three years,” explained Ms Whitaker. Monsignor Bob Vitillo, head of the Caritas Internationalis delegation to the UN in Geneva, pointed out how HIV was more aggressive in children, thus resulting in higher mortality rates. He also discussed unmet family planning needs, adding that family planning was accepted by the Church but on a natural basis.
gr Vitillo also highlighted the UN’s global plan, launched in 2009, and how there had been a 35% additional decline in mother to child transmission, over the initial 26% reduction. The need to reach high-risk women early was of prime importance. He finished by stating that Unicef had chosen the Catholic Church programme in Papua New Guinea as the best practice model of prevention of mother to child transmission. Challenges highlighted by many of the speakers included multidrug-resistant strains of TB, and poor nutrition. Communication and transport were also great challenges to overcome. “It was extremely interesting to see how each country had similar problems,” Ms Whitaker told The
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Southern Cross. She said examples of similarities included the various governments cutting back on funding, mothers needing constant encouragement to continue visits to hospital once they have been diagnosed,and shortage of staff. Ms Whitaker said there were strong relationships between the various bishops’ conferences and their respective governments The presenter from Malawi said Church and government had met to discuss problems. The country had noted a growing problem of pregnancies outside of marriage. This was blamed on the Church for its lack of firm guidance on family planning issues and the need for it to formulate a proper training programme for health workers. Namibia reported successfully working with government. Catholic Health Services is 100% governmentsubsidised, and its staff are included in Ministry of Health workshops, which are held at least once a year to discuss relevant issues. Ms Whitaker said the conference had been valuable and delegates would move forward renewed and encouraged. “The overwhelming feeling of shared issues and the need for the continued collaboration between the members country was threaded through the whole event.”
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Nigeria tops list of violent persecution of Christians A
REPORT released by the nonprofit Open Doors International places Nigeria at the top of a list of ten countries which are the worst violent persecutors of Christians. “The alarming increase of violence against Christians in Nigeria over the past months highlights the lack of religious freedom they have and the daily dangers they face from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and other violent Islamic organisations,” said David Curry, president of Open Doors USA. “It is turning into a bloodbath.” The organisation’s World Watch Top 10 Violence List was based on incidents of violent persecution counted between November 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014. According to researchers, the numbers were very minimal and “could be significantly higher”. Nigeria topped the number of faith-based killings of Christians, with 2 073; Syria and Central African Republic followed, with 1 479 and 1 115 killings respectively. The report estimated the average monthly number of Christian killings at 322 during the time period, while 3 641 Christian properties and churches were destroyed, and 13 120 incidents of “other forms of violence” were reported; such incidents included beatings, abductions, rapes, and arrests. Concerning Nigeria, the World Watch List stated that the terror group Boko Haram “continues to attack Christians on a large scale by
Bishop Martin Igwemezie Uzoukwu of Minna, Nigeria, walks near the coffins of some of the victims of a 2012 Christmas bombing at St Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, Nigeria, during a funeral for the victims. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters/CNS) burning down and bombing churches and Christian property, and assaulting and kidnapping Christian women and girls”. Recently, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos called for a global effort to defeat the radical Islamist group, maintaining that it “is faithful to its target of eliminating and destroying Christianity from parts of the country”. Last month alone, Boko Haram was blamed for two bombings which killed nearly 300 persons, and took credit for the April kidnapping of nearly 300 teenaged schoolgirls. Syria ranked second on the Top 10 Violence List. Open Doors reported that Christians there are a “considerable minority”, caught in
the midst of the country’s more than three-year-long civil war. “Many churches are damaged or destroyed, in many cases deliberately,” the report said, adding that Islamic extremists among the rebels have committed such violence as the October 2013 massacre of 45 citizens of the Christian village of Sadad, where victims were buried in mass graves. Also near the top of the list were Egypt and Central African Republic. After the administration of Mohammed Morsi fell last summer, sectarian attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt rose to a level Amnesty International called “unprecedented”, culminating in attacks on 80 churches last August. Meanwhile, Séléka rebels in Central African Republic have “deliberately targeted Christian villages, killed Christians and assaulted women and girls in the North in their quest to Islamise the country”, Open Doors reported. The country ranked third on the list in anti-Christian killings, but the numbers are “most likely to be underreported” because of “limited access” to sources in parts of the country. Colombia was featured on the Top 10 Violence List because organised corruption there targets Christians for such activities as political leadership, journalism, and advocacy for human, indigenous, and environmental rights. “Their Christian conviction leads Continued on page 31
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Sr Cristina Scuccia performs at the finale of the Italian version of the talent show The Voice, which the 25-year-old nun won this month. After she was declared the competition’s winner, she invited the studio audience to pray with her.
Singing nun brought Jesus into Italy’s TVs
OLLOWING her victory on The Voice of Italy, Sr Cristina Scuccia said that she now plans to return to the two priorities in her life, which are “Jesus and prayer”. “My future is in the hands of my superiors. I trust in Providence,” the 25-year-old Ursuline Sister of the Holy Family said in an interview with the Italian website TGcom24. Sr Cristina captured the attention of the world when she appeared on the Italian version of The Voice. Her performance of Alicia Keys’ song “No One” has attracted more than 52 million views on YouTube. She won the 2014 season of the show with 62% of the final vote. Upon being announced as the winner, Sr Cristina explained that her presence on the programme was not about herself, but about “the one who is above. My ultimate gratitude is to the one on high.” She then led the crowd in praying an Our Father, explaining, “I want Jesus to enter into here”. Asked about inviting the studio audience to pray, Sr Cristina smiled and said: “Excuse me, but if I did not do it here, then where should I do it?” She said she is “very certain” that she will renew her vows in the coming weeks. “In 2009, I began my journey as a postulant. I spent two years in Brazil for my novitiate and then
made my first vows in 2012. I must renew them for three more years in order to make my perpetual vows. I will renew them for the second time at the end of July.” Asked whether her victory on The Voice has changed her decision regarding religious life, Sr Cristina responded: “Absolutely not. This is the path for me.” The Italian nun was awarded a contract with Universal Records after winning the singing contest. “That is in the hands of Providence,” Sr Cristina explained. “My superiors will decide what to do with that.” Universal had planned a world tour with the winner of The Voice, but Sr Cristina told reporters: “I repeat, that will be decided later but for now I can say that evangelisation is not bound by territorial limits. For this reason I will also be available.” She said she decided to compete on The Voice because “the Lord has given me a gift and, honestly, it would have been just for me to have stayed hidden in a corner at home. So I wanted to also show that God has not taken anything away from my life, but rather he has given me so much more.” Sr Cristina said she hopes the songs on her potential first album will be “simple songs that speak about the reality of daily life and have lyrics that talk about love”.— CNA
Pope: Beatitudes are Jesus’ how-to manual BY CAROL GLATz
EING a good Christian demands concrete action and deeds, Pope Francis has said. And, he said, the “how-to” manual is found in the beatitudes and the Last Judgment, which spells out the consequences awaiting those who fail to help others in need. Jesus offers a guide to life that is “so simple, but very difficult”, the pope said during an early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives. It’s difficult because Christianity is “a hands-on religion; it isn’t for thinking about, it’s for putting into practice, to do it”, he said in his homily, according to a report by Vatican Radio. The beatitudes are the “programme” and “the identity card” for every Christian, outlining a step-by-step guide to being “a good Christian”, he said. Jesus’ teaching goes “very much against the tide” of a worldly culture, he said, in which monetary wealth, superficial joy and personal satisfaction are the measures of happiness and success. But “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” he said, and “blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted”.
People who face reality and life’s big and small difficulties will mourn in their hearts, but they will also find consolation in Jesus, the pope said. Most of the world, on the other hand, “doesn’t want to cry, it prefers to ignore painful situations and cover them up” or just turn the other way and pretend they’re not there, he said. The world has become all about “business” and deal-making while “so many people suffer” from so many injustices. Jesus never said, “Blessed are those who wreak revenge”, but rather, blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Those who forgive, understand the mistakes others have made, underlining how “we are all part of an army of people who have been forgiven. We have all been forgiven.” Pope Francis said the beatitudes are “the programme of life that Jesus offers us.” “If we want something more, Jesus also gives us other instructions” in the “Judgment of the Nations” in St Matthew’s gospel. People should remember the “protocol by which we will be judged”—by what everyone has done or didn’t do for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill and the imprisoned, he said.—CNS
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Pope’s prayer event: No quick fix for Mid-East peace T HE Catholic Church has stressed that Pope Francis’ invocation to peace with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres should not be interpreted as political meddling. “Pope Francis will never get involved in discussions about borders or settlements, but his intention is to help create the social and religious atmosphere where it [peace] can come about,” said Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the custodian of Catholic sites in the Holy Land and principal organiser of the encounter in the Vatican. Downplaying the immediate effect of the prayer event on the peace process in the region, Fr Pizzaballa said the pope’s intention was to “reopen a road that has been closed for some time, to recreate a desire, a possibility, to make people dream”. At the meeting, Pope Francis noted: “More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it. That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God.” Joining the group was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Con-
stantinople, whom Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ described as one of the event’s “four protagonists”. Pope Francis and the two presidents sat at the corner of the triangle in the Vatican gardens where two hedges met. The venue was chosen for its political neutrality. Along the hedge to their left sat what the Vatican described as “political” members of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, including both nations’ ambassadors to the Holy See; Christian religious leaders, including Patriarch Bartholomew, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Palestinian Lutheran Bishop Monib Younan; and musicians who performed between prayers during the ceremony. Along the other hedge sat various Muslim, Jewish and Druze religious figures, including Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, long-time friends of the pope from Buenos Aires and leaders respectively in their city’s Jewish and Muslim communities, who accompanied Pope Francis during his May visit to the Holy Land. Not everyone was impressed by the event. Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was known
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres arrive for an invocation for peace in the Vatican Gardens. Far left is Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and principal oganiser of the event. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) to have been dismissive of the meeting. The liberal Israeli daily Haaretz called the event “an empty prayer for peace”, mocking that Presidents Peres and Abbas might have “welcomed a day of rest with Pope Francis”, but suggested that neither politician “likely gained much
from the prayers”. “They were too polite to say so, but if they had told Pope Francis what was on their minds, they would have described a religious climate where rabbis and sheikhs don’t pray for peace and reconciliation but instead call on their followers to mercilessly vanquish their
enemies,” Haaretz wrote. “That’s the religious climate to which the two men will return after their brief respite in Rome.” Others were more optimistic. Although doubtful the meeting would be enough to foster peace between the two countries, Ronit Avni, founder and director of Just Vision, said. Pope Francis has succeeded in his mission by “sparking curiosity among Catholic populations around the world”. Just Vision is a non-profit organisation that researches, documents and creates media about Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders in non-violence and peace building “This is a conflict where, like it or not, the international community will need to play a significant role,” said Ms Avni. “In any situation where you have an asymmetrical power dynamic, the group that has more structural power will not cede that power without some pressure,” she said. “From Just Vision’s perspective, we want that pressure to be non-violent, we want it to be with a rights-respecting lens...and that pressure has to come from people who have moral concern for the two societies,” she said.
UN head urges world to speak Ivorian cardinal dies at 88 out against abuse of women P BY CAROL GLATz
BY ELISE HARRIS
NITED NATIONS secretarygeneral Ban Ki-moon has decried the rape and murder of two Indian teens, stating that the crime is inhumane and the government is being dismissive. “In just the last two weeks, we have seen despicable attacks against women and girls around the world—from Nigeria to Pakistan and from California to India,” Mr Ki-moon said in a statement made at the launch of a video campaign on ending sexual violence through gender equality. “I was especially appalled by the brutal rape and gruesome murder of two teenaged women in India who had ventured out because they did not have access to a toilet.” Mr Ki-moon referred to the gang rape and murder of two cousins, aged 14 and 15, from India’s small village of Katra. Disappearing after going out to relieve themselves because they did not have a toilet in their home, the girls’ bodies were found the following morning hanging from a mango tree. Mr Ki-moon criticised the state’s
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has urged people to speak out on violence against women. (Photo: Gregory Shemitz/CNS) Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, who, according to Vatican Radio, dismissed the rape by saying, “boys will be boys”. Referencing the Twitter hashtag which promoted this month’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in London, Mr Ki-moon explained that “I am here to declare with all of you: it is time to act”. “Violence against women is a peace and security issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a development issue. We must respond on all
fronts and achieve full equality for all women,” he said. “Together we can empower more people to understand that violence against women degrades us all.” Mr Ki-moon drew attention to the work of Dr Denis Mukwege in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a gynaecologist who founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specialises in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces. The UN secretary-general called Dr Mukwege a “personal hero in the fight to end sexual violence”, lauding him for continuing to treat the women regardless of the danger. “Dr Mukwege says sexual violence continues because of indifference, as if the crimes happen to someone else,” Mr Ki-moon observed. He urged people to speak out on the matter of violence against women. “I hope to hear more and louder outcries against sexual violence,” he said. “I will be raising my voice—and I count on all of you to join our chorus demanding action around the world.”—CNA
Argentina brought pic of Pope Francis with team to inspire squad at World Cup
HE Argentinean squad for the football World Cup in Brazil brought with it a larger-than-life photo of the players with Pope Francis at a meeting in the Vatican last year. The team hopes that the picture showing Lionel Messi and teammates with the Holy Father will “give a message of hope prior to the beginning of the World Cup”, reported the publication Diario Castellanos, which posted an image of the giant photo on Twitter. The picture was taken when the players visited the pope at the Vatican in August, the day before Argentina beat Italy in a friendly match.—CNA The giant photo of Pope Francis with Argentina’s football team which the country’s squad has taken with them to the World Cup in Brazil. The Argentine pope is a big football fan.
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OPE Francis has praised the generous and faithful service of the retired archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Cardinal Bernard Agre, who died at age 88 on June 9 at a hospital in Paris. In a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Pope Francis said the late cardinal served the Church “with faith and generosity”, and worked passionately to “proclaim the Gospel and for people’s human and spiritual development”. Cardinal Agre faced a number of pastoral problems linked to increasing economic, political and religious tensions in western Africa. He headed the archdiocese of Abidjan from 1994 to his retirement in 2006, a period of painful political transition following the end of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny’s 33year rule in 1993. When political violence broke out several times from 1998 to 2000 after contested elections and a military-led coup, leaving hundreds dead, Cardinal Agre spoke out against those attempting to exploit religious differences. He criticised the growing gap between the rich of Ivory Coast and the country’s “new poor”, including jobless college graduates, agricul-
tural workers and youths. He said such poverty was abnormal and a menace to social peace. During the second Synod of Bishops for Africa in 2009, he spoke out against the injustice of many African nations being forced to “mortgage their natural resources” to pay the neverending interest on development loans. He said that prevented governments from adequately funding education and healthcare for their people. Born near Abidjan on March 2, 1926, Cardinal Agre was ordained a priest in 1953. In 1968, Pope Paul VI named him bishop of Man, a diocese that counted only a few thousand Catholics in a population of about 1 million. In 1992, he was appointed to the diocese of Yamoussoukro, the site of a grandiose and controversial government-funded basilica modelled after the basilica of St Peter in the Vatican. He was named a cardinal in 2001.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Pope is a new St Paul for Catholics
Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Kelsay Corêa
Are Catholic schools truly Catholic?
RE there rosary beads dangling from Our Lady’s stone fingers in the school grounds? Are there statues balancing precariously on wooden plinths in dark hallways? Are there dusty crucifixes on the walls in every classroom? Do learners rattle off rote prayers? Is this how we judge whether a Catholic school is Catholic enough? Or do the learners know who Jesus Christ is—the historical and the religious figure? Do they know to look out for each other, to be kind, gentle and loving? Do they learn to forgive? Do staff members provide examples of patience and understanding, a listening ear? Will learners leave school able to engage critically in moral debates based on a sound formation of what is just and fair? So what is a Catholic school? For some, the knowledge and experience of Catholic schools in South Africa is that of well-resourced, independent schools in the cities and suburbs. And yet, the reality of Catholic education in South Africa is that of the 346 Catholic schools, 249 are public schools in mostly rural or township settings. These public schools are unique as they have a special legal agreement in place that allows the “distinctive religious character” of the school to be celebrated. This ensures that 12 300 children, 4 400 teachers and many others in these school communities hear the Good News and are encouraged to participate in Catholic practices, feasts and festivals surrounding the life of the school. In this way, Catholic schools assist the Church in her mission to share the Gospel of Jesus. Critics of Catholic schools are quick to say that many of the teachers and learners in the schools are not Catholic; therefore the schools are not Catholic. But let us not underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit. Who knows what will come of the evangelising efforts of these schools, or of the seeds planted by the Spirit during readings of scripture and liturgical celebrations?
Those in Catholic schools comprise all religions, cultural and ethnic groups. Jesus preached to people of all faiths and religions. He invited all people to follow in his way. His message was universal. And so should the message of the Catholic school be universal and inclusive in its teaching practices. It was the Catholic school that was one of the first public entities to defy the laws of the apartheid government by opening its doors to children of all races and religions. The Church continues to negotiate with the current government to ensure that its role to bring quality education to children in South Africa is realised. Many Catholics hoping to send their children to Catholic schools cannot afford the fees being asked by some schools. And yet, more than half of our Catholic schools charge annual school fees of R2 000 or less. Perhaps there is a need in some areas for more “affordable” Catholic schools, but since the numbers of religious brothers and sisters are dwindling, it is unlikely that more schools will be established, unless groups of Catholic lay people devise strategies for building, and maintaining, new Catholic schools. Our existing Catholic public and independent schools have many checklists and processes that assist them in preserving their Catholic ethos. In addition, the unique context in which each school finds itself, and the charism on which it was founded, defines its particular role and mission. The role of a Catholic school can be seen as providing children with an opportunity to learn to read, write, count and love. “And the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). This means, to love God, themselves and their neighbour (Mk 12:30-31). Catholic schools should be places where all who work and play are able to show their love of neighbour by embracing people of all cultures and reaching out to the community around the school, particularly to those most in need.
fEaST Of OUr MOTHEr Of PErPETUaL HELP JUNE 26TH 2014
TRIDUUM OF PRAYER AT HOLY REDEEMER, Bergvliet Road, Bergvliet. EACH EVENING AT 19:30
JUNE 24th “Mother of Mercy” with solemn celebration of Evening Prayer: Fr Anthony Padua, C.Ss.R. JUNE 25th “Mother of the Poor”: Fr Henry Nwokoro, C.Ss.R. JUNE 26th “Mother of Evangelisation” with feast day celebration of the Eucharist: Fr Bafana Hlatshwayo, C.Ss.R. Petitions and thanksgivings can be put in the box at the back of the church or sent online at www.holyredeemer.co.za
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
EADING The Southern Cross is akin to reading the writings of a modern-day St Paul. A huge campaign should be launched to encourage every Catholic to buy the newspaper so that every parishioner can learn about our new “saint”, Pope Francis, and his Christ-like teachings and instructions. The pope has called on cardinals “to service rather than honour”. With wisdom and love he tells the cardinals that a red hat “does not signify a promotion, an honour or a decoration; it is simply a form of service that requires expanding your vision and enlarging your heart”. What wonderful encouragement for truly sincere men. Pope John XXIII must be smiling down on the newly cleaned windows that he opened so long ago; and more than ever, the rush of fresh air pouring in. The wheels have ground slowly but Pope Francis has swiftly moved them into top gear. Bless the Holy
HAT a pity The Southern Cross in publishing Franko Sokolic’s letter (May 28) was not guided by the adage: De mortuis nihil, nisi bonum (Say nothing about the dead except what is good). It is quite shocking that a Catholic newspaper should publish such scurrilous comments about any Catholic, let alone one as committed to the Church as Archbishop Denis Hurley OMI was. It is quite beyond me how anyone should dare to misrepresent his stance on abortion, or how anyone could put in such simplistic and false terms his position on the controversial issues of ordination of women or contraception? As one who worked closely with the late archbishop, I have the authority to defend him with the truth. He was totally and unreservedly against abortion! With regard to the ordination of women and artificial contraception, Archbishop Hurley had a much more nuanced position than his detractors are perhaps capable of recognising. What I remember him saying about the ordination of women can be summed up as follows: “Since the Scriptures are silent on the matter, at least let us discuss it!” His position on contraception was equally nuanced. Archbishop Hurley was a Thomist through and through; so, he reasoned in syllogisms. Put in thomistic or syllogistic terms his reasoning would have been as follows: Major premise: To engage in the marital act in a way that excludes conception of a child is morally wrong.
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Spirit for giving us a new St Paul and a truly biblical follower of Christ. Pope Francis is the Church’s modern Emmaus. As we searched for Christ, albeit in the wrong places, our hearts were burning; but we buried ourselves in pomp and ritual, rules and regulations and more deadly sins. We put on red hats and dragged around the cappa magnas and other items of decoration and hankered to be princes. We forgot the true meaning of Christianity and its obligatory humility. On the feast of John the Baptist last year, a few weeks before he resigned, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the annual baptism ceremony where a number of babies were baptised. After the baptism, when the pope distributed Holy Communion to the mothers, he did not bless the babies being held by the mothers, or acknowledge the infants in any way Minor premise: Couple A and Couple B use artificial contraceptives and natural family planning respectively to avoid conceiving a child. Conclusion: Therefore, what both couples are doing is morally wrong! I know this for a fact because I discussed this with him more than once. Quite logically he maintained that “if the intention is the same, then the moral quality of the acts to realise that intention has to be the same”. Much as I try, I cannot understand how the editor allowed the publication of a letter that is slanderous in the extreme, especially when Archbishop Hurley is not here to defend himself. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban
ITH reference to previous correspondence, isn’t it time we stopped playing God by rushing into print with threats of eternal damnation if we don’t obey the rules? As Pope Francis recently said, “God’s mercy has no limits”, and most importantly, “Who am I to judge?” So who are we to take on the role of our Creator? It is sheer arrogance on our part if we think we have that right. Isn’t it therefore so much better to realise we are not God and to just keep quiet. Mary Lack, Cape Town
In the hand: yes
ITH due respect, I would like to know from Fr Bernard Brown (“Eucharist in the hand: disrespect”, June 4) if he believes that Jesus himself had placed tiny flat round cookies directly onto the 12 disciples' tongues at the Last Supper. I bet that the Twelve were allowed to eat real bread with their own hands. But for all the rest of us Fr Brown wants to place tiny flat round cookies onto our tongues, as if we were children receiving polio vaccination pills. That doesn't make any sense! When our Lord Jesus Christ said, “do this in memory of me”, then, with the word “this” he obviously referred to the proper sharing and eating of real bread, as he had done it himself with the 12 disciples. I have noticed reactionary forces which want to drag the Catholic Church back into the 19th century. I also notice that The Southern Cross is providing an ample platform for them almost every week. But those ultra-conservative forces—the Pharisees of our own era—will eventually not succeed, because the Holy Spirit propels us forward, not backwards. The Holy Spirit makes everything new. Stefan Gruner, Pretoria
whatsoever. His total disregard for them and his general detached attitude was extremely disconcerting. This year, by absolute contrast, Pope Francis assures the mothers that “breastfeeding their babies in public, even during a papal Mass in the Sistine Chapel, is OK”. “No chorus is as wonderful as the squeaks, squeals and banter of children,” the pope said. “If they are hungry, mothers, let them eat, no worries, because they are the main focus.” Not in our church. While the adult faithful pretend to be pious and holy, as they nod off during another boring homily, we barricade the children behind plate-glass windows in the proverbial “cry room”. I wonder who said: “In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” God bless you, Pope Francis, you have put Christ back into Catholicism! Tony Meehan, Cape Town
Gaze at the host
EFERRING to the question of Communion in the hand, would people truly be more respectful receiving it on the tongue? It always seemed to me to be unnatural receiving it on the tongue when Jesus certainly did not give his body like that. That second on my hand as I step aside and consume the body is a time to gaze on a miracle. I admit I prefer silent thanksgiving rather than a “Communion hymn”. Bridget Stephens, Cape Town
We are Church
HE article on excommunication of Austrian members of Wir sind Kirche refers (June 4). Catholic News Service (CNS), which promises in its mission statement “to report fully, fairly and freely”, labels the movement We Are Church “dissident”, simply because of the actions of one excommunicated Austrian married couple, the Heizers. Definitely unfair! There are thousands of members of the various worldwide (43 countries) movements under the IMWAC banner. All are autonomous. The fact of the Heizers’ excommunication is now linked by many to a political manoeuvre by the Congregation for Doctrine to send a strong anti-reform of the institution message that contradicts the fresh approach of Pope Francis to “change, put in place checks and balances, renewal etc”. The fact that the Heizers made public two and a half years ago that they had celebrated the Eucharist in their home without the presence of a priest, indicates that there is a hidden agenda to this. It is also not coincidental that Martha Heizer is the international coordinator of IMWAC, chosen democratically by all the movements during 2012. It was reported some time back that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna expressed shock at the open call to defiance of Church authority by the so-called dissident Austrian and German priests who have come together under the banner Call to Disobedience. But strangely, the latter have not been excommunicated and the one “roof” is sheltering them. What does it say to all those who believe that at last the voices of the laity will be heard? Rosemary Gravenor, Cape Town 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
Catholic Education Focus Special supplement to The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2013
Edited by Claire Mathieson
Training teachers to lead How Catholic schools can show SA the way Education minister Moshekga is doing well Seeing Jesus in each child’s smile How a school is turning green The joyful vocation of a Catholic teacher St Augustine: The tertiary option Seminarians interview their teachers
l l l l l l l l
Community joy as nuns rebuild pre-school After a century, school turned co-ed A history of PE’s Catholic schools An end to ‘war-cries’ at school? Judge’s case against corporal punishment Pilgrim learners walked the Camino How drama can enhance education Education and sports
The great value of Catholic education Every Catholic child should receive a Catholic education and Catholics should fight to keep Catholic schools Catholic, the argument goes. CLAIRE MATHIESON speaks to a school chaplain and learns why.
RANCISCAN Father Christopher Neville has been privileged to receive an education within the Catholic school environment in South Africa. And today, he considers it a privilege to continue involvement in the Catholic school system as he works with the students of Holy Family College in Glenmore, Durban. “Due to my exposure to what a Catholic school offers I am very conscious of the treasure and privilege of a Catholic school education,” Fr Neville said. His education started in Durban at Our Lady of Fatima with the Newcastle Dominicans and continued in Pretoria with the Loreto Sisters. He then moved on to Pretoria’s Christian Brothers College. For the last six years as part-time chaplain, he’s been able to “pay it forward”. For Fr Neville, the greatest attribute of the Catholic school is the ethos that is ingrained behind every aspect of school life, from sport to lessons. “Catholic schools have a genuine value system, offer an enhanced personal relationship with God and a spirit of calm among the majority of pupils.” Fr Neville also hailed the commitment of staff—something lacking in many other schools around the country. Teaching, administration and maintenance are a part of this
Learners from across the Grades interact at Holy Family College in Glenmore, Durban. The school’s chaplain, Fr Christopher Neville OFM, writes that the Catholic school must make the Lord present to all learners, regardless of their background. system, he says. “There is a spirit of joy among staff and pupils and an underlying awareness of the presence of God” at the school he serves. This could be down to the two hours of religious education the students enjoy each week, where learners are taught about the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Theology of the Body, and are given insight into other religions. But there is something more than just lessons, says Fr Neville. Catholic
students in Catholic schools have a “zest for life”. And he believes this is the same ethos that has been handed down from generation to generation. “There is no doubt that this legacy has been handed on to the present members of the different school communities from the original members of the congregations of the different schools.”
oday the question is often asked if there is any purpose or value in maintaining Catholic schools since
most pupils who attend them are not Catholics. “To answer this question adequately, it is vital that all decisionmakers truly look in an in-depth manner at the original purpose of Catholic school education, at how it has evolved over the years, and the results it has had on the individual person and then on society as a whole,” said the Franciscan priest. “Young people today are perhaps more broken as people than at any other time in the history of society due to their lack of experience of
genuine love, no stable home life due to parents being either single, divorced, dead or just absent,” he noted. “As I experience on a day to day basis in Holy Family College, the young people are exposed to values, care, concern, in a word love, a holistic education—in other words, are not just focused on academic achievements but also development of the personality, the very soul of the person as well as the physical side through sports and the creative aspect through exposure to art and music.” For Fr Neville, the Christian ethos permeates every aspect of the life of the pupil present within a Catholic school—an invaluable attribute that is found in Catholic schools today and something which many nonCatholics revere. “A Catholic school by its nature is open not only to members of the Catholic Church, but is catholic in the broadest and deepest meaning of the word, in that it is open to all people of any faith background or no faith background at all—just as our Lord Jesus Christ came to serve and save all people.” Fr Neville believes the secret is in the relationship with God made real through the sacramental presence and sacramental relationship of Jesus Christ with pupils and staff. “There is a call, an invitation, to be in relationship with self, others, nature and the world around them.” For those at Holy Family College, the relationship with God is made real, he said. “Every Catholic child should receive an education in a Catholic school” said Fr Neville. There is such value in Catholic education that Catholics should not hesitate in “fighting to keep our Catholic schools open and active in society”.
Catholic education is one of the most important challenges for the Church, currently committed to new evangelisation in an historical and cultural context that is undergoing constant transformation.”
— Pope Fancis in his address to the the plenary session of the Congregation for Catholic Educationl, February 13, 2014
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HE Catholic Schools Office, as the administrative body of the Catholic Schools Board in the archdioceses of Johannesburg and Pretoria, offers a variety of programmes, services and support initiatives to assist the archdioceses’ schools—including its teachers. The programmes have been developed over the past ten years since the establishment of the Catholic Schools Board. According to the CSO’s director, Rosa Calaca, initially the services focused on religious education, training of financial clerks and teacher curriculum training particularly during 2004 and 2005 and again in 2006 with Outcomes Based Education. “We have also continued to coordinate the coming together of our schools for special festivals and especially the celebration of the annual Grade 7 and 11 Masses for both archdioceses,” Ms Calaca said. And the service covers all areas of education. The Catholic Schools Sports Council, which was established three years ago, has successfully hosted several inter-Catholic sports festivals, thanks to the dedication and commitment of the sports committee, coaches and host schools. “Our schools also come together for various choir and musical festivals. The schools on the East Rand of Johannesburg hold an annual bible quiz, which is enjoyed by the participants and supported by the Knights of Da Gama,” said Ms Calaca. In addition, the Catholic Schools Board launched the Growing Leaders Programme— a pilot one-year leadership course in 2013. “Roles and expectations of school leaders have changed radically in recent years. South African school leaders face challenges such as difficult socioeconomic circumstances, curriculum change that has not produced anticipated results, and challenges with retaining and managing staff,” Ms Calaca told The Southern Cross.
CSO director Rosa Calaca She explained that technology has added to the pressure on schools to invest in the necessary innovations to prepare students to navigate a complex world that is continually changing. “The teacher is no longer the source of information but becomes the facilitator of the learning experience in the classroom. It is no longer enough that principals be good managers; they have to be leaders of the school as a learning organisation,” she said. Ms Calaca said the course content for the Growing Leaders Programme was developed by experienced principals in conjunction with the Jesuit Institute. “The aim of the programme is to provide the future school leader with ways of analysing the challenges they face,” the CSO director said.
he main contention is that those in formal leadership share responsibility by building the leadership capacity of all stakeholders. Very importantly, leaders need to become more authentic human beings in order to meet the challenges of their work. Ms Calaca explained that the course is based on acquiring basic skills necessary to lead and manage a school and developing a personal spirituality, a relationship with God and fostering a sense of mission for the ministry of Catholic education. “The programme is built on the premise that leadership and management are essentially moral activities and that teaching and educational leadership are part of the spirituality of the individual and cannot be separated, hence it functions from a personal ethical dimension,”
she said. “It aims to assist future leaders to tackle the complex and multidimensional ethical challenges faced in schools.” Ms Calaca said the programme is aimed at heads of departments, deputies and members of school management teams in Catholic schools of the archdioceses of Johannesburg and Pretoria, who are interested in developing their leadership and management skills. Newly appointed principals are also welcomed on the programme. “The presenters are experienced principals who are known for their expertise in various aspects of leadership. The course content covers key aspects of leadership and management within the framework of Catholic education,” said Ms Calaca. The course consists of seven modules which contain some theoretical input plus a practical hands-on component. There are no examinations but participants have to fulfil specific requirements which include completing assignments for all the different modules. The modules are guided by the following themes, namely spirited leadership, ethos and pastoral care, working with and through people, strategic development, financial management, educational law and management of resources. The CSO has programmes for both educators and learners, providing opportunities for leadership development for senior students who are nominated or elected to leadership positions in our schools. “The programme includes a leadership day which is held in October each year and presenters of the course use this opportunity to teach our young leaders some useful tips and leadership strategies,” Ms Calaca said. One of the young leaders wrote: “This course proved to be a truly fruitful and wonderful experience. We did not only learn about leadership but we also had life lessons that will surely be beneficial to us in the near future. It is humbling to have been granted an opportunity to attend such a prestigious event”. Mike Greeff, chief executive officer at St David’s Marist Inanda, Johannesburg, has for a number of years presented an informative and a very interesting session on the joys and challenges of being in a leadership position.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Catholic schools can lead the way for SA While many are aware of the enormous contribution Catholic schools have made to South Africa’s intellectual and social capital, there is growing uncertainty about their role today. EVONA RABELO argues that today, more than ever, Catholic schools have a key role to play.
UMANKIND today is under threat from forces of secular humanism and intrusive technology. Determinist and materialist ideologies reduce humans to cogs in a mechanistic world, devoid of spiritual meaning. Economic rationalists insist that the primary aim of schools is to graduate good citizens who will enhance the economy through appropriate work skills. Now is the time for Catholic schools to respond to these threats of dehumanisation by clearly defining our vision for education. De La Salle Brother Louis de Thomasis, in his thought-provoking book Dynamics of Catholic Education, reminds us that although the Catholic school is not the Church, it shares in its evangelising mission and can promote the renewal of the Church, “becoming the exemplar of a spiritual dynamic that is so needed in our new globalised world”. The Catholic school, he says, needs to provide “a liberating intellectual education and an experience of human and religious development for its students”. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, in its recent document, “Educating today and tomorrow”(2014), asks what will be religion’s contribution to educating younger generations to peace, development and fraternity in the universal human community. Catholic schools are challenged to develop a better understanding of a Catholic perspective of human nature—in other words, a Catholic anthropology. For example, do teachers and parents really know the story of Catholic beliefs about the human person? Catholic anthropology draws its inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus. His dream for the realisation of an “abundance of life” (Jn 10:10) epitomises the core of a Catholic anthropology—life lived fully to one’s potential as a rela-
tional being. Hopefully teachers don’t just teach subject matter without reflecting on the assumptions made in the curriculum about human nature. Do our life skills sessions on selfesteem and sexuality express what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God? Are our behaviour modification programmes formative and restorative? Is community development and social justice taken seriously? Do science lessons inculcate a sense of wonder for the mystery and beauty of God’s creation? Educating youth is tough work; ask any principal or any teacher. And it’s getting tougher every year. Independent or public, the demands are exhausting. But we, who work in Catholic education, have at our disposal a real treasure—our special religious character. It allows us to promote a Catholic anthropology Ultimately we want our children to be literate, numerate, critical thinkers who will find purpose in whichever economic enterprise they commit themselves to. But more than that, we want them to be attentive to relationships of justice with their fellow human beings and the earth. We want them to serve the common good and actively seek to make a difference to their world
efore the elections on May 7, I popped into a senior class at a high school where a life skills lesson was underway. The young people were engaged in robust dialogue about the ethical standing of certain political parties contesting the general election. I spotted, on their desks, several copies of articles from The Southern Cross as well as Catholic Parliamentary Liaison briefing papers. What a wonderful example of faith engaging civic responsibility! And we have several other agencies within our Catholic network, that our schools can draw on to assist them in forming conscience and serving the common good. We hear a great deal about the crisis in education. Despite receiving the largest tranche of the national budget—R232,5 billion—we are not seeing the fruits that we had hoped for. Our children perform dismally in international numeracy and literacy tests. Out of 100 children who started school in 2002, 49% did not reach matric, and the 550 000 who dropped out are now part of the 50% unemployed and unskilled youth of our country. While the legacy of apartheid’s Bantu Education has a lot to do with
this, there are a multitude of other factors at play. Against this national backdrop, Catholic schools consistently fare better. There are about 26 000 schools in South Africa today, of which only 348 are Catholic. The vast majority of these Catholic schools are public schools on private property (the Church or congregation owns the properties and buildings, but the salaries are paid by the state). These schools are confronted by the same socio-economic constraints as the schools belonging to the state. And yet Catholic schools consistently achieve better results than regular state schools. Just one example: in the Eastern Cape’s matric results in 2013, Catholic schools achieved an 84% pass rate, compared to a 39% pass rate in the province.
n a recently published book, How to Fix South Africa’s Schools, Jonathan Jansen and Molly Blank share ten strategies which they documented in their research in 19 successful schools across the country. These strategies comprise the core of what we believe quality Catholic education espouses: a clear vision of the transformative power of education, committed leadership and passionate educators. We need to improve school facilities. We need school policies to be implemented. We need ongoing monitoring and evaluation of our staff and academic results. But most importantly, we need to form people
who will promote a Gospel vision. We need to work hard at recruiting and selecting suitable leaders for our schools, and we need to provide them with ongoing training and formation opportunities. The Department of Education will offer curriculum, assessment and management programmes for our school management teams, but who is going to form our leaders in the art of servant leadership? Who is going to provide opportunities for reflection to our teachers so that they can become mindful of their own spiritual journey and renew their call to teach? Education is a spiritual enterprise—a teacher in a good Catholic school has many opportunities to
grow into spirituality. The school year includes assemblies, rituals, retreats, religious education, liturgies, multicultural religious rites and practices, school chaplains, justice projects, celebrations of the liturgical seasons, prayers, professional formation times and sacred symbols. Education in South Africa needs transformation. Authentic Catholic schools are well positioned to contribute to this renewal. Let us draw from the collective wisdom of our educational heritage and heed the Gospel call to be that “leaven” that the world and our children so desperately need at this time. n Evona Rabelo is the director of the Catholic Schools Office in Cape Town.
MarIST BrOTHErS LINMEYEr
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Tel: 012 804 1801 Fax: 012 804 8781
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Assessing our education minister KENNY PASENSIE asks whether the national education minister and her deputy should have kept their portfolios.
HAT does it mean for the education sector that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy, Enver Surty, have retained their portfolios in President Jacob Zuma’s new cabinet? And was the reappointment due to Mrs Motshekga’s being the leader of the ANC’s Women’s League, or is it a nod to what may be argued was a relatively good job performance over the last five years? Sentiment about the efficacy of Mrs Motshekga’s tenure ranges between a kneejerk “no” and—mostly among those with a deeper knowledge of education—a cautious “yes”. Those who argue that her tenure was less than successful cite the textbook debacle in Limpopo, and the foot-dragging—and subsequent court battles—over publication of the school infrastructure norms and standards. In addition, the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative was meant to fix 500 dilapidated schools by 2015, but since 2011, only 49 schools have been renovated, while another 50 are in the early stages of rebuilding. There were also the numerous occasions when her department had to be reminded by the courts
The jury is still out on whether Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (inset) should have retained her job. In his article, Kenny Pasensie defends her reappointment. about its obligations to provide pupils with their right to a basic education in terms of section 29(1)(a) of the Constitution. Those who are in the cautious “yes” camp argue that not all education’s failings can be blamed on the minister. The fact that the Democratic Alliance’s Helen Zille came to her defence in the dispute with the NGO Equal Education over the infrastructure norms and standards says a lot. Ms Zille said: “We have never experienced a minister like Angie who knows what the hell needs to be done, has the guts to do it, and
then has to do it on her own.” The Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools has welcomed Mrs Motshekga’s reappointment, noting that she was “the first education minister who was prepared to admit to mistakes and attempted to make improvements”. And, despite their previous disagreements, Equal Education has also welcomed the reappointments. During the minister’s tenure, her department made strides in improving the national pass rate, perhaps one of its biggest milestones being the matric class of 2013’s pass rate of 78,2%. In 2009, the rate was 62%.
It was also during Mrs Motshekga’s tenure that two significant policy initiatives were given impetus: the introduction of an African language at all schools, and a draft policy to ensure that Grade R becomes part of formal schooling. She also recently instigated a probe into the “posts for sale” racketeering allegations levelled against members of the powerful SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU). There were reports that SADTU members were selling principal and deputy principal positions at schools for upwards of R30 000 each. The probe is a bold move, since
many argue that the union’s reach in education is deep. It may also signal that the governing party is ready to loosen the grip of the union on education. If it succeeds, the formation of the National Education Collaborative Trust, a joint government/business initiative, may prove to be the intervention that brings meaningful change to education. Both Minster Motshekga and Deputy Minister Surty are actively involved in this, another reason why their retention makes sense. Whatever the reason for her retention in this key portfolio, the minister and her affable deputy will have to dig deep to face education’s challenges with the necessary political will, especially in dealing with the administrative shortcoming in certain provincial departments, and above all with SADTU. On the positive side, both the minister and the deputy minister know the needs and challenges of basic education and their reappointment means that business can continue without the kind of timelag that would have accompanied the appointment of a new ministerial team. In this respect, though, there is one important proviso: the key position of director general is currently vacant. It is crucial that whoever is appointed to this post must be someone who is able to assist the political heads of the department in resolving the many challenges faced by basic education. n Kenny Pasensie is a researcher for the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
St Teresa’s School
-Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1930Head of School: High School: Sr M Barbara Intermediate Phase: Mrs Jean Carey Foundation Phase: Mrs Lynne Elfick Type of School: Girls’ Day School IEB & ISASA Number of learners: 640 (Grade 00-12) Average class size: Maximum 25 Entry requirements Entrance Exam Fees per year (3 terms) Fees range from R26 973 (Grade 00) to R56, 750 (Grade 12)
A Foundation For Life
Contact Details High School: (011) 442-6235 Intermediate Phase: (011) 447-1446 Foundation Phase: (011) 442-9127
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Seeing Jesus in each child’s smile Alison Dunn has been leading Catholic schools in Cape Town for the past 23 years. She shares her thoughts on leadership and the value of Catholic education.
LISON Dunn took up the post of principal of the junior school at Springfield Convent, Cape Town, 12 years ago. She was well known to the Dominican Sisters as she had worked previously at another Dominican school, the inner-city St Mary’s primary where she led the children and teachers as principal for 11 years. And it is through her 20-something years of leading Catholic schools that she’s seen the value of Catholic education. “What a privilege it is for me as a leader in a Catholic school to experience life lived to the full,” Ms Dunn said, referring to Jesus’ words “I come that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10).
Convey under standing, convey ways of doing things, convey values. Faith is conveyed through these. The educator should be up to being a person who educates, he or she should consider how to proclaim Jesus Christ to a generation that is changing. Education today is a key, key, key mission!”
— Pope Fancis in his meeting with the Union of Superiors General, November 29, 2013
“Every day I see girls enthusiastically involving themselves in the wide curricular and co-curricular programmes, always trying to achieve their best to make us proud. Every day I see parents involving themselves fully in their children's schooling, encouraging their daughters in all they do, and always willing to help and lend a hand when needed. And every day I see teachers conscientiously giving of their time, knowledge and expertise, often beyond the call of duty, to help the children in their care. All of this is indeed life lived to the full.” Ms Dunn said another benefit of leading a Catholic school meant combining one’s work and faith, something very few people get to do. “God has given me a true gift in the job that I do. I have 520 girls and 40 staff members in my care every day, all working, learning, experiencing and enjoying life within the special ethos of a faith-based environment.” And it is that faith-driven attitude that comes out in her work ethic. “In our baptism, God lights
the flame of faith within each of us. In the Easter liturgy we pray that ‘the morning star which never sets may find that flame of faith ever burning’, and that is my prayer as a leader in a Catholic school each day—that I may play a part in keeping that flame of faith burning in everyone in my school.”
ut it’s not all plain sailing. Ms Dunn acknowledges there are many challenges facing Catholic education. The world of today, in which our children are growing up, is often at odds with our values and ethos. “All schools are battling against the wave of social media, against the somewhat alarming digital world in which we now live, against the societal values that differ from ours, against the instant answers our children expect, not to mention the curriculum changes that plague us—faith-based institutions are in no way immune to these difficulties.” In fact, Ms Dunn believes the Catholic education system is further challenged as Catholic schools strive to educate children not only
with common good morals, but also to educate young people in a Gospel-based environment. “I have learned to remind myself often why the parents have chosen this faith-based institution for their children, even if it seems that they have often forgotten that themselves,” she said. “They wanted something special, something Godcentred and value-based for their children and that is the basis of our existence and the underlying principle upon which everything we do is based.” Ms Dunn holds the words of Jesus in guiding her leadership: “I come among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:27). She said this is a reminder to listen to everybody, from the littlest voices of nursery school to the teacher about to retire. “I have learned that a Catholic school is indeed a true place of blessing; that being kind is far more important than being right; that everyone I meet deserves to be greeted with a smile; and that life seems so much brighter when a hall full of girls greet you on a Monday morning at assembly with ‘God
School principal Alison Dunn bless you, Ms Dunn’.” The veteran principal said she sees Jesus shine out of every child that smiles—and she loves telling the children that! And she believes that when a child grows up in an atmosphere of care and compassion, the child becomes a young adult committed to social outreach and care for others—the endeavour of Catholic ethos in education. “But most importantly, I have learned that it is the love that pervades the school that makes it a perfect, magical place to be.”
www.facebook.com/stbenedictscollegebedfordview| www.stbenedicts.co.za www.twitter.com/@HeadatSBC
Harcus Road, Bedfordview, Gauteng. 011 455 1906/8
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Soweto school goes green An Orlando West school in Soweto is about to see an ambitious multi-million rand project transformed into a green school and parish house to renovate the existing structures that have stood since 1946. KELSAY CORRÊA finds out more about the exciting project.
RIGINALLY built by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, St Martin de Porres High School in Orlando West, Soweto, is now under the patronage of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Due to the rapid growth of the area, the school is set to see a complete revamp—one that is environmentally friendly. From 1946 to 2003 the so-called temporary buildings schooled primary school children, but in 2003 it was decided that another Catholic high school was needed in Soweto: St Martin’s was the chosen site. But by 2011, it was clear that something needed to be done about building more suitable facilities. The existing buildings are in need of renovation, as little maintenance has been done over the years and adaptations are necessary to meet the requirements of a high school. Therefore the school board has embarked on an ambitious multimillion rand project to improve the facilities. But instead of taking the “easier” route, the school board opted to reflect Christian values in all areas of
the renovation and build “green” structures—that is, buildings that use renewable building materials and environmentally friendly methods to control the climate. The learners will not only be learning about climate change within the classroom walls, but will also be a part of the solution by spending their days inside green structures. I had heard about this exciting project, so I visited the school and parish complex to see for myself. Jesuit Father Bruce Botha is the current chaplain of the school and the figure behind the development of the site’s new green school. Kitted out with hard hat and reflective jacket, he was my tour guide for the morning. When I arrived, the steel structure for the media centre had been erected and I watched as the structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the roof were placed. The new school does not require foundations or brick laying. This makes it greener, quicker and cheaper to build. A steel structure is erected onto which SIPs are fitted. The SIPs make up the floors, walls and roof of the school. Within a week the floors, walls and roof of the media centre were installed. “When all the work is done, a new green school consisting of 20 classrooms, a science lab, media centre and art centre will be built, the original school building and hall will be renovated, the current parish house will be converted into classrooms, and a replacement house will be built in a more suitable location on the property,” explains Fr Botha. “All new buildings will be to a
Learners from St Martin de Porres High School in Orlando West, Soweto are excited about their new ‘green’ school buildings and very knowlegeable about how the systems will work in the new project. green standard. They will be designed to use natural light, heat and ventilation so that no electricity is used to heat or cool the buildings, and the electricity used for the LED lighting will come from photovoltaic cells [a process that converts solar radiation into electricity],” Fr Botha explained. “The heritage buildings will also be sensitively upgraded using green technology. The project will enable the school to accommodate 720 learners.” And the school will not only integrate environmentally friendly systems but also technologically advanced systems.
“Teachers will be encouraged to replace their well-loved, ear-marked textbooks with up to date versions available online via electronic tablets,” said Fr Botha. “Staff have been trained to use the new technology and will be ready to move over to tablet-based teaching later in the year.” Felicity Herd, principal of St Martin de Porres High School, said that learners and educators are excited about the new school. “The anticipation of the new green school has created great excitement among the learners, and a few tremors among the staff as they ready themselves to let go of outmoded teaching methods and embrace new technology,” she said. I spoke to a group of matrics who are well-briefed on the project. They were able to tell me how the school will use rainwater in the bathrooms and gardens and that solar power will be converted into electricity to power the school. The learners were proud to be the first matrics to complete their schooling in the new buildings. It’s even appropriate that the learners wear green to school every day— how fitting for their new green school!
Greening a school
T Martin de Porres’ website (www.greenschool.org.za) describes the green school concept: A green school is a school that is designed, built and managed in such a way so as to reduce its impact on the environment. Architects have designed buildings that will use natural air flow to both warm and cool the classrooms, and to maximise the amount of sunlight each classroom gets for lighting. The materials used are produced in an environmentally friendly way. The sun is used to generate electricity and rainwater is harvested for the gardens and toilet system. Instead of using textbooks made of paper, electronic tablets will be used. Various food will also be grown for nutritional supplementation for students. In all areas, renewable resources are used.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
The joyful vocation of a Catholic teacher Most teachers in Catholic schools are not Catholic. Similarly, most of the students are not Catholic. But that doesn’t mean that Catholic education doesn’t have a massive impact on the lives of its staff and learners. CLAIRE MATHIESON finds out more about the joys of being a Catholic teacher.
OKETSO Magodielo is adamant about his vocation as a teacher in a Catholic school. “Teaching in a Catholic school is not just a job, though that it also is. And it’s not just a way of making a great contribution to the life of young people, though it is that as well. And it’s not just a very fulfilling and fruitful way of working for others,” said the life orientation and religious education teacher at Maryvale College in Johannesburg. “Teaching in a Catholic school can also be, for those who wish to discover its most profound significance, a ministry within the Church.” For him, being a Catholic teacher is much more than any job description. “It is the work of the Holy Spirit as well as of the individual teacher.” The 30-year-old has been teaching Grades 10-12 for three years but
has been involved in Catholic education his whole life. He describes himself as a lifelong Catholic, having attended Morekolodi, Loreto in Queenswood and Assumption Convent in Pretoria. “I can say without a doubt in my mind, next to the influence of my parents, Catholic education has made the biggest impact on my life. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices made by my parents, teachers and administrators over the years that have helped to build my faith,” he said. It is with this excitement the teacher greeted the idea of talking to The Southern Cross for this special edition. “It is a great opportunity to celebrate the unique identity of our Catholic schools and the wonderful opportunities provided to our Catholic students!” Mr Magodielo believes teaching in a Catholic school is both a vocation and a ministry of the Church. He does not see his occupation as a job at all but as God’s work. Much like sisters and priests are called to service in parishes and missions, Mr Magodielo believes teachers are called to the classroom. “The teacher in the Catholic school is part of the overall mission of the Catholic Church. This ministry of teaching is more than a call to competence—it requires us to live out daily the teachings of Jesus Christ by interacting with children and adults in a spirit of love and justice. Such a ministry calls us to live and act in a way that is faithful to the beliefs and practices of the Catholic community and to con-
St John Bosco, patron saint of youth
Prayer for our youth Loving God, You sent your Son Jesus into this world to be an example to us all. From a young age He followed Your will. He preached, healed and led people to You. He suffered, He died and He rose. We pray for us, the youth and young adults of Southern Africa. Give us knowledge, courage and a willing heart to be the disciples of today. To learn God's will, to share God's message and to be God's people. To know, to love and to serve with youthful zeal. Bless us with happiness, friendship, love, laughter, peace, hope, faith, achievement and direction.
Learners from Maryvale Collge in Johannesburg. (Inset) Life orientation and religious education teacher Koketso Magodielo. tribute time, energy and talents to the development of the school as an authentically Catholic community,” Mr Magodielo said. And he’s a passionate teacher. Mr Magodielo considers being a teacher in the classroom interacting with students to be the greatest positions he has held in his work experience. “It’s not really a job, but a vocation. As a schoolteacher, you are persecuted and pushed to the limits.”
parishioner of Holy Trinity in Braamfontein, Mr Magodielo regularly calls one symbol to mind when he is teaching: the cross. It’s something, he said, that keeps him
going. This is particularly important when at times it seems the world is against religion and its institutions. “In a Catholic school, there is a culture and identity that is distinctly religious, that is unlike any other. We are aware that we are living in a world that is trying desperately to do without God. However, there is a deep desire today or in our modern world to reflect about our own spirituality or religion.” As a religious education teacher Mr Magodielo is well aware of the importance of teachers reinforcing a Catholic ethos and image in all areas of education and not just in his lessons. “As Catholic school educators we
believe that students, like ourselves, are pilgrim people, making their journey through this life with a constant focus on the next,” he said. “As Catholic educators, we have a special responsibility to encourage each student to achieve his or her maximum potential. We work to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.” The teacher said children are influenced by home, community, and a society in which attitudes towards Christian values are often challenged. “Parents, the source from whom children and youth derive their values, entrust their children to the Catholic school to instruct, complement and intensify the education and formation begun in the home. We are called to assist these parents in fulfilling their obligation for the Christian formation and education of their child,” Mr Magodielo said. And so those who are engaged in the mission as teachers in Catholic schools are “very precious members of the Church and their ministry cannot be valued highly enough”. For Mr Magodielo, taking on this challenge is not something discouraging; instead his career has been joyful. Having discovered the true value and having gained a full understanding of his role in the Church—as a Catholic educator— Mr Magodielo said he embraces his work, finding it exciting and truly fulfilling.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
The Marist Brothers celebrate 125 years of education in Johannesburg in 2014. The Johannesburg Marist community came together on a freezing, but clear morning to celebrate their Quasquicentennial Mass on the Feast Day of St Marcellin Champagnat, 6 June. The Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart College by the Archbishop of Johannesburg, RT REV. B Tlhagale (OMI). The communities of the 3 Johannesburg Schools, Sacred Heart College, Marist Brothers Linmeyer and St David Marist Inanda participated in the Mass with pupils performing items of song, music and drama as well as readings during the Mass.
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8LI1EVMWX5YEWUYMGIRXIRRMEP&EHKI 8LI 1EWW FEHKI [LMGL [EW WTIGM½GEPP] HIWMKRIH XS GSQQIQSVEXI XLMW WTIGMEP occasion and was given to all Marist pupils and staff is based on the logo created for the 21st international chapter of the Marist Brothers. The symbolism of the logo alludes to the idea proposed by the slogan: 2I[,IEVXW JSVE2I[;SVPH. With this expression, an attempt is made to associate the heart and the world integrated in single entity. The encircling form of a heart contains in its interior several hearts, a rising sun and the form of an M (Mary, Marcellin, Marist, mission). The colour green, in addition to blending with the terrestrial globe, makes an allusion to the bicentenary of the foundation of the Marist Institute (2017) that is glimpsed on the horizon of history. The blue line, a colour associated with the Institute, refers to the Marist presence in the world at the same time it suggests new horizons for the life of the Institute. The harmonious integration of the logo and the slogan evokes the dynamic of the XXI General Chapter.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
St Augustine: tertiary option St Augustine College in Johannesburg, rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, aims to be a leading institution of higher learning for students across Africa.
HE president of St Augustine College, South Africa’s only Catholic university, urges the Catholic faith community in the country to take advantage of what is offered at the institution. The vision directing all the efforts at St Augustine College is to be a leading African institution of higher education rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, but open to all people, regardless of their faith, ethnic affiliation, and social status, said Dr Madge Karecki SSJ-TOSF, who was installed to head the university last year. “At St Augustine we seek to educate ethical leaders through promoting the dignity of the human person and the common good as the leading principles in social life,” said Dr Karecki. “We believe that through its emphasis on holistic understanding of the human person and the pursuit of knowledge that leads to wisdom, the Catholic intellectual tradition has the potential to empower our students to become leaders in building a more just and equitable society,” the US-born nun said. The university’s aim, she said, is to educate students so that they can be morally responsible leaders. “We do this through active learning, scholarly research, and respectful engagement with local, regional, and global communities,” Dr Karecki explained. The college, founded in 1999, offers a full range of postgraduate degrees in the humanities: from honours through masters to doctoral degrees in education, applied ethics, peace studies, theology, and philosophy. In addition, the college offers a
two-year distance-learning programme for the higher certificate in biblical studies. As St Augustine seeks to serve also those who want to study for their own enrichment or for the development of their skills, in the second semester of this year it will extend its offerings to include a number of short, non-degree courses, workshops, and public lectures, said Dr Karecki. The university was founded when a group of Catholics academics, clergy, and business people recognised the need for a South African Catholic university that could make a significant moral and academic contribution to the development of the country. “At present, the ideals underlying the foundation of the college, which is now celebrating its 15th anniversary, seem more critical for the future of African people than ever before,” said Dr Karecki. Today only 10% of South African students get their degrees from private universities and almost 50% of them get a degree from Unisa, the correspondence university. “Being a relatively new phenomenon in South Africa, private independent tertiary institutions such as St Augustine can respond to the need for higher educational standards as well as smaller classes, allowing face-to-face interaction with lecturers,” Dr Karecki said. She said the college exists to serve the Church and the community: “If Catholics want to play a decisive role in shaping South African society, then all of us need to be well informed.” The college president said many African countries have thriving Catholic universities, but “this can only happen when people support the vision and mission of these institutions”. Financial troubles in the last year resulted in the university downsizing and suspending all undergraduate programmes. “But recently the long-term financial sustainability of the college has been secured,” Dr
St Augustine College awarded students at the ceremony of the Dean's Awards 2014 with Professor Nicholas Rowe, the Catholic university’s academic dean. Karecki told The Southern Cross. Thanks to financial agreements entered into with the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Catholic Order of the Knights of Da Gama, St Augustine’s immediate financial sustainability is secured. The college receives no government funding. This new chapter entails refocusing of its educational offerings as well as the further development of its present campus in Victory Park, Johannesburg. Dr Karecki said right now the college is stronger and more committed to a common vision and mission than ever: “Under new
management, with a new committed and energetic board of directors, and with deep trust in God’s providence, we look forward to continued pursuit of our mission which consists in educating ethical leaders in all sectors of society.” She said the university is one of the few private institutions of higher education in South Africa to design and develop its own degrees, and “due to its unique teaching programmes, the outstanding commitment of lecturers, and personalised tuition, the college has a very high pass rate when compared with other South African universities”. Dr Karecki said St Augustine should be a prime choice for
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
The people shaping our future priests A group of seminarians studying at St Francis Xavier Orientation Seminary in Cape Town interviewed those shaping their futures. Here’s what the seminarians learnt about the staff at the national seminary.
Fr Thomas Plastow SJ, interviewed by Moses Sithole and Thulani Madinda Fr Thomas Plastow was raised in Cape Town. He went to Pinehurst Primary School. He completed his matric at Pinelands High School where he was awarded full colours for debating. He then did a degree in history at the University of Cape Town. During his Jesuit formation he completed master’s degrees in philosophy and theology in London and Chicago. “I never had a single role model whom I wanted to be like”, he said “but I was influenced by my parents, who ensured that I got a good education, and by some priests”. He was encouraged by Michael Harris who taught him history and was the school drama coordinator. Fr Plastow laughs at the amazing memories at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, where he was a lecturer, recalling the look in students’ eyes as they came to understand new concepts. The saying “doubt no longer but believe” was the foundation for the motivation that he gave his students to work hard while praying more. He trained permanent deacons of the diocese of Johannesburg when he was superior of the Jesuit community, which proved that education enables some people to multi-task easily. Serving as assistant chaplain at UCT got him the opportunity to help students to deal with a very complex institution. Fr Plastow believes that education in South Africa could improve if learners received positive motivation from their communities, especially parents and friends. Students should nurture a desire for higher marks, not just a pass, and see their secondary education as a preparation for university. As the new rector of St Francis Xavier Seminary, he argues that education should provide seminarians with the ability to speak and communicate well, to relate to people, to perform liturgy well, to express God’s word (not just their own opinion) and to exercise the leadership required of priests. Fr Plastow teaches scripture.
Elsabe O’Leary interviewed by Karabo Lephuthing and Kopano Mosala Elsabe Mary O’Leary is a profes-
sional social worker. She teaches human growth and development at St Francis Xavier Seminary. She matriculated at St Paul Klooster in Pretoria which was then run by the Dominican sisters. After matric she went to the University of Pretoria where she obtained a degree in social work. She had inspiring teachers who taught her the importance of education and how it can shape one’s life as a human being. She strongly believes that education opens up the mind and “gives the ability to see afar, like a giraffe”. She believes that we learn in every area and therefore engaging in positive activities like sports and extramural activities also broadens the mind. “We learn from the minute we are born”, she says and education shapes you and gives you the ability “to teach others and also to learn from them”. Education can help build a whole community and a whole nation, she believes. It opens doors to the future. As times change, education equips a person and keeps them updated. Education is for all, young and old. She believes that education is not only about books; it’s about exploration with people who think positively and are on a mission to be successful and build a better future. Finally, she feels we should put God first in everything and use the mind God has given us to build our lives and those of others. And her plans for ten years hence? Retirement with her feet up and reading a good book!
“the real education he got was from the townships of Cape Town”. Fr Peter-John teaches spirituality.
Fr Chris Chatteris SJ interviewed by Lungile Sibiya and Thomas Ribimbi Fr Chris Chatteris was born in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1950 and went to school in Zimbabwe and Britain where he joined the Jesuits. He came to South Africa in 1985 and worked as a parish priest, novice director, administrator, seminary teacher, retreat facilitator and journalist. He has worked in KwaZuluNatal, Johannesburg and Cape Town. He has degrees in theology (London) and French (Oxford), a postgraduate certificate in education (Liverpool) and a master’s degree in theology (UKZN-Cedara). His curiosity and hunger for knowledge have become a way of life and this is evident from the way in which he lights up when he speaks about education. “It’s fun and
keeps me going”. He believes that knowledge is just good in itself. But he says: “Education doesn’t happen only in school. People are also taught by their families and education is always happening informally in our societies including in traditional societies”. “Nor is education just about academics; it’s also about human formation, confidence, human capacity and the maximisation of potential,” said Fr Chatteris. But we also need an education in order to survive in our world. Fr Chatteris’ advice to young people is to get a marketable skill and to those not in school: “Get back to school if possible.” His role as an educator? “To be a role model and to love one’s students.” Fr Chatteris teaches faith development, English and study methodology.
Fr Hugh O’Connor interviewed by Thokozani Mkhonta and Katlego Bonoko
Fr Peter-John Pearson interviewed by Byron Bowers and Gift Mzobe “Books expand one’s knowledge”, says Fr Peter-John Pearson, who surrounds himself with books. Fr Pearson was born in Cape Town. He began his schooling at York Road Primary School and did his secondary schooling at South Peninsula High School. While he was in secondary school, he got involved in the freedom struggle and was first questioned by the police when he was in Grade 8, which led him to be even more involved in the struggle. In his final year of secondary education he found that he had a passion for teaching. However, his father advised him to take up a career in law as he was involved in the fight for justice and peace. He did a degree in law at the University of Cape Town and later a master’s degree at St Augustine College. Fr Pearson says that “education is critical because it enables you to understand and have a more intelligent and verifiable approach to things” and “education helps you make a link between your mental, physical and emotional self and to respond authentically to everyday life, giving a person confidence to do things and allowing one to access opportunities which are more fulfilling”. Teaching at the seminary helps him contribute to the world, he says. He sees a link between what he does and a country in evolution, knowing that the voice of faith adds to this process, and this keeps him going. However, despite all his formal education, Fr Pearson insists that
Fr Hugh O’Connor is a priest of the archdiocese of Cape Town and formator at St Francis Xavier Orientation Seminary. He has been involved in seminary work for more than seven years and is currently a lecturer in liturgy and study methodology. Fr O’Connor went to the Christian Brothers College in Cape Town and then to UCT where he obtained a BA in political studies and African history. He holds a diploma in philosophy from St Peter’s Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Urbanian university in Rome through St John Vianney Seminary and a master’s in moral theology from the Alphonsianum in Rome. Fr O’Connor is extensively involved in various education sectors in the Church. He is the vicar for education and the chairperson of the schools trust and the Catholic Schools Board in the archdiocese of Cape Town. He regards Catholic education as important because it is part of the evangelising mission of the Church. It is also a service to God’s people and the wider community, providing good-quality formation at all types of schools including schools for the physically challenged. Fr O’Connor believes in buying and reading books because ongoing formation is important. However he also believes that, when it comes to education, “qualifications alone must not become a new hierarchy”.
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
How four PE schools became one Once upon a time, the diocese of Port Elizabeth was home to seven prestigious Catholic high schools. Today, there are only three, but the history, traditions and ethos of the four former schools are not lost.
HILE Port Elizabeth’s Holy Rosary Convent, Marist Brothers’ College and Trinity High School no longer exist, their legacies and ethos prevail today in St Dominic’s Priory School. St Dominic’s is a co-educational independent Catholic school from Grade Pre-R to Grade 12. It is the end result of various Port Elizabeth independent Catholic schools coming together on one piece of land. The school has a long and proud history from different corners of the city. Holy Rosary Convent School for junior and high school girls was opened in 1867 by the Cabra Dominican Sisters, who had first arrived in South Africa in 1863. It occupied beautiful premises in Bird Street, in central Port Elizabeth, and many old girls remember especially the chapel fondly. This girls’ school closed in 1982. The junior school girls transferred to St Dominic’s Priory and the high school girls continued their schooling on the same premises—but in a new co-ed school called Trinity High School. St Dominic’s Priory School for
St Dominic’s Priory school in Port Elizabeth follows in the path of a rich history of Catholic education which through various amalgamations has resulted in the school as it is today. (Above from left) the Dominican crest, the Trinity High School badge, the Holy Rosary Convent badge, and the Marist Brothers College badge. junior and high school girls, including boarders, was founded on the current St Dominic’s Priory premises in 1900. After 1983, the high school girls moved to Trinity High School and the priory school became a junior day school for boys and girls. The first Marist Brothers’ College in the Eastern Cape was founded in 1875 in Port Elizabeth, from where the brothers opened another school in Uitenhage in 1884. In 1952 this school for junior and high school boys was trans-
ferred to Walmer as St Patrick’s Marist Brothers’ College. This school was closed and sold by the brothers in 1982.
he Walmer Park shopping mall was built on the premises—high school boys transferred to Trinity High School and junior school boys transferred to St Dominic’s Priory. Trinity was formed in 1983 from the amalgamation of Holy Rosary Convent, St Dominic’s Priory (high school girls only), and St Patrick’s Marist Brothers’ College, Walmer
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Smaller classes which ensure personalised attention and individual monitoring of academic progress. A pastoral care system which encourages self-discipline and personal growth which helps each child achieve their God-given potential. Professional staff committed to all round excellence in education and concern for the total development of the individual learner. First class academic facilities. Sport and cultural activities in which the leaners are expected to participate.
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(the high school classes only). In 2000, Trinity High School closed and the boys and girls from Grades 8 to 12 transferred to St Dominic’s Priory. The premises in Bird Street (the old Holy Rosary Convent) were sold. From 2000 all the preceding Catholic independent schools in Port Elizabeth came together on the same premises at St Dominic’s Priory. The staff, boys and girls of Trinity joined with the junior school at Priory under one board of governors to form St Dominic’s Pri-
ory School. The junior school and high school were administered separately with their own school management structures until January of 2013 when they were amalgamated under a single management and administration. “We share the premises with the sisters of the priory, a number of whom have lived and worked in the Port Elizabeth community for years and some who have come here to retire,” said the school’s Esme Verfuss, head of academics. “Many of our alumni remember Sr Anne, Sr Servatius and Sr Margaret Kelly—pioneer sisters of education.” “With the proud tradition of Dominican and Marist schooling across South Africa and the world, we see ourselves as part of a much wider community and tradition of excellent Catholic education,” Mrs Verfuss said. The school’s name refers to the Dominican tradition, but learners wear the colours and blazers of all Marist schools. “We remember the schools that went before,” said Mrs Verfuss. The school’s past pupils’ association is called the Shamrocks—signifying the three schools in one that we have become. The Shamrocks emblem seeks to honour the current school as well as those that went before. The former students of Trinity, Holy Rosary and Marist Brothers are part of the school’s tradition and are considered “part of the family”.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Nuns’ pre-school benefits the whole community A mission pre-school in North-West Province has grown rapidly, thanks to the actions of a nearby convent and a dedicated German, as CLAIRE MATHIESON reports.
WO years ago, the Missionaries of Christ took over the running of a kindergarten and crèche in the parish of St Paul’s in Taung, diocese of Kimberley. According to Sr Nelly Iyese, a member of the congregation, Lesang Bana Early Learning Centre, based in St Paul’s mission, had been run by St Paul’s parish to cater for up to 50 children. But due to the close proximity to the sisters’ convent, it was decided that the Missionaries of Christ should take over the running. Sr Iyese proudly calls the learning centre “the beauty of St Paul’s”. She believes it is the centre of attraction at the mission thanks to the excellent results they have seen in their early education programmes.
Since the sisters took over, the school has grown tremendously. The sisters wanted to focus on quality education but also wanted to ensure that the local community was welcomed and that children were not turned away. “People started pouring in. They wanted their children to come to us,” Sr Iyese told The Southern Cross. “It’s a happy place to learn and the tuition fees are low for the facilities we have been able to offer.” In fact, the school became so popular that within one year of the sisters running Lesang Bana, they had to source funds to expand the school in order to accommodate the growing intake. “From October 2013, the Missionaries of Christ looked for funds and George Meyer, a volunteer from Germany, became the realisation of this project.” Mr Meyer spent six months working “tirelessly, day and night, to have the new building erected and completed,” said Sr Iyese. The German national had applied for six months of unpaid leave in order to accomplish the project. “He really made great sacrifices because of the love he has for the community of Taung.”
As a result of the volunteer’s efforts, the learning centre today has six more classrooms and the old building was transformed into a crèche so that the sisters can offer care beyond school hours. Sr Iyese said the project has been a blessing to the community. A special Mass was held to honour Mr Meyer. Fr Olebogeng Sakhia then blessed the premises of the new building. The community came together to give Mr Meyer a proper farewell and to thank him for his kindness. The crèche was officially opened at the end of April. Sr Iyese said the community is proud of their newly enhanced school. Each classroom has furniture, basin and toilet facilities, and an administration office with a sickbay was built. “We’re proud of what we have achieved,” Sr Iyese told The Southern Cross. The school welcomes all children, regardless of religious background. The crèche takes children from ages three months to two years old, and the pre-school takes from children in the 3-5 age group. The school provides a healthy meal to all the children.
Staff and children of Lesang Bana Early Learning Centre in Taung, Kimberley diocese. Sr Iyese said teaching children from an early age is vitally important. And it isn’t just basic education the children are given. Sr Iyese said the children are also taught responsibility. From a young age, the children are allocated the duties of sweeping the floor, washing dishes and serving others. “They are also taught social skills, and how to avoid violent communication in their relationships with each other. This is aimed at a better future for these children
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Over the past 110 years, St Ursula’s in Krugersdorp has seen many changes, including in the past few years the welcome inclusion of boys in its student body.
HE Ursuline Sisters in Krugersdorp started a school 110 years ago, in a small, single building, with 12 boarders and a few day scholars. Today, the school stands as a testimony to the spirit of love and learning that inspired its beginning. With classes from Grade 000 to Grade 12, and more than 550 learners, St Ursula’s school continues to progress, while retaining the highest values and standards. For one person, in particular, St Ursula’s has been home for many years. Ursuline Sister Diane Granger was a pupil at St Ursula’s and later spent 23 years as the principal of the school. Sr Diane is still an ever-present source of encouragement and inspiration to the staff and learners of St Ursula’s. Although no longer principal, she continues as the provincial of the Ursulines in Southern Africa. In 2010, Theresa Venter succeeded Sr Diane as the principal of the school. Through her gracious ability to recognise and encourage the skills and talents in all of the staff who work with her, Mrs Venter has effectively filled the shoes of the beloved Sr Diane, while adding teaching to her list of duties. Mrs Venter is assisted by Mrs
and to ensure they know what abuse is,” the nun said. “The children are taught to say no to abuse at all levels.” Responsibility is also invested in the community. “The centre is built for the community and therefore it is the responsibility of the entire community to maintain its beauty, to protect it and to use it fruitfully for the future of their children,” said Sr Iyese. “Education is a basic need and we are here to ensure they get it.”
Barnard as deputy principal in the high school, and Mrs Fouche as the deputy principal in the primary school. One of the most profound differences in the new century of St Ursula’s is the opening of the high school to boys, starting with Grade 8 last year, and going up into Grade 9 this year. Applications for Grade 10 boys are open and each successive year will see boys going up into the higher grades, until St Ursula’s School has its first matriculating boys in 2017. “The boys have added a wonderful dynamic to our high school,” said the school’s Bev Stewart. “There is something to be said for the sound of male voices in our choir, and for the whooping sound of celebrations when our boys won the D2 hockey finals. We couldn’t be more proud, or more pleased with the decision to open our high school to boys,” she said. Of course, she added, the girls continue to “make us just as proud as they always have, by winning multiple debates in the SACEE Debates and excelling in every aspect of school life. We truly are raising ladies and gentlemen who will impact the world they live in, in the most positive way.”
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
War cries promote separation, not unity A Johannesburg religious, who asks to write anonymously, takes issue with excessively militant school war cries and argues that it’s time to promote peace.
LIVE close to a Catholic school. It is the second day of the new school year. I can hear little children’s voices. But the voices are not sweet. There is a harsh edge to them. They are chanting war cries. It sounds like very serious business. Older pupils, overseen by teachers, are egging the children on to sing with greater gusto and more “spirit”. “Shout, shout let it all out. We got something to scream about. We are the house with power and might. So come on [name of saint or founder]. Fight fight fight.” The children are being inducted into the school’s house system. A few days earlier I had been reading a heartening report in The Southern Cross by Fr Evans Chama on the “Peace in the Great Lakes” campaign. This campaign is an initiative by the Catholic and Anglican bishops of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda for justice, peace and reconciliation in this war-torn region of Africa. As I listened to the fervent chanting, and thought about the violent conflict in parts of Africa, the old saying of Wellington that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton
came back to me. Initially I thought it was completely preposterous to make any such connection—it’s not as if these children are all going to rush off and join the child soldiers in Mali or the Central African Republic just because they’ve sung a few war cries at school. But then I pondered on it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, and a great advance for humankind, I thought, if Catholic schools in Africa went all-out to inspire children to see all the world’s people as one big family of brothers and sisters?
aybe we would then have the joy of hearing them sing, not an intimidating war cry that strikes fear in people’s hearts and incites them to retaliate, but a peace hymn that embraces the entire human race; nay, even the whole of creation. Wouldn’t Catholic schools then be doing a very great work: diminishing the chances of people taking up arms against one another? I dreamed on, imagining how wonderful it would be if Catholic schools sensitised children’s hearts to the point where they would be inspired one day to join great movements for peace and justice, like the “Peace in the Great Lakes” campaign. Catholic schools, after all, are good at educating children towards compassionate responses to suffering and injustice in the world. It’s their raison d’être. I also recalled that close family ties and intense bonds of sol-
idarity with one’s own particular group are not things that Jesus encouraged, precisely because they can lead to enmity with others. Jesus had a broader vision, and went out of his way to associate with the enemy Samaritans and people viewed as sinners when it was taboo to do so. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Expecting children to be concerned about peace in Africa may sound like burdening them with the cares of the adult world, when they should be left to run about, and play games. But, if you think about it, are we not offloading our adult neuroses onto children, and manipulating them into a particular way of thinking (“Life is about getting ahead of others”), when we are already socialising them into rivalry and competition on only their second day of school? War cries may appear to be good clean fun and are probably mostly tongue-in-cheek, but I have a nagging feeling that they are nevertheless part of a mindset that does not quite square with what Jesus had in mind when he taught us about the reign of God. Children will get quite enough of rivalry and how to overcome your opponent from television and video games. Would one be accused of smoking one’s socks if one dared to suggest that maybe Catholic schools should be offering another, more hopeful and cooperative view of life, one that points to peaceful co-existence, so badly needed in our strife-ridden continent?
An Ursuline sister cares for pre-scholers. Catholic schools should be promoting peaceful co-existence between groups, and children get enough about rivalry from television and video games—they don’t need war cries at school, says the anonymous author of this article.
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Protecting children from corporal punishment By law, South African children should not be subjected to corporal punishment, but the practice still occurs. DR RICHARD HAYWARD relates a talk by Albie Sachs on the subject.
ECENTLY I was in the audience at a talk given by retired judge Albie Sachs. He was a judge on the bench of the first sitting of the Constitutional Court. In the apartheid era, Judge Sachs was an activist and was almost killed when he opened a parcel bomb addressed to him. Today he is honoured worldwide as a distinguished jurist and one of the writers of our much-esteemed Constitution. In his talk, the judge recounted an appeal brought before the Constitutional Court. A religious organisation had asked that corporal punishment be allowed in its schools. The organisation claimed it was a basic tenet of its faith and quoted biblical texts to support the viewpoint. Furthermore, it stated that parents who sent their children to their schools wanted the children to receive corporal punishment. Judge Sachs graphically described to the audience two encounters with corporal punishment from his own life. As a youngster he was a pupil at a famous Cape Town school. On an almost daily basis, he was given “six of the best” by a particular teacher who always seemed to find fault with his work. He realised the total injustice of the teacher’s actions but simply had to endure the pain. A second encounter with corporal punishment was when he was in solitary confinement in jail. Outside his cell he could hear juvenile offenders being regularly beaten by the warders. What made the situation more agonising for his vivid imagination was that he could never see what was happening. All he could hear were the terrified, feral screams of the victims. When he was later taken out of his cell to the courtyard, he would see the selfsame warders calmly drinking their coffee while reading the daily newspapers. Broken canes were scattered on the ground.
he judge’s rejection of the appeal for corporal punishment to be allowed in schools was not based solely on his personal experiences. Yet those experiences made him aware of how corporal punishment could be both unfair and violent. The core of the argument that he handed down was that corporal punishment was a denial of the basic human rights of any individual. At the end of his talk, the chair invited questions from the floor. A teenage girl from a Johannesburg private school told the judge that there was no corporal punishment in her own school. However, her friends at a Sowetan school were beaten by the teachers. “What,” she asked the judge, “could be done?” Twenty years into our democracy and despite it being banned by law, corporal punishment is still happening in our schools. This occurs not only in Soweto but across the land. It’s pertinent to ask the question whether your own children or any of their peers are subject to corporal punishment. Ask them. Remind them that children have responsibilities to behave in certain ways in their interaction with their parents, teachers, peers and others. Crucially, though, children also have certain inalienable rights. One of them is not to be physically assaulted. Remind them of that right too. What was Judge Sachs’ reply to the young questioner? He told her that he admired her courage in raising the question. She was advised to report it to others, by implication adults. The principal of the teenager happened to be in the audience. I think there would have been a knock on his door the next day! The judge challenged the organisers of the function to do something to help the girl’s Sowetan friends. Silence can sometimes be seen as a sign of agreement. There’s the saying that sums it up succinctly: “Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.” n Richard Hayward is a Catholic and a retired primary school principal. Judge Albie Sachs, in a recent talk, explained why he ruled against a school organisation wanting to permit corporal punishment, giving two private examples of its unfairness as well as upholding the law against it.
Children need love and attention at school and corporal punishment for doing wrong is unfair and illegal.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Camino: Journey of the heart Before she retired, Pauline Rosseau, principal of Maris Stella school in Durban, took a group of girls on pilgrimage in Spain—a trip that would be a pinnacle in the girls’ Catholic education.
AVING walked the Camino with her husband a few years ago, Pauline Rosseau, principal of Maris Stella school in Durban, asked a group of Grade 11 girls if they would be interested in walking a section of the Camino Frances—the “French Way”, the most popular of the routes of the Way of St James, the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Nine months of planning, preparation and training later, 11 pilgrims set off from the Durban school on pilgrimage. Mrs Rosseau said the parents and pilgrims had listed some pa-
rameters for the trip: the Camino was to be a spiritual journey—a pilgrimage; that the pilgrims would practise simplicity of lifestyle and shopping was not on the itinerary; and that the first hour of each day would be walked in silence—a time for prayer. The girls would return tired but spiritually renewed and enthusiastic for their faith, and in no doubt that their experience had offered them something unique. “As you walk, you cannot help but think of all the people, living and dead, some from hundreds of years ago, who have walked the same path as you are walking. It is a humbling thought. And yet it fills you with a sense of purpose. You, too, are a pilgrim. You have joined the brotherhood that spans place and time,” said Dominique Ducray. “Pilgrims, on the whole, do not have much. Yet most people share it anyway. If ever our group made a meal, our teachers would be sure to invite whoever was with us to join in. Most of the friends we made on the Camino were made this way.” The learner said she would have a baguette for breakfast every day so she
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The Grade 11 pilgrims from Maris Stella High School often stopped along the way to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings. (Inset) The pilgrims with their scallop shells on their backpacks—symbol of the Camino pilgrimage. could share it. “I enjoyed the symbolism of us tearing off a piece and then passing it on.” The girls attended Mass daily, a very different experience as it was celebrated in Spanish. “You can always tell where you are in the liturgy, and can respond in English. You have the most amazing sense of the vastness of the Catholic Church.” Similarly for Jessica Donachie, the language was a barrier, but “the language of the heart took over”. Judy Hartin said the group made friends with people from all over the world. “One thing I learnt from meeting such different people is that, even though we all have different cultures, languages and ways of life, we are all the same in the sense that we are all pilgrims journeying with a similar purpose and this gave us a sense of unity. On the Camino, you forget your differences and become family. You never walk alone.” Dominique said the scenery was a character in their journey, never staying the same for more than a couple of days at a time. “There’s no way you can miss the beauty that surrounds you. Sometimes, as a group, we would sit down for a while. Not because anyone was particularly tired, but because it was beautiful.” For fellow pilgrim Cassandra Pinheiro, the Camino de Santiago felt like a “surreal experience that one could only read about in books”. She admitted that the walk was tougher than she expected, but nothing more than the girls could handle. “We all had our fair share of blisters or injuries, but as we walked forward, we all grew from it, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually, because what else can you do on a 350 kilometre walk but persevere?” Dominique added: “As I got further on the journey, I began to expect something good to
happen. I would look at the road ahead of me in the morning, knowing that my feet would hurt by the time I got to stop that night. Then I would look up at the sky, and wonder what God had in store for me. There was always something good. No matter how hard, or long, or hot, or wet the day was, there was something good in it.” And the accommodation? “We were pleasantly surprised by the albergues (pilgrim hostels) each evening. Perhaps, after walking 20 to 30 kilometres each day, we would have slept well on any surface, but the bunk beds were always clean and comfortable, and sleep for us was never a problem, “ she said. Lerarner Katharine Bebington. said: “At each albergue, because we were a group of 11 pilgrims, we were given our own dormitory, and so, at the monastery in Samos, it was, with a little shock, that we realised we would be sleeping next to young and old men! But that night made us grateful for each other and added to the magic of the Camino.” But, as with all journeys, the Camino came to an end. “Saying goodbye to friends you meet on the pilgrimage is odd. You feel slightly sad, and yet you know that this is what was always going to happen. As you walked into each other’s lives, so you walk out,” said Dominique. “This, for me, is the real call of pilgrims: having grown in our relationship with God, to be strengthened in our walk with and towards him; and with this renewed strength, to help others on their walk, and as a pilgrim constantly strives to do, to give thanks to God for all his goodness to us.” With Joan Schmidt as the school’s new principal, Maris Stella celebrates 115 years as well as the 150th anniversary of the Holy Family Sisters arrival in KwaZulu-Natal.
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
How drama can enhance education From sports to outreach, Catholic schools endeavour to groom their learners as well-rounded citizens. CLAIRE MATHIESON learns from Dominican Convent in Johannesburg which has focused on drama as part of their balanced offerings.
Dramatic arts learners from Dominican High School showcased their talents in two studentwritten plays which were critiqued by a member of the Wits School of Film.
RAMATIC and visual arts form part of the curriculum offered in the FET (Further Education and Training) phase at Dominican Convent School, but the experience of putting on this year’s performance went far beyond enhancing public speaking skills or acting. Instead, it included business and critical thinking, creating an opportunity to educate others on a particular issue affecting society. According to the school’s Renata Haywood, the school alternates annually between producing full-length plays involving all the dramatic arts students as well as a large portion of learners not studying dramatic arts as a matric subject, the choirs and marimba and drumming bands, and short plays produced by individual dramatic arts groups. “This means that every two years the Grades 11 and 12 dramatic arts learners get the opportunity to showcase their own playmaking skills,” said dramatic arts teacher Kholu Kholopane. In 2014, the learners were given poems as inspiration from which to workshop 30-minute plays in a project called “Original Works”. To further educate learners, they held their own auditions, did their own casting and appointed themselves different roles as a production team. This was an experience comparable to “the real world”, said Ms Kholopane. The learners even had to design their own sets and cos- such amazing plots! The plays were tumes. well-scripted. I am proud,” said “As the costume designer, I had many challenges finding Michelle Pires, Grade 12. attire that fit the cast member's unique personalities,” Grade And learners were honest in 11 learner Lungile Tshabalala told The Southern Cross. It was their reviews. “Like any other projnot an easy task, but it was a fantastic project as she “learnt a ect, a few hiccups were experienced lot about developing a production from scratch”—not some- but were overcome thanks to the thing common in high school productions. spiritual guidance we got from The learners had six weeks to prepare for their perform- school,” said Mbali Mahlangu in ances which were viewed and critiqued by an external adju- Grade 11. dicator from Wits School of Film, Pervais Khan. The feedback, “The team work, constructive Ms Kholopane said, was invaluable. criticism and hard work conThe two student-written plays addressed social issues com- tributed to the great plays that were monly seen in South Africa. The opening production, entitled performed by passionate and dediHamba, focused on the plight of foreign immigrants facing cated cast members,” Mbali said. discrimination and violence. For Dominican Convent, draThe second play, Karma, told the story of a man who leaves matic arts does not simply mean a broken home only to enter an abusive relationship with the entertainment. It’s an opportunity daughter of his greedy landlord. to grow the learners in confidence “Each play balanced its serious subject matter with quick and skills but also to educate them and clever comedy, giving the audience a show that was on social issues. provocative and entertaining,” said Mrs Haywood. “It was a great experience,” said Ms Kholopane said the experience had been extremely pos- Mbali, “but we also learnt about itive. “Their talent and commitment never ceases to amaze controversial issues such as xenome!” phobia and abuse of men in relaBut it was not only the teacher who was pleased. Grade 12 tionships. It helped give the learner Khanya Majoz said Original Works was an opportunity audience a different view of the efto direct their own plays and teach the audience about the fects of the issues in society.” relevant issues. “It was really great to showcase our acting skills.” “It's challenging yet inspiring to put yourself in a character that isn’t you,” said Lundo Majija, Grade 11. For Grade 8 learner Savannah Campbel, Pre-Primary, Primary and High School the experience was Day School and Boarding (Gr 4 to Gr 12) both nerve-wracking Boys and Girls and exciting as she Situated in the heart of ‘old’ Johannesburg, South Africa, Dominican Convent School is had never performed before. “I learnt a the school of choice for many pupils from South Africa and from countries across our thing or two about borders. Our student body is rich in diversity with pupils from many diﬀerent addressing the public, cultures and socio-economic groups living and learning together in an atmosphere that it boosted my confiencourages respect for all. dence,” she told The Diverse and dynamic, we move with the times. Innovative teaching methods and Southern Cross. access to the latest technology go hand in hand with old-fashioned morals and values. Another Grade 8 learner, Buqaqawuli A school for boys and girls, we educate children from toddler to matric, with facilities for Nobakada, said the both day schooling, where pupils participate in academic and co-curricular skills learnt from activities until 15h50 each day, and weekly or termly boarding. more experienced members of the cast TEACHER/PUPIL RATIO: 1:12 ANNUAL FEE: R14000 - R113000 PUPILS IN SCHOOL: 875 were invaluable. “The This extraordinary school oﬀers quality education which allows all pupils the chance overall experience was awesome!” to dream it, live it, believe it and excel. You can at dominiCan The topics chosen for the stage were hardly light-hearted and gave the learners empathetic insight into the difficulties of others. “My character was against the separation of foreigners and nationals. I want to conEnrol now for 2015 tinue to teach people OPEN DAY – EVERY DAY ( By appointment) about the effects that Phone Renata Haywood 011 614 6943 to book your tour for any school morning xenophobia has on us people,” said Lindo Ngubeni, Grade 12. PHYSICAL ADDRESS 143 Park Street, Belgravia, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2043 “As an audience POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 33619, Jeppestown 2043, TELEPHONE +27 (011) 614–6943 member, it was surFACSIMILE +27 (011) 614 8780 EMAIL email@example.com prising to see how my WEB SITE www.dominican.co.za peers came up with
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Education and sports: Giving hope to youngsters The benefits of sport are endless and this is no less true when combining sport and education. CARYN TENNANT speaks to a Catholic who is combining the two.
OR South Africans, sports fanaticism is comes as naturally as poking boerewors on a braai. The bountiful ripple effects of sports involvement have brought peace, economic benefits and the 2010 vuvuzela-gees. In economically disadvantaged communities, participation in sports can be a gateway for idle youth to leave the pressures of turning to the street and gang activity. Chantelle de Abreu, a biochemistry and psychology graduate from the University of Cape Town, has spent the last few years tapping into the potential of underprivileged athletes at a Cape football academy. The 25-year-old soon noticed that a choice was being made: to pursue sport or to receive an education. It became her goal to help each sports person to continue receiving expert attention while achieving a matric certificate. Ms de Abreu is an active Catholic, and her initiative is an example of using one’s God-given talents to meet the needs of the community. In late 2013, Ms de Abreu’s brainchild came to be. Her initiative, named Educating Athletes, is a non-governmental organisation that “gives young, underprivileged talented athletes the opportunity to complete their secondary educa-
Chantelle de Abreu launched the NGO Educating Athletes to give young people from disadvantaged communities the opportunity to complete their schooling while pursuing their dreams of becoming athletes. She is seen here with Ethan Sampson, a beneficiary of her initiative who now plays in Vancouver, Canada. tion—without compromising one or the other”. By partnering each child with a family or business, it is through sponsorship that these budding sports stars are able to go to school. However, the buck does not stop with the pursuit of sport and academics. Ms de Abreu, who is a registered counsellor and is currently doing her masters in psychology, has a vision to see each student grow holistically on and off the
field. Each student attends her monthly mental skills programme, called The Edge, which aims to better engage the students with their surroundings. At present, Educating Athletes is reaching out to the football academy’s talented, underprivileged players. While their financial future appears grave, Ms de Abreu is pulling out all the stops to see that they can go to school and continue doing what they love on the foot-
ball pitch. After meeting the young men at a tutoring workshop, I was struck by their keenness to learn and by their gratitude for the opportunities they are accessing. Dillon, an 18-year- old from Port Elizabeth, hopers to become a professional footballer, a dream that began when he was 11: “It was then that I began to shine and people started recognising my talent.” Since moving to a football acad-
emy in Cape Town, his life has dramatically improved. He has chosen to engage in sport instead of turning to crime and gangsterism like so many from his home community. Since attending Ms de Abreu’s mentoring workshop, he says the biggest lesson he has learnt is to set goals. Already, he has achieved two out of three. One of them was being selected for the second division football squad at his academy. Educating Athletes empowers these individuals so that they will bring back the importance of education to their communities. Dillon has found value in sharing his footballing experience with his friends and hopes that he will motivate them to set goals too. At present, Ms de Abreu is honing in on the football and schooling careers of the young men at the soccer academy. She is hoping that the funds they raise will see them through school. Ultimately she hopes that Educating Athletes will take off on a national level—that both privileged and underprivileged youth will seek the benefits of sport and holistic growth. Ms de Abreu wants to see integrated character development where sports and education need not be two conflicting choices. “By investing in a child’s education you are not only offering them an opportunity to equip themselves with knowledge, but you are investing in building their character and giving back to each child a sense of hope that they can have a different and brighter future.” Educating Athletes does this both on and off the field. n For more information visit www. educatingathletes.co.za
Think big! An open letter to our youth Sarah-Leah T Pimentel HIS month’s mustard seed is addressed to South Africa’s youth. I invite all the readers of The Southern Cross to pass on this letter to all the young people they know.
Dear Young Person, I wish that I could meet you and tell you how wonderful you are. Yes, you. I don’t know you, but I know you have a special gift that us older folk have lost...raw passion. Raw Passion. You have a zest for life, an energy, and excitement that is infectious. Your raw passion comes from knowing that you have your entire life ahead of you. And your choices are limitless. You have dreams and hopes for the future. You are the future. On June 16, 1976, thousands of high school students went out onto the streets, despite the dangers, to speak out against injustice and inequality, to stand for the right to quality education. Why? Because they had a vision of how things could be. Thirty-eight years on, we see the transformative power that they had on our country. We are here today because they staked their lives to make the adults realise that something was very wrong in our society. The actions of that generation of youth helped to precipitate the change that South Africa needed. What do you stake your life on today? What are you searching for? What do you desire deep down in your heart? Maybe some of your answers include: I want to be happy. I would like to make a difference. I want to make my life count for something. I want to be successful. With all my heart, I want that for you too. Even the pope wants this for you. Earlier this year he told the young people of the world to “think big” and “open your hearts”. Yes, open your heart to life…real life. A life that is more than a temporary pleasure or a quick fix. There’s a whole industry out there that tries to sell you lies…one that says that the meaning of life is to party all the time. You’ve heard the John Legend song that says: “When my time is over, lying in my grave, written on my tombstone, I want it to say: This man was a legend, a legend of his time. When he was at a party, the party never died.”
Is that really all that life’s about? “To sing and dance till we lose our minds” and “to drink till there is nothing left”, as the song suggests? I’m sure that you want something more meaningful written on your gravestone one day. Think big! You have unique talents and gifts to make a difference in the world. There are things that only you can do. That is God’s special plan for your life. Dear young person, you might be reading this and think: She’s got no clue about my life or my problems. The stuff going on in my world is too big to overcome. I know that too. There are too many of you who live in extreme poverty. Or you don’t have access to the education that you deserve, or perhaps in your experience “love” is just a word and not a real experience. Or perhaps you’ve already lost hope.
hink big! I’ve met amazing young people who have overcome insurmountable obstacles to rise above really dreadful situations. I have so much admiration and respect for them. And if they did it, so can you. Take courage and follow in the footsteps of St Paul (who got a pretty rough deal too) who said: “I can do all things because Christ gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). How can you do this? Pope Francis in an address to the young people of the world earlier this year, encourages you to reflect on this verse: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). What does poor in spirit mean? To keep
In her letter to young people, Sarah-Leah Pimentel writes: “Have the courage to be happy. Dare to dream big. Dare to truly live by making choices that will bring you real happiness, lasting happiness. Dare to be ‘fully alive’.” (Photo: Karen Callaway)
The Mustard Seeds
it simple. Simplify your lives. The greatest pleasures often aren’t the greatest highs, the fanciest car, the most expensive clothes or the latest technology. The greatest joy often comes from uncluttering your life, so that you can listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit who shows you how to follow your dreams. Poor in spirit also means to protect your heart. Protect yourself from those who will bring you down because they don’t want to see you take wings and fly. Avoid relationships that are unhealthy and will give you baggage that will rob you of your raw, youthful passion. Don’t waste your youth on meaningless sexual relationships that make you feel used and abused. Don’t waste your time with drugs and gangs. Poor in spirit means to open your heart to the everyday wonders around you. Never lose the curiosity to ask questions. Embrace the things that bring you life, but never be afraid to question the way we older people do things. Sometimes we also get it very wrong. You have the potential to show us a new, a better way, just like the youth of 1976 did. Have the courage to be happy. Dare to dream big. Dare to truly live by making choices that will bring you real happiness, lasting happiness. Dare to be “fully alive” (Jn 10:10). Above all, have faith. Trust that God loves you very much and, regardless of your circumstances, has a special plan for your life. Believe that there is something greater than yourself and greater than this world. In everything you do, prepare for the wonderful eternity that is waiting for you one day in heaven. Dear young person, I leave you with the words of Bl Piergiorgio Frassati (1901-25), a young Italian Catholic social activist: “To live without faith, to have no heritage to uphold, to fail to struggle constantly to defend the truth: this is not living. It is scraping by. We should never just scrape by, but really live.”
Lead in the marathon, not the sprint T Raymond Perrier HERE are some phrases in the English language which we use as throwaway lines and forget how incisive they are. I often say to people who seem to be running out of energy when a project is not quite completed: “Don’t give up yet! It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” I was reminded more fully of the true importance of this phrase when I found myself a few weeks ago travelling on a plane with a group of people coming home from Durban the day after the Comrades Marathon. If you ever watch the race, you may get carried along by the energy of the crowd, the adrenalin of the event and the sheer force of will of the participants, and so not see the true pain experienced by the runners. But 24 hours after they completed their 72km run, the heroes on our plane showed through their hobbling and limping and tender steps that it had not been an easy task. I was flying with Prof Al Gini who was halfway through our own version of the Comrades—the Winter Living Theology. In his four weeks in the country Prof Gini covered 4 000km between four cities, and delivered 46 lectures to a cumulative audience of over 1 000 people. He confessed to me that the last time he had spent this much time with nuns was when he was at primary school with what he jokingly called the BVMs (“black-veiled monsters”) in Chicago 65 years ago. This amazing feat of endurance lecturing had been delivered by a man whose energy belied the fact that he had just celebrated his 70th birthday! Reflecting on what he had to say, it occurs to me that the phrase “it’s a marathon not a sprint” could apply not just to the programme of his lectures but also to the subject of his lectures. His theme was leadership—how to nurture good leaders, how to respond to bad leaders, how to build trust, how to rebuild trust. And the theme was one which found resonance among each of the audiences he
Faith and Society
Prof Al Gini in conversation after a Pretoria lecture on leadership. (Photo: Sithembiso Shoba) spoke to: clergy, bishops, lay people, business leaders, civil servants. There is no doubt that there is a “crisis of leadership” in South Africa. Prof Jonathan Jansen at the University of the Free State has used this phrase and many have agreed. But we fall too easily into the trap of expecting to get out of the crisis in one bound. Surely just one more course or book or workshop, and all will be solved. Of course it won’t be, and South Africa’s own history reminds us that change has always taken a long time and there are frequent setbacks along the way.
adiba’s leadership—his skill, his honesty, his resilience, his magnanimity— did not emerge overnight but were forged by many years of hardship as an activist and even more as a prisoner. The struggle against apartheid itself was not a single act of courage and resistance but a sustained lifetime of protest and resistance by many people over several decades. And so the forging of this still new nation and the creation of a culture of ethical leadership is not something which can happen even in just 20 years. Prof Gini reminded participants that South Africa is still in a better shape than the United States was 20 years after they became an independent nation.
This is not to let us off the hook, nor to give us a reason to give up in despair, but rather to appreciate the small victories along the way—each completed kilometre of a marathon—and not give up while the race is still in progress. Among the most inspiring moments of the course was when the professor invited participants to share examples of people in their lives who had been outstanding leaders. Some wonderful “unsung heroes” were proposed: the Soweto man who showed consistent fairness both at work as a policeman and at home as a father; the husband who had given up a comfortable life as a well-paid surgeon so he could treat children in need; the teacher who every day of the holiday read to her young students in the park; the mother who demanded respectful behaviour not only from her nine children but also from the apartheid forces who tried to bully her. Each of these stories was linked by examples of great virtue shown not in one heroic act of moral courage, but instead in a life of daily perseverance and struggle and commitment. These people may never have taught a leadership course in their lives or written a book, but their witness to the people close to them bred a generation of leaders who hold true to those values. In turn, we have our chance to be models of leadership to those who are influenced by us—in our families, in our workplaces, in our communities. But if we really want to bring about change, we have to show this not just in one flashy sprint but in an ongoing marathon of good leadership.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Point of Reflection
Why we must suffer the little children
NE day, in a certain outstation where I come from, a visiting priest was giving a homily. He was preaching about love and everyone was being moved by his sermon. As he was preaching, a child laughed loudly and this made everyone else burst into laughter, including myself. The laughter cut the flow of the homily, and this agitated the preacher. He angrily said that the church is not a place in which to laugh, and that the conternt of his sermon was no laughing matter anyway. The priest went on to rebuke the mother of the child. This poor mother felt embarrassed and walked out, humiliated. I didn’t see her return for the other part of the celebration. Children have the right to be present at the Eucharistic celebration, like any other person. It is our duty, of course, to help our children behave well during Mass. But how do we do that? Scolding them won’t help them. Pinching them is of no use either. Punishment might instill in them fear of church instead of experiencing a loving and free relationship among Christians. I believe that their “holy noise” could be their way of worshipping God. In church, children are exposed to the symbols and gestures that people make at Mass, and hear the prayers and music of the liturgy. It is faith seeking understanding. Young children benefit most through observation. A priest friend of mine told me that he has no problem with a child, even if the child came up to the sanctuary to touch his vestments. Soon after we saw the photos of Pope Francis happily indulging a child doing exactly that. My friend said that it would be an opportunity for him to emulate Jesus, allowing the children to come and touch him. Who are we to block them from touching Jesus who loves children? Not long ago I had a good moment at the church in Waverly, Pretoria. The children animated the celebration of the Eucharist. They roleplayed the “sermon”. Those angels held my attention for long. I saw some children who were not part of the play looking and listening attentively from their pews. These children wished to be in the theatre. Is this not children evangelising other children? It’s when we respect the creativity of the children that they will feel appreciated in the Church community. Their participation can be a great enrichment to the liturgy, if we create space for them. Children love theatre. Why not use that to alleviate their boredom and train them to be missionaries from a tender age? The theatre, incidentally, is not an unholy thing as some might think. Venerable Mary Ward, the foundress of Sisters of Loreto, knew that theatre is an excellent way of communication in the Church. She encouraged her nuns to perform in plays; a move that was considered scandalous in her time when all female roles were played by males. Stories are an excellent ways of communicating. They won’t harm adults if incorporated in our homilies, for the sake of the children.
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Nineteen Holy Rosary High School pupils went on a world challenge tour to Vietnam where they worked in the Mai Chau Valley, northern Vietnam. Learners built a toilet block for a poor elderly couple, painted classrooms in the local school and learnt about the Vietnamese people and their culture. Holy Cross Sisters celebrated their jubilees at a Mass at Little Flower church at Holy Cross convent in Pretoria. Archbishop William Slattery OFM (centre), Archbishop Emeritus George Daniel (back left), Bishop Emeritus Patrick Mvemve (right), Fr Ignatius Fidgeon OM (third right) and Mgr Joe Kizito (second right) attended the celebration. (Middle row from left) Srs Alberta Schweizer, Gladys Papiso, Rosemarie Curran and Bernadette Duffy. (Front from left) Srs Elizabeth Mary Nienhaus, Columcille Hamilton, Gerarda Roter and Mary Aquinas Oâ€™Sullivan.
Grade 4-6 learners at Sibonakaliso farm school in Harrismith, Free State, raised their voices in support of the school children kidnapped in Nigeria. Learners are pictured with teachers Mr Mazibuko, Mrs LL Ngubeni and Mrs PL Nkabinde.
The children of Kreste Morekolodi parish in Bloemhof, Klerksdrop diocese, are pictured after Mass which they attend each Wednesday.
St Anneâ€™s mission in Mpophomeni, Kwazulu-Natal, welcomed Franciscan Sisters Innocentia Mchunu (mother superior), Francina Mlitwa and Helen Cele. The sisters will be serving at the mission after an absence of a year. The sisters are pictured with parish priest Fr Jude Fernando TOR and Deacon Seraphicus Nzimande TOR.
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Twenty-three Brescia House School pupils from Grades 1 to 12, a handful of parents and three staff members joined other concerned citizens in a clean-up along the banks of the Braamfontein Spruit in Johannesburg. With the assistance of workers from Johannesburg City Parks, the girls picked up litter along the banks of the river in the Sandton field and study park. They found a lot of plastic, the components of a printer and a laptop, carpets and virtually a whole wardrobe of discarded clothes.
Sixteen members of St Pius X parish in Plumstead, Cape Town, were confirmed by Archbishop Stephen Brislin (centre). Parish priest Fr Mark Foster is pictured centre left and catechists Kristal Duncan and Ansulum George are pictured front left.
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
What deacons can do for the SA Church The diaconate will become an increasingly important element in the future of the Southern African Church, as DR SIPHIWE MKHIzE argues in this extract from his new book And the Eyes of All Looked Intently at Him: Understanding the Mystery of the Ministry of Permanent Diaconate.
T the beginning of his first letter to Timothy, St Paul provides the first principle for the selection of deacons: “They should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons” (1 Tim3:10). Diaconal vocation is a particular vocation called forth by the Holy Spirit, and it is marked first in the reception of the sacraments of Christian initiation. Out of the body of believers (the Church), Christ then calls some of his disciples, and the Church, discerning their vocational charism, asks the bishop to ordain them to the service of the whole Church. The promotion and recruitment of qualified men for the diaconate should be the collaborative ministry between the diocesan bishop and parish priest. If the re-establishment of the diaconate is made part of a coherent diocesan pastoral plan for ministry in which deacons will have an important role, then the diocese and parishes can more easily identify and recruit potential candidates, describe to them the challenges and opportunities of diaconal ministry, and urge them to consider it as service to which they can commit themselves. The Church in Southern Africa is enriched by the diversity of its cultural, racial and ethnic communities. If these communities share in the responsibility for promoting vocations, their leaders ought to be formally invited and included in the planning and implementation of vocation programmes. Representatives of different groupings, who participate as consultants for the bishop, can provide significant insight on cultural subtleties and their effect upon discernment and formation programming, including pastoral placement. It is important to note that there is a large black Catholic population, and yet the existing diaconate programme has been very limited to a few affluent and urban dioceses. It has been dominated by white Catholics, most of them coming from the rich business sector in the affluent parishes. This has become a complete change from what it was at the beginning with pioneering dioceses in the permanent diaconate. At first these dioceses were trying to break the rural divide and to bring Christ even to the most marginalised. The inclusion of all groups, but emphasising the growing black Catholic population, is (or will be) important in both recruiting and retaining black candidates, and also including rural and poor dioceses.
n each path in formation, essential resources should be provided to ensure the inclusion of each participant and more diverse vocations. The future of the Church in the region lies in black hands. They should therefore be involved in greater numbers to reflect reality as we see elsewhere on the continent. The above discussion regarding recruitment of different groupings of candidates applies to each cultural, racial, and ethnic community. Those responsible for recruitment, discernment, and formation have—or should have—a responsibility to exercise multicultural sensitivity. They need to appreciate cultural
subtleties and differences, acknowledging the historical constrictions experienced within these communities. Further, familiarity with family structures and traditions is important. This cultural, racial, ethnic orientation and sensitivity enables recruiters and those involved in formation to competently discern and foster diaconal vocations within these diverse faith communities. Each bishop has the authority to decide whether to restore the diaconate in his diocese or not. He engages in a process of education throughout in order to clarify for the people the role of the deacon and the kind of ministry in which deacons would be involved. That preliminary work is critical in order for the restoration to be successful, and because of the new trend where more affluent and business-oriented people are discerning in greater quantity in more urban and affluent dioceses, the bishops should be careful of this trend as it may start another class war in the Church. From the experience of the restored diaconate in the Church, certain behavioural patterns have been discerned among the exemplary deacons: • a “natural inclination of service to the…Christian community”, and to all in need; • psychological integrity; • a capacity for dialogue, which implies a sense of docility and openness; • the ability to share one’s faith yet listen respectfully to other points of view; • the capacity to listen carefully and without prejudices—respecting people in the context of their religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and culture; • a sense of responsibility that includes the fulfilling of one’s word and completing one’s work; • self-directed and collaborative accountability; • balanced and prudent judgment; generosity in service; • the ability to lead, motivate, facilitate, and animate others into appropriate action and service. The profile is completed with certain spiritual and evangelical qualities. Among these are a sound faith; good Christian reputation; active involvement in the Church’s apostolate; personal integrity, maturity, and holiness; regular participation in the Church’s sacramental life; evidence of recognised, ongoing commitment to the Church’s life and service; participation in faith-enrichment opportunities; a positive and stable marriage, or a mature celibate state of life, if single; active membership in a Christian community; capacity for obedience and fraternal communion; and a deep spirituality and prayer life. The presence of these qualities, experienced in kindness and humility, may demonstrate a call to the vocation. Additional considerations that need to be stressed are the element of readiness and timeliness of one’s response to a vocation.
ince inquirers to the diaconate have many commitments to family, career, employment, community, and Church service, it is a matter of prudential judgment to explore not only whether the call to the diaconate is from the Holy Spirit, but also whether the inquirer is ready and able to respond to that call at the present time. The first stirrings of a vocation to the diaconate are often explored at the personal level and usually begin with seeking information about the diaconate and formation. Here, an individual initially reflects upon the nature of his perceived call. Primacy must be given to the spiritual dimension, and central to this is spiritual guidance. The parish priest and others are particular resources at this time. As the majority of those who in-
quire about the diaconate are married, they should be directed to pay particular attention to discussing their possible vocation with their wives and families. The initial information and conversations with their parish priest and others should assist and encourage these discussions. Therefore, both spouses need to make sure that support and consent, even at this early stage of discernment, arises from an informed understanding. An inquiry and application for entrance into diaconal formation is not just a personal and family journey; the Church must accompany it. The parish is the primary experience of Church for most inquirers. It is the responsibility of this community and, in particular, its pastor to invite from among its members those who may be qualified to serve as ordained ministers of the Church. Information sessions, the exploration of the criteria for a diaconal vocation, and particular counselling can aid an individual in his decision to move forward to a formal application. He is presented by his pastor and submits an application, and the formal process for admission begins. n And the Eyes of All Looked Intently at Him is available at R198 from good Catholic bookshops, or call Siphiwe F Mkhize 072 205 9883 for a copy. It is published by Mariannhill Mission Press (ISBN 978-0-62056479-3).
The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
Catholic story behind future SA cricket star If you’ve not heard the name Clyde Fortuin, you’re about to. From humble beginnings to helping the South African U-19 cricket team to world cup victory, his story has the making of a legend, CLAIRE MATHIESON reports.
E’S just 18 years old but has already hoisted a world cup for his national side: this year’s U-19 cricket world cup. But his story does not start in glory. The story of Clyde Fortuin might not have been but for a father figure who stepped in and guided Clyde out of obscurity. Born in Cape Town, Clydes mother Connie was unable to care for him and was forced to leave him in the care of the Langeveldts when he was just a toddler. The boy grew up calling Cynthia mom and her husband, Dion, dad. Connie would still visit when she could. Clyde was a natural sportsman and while the family did not have a lot, he was given every opportunity possible. He joined a local football club at a young age. It was here that he met Jason Fourie, a close friend who would introduce Clyde to cricket. But it was Jason’s father, Charles Fourie, who spotted something special in Clyde. “I met Clyde in the year 2000 when he was five. My youngest son Jason had joined YMO St Luke’s soccer club in Woodstock to play in their U-7 team,” Mr Fourie recalled. “I got involved in coaching the team where Jason and Clyde became very close friends.” Mr Fourie said Clyde’s sporting prowess was immediately visible. “His sporting work ethic and hunger to learn coupled with his growing friendship with Jason; the attachment was natural.” Clyde’s relationship with sport and with the Fouries would grow and blossom into something spectacular, but it was not plain sailing
into the Proteas’ set-up. Personal tragedy would strike again as Clyde lost his foster father Dion. The lack of a father figure might have led to Clyde becoming involved in the culture of drugs and gangs familiar in the area where he was raised. But he distanced himself from that and focused on sport. Truly, credit goes to Mr Fourie who gave Clyde direction. It was he who bought Clyde his first cricket kit. And with this kit in 2009, Clyde was able to earn a part scholarship to St Joseph’s Marist College in Rondebosch, a Catholic school well known in the southern suburbs of Cape Town for its sport. The other half of the school fees was paid by Mr Fourie—no mean feat for a father caring for two sons of his own. “Being a naturally gifted sportsman, we made the decision that St Joseph’s would be best suited for Clyde academically due to the small numbers in the class and the backlog of a model C primary school education he received,” Mr Fourie told The Southern Cross. “St Joseph’s would be able to focus on him as an individual to get him to their higher basic education standards, coupled with the support structure of an older sibling Curtis and Jason, who were both at St Joseph’s. With the sporting guidance received from school sport head, Nick Chadwick, who is a wicketkeeper himself, Clyde was on a steep learning curve.” Mr Fourie said the school provided Clyde with an opportunity to learn, instilled the values of a work ethic and humility, and a offered a family away from home while his cricket and football developed, playing at club level with Western Province Cricket Club and YMO St Luke’s. But significant was also the home environment that the Fouries were able to provide. “Being a sport enthusiast myself, as well as both Curtis and Jason being provincial cricketers, it was a flourishing situation for this naturally gifted sportsman.”
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Clyde and the Fouries are naturally very close. Clyde continues to spend every alternate week of his life with Mr Fourie and his birth mother, who, according to the boy, seems to be making up for all the time she missed during his formative years. Soon Clyde earned provincial colours and then national colours on junior level, representing the national U-19 side for the first time last year during a test against England. By the time the series was over, he had won his first Man of the Series award. But Clyde is most known for his performance at this year’s U-19 cricket world cup held in the United Arab Emirates, an experience he said was “a humbling and memorable experience that will always be a part of me”. South Africa won the world cup, beating Pakistan in the final by six wickets. Wicketkeeper Clyde took six catches to help whittle Pakistan out for 131 all out. In the semi-final against Australia, his 74 as second opener helped his team reach the final. The young cricketer remains humble and realistic. “It wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was a long process with many sacrifices along the way and lots of hard work, but it was most satisfying when success was achieved.” Clyde looks up to his cricketing heroes, A B de Villiers and Mark Boucher—both of whom have played as wicketkeepers for the national senior side. He hopes to one day don the gloves for the senior side. Clyde is enthusiastic about the game. He loves wicketkeeping and batting equally, and finds all aspects of the game appealing, although is leaning towards one-day cricket. Clyde Fortuin is a name you won’t want to forget—but remember Charles Fourie, a born and bred Catholic who made a “casual” commitment to be Clyde’s guardian—a commitment which would pave the way for the future of a South African cricket star.
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Clyde Fortuin, wicketkeeper and opening batsman of South Africa’s World Cup-winning U-19 team, raises his bat after scoring a milestone. The talented cricketer was taken under the wings of a Catholic who financed his schooling at Cape Town’s St Joseph’s Marist College.
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Christian persecution a world crisis Continued from page 4 them to act in ways that threaten vested interests of criminal networks,” Open Doors stated. The other countries featured on the list were Mexico, Pakistan, India, Kenya, and Iraq. Open Doors listed “Islamic extremism” as the “major engine” of persecution in seven of the top ten countries, but added that “tribal antagonism and organised corruption” are other “main persecution engines”. North Korea was omitted from the list “due to an inability to derive sufficiently accurate figures about the reasons for killing Christians in this most secretive society”. Christian persecution is a world crisis, said Jan Vermeer, Open Doors’ field worker for the country. “When it comes to counting the numbers of Christians martyred, it is impossible to get an accurate number for North Korea,”
Mr Vermeer said, adding that “it is a fact that thousands of Christians are starved, abused and tortured in North Korean’s extensive prison system”. Open Doors also produced a World Watch List of the 50 countries in which Christians are most persecuted. That list is topped by North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan; it differs from the Top 10 Violence List because it considers all forms of persecution, rather than solely violence. Vatican analyst John Allen, whose book The Global War on Christians was published in 2013, has explained that “martyrdom is very much a feature of the contemporary Christian landscape” and that defending Christians against persecution “deserves to be the world’s number one human rights priority”. His book reported that 100 000 Christians had been killed in the first decade of the 21st century—
Word of the Week Canon: Greek for rule, norm, standard, measure. Designates the Canon of Sacred Scripture, the list of books recognised by the Church as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Religious priest/diocesan priest: Religious priests are professed members of a religious order or institute. Religious clergy live according to the rule of their respective orders. In pastoral ministry, they are under the jurisdiction of their local bishop, as well as the superiors of their order. Diocesan, or secular, priests are under the direction of their local bishop. They commit to serving their congregations and other institutions.
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CAPE TOWN: Padre Pio: Holy Hour 15:30 every 3rd Sunday of the month at Holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet.
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Helpers of God’s Precious Infants meet the last Saturday of the month except in December, starting with Mass at 9:30 at the Sacred Heart church in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Mass is followed by a vigil and pro-
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11 new martyrs every hour. Mr Allen blamed radical forms of Islam for “a fair share of Christian suffering around the world”, but emphasised that other world religions and powers targeted Christians as well. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need also published a report on Christian persecution in 2013, title Persecuted and Forgotten, detailing how the situation for Christians is worsening in “20 of the 30 countries of greatest concern”. The report added that in most of those countries, Christians have seen a “severe decline” in their livelihood. The organisation’s director of evangelisation and outreach told the Catholic News Agency recently that Christians face “many, many challenges” worldwide and that global persecution “has increased over the last 10 to 15 years”.
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 607. ACROSS: 2 Baptismal, 6 Liar, 8 Stethoscope, 10 Caveman, 11 Delta, 13 Alpha, 14 Content, 16 Theologians, 18 Euro, 19 Gives alms. DOWN: 1 Plain chant, 2 Brotherhood, 3 Partial, 4 Igloo, 5 Lamp, 7 Acceptances, 9 Exaltation, 12 Logical, 15 Roads, 17 Hang.
Liturgical Calendar Year A Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday, June 22, Corpus Christi Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16, Psalm 147:12-15, 1920, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, John 6:51-58 Monday, June 23 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18, Psalm 60:3-5, 12-13, Matthew 7:1-5 Tuesday, June 24, Nativity of St John the Baptist Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:2226, Luke 1:57-66, 80 Wednesday, June 25 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3, Psalm 119:33-37, 40, Matthew 7:15-20 Thursday, June 26, St Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer 2 Kings 24:8-17, Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9, Matthew 7:2129 Friday, June 27, Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Deuteronomy 7:6-11, Psalm 103:1-4, 6-7, 8, 10, 1 John 4:7-16, Matthew 11:25-30 Saturday, June 28, Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19, Psalm 74:1-7, 2021, Luke 2:41-51 Sunday, June 29, Ss Peter and Paul Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 1718, Matthew 16:13-19
A group of readers is preparing audio tapes of excerpts from The Southern Cross for interested people who are blind, sight-impaired, unable to hold a newspaper or illiterate.
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The Southern Cross, June 18 to June 24, 2014
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CARLISLE—Frederick William. In loving memory of our beloved father, grandfather and greatgrandfather who passed away on June 19, 1998 at the age of 91. You taught us so much about quality of life based on living to please God. Your example, kindness and holiness will always be our inspiration. Much loved, never forgotten, forever in our prayers and thoughts. From your loving children Francis, Philipps, John and Athalie and all grandchildren.
ABORTION WARNING: The pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. See www.epm.org/static/up loads/downloads/bcpill.pdf HOUSE-SITTER/PETLOVER: Based at Benoni Parish, will travel/with references. Phone Therèse 076 206 0627. NOTHING is politically right if it is morally wrong. Abortion is evil. Value life! www.abortioninstru ments.com is the graphic truth that will set you free.
HAVE mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51 ALMIGHTY eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbours in their care and welcome for refugees. Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. O God of hope and Father of mercy, your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies. Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Prayer courtesy of the USCCB. 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 Your love for me, Help me to love You more. Help me to increase my faith in You. I surrender to you (here mention your illness or emotional hurt) Cleanse me with the precious blood of Jesus, purify me and set me free from anger, resentment, hatred, unresolved hurts and greed. Help me to remember that the power of the Holy Trinity dwells within me and all power to forgive and overcome sin is in me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your peace. Amen. Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, please
protect us. HAIL, HOLY Queen, Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. ST MICHAEL the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May
God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Amen. YOU, O eternal Trinity, are a deep sea into which, the more I enter, the more I find. And the more I find, the more I seek. O abyss, O eternal Godhead, O sea profound, what more could you give me than yourself? Prayer of Awe— St Catherine of Siena. THANKS be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me, For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know thee more clearly, Love thee more dearly, And follow thee more nearly, For ever and ever.
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EXT Sunday is the feast of those two iconic figures of the early Church, Paul, who initially tried to destroy the young Church, and Peter who, when it really mattered, denied that he had ever so much as heard of Jesus. Why would you want to have a feast for such shady characters? Perhaps it is to encourage us, that these “pillars of the Church” are at least as capable as we are of getting things badly wrong; and perhaps the key lesson of the readings is the absolute dependence on God shown by these two great and flawed leaders. In the first reading, Peter has been swallowed up in a highly political move by Herod (not the one who butchered the innocents, but his grandson Herod Antipas, very much a chip off the old block), who first wins votes by putting to death “James the brother of John”, and when that goes down well with his constituency, decides to brighten up the Passover by doing the same to Peter. Peter is securely locked in prison, with four squads of soldiers to keep an eye on him; when there are miracles going on, you cannot afford to neglect these elementary precautions. It does not work out as the king had hoped, however, for the Church is praying to God for Peter.
N her recent novel The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd presents us with a deeply conflicted heroine, Sarah, a highly sensitive woman who grows up the daughter of a slave-owner and a child of privilege. But Sarah’s moral sensitivity soon trumps her sense of privilege and she makes a series of hard choices to distance herself from both slavery and privilege. Perhaps the most difficult among those hard choices was the choice to refuse an offer of marriage from a man. Sarah badly wants marriage, motherhood, and children; but when the man she has loved for years finally proposes, there were things inside her that she won’t compromise and she ends up saying no. What was her hesitancy? When her suitor, Israel, finally proposes, Sarah asks him whether, inside their marriage, she could still pursue her dream of becoming a Quaker minister. Israel, a man of his time who could grasp a woman’s role as only that of wife and mother, is frank in his reply. For him, that could not be a possibility. Sarah immediately intuits the implications of that answer: “It was his way of telling me that I could not have him and myself both.” Her suitor then further aggravates the situation by suggesting that her desire to become a minister is simply a compensation,
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So the night before he was going to be displayed to the public, and publicly executed, when Peter was actually fast asleep, chained in double fetters between two soldiers, and more guards keeping an eye on the door, “the angel of the Lord stood over, and a light shone in the house”. The angel simply hits Peter on the side, and orders him to get up—and the fetters fell off him! Peter is not really coping very well, for a future leader of the Church; he has to be told to put on his sandals, put on his cloak, and follow the angel (or “messenger”—for the word means the same). And then we find out that he has still not cottoned on: “He thought he was seeing a vision”! We watch fascinated as the high-security doors open, apparently of their own volition, and Peter finds himself out in the street; at this point the angel disappears and Peter at last gets
it: “Now I know in truth that the Lord sent his messenger and delivered me from the power of Herod.” That is what equips him for leadership in the Church, recognising the presence of God in his life, to compensate for his own frailties. He is a model for us. The psalm is a good one for those who, like Peter and Paul, find that they do not always get things right, for it is an alphabetical psalm which is all about praising God for liberating the poet from “all his distress”; so, in the end, “happy the man who takes refuge in him”. We have to know our weakness, and to recognise that the Lord can cope. The second reading is ascribed to Paul who is not far from death: “I am already poured out, and the time of my dissolution is imminent”, followed by three sporting metaphors: “I have fought the good wrestling-match; I have run the marathon…now the gold medal is stored up for me.” Then we hear something of the frailties of this man, not his long-ago attempts to put an end to the Jesus-movement by persecution, but his loneliness, deserted by Demas, Crescens and Titus, and a whole host of others (“They all abandoned me”) and asking for some of his possessions to be brought to him in prison, and begging God to punish Alexan-
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Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul: June 29 Readings: Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18, Matthew 16:13-19
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a second-best, for not being married. She turns down his offer. But a renunciation does not cease being painful just because it’s has been made for a noble reason. Throughout her life, Sarah often feels an acute regret for her choice, for having her principles trump her heart. However, she eventually makes peace with her regrets. Feeling the bitterness of her loss more acutely on the day of her sister’s wedding, she shares with her sister how “I longed for it [marriage] in that excruciating way one has of romanticising the life that she didn’t choose. But sitting here now, I knew if I’d accepted Israel’s proposal, I would have regretted that too. I’d chosen the regret that I could live with the best, that’s all. I’d chosen the life I belonged to.” There will always be regrets in our lives, deep regrets. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Every choice is a renunciation.” For this reason, we find it so difficult to make hard choices, particularly as these pertain to any type of permanent commitment. We want the right things, but we do not want to forego
other things. We want it all! But we can’t have it all, none of us, no matter how full of talent, energy, and opportunity we are; and sometimes it takes us a long time to properly understand why. At one point in Kidd’s story, Sarah, in her thirties, single, unemployed, mainly alienated from her own family, frustrated by society’s limits and her limited choices as a woman, is living as a guest with a woman friend, Lucretia, a Quaker minister. One evening, sitting with Lucretia, lamenting the limits of her life, Sarah asks: “Why would God plant such deep yearnings in us…if they only come to nothing?” It was more of a sigh than a question, but Lucretia replies: “God fills us with all sorts of yearnings that go against the grain of the world—but the fact that these yearnings come to nothing, well, I doubt that’s God’s doing… I think we know that’s men’s doing.” For Lucretia, if the world was only fair, we’d have no broken dreams. Partly she’s right; much of what’s wrong on this planet is our doing. But our frustrations ultimately tap into a deeper, less-culpable root, the inadequacy of life itself. Life, this side of eternity, is not whole. We, this side of eternity, are not whole. This side of eternity, nothing is whole. In the words of Fr Karl Rahner: “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we ultimately learn that in this life all symphonies must remain unfinished.” This has many implications, not least the simple (though not-easily-digestible) fact that we can’t have it all or do it all. Our lives have very real limits and we need to stop crucifying what we have and what we have achieved by what we haven’t got and what we haven’t achieved. Despite the current myth to the contrary, no one gets it all! Most of us, I suspect, can relate to some of these regrets: I’ve raised my children well, but now I will never go anywhere professionally. I’m very successful at work, but I am less successful as a husband and father. I never married for the wrong reasons, but now I am single and alone. I’ve sacrificed ordinary life for an ideal, but now I fiercely miss what I’ve had to give up. Or, like Sue Monk Kidd’s Sarah: I’ve never compromised my principles, but that has a brought a brutal loneliness into my life. It’s never a matter of living with regrets or without them. Everyone has regrets. Hopefully, though, we’ve chosen the regret we can live with best.
der for what he has done to Paul. The great thing is, he says, that “the Lord stood at my side, and empowered me…and I was delivered from the lion’s mouth”. And Paul is convinced that God will always be there for him: “He will rescue me from every evil deed.” It is Paul’s frailty, not his strength, that commends him to us. So it is with the gospel, which, on the face of it has at its heart Jesus’ promise that the Church is to be built on the foundation-stone (and we know how wobbly he is) who is given the (joking?) nickname of “Rock”, or “Peter”. The reason is that Peter has been able to go to the heart of the mystery and proclaim that Jesus is not “John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah or one of the prophets”, but “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”. Jesus tells him firmly: “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father, the one in heaven.” And Peter immediately proves his weakness by seeking to deny that Jesus could possibly die, a foreshadowing of his ultimate cowardice. This feast-day of those two flawed leaders of the Church is one to encourage people like you and me, and we should rejoice at it.
Southern Crossword #607
aCrOSS 2. Psalm, a bit, at the font (9) 6. Stranger to the truth in familiar place (4) 8. It improves your doctor’s hearing (11) 10. Beware of him. He’s prehistoric (7) 11. Greek letter at the mouth (5) 13. Greek letter from some local Pharisees (5) 14. Satisfied with the material (7) 16. Hal goes in to look for divines (11) 18. It’s current in France but not in South Africa (4) 19. Makes charitable donations (5,4)
DOWN 1. Simple song by the church choir (5,5) 2. Fraternity covering the monk (11) 3. A bit biased? (7) 4. Eskimo chapel (5) 5. Light in Bedlam place (4) 7. Intakes from Cape accents (11) 9. State of being lifted up (10) 12. Kind of thinking at the age of reason (7) 15. Do they all lead to Rome? (5) 17. Execute the drop (4) Solutions on page 31
HE Protestant pastor arrives in heaven. To help him get around, St Peter gives him a Fiat Uno. The pastor is very happy with that until he sees the Catholic priest in a BMW. He returns to Peter and asks him what the deal with that is. “Well, you see,” says St Peter, “the Catholic priests had it tough, what with all the celibacy and so on…” The pastor understands, but then he sees the rabbi cruising in a Ferrari. He returns to St Peter and loudly complains, since he knew the rabbi had been married. But St Peter interrupts him: “Psssst…he’s a relative of the boss.”