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S outher n C ross

May 18 to May 24, 2016

NGO had a ball while fundraising

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reg No. 1920/002058/06

No 4977

r8,00 (incl VAt rSA)

Why Mary is our mother

A visit to Cairo’s miracle mountain

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Become organ donors, ailing priest asks By MANdlA zIBI

A “I watch the sunrise, lighting the sky...” Fr Johan Strydom of George, oudtshoorn diocese, took this photo of a cross in the sunrise overlooking Herold’s Bay, with the Atlantic ocean washing up on the bay’s beach. the priest says the scene brought to his mind the lord’s resurrection.

Tired of modern society? Become a missionary By CArol GlAtz


OUNG women and men who are tired of today’s self-centred, materialistic society should consider becoming missionaries, the heroes of evangelisation, Pope Francis has said. “Life is worth living” to the full, “but in order to live it well, ‘consume’ it in service, in proclamation and keep going forward. This is the joy of proclaiming the Gospel,” the pope said during morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican, where he lives. So many men and women have left their families, homeland and culture to bring the Gospel to other continents, Pope Francis said. So many of them never returned home, dying in mission lands from disease or martyrdom—”offering their life for the Gospel. These missionaries are our joy, the joy of our Church.” Many missionaries are “anonymous”, having served and died in foreign lands, he said. “They ‘consumed’ life” far from home and their loved ones, but lived knowing they could say, “what I have done was worth it”. Open to the work of the Holy Spirit, they felt an irresistible urge—they were “compelled”—to “consume their lives” for God in

Pope Francis says young people who are tired of today’s self-centred, materialistic society should consider becoming missionaries—the heroes of evangelisation. (Photo: CNS) the farthest corners of the earth. “I want to tell today’s young men and women, who do not feel at ease” or happy with “this culture of consumerism and narcissism: ‘Look at the horizon. Look over there. Look at these missionaries of ours,’” he said. Pope Francis asked those dissatisfied with worldly pursuits to pray to the Holy Spirit “to compel them to go far, to ‘consume’ their life” by being fully dedicated to serving others and the Gospel.—CNS

PORT ELIZABETH priest with a rare and deadly lung disease has called on the Church to do more in the campaign for organ donation in South Africa. Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo is campaigning in the Eastern Cape where he visits schools, churches and other gatherings as part of the national effort to raise awareness around the dire condition of donor donation in the country. Three years ago the 37-year-old priest was diagnosed with acute interstitial pneumonitis, a rare and severe lung disease. It has no known specific cause and usually attacks healthy lungs and renders them ineffective. Talking to The Southern Cross during one of his “countless” stays in hospital, Fr Kondlo urged the Church to join the fight against widespread ignorance and indifference around issues of organ donation in society. “The Church is silent on this huge matter. Therefore I am calling on the leadership of the Church to do more. Here I am, one of their sons, struggling with my health, but I’m still willing to do awareness. It is frustrating to sit around my flat all day long.” Fr Kondlo described how the disease had taken over his life and how his health had deteriorated tremendously. “Daily I am fighting for every breath I take, and the only cure is for me to get a new set of lungs via a transplant,” he said. Fr Kondlo now breathes through a portable oxygen machine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “This has been nothing short of a miracle in my life as it has given a glimpse of normalcy. It enables me to step outside the confines of my apartment for a short period of time, carrying it like a handbag everywhere I go,” he said. “One of the worst episodes I had with this condition was at a church in East London after baptising 15 babies. I was doing Mass and I just had to stop and sit down. I could not go on as I was coughing and running out of breath every other minute. Baptism is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but for me that day, it was not.” Fr Kondlo has established an organisation

Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo, who is campaigning for organ donation awareness. called #1DonorSaves7Lives and created a Facebook page by the same name. “I have been to churches already, where I talk about the need for South Africans to overcome their fears, prejudices and indifference about organ donation.”


ne donor can potentially save seven lives—hence the name of Fr Kondlo’s campaign—providing a heart, two kidneys, liver, pancreas and two lungs, provided all seven organs are healthy and harvested correctly. The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), a non-profit organisation which Fr Kondlo works closely with, painted a bleak picture of the state of organ-donation in South Africa. “There is a critical shortage of organ donors in South Africa. There are currently over 4 300 adults and children on the waiting list for solid organ and corena transplants,” said Gillian Walker, national liaison officer of the ODF. Where South Africa has a decreased donation rate of less than two per one million, Britain has almost 20. Spain has the highest rate in the world with well over 30 donors per one million. Donation rates are low in South Africa partly because of a lack of awareness, but also because of a lack of time, resources and initiative on the part of the medical fraternity. There are 16 transplant centres nationwide, with 11 of them in Gauteng and the Western Continued on page 3


the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Retreat and healing for crime victims By MANdlA zIBI


OUNT Carmel Youth Training and Conference Centre in Aliwal North, Eastern Cape, became a temporary retreat and place of contemplation for ten crime victims from various regions of the diocese of Aliwal. Aimed at spiritual healing and understanding of their encounter with crime, the retreat was a time for reflection, sharing of stories and mutual support for the group. The initiative was part of the Church’s Restorative Justice Project for the three regions of the diocese of Aliwal. Restorative justice focuses on the needs of both crime victim and offender, as well as the community. It is different from more punitive approaches where the main aim is to

punish the offender, or satisfy the law. Victims take an active role in the process. Assisted by project coordinators Fr Joshua Mpiti, Mandisa Khonjwa, Boniswa Modise and Lekorotsoana Pascal, “the victims went back into some of the darkest corners of their minds and relived nightmarish memories of events they would rather forget”, said Nontu Ntaka of the Mount Carmel training centre. “The only way to regain your life, dignity, sense of worth, sanity and most importantly healing, is by talking about it. The core of the discussion was spiritual healing, what it is, and how to use it. Grief and loss were also a focal point,” she added. According to Ms Ntaka, there are various grief cycles which an indi-

vidual needs to undergo on the path to healing. These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and others. Usually these all end up in acceptance. “The retreat discussed all these in detail. The next step is for the coordinators to visit the crime victims after the workshop to continue providing support. Some of the victims have been referred to social workers and their local religious figures,” she said.


LEADING member of the Restorative Justice Project team in Aliwal North diocese is Fr Mpiti, a weekly visitor to the area’s Goedemoed prison where he has ministered to offenders as a spiritual worker for the past three years. According to Fr Mpiti, the prison

part of the project is to stop the cycle of criminal or offending behaviour and to assist crime perpetrators to take accountability for their actions and focus instead on becoming productive members of society. “Ex-offenders learn that their behaviour is not only about them and their victim but how it negatively affects other members of the community including their loved ones. One of the highlights of the project is taking ex-offenders, who are on the path of reform, to schools to educate school children first-hand on the true realities and consequences of crime,” he said. Meanwhile, Ms Ntaka told The Southern Cross, as a major milestone of its work, the project is planning a workshop where victims and of-

fenders encounter each other. “This is a very sensitive area of the project’s work and they are approaching it with the utmost caution. There is always the risk of re-traumatisation on the part of the victims,” she said. The Restorative Justice Project started in February 2015 with nine volunteers and now has 20 members from the three regions of the Aliwal diocese—Indwe (Dordrecht), Sterkspruit and Aliwal North. The project is an initiative of the Catholic Church but the group of volunteers consists of members of different religious denominations, including Anglican, Church of Zion, and Methodist. The project is sponsored by Swiss-based organisation Fastenopfer and the Aliwal diocese.

Free life coaching talk in PE T

College matrics go partying ‘in Venice’


HE matrics at De La Salle Holy Cross College in Victory Park, Johannesburg, spent the evening “in Venice”. The college held its 2016 Matric Dance with the theme “Autumn in Venice”—a very well-kept secret until the night. The hall was transformed into the city of Venice, complete with canals, gondolas and masks. “The 2016 matrics, their partners and parents had an

incredible evening and it was a memorable occasion for all,” said Debbie Harris, principal of the college. As is the school tradition, the Grade 11s fundraise, choose a theme and decorate the hall themselves. The entire school turns out for “the Oscars”—to watch their matrics arrive and walk along the red carpet to be cheered and admired. The following evening, the hall was used for the “Come

de la Salle Holy Cross College matrics get ready to party in their transformed school hall. Back, Give Back Dance”. Tickets were sold to students’ parents and past pupils, and all money raised is

donated to a chosen charity, along with blankets brought along by the guests. “I am so proud of our

learners—the Grade 11s outdid themselves and worked so hard during the April holidays,” said Ms Harris.

HE Academy of Life Coaching is offering a free talk at its Eastern Cape launch on May 21 at 14:00 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth’s Missionvale campus conference centre. The guest speaker is Patricia Manshon, founder and head coach. Please contact Lisa on 060 823 7778 to book your seat.

Award for founding president


Monday evening 27th June - Friday 1st July 2016. dŚĞŵĂŝŶƐƉĞĂŬĞƌǁŝůůďĞ

Rev. Dr Francis Morrisey OMI,




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AINT Augustine College of South Africa conferred its Bonum Commune Award, equivalent to an honorary doctorate, on its founding president, Prof Sr Edith Raidt, at the annual graduation ceremony at the college’s Victory Park campus in Johannesburg. Prof Raidt, a German by birth, was sent to South Africa by her order at the age of 22. Soon after her arrival, she enrolled for a BA degree at the University of Cape Town, and proceeded to obtain the degrees of BA Honours, BEd, MA and PhD. Her PhD in Afrikaans historical linguistics led to an academic career, much of it in the Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Following her retirement from Wits, Prof Raidt played a crucial role in the establishment of South Africa’s only Catholic tertiary academic institution, St Augustine. In 1999 she was appointed the founding president. It was Prof Raidt’s ambition that St Augustine become “a leader in ethical education in Africa for Africans”. Over the next ten years, apart from administration, Prof Raidt taught business ethics and founded the college’s academic journal, St Augustine Papers. Although retired from St Augustine

Brian Scallon, chairman of the board of directors at St Augustine College, presents Prof Sr Edith raidt with the Bonum Commune Award. (Photo: raphael de Kadt) in 2008, Prof Raidt continues to hold the position of president emeritus. Her expertise has been variously recognised: she served as linguistic advisor for both the Oxford English Dictionary and the new Afrikaans Bible translation. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Witwatersrand, Potchefstroom, Port Elizabeth and Natal. Among the awards that she has received are the CJ Langenhoven Prize for Linguistics, the Order of Merit of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and, in 2010, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit (the Bundesverdienstkreuz).

Nigerian succeeds bishop


IGERIAN Father Anyanele John Chikadi has succeeded Bishop-elect Siegfried Mandla Jwara as provincial superior of the Mthatha province of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill. Fr Chikadi arrived in South Africa on December 12, 1996 and was admitted to follow the congregation’s postulancy programme in Bedford, Mthatha, in 1997. Having studied at St Joseph’s The-

ological Institute at Cedara, KZN, between 1999 and 2002, he made his final profession on February 2, 2003 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. Fr Chikadi has worked and served the diocese of Mthatha in various pastoral fields, and since 2012 at St Joseph the Worker parish in Port Elizabeth. He has succeeded Bishop-elect Jwara, who has been appointed the apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma.

the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016



HOPE has a ball fundraising, now spreads to the USA T StAFF rEPortEr

Pretoria Centre’s choir won the top award at the national zimCatholic SA competition.

Pretoria scoops choir award By FArAyI MAtoNdo


HE annual ZimCatholic SA choral competition was held amid pomp and fanfare at Cosmo City, Johannesburg. An estimated thousand people attended the event, including Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo. In its fifth year, the competition saw 12 choirs from across South Africa battling it out on a vernacu-

lar Shona setpiece entitled “Mbira Kuna Mwari Kudenga” (Glory to God in Heaven). The composer of the song, Nicholas Muchenu, was among the three Zimbabwe Catholic Sacred Music Association judges who were adjudicating the competition. Pretoria Centre won the coveted championship trophy and the one for best conductor went to Gift Chigudu. Rosettenville was named “Most Improved Choir”.

HE Aids organisation HOPE Cape Town, which was founded by the Germanspeaking parish in Cape Town, hosted its annual “Ball of Hope”, and is now spreading its wings to the United States. The ball, held at the Westin Hotel on Cape Town’s Foreshore, brought together local and international guests who support the project which is based at Tygerberg Hospital and runs several clinics in impoverished communities. The ball was hosted by HOPE cofounder Fr Stefan Hippler and Anja Tambusso-Ferraz of the GermanSouth African Chamber of Business. TV presenter Katlego Maboe again MCed the event, and German-Italian singer Nevio Passaro flew in from Germany to provide entertainment, singing with Cape Town vocalist Lezanne Augustin. As every year, Adolf Thelen served as musical director, and the children of Holy Cross Primary in Brooklyn charmed the guests with

Anja tambusso-Ferraz with Frs Stan Botha (left) and Peter-John Pearson at the annual Hope Ball in Cape town. their performance. Among the guests was German businesswoman Viola Klein, who heads HOPE’s fundraising efforts in Dresden, where an annual ball marks a highlight in the eastern German

city’s social calendar since 2006. Cape Town vicar-general Fr Peter-John Pearson led the prayers. Shortly after the ball Fr Hippler travelled to the United States for the first meeting of HOPE Cape Town USA, which was founded in Dallas in February to fundraise for the Cape project. Fr Hippler is also meeting with NGOs and other interested entities in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey. He said that the meetings are also intended to share experiences and ideas. “Knowing that in parts of the US, for example in Washington DC, the HIV rate amongst African-American is as high as it is in South Africa, there is enough common ground for contemplating how best practice can be applied in instances where poverty, unemployment and other factors determine and drive the infection,” Fr Hippler said. n For more information on HOPE Cape Town visit www.hopecape

Priest: Be an organ donor and help save multiple lives Continued from page 1 Cape, and the other five spread between KwaZulu-Natal and Free State. Some of these centres are very small and run limited programmes, most of which are inactive. This means that, in real terms, South Africa has only three or four hospitals in which transplants are done on a significant level. Fr Kondlo described his encounters with potential donors at com-

munity gatherings as “humbling”. “I have been humbled by the concern of many people. They have never heard about interstitial pneumonitis before. Some never even knew there is such a thing as an organ donor,” the priest said. He expressed his appreciation for the messages of goodwill and prayer he had received from countless parishioners and well wishers during his campaign. Regarding the persistence of cul-

tural myths about organ donation, Fr Kondlo was adamant: “Some say that, because of their religious and cultural backgrounds they are prohibited. To counter that, I say our ancestors are about preservation and continuation of life. They would be very angry if they found out that one of their own had a chance to save not just one person but seven people, and they chose not to.” Commenting on his future

plans, Fr Kondlo said depending on his health, he would consider going national with his campaign. “God willing, I will do that. But at the moment, my focus is in the area of the Port Elizabeth diocese. I’m constantly on the oxygen; to travel extensively is very exhausting and dangerous for someone in my position. I have to plan my travels carefully.” The ODF’s Ms Walker had nothing but praise for Fr Kondlo and his

journeyS of a lifetime!

Computer students get it right


OMEPLAN Holland, best known to the SACBC Aids Office for its longstanding support of houses for the poor, especially families affected by Aids, is currently supporting a computer school which provides training to youth in Pomeroy in KZN. Ricus Dullaert from Homeplan visited Pomeroy for the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) exam of the first 19 pupils of the Pomeroy computer school. Johannes Sokosana, international driving licence examiner from Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga, advised registration with ICDL because of its international recognition. All 19 candidates passed, with 17 scoring 75% or higher. They have received their certificates and are applying for jobs as clerks with schools, hospitals, the police, and as banktellers. The Pomeroy computer school has enrolled 45 new pupils in 2016. “On the way back from

work. “As a volunteer for the Organ Donor Foundation, Fr Kondlo passionately and selflessly works to educate the public on the importance of organ donation. He is truly an asset to us and to the Catholic community which he serves,” she said. n To register as an organ donor please go to or call the tollfree line on 0800 226611. It only takes a few minutes to register and is free. More on Fr Kondlo next week.

Pilgrimage with Fr Brian Mhlanga OP of Radio Veritas

HOLY LAND 23 July to 1 August 2016


Contact Gail at 076 352 3809 or 021 551 3923

the first 19 computer course candidates at Pomeroy in KzN all passed an international exam. Pomeroy I paid a visit to Sr Colette and Buhle, her assistant, in Maria Ratschitz mission,” Mr Dullaert said. “To my joy they already have identified an excellent former sewing school on the parish grounds of St Martin de Porres mission to start their computer school. They found a donor

themselves to install Wifi in the building and electrical sockets etc are already in place. That means they only need a relatively small sum to finish the school, mainly desks and burglar bars.” Computer schools are also in the pipeline for St Scholastica’s mission in the Tzaneen diocese and for Swaziland.

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the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Copts, Catholics called to give common witness of holiness By JuNNo AroCHo EStEVES

A res den Jane Mag o s opens he a ms n on o a s a ue o Ch s he redeeme as she akes pa n he o ymp c F ame o ch e ay n A axa B az r o de Jane o s hos ng he Summe o ymp cs n Au gus Pho o Fe nando Sou e o reu e s CNS

Religious life in danger of ‘first-world lifestyle’ By JoSHuA MCElwEE


HE eaders o the wor d s com mun t es o Catho c women re g ous were warned aga nst accept ng an “ent t ement creep” that numbs them rom con ront ng poverty and env ronmenta destruc t on At the open ng sess on o a tr en n a assemb y o the nternat ona Un on o Super ors Genera n Rome US S ster Caro Z nn a member o the S sters o St oseph to d about 900 women re g ous represent ng near y 500 000 s sters g oba y that re g ous e has w de y been a “ rst wor d esty e” marked by opportu n t es or h gher educat on and ob and hous ng secur ty Wh e such educat on s mpor tant Sr Z nn sa d t a so “numbs our m nds and b nds our heart” The g ts that women re g ous re ce ve she sa d “can create a numb ness o consc ences and a b ndness o heart through wh ch we can eas y see not the pa n but see what we want to see” “The ent re wor d the ent re p anet every spec es on the p anet needs you r ght now ” sa d Sr Z nn who aced her remarks w th quota t ons rom Pope Franc s env ron menta encyc ca Lauda o S Ma tese S ster Carmen Sammut pres dent o the nternat ona Un on o Super ors Genera and the genera super or o the M ss onary S sters o Our Lady o A r ca opened the gath er ng by exp a n ng the assemb y s theme was chosen because many are am ar w th the “beaut u com p ex pat ent creat ve sk u work” o weav ng

LTHOUGH Copt c Orthodox Chr st ans and Catho cs have much to do to ach eve Eu char st c Commun on they st can w tness together to the mportance o ho ness and the d gn ty o human e Pope Franc s sa d “ n the ace o many contempo rary cha enges Copts and Catho cs are ca ed to o er a common re sponse ounded upon the Gospe ” Pope Franc s sa d n a message to Copt c Pope Tawadros The pope sent a message to the Copt c patr arch to mark the “day o r endsh p” between the Copt c Or thodox and Catho c churches n h s etter the pope expressed h s grat tude or the steps taken by both Churches toward reconc at on and r endsh p o ow ng “centur es o s ence m sunderstand ng and even host ty” “ n th s renewed sp r t o r end sh p the Lord he ps us to see that the bond un t ng us s born o the same ca and m ss on we rece ved rom the Father on the day o our bap t sm ” the pope sa d Pope Franc s expressed h s appre

Pope tawad os o A exand a pa a ch o he Cop c o hodox Chu ch eads a se v ce a S Ma k Cop c o hodox ca hed a n Ca o Pho o Mo hamed Abd E Ghany reu e s CNS c at on or the Copt c patr arch s comm tment to d a ogue between the Catho c Church and the Or en ta Orthodox Churches n the d a ogue he sa d members o both Churches can g ve a shared w tness to the sanct ty o human e am y e and creat on Copts and Catho cs “ earn to bear each other s burdens and to ex change the r ch patr mony o our re spect ve trad t ons then we w see

more c ear y that what un tes us s greater than what d v des us” the pope sa d The pope a so prayed or the Chr st an commun t es n Egypt and the M dd e East “May God our Father grant peace and conso at on to a those who su er and nsp re the nternat ona commun ty to respond w se y and ust y to such unprecedented v o ence ” the pope wrote —CNS

Catholics, Muslims get talking By CArol GlAtz

C S Ca o z nn who wa ned aga ns he dange o en emen c eep Pho o robe o Gonza ez CNS “The comm tment to g oba so dar ty s a so a most beaut u and comp ex enterpr se wh ch needs pa t ence so dar ty and sk ” Sr Sam mut sa d “And ke a weav ng t starts w th one st tch and goes on ” She sa d the meet ng wou d be an opportun ty or the eaders to come to know one another and how re g ous e s ved n the r var ous contexts “ t s a grace ed t me when the weav ng can be advanced so that when we are ar rom each other our network can become more e c ent ” Sr Sammut sa d “Let us weave dreams that awaken what s truest n us ”—CNS

Vote in our polls!

ATHOL C and Mus m ead ers meet ng n Rome sa d re g on can human se and c v se commun t es when o ow ers actua y adhere to the r a th s teach ngs about ov ng God and ne ghbour The Pont ca Counc or nter re g ous D a ogue and the Amman based Roya nst tute or nter a th Stud es he d the r ourth co o qu um and exam ned “shared va ues n soc a and po t ca e” rom the perspect ve o Chr st ans and Mus ms Pope Franc s met w th part c pants and sa d h s v s t to ordan n 2014 was “a beaut u memory that carry w th me” He pra sed part c pants ded ca t on to the construct ve path o d a ogue espec a y at a t me when “we have become used to the de struct on caused by wars” he sa d n br e o the cu remarks D a ogue nvo ves stepp ng out s de onese and sten ng to the other he sa d “ t s the rst step o a ourney Fo ow ng th s meet ng o the word hearts meet and beg n a d a ogue o r endsh p wh ch ends w th ho d ng hands Word hearts hands t s s mp e A tt e ch d knows how to do t ” he sa d The part c pants re eased a wr t ten statement at the end o the d a ogue meet ng agree ng on the


BLESSED BENED CT DASWA MEDALS Sr S e a Cord s Ihead r DMMM +27 83 371 1376 B oem on e n

A Ch s an am y who ed om v o ence n Mosu aq s n he oom o a chu ch n Amman Jo dan Pho o Jama Nas a ah EPA CNS need to recogn se and guarantee the na enab e r ghts and d gn ty God has bestowed on everyone and to protect them w th use o the aw “We be eve n the human s ng and c v s ng ro e o our re g ons when the r o owers adhere to the r pr nc p es o worsh pp ng God and ov ng and car ng or the other ” sa d the na statement The part c pants sa d Mus ms and Chr st ans share many com mona t es wh ch “const tute a so d bas s or peace u y and ru t u y v ng together a so w th per sons o goodw who do not pro ess a part cu ar re g on” They p edged the r so dar ty w th a those n need regard ess o


For the price of one issue of The Southern Cross you get a slice of pizza – with a bite taken out T he The

S oou r n C rro s s u oss o utt h e uthe er ss

May 11 to May 17, 2016


Reg No. 1920/002058/06 No 4976


New New bishop bishop in in KZN KZN from from Mariannhill Mariannhill

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JJo’burg o’burg came came o out ut for for bishop’s bishop’s o ordination rdination

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ANY of Julius Malema’s followers are not ver y “critically inclined” and the danger is that they might just take his recent “barrel of a gun” comments as an invitation to violence, warned the head of the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission, Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley. Explaining why the bishops issued a headline-making statement on the Economic Freedom Fighters leader’s comments, Bishop G a b u z a t o l d T h e S o u t h e r n C ro s s : “ O f c o u r s e we are aware that Mr Malema is fond of overthe-top statements that sometimes amount to no more than rhetorical posturing, but the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) had to come out and express our dismay”. In an inter view with news network Al Jazeera, Mr Malema said: “We will run out of patience ver y soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun.” His comment caused widespread outrage, with some African National Congress leaders calling for him to be charged with inciting violence and even treason. In its statement, the SACBC called on all political parties and the EFF in particular to


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Why the bishops called out Malema

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V s ng Fa ma or he Ann versary Ce ebra ons L sbon Par s The Va can C y Rome Ass s and Med ugor e Led by Fr R Nku u eko Mey wa OM Organ sed by V c or and Jac n a Dav d

the r re g ous ethn c or cu tura background and they under ned that ass stance “shou d be o ered out o compass on” and “shou d never be used to prose yt se” The Vat can de egat on was ed by Card na ean Lou s Tauran pres dent o the nterre g ous d a ogue counc and nc uded d a ogue ex perts rom raq Syr a A ger a and ndones a as we as the ormer am bassador o Canada to the Ho y See Anne Leahy The Mus m de egat on was ed by ordan s Pr nce E Hassan b n Ta a cha rman o the nst tute s board o trustees and nc uded d a ogue experts rom raq Bahra n Egypt ordan and Lebanon —CNS

scramble for political positions—especially when such positions are considered as an opportunity for self-enrichment.”


ddressing youth unemployment specifically, Bishop Gabuza called on the ruling party and government to explore more and better inter ventions to get more young people participating in the labour market, “with decent jobs and family stability”. “As Church leaders, we wish to shine a light on youth unemployment and demand urgent and pragmatic solutions. Youth unemployment continues to pose a danger to the security of our nation and stability of our family life. It is a time-bomb that shall soon explode on us.” The statement suggested that government must rethink its policy on the youth wage subsidy and its ability to make a significant dent on the current levels of youth unemployment. “Recent statistics by Stats SA on the state of youth unemployment and poverty in the country indicate that the youth wage subsidy scheme has not been effective in eradicating youth unemployment. Despite the subsidy scheme, youth unemployment has risen

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the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Mercy helped get cancer patient a dream wedding L Cardinal Karl lehmann of Mainz, Germany says preferred candidates nominated for bishop are being vetoed by “unauthorised people” in rome. (Photo: SvenHoppe, EPA/CNS)

Cardinal: Bishop nominations are vetoed unlawfully


GERMAN cardinal said names of candidates submitted to the Vatican as potential bishops are being vetoed by “unauthorised people” in Rome. “In the name of the law, these unlawful outside influences must be set aside and a proper voice given to those who’ll be living with the chosen candidate,” said Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, who was president of the German bishops’ conference from 1987 to 2008. “If there really is something against a candidate, then the nuncio or Rome must talk about it with the cathedral chapter. Rome cannot just reject names without any comment,” he said. The cardinal made his criticisms in a German-language book, published by Freiburg-based HerderVerlag. Extracts were published by the German Catholic news agency, KNA. Cardinal Lehmann said “unauthorised people” were interfering in episcopal nominations “also today, unfortunately, under the pontificate of Pope Francis”. “In recent years, the official list of names has been crossed out and a new list sent from Rome,” said Cardinal Lehmann, who has been bishop of Mainz since 1983. “This represents a burdensome, intolerable disrespect for the Church in a given country.” Church leaders are required by

canon law to maintain a secret list of episcopal candidates, who must be “outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues”. A set of three, or terna, for a vacant see is sent to Rome by the Vatican nuncio after consultations with local priests and bishops. However, the final choice rests with the pope, following recommendations from the Roman curia, which can reject the terna and request new names. A cathedral chapter is a group of priests, usually senior clerics, who perform solemn liturgical functions and other duties in the cathedral. In 13 of Germany’s 27 dioceses, as well as in some dioceses of Switzerland and Austria, the cathedral chapters also traditionally propose their own candidates for bishop. However, Cardinal Lehmann said he believed the nomination process was being disrupted by people “focused on a strict Church policy allowing no deviation” and who had “knowledge of how things work in Rome”. “Much greater attention should be given to an episcopal candidate’s theological competence than his formal orthodoxy,” said Cardinal Lehmann. “There’s an urgent need for clarification—otherwise, the whole appointment process will come into question.”—CNS

Mass in sign language? It’s celebrated every week


N the Catholic Church, the spoken language is central to the liturgy, but there’s a different reality for hearing-impaired and deaf Catholics around the world. The Church in Spain is responding to this reality. Fr Sergio Buiza, national director of the Spanish Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Deaf Ministry, said their goal is to “bring the Gospel to the maximum number of people”, including, of course, the deaf and hearing impaired. Fr Buiza is just one of several priests who celebrates Mass in sign language at one of many Catholic churches in Spain. He celebrates a sign language Mass at the Santiago cathedral in Bilbao each week. There are around a million people in Spain affected by different levels of hearing loss. Some 1 250 of them attend Mass in sign language every week at one of the 24 churches where they are held. In the parishes where this pastoral care is provided, all types of services are offered: from Mass to catechesis, Bible study groups, wedding celebrations, and confessions. However, Fr Buiza explained, the biggest issue is that there is just one parish for the deaf per diocese, forcing those with hearing impairments to travel long distances each week.

“There are elderly people who come from a long way. In my diocese we celebrate the Eucharist in the cathedral every Saturday afternoon and they come from different towns by train and bus,” he said. Last December, the Spanish Catholic bishops’ conference announced a new initiative in collaboration with the ONCE Foundation to help the hearing impaired by installing magnetic induction loops, or hearing loops, in at least 12 churches across Spain. Hearing loops are sound systems that transform the audio in a magnetic field that is picked up by hearing aids and cochlear implant processors. This will allow at least those with such devices to participate more fully in the Mass, but would not be of use to those who are fully deaf. The Church in Spain has been working with the deaf for more than 50 years and has been doing so in a more coordinated fashion since the 1990s, when the Deaf Ministry became part of the bishops’ conference. In Spain, some 173 people are dedicated to the pastoral care of the deaf, many of whom are deaf or hearing impaired themselves. This includes 140 laypeople and 21 priests.—CNA

AST year, Sandra Raquel Nogueira Pereira was diagnosed with uterine cancer. But while the months that followed were filled with the pain and fear typical of a cancer diagnosis, Sandra’s story was also one with intense joy, as she finally fulfilled a long-time wish of marrying her boyfriend of 16 years. Several months into her hospital stay, Sandra married Sérgio Pereira da Silva this month, according to the diocese of Crato, Brazil. The couple has three children. The diocese said in a statement that she had been admitted to the Cariri Regional Hospital. While in hospital in the northeastern city of Juazeiro do Norte, Sandra shared with the staff her greatest dream: to get married. Everyone decided to help make her wish come true. Ticiane Oliveira, the hospital social worker, was responsible for organising the ceremony; Zilma Casimirio, a member of the Legion of Mary movement, worked on getting the necessary documents; doctors gave Sandra the necessary medications to alleviate pain. Before the wedding, the couple made their confessions to Fr Joaquim Ivo Alves dos Santos, treasurer of the diocese of Crato, and Fr Antônio Romão, vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows basilica. Both priests officiated at the wedding. Their eldest daughter was the maid of honour, and she scattered rose petals along the path her

Sandra Pereira and Sérgio da Silva on their wedding day in Cariri hospital in Brazil. the bride has uterine cancer, but her dream was to marry her partner and father of their three children. the diocese of Crato and hospital staff worked to make it all possible for the couple to marry. mother was to travel. When the wedding march sounded, Sandra entered in a wheelchair, accompanied by a doctor and one of her two other children. During the ceremony, Fr Alves dos Santos said that “we are here representing the Church that Pope Francis is calling for, a Church that goes out. We have to go to the people who are in need and we are here today to bless and ask for the sanctification of this couple.” When the wedding was over, the eldest daughter presented a statue of

Our Lady of Fatima, and the whole family consecrated themselves to her. Sandra said that this was a day of joy and she was thrilled to have realised her dream in the month of Mary and of mothers. “I’ve already cried a lot, so today I’m not going to cry. I imagined what the wedding would be like, but this is even better than what I hoped for,” she said. Sérgio said that he has faith that the marriage will help his wife to recover.—CNA

Two sainthood miracles are recognised


Bl lodovico Pavoni

OPE Francis has signed decrees that clear the way for the canonisations of a Christian Brother martyred during the French Revolution and an Italian priest who founded a religious order of men dedicated to the vocational and spiritual education of the poor and hearing impaired. Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the pope signed decrees recognising miracles attributed to the intercession of Br Guillaume-Nicolas-Louis Leclerq, who was martyred during the infamous September Massacres in Paris in 1792, and Fr Lodovico

Pavoni, the Italian priest who founded the Sons of Mary Immaculate, now commonly known as the Pavonians. With the recognition of the miracles, the canonisation ceremonies for the two men can be scheduled. Pope Francis also signed a decree recognising that Fr Rafael Almansa Riano of Bogota, Colombia, heroically lived the Christian virtues. The priest was born in 1840 and died in 1927. The Servant of God decree is one of the early steps on the path to beatification and eventual canonisation.—CNS

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the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Xenophobic attacks shame us all

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

A gift of ourselves


EADERS will be touched this week by the story of a Port Elizabeth priest with a debilitating illness who is campaigning for awareness on organ donation. Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo, 37, is himself in need of a lung transplant. Alas, South Africa has a desperately low number of registered organ donors—people who give their explicit consent to having their organs harvested for transplant upon their death. Fr Kondlo is correct in noting that the Catholic Church in Southern Africa generally has done little to promote organ donation. Of course, there are many other important issues the Church concerns itself with, so some causes tend to slip between the cracks. The priest therefore issues a timely reminder with his #1DonorSaves7Lives campaign. While the Church might lack the resources to launch a national awareness campaign on organ donation, there is no reason why dioceses and parishes shouldn’t. The process of registering is simple, and the reasons for doing so are compelling. According to the Organ Donor Foundation, currently there are more than 4 300 adults and children on the waiting list for solid organ and cornea transplants in South Africa—and many more aren’t even on waiting lists—but fewer than 600 people receive transplants a year. This means that every year hundreds of people die who might have had life-saving transplants. Meanwhile, tens of thousands are buried or cremated with such life-saving organs intact. The willingness to be an organ donor could be described as an ethically imperative act. It is, of course, also a gift of love, and therefore a Christian imperative. Organ donation has unqualified papal support. In October 2014 Pope Francis described the act of organ donation as a “testimony of love for our neighbour”. Pope Benedict XVI, who as a cardinal used to carry an organ donor’s card on him, saw the posthumous gift of viable organs to those who need them to live, or live better, as an act of love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes organ donation as “a noble and meritorious act [which] is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidar-

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.

ity” (2296), with the proviso that a patient is not euthanised to save another person’s life (never mind the crime of live-harvesting). The papal and doctrinal support of organ donation should put to rest theological unease which Catholics may have. There has been an abiding concern that one’s corpse should be maintained intact, in as far as natural burial allows, for the promised bodily resurrection on the last day. This is the reason why for centuries the Church discouraged cremation. However, the magisterium does not regard organ donation as an obstacle to our final-day resurrection. It is necessary that leaders in the Church and society promote organ donation to address cultural and religious misconceptions about it. Fr Kondlo does this through his self-sacrificing campaign. Priests can join him from the pulpit. Parish-based organisations can do so by taking concrete action in signing up parishioners. Some people even volunteer to become organ donors in their lifetime. Live organ donation—usually of a kidney, a lobe of the liver or lung, or bone marrow—are entirely licit in Catholic teaching, provided these donations are not harmful to the donor’s health, are freely offered, and are not subject to financial transactions. Longtime readers may recall the loving gift of a kidney to a teenager by Fr Maximilian Kolbe Jacobs OSB in 2002, in response to an appeal in The Southern Cross. Live donations are more common within families. In whichever circumstances they occur, the donors are heroic examples of selfless love. As Christians we are called to act in solidarity with those who are suffering—people such as Fr Kondlo as well as the thousands whose names do not appear in print. One way of doing so is by making our organs available for transplants after death. In doing so we, we may echo St John Paul II: “It is not a matter of giving away something that belongs to us, but of giving something of ourselves. There is a need to instil in people’s hearts a genuine and deep appreciation of the need for brotherly love, a love that can find expression in the decision to become an organ donor.”


S a young Zambian Dominican scholastic living in South Africa, I received the bad news of xenophobic attacks on innocent Rwandans by some Zambian citizens in the capital city of Zambia with great embarrassment. Xenophobic attacks begin when citizens of a particular country have a “fear of foreigners”. This is religiously, morally and politically wrong. As a Christian nation, Zambia is duty-bound to be more accommodating towards foreigners and refugees. Refugees who come to Zambia for whatever reason, political and/or economic, need to be ensured of protection. Some come from countries where they have been harshly treated, even raped. Therefore they arrive greatly traumatised. Some refugees arrive in Zambia in the

In defence of our priests


HE letter “Easter disgrace in preparation” (April 20) by a religious sister cannot go unchallenged. I believe she must have been genuinely frustrated by the behaviour of a particular priest in a particular situation. What did the sister intend to achieve by writing the letter? Did she pursue other means to have the situation in her small parish rectified? For instance, talking to her superiors? Or writing a frank letter to the priest concerned, voicing her complaints? What does publishing an anonymous letter in The Southern Cross purport to achieve? There are two unfortunate paragraphs at the end of the letter. They are irresponsible generalisations. The sister says: “Being a priest allows for a very comfortable and secure existence.” May I remind the sister concerned that every bishop in Southern Africa and the world over bewails the shortage of priests and religious. We as Catholics are invited to pray fervently for more vocations. And here comes a sister who portrays priests in a very negative way! Surely, sister, if it was true that being a priest allowed for a “very comfortable and secure existence”, we would have our seminaries overflowing with priests in pursuit of the elusive good and secure existence. Maybe I am naive. I am a convert to Catholicism and spent my years of primary and high school education at Catholic institutions. In all honesty, I witnessed nothing but selflessness, dedication, sacrifice, love, etc from religious brothers, sisters and priests in all these institutions (particularly at St Francis College in Mariannhill). I am eternally grateful.

Surely one lax religious brother, sister or priest would not cause me to make such unfortunate and insensitive generalisations? I strongly believe that the sister’s vilification and casting aspersions will not affect the multitude of hard-working and dedicated priests. But she may have—let me hope inadvertently—discouraged hundreds of potential youngsters aspiring to join the priesthood. I suggest that, halfway through the Year of Mercy, we should all try to be merciful like the Father, and that the sister write an anonymous letter apologising unreservedly to all those God-fearing priests of the Catholic Church in South Africa. Alexius Phiri, Rustenburg

was totally baffled as the sermon was intermittently interrupted by everyone standing up to dance at the behest of the homilist. But credit where credit is due, the homilist could really dance well. The answer to raising the standard of homilies is simply for homilists to look to themselves. But all is not doom and gloom: Johannesburg is only a couple of hours south down the N1 to Kroonstad where “self-erasing homilies” from the cathedral administrator are unheard of, and of course, ditto from the bishop! Fr Stephen Giles MHM, Cathedral, Kroonstad


11) I would like to share my knowing a special three-year-old boy, Tiago (James). This only child of a single mother refers to Jesus as his brother, especially when he sees a crucifix. Whenever he visits his Catholic granny, he lines up on his bed all the crucifixes he finds in her home. He not only gazes at them with awe but points out which depict Jesus dead on the cross and which show Jesus still alive. He does so by checking whether the eyes of the Christ figure are open or closed. On the occasion of my celebrating Mass in Granny’s home, upon taking out of my Mass kit a little crucifix, Tiago immediately took it in his hands and kissed the figure of Jesus. Tiago’s appreciation of the crucifix is so inspiring that I experience him as a unique channel of Christ’s revelation to me. It is surely no coincidence that his name is that of one of Christ’s “brothers” (cousins). Fr Kevin Reynolds, Pretoria

Keeping Children safe within families

English and Afrikaans, and sole homilist, I defer to the opinion of parishioners as to the quality and relevance of the Sunday sermon. On the occasions that I have listened to homilies I must say that the standard varied and some of them were frankly forgettable. They were “self-erasing homilies” in that at their middle point, I couldn’t remember the beginning, at the end I couldn’t remember the middle, and after the Creed had no recollection of the conclusion. On one forgettable occasion I 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 or faxed to 021 465-3850

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hope of finding peace and that they will be treated with dignity. So when they are mistreated, it is against biblical norms: “You shall neither mistreat a stranger, nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21). As temporary citizens of this world, no one was born from their mother’s womb carrying a piece of land in their hand. We are in fact all foreigners and refugees in this world, even in what we call “our countries”. We were simply born in the countries in which we find ourselves. Mistreating others because of our own unemployment or poverty is not a solution. “Accusing or suspecting someone of ritual killing”, as your report (May 4) states, did not give some citizens of Lusaka the right to destroy Rwandans’ homes, loot their shops, and injure and kill. These at-

tacks were really a “scapegoating” of some of the tragedies the country is really facing. There is a need to find a workable solution to end this. We need to educate our young minds on poverty and xenophobia. There is also a need to visit communities and enable them to speak up and voice their grievances or aggressions, so that we can try and find workable solutions. Wide unemployment should not bring about hatred of our fellow children of God. Take responsibility and become creative. Solidarity with refugees or foreigners plays an important role in ending such attacks. I therefore call upon all those attackers in Zambia to ask for forgiveness and mercy from the Rwandans and indeed from God as we are in need of God’s mercy. Kelvin Banda OP, Pietermaritzburg

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The art of decision-making


HEN I come to crossroads in my life, I sometimes wish there was a book that could tell me what to do. It seems that the more complex the situation, the harder it is to find the answers. Scripture often leaves me even more confused, my prayers become lost in myriad emotions and self-doubt, and the advice of friends and family ranges from well-meaning platitudes to the completely absurd. In the end, faced with several choices, I take one and hope for the best. But it can feel a little bit like playing Russian roulette! This is our human experience. Life does not come with a one-size-fits-all instruction manual that tells you what to do at each stage of life. Even though all of us will navigate the bewildering maze of childhood, adolescence and hormones, most of us will leave home eventually and negotiate the rocky terrain of finding a life companion, a meaningful career and a place to put down our own roots, the answers to each of these milestones are as singular as our particular set of circumstances, culture, identity, personality and the age in which we live. Ancient clans and tribes established patterns for community-living, and those who did not fit into the model were often banished. Similarly, centuries of Christian rule regulated every aspect of domestic and economic life. On the one hand, these highly-controlled societies removed a lot of the anxiety of making life decisions; on the other, this came at the cost of personal freedom. Fast-forward to today. In many parts of society, religion and close communities have lost their street cred, modern economies offer limitless career options (for those fortunate enough to get the necessary qualifications), allowing us to live just about anywhere in the world (if you have the right passport).

Added to this, the relativism which has permeated our culture tells us that there is no such thing as core values and that anything goes. A recent high school survey in the US asked young people to choose from an array of 34 different gender categories (and I thought growing up was difficult)! This doesn’t make it any easier to make life choices. If anything, plotting your way through life seems like an unnavigable minefield! Fortunately, we’re also the bestequipped generation to live in this bewildering new world. We are more educated than our forefathers and have a far better understanding of our own human psychology. Access to the Internet allows us to encounter diverse world views and at the touch of a button, we can access experts who can help us to make informed decisions on anything from career paths to financial investments.


he Church is also an incredible resource. We shouldn’t be afraid to come to the Church with the deepest questions that lie in our hearts. Too often we fear condemnation, but the Church does not expect us to be perfect. It sets high ideals, yes, but they

there is no one-size-fits-all instruction manual on decision-making.

Why Mary is our mother M ARY, her son and some disciples attend the wedding feast at Cana, and it is there that Jesus bestows on his mother a new all-embracing role in his redemptive plan. The story is well-known. The wine runs short. The caring and observant mother turns to her son and whispers: “Son, they have no wine!” There is a pause. A charming smile. Apparently, Jesus is put on a spot. What is my mother asking of me? Is she requesting a miracle in this public arena? Does she realise that if I am to expose my divinity as the Son of God here, she will be setting me on the road to Calvary? “Woman,” says Jesus “why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.” The “hour” was always spoken of in relation to his passion and death. Jesus then saw the new role of Mary as the mother of all humanity; he as the Redeemer, she as the mother of all those redeemed! He as the new Adam, she as the new Eve, the Woman of Genesis. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary is moved to utter her consent: “Do whatever he tells you.” His mother was certainly anticipating his hour. He knew it; she knew it! “Fill the six stone jars with water,” said Jesus. “Draw some out now and take it to the chief steward.” The miracle was complete, the best wine was served. The apostle John concludes: “He let his glory be seen and his disciples believed in him” (2:11). It is from this point forward that we observe a distinct change in the relationship of Jesus to his mother. Here he changed water into wine; later in his ministry he will change the wine into blood. Mary is the Woman of Genesis and, ac-

detail of Michelangelo’s Pieta in St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican. cording to the Latin version, was the woman to crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3.15). Together, in their respective roles, Mary and her divine Son will be engaged in the colossal work of redeeming mankind. She would be the universal Woman. Jesus asked his mother to take on a new challenging role; her all-giving love was to be expanded over a wider area of humanity; to love all mankind as he did.


e believe that she had no further children in the flesh, for she was the unique temple of the Son of God and belonged to him alone. However, as Woman, she was to be the mother of many more children, not in the flesh, but in the spirit. And Jesus again emphasises this truth on Calvary when, with his dying breath, he turned to his mother and said, “Woman


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should be seen as something to work toward, not a score card of whether we’re good or bad people. In particular, in this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis calls on the Church and its ministers to assume their “responsibility of helping [the faithful] understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God’s plan for them, something which is always possible by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Amoris Laetitia, 297). The pope urges the Church to “avoid judgments that do not take into account the complexity of various situations”. Instead, he calls on its ministers to “reach out to everyone…to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial community” ( 296). But none of this replaces the role of personal discernment. Discernment is the gift of being able to recognise God’s call in each moment of our lives. It is not an easy process. Often it is a very confusing and unsettling exercise, but we need to have the patience to recognise that the best answers don’t come quickly. Discernment draws on several sources: reflection on the Scriptures, the Church’s teachings, the advice we seek, and the voice of the soul (where the Holy Spirit speaks into the depths of our hearts). This does not mean that we can pick and choose our theology, adopting the teachings that suit us and discard those that do not. There is such a thing as objective truth, irrespective of what our age of relativism may say. However, discernment is the recognition that we are on a journey of spiritual growth and that we use the faculties and resources available to us to make the best decision that we can. And this decision Continued on page 11

Fr Ralph de Hahn

Point of reflection

this is your son”, and then turned to John, saying: “This is your mother.” And John’s own mother was also present under the cross (Jn 19:26). Here we find John representing all humanity and Mary the mother of all the redeemed, but also the mother of his mystical body, the Church. We know of her fiat at the annunciation; but it would come at the supreme cost. The prophecy of Simeon in the temple would come to pass: “…and your own soul a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35). She will become the queen of martyrs for her suffering son was her own flesh and blood. We find Jesus again emphasising this new relationship in Matthew’s gospel in that extraordinary event when Jesus is told by the crowd that his own mother is seeking him. “Who is my mother?” he cries, and opening his arms wide to all the people, he loudly declares: “Here is my mother and my brothers…anyone who does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, my sister and my mother” (12:48). Indeed, Jesus addressed many women as “Woman”, among them the young adultress, the Samaritan woman, the Canaanite woman, Mary of Magdala and many more. But addressing his own mother as “Woman” must have been a deliberate proclamation of her new role in his plan of redemption. Mary became our mother in the hour she lost her divine son. She is only one of the many treasures Jesus left to his Church.

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the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Mike Pothier

Point of debate

Vary the preachers


OW many times do you look at your watch during a sermon? Do you sit patiently every Sunday after the Gospel reading, waiting for the droning to end so that you can move on to the “important” part of the Mass? The present debate about whether or not people other than priests and deacons should be allowed to preach at Mass was sparked by a recent series of articles in the Vatican’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. This indicates, I think, that it is a far more vital issue than it may at first appear to be. If any one aspect of the average Catholic Sunday liturgy turns people off, especially the young people who we know are leaving in their droves, it is the preaching. But, crucially, it is not bad preaching that does this, though obviously no one is going to be attracted and stimulated by a sloppily prepared or poorly delivered homily. The real problem, in my view, is lack of variety. Compare the situation to liturgical music. Think of your favourite entrance and recessional hymns—would you want to hear them every Sunday, to the exclusion of all others? We’ve all had parish priests who were good preachers, who put effort into preparing their sermons and who delivered them with enthusiasm and commitment. Likewise, we’ve all probably experienced the preacher who has nothing of interest to say, but who makes up for the lack of quality with a surfeit of quantity, and rambles on pointlessly for 20 minutes. At present, we just have to live with this. Of course, priests and deacons could be better trained in homiletics, but even if we managed to lift the overall quality of preaching, we would still be listening to the same person week in and week out. And, with the best will in the world, over time the same little stories, the same expressions, the same hobby-horses, will creep into the preaching. Does it not make sense, then, to introduce a little variety? There was a time when some parishes had three or four priests, but we know that this won’t happen again. However, what we do have now is an increasingly well-educated laity, with access to all sorts of resources with which to prepare an interesting homily (and I don’t mean downloading someone else’s sermon from the Internet). I know of one European diocese where the bishop has approved a “homily team” of half-adozen lay people who have undergone training, and who get together to plan and discuss their homilies. They serve in a diocese where one priest has charge of seven parishes. There is no reason to wait until the decrease in numbers of active clergy forces us to widen the pool of preachers. There is no theological reason to restrict preaching to ordained clergy; the discipline seems to have had its roots in a time when virtually only the clergy could read, or at least, when only they could read and explain the Latin texts. And of course, there was a need to ensure that anyone stepping into the pulpit had sufficient training and understanding of the scriptures to enable them to preach truthfully and accurately and in accordance with Church teaching. That need still exists, to be sure, but numerous religious and lay people meet these requirements. Indeed, some of them might bring new insights and perspectives to the Sunday sermon, drawn from their experiences of married and family life, the world of work, the struggle for material security, and all the other challenges and daily ups and downs that lay people face. Pope Francis has spoken about a Church that takes risks. It seems to me that there would be very little risk involved if once a month the homily was delivered by a suitably trained lay person or a religious. And any such risk would be greatly outweighed by the benefits and stimulus of variety, the “breath of fresh air”, that would flow from such an arrangement.


fortHCominG retreatS in 2016

September 5th to 14th: Preached Retreat Fr Martin Badenhorst OP December 9th to 18th: Preached Retreat Fr Declan Doherty OSM november 18th to 27th Directed Retreat

WeeKenD retreatS

may 27th – 29th: Fr John Dimba Cssp august 12th – 14th: ‘Body Alive’ September 16th – 18th: Centering Prayer September 23rd – 25th: Enneagram and Prayer


the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Norbertine Father Ashley orgill of Christ the King parish in worcester, diocese of oudtshoorn, celebrated 15 years of ordination.

Holy Cross Sister Anastasia Nandjila Aindongo made her First Profession at St Charles parish in Victory Park, Johannesburg.


Members of the Guadalupe district council of St Vincent de Paul Society had a retreat at St Anthony’s parish in lynedoch, Stellenbosch, led by Sr rosaleen o’Kane. Members from St lawrence, Holy trinity, St Clare, St Catherine of Siena and St Martin de Porres parishes attended. the theme of the day was “Mercy”. (Photo by Aubrey overmeyer)

St Henry’s Marist College in durban went on pilgrimage to Emmanuel cathedral, entering through the Holy door especially carved for the year of Mercy. Cardinal wilfrid Napier was the main celebrant at the Mass. He is seen greeting St Henry’s student oluhle zulu after Mass.

do you feel called to the Franciscan way of life?


Ethiopian diocesan priest Fr tekelmariam Ammanuel Bulamo visited the Ethiopian and Eritrean community and celebrated Mass in the Amharic language in Pretoria, thohoyandou in tzaneen, and rustenburg. Fr Bulamo also attended a human trafficking conference at Good Shepherd retreat Centre in Hartebeesport. during his visit many Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholics made confession in their native language, Amharic.

youth were confirmed at Sacred Heart cathedral in Pretoria by Archbishop william Slattery. Archbishop Slattery is pictured with Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her son Nkomati who was among the confirmands.

the confirmation class of robertsham parish in Johannesburg held an Acceptance of Creed and Faith celebration. the class is pictured with catechist Martin rathinasamy, parish priest Fr John thompson SdB and sponsors. (Photo: roy Newton-Barker)

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the Catholic women’s league of St Joseph’s parish in Primrose, Johannesburg appointed new executives. (From left) deputy-president toni Cunningham, president Graziella Moreira, secretary Genni rogers and treasurer Gabby Marsella.

the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016



Heroic sisters keep hope in Iraq The Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena in Mosul, Iraq, were founded in the late 19th century and operate schools and clinics across the country. They were driven out after invasion by ISIS. PAul JEFFrEy tells their story.


HEN ISIS rolled across Iraq’s Ninevah Plain in 2014, tens of thousands of Christians fled for their lives to Kurdish-controlled areas of the country. They still wait in limbo in crowded camps, facing an undefined future. The only certainty they enjoy is knowing that whatever happens to them, a group of Dominican nuns will be at their side. “We will not leave our people. Wherever they go, we will go with them,” said Sr Luma Khudher, a member of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena. The Iraqi congregation was founded in Mosul in the late 19th century and, over the decades, the nuns have operated schools and clinics throughout the country. In the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion, many of their facilities became refuges for families displaced by the violence. By 2014, driven out of Mosul by ISIS, many of the nuns were in Qaraqosh, where they were repeatedly assured that Kurdish Peshmerga fighters would protect the city. But the Kurdish troops pulled out late August, 2014, and the sisters were among the last to hurriedly flee for their lives. Sr Khudher drove one of the convent’s four vehicles, the sisters packed tight as they crept along the dark and crowded highway to Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. It took ten hours to cover 50kms. “Our superior was with me in the car, and she wouldn’t let the sisters cry so that I could focus on driving,” Sr Khudher said. “When we finally got here I couldn’t stop crying. All of a sudden I had to face the reality that I was not in my hometown anymore. I had left my church, my convent, I had left everything behind. And the people, like Jesus says in the Gospel, were like sheep without a shepherd.” As tens of thousands of displaced Iraqis poured into Irbil and other areas, the Kurdish regional government, facing the collapse of its own oil-fuelled economy, had few resources to offer. The country’s central government was far away in Baghdad and not overly concerned about a bunch of displaced Christians and other minorities. It was the Catholic Church that stepped into the breach, appealing for resources from around the world, organising displaced families in tents, solving the myriad problems of a population that had lived a middle-class life back home, yet which had to flee with no advance notice, and thus no chance to bring along much more than the clothes they wore.

dominican Sister Muntahah Haday instructs a student at the Al Bishara School in Ankawa, Iraq. the students and the dominican Sisters were displaced after the invasion by ISIS in 2014. (All photos: Paul Jeffrey/CNS) “We were in shock. We didn’t know if it was day or night. We just looked at each other and looked at the people and tried to listen to them. We tried to be strong for the others, but we were all the same,” Sr Khudher said. “Sr Maria [Hanna, the congregation’s superior] said we would start with diapers and milk. So we went to different camps, and it was my first time to learn that nappies have numbers. I was handing them out and someone would say, ‘Sister, this is not the size I need.’ I didn’t know nappies came in sizes.” Nappies and milk soon became blankets and tarps and food. The nuns became the de facto managers of aid for much of the displaced community. “The sisters were everywhere. When we asked about the needs of the displaced no one could answer with any authority except the Dominican sisters,” Michel Constantin, the regional director for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association said. “There was a vacuum in the local Church, which wasn’t ready to deal with such a situation. And the displaced priests weren’t trained to deal with this crisis. The sisters were more educated, they’d already been involved in social work with their clinics and schools and orphanages, and they were in direct contact with the people on the ground,” said Mr Constantin, who quickly helped the congregation set up a clinic.

stantin said. Mr Constantin says a group of Lebanese nuns collected their own funds to help the Dominican sisters with underwear, soap and shampoo for personal use. The sisters expanded their medical work, adding mobile clinics to reach the displaced living in remote villages. And with local schools teaching in Kurdish, they began opening schools and preschools in Arabic and Aramaic for the displaced. Sr Khudher said central to their work was listening, both to others as well as to the Spirit. “Because we were a community and we could talk to each other, we dealt with the trauma better. But for ordinary people it was harder,” she said. “So we divided ourselves, two sisters going to each camp. We would sometimes just sit and listen to the people. They would talk about what they were facing every day. Most of their problems were with housing, or school problems with their children, and we would just listen to them.” The sisters found strength in spiritual discipline. “We never stopped our regular practice of


he Dominican sisters were not the only religious order around, but Mr Constantin said they were unique. “We talked with other congregations, but some said they didn’t know how to deal with refugees. Or they spoke different languages. Some said this wasn’t their mandate. But the Dominican sisters never talked about mandates. They said: there’s a need and we’ll work day and night to meet it,” he said. The sisters were also selfless, not mentioning their own miserable living conditions. Several elderly nuns died in the first few difficult months in Irbil. “When we had asked the sisters about what was needed, they never mentioned themselves. They only talked about the needs of the people,” Mr Con-

dominican Sister Elene greets 2-year old yusef Firas in Ankawa. (Inset) Sr luma Khudher, a member of the dominicans of St Catherine of Siena who have established schools and other ministries among the displaced in Iraq. prayer. From the first day we arrived here, we had Mass and morning prayer, the rosary at noon, and then evening prayer,” she said. When the time comes to return to Qaraqosh and Mosul, that spiritual grounding will be essential as the sisters and other displaced deal with their feelings towards their Muslim neighbours, some of whom cooperated with the ISIS takeover. “We healed them. We educated them. So how could they do this now? There was a lot of anger. And we’re still sometimes angry about what happened. We are not saints. We are humans,” Sr Khudher said. “When we go back and they come to our hospital, I don’t think we will say we won’t heal them. We will just do what Jesus says, forgive your enemies, love your enemies. It’s hard at this point to think about it, but I think people

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will do it. We can’t just pray and then not do what Jesus tells us to do.” Sr Khudher is not as forgiving towards the government of the US, where she has studied and has relatives. “The invasion was a big, big mistake. A big mistake. The Iraqi government was going to fall sooner or later. The invasion brought Iraq a lot of violence, a lot of poverty, a lot of difficulties. The people of Iraq did not deserve that. The problem was with the government, and it should have been dealt with in a different way,” she said. “People are the victims of all this now. That war was wrong, wrong, wrong. We are paying the price now for the invasion in 2003. We would not have experienced all of this if the US had not invaded Iraq,” she said.—CNS

of Cape Town


the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


The miracle that saved Christians Christianity is active and beautiful in Cairo. In the tenth and final part of his series on the recent Pilgrimage of the Peacemakers, GüNtHEr SIMMErMACHEr visits Cairo’s Coptic Church.


NCE upon a time Cairo had a tolerant caliph who took a keen interest in other religions, of course without compromising his Muslim faith. Caliph al-Muizz Lideenillah, who reigned from 953-972 enjoyed reading about religion and debating it. One day, the story goes, he presided over a debate with the Coptic Pope Abraam and the caliph’s Jewish vizier (or minister), Yaqub ibn Killis. Pope Abraam was trouncing Yaqub in debate, so the vizier played his trump card by quoting Matthew 17:20 (“…if your faith is the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you”), and demanded that Abraam prove his religion by turning Jesus’ figure of speech into literal action. Caliph al-Muizz upped the ante: should Abraam fail to actually move a mountain through prayer, all Copts in Cairo would be expelled, enslaved or executed. Faced with the impossible, Abraam asked for three days in which to pray for a miracle. He called on the Christians of Egypt to fervently pray and fast, and got together the priests, monks and elders of the Church and retreated with them into the Hanging Church, or El Muallaqa, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


he Hanging Church was built on top of the gatehouse of a Roman fortress and was so nicknamed because its nave is suspended over a hollow passage. One enters it by climbing 29 steps from the courtyard which is decorated with modern mosaics of biblical scenes, including one depicting the Flight into Egypt. Its façade, with the two clock towers, is quite new, from the 19th century. But as one enters through the main door, one comes to a second courtyard, now covered, from the 11th century. The church itself was built in the seventh century, probably replacing one from the third or fourth century. Pope Abraam remodelled the church in the 970s, and alterations have kept going ever since. The surroundings of the church were completed in 2011. It is a beautiful church, dominated by the striking 12th-century iconostasis (the wall in Orthodox churches that separates the nave from the sanctuary), made of ivory and inlaid with ebony, and by the intricate 11th-century marble pul-

Guide Maged Fawzy explains the Hanging Church, the seat of the Coptic pope • the “Garbage City” of zabbaleen on the way up Mokattam mountain • the church of St Mark at St Simon the tanner monastery on top of the Mokattam. (All photos: Günther Simmermacher) pit which rests on 12 pillars, each representing an apostle. The church is decorated with more than a hundred icons from different eras, going back to the 700s. We exited by the street entrance where a couple of our members of the Pilgrimage of our Peacemakers group were mobbed for selfies by school children on a class trip, as though they were Katy Perry and Beyoncé.


he Hanging Church is the seat of the Coptic pope, and therefore Egypt’s most important church. But when the seat of the pope was moved from Alexandria in 1047, the nearby church of Ss Sergius and Bacchus, also known as Abu Serga, had a stronger claim to being the city’s pre-eminent church. It had a good case as the longstanding seat of Cairo’s patriarchs, but the pope at the time preferred the El Muallaqa as the pope’s church, and so it has remained. The Abu Serga was built in the fourth century on the site of a cave in which the Holy Family was hidden during the exile in Egypt. A local tradition has it that St Joseph worked at the Roman fortress during that time, which would be a case of hiding in plain sight. A map displayed outside the

church’s side entrance shows the itinerary of the Holy Family in Egypt, according to Coptic tradition. It indicates 20 places where Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus took refuge after fleeing Palestine via Gaza. Except for a detour to modern Wadi el Natroun at the edge of the Western Desert (which we visited in last week’s article), the route followed as far south along the Nile as the modern city of Assiut, about 380km south of Cairo. In almost all stations there is a monastery or church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Normally pilgrims can pray in the chapel of the Holy Family’s refuge in the church of Ss Sergius and Bacchus, but it is currently under comprehensive renovation, so when our group made a furtive visit, the place resembled a building site.


ut let us return briefly to the Hanging Church, where we last left Pope Abraam facing his impossible task of having faith actually moving mountains. On the third day of the retreat, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in a dream. She instructed Abraam to go to the market and “find a oneeyed man carrying on his shoulder a jar full of water; seize him, for it is

the entrance to the huge semi-cave church of St Simon the tanner on Mokattam mountain in Cairo, with reliefs cut into the rock.


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he at whose hands this miracle shall be manifested”. The pope did as he was told, went to the market and found a man fitting the Virgin’s description. That man was Simon the Tanner (not to be confused with St Peter’s host in Jaffa, of course). As a leather-worker, Simon was a man of no import but one of a faith so rigorous that he gouged out his own right eye in obedience to Scripture: “If your right eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). If you wanted a man who read the Bible’s metaphors literally, you wanted Simon the Tanner. The story goes that Simon instructed Abraam to gather his priests, monks and the faithful at the foot of Mokattam mountain in what is now south-eastern Cairo, and summon the caliph with his officials and soldiers there, too. Again, Abraam did as he was told. With the crowd of faithful and the caliph’s entourage gathered at the foot of the Mokattam, the pope called out 400 times the “Kyrie Eleison” (“Lord have mercy”) and then made the sign of the cross over the mountain. He repeated this twice more. And the mountain lifted three times in a mighty earthquake, with sunlight seen beneath it. The caliph was suitably impressed by the miracle and addressed the pope: “Patriarch, I have recognised the correctness of your faith.” According to a Coptic tradition, al-Muizz later abdicated and converted to Christianity. The Copts hold on to these traditions as fact, even as many historians reject them. Later that day our group would walk down the magnificent and historic Al-Muizz Street, one of Cairo’s oldest and most important, lined with mosques and the ancient alAzhar university founded by the caliph himself in around 970. It is unlikely that the Fatimid rulers would have named a street after an apostate caliph. But even if al-Muizz didn’t convert to Christianity, he did leave the Copts in peace. As for St Simon the Tanner, he disappeared at the moment of the miracle. His remains were long lost until 1991 when they were discovered during restorations in the 11thcentury church of the Holy Virgin in Old Cairo’s Babylon district. A thousand-year-old pot was found in a nearby church. Copts believed this to be the clay jar in which Simon carried water to the poor. It is now kept in the new church of St Simon the Tanner on Mokattam Mountain, which our group visited for our final Mass.


our buses can’t go up Mokattam, so we went by mini-buses through the village of Zabbaleen. This is the suburb to which Cairo’s rubbish collectors were forcibly moved in 1969. The winding roads are lined with huge sacks of rubbish which the approximately 30 000 residents of the village, most of them Christians, sort through in search of recyclable materials.

The streets are covered in garbage, and the poverty is palpable. But it is this community that spearheaded the construction of the monastery of St Simon the Tanner on top of the mountain. And, unlike the streets leading to it, the monastery is spotlessly clean. This is no doubt one of the most extraordinary Christian places I have visited. It incorporates seven cave churches as well as several social services for the community, including a school for the deaf, a vocational training centre and a hospital. The church of St Simon the Tanner is a central place in Cairo’s Christian life. In times of crisis and in times of thanksgiving, the city’s faithful ascend Mokattam to pray in the huge semi-outdoor church of St Simon, most of it cut into the rock, which can hold 20 000 people. Mass is celebrated there every day. Throughout the monastery, a Polish artist referred to only as Brother Paul has cut striking biblical scenes into the rock, with much detail. Most of them are huge, so that they can be seen, and meditated on, from a distance. One of these, of the Resurrection, looms above the mega-church of St Simon; it appeared on the front-page of The Southern Cross’ Easter edition in March. Our Mass would be in what we were told was “the small church”. On our way we came upon a huge cave church, big enough to seat a few thousand people. As I was scouting for the entrance to “the small church”, our guide said that this was it. So we had our final Mass in a setting as unusual as that of the previous day at the Anafora retreat centre, when we sat on rugs and pillows. This big cave church is dedicated to St Mark, Egypt’s apostle and patron, and is lined with Brother Paul’s rock-cut reliefs. We had time to admire them as Archbishop Stephen Brislin, our spiritual director, and guide Maged Fawzy tried to work out how to uncork the bottle of wine that had been bought for Holy Communion without the essential aid of a corkscrew. These are the times when even the most zealous oenophile might see an upside to screwtops. Eventually a local caretaker managed to dislodge the cork with a screwdriver. And so we had the final Mass of our pilgrimage, during which we celebrated the Eucharist in so many memorable places: a chapel just a few metres from the tomb of the Resurrection in the church of the Holy Sepulchre; on the shore of the Sea of Galilee; in the cave beneath the birthplace of Jesus where St Jerome translated the Bible; in the church of the Annunciation in Nazareth; on Mount Carmel; at the place of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor; and so on. It was a unique journey of faith that also gave us a new understanding of the many issues facing the Holy Land, especially its Christians, and of the Church in Egypt. We left with our faith deepened and with much to pray for.

n Catch up with previous articles on pilgrimages by Günther Simmermacher at features/pilgrimage

the Southern Cross, May 18 to May 24, 2016


Sr Athanasius Skehan MSA


SSUMPTIONIST Sister Athanasius Skehan died on February 21 in Port Eliza-

beth. Born Mary Skehan in Clonmel, Ireland, the third of four children, she entered the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption in Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland, and came to South Africa in 1947, the year of her first profession. Sr Athanasius was a dedicated teacher who taught in various parts of South Africa: Johannesburg, Pretoria North, Grahamstown, Schauderville in Port Elizabeth, and KwaNgwanase. She also helped many immigrant clergy and religious over the years to become more proficient in English. She retired to Buckingham Road in Port Elizabeth in 2005 where she was community bursar for a while, and in 2007 celebrated the diamond jubilee of her

profession. She was interested in everyone and everything: her many skills were put to good use in crocheting dozens of knee rugs and blankets for the less privileged, making cards and bookmarks for charity, as well as enjoying crosswords. She was a formidable opponent at Scrabble, and would not be content with low scores from those who played with her.

Sr Athanasius loved receiving letters, and spent much time writing both to her own family and friends and to the relatives of sisters who had become too infirm to do so themselves. Keenly interested in the new generation of MSAs, she kept in contact with our younger sisters and prayed for them. She prayed and sang with the sisters in the infirmary, and was devoted to reciting the Divine Mercy rosary each afternoon. Sr Athanasius went to God quickly and quietly on February 21. She is survived by her younger sister, Teresa Ryan, in Ireland, and her nieces and nephews and their families. Her nephew Bill Ryan came from Ireland for Sr Athanasius’ Requiem Mass in St Bernadette’s church in Walmer. The main celebrant was Fr Eldridge Davids with seven priests of the diocese. Ann Genevieve MSA

Sr Margaret Mary Magorrian MSA


SSUMPTIONIST Sister Margaret Mary Magorrian of Port Elizabeth died on April 8 at the age of 94. Born on May 17, 1921 in Ballykinlar, County Down, Northern Ireland, she was the eldest of 12 children. At the age of 18, Margaret Mary entered the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption in Ballynahinch, and came as a postulant to Grahamstown in South Africa to begin her novitiate. She made her first profession as Sr Mary Charles of the Immaculate Conception on January 23, 1942. The next two years were spent studying at the Grahamstown Training College, after which Sr Charles, later known as Sr Margaret Mary, taught at several Assumption schools and those with which the congregation has been associated, in Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Durban, KwaNganase, and Atteridgeville;. She also served in the library at Zingisa Comprehensive High School in Mthatha. Long after reaching retirement age, Sr Margaret Mary was involved in catechetics and other pastoral work in Missionvale,

Port Elizabeth, Lulekani and Pretoria North. Sr Margaret Mary celebrated the platinum jubilee of her profession in Buckingham Road, Port Elizabeth in 2012. A very neat and well-organised person, Sr Margaret Mary was very thorough in all she did. She was musical with a good singing voice, and even in the last months of her life could occasionally be seen tapping the rhythm of a hymn with her fingers on the blanket over her knees as she sat in the chapel. She was also very artistic, and used her talents generously in making attractive charts for her classrooms, and printing for her

Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday May 22, Trinity Sunday Proverbs 8:22-31, Psalms 8:4-9, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15 Monday May 23 1 Peter 1:3-9, Psalms 111:1-2, 5-6, 9-10, Mark 10:17-27 Tuesday May 24, Our Lady Help of Christians 1 Peter 1, 10-16, Psalms 98, 1-4, Mark 10, 28-31 Wednesday May 25, St Bede the Venerable, St Gregory VII, St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi 1 Peter 1:18-25, Psalms 147:12-15, 19-20, Mark 10:32-45 Thursday May 26, St Philip Neri 1 Peter 2:2-5, 9-12, Psalms 100:1-5, Mark 10:4652 Friday May 27, St Augustine of Canterbury 1 Peter 4:7-13, Psalms 96:10-13, Mark 11:11-26 Saturday May 28, Saturday Mass of Our Lady Jude 17, 20-25, Psalms 63:2-6, Mark 11:27-33 Sunday May 29, the Body and Blood of Christ Genesis 14:18-20, Psalms 110:1-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Luke 9:11-17

parish catechetics lessons. She used to do tapestry and exquisite embroidery, and made some beautiful banners—one for a newly built church in the Ingwavuma diocese where she was teaching at the time, and some for the then-new church in Mdantsane which her youngest brother, the late Fr Hugh Leo Magorrian, had started. Her devotion to the Sacred Heart was explicit in the motto “All for thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus”, which was engraved in Latin inside her profession ring, and that to Our Lady in the Mystery she chose at her profession, the Immaculate Conception. Right until the end of her life she did her best to join in the recitation of the rosary each day with the other Sisters in the infirmary. Her only surviving sibling is her brother Patrick, who is 88 and lives in Oak Harbour, Washington, with his family. Sr Margaret Mary’s Requiem was celebrated in St Bernadette’s in Walmer, where the main celebrant was Mgr John Clarke with priests of the diocese and the oratory of St Philip Neri. Ann Genevieve MSA

Discernment: the art of decision-making Continued from page 7 might not be final. There may be many opportunities in our lives to revise our choices, each time drawing nearer to God’s plan of love for our lives. With each decision—good or poor—there are consequences, but those consequences are not there to condemn us or validate our correctness. The outcome of our decisions becomes an opportunity for grace and mercy, a space for forgiveness and reflection, a call to plunge ever deeper into the mystery of God’s personal love for us. Making decisions is never easy. But if we remember that our entire lives rest in God’s hands, the hands of a God who knew us, the God who tells us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jer 1:5), then we can trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us to the best possible outcome: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). n Read past columns by Sarah-Leah Pimentel at



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JUDGE—terezita (terry). wife of the late John Judge, sister-in-law to Georgette Fennessy and aunt to Sean Fennessy, passed away peacefully on Saturday May 7, aged 89. rest in peace terry.


POTHIER—Bernard. Passed away May 24, 2011. A memory kept alive and cherished never fades. His loving presence remains with us. In gratitude, Margaret, dominic, Siobhain, Nicholas, Heide, rosanne, tiernan and grandchildren. rIP. POTHIER—Bernard. died May 24, 2011. Five years later still missed and fondly remembered by the staff of The Southern Cross and colleagues on the board of directors. WINDVOGEL—Magdalene Martha. Mommy, Ma, called home three years ago on May 24, 2013 to join husband John, passed on September 23, 1968. we thought of you with love today. But that is nothing new. we thought about you yesterday and days before that too. we think of you in silence. we often speak your name. Now all we have are memories and your picture in a frame. your memory is our keepsake. with which we’ll never part. God has you in his keeping. we have you in our hearts. we miss you dearly. Always in our prayers. your children, in-

laws, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Pat


O HOLY SPIRIT, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H. ST JUDE, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H.


ABORTION WARNING: the pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. See loads/downloads/bcpill.pdf ABORTION WARNING: the truth will convict a silent Church. See www.valuelifeabortion FOR ALL ROSARY requirements, chain rosaries in various colours and sizes, also luminous ones, contact Fr dominic Muheim CMM, cellphone 082 489 0706 or write to

Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: May 23: Bishop Dabula Mpako of Queenstown on the 5th anniversary of his episcopal ordination

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 707. ACROSS: 1 Well, 3 Firmness, 9 Elm tree, 10 Kaaba, 11 Economically, 13 Direct, 15 Leaden 17 Keep the faith, 20 Ittai, 21 Lord God, 22 Irrigate, 23 Send. DOWN: 1 Weekends, 2 Limbo, 4 Iberia, 5 Make an effort, 6 Enabled, 7 Shah, 8 Preoccupying, 12 Unshaded, 14 Re-enter, 16 Chalet, 18 Ingle, 19 Mini.

Po Box 11077, 3624 Marianhill, KzN VISIT PIOUS KINTU’S official website http://ave this website has been set up to give glory to the Most Holy trinity through the healing power of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. View amazing pictures of Pious Kintu’s work in Congo and various African countries since 2007. Also read about African Stigmatist reverend Sister Josephine Sul and Padre Pio among others.


LONDON: Protea House. Single £30(r540), twin £45(r810) per/night. Selfcatering, busses and underground nearby. Phone Peter 0044 208 7484834. BALLITO: up-market penthouse on beach, self-catering, 084 790 6562. CAPE TOWN: Strandfontein. Fully equipped self-catering two bedroom apartment, with parking, sleeps four. r600 per/night. Paul 083 553 9856, vivilla@telkom MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675, mjsalida@

Traditional Latin Mass Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel 36 Central Avenue, Pinelands, Cape Town Call 0712914501 for details. The

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The Body and Blood of Christ: May 29 Readings: Genesis 14:18-20, Psalm 110:1-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Luke 9:11-17


N Sunday (rather than on Thursday) we celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi, and the readings for the feast suggest an approach to this powerful and rich mystery, namely that we must always understand it as a gift from God that enables us to cope with the mission that we are given. The first reading is the mysterious encounter of Abram with Melchisedek, as he returns from an expedition against a gangster called Chedorlaomer who has kidnapped his nephew. All we can say is that it is a matter of the blessing of God the Most High on this very ordinary episode in his existence; the reason it has been chosen for today may simply be that Melchisedek “brought out bread and wine”, the guise under which Christians have encountered their Lord ever since that first Easter Sunday, and blessed him: “Blessed be Abram by God the Most High, who established heaven and earth.” And we notice that Abram “gave Melchisedek a tenth of everything”; God is at work in the very ordinariness of our human existence. The same pattern is detectable in the psalm for next Sunday: “YHWH’s oracle to my Lord: sit on my right hand, until I make

Mystery of the Eucharist your enemies a stool for your feet.” This is a “royal psalm”, where the singer sees the newly enthroned monarch as protected, and even fathered (“I begot you like the dew”), by God; and this is guaranteed: “The Lord swore an oath, and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in accordance with my word to Melchisedek’ (this last phrase picking up our first reading).” Here we link the body and blood of Christ with God’s unfailing protection of us. The rich mystery is linked in the second reading to what happened “on the night when the Lord Jesus was being handed over”. The context here is Paul’s anger with the Corinthians, because they were preserving their social divisions at the Eucharist, which for him (and of course for us) should be a place of unity. So he reminds them, in the words that we know by heart and perhaps do not sufficiently reflect upon, how he “received from the Lord”, then “he took bread, and gave

thanks and broke and said, ‘This is my body which is for you’.” After this (as in our first reading) there is wine as well as bread: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”. And Paul goes deep into the meaning of today’s feast: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he comes.” The mystery of the Eucharist runs very deep indeed, more profound than anything that we can grasp. So (here a word of warning) any time you find yourself restricting the mystery of Christ’s body and blood to just one aspect of this many-faceted jewel of ours, be careful, for you are on the verge of heresy. The Gospel for the feast this year is Luke’s story of the feeding of the five thousand; and it starts (this is typical of Luke) with a word that means “hospitality”: “Giving them a welcome, he started to speak to them about the Kingdom of God.” Then it gets late, and the Twelve want him

Marking an anniversary W


HAT we cease to celebrate we will soon cease to cherish. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the religious congregation to which I belong, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who are, of course, also very active in many parts of South Africa. We OMIs have a proud history of ministering to the poor around the world. This merits celebrating. As a writer, I don’t normally highlight the fact that I am a professed religious, just as I don’t usually highlight the fact that I’m a Roman Catholic priest, because I fear that labels such as “Catholic priest”, “Father” or “Oblate of Mary Immaculate” attached to an author’s name serve more to limit his readership than to increase it. Jesus, too, was pretty negative on religious labels. Mostly, though, I avoid writing under a specific religious label because I want to speak more through the wider prism of my humanity and my baptism than through the more specific prism of my priesthood and vowed religious commitment. It’s a choice I’ve made, while also respecting the choice of others. With that being said, I want to break my own rules here and speak more specifically through the prism of my identity as vowed religious. So I write this particular column as Father Ronald Rolheiser OMI, proud member of The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Let me begin with a little history. Our Congregation was founded in southern France in 1816 by Fr Eugene de Mazenod, declared a saint by the Church in 1995. Eugene was a diocesan priest who immediately upon entering the ministry saw the Gospel wasn’t reaching many of the poor, and so he began to focus his own ministry very much on reaching out to the poor. It takes a village to raise a child, and soon enough he realised that it takes more than one person to bring about effective change. It takes a community to make

compassion effective: What we dream alone remains a dream, what we dream with others can become a reality. So he sought out other like-minded men, diocesan priests like himself, and called them together around this mission. Eventually they began to live together and formed a new religious congregation dedicated to serving the poor. That was 200 years ago and the Oblates (as we’re commonly called) have had a proud, if not always comfortable, history since. Today we are ministering in 68 countries on every continent on earth and our mission is still the same. We serve the poor.


hat’s why you’ll find us ministering mainly on the margins of society, where mainstream society prefers not to cast its glance, on the borders with migrants, in immigrant areas of our cities, in tough inner-city places where the police are reluctant to go, and in developing countries where access to food, health, and education are still scarce commodities. Our mission is not to the privileged, though we try to bring them onside with our mission, and our members themselves are often drawn from among the poor. Our message to the young men entering our ranks is: “If you join us, consider what’s not in it for you!” And we’re missionaries, meaning that we understand our task to be that of establishing communities and churches, helping them to become self-sufficient, and then moving on to do this over and over again. That may be a noble task, but it’s also a formula for heartache. It isn’t easy on the heart to be forever building something only to give it over to someone else and move on. You don’t ever get to have a permanent home. But there’s a compensation: as a missionary, after a while every place is home. We aren’t a large congregation, we’re

Nicholas King SJ

Sunday reflections

to get rid of the crowd “because we are in a wilderness place here”. They are making it quite clear that they do not understand what Jesus is doing; for any time when you want to get rid of people because they are a nuisance, you are not understanding the rich mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus challenges them (and us): “You lot give them something to eat yourselves.” In response, they simply jeer at their Master, who takes no notice, but tells them to “make them lie down in groups of about fifty”. Do you see how the Eucharist is all-embracing? That is what “Catholic” means. So the disciples manage to do that, and Jesus “took the five loaves and two fish and looked up to heaven and blessed them and broke and started giving to his disciples to offer to the crowd”. Then comes the remarkable consequence: “And they all ate and were filled.” The Eucharist that we celebrate on this solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is a very rich mystery indeed. Let us pray to grasp what it is we are about today.

Southern Crossword #707

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final reflection

only about 4 000 members scattered in some 68 countries, humble in comparison to the likes of the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans. Indeed in an early version of the famous French Larousse dictionary, we were described as “a kind of mini-Jesuit found mostly in rural areas”. We are flattered by this description. Our call is not to be in the limelight, but to be at the edges. No accident that it’s there, at the edges, in a rural area, where I met the Oblates. We also pride ourselves on being robust, practical, earthy and close to those we serve, and our dress often betrays this. Our families and close friends are forever buying us clothing to try to upgrade our lessthan-stellar wardrobes. It’s not that we deliberately cultivate an image of being somewhat unkempt; it’s more that we tend to draw men to our ranks who have other priorities. And our founder? He wasn’t an easy man, obsessed as he was—as sometimes saints are—by a single-mindedness that doesn’t easily tolerate weaknesses among those around him. He could exhibit blessed rage sometimes. I’m secretly glad that I never met him in person, fearing his judgment on my own weaknesses; but I’m wonderfully glad for his charism and for that motley group of men, often over-casually dressed, who continue his mission.


1. At Jacob’s, Jesus met the Samarian woman (Jn 4) (4) 3. Act with it when you’re resolute (8) 9. Let me again find source of wood (3,4) 10. The shrine of Mecca (5) 11. The way to spend parish funds frugally (12) 13. Straight way to get credit (6) 15. Metallic sound from dull sky (6) 17. Hold on to the creed (4,3,5) 20. The man who was a Gittite (2 Sam 15) (5) 21. The ... ... made them all (hymn) (4,3) 22. I rerig at getting the water (8) 23. Here I am, ... me (Is 6) (4)


1. Non-working periods for Mass obligation (8) 2. Kind of dance for pagan babies? (5) 4. A letter from Siberia to Spain (6) 5. Exert yourself (4,2,6) 6. Given authority to do (7) 7. King of Persia (4) 8. Gin coup Percy disturbed, filling his mind (12) 12. Hands due to be in sunlight (8) 14. Go back inside (2-5) 16. Alpine chapel? (6) 18. Fireplace (5) 19. Short skirt for the car (4)



N old priest was dying. He sent a message to the parish banker and lawyer to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the priest held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The priest grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything. Both the banker and lawyer were touched and flattered that the priest would ask them to

Solutions on page 11

be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the priest had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable homilies about greed, covetousness, and avaricious behaviour which made them squirm in their seats. Finally, the banker said: “Father, why did you ask us to come?” The old priest mustered his strength and then said weakly: “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I want to go.”

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