S outher n C ross
June 22 to June 28, 2016
SA priest leads Year of Mercy celebration
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Amid the bleak South Africa’s realities of education, Catholic schools have the power to shine argues EVONA a light, REBELO.
and can promote Church, “becominthe renewal of the g the exemplar a spiritual dynamic of that in our new globalised is so needed world”. Catholic “a liberatingschools need to provide intellectu and an experienc Ultimatel al education y we want e of human to be literate, ligious developm HERE has our and renumerate children ent for thinkers sion aboutbeen much discus- dents”. , critical its stuwho will the relevance whicheve find purpose The Catholic r of CatholicVatican’s Congrega schools in and age. commit economic enterprise in this day tion for themselv Education es to. But they than that, that “the While most in 2014 noted young people are aware nificant tentive to we want them to more cating today of the sigwe are historical Church schools with their relationships of be atof the 2050s”.will become the educontribut leaders justice ion have intellectu the earth. fellow human beings But, it asked: al and social made to the We want country, “What will the common gion’s capital them to and contribut there is of our serve religood and ion be to growing tainty about to make a younger generatio educating uncerdifference actively seek their role ns opment, to Materialis today. We hear fraternity to peace, develt ideologie a great dealtheir world. duced humans crisis in education human communi in the universal s have reabout the . Despite receiving ty? How will nistic world, to cogs in a mechathe largest educate them we… to gratitude, devoid of meaning. budget, we tranche of the national of awe, to spiritual to a Economic sert that the that we are not seeing the tions, to asking themselves sense rationalis develop a ts ashad hoped quesfruits is to graduateprimary aim of schools African children and consisten sense of justice for. South good cy? perform How citizens who enhance in internatio cate them the economy to prayer?” will we eduwill nal numeracy dismally propriate acy tests. Catholic Catholic through and literwork anthropo ap- to schools are fully logy—life The Catholicskills. develop Around challenge lived formative d tional to one’s potential school can long way out before 60% of our learners a Catholic a better understan being. as to counterin ding matric, perspectiv go a drop and relarestorativ manising to the staggering thus contribut e of human of munity developm g these dehu-a ture—a Catholic e? Is comtrends. ing nayouth ment rate ent and social tice taken Christian Do teachers anthropology. opefully of 63%. Whileunemployseriously? jus- of Bantu Brother teachers and parents Thomasis know the lessons inculcate teach Louis de Do science the legacy don’t , in his thought-p education book Dynamics with this, about the story of Catholic really flecting onsubject matter withoutjust for the mystery a sense of has a rovoking lot beliefs human person? there are to the assumptio re- creation? of Catholic and beauty wonder other factors reminds the curriculu a multitude do Catholic Education of God’s us that at play. m about ns made in of , inspiratio anthropology ture. Catholic There are Educating human nadraws its school is although the n youth is not South Africaabout 26 000 schools ings of Jesus.from the life and it shares in and it’s getting Do our life tough teach- esteem its evangelisthe Church, isation His dream today, of skills sessions in tougher everywork, 348 are In independ which only ing mission and of an “abundan for the realCatholic. on selfyear. of means to sexuality express the demandsent and public schools, 10:10) epitomise these Catholic The vast majority ce of life” what it be created (Jn and schools are s the core in Catholic are exhausting. schools on in But we public of a iour likeness of God? Are the image disposal education means they private property, have our behavmodificat a ion programm religious real treasure—our at our schools are are state-funded. which special es promote character. It allows socio-eco confronted by the These a Catholic nomic anthropo us to schools belongingconstraints same logy. as the Continued to the state. And on page 15
How a Muslim country loves Mother Teresa
Final offer: 80 more Fatima statues W
HAT began as an offer in The Southern Cross for 12 statues of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal for churches in South Africa has turned into gifts of more than 650 to parishes, convents, schools and prisons in countries as far afield as the Philippines, Britain, Guatemala and Australia. Retired businessman José Camara first made the offer in the January 9, 2013 issue of The Southern Cross as a way of promoting devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. The offer came with conditions attached: parishes had to give the hand-painted statues a place of honour and institute several parish devotions. The response was enthusiastic and Mr Camara extended his offer—over and over again. The businessman, who lived in Cape Town for many decades, is now resident in Portugal from where he buys and ships the precious statues. He has now presented 653 statues, and is offering 77 more. “That will bring the number to 730— which means having donated one statue a day for two years,” he told The Southern Cross. The Southern Cross’ articles brought requests for statues from 25 countries so far, he said. These include African countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Reunion, Mauritius and Madagascar—“and the Republic of Polokwane”, Mr Camara joked. “These countries are now praying the rosary weekly or monthly on the 13th of each month, which means thousands of souls are now praying” for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima. “To complete what I started, 730 statues will be a very nice achievement in an enormous project,” Mr Camara said. “Giving money is the easy part. The real
Pupils at assumpta Primary school in sharpeville, near Vanderbijlpark, prepare to pray before a statue of Our lady of Fatima presented to the school by Portuguese-south african businessman José Camara who has donated 653 of the handpainted statues from Portugal to parishes, convents and schools throughout south africa and internationally. philanthropy is in getting involved. Embracing a project means taking off your jacket and rolling up your sleeves—and facing the labour of the project and heavy bills. I have done this with love for Our Mother,” he said. Mr Camara has had to make sacrifices in time and in funds. “My life savings are now almost depleted,” he said. But he noted that others have chipped in as well, like the priest who travelled 900km to collect a statue for his parishioners. The donor said that the time is coming to complete his mammoth project because his health is deteriorating due to diabetes. “Complications from diabetes, and vision, can get worse without notice, so I am rather anxious to complete my project,” he said.
he project has produced many graces and some touching moments, he said. “A young girl wrote from England to request a statue. She wanted her daddy home for Christmas lunch, as he was in prison. He now prays the rosary with his fellow inmates. Some of them are now going to church when they are released. Some had never been to church but are now regulars. Our Lady has been dropping blessings from above.” One case that stands out in particular concerns a Cape Town woman with terminal breast and lung cancer. “She wanted a statue to pray with, not just to Our Lady during the night,” Mr Camara said.
Although he normally did not supply statues to individuals, “I knew that she did not have much time, so I sent her the statue as a personal gift.” On the day the statue arrived, after four months, the woman’s sister rushed to get it out of customs and went straight with it to the hospital. “They took photos of the ill lady holding the statue—and she died 24 hours later. That was faith. I did not believe that she would see the statue.” Mr Camara is inviting priests in Southern Africa to apply for one statue per parish. Applications must be made by the parish priest on an official letterhead (if no letterheads are available, state the page number in the Catholic directory which lists the parish details). Outside of South Africa, applications must be on a parish letterhead, or with a supporting letter from the local diocese. The statues are handpainted and delicate, and must be displayed inside churches and out of reach of parishioners. They are unsuited for display outdoors and in grottos. A condition is that the donated statue be placed at an altar in the main church or in a side chapel or shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. The offer is intended to foster devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and to the rosary. Therefore the statues are donated also on the condition that the recipient parish as a community recites the rosary once a month, particularly during the period from May 13 through to October. Ideally, parishes form prayer groups devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, hold processions and Benediction services. Mr Camara issued a special “thank you” to Advance Transports for doing the deliveries in Southern Africa. n Direct applications for statues to Mr Camara at email@example.com
Upgrade for Mary Magdalene’s feast By ElisE HaRRis
AITHFUL to the wish of Pope Francis, a new decree has bumped the liturgical celebration honouring St Mary Magdalene from a memorial to a feast, putting her on par with the Apostles. The reason, according to Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is that “she is the witness to the risen Christ and announces the message of the Lord’s resurrection just like the rest of the Apostles”. He added: “It is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman should have the same
rank of feast as that given to the celebration of the Apostles in the General Roman Calendar.” On the Church’s liturgical calendar, saints are honoured with either a “memorial”, a “feast”, or a “solemnity”. Solemnities rank the highest, with feasts coming in second and memorials third. While there are 15 other memorials on Mary Magdalene’s July 22 feast, hers was the only obligatory one to celebrate. Now, after being elevated to the level of a feast, the celebration bears a more significant weight in the liturgical calendar. For example, when Mass is celebrated on her feast day, rather than using the normal
formula for a daily Mass, as is done with memorials, the Gloria will be sung and special prayers dedicated specifically to Mary Magdalene will be offered, which only happens on feasts and solemnities. Archbishop Roche said that Pope Francis’ decision to elevate her memorial to a feast was done in order to emphasise the importance of this woman, “who so loved Christ and was so greatly loved by Christ”. Noting how Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness to the Risen Christ and the first to announce his resurrection to the Apostles, Archbishop Roche hailed her as “the Apostle to the Apostles”, a phrase coined by St Thomas Aquinas.—CNA
The Penitent Magdalene (c 1598) by Domenico Tintoretto, in Rome’s Musei Capitolini.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
LOCAL Fr Tony Daniels OMi of Malvern East, Johannesburg, celebrates Mass at schoenstatt in Bedfordview after the annual 4km Fatima pilgrimage procession. The Fatima Five saturdays began earlier this month at Malvern parish.
Fatima Saturdays draw prayers sTaFF REPORTER
HIS month saw the beginning of the third annual Fatima Five Saturdays in Johannesburg. The Five Saturdays take place on the first Saturday of each month from June until October, which is also a month devoted to Mary. Groups meet to recite the rosary at 17:00 on the Saturdays of July 2, August 6, September 3 and October 1 in the Blessed Sacrament church, corner of Geldenhuis and Mullins Streets, in Malvern East. The Fatima Five Saturdays originated when one of the visionaries of Fatima, Sr Lucia dos Santos, then a postulant, received a visit by the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary in her convent cell. “Through the tireless efforts of Sr Lucia and others, this great, yet simple devotion has, over the last almost nine decades, spread around the world, uniting millions in a continuous act of reparation that
seeks to console the hearts of Jesus and Mary and to save souls everywhere,” said Manny de Freitas, the co-convenor of the annual Fatima pilgrimage procession. Mr de Freitas said that this year’s participation in the 4km procession from Malvern East to the Schoenstatt shrine in Bedfordview was down to 700, from last year’s 2 000, due to heavy rain. Still, he added: “This pilgrimage continues to be the largest of its kind in South Africa.” The first pilgrimage took place in 1991 with only around 50 pilgrims, led by the parish youth group at the time. The pilgrimage on foot celebrates the apparitions of Our Lady to three shepherd children from the months of May to October in the hamlet of Fatima in Portugal. Next year’s pilgrimage procession will take place on May 13, the 100th anniversary of the first of these apparitions, Mr de Freitas said.
Knysna Catholics open their hearts to migrants sTaFF REPORTER
ONCLUDING a seminar on the pastoral care of migrants and refugees organised by the Catholic community of Knysna in the diocese of Oudtshoorn, Bishop Frank de Gouveia quoted Pope Francis. “Caring for strangers in our midst is nothing new to us, in fact it is part of being a Christian and a human being” (message for the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees). Knysna’s Catholics took Pope Francis’ words to heart as they launched their parish programme of pastoral care to migrants and refugees in the Greater Knysna area. In his introduction remarks, parish priest Fr Brian Williams said the type of pastoral care of refugees and migrants that the Church has in mind is holistic and motivated by God’s mercy for us all. “Although the life of migrants and refugees is essentially characterised by their struggles for a political and economic livelihood— employment, domicile and documentation, shelter—they also have spiritual, emotional and family needs,” Fr Williams said. “They often come from very strong and practising Catholic parishes back in their own countries where they were involved in different lay ministries. “In their host country they seek to celebrate the sacraments and experience the need to belong to
Bishop Frank de Gouveia of Oudtshoorn speaks with parishioners of Knysna at a seminar on how to provide pastoral care to migrants. parish life where they can continue to live their faith,” the priest said. The meeting ended with an open discussion of how to plan a way forward, with the following suggestions from participants: • Provide opportunities for migrants to exercise lay ministries in the parish liturgy. • Host awareness sessions where host parishioners can inform them-
selves about those countries and parishes of the migrants and refugees among them. • Seek collaboration with likeminded individuals and organisations locally to develop a more caring, protective and welcoming attitude to migrants and refugees. • Work for the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees locally.
St Anthony’s celebrates 50 years of service By MaNDla ZiBi
ROM a one-roomed building with no running water and electricity into a thriving multimillion-rand campus, St Anthony’s Education Centre in Boksburg celebrates 50 years this year, a tremendous milestone for the Gauteng institution which has faced many challenges since it started in 1966. “With the vision, dedication, faith and hard work of its founder, Fr Stan Brennan OFM, St Anthony’s became the world-class education and training centre it is today,” the centre’s David Prinsloo told The Southern Cross. “In 1976 the apartheid government threatened to close St Anthony’s down because the education of blacks and coloureds in the coloured area of Reiger Park [in Boksburg] was illegal. This was in contravention of the Bantu Edu-
cation Act and the Group Areas Act,” Mr Prinsloo explained. “Fr Stan immediately obtained the support of the American, British, French and German consuls, the local community and the Catholic Church. The government promptly withdrew its order of closure.” Again in 1988, the Boksburg Town Council, led by the right-wing Conservative Party, decided to reintroduce petty apartheid in the town by declaring Boksburg Lake, parks, pools, tennis courts and other amenities for “whites only” use. Fr Brennan led a consumer protest march from St Anthony’s through the centre of Boksburg. Reiger Park and Vosloorus represented 80% of the town’s business. The consumer boycott had an immediate impact, with a drop in sales ranging from 15% to 90%, Mr Prinsloo said, adding: “Hastily handwritten signs suddenly started
appearing in shop windows—‘All races welcome’.” Despite the political and other challenges St Anthony’s has faced in its 50 years, today it is a hive of activity, accommodating more than 1 200 learners a day from all walks of life, especially the surrounding poor communities.
wo educational packages are on offer at St Anthony’s. The Skills Training Programme was established in 1995 to offer vocational skills training to unemployed and school-leaving youth over the age of 17 years. Courses include welding, plumbing, motor mechanics, bricklaying, carpentry and basic computing. The Franciscan Matric Project began in January 1986 in response to students who had either failed matric or were unable to write exams due to school disruptions be-
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cause of political unrest. The project has since then grown to include Grade 10 and 11 learners. The pass rate for 2015 was 89.05%. “St Anthony’s is the legacy of a giant of a man who made a difference to the lives of those who felt disempowered,” Mr Prinsloo said of Fr Brennan, who died on July 6, 2012 at the age of 82. “St Anthony’s mission of ‘Changing the lives of those we serve’ will ensure the centre continues to grow from strength to strength. This is only possible through our loyal donors who have supported us over the last 50 years,” he said. St Francis’ church is also situated on the grounds of St Anthony’s Centre and caters for the spiritual welfare of the surrounding communities. Assemblies for students who attend the educational programmes are always held in the church and are interdenominational.
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Pope Francis announced a special Jubilee of Mercy and Lourdes is in the heart of this major event. The Saint Michael’s gate becomes a symbolic passage materialised by a Holy Door from sin to grace and all pilgrims are invited to cross the door into the sanctuaries and walk the spiritual path by taking one of our lovely pilgrimages to include Lourdes in 2016
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
SA priest leads Jubilee event in Rome By CiNDy WOODEN
SOUTH African Redemptorist priest took a lead in the Church’s Year of Mercy jubilee celebration for the sick and persons with disabilities in Rome. Opening the celebrations, Fr Cyril Axelrod CSsR insisted sign language, tactile sign language and body language are “gifts of the Holy Spirit” meant to help Christians share the Gospel with all people. No matter how complicated it is to do, all children have a need and a right to religious education and access to the sacraments, said Fr Axelrod who was born deaf and became blind 16 years ago. Johannesburg-born Fr Axelrod served in Redemptorist parishes around South Africa and, before he joined the order, in the diocese of Port Elizabeth. He currently lives in London. Standing in the sanctuary of the
Chiesa Nuova, a Rome church, Fr Axelrod used International Sign Language for brief introductory remarks, then took questions from the congregation that was made up mostly of Italian Catholics who are deaf and their family members. The Italians signed their questions in Italian Sign Language, and a translator took both of Fr Axelrod’s hands and signed the questions for him using the tactile form of the language. She then stepped aside to watch his reply and relay it to those present. One man wanted to know how Fr Axelrod, who was born Jewish and deaf, ended up becoming a Catholic priest. A deaf man from Turin asked how to get a local parish to provide catechism classes for children with disabilities. And the mother of a deaf girl in Rome told Father Axelrod that a parish priest refused to allow her daughter into a first Communion class, say-
Fr axelrod addresses the year of Mercy jubilee for the sick and persons with disabilities with the help of an italian translator.
ing: “She wouldn’t understand it anyway.” Fr Axelrod’s hands began to fly. “Jesus is a gift for all,” he said. “Don’t worry about words, words, words. Give the children holy Communion!” His remarks were greeted by applause from those who could hear and by waving hands on the raised arms of those who were participating with sign language. “Catechesis must be available for people of all ages and all abilities,” he insisted. But it is not easy. Each child who is deaf or blind or has another disability may need tailormade faith formation. But any person filled with faith will learn to rely on the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts to communicate joy, love and a belief that Jesus, who loved human beings so much that he died for them, and is present in the Eucharist. “Many years ago, before I was Catholic, I was Jewish,” he said. “I would notice how deaf people did not know anything about the faith, so I wanted to become a rabbi. But God chose something different for me and I became Catholic.” At the time in South Africa, he said, there were no special services for deaf Catholics and there was no signing at Mass. “I felt strongly that they needed to hear God’s message and that I was called by God to bring the Good News to all people,” Fr Axelrod said. “My vocation is to help deaf people open their hearts to see how powerful God is in their lives.” The Redemptorist travels the world ministering to other deaf Catholics and advocating on their behalf. He encourages parents of
Redemptorist Father Cyril axelrod, who is deaf and blind, touches a monstrance during exposition of the Eucharist at Chiesa Nuova in Rome. The south african priest, who travels the world ministering to deaf Catholics, said that sign language, tactile sign language and body language are “gifts of the Holy spirit”. He was in Rome for the year of Mercy jubilee celebration for the sick and persons with disabilities. (Photos: Paul Haring/CNs) deaf children to help them learn advanced sign language so that they can continue to grow in their understanding and expression of their faith. But he has also worked with deaf children who have severe physical and developmental difficulties and, he said, he brings the Gospel to them as well. And not only that, he said he prepares them for first Communion and gives them the Eucharist—even when that means by intinction, dipping the consecrated host in the consecrated wine so it is soft enough for those with swallowing
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The Chanticleer singers perform in the church of st Charles Borromeo in Victory Park, Johannesburg, as part of the 50th anniversary of the structure popularly known as “the lemon squeezer”. The church’s diameter is about 47m, and the height of the tower almost 27m. The roof, made of 24 precast concrete portals, rises to a height of 18m. The proceeds from the concert were donated to a poorer community to assist in their security upgrade.
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Mgr Paul Nadal 5 to 7 August 2016,weekend Theme: Reflections on the year of Mercy
Individual directed or private retreats can be arranged for periods of 2-8 days throughout the year. Diocesan, Parish and Church meetings and workshops should be booked well in advance For Bookings: Reception: 031 700 2155 Fr Urs Fischer 031 700 2890 Fax 031 700 2738 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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difficulties to ingest. All children learn about God first of all from watching their parents, he said. Deaf children are particularly attentive to body language and facial expressions. They recognise joy, love, awe, sorrow and gratitude. They can learn that Jesus, who is all-loving, is present in the Eucharist. And they can be taught to express sorrow for their sins before opening their hands and their mouths to receive the one who loves them, Fr Axelrod said. “You can see when they understand that Jesus is there,” he said. “The joy is on their faces.”—CNS
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 25, 2016
Facelift for Jesus’ tomb in world’s holiest church By JUDiTH sUDilOVsKy
F a woman begs on a roadside in Kabul, afghanistan. The key to ending extreme poverty and hunger is to recognise that behind every statistic, there is the face of a person who is suffering, Pope Francis said during a visit to the Rome headquarters of the UN’s World Food Programme. (Photo: Hedayatullah amid, EPa/CNs)
‘New movements must obey bishops’ By CiNDy WOODEN
OCAL bishops have an obligation to welcome new movements and communities and guide them, while the groups have an obligation to obey the local bishop and avoid the appearance of setting up a parallel Church, said a new Vatican document. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s letter to bishops around the world was on “the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts in the life and mission of the Church”. The hierarchical gifts—teaching, sanctifying and governing—are those conferred with ordination. The charismatic gifts refer to those given by the Holy Spirit to groups or individuals to help them live the faith more intensely and to share the faith with others through missionary activity and acts of charity. At a Vatican news conference, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, doctrinal congregation prefect, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented the document, which formally is titled Iuvenescit Ecclesia (The Church Rejuvenates). The gifts of the Holy Spirit—raising new movements to face new challenges—help the Church to remain ever young, Cardinal Müller said. The new document insisted that
both the hierarchical and charismatic gifts are given by God in order to build up the Church. They always must be in harmony and complement one another. The document, summarising the discussion of gifts of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, warned of “rivalry, disorder and confusion” when an “overabundance” of gifts are expressed in a community and the temptation of “pride and arrogance” on the part of those who receive the gifts. At the same time, the document insists that faith in God implies welcoming the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given to individuals and groups to deepen the way they live out their Christian vocation and witness. The bishops, it said, are called to discern the authenticity of the spiritual gifts and to recognise publicly those movements and communities that can help the faithful grow in faith, hope and charity. The criteria for determining the authenticity of the gifts or charisms, must include: emphasis on every Christian’s vocation to holiness, commitment to spreading the Gospel, profession of the Catholic faith, unity with the entire Church, respect and esteem for other groups in the Church, accepting “moments of trial” as the bishop discerns the group’s authenticity.—CNS
OR the first time in 200 years, experts have begun a restoration of the edicule of the tomb in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was laid to rest after his crucifixion. The project, which began in early June, is expected to take up to one year to complete and will include sorely needed damage repair and reinforcement of the structure. The work is being carried out by experts from the National Technical University of Athens. The project came together when the three principal churches overseeing the tomb under the 19th-century Status Quo agreement overcame enduring differences in a place where rights over every section of the church have been jealously guarded for centuries. The Status Quo agreement was put in place by the Ottoman rulers in 1852 and preserved the division of ownership and responsibilities of the various Christian holy sites. At the church of the Holy Sepulchre, it governs the responsibilities of the principal churches—Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic—as well as the Ethiopian, Syriac and Coptic churches. “There wasn’t any friction on this issue,” said Franciscan Father Athanasius Macora, who is responsible for supervising the agreement on the part of the Franciscan custody of the Holy Land. “There was good chemistry between the three heads of the churches and they agreed to it right away.” However, the term “right away” is relative as the heads of the principal churches first brought up the issue of a very conservative “consolidation” of the edicule in 2000. The current edicule, the structure that encloses of the tomb, was built by the Greek Orthodox community in 1810, two years after a devastating fire. It has been encased in metal scaffolding since the British mandate period in the mid-20th century because of concern for its stability. Though many church-connected professionals have expressed concern over the structure since 2000, it took the shutting down of the tomb for four hours by the Israeli police in February 2015 because of safety concerns—a blatant violation of the Sta-
Tourists and Christian pilgrims visit the tomb of Christ inside the church of the Holy sepulchre in Jerusalem. For the first time in 200 years, experts have begun a restoration of the edicule which encloses the tomb. (Photo: Jim Hollander, EPa/CNs) tus Quo agreement—to get the churches to act on their earlier discussions. An agreement to carry out the work on the tomb was signed in March. “The idea is to strengthen the structure and try to bring it back to its pristine state,” Fr Macora said. “It is important that the work goes well. If all goes well, it will enhance the relationship [among the churches]. If it doesn’t go well, it will not help their relationship.”
he tomb today is surrounded by a white perimeter wall, but the work on its exterior walls is taking place in the evening so pilgrims can continue to visit the interior of the tomb, he said. All three churches are contributing to pay the $3,4 million (R520 million) price tag for the project. Jordanian King Abdullah also made a personal contribution for the restoration. Until 1967, the old city of Jerusalem, where the church of the Holy Sepulchre is located, was under Jordanian control and the king continues to play a role in the safe guarding of Christian and Muslim holy sites. “The tomb is the heart of the shrine. It is the most important rea-
son why people are coming to visit the church and...everyone knew the restoration needed to be done,” Fr Macora said. “It is important that the work be done in a way which respects the rights of other communities.” He noted that despite the oftencited disputes among the churches, relations have improved since the 1960s and though they have reached a plateau since then, fewer conflicts emerge today. “There have been sporadic outbreaks and there will be outbreaks in the future, but they are significantly less than in the past,” Fr Macora said. Cleaning work has also been undertaken on some of the mosaics in the church and work remains to be done on the floor around the tomb, which cannot begin until the restoration of the tomb is complete, he said. This is not the first time the three denominations came together for a restoration project. In 1997, they cooperated to restore and decorate the great dome above the tomb with the financial support of the late Catholic philanthropists George and Marie Doty, seemingly ushering in a new era of cooperation.—CNS
PRIESTS OF THE SACRED HEART “Here I am Lord” Cell: +27 72 769 7396, +27 83 471 6081 E-mail: vocation.office@ dehonafrica.net
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Bishop: Religion can breed contempt for gays A Holocaust survivor leon Celemencki, 76, talks with Canadian World youth Day participants. (Photo: Francois Gloutnay, CNs)
Holocaust survivor preps WYD teens for Auschwitz By FRaNCOis GlOUTNay
EON Celemencki looked at the group of young Canadian adults heading to the World Youth Day celebration in Krakow, Poland, in July, asking about their planned side trip to the notorious Nazi concentration camp known as Auschwitz. “So, you’ll go to Auschwitz, this summer? I’ve never been there. I’ll never go to Auschwitz. It’s too hard,” the 76-year-old Mr Celemencki told them. “This is where my mother was murdered,” he explained to the dozen pilgrims gathered. Mr Celemencki was only 2 when his mother, Faiga Tabacznick, was arrested by the French military in 1942 and sent to Poland. His father then sent Leon and his two sisters to orphanages, a safer place. Mr Celemencki tapped his fingers twice on a map of Poland to show the group where Krakow and the Auschwitz concentration camp are located.
“In Auschwitz, there’s a room as big as this one filled with mounds of hair. Then there’s another filled with shoes of men, women and children. You’re going to see horrible things,” he warned. “How and why have we been able to commit such horrific acts? It happened, and it must never happen again,” Mr Celemencki said. Mr Celemencki lost all of his grandparents, as well as three uncles, seven aunts, and many cousins during World War II. “All of them were assassinated in the Auschwitz and Treblinka concentration camps,” he said. He now lives in Montreal and often gets to tell his story in collaboration with the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center. “What I’d like is that when you’ll be back home you tell people what happened in Auschwitz. And that you commit to never accept any kind of racism or anti-Semitism. We’re all equal, regardless of our religion or the colour of our skin, and we all long for happiness. The sun shines for every one of us.”—CNS
US bishop has said that religion-based contempt “for gays, lesbians and transgender people” contributes to the hatred which can lead to violence, such as the massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, this month. A total of 49 patrons were killed and 53 wounded when 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse club in Orlando. Mateen was shot dead by police. According to his father, Seddique Mateen, the gunman’s massacre was motivated by homophobic sentiments. US authorities said they had found no direct links between ISIS and Mateen. Bishop Robert Lynch of St Petersburg, Florida, said on his blog that “sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence”. “Those women and men who were mowed down [in Orlando] were all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that,” Bishop Lynch said. “While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimisation because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also.” Referring to the shooter’s Mus-
People gather at a vigil in sydney, australia, in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando, Florida, gay night club mass shooting. (Photo: Dan Himbrechts/ Reuters/CNs) lim background, Bishop Lynch pointed out that “there are as many good, peace-loving and God-fearing Muslims to be found as Catholics or Methodists or Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists. The devil and devilish intent escape no religious iteration”. Bishop John Noonan of Orlando said that “a sword has pierced the heart of our city” by the worst mass shooting by an individual in US history. “The healing power of Jesus goes beyond our physical wounds but touches every level of our humanity: physical, emotional, social, spiritual,” he said. “Jesus calls us to remain fervent in our protection of life and human dignity and to pray unceasingly for peace in our world.”
Bishop Noonan led an evening prayer “Vigil to Dry Tears” at the city’s St James cathedral. In a letter to the Chicago archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, Archbishop Blaise Cupich said: “For you here today and throughout the whole lesbian and gay community, who are particularly touched by the heinous crimes committed in Orlando, motivated by hate, driven perhaps by mental instability and certainly empowered by a culture of violence, know this: The archdiocese of Chicago stands with you. I stand with you.” Archbishop Cupich added: “In response to hatred, we are called to sow love. In response to violence, peace. And in response to intolerance, tolerance.”—CNS
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Mduduzi Qwabe
Schools must aid healing
URING the days of apartheid, one of the propaganda tools used by the administration was the national school curriculum. In the current climate of racial unease, the case for “decolonising the curriculum”—an apt phrase used by Brian Kamanzi in the Daily Maverick—has never been more urgent than it is now. Yet, since the curriculum has changed too many times since 1994, the mention of more change makes teachers want to head for the hills. South African schools— Catholic, state, private—need to provide spaces for children to learn about our country’s unhappy past and then to get to know learners of other races, in a meaningful way. This applies to children of all race groups as racial integration is a challenge for all children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of apartheid. Days like Human Rights Day, Freedom Day, Youth Day and Heritage Day are opportunities for learners to engage with diversity. Excursions to places like Constitution Hill in Gauteng, Robben Island in the Western Cape, the Nelson Mandela Museum in the
Eastern Cape, and the Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu-Natal ought to be part of the school calendar. Extracurricular activities such as debates must endeavour to open spaces for frank discussions. Spaces and opportunities should be provided for children to interact beyond the confines of school. Catholic schools have the added advantage of teaching Religious Education, during which learners are taught about the dignity of the human person. And schools must strive to have a racial balance in personnel to mirror the society we envisage. It has to become a conscious effort from schools to deal with racism effectively. Our quest for social justice and racial integration demands of us that we be true to the values of our Constitution, which many have labelled progressive. The psychological damage caused by apartheid to black, white and people of all races in South Africa cannot be underestimated. Schools are the ideal place to advocate for change. n Mduduzi Qwabe is a policy researcher at the Institute for Catholic Education.
Offering help can be a tough ask
T rst thought t a heap o rub b e or rags—then rea sed t was a man m serab y c othed w th h s trousers ha down y ng on the grass verge next to a garden wa seem ng y dead to the wor d t was ha ght ear y on a Sun day morn ng and not 50m rom the church entrance Anx ety gr pped me—my rst nst nct be ng to enqu re o h m why he was there But what he were dead? What he asked someth ng o me that cou d not g ve? What to do? passed on w thout break ng str de thoughts ash ng through my head went to Mass the who e t me ask ng myse what shou d have done And the parab e o the Good Samar tan came to m nd Not that cons dered myse good but whether whether any r ght m nded person shou d have done someth ng about the man nstead o wa k ng on by know now that shou d at the very east have ascerta ned whether he needed he p o any sort whether he was ndeed a ve But was a ra d a ra d that wou d become nvo ved a ra d that he p m ght be asked o me that d d
not w sh to g ve or rather that wou d nd nconven ent to g ve What he asked or she ter what he had no p ace to go? cou dn t see myse tak ng h m home to my am y—what wou d the r react on be? t was qu te coo out and a though am pampered by reasonab y com ortab e accom modat on thereby not be ng accus tomed to ack o warmth thought that the co d o the n ght must sure y a ect even the hard est What t had been esus y ng there? “What you do unto the east o my brethren you do unto me ” A ter Mass wa ked to where he had been y ng and to my ntense re e he was gone was ree But that does not excuse me What act on shou d have taken? What soc a serv ce cou d have used n th s country o ours today? One s mpu se s to contact the po ce but m not com ortab e w th that Squ rm as may cannot he p but th nk that he was there as a test or me—a test am a ra d a ed m serab y But te me what shou d have done? Tom Drake ohannesburg
Open up homilies to prayerful laity
HE late Benedictine liturgist Aidan Kavanagh in a small book entitled Elements of Rite wrote “one never preaches unless one has something to say”. Much has been said about homilies of late in The Southern Cross and other media, most less than flattering. Perhaps Fr Kavanagh was right. Practical suggestions can be made—more preparation, prepare or critique with the laity, hold workshops. But I venture the question is not only one of technique (and good
Better off now?
REFER to the letters by James Dryja and Frans van Neerijnen (June 1), which responded to mine of April 13. It’s heartwarming to get some kind of reaction from Christians on such a sensitive issue as politics! It is good that Mr van Neerijnen agrees with the principles I put forward in my letter. Responding to Mr Dryja, as an honest responsible citizen I am totally against any form of corruption, but his last paragraph is the typical psychology game played by our politicians. From 1910—which we can take as the start of what Mr Dryja terms institutionalised apartheid—until April 27, 1994 adds up to 84 years. In that time it is much easier to create serious social and economic evils, such as poverty and hopelessness, than it is to eradicate these in 22 years—and that has nothing to do with corruption. The question should be posed more positively: how many impoverished people have a better life since our new democracy in April 1994? Douglas Eckard, Somerset West
The bleeding host
N article in The Southern Cross a number of weeks ago touched me very deeply. Reading the article, about an incident in Poland in which a host was dropped onto the ground and appeared to bleed, I felt overwhelmed again by the tremendous love of our God for his creatures. Having become a created human
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theology), but of spirituality. If there is “nothing to say”, why isn’t there? The homilist must be a person who takes the spiritual life seriously: daily prayer and pondering of the Word, spiritual reading, theological reflection, direction, etc. The principles are well known. But the desire and the discipline are another thing. I imagine giving a good homily week after week is challenging, even burdensome. One does not have to be a Chrysostom every time, but himself, having died a tortuous death, and having risen to glory while remaining with us still in the forms of his Body and Blood, still this is not enough for him. He continues to alert us to his presence by miracles such as this, affirming still his undying love, in the physical blood from his Heart, reaching out with all his being to his beloved. Words fail me, contemplating the enormity of that love. Thank you for your excellent newspaper. Hanusia Annandale, Roodepoort
Heartwarming Emmanuel event
Y sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the organisers who made it possible for a group of us to encounter the spiritual experience of the Durban South deanery pilgrimage to the holy door of Emmanuel cathedral. I want to share my realisations on this most auspicious day. Hearing from and having the intimate association of so many exalted priests was indeed a great inspiration. By their simple instructions, one could not have left without the impression that to follow the spiritual life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is common sense, practical, logical and simple. The whole experience was satisfying, not only for Catholics, but for those of other faiths and denominations as well. By their earnest preaching and encouragement, the speakers impressed upon us that we translate the instructions of the Bible into real-life experience by changing our behaviour and characters for the better. Such a day was indeed what His Holiness Pope Francis intended in telling us of the great mercy of Jesus for all of us. It was His Holiness’ instruction to have the pilgrimage walk through the door of Emmanuel cathedral. Not only did the “purity”
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BY MANDLA ZIBI
N investigation is under way by the Daughters of St Paul in South Africa into the sale of counterfeit copies of the Sunday Missal in a number of dioceses around the country. Through Pauline Publications – Africa, the sisters are the only legitimate distributors of the missal in the countr y, and they hold copyright to it from several international publishers, mainly in Italy, including the Vatican. “We were alerted to the fact that several copies of low quality and obviously fake missals were being sold in parishes in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Pauline Sister Paola Gloria Contardo. “This inferior copy is easily identified by the poor quality of the cover, the low quality of paper used and the inferior finish to the binding,” she said. “The distribution for sale of this illegal and inferior copy of our rightful publication causes damage to the reputation of Pauline Publications, where we pride ourselves on the good quality of all our publications.” Sr Paola noted that in addition to being the owners of all copyright to this printed work, the Paulines in South Africa also hold ownership of the “Sunday Missal” brand as a registered trade mark. The nun confirmed that a private investigation by their publishing company is under way, and that the matter is now being handled by attorneys. She added that the Paulines have alerted their international publishing counterparts about the issue, hinting that these would also pursue their own investigations. Sr Paola declined to comment on who might be behind the scam, saying that the l t i f th bli P li f d
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier addresses Friday prayers in Durban’s Juma Masjid mosque in Grey Street as A V Mahomed of the mosque’s board of trustees (akin to a parish council) and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini listen. (Photo: Rogan Ward)
The authentic missal is bound in a dark green cover; a fake missal is bound in burgundy. The fake missals are also inferior in quality. (Photo: Mariannhill Missionary Press) “We know that our local priests are not aware of this and so we want to urge them to be ver y vigilant,” Sr Paola said. “A lot of our parishioners do not find it easy to distinguish between the fake and the real thing, and so we humbly urge [Catholics] to ensure that they refrain from obtaining the illegal version of the Sunday Missal, and thank them for their continued support.” Sr Paola could not say how many counter feit copies are in circulation. On average, 150 copies of the real missal are printed each month. She noted that none of the official Catholic bookshops in South Africa have been duped into stocking the pirated missal. How to spot the counterfeit missal: It is inferior in nearly ever y aspect of the book. The cover printing is not as crisp as that on the original The paper is of a lower quality than that of the original
Cardinal Napier in mosque: All of SA needs renewal
ARDINAL Wilfrid Napier and the Zulu king were special guests of honour during Friday prayers in Durban’s Juma Masjid mosque in Grey Street. The mosque is located near Emmanuel cathedral and adjacent to the Denis Hurley Centre. As chairman of the KZN Inter-religious Council, Cardinal Napier welcomed King Goodwill Zwelithini to the mosque on behalf of the city’s religious leaders. Speaking in the mosque, Cardinal Napier pointed out that Pope Francis is leading a much-needed pr in the Catholic panded that all o reformed, as in ividuals as well as South Africa as a country. This, he said, is necessar y to improve relations between peoples. Cardinal Napier stressed that both Christianity and Islam have at their heart the same two fundamental truths: the equality of all humans and the importance of mutual respect and love. He ended by praying that the holy season of Ramadan would give Muslims the opportunity to reform their lives and renew their
King Goodwill expressed his delight in returning to the Juma Masjid mosque after 40 years. He described the mosque as a place of light in an era of confusion and hopelessness. The king praised Cardinal Napier’s role in bringing together the different faiths of Durban, and made a point of greeting all the Indian communities in KwaZulu-Natal— Muslim, Hindu and Christian—and stressing how welcome they are in the province. With an implied reference to the xenophobia and anti-Indian racism of past years, King Goodwill stressed that any peace
Feed your soul with The
S outher n C ross
IT’S WORTH IT!
EGARDING the debate on homilies, I offer this poem I found, entitled “No applause in church”, as a reflection. Nearly every congregation Gives unstinted admiration To a well-prepared oration By a priest. People love to hear a sermon Whether English, French or German And its value they determine If at least It has sense or logic to it Otherwise they’d like to boo it But in church they mustn’t do it So they sit While the man of God is blowing Holy Taurus ever throwing Evidently never knowing When to quit. Some there are and it’s no wonder Seek escape in peaceful slumber But by far the greater number Merely frown They must hear the talk distressing With their inmost hearts expressing Oh for God’s sake give the blessing And sit down. Don Kelly, Port Alfred
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flow through the great doors of the cathedral, but I am convinced that it will also slowly chip away our false ego and material values. All praise and worship to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to our Holy Father Pope Francis, for his compassion, love and care for all humanity. Curious onlookers, including the homeless and vagrants, peered through the doorways. Some entered to have a first-hand experience of what was transpiring inside the cathedral. They too appeared to be looking for a higher purpose in life. Indeed a glorious day! I would like to express that the pilgrimage was a blissful and exciting experience. The day offered much-needed nourishment for the soul. I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of the pilgrimage. It was awesome. Vivian Moonilal, Amanzimtoti
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June 15 to June 21, 2016
without a maturing and wellgrounded spiritual life, comments such as, “He talks a lot. But he has nothing to say”, will continue to be heard. Perhaps some attention must be given to opening up this ministry of preaching. It is a key argument in the call for women deacons, to hear another voice in the Church. But perhaps even beyond the “ordained”, it might be considered by those among the baptised who truly demonstrate something of such a charism and seek to put it at the service of the faith community. Sr Judy Coyle IHM, Johannesburg
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Special Focus on CATHOLIC EDUCATION special supplement to The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Edited by Mandla Zibi & Kelsay Correa
Harness the power of Catholic faith Amid the bleak realities of South Africa’s education, Catholic schools have the power to shine a light, argues EVONa REBElO.
HERE has been much discussion about the relevance of Catholic schools in this day and age. While most are aware of the significant historical contribution Church schools have made to the intellectual and social capital of our country, there is growing uncertainty about their role today. Materialist ideologies have reduced humans to cogs in a mechanistic world, devoid of spiritual meaning. Economic rationalists assert that the primary aim of schools is to graduate good citizens who will enhance the economy through appropriate work skills. The Catholic school can go a long way to countering these dehumanising trends. Christian Brother Louis de Thomasis, in his thought-provoking book Dynamics of Catholic Education, reminds us that although the Catholic school is not the Church, it shares in its evangelising mission
and can promote the renewal of the Church, “becoming the exemplar of a spiritual dynamic that is so needed in our new globalised world”. Catholic schools need to provide “a liberating intellectual education and an experience of human and religious development for its students”. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education in 2014 noted that “the young people we are educating today will become the leaders of the 2050s”. But, it asked: “What will religion’s contribution be to educating younger generations to peace, development, fraternity in the universal human community? How will we… educate them to gratitude, to a sense of awe, to asking themselves questions, to develop a sense of justice and consistency? How will we educate them to prayer?” Catholic schools are challenged to develop a better understanding of a Catholic perspective of human nature—a Catholic anthropology. Do teachers and parents really know the story of Catholic beliefs about the human person? Catholic anthropology draws its inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus. His dream for the realisation of an “abundance of life” (Jn 10:10) epitomises the core of a
Catholic anthropology—life lived fully to one’s potential as a relational being.
opefully teachers don’t just teach subject matter without reflecting on the assumptions made in the curriculum about human nature. Do our life skills sessions on selfesteem and sexuality express what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God? Are our behaviour modification programmes
formative and restorative? Is community development and social justice taken seriously? Do science lessons inculcate a sense of wonder for the mystery and beauty of God’s creation? Educating youth is tough work, and it’s getting tougher every year. In independent and public schools, the demands are exhausting. But we in Catholic education have at our disposal a real treasure—our special religious character. It allows us to promote a Catholic anthropology.
Ultimately we want our children to be literate, numerate, critical thinkers who will find purpose in whichever economic enterprise they commit themselves to. But more than that, we want them to be attentive to relationships of justice with their fellow human beings and the earth. We want them to serve the common good and actively seek to make a difference to their world. We hear a great deal about the crisis in education. Despite receiving the largest tranche of the national budget, we are not seeing the fruits that we had hoped for. South African children perform dismally in international numeracy and literacy tests. Around 60% of our learners drop out before matric, thus contributing to the staggering youth unemployment rate of 63%. While the legacy of Bantu education has a lot to do with this, there are a multitude of other factors at play. There are about 26 000 schools in South Africa today, of which only 348 are Catholic. The vast majority of these Catholic schools are public schools on private property, which means they are state-funded. These schools are confronted by the same socio-economic constraints as the schools belonging to the state. And Continued on page 15
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Big step forward in Catholic education The structure of Catholic education has changed with the setting-up of the Catholic Board of Education. FR HUGH O’CONNOR explains why this is a good thing.
ATHOLIC education is the remaining major institutional footprint of the Church in Southern Africa. And if there is value in the Church’s presence at the margins of society—“getting the smell of the sheep”, as Pope Francis is often quoted as saying—then the vital importance of the continued mission of the Church in education needs to be recognised and supported. This mission is not just for Catholics or the good of the Church but for the good of the wider society. Over the many years since the first Catholic schools were founded in South Africa, great sacrifices have been made for Catholic education, especially by countless sisters and brothers who taught in them and supported the work done. Today that work continues through the commitment of many who give of their time and talent for the education of children because they believe in the value of Catholic education for today, for the children and for the country. In recent years the owners of Catholic schools, and people involved in educational leadership, have recognised the need to streamline the various bodies involved in the provision and service of
young Catholic school pupils get together for a reading lesson. Catholic education in south africa has been unified under the new Catholic Board of Education, a great step forward according to Fr Hugh O’Connor. Catholic education. Over the past two years, especially, there has been a concerted effort to make this a reality. Many meetings have been held and much time has been spent thinking and planning the best way forward, taking into account the people and resources at hand. This journey of discernment has led to the formation of the Catholic Board of Education, as a result of which the Catholic Schools’ Proprietors Association (CaSPA) and the Board of the Catholic Institute of Education fall away.
The vision statement of the new board expresses the breadth of its work: “Rooted in the Good News of Jesus Christ, the members honour and develop our Catholic education heritage. In recognition of the critical role of education in South Africa, they respond to our evolving society. “The members reflect on, discern and engage with their responsibility to serve generously, and to be the voice of Catholic education. As stewards, they are committed to promoting the common good, giving particular attention to sharing
of resources more equitably, and to an ethic of care. They will support our places of learning in their mission to be communities of excellence and hope.” The board exists to nurture alive the Gospel values in the broad Catholic tradition, and to seek greater equity within the schools network. It is a given that striving for educational excellence, as well as support for schools and children in need, remain priorities. In honouring the heritage of Catholic education the new board owes a debt of gratitude to the pio-
neers of Catholic education—those courageous women and men who saw education as important and who founded and sustained schools in times of plenty and in times of difficulty. They will also build on the work of the parents of children in the schools who supported the schools and who continue to make a meaningful contribution to their ongoing success. Over the years work in the schools has been sustained also by the governors, the administrative staff, the support staff along, with the ground staff, who are a valuable part of the team that makes a school successful. The teachers in Catholic schools are a vital resource helping to keep the Catholic ethos alive into the future: and the board will seek to provide the necessary support to help them with their mission. Times have changed and new realities and challenges face Catholic education. These challenges need to be met and overcome. In order to fulfil its vision and mandate, the Catholic Board of Education needs the support of the whole Church community in order for it to support the continued provision of services for children in the schools. It is critical that the long view be taken, considering the crisis that currently affects South African education. Catholic education does matter, and the Catholic Board of Education will strive to serve both the needs of the Church and Catholic community as well as the wider society by seeking to support education of excellence, and by providing spaces for the grace of God to be active.
SAINT PETER CLAVER SCHOOL PO BOX 5233, LENGAU 9503, SOUTH AFRICA 6148 CONSTANTIA, MAOKENG 9499, SOUTH AFRICA TEL: +27 (0)56 214 1211 • FAX: +27 (0)56 218 2440 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Established by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1916 in Marabastad Kroonstad, St Peter Claver School is now situated in Constantia Maokeng, Kroonstad. The school offers affordable, quality education from Gr R – Grade 6. The Ethos of the school and its activities reflect the belief that the Goodness of God is to be found in each individual and in every aspect of life. This year St Peter Claver Primary School is celebrating its Centenary.
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
We can all be teachers on ecology When it comes to the future of our planet, we are all teachers, ClaiRE MaTHiEsON argues.
Climate change is real and needs the active engagement of all in society, from small children to adults to the nationâ€™s policymakers. We have to look to the future when planning and put climatesmart development in place.
UR childrenâ€™s education is not exclusively received from our schools. Similarly, our religious education is not exclusively derived from the Church, cooking not entirely learned from recipes, and how to make a good first impression not completely taught through self-help books. In fact, much of what we do is learnt through example. For children, the most spongelike of our kind, some of the most fundamental life lessons are taught through the actions and examples set by those surrounding childrenâ€” adults and leaders. This is not news. But what strikes me as odd is that despite knowing the potential impact our actions have, many leaders and adults continue with business as usual. This will result in two things: firstly, our children will learn that itâ€™s okay not to careâ€”and this has its own ramificationsâ€”and secondly, our children will have to deal with the impact of our actions, or lack thereof. In the case of climate change it seems profoundly bizarre that we are not leading by example at every level and are failing taking action now. We are already seeing those two consequences at play: our older children are a mixed bag of doers and nay-sayers, and our children are already feeling the effects. With
There is a nobility in caring for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Pope Francis in Laudato Siâ€™
eight provinces in South Africa now declared disaster areas due to drought, weâ€™re all seeing what climate change will do in the future. South Africa is water-stressed. We do not have enough water in places where itâ€™s needed, and when it comes, itâ€™s too much too quickly. Our infrastructure, made to last 20 years, is degraded at a much faster rate, and our finances are split between repairing infrastructure and having to keep up with the development needs of a growing population. Pope Francisâ€™ thoughtful and timely encyclical on ecology, Laudato Siâ€™, says that climate change is real and mainly â€œa result of human activityâ€?. And while every South African can attest to some
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changes in our climate, not everyone seems interested in actingâ€” even if acting would apply pressure on our policy-makers to make climate-smart decisions.
recent study in Kampala, Uganda, put a number to this apathy. The study found that the price of inaction on climate change would cost the country 20 times more than building in ways that anticipate climate changes. Yes, climate-smart planning in infrastructure is expensive, but at 20 times higher after just ten years of inaction, can Uganda afford to ignore this? The effects of the climate on South Africans are different to those Ugandans are feeling, but they are
no less severe. And in most disastrous things in life, it is the poor who are most affected. The pope was clear: solving climate change means protecting the planet and vulnerable people, and we must hear, as the Holy Father said, â€œboth the cry of the earth and the cry of the poorâ€?. What if green buildings no longer made the news because they were so commonplace? What if clean technology was the norm? Perhaps our lights would stay on longer because we used renewables. Perhaps infrastructure would last longer because we made it climateproof. Perhaps our poor wouldnâ€™t be as badly affected. We would be better people; we
would be better Christians. We must applaud the efforts of the local Church in setting the right example. Weâ€™ve also seen great examples in schools: teachers conducting solar projects, recycling challenges and explaining climate science, weather patterns and clean technologies to their learners. But there seems to be a disconnect. Between the pope and our children, there is a huge population of adults simply not acting. We need to act ourselves. Shouldnâ€™t it be an obvious choice that Catholic buildingsâ€”schools, chanceries and institutionsâ€”all adopt green technologies? We save and fundraise for years to build new structures. Shouldnâ€™t we save just a few more months to afford better climate-smart technology that will last longer, produce lower emissions, and set an example? Shouldnâ€™t the Church lead the way in all activities? It wonâ€™t be easy, but itâ€™s what weâ€™ve been called to do by the pope. â€œReducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.â€? Let us all be like Pope Francis. Let us all be the leaders our children want us to be. Let us teach by example. n Claire Mathieson, former news editor of The Southern Cross, now spends her time trying to convince African policy-makers to lead their countries along a development path that is compatible with climate-smart activities.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Religious ed must be at heart of Catholic schools
Religious Education in Catholic schools can help build social justice, writes GilliaN sTUBBs.
T the core of religious education in South African Catholic schools is the 2005 guiding document, Fostering Hope. Its foreword sets the scene. Those committed to Catholic schools believe that Religious Education (RE) lies at the heart of a school’s curriculum which should
reflect clearly the special character of the school and be part of the Church’s evangelising mission. They would desire that this mission include the whole school community and go beyond the classroom by becoming the concern of all. The vision outlined in this document is in harmony with the national curriculum and the Constitution. RE is necessarily outcomes-based and it finds a natural place in Life Orientation. It is therefore hoped that this vision will do much to bring about the desired outcomes in this partic-
ular area of the curriculum, especially in the light of the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental human right. Examining Fostering Hope as a Catholic educator, I’m humbled by the responsibility invested in me to give witness to the Gospel. I am challenged, however, by the disconnect between building a rich faith community at school and living in the midst of an extremely consumer-driven society and a generally narcissistic culture. We live in a country, too, which challenges us to experience the social teachings of the Church in a very meaningful and authentic way. The RE curriculum allows a responsibility of compassion, to work within the landscape of deep pain, anger, and disparity assailing us on so many levels; yet myriad stories of hope bring consolation and grace. Living through the growing pains of our young democracy, we are challenged more than ever to experience our faith through honest and real dialogue.
he preamble of the Constitution encapsulates our mission with its injunctions to recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and to believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. Pope Francis also gives us something to ponder.
learners from st Theresa Mercy school in Johannesburg pass on the archdiocese’s pilgrim cross to their counterparts at Brescia House. The cross travels from one Catholic school to another before their Grade 11s come together for the annual Catholic schools Mass in the cathedral of Christ the King. “Education cannot be neutral. It is either positive or negative; either it enriches or it impoverishes; either it enables a person to grow or it lessens, even corrupts him,” he says. “The mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful. And this occurs through a rich path made up of many ingredients. This is why there are so many subjects—because development is the result of different elements that act together and stimulate intelligence, knowledge, the emotions, the body, and so on,” according to the pope. Teaching RE within both junior and senior schools certainly provides ample opportunity to experience the beauty of faith on many different levels. From the spontaneity, openness and positivity of an al-
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most “blind faith” in the junior school students towards a more discerning/questioning maturity of the teens. Teaching RE within both schools thus affords me the wonderful opportunity to engage with a variety of ages, levels of spiritual maturity and stages of development. It is, I humbly acknowledge, a rare privilege. Due to the range of ages, the planning involves a great deal of insight, intuition and passion. The scope to engage students on relevant issues is phenomenal. Despite a well-planned curriculum, the broad arena of RE demands that we remain focused on a purpose-driven life, and that teachers remain deeply rooted in that philosophy. Through RE, relationships are nurtured, opinions respected/challenged, faith deepened/explored and a sense of balance created/restored. Catholic schools have a hugely rich tradition to draw from, irrespective of our founding charism. Ethos is celebrated in a tangible way through liturgies, activities, building school communities, outreach, pastoral care, the hopeful energy prevalent, presence of committed staff and pupils and so much more. n Gillian Stubbs is the head of RE/Ethos at Springfield Convent School in Cape Town.
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La Salle offers: Smaller classes which ensure personalised attention and individual monitoring of academic progress. A pastoral care system which encourages self-discipline and personal growth which helps each child achieve their God-given potential. Professional staff committed to all round excellence in education and concern for the total development of the individual learner. First class academic facilities Sport and cultural activities in which the learners are expected to participate. Entrance exams take place in July. Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org Slabbert Street Discovery 1709 P O Box 6183 Ansfrere 1711 www.lasalle.co.za 011 472 3524
"You cannot speak of Catholic education without speaking about humanity, because the Catholic identity is precisely that God became man.”
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Racism: Our schools can again lead the way Issues of race and racism have moved into the centre of South Africa’s pubic discourse. FR RUssEll POlliTT sJ suggests that Catholic schools can lead the way to justice.
ACE has become a major feature in the news and on social media in South Africa. Racial undertones have always existed; this we cannot deny. Several racial storms have been unleashed this year, starting with Penny Sparrow’s racist comments on social media early on New Year’s Day. These racial incidents invariably spark a war of words on social media. This put issues around race solidly back on the public agenda in South Africa. Politicians have already begun to use race in their narratives; it is, after all, an election year. It was one of the first issues President Jacob Zuma addressed in his State of the Nation Address on February 11. Maybe the bigotry by Penny Sparrow and all the others did us all a favour—it got people talking about a history we simply cannot ignore. Now, more than ever, South Africa has to face issues around race. It is interesting to study the South African Reconciliation Barometer published by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in December 2015. In its key findings, the report says that 61,4% of South Africans say that race relations have stayed the same or deteriorated since 1994. Only 35,6% say that they do not experience racism in their daily lives. Even more concerning is that trust between people of different races living in the country remains low. Some 67,3% of all respondents said that they do not trust fellow citizens of other racial groups. The report found that most interracial interaction occurred in public spaces—work, study or shopping contexts. Interaction in private homes or social gatherings is limited. People who are economically
better off reported higher levels of racial interaction than those who are economically worse off. Most respondents, 71%, said they believe that it is important to strive for a united South African nation. 75,5% of respondents said that being South African was a very important part of their identity. The report says that economic inequality is the major source of division in the country. Most respondents (61,4%) agreed that it is impossible to achieve a reconciled nation for as long as those who were economically excluded under apartheid continue to be excluded. Although people expressed a desire to have more contact with people of other race groups, it is clear that economic and spatial contexts created by apartheid continue to play a large factor in keeping people apart. This also serves to reinforce old prejudices. Legislated race-based discrimination defined apartheid. Every aspect of people’s lives was controlled by legislation: where they lived, where they socialised, where they played sport, whom they loved and even where they were buried was all determined by the colour of their skin. The architects of apartheid built a structure that, without legislation, continues to sustain its central tenets and so, in many ways, the system is sustained. It is this structure that continues to affirm racial prejudice. Social and economic division has reinforced racial prejudice. It is interesting to note in the IJR report that many South Africans believe the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the 1990s did not help the country come to terms with its history and initiate a healing process. The TRC opted for a restorative, non-punitive model, which emphasised truth rather than the punishment of those perpetrators who were willing to disclose their deeds. The TRC has been criticised, in recent years, for being ineffectual and letting perpetrators off the hook. The IJR points out that the TRC had a limited lifespan and it was up to government to carry forward the recommendations it made. This, however, has not been done well.
“Catholic education has led the way in the past in defeating institutionalised racism. Now, let us see this same system leading the way so that justice prevails,” Fr Russell Pollitt sJ writes. There are also generational differences in the evaluation of the work done by the TRC. Many young, dissatisfied South Africans will not remember the work of the TRC, and yet they find themselves living in conditions created by apartheid.
owards the end of 2015 something changed in South Africa. For many years disadvantaged people living in impoverished townships had tried to make their voices heard. Issues around access to education and other basic services have been the focus of many protests. Their plight has been largely ignored by government. Young people have brought the struggle to the cities, into the country’s tertiary education sector. Widespread protests erupted on campuses across the country. Uni-
versity administration and government powers were confronted. Young people who continue to feel culturally and economically excluded, desperately tried to make their voices heard. Campaigns like #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall have become national and international symbols of the struggle for justice. It is clear that young disadvantaged South Africans have become impatient with the lack of transformation—on all fronts—in South Africa. When tertiary institutions opened for the new school year in February 2016, the protests continued. Those who have economic power will get a better start in life simply because they have resources. Many young people are excluded from a future, not based on merit, but because they are poor. This per-
petuates the country’s history of racism. It is going to take great commitment from every sector to transform South Africa into the kind of society enshrined in the country’s Constitution and envisioned in Catholic Social Teaching. The US bishops described this well in 1986: “When we deal with each other, we should do so with the sense of awe that arises in the presence of something holy and sacred” (in “Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and US Economy”). In this Year of Mercy it seems appropriate that we embark upon a journey of critical self-reflection around race. It seems entirely appropriate that we ask what role Catholic education can play in becoming a tool to empower those who, for a long time, have been disempowered because of the colour of their skin. It seems imperative that we ask how Catholic education can play a role in bringing about transformation. We need to go beyond collecting tins of food or clothing for the poor, or making sure that we have people of colour in our schools. We need to go beyond offering a few scholarships. A much more radical approach needs to be adopted if we are going to save South Africa from its current crisis and create a hopeful future. How can Catholic education help young people move out of poverty and give them opportunities for a future that breaks the cycle of poverty that they are trapped in? Perhaps the question we should be asking is: Are we willing to sacrifice more for the greater good? Answering this question will require moral courage, vision, shared responsibility for the common good and a well thought-through strategy. Catholic education has led the way in the past in defeating institutionalised racism. Now, let us see this same system leading the way so that justice prevails. n Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the director of the Jesuit Institute.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
A word from Catholic education stakeholders Workers and leaders in Catholic education have a unique perspective on education and its influence on children and society in general. Here we asked a range of people to give their views on the most important aspects of Catholic education and their contribution to it. Here we present a crossection of Catholics involved in education in the Western Cape.
Fr Mark Pothier, school chaplain Fr Pothier serves as chaplain to Star of the Sea Convent School and St James Primary in Kalk Bay, Cape Town. He enjoys a warm relationship with both learners and staff. Fr Pothier’s involvement has done much to strengthen the Catholic character of these schools. “I enjoy being involved in these schools. I try to pop in regularly so that the children and staff get to know me. In addition to the liturgical services, I attend the big school functions that I’m invited to. “Both these schools have positive contributions to the intellectual and spiritual capital of the community.”
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Br Terry Dowling Christian Brothers Association chair Br Terry Dowling is the chair of the Christian Brothers Association. He sits on numerous school boards and has been involved in Catholic education for many decades. “Catholic schools perform a vital role in terms of young people and their parents in this day and age of antagonisms and non-acceptance— in social, political, cultural, economic and religious spheres. “The ethos enshrined in Catholic education endeavours to promote the holistic education of the young person—spiritual, academic, physical, cultural. Moreover , Catholic education and the Catholic school always seeks the common good and not just individual glory. It thus will always promote the understanding and acceptance of ‘the other’— human beings, other faiths, other cultures, care for the Earth, he said. “Catholic schools need the support of the Catholic community if they are to keep going and in facing the huge economic challenges to provide what they stand for.”
Gloria Naidoo, St Anthony’s Heathfield Gloria Naidoo is the principal of St Anthony’s in Heathfield, Cape Town. The school celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Ms Naidoo has been involved in Catholic education and parish-based catechesis all her life. “I am retiring at the end of this year and thus closing a significant chapter in my life. Leading a Catholic school has been a deeply fulfilling vocation and has allowed me to touch the lives of countless children, teachers and parents. “The Catholic school model of education is relational and our school community has become an extended family. This provides the ideal environment for the child to grow in mind, heart and spirit.”
Tracia Prins, St Mary’s Primary School, Cape Town Not only did Tracia Prins attend St Mary’s as a learner but she returned to teach there. She is in her second year of teaching. “I am so glad that I got a post at St Mary’s. This is the school that shaped me and now I am in turn, able to shape others. I am currently doing the “Echoing the Word” course and developing my skills as an RE teacher.”
Michelle Sylvester, St George’s Grammar School, Cape Town Michelle Sylvester is the deputy head of St George’s Grammar School in Cape Town. A past pupil of St Augustine’s Primary School, she was appointed to her alma mater School Governance Board (SGB) by the Dominican Sisters as their representative “As a past pupil of a Dominican school, it is an honour for me to serve on the SGB at St Augustine’s. The school has a proud track record of furthering the aims of transformation in this country—particularly during the era when quality education was denied to so many. I have the greatest admiration for the managers and governors at the school,” she said.
Chris Swanepoel, Western Cape Education Chris is the circuit team manager in Oudtshoorn and has responsibility for all the public schools in that district, including St Konrad’s in Dysselsdorp and Sacred Heart College in Oudtshoorn. Mr Swanepoel and his team are incredibly supportive of Catholic schools. “The Catholic schools have a good reputation for providing solid education in a disciplined and pastoral environment. “The Church has done a great deal for the people in this area and we wish to support this legacy.”
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
The tailor from Landsend W Taydren Van Vuren, CBC St John’s Parklands
Fr Hugh O’Connor, vicar for education, Cape Town
Taydren is the head prefect at CBC St John’s. She has recently completed the Trailblazer programme in social justice leadership. She hopes to study law with a specialisation in human rights. “As I approach the end of my school career, I am filled with mixed feelings—excitement, trepidation and also gratitude. I am grateful for the quality education that I have received. Every school strives for academic, sporting and cultural excellence but the Catholic school goes further. It grows you spiritually. “Through spirituality and social justice programmes, I have been able to grow in understanding of the inequities in society and have been challenged to respond.”
Fr Hugh O’Connor is the chair of the Catholic Schools Board and the Catholic Schools Trust in Cape Town. He is a “hands-on” vicar for education and is involved in a myriad of administrative and pastoral duties pertaining to education. “Catholic education provides an important vehicle for the mission of the Church. Historically, Catholic schools have made a significant contribution to the transformation of South African society and continue to be a moral force to be reckoned with. “The majority of our schools serve marginalised communities and in spite of the great odds, are able to provide quality education. It represents the last institutional footprint of the Church in South Africa.”
Treston Brown, School Governance Board chair Treston Brown is a past pupil of the now defunct St Columba’s School and is the chairperson of the School Governance Board at St John’s in Kensington. “Every parent wants the best for their children and that is why I got involved in school governance. I have a professional background in corporate finance and I am a committed Catholic. “I believe in serving the community and choose to live out this call through school governance. It has been a challenging and demanding task and I have learned a great deal about the education sector. We are blessed at St John’s to have an enthusiastic and hard-working SGB.”
HEN you drive out of Mthatha towards Queenstown, shortly after the airport, there is a turnoff into the valleys of the deep countryside of the Eastern Cape, the road to Landsend. That’s where you would find Sinovuyo Mandoyi, a tailor of a very special kind. After studying arts and design in Buffalo City he decided to make a living as a designer and producer of ethnic dresses, shirts, bags and caps. Mr Mandoyi was one of the exchange students who went to Germany on the Fundisanani Project in 2014. He also attended the Catholic Institute of Education’s Thabiso Skills Institute workshop on small business skills in June 2015. He said that the course motivated him to pursue his goal and grow his venture. Hubertus von Lindeiner and Fawzia Naidoo of the Thabiso Skills Institute of the CIE visited Mr Mandoyi and were not only impressed by the beauty of his products but also by the way he did his costing and managed his modest income. For example, for every minute he sits at his sewing machine he factors in R0,42 per minute. Or: dozens of varieties of buttons are catalogued and coded according to a system developed by himself and neatly filed. And it doesn’t stop there. Debtors and creditors are meticulously reported in large counter books. At present, Mr Mandoyi is running his business from his home
sinovuyo Mandoyi, a tailor from the Eastern Cape, is a graduate of the Catholic institute of Education’s Thabiso skills institute workshop on small business skills, a course he said aided him enormously in pursuing his dream. in Mthatha, sewing for a few of his local clients. What he needs in order to expand his business is to market himself more consistently and to have a steady supply of stock. But he is also aware of the fact that with his three sewing machines, should the business pick up, he would have to manage his resources and employ someone. And this, he said, can be a huge challenge when it comes to his peers.
Mr Mandoyi has shown commitment to his dream and has always been enthusiastic about sewing. It was his drive that prompted the Thabiso Skills Institute to visit him in Mthatha to see how they can assist him in his business. The fruits of that visit are now evident. n If you would like to place an order with Mr Mandoyi or assist him in any way please contact Tel: 047 532 3714 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Malcolm Gertse, Salesian Skills Centre Malcolm Gertse is a teacher at the Learn to Live School of Skills run by the Salesians. “My two passions are youth development and social activism. Working at Learn to Live has allowed me to marry the two. “We work with marginalised youth and this is tough but very rewarding. Our children have dropped out of the system and this is often their last chance. I know we are making a difference.”
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Could a school shooting happen in SA? School massacres are becoming increasingly frequent in the US. High levels of violence in many SA schools and easy access to weapons could present a danger here too, warns Dr MaRK POTTERTON.
HE American public was momentarily shocked when a student opened fire, killing nine people and injuring nine others in a rural Oregan College last year. A New York Times investigation found that the shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, had been in the army for a month in 2008, but was discharged before completing basic training. The following year, Harper-Mercer graduated from a learning centre that teaches students with learning disabilities and emotional issues. Before the shooting on October 1, 2015, he owned 14 firearms—all bought legally through a licensed firearms dealer. Just over a week later, on October 9, one person was killed and three injured in a shooting at Northern Arizona University. Later that morning, a shooting at a student complex near Texas Southern University left another person dead. In June 2015, Dylann Roof, 21, shot and killed nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight
a student prays at a school in Centennial, Colorado, in December 2013, after a 17-year-old girl was shot in the head by a heavily-armed classmate who had stormed the school. south african schools can be places of violence, and Mark Potterton offers some advice on how to forestall Us-type massacres here. (Photo: Rick Wilking, Reuters/CNs) people died at the scene; a ninth died in hospital. After his arrest he confessed and claimed that he wanted to start a race war. Can mass shootings like those experienced in the United States happen in South Africa? The reality in South Africa is that violence is already a pervasive part of the social fabric of our society. Recent newspaper articles caution that violent crime is threatening to turn South Africa’s public
schools into war zones. News reports have also alerted us to the apparent rise in violence in schools. A 2012 national survey of 5 939 young people found that 22,2% of South African youth had experienced violence while at school in the 12 months between August 2011 and August 2012.That translates to one in five high school pupils. In 2006, Ronnie Casella of the South African Psychiatry Review and I
observed that the minister of Safety and Security at the time, Charles Nqakula, had declared certain areas, such as schools, firearm-free zones. The South African Police Services, in collaboration with schools, began implementing this law. The age of a person permitted to own a gun was raised from 16 to 18.
owever, while gun policies associated with the Firearms Control Act are important in managing
the ownership of guns and can help in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, it remains easy for many youths, even those under the legal age for gun ownership, to get a gun. A survey exploring young people’s access to firearms showed that around a quarter of the respondents in Gauteng would be able to obtain firearms from their homes. Knives and other weapons were even more accessible. In 2008, Morné Harmse, a finalyear Krugersdorp pupil, killed another learner by slashing his throat, using a samurai sword. He then went on to wound another pupil and two of the staff at the school. Newspapers reported that “Satan” had told Harmse to do it. One newspaper reported that he had been bullied at school and had low self-esteem because he was physically smaller than his peers. It was also reported that he had discussed with his friends how he would go about perpetrating a Columbine-type of massacre at the school, referring to the killing of 13 by two armed pupils in a Colorado school in 1999. Another article blamed the influence of heavy metal rock band Slipknot (the group’s singer Corey Taylor responded by saying that “obviously I’m disturbed by the fact that people were hurt and someone died; as far as my responsibility for that goes, it stops there, because I know our message is actually very positive”). The Harmse attack, at least based on popular media reports, blamed a range of factors for the killing: Satanism, bullying, poor self-esteem, Continued overleaf
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EDUCATION heavy metal music, copycat action, and behaviour change. But what exactly triggers this kind of extreme violence? Harvard researcher Katherine Newman and her colleagues carried out more than a hundred interviews with victims, bystanders and perpetrators of crimes after a wave of mass shootings. They reviewed the various hypotheses that had been put forward to explain these shootings, including media violence, bullying, gun culture, family problems, mental illness, peer relations, demographic change, a culture of violence and copycatting. Their conclusion was that most of these hypotheses contained an element of truth, but that one factor was not enough, and that a combination of factors acted as a trigger. Newman and associates developed a theory and proposed that five necessary but not sufficient factors needed to be present in rampage shootings. These can also be applied in the Krugersdorp stabbing case. The first factor is the perpetrator’s perception of himself as being on the periphery of the social group. Elements such as bullying, exclusion and isolation, being different and on the fringe underpin this factor. The second factor is that perpetrators suffer from psychosocial problems that magnify alienation. Severe depression, abuse, mental illness and other vulnerabilities reduce resilience. The third factor is cultural scripts. These provide models for solving problems, such as “killing peers and teachers resolve problems”.
The fourth factor—and the one I choose to focus on later— is the failure of the school to notice that things are not going well and that a child requires closer attention. In some cases the United States perpetrators gave some sort of signal of what was going to happen. The fifth factor is the ease by which perpetrators can access guns or, in the Krugersdorp case, a sword.
ow levels of violence have become endemic in South African society and schools need to offer an alternative way to deal with conflict. From a school perspective, we need to immediately do away with many of the practices that foster violence. Practices such as corporal punishment, which teach children the values of degradation, force and humiliation, have to be eliminated. Intimidation by leaders and teachers also needs to be avoided in school situations. Discipline is best done privately and should avoid humiliating pupils publicly. Teaching and learning need to be central in schools, particularly since performance is a measure of self-worth for most pupils. Schools need to make sure that teaching time is used effectively, and that pupils of all abilities are engaged in classrooms. Each pupil needs to be assisted to achieve the best he or she can. Each pupil needs to experience a sense of accomplishment and his or her efforts need to be recognised and rewarded. Teachers need to be vigilant
and monitor pupil behaviour. If there is a change in the way in which a pupil behaves, then they ought to do something about it. From a policy perspective, school policies must ensure the safety of pupils. Policies and codes of conduct that are developed collaboratively should be communicated and understood by everyone in the school community. From a conflict resolution perspective, it is important to teach pupils how to deal with conflict when it arises. Schools should not just expect pupils to solve all their problems on their own as if they have the means to do so; rather pupils should be involved in problem-solving and violence prevention wherever possible. Schools need to ensure that there are adults to supervise pupils, and that these adults are visible in high risk areas. These adults need to take an active interest and make sure safety is a real concern. If drugs and weapons are a serious problem then the school needs to conduct regular unannounced searches. In the final analysis, it is difficult to predict where and when the next school massacre will happen. The South African context of violence, as well as the context of violence in schools, together with poor levels of pastoral surveillance, continues to provide a fertile ground for more school violence. n Mark Potterton is the principal of Holy Family College in Parktown, Johannesburg. His doctoral research was in the area of school violence.
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Catholic schools can harness power of faith Continued from page 7 yet Catholic schools consistently achieve better results than regular state schools. Jonathan Jansen and Molly Blank, in How To Fix South Africa’s Schools, share ten strategies that they documented in their research in 19 successful schools across the country. These strategies comprise the core of what we believe quality Catholic education espouses: a clear vision of the transformative power of education, committed leadership and passionate educators. We need to improve school facilities. We need school policies to be implemented. We need on-going monitoring and evaluation of our staff and academic results. But most importantly, we need to form people who will promote a Gospel vision. We need to work hard at recruiting and selecting suitable leaders for our schools but we also need to provide them with ongoing training and for-
mation opportunities. The Department of Education will offer curriculum, assessment and management programmes but who will form our people in the art of servant leadership? The authentic Catholic school, through religious education, liturgical and social justice programmes, is able to engage teachers and learners on a journey of becoming “fully human”—an exploration of our distinctive Catholic anthropology which brings us to the realisation that we are indeed the Imago Dei—the image of God. n Evona Rebelo is the director of the Catholic Schools Office in the Western Cape.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Know exactly what you want from tech Schools might feel the need to invest in the latest technology, but they should be careful before they do so, advises FiONa WallaCE, CEO of the CoZa Cares Foundation.
OME readers may remember the first computer labs in South African schools: the heady days of DOS commands, floppy disks and IBM’s Writing Assistant. That was a time when computer literacy was first introduced as a general subject, and teachers were petrified of attempting anything more than Hangman, Solitaire and Encarta with their classes. Those were the days when you really could lose all of the work you had painstakingly typed up over four hours, just by hitting the wrong key. Wikipedia, Google, smartphones, SD cards, WhatsApp, interactive screens, the Cloud—all of these were things of the distant future, unimaginable in the 1990s world. It is difficult to believe that the first Apple iPad was released only on April 3, 2010—just six years ago—and that, in the last decade or so, many new words that have been introduced into daily English usage are linked to our interactions with technology. The American Dialect Society recognises the following “words of the year”: web (1990), e- (as in email, 1998), tweet (2009), app (2010), hashtag (2012).
Just six years since the iPad was launched, South Africa already boasts schools that have integrated tablets fully into their teaching and learning. But let’s be realistic. Many schools have virtually no computer technology at all. In the typical South African school we are likely to find a landline phone (but not necessarily), a printer, possibly a standalone PC for administration, and, if the school is fortunate, a mobile digital projector and laptop, shared by a number of teachers. While many teachers may no longer be able to envisage calculating end-of-term results or completing promotion schedules by hand, “new” 21st-century technology remains inaccessible for a substantial number of the 26 500 schools in our country. It is a sad truth that the imbalances in our schooling system are massive. Those who can afford it have access to schools that have integrated technology into a muchsought-after “paperless” ecosystem. Those who have few resources are forced to make do with schools without stable electricity or even basic amenities. It seems as if the rift in what is known as the “digital divide” between rich and poor grows wider every day.
owever, technology also has the innate capacity to enable schools to narrow the inequality gap in a relatively short space of time. A satellite Internet connection can bring the world’s best libraries to a school located in one of our remotest areas. An intelligent bulk-
it’s hard to believe that the first tablet was released only six years ago. messaging system can instantly interconnect teachers to parents who have access to only a bottom-ofthe-range cellphone. One trolley of 40 laptops or tablets can radically change classroom practice and teaching strategies, if introduced with care and foresight. The pressure to introduce an information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem into all schools is real, and can no longer be avoided by schools. However, for many school leaders and educators, this is an exceptionally daunting prospect, filled with unknowns and deep fears. The hard truth is that ICT is disruptive, it is expensive and it can be exceptionally distracting from the
core business of a school: teaching and learning. The “ICT journey” is complex and time-consuming but, if tackled with insight, enthusiasm and the appropriate knowledge, it is truly worth the effort. Those schools who work with the CoZa Cares Foundation are often puzzled that one of our first questions to them is: “Why do you want to introduce ICT into your school?” Answers range from “Because we must keep up with the times”, to “Our parents now demand it”, to even “The education department told us we had to”. “Why are you embarking on this ICT journey? What do you hope to achieve?” are questions that are
often not fully deliberated before a school invests scarce resources in the purchase of sometimes unnecessary or inappropriate hardware. (Beware the technology company knocking on the principal’s door, promising the silver bullet one-sizefits-all solution—every school is unique.) There is only one valid answer to the question: “We are introducing ICT into our school because we want to improve teaching and learning outcomes.” No other answer will do. No other answer matters. If the answer to the question is, “We aren’t sure”, our advice is: “Don’t start your ICT journey just yet. Delay the purchase of expensive devices and infrastructure until you are.” Any sustainable ICT environment at school level requires exceptionally careful planning of a holistic intervention. There are a number of essential components of any successful intervention. However, core to sustainability is visionary school leadership. This is not a role that can be delegated to a young, techno-savvy staff member. The ICT journey requires people to change their attitudes, entrenched behaviours and traditional teaching strategies. Change is messy and disruptive, and must be managed with sensitivity and forethought. Only a visionary leader, backed by a supportive and empowered team, will be able to manage this change effectively. n The CoZa Cares Foundation is an education consultancy based in Johannesburg specialising in information technology in schools.
Champagnat Day: St joseph’s Marist College celebrated Champagnat Day on 6 june
Regina Coeli: Children from Regina Coeli visit St joseph’s every Friday to participate in a Maths Programme that we have organised with Mad About Maths. this is followed by a programme to enhance sport skills.
Marist Sport Festival: Our u13 Soccer and netball teams participated in a Marist Sport Festival in johannesburg, along with the four other Marist schools in South Africa.
Special needs Unit: Our Special needs Unit pupils enjoying their Egyptian Day
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Meet the only Catholic university in South Africa The field of Catholic education in South Africa is not limited to the Church’s schools—there is also a Catholic university. Its president, Professor GaRTH aBRaHaMs, introduces St Augustine College.
AINT Augustine College of South Africa is the country’s only Catholic university. Although a university in all senses of the word, current legislation prevents St Augustine—as with all private providers of tertiary education—from calling itself a “university”. We will use this term here for clarity. Founded in 1999, St Augustine is registered with South Africa’s higher education authorities, which accredit its degrees. In addition, St Augustine is also canonically recognised as a Catholic university by the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. As a Catholic university, it operates in conformity with the code of canon law and Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. St Augustine is committed to being both “university” and “Catholic”. At the core of the academic enterprise is the pursuit of
truth. For a Catholic university that “truth” is not limited to man and nature—rather, the very idea of the “truth” is premised on the mystery of the Incarnation. Faith and reason are complementary; faith opens the way to step through the door of truth, but, in order to find God and believe, one must scrutinise truth: Intellige ut credas (Understand that you may believe). Although Catholic, St Augustine is neither exclusivist nor parochial. Indeed, the challenge is to imbue in each individual—regardless of religious or cultural differences—an unequivocal respect for the dignity of the human person and a determination to advance the common good. Committed to the spirit and values of the Catholic intellectual tradition, the mission of St Augustine is to produce graduates who have learnt “to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better”. St Augustine offers qualifications at both the post-graduate and undergraduate levels. Postgraduate study, uniquely, combines contact modules with independent study: the contact modules are scheduled four times during the year; students attend one week of intensive lectures and then complete further requirements independently in the following nine or ten weeks. Lecturers on the various courses include those in the permanent employ of St Augustine and visiting academics from some of the great universities of the world—all are ex-
perts in their respective fields. The following degrees are offered: • Bachelor of Theology Honours • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Philosophy • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Peace Studies • MPhil in Theology (The degree allows for specialisation in one of the following areas: Christian spirituality, fundamental and systematic theology, pastoral theology, and canon law.) • MPhil in Philosophy • MPhil in Applied Ethics (The degree allows for specialisation in business ethics or social and political ethics.) • MPhil in Culture and Education • DPhil in Theology • DPhil in Philosophy At the undergraduate level, St Augustine offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Theology (BTh) degrees. Subjects offered in the BA include: communication/cultural studies, economics, geography, history, law, literature in English, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology,religious studies, and IsiZulu. Although obviously suited to future careers in education, politics and government, media and communication, law and business, the interdisciplinary nature of the qualification—with its emphasis on the ability to think independently and critically—prepares graduates more generally for the “world of work”.
st augustine is situated in Victory Park, Johannesburg. The BTh addresses all the principal concerns of theology. Although Catholic in its orientation, the degree is ecumenically open and concentrates on the shared tradition of all Christian denominations. With a solid philosophical foundation, the degree aims to incorporate the contributions of faith, reason and human experience. Apart from those contemplating Christian ministry, the qualification also appeals to persons teaching religion, and those interested in learning more about their faith. Because it is offered by way of evening classes (between 17:00 and 20:30), and because it accommodates those wishing to study on a fulltime basis (over three years) or part-time (over six years), the degree is ideally suited to those in permanent employment. In addition to its degree offerings, St Augustine offers a Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies (HCBS), and a range of short courses that contribute to lifelong learning. Situated in the secure, leafy suburb of Victory Park in Johannesburg, St Augustine prides itself on
the quality of its teaching and research. Through small classes, highimpact teaching and personalised tuition, St Augustine encourages students to engage with relevant subject matter in a critical and interdisciplinary manner. Not surprisingly, the pass rate achieved is higher than that at many South African universities. Although a private college, St Augustine is recognised as a National Research Foundation (NRF) institution; its academics publish widely in national and international accredited journals. It has a well-stocked library covering all relevant disciplines—the Grimley collection of theological texts is one of the most impressive on the continent. To the benefit of its staff and students, St Augustine is a member of a global network of Catholic universities, many of which are among the most highly ranked in the world. St Augustine offers bursaries for deserving students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. n See www.staugustine.ac.za for more information.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Dominican education in SA This year the Dominican order celebrates its 800th anniversary. The order’s influence on Catholic education in South Africa has been profound, as Dominican Father MaRTiNUs BaDENHORsT explains.
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URING the 800 years of the Dominican order’s existence, education has stood central as its ministry. This arises from the order’s mission, which is “Preaching and the Salvation of Souls”. The Dominican order achieves this through traditional preaching and all the other forms of announcing the Kingdom of God in Christ to the world. The order also does its work through praising and blessing. The Dominican motto—to praise, to bless, to preach (Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare)— sums up its prophetic task. Prophets are not just called to announce God (preach), they are also called to bring to people’s lives an experience of what they preach, which is God’s joyful justice breaking into the world. In 1863 the first six Irish Dominican sisters arrived at the Cape to establish schools. This was a scant 26 years after the first bishop—Raymund Griffith, a Dominican—had been allowed into the Cape Colony as its Catholic leader. At that time the missionary priest was really a sort of Indiana Jones carrying a missal. Missionary work was seen as bringing the light of both faith and culture to unyielding pagans. This age saw the great sacrifices made by the missionaries and thought their work must be honoured. At the same time there were also judgments based on a sense of European cultural and moral superiority. This made the role of the religious women as a counterbalance to the adventurer priest so important. As women they suffered under some of the clerical extremes of the adventurer priest and bishop, and because of this chafe, they were deeply focused on the empowering of local people. It comes as no surprise then that the Irish Dominicans, or Cabra Sisters, opened a school for the deaf within a short while of extending their mission to the Eastern Cape. Whereas they had come for the education of colonial girls, they soon opened schools for all children, to empower and support them in the face of the judgments of racial inferiority which infected the colony and its political successors. Later they also spearheaded the opening of private schools to all pupils in 1979 when the government demanded the separation of all schools on racial grounds. Sr Mauritia Tiefenboeck and her companions arrived in 1877 from a foundation of Dominicans in Augsburg, Germany, that had its roots stretching back to 1335. Established in King William’s Town, the sisters quickly expanded their educational ministry and also reached out into the deaf community, bringing them the dignity of an education which placed them on an equal level with hearing people. Sr Tiefenboeck sent her counterparts to assist Fr Louis Mattieu OMI on the farm Oakford, near Durban, in March 1889.
The Dominican sisters processing out of the Oakford Chapel.
The pioneers of deaf education at the Dominican school for deaf children in Wittebome in Cape Town. Fr Mattieu had the care of former slaves from Zanzibar and the farm had become a major mission outreach. By 1890 the sisters had made great progress in establishing educational facilities for all the people in the district. On request from King William’s Town they voted to establish themselves as a separate Dominican group and the Oakford congregation was born.
y 1890 a group of the sisters from “King” were also bound northward for the region which would later be called Zimbabwe. They established both hospitals and schools and assisted the Jesuit priests in their mission in the territory, opening their first school for black girls at Chishawasha Jesuit mission in 1898. Sr Rose Niland, daughter of an Irish refugee, joined King in her 20th year in 1880. She moved from King to Oakford in 1891 and was chosen to make a new foundation of the congregation in Newcastle, KwaZuluNatal. When the school established there did not do well, Oakford decided to withdraw. Under the urging of the bishop, who wanted the sisters to stay, an arrangement was made that sisters wishing to return to Oakford could do so. Five, including Sr Rose, chose to stay and become the founding sisters of the Newcastle Dominican Congregation, inspired by the call to educate. By the 1920s there were already legal hurdles to prevent whites and others living in proximity. This impacted religious life and the Montebello congregation grew out of Oakford to answer the needs of Zulu women feeling the call to the life of study and witness which marks the Dominican order. Under the leadership of Sr Euphemia Ruff of Oakford, the Montebello congregation started with three postulants in 1925 and was eventually affiliated to the Dominican order in 1940 as the Montebello Dominican Congregation. Through the evangelical witness and educational work of
Mother lucy Bader and Mother aloysius both came from the augsburg area of Bavaria. Mother aloysius was one of the first two postulants to enter the order from Germany. the Montebello sisters many women in rural KZN have been empowered. The Dominican men arrived from England in 1917, becoming established in Springs and then in Stellenbosch. The Dutch brethren arrived in 1932 to work in the Free State. The brethren concentrated on the education of clergy and adult laity. They assisted the diocese of Cape Town in the early years, providing seminary education and later responding to the needs of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference in staffing St Paul’s in Hammanskraal, near Pretoria. They not only formed indigenous priests, but were also mentors to bishops chosen from those men. It is with particular fondness that the late Dominican Fathers Oswin McGrath and Bernard Connor— the latter a former Southern Cross editor—are remembered by many clergy and bishops. Present in these spheres of education, Dominicans in South Africa have provided people with hope, empowerment, understanding and dignity. Providing people with an experience of the Kingdom of God, they fulfil their mission to preach and save souls.
The new reality: Media addiction Mark L Pattinson ET’S go back in time—way back—before Thomas Edison figured out how to harness electricity to make a lightbulb. In those very-long-ago days, people of means in the Western world entertained themselves in their parlours with music. Some people had pianos. Others could play instruments to accompany themselves or others singing along. Those who chafed at performing at the drop of a hat for friends and relatives must have breathed a sigh of relief with the development of the phonograph—then a cumbersome box one had to crank like the motorcars of the era to get to play. Then along came the radio. More often than not, it was a “crystal set”, because crystals were used to help bring in the relatively few radio stations in use at the time. People would have to gather around the radio to listen to news and entertainment. The development of television seemed like the next logical step. Later, progress was counted in terms of miniaturisation and portability. Enter the transistor radio, perfect for taking to the beach or a picnic, as long as you had a 9volt battery. Recording technology cast off those old, heavy, shellac-coated 78 rpm records with long-playing discs that could hold 20 minutes of music on each side— and if you still preferred singles, they came in the form of 7-inch 45 rpm vinyl discs. This begat 8-track and cassette tapes, and compact discs. The “portable” TV was still a bit cumbersome, but if you had the arm strength and a cord that was long enough, you could watch TV anywhere you could get a signal. Nor was the storage of information immune to these developments. Libraries were the primary repositories of information. Then came the computer, whose hardware would take an entire floor of space. Then an entire room. Next thing you knew, you could buy a “personal computer” that took the place of a typewriter and could perform additional functions to justify its steep price tag. This inexorable march led to the laptop,
the tablet and the smartphone. Now we have devices that can do all the functions of music, television and text that we take with us wherever we go. Who among us hasn’t seen smartphones sticking out of the back pockets of kids too young to know better, and grown-ups old enough to know better? Of course, this doesn’t take into account the time people spend walking zombie-like on pavements and at malls staring into the screen of their phone, oblivious to virtually everything else. And this is what is has come to: media addiction.
ou won’t find this acknowledged in any of the medical literature—yet. But look at how media addiction compares with addiction to drugs or alcohol or even food. People get into arguments with each other about the addict’s slavish devotion to the substance; when it comes to media, it’s mostly between parents and their kids. Parents, though, are hardly exempt. In a May a study released in the United States by Common Sense Media, more than half of all adults interviewed admitted to having looked at their cellphone screen while driving. That qualifies as risky behaviour. If there’s any difference between the drug addict or alcoholic desperately looking for their next fix, it’s that distracted drivers can
“it’s difficult to know how much effect ten years of iPhones has had on family life.”
Overturn the tables M Y friend Paul and I are amused by our respective political campaigns. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a candidate for a seat on the council of the City of Cape Town. He is a candidate for the state assembly in New York. Once upon a time we thought we were too “spiritual” for politics, which we regarded as the nauseating cant of opportunists and greedy bankers who corrupt them. Paul tells me that he still holds this opinion, and that is the reason why he has decided to attack the “den of evil” from within instead of just campaigning against it from the edges. He also says it is an opportune moment for us to take up Frantz Fanon’s challenge about each generation discovering “its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity”. Going into politics cannot really be regarded as opaque but we play the hands we are dealt. So what is this mission our generation is called to take up or betray? In a nutshell, Paul says it is about breaking the prevalence of greed, idolatry, and corruption in world politics. Sounds idealistic, doesn’t it? Still, laying a brick, even if one, is better than an attitude of despair and defeatism, he says. The truth is that the sharp persistence of injustice and exploitation in the world has gone beyond the crisis stage into a tragedy. It sponsors chronic anxieties in others, fundamentalism of hate, anger and resentment in those who bomb nightclubs, stadiums, malls, bus ranks and all.
What will become of the world shall be determined by the collective majority response, the seed of which we are seeing in movements like Occupy. We are choosing to attack the heart of the dragon because that is the first step for those who are aiming for structural changes of the system. My friend Paul argues that the times demand that we protest now against the spiritual bankruptcy created by the system of advanced capitalism. Paul is a cultural Jew, perhaps an agnostic also. He says it used to be the Judeo-Christian religion that found in the coming of the kingdom of God a condition of justice, fellowship and self-fulfilment.
ut things have changed, Paul says, because the religion became complicit in the silent defeat by capitalism. Now it sees its duty as the hospital or old-age home of the world: visiting and caring for the sick, rather than fighting injustice and morally trying to transform the world. He is being a little harsh, at least on the Catholic Church—successive popes have issued stinging critiques of capitalism—but in some sense he is also right. Christianity has been strangled by its complicity with advanced capitalism, which is inherently agnostic because it is radically materialistic. It no longer knows how to deal with demands of our consumerist culture: “packaged fulfilment, administered desire, managerialised politics, and the general subtle poison of neoliberal economics and politics”.
Point of Media
kill not only themselves but others when behind the wheel of a 1 500kg car. One significant—but not necessarily better—difference is the rate of denial. Sixty percent of parents believe their kids are addicted to media, yet half of all kids agree that it’s true. Still, they can’t stop using media—sometimes more than one form of media at a time. Alcoholics and drug addicts can get sober. As opposed to what their bodies tell them, they can kick the habit. Media, like food, is a different matter. Food addicts can’t renounce eating, or else they’ll die. Similarly, media is all around us; by reading this, you’re using one form or another of media yourself. Can we reasonably expect to turn off all computers and smartphones and TVs and radios and movies and video games and even books? Tom Steyer, the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, said his organisation is going to start touting “device-free dinners”, declaring that face-to-face communication is at risk of becoming a lost art if the situation doesn’t change. Mike Robb, Common Sense Media’s director of research, said today’s children are, in effect, engaging in “the world’s largest real-time experiments”. Research on children in this area “is pretty incomplete. They’re developing, their brains are developing, cognitively, emotionally,” he added. “It’s difficult to know how much effect ten years of iPhones has had on family life. The amount of time kids have spent on different platforms, different devices, has gone up.” Gone are the days when there was “one big, central TV in the house”. n Mark Pattison is media editor for Catholic News Service.
Pushing the Boundaries
Surprisingly, our challenges are similar, whether in New York or Cape Town, because the stranglehold of advanced capitalism is global. Ours is to fight for the poor and marginalised against the politics of gentrification. We have to stand against the modern slavelords—bankers, developers, media moguls, and so on—who control the reigning politics through backdoor deals, mostly corrupt, that poison the well of public policy-making for the benefit of the rich and the elite. In South Africa, we also have not solved the problems of habitation and poverty for the majority. It is a harsh indictment on our political system that there are still people who go to bed hungry and not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Talking justice is good but not enough. At some stage the preachers must come down from the pulpit into the public square and, like Jesus, take up the whip to overturn the tables of the moneylenders who are making our Father’s house a den of thieves. We must contemplate Christ’s warning that there will come a time when all these majestic buildings of worship shall have been destroyed and God be worshipped in men’s hearts; the real temple where God wants to meet us. For indeed, Christ made it clear, no one can claim to love God whom they’ve never seen while they hate their brethren over whom they skip on their way to church.
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The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
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Pray with the Pope
The ‘First People’ General Intention: That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect.
NDIGENOUS people sometimes are described as “pre-invasion” or “pre-colonial”. The word “first” is sometimes used to describe them, as in “First Americans” or “First Australians”. In Southern Africa it seems to me that the Khoisan people would logically be referred to as First Southern Africans. What happens to the original or first peoples when waves of different peoples arrive and take over is the implied focus of the pope’s prayer intention for July. The newcomers often arrived with diseases to which the indigenous had no resistance, powerful military technologies which local armies could not match, and economic systems which wreaked havoc with the natural environment the traditional indigenous economies based upon it. Cattle-ranching clashed with hunter-gathering. In the Americas the arrival of European settlers was catastrophic as indigenous people were frequently enslaved, infected and even deliberately exterminated. The steel weapons and armour of the Spanish enabled them to defeat and subdue vastly superior numbers of native South Americans. This pattern was repeated in many places throughout the world. Smallpox is estimated to have killed 98% of the population in the Polynesian Marquesas Islands. The Russian conquest of its “Far East” is a story of brutal military and cultural subjugation. That some indigenous peoples survived at all is remarkable. How to show respect to such peoples, who have been demoralised and decimated without being patronising? A first step is an acknowledgement of history. In Australia there was the terra nullius debate during which the convenient colonial idea that the continent was empty before colonisation, was finally overturned in law. Modern governments resist such admissions because they fear that indigenous peoples will take them to task and to court for the depredations of the past. However, it is important for the human dignity of a people that its experience of history should be acknowledged. How compensation for the past can be made without creating further dependency is one of the big problems. The North American system of reservations, which often have exemptions from the law of the federal government, appears to be an imperfect setup, and many of the communities in the reservations suffer from severe social and economic problems. The Church’s presence among suffering indigenous peoples can serve to build up a sense of selfrespect through a theology which stresses our common humanity made in the image and likeness of God.
Mission with vigour Missionary Intention: That the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of her mission to the continent, may announce the Gospel with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. NE of the reasons we must pray for Pope Francis is that we have such huge expectations of him. I suppose we all hope that the “Francis effect” will renew and revivify the Church. Imagine what the expectations of him are in Latin America and especially in his native Argentina. Obviously his inspiring example can only really change the Church if it changes us. This will take time. This fact is underlined by a survey done in 2014 in Latin America on how the Catholic Church is doing. The Latinobarometro survey showed that the Catholic Church continues to decline in numbers relative to Pentecostal churches. It also showed that in some countries, particularly Uruguay and Argentina, there is a growth in secularism. The good news of the survey was that a much higher proportion of Catholics (78%) (and Protestants too) have trust in their churches today than they did back in 2011 when the level of trust was 69%. That statistic seems to me to be more significant than the statistic on membership. If it is accurate, that would indicate an increase in morale among Catholics and Christians in general in Latin America. We don’t know for sure whether this increase in confidence in the Catholic Church in Latin America has anything to do with Francis’ leadership, but I would hazard a guess that it does and that it is also to do with a loss of trust in political leaders. Other surveys which have been done more recently flag Francis as the most popular leader in the world. The trust in the Church under Francis holds out the hope for a more fruitful Church in the future, whether that fruit be numerical or something less countable, like joy or missionary zeal or indeed, mercy.
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
De la salle Holy Cross College Junior school in Johannesburg celebrated africa DayThe pupils were asked to wear an item of clothing or accessories representing their culture. Pupils and staff came in traditional outfits, including Zulu, sotho, afrikaans, Nigerian, indian and Malawian. Mother Mary patroness of south africa, was also represented.
assumption Convent Primary school Bible quiz team competed in the inter-Catholic schools Bible Quiz at Veritas College in springs and won first place in the primary school section. seven schools competed in the quiz: st Benedict’s, st Catherine’s, st Thomas, Christian Brothers College, st Dominic’s, Veritas College and Emaromeni school. (Back, from left) Prinita Naidoo, Karabo Mabelane and angelia antonie, (front) Kalista January, teacher s Bondonno, Brittany Pearson, Ella Matthews, Reabetswe Modiga and Tiziana di santolo.
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The 5th annual Catholic primary schools mini soccer and netball festival was held at sacred Heart College in Observatory, Johannesburg. Thirteen independent Catholic and public schools participated in the event. Forty-eight soccer teams took to the 7 fields with a total of 96 soccer matches played. The netball tournament had 42 teams playing a total of 96 matches.
The Bible quiz team of st Benedict’s College in Johannesburg came first place in the high school section of the inter-Catholic schools Bible Quiz competition.
Continuing the tradition of passing the Pilgrim Cross from one Johannesburg Catholic school to another, Grade 11 learners from sacred Heart College presented the Pilgrim Cross to st David’s Marist inanda. The students participated in a short service where they prayed and sang together.
Cade Rhode received his first Holy Communion at Holy Family church in Bellville south from parish priest Fr Bogdan Buksa. Cade is pictured with his 92-year-old great-great grandmother, Doreen Meiring, and his parents. (Photo: abie Cader)
Fr Bernard Makore of st Mary’s cathedral in Cape Town blessed the school and the children of st Mary’s Primary school after the school’s monthly first Friday Mass.
Pilgrimage to Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio), Assisi and Medjugorje Led by Fr. Thabo Motshegoa 24 September – 08 October 2016 R 33 995.00 incl. Airport taxes Pilgrimage to the Holy land Led by Fr. Teboho Matseke 10 – 26 September 2016 R29 995.00 incl. Airport taxes Blessed Benedict Daswa Pilgrimage to the Holy land Led by Fr. Kgarudi Kgonyana 07 September – 16 September 2016 R 25 995.00 incl. Airport taxes Pilgrimage to Fatima: 100th Anniversary Of the Apparitions With an appearance of Pope Francis Led by Bishop Guiseppe Sandri 09 -18 May 2017 R 31 595.00 incl. Airport taxes Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago De Compostela and lourdes Attending the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions With an appearance of Pope Francis Led by Bishop Thaddeus Kumalo 09 – 20 May 2017 R 39 995.00 incl. Airport taxes
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Fr Grant James CO, head of school of st Dominic’s Priory in Port Elizabeth, celebrated his birthday with gifts from Foundation Phase children. Eight children from st Dominic’s parish in stinkwater, archdiocese of Pretoria, received their first Holy Communion from Fr Thokozani Chudze Masina sCP.
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Marist Brothers linmeyer in Pretoria celebrated their annual Champagnat Day to honour the life and work of Marist founder st Marcellin Champagnat. This year the school celebrates 50 years of Marist education. The golden jubilee feast day Mass was celebrated by auxilliary Bishop Duncan Tsoke, who blessed the newly created stained glass window in the High school and the Marcellin Jubilee Centre.
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
A Muslim country that loves Mother T As Mother Teresa’s September 4 canonisation approaches, her fellow Albanians are becoming increasingly excited, as JaMEs MaRTONE reports from the capital Tirana.
LESSED Teresa of Kolkata is everywhere in Albania, the small, mostly Muslim country in south-eastern Europe. The international airport outside the capital, Tirana, is named after her, as is the city’s main hospital and second-largest public square. Sculptures of the famous nun stand at intersections and peer down from churches across the nation of 3 million people. Her photos are taped to shopfronts and hotel entrances and can even be spotted inside the windshields of taxis and private cars. October 19, the day she was beatified in 2003, is a public holiday. According to the 2011 census, about 58% of the nation, known locally as Shqipëri, are Muslims; just over 17% are Christians, with 10% identifying as Catholics, while 24% are either non-religious or belong to other religious groups. “Mother Teresa has made so many benefits for all the world,” said Anila Kika, a government economist. Mother Teresa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and will become a saint on September 4, was “loved in Albania” for her years of charity work in some of the poorest parts of India and around the world, Ms Kika said in an interview on a central Tirana street. The fact that the nun was originally Albanian made this love— and pride—for her even stronger among Albania’s people, believers and non-believers alike, said Ms Kika, an Orthodox Christian. “We all went out to greet her” when Mother Teresa visited Albania in 1991, she said. “All Albania...we are proud of Mother Teresa.” Born to an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in what is now part of Macedonia, Mother Teresa went to India in 1929 as a Sister of Loreto and became an Indian citizen in 1947. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Shortly after she died in 1997, St John Paul II waived the usual fiveyear waiting period and allowed
a man on crutches passes a large banner of Bl Teresa of Kolkata in Tirana, albania. Mother Teresa (right), founder of the Missionaries of Charity, will be canonised by Pope Francis in Rome on september 4. (Photos: CNs) the opening of the process to declare her sainthood. September 4, the date chosen for her canonisation, is the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death and the date previously established at the Vatican for the conclusion of the Year of Mercy pilgrimage of people like her, who are engaged in works of mercy. “There will be celebrations in Rome,” said Sr Rosita, a Missionaries of Charity nun who, along with two of her colleagues, was busy preparing for an evening confirmation Mass by pinning flowers, ivy and white ribbons on the pews of Tirana’s Sacred Heart church. Mother Teresa visited the church on her 1991 trip, and her portrait covers a portion of a side wall. “We are all very happy,” about Mother Teresa’s canonisation, but plans for local festivities are not yet decided, said Sr Rosita, a native of Slovakia. Sr Rosita said that she and the two other Missionaries of Charity live in a place nearby, serving the needs of Albania’s most vulnerable, such as elders with no family, and abandoned and orphaned children, in line with Mother Teresa’s famed ethic of working with “the poorest of the poor”. She mentioned that relatives of Mother Teresa had also lived in a house not far from the church, “a long time ago”.
t the indicated home, no one answered, but a marble plaque to the left of the front entrance read in Albanian—and flawed English—that “The Family of Mother Teresa Lived in These House”. “They were friends with my mother,” said a man, walking by. He appeared to be anywhere from 60-70 years of age and declined to give his name. He said he repaired bicycles for a living, and that he remembered Mother Teresa’s visit to Albania 25 years ago. “Nënë Terezes,” as Mother Teresa is known in Albanian, “is famous here”, he said.
The home in Tirana where relatives of Bl Teresa of Kolkata once lived. (Photo: James Martone/CNs)
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Catholic seminarian Gasper Kolaj, 25, agreed. Not only was Mother Teresa of Kolkata a wellknown figure in Albania, she was famous globally and had put her country of origin on the international map, he said. “It is [Mother Teresa] who made the world know Albania,” said Mr Kolaj. He recalled that he had grown up listening to the stories his parents and other older relatives told about the country’s former communist and militantly atheistic regime, and about the religious persecution it had waged from 1944 to the early 1990s.
Pope Francis recently designated as “martyrs” 38 Catholics who had been killed for their faith in Albania during those years, Mr Kolaj continued, adding that “St Teresa, and now these martyrs...are a testimony that those who believe, never lose”. Arta Sino, a receptionist in a Tirana hotel, said she’d heard the news from some hotel guests and on television about Mother Teresa’s upcoming canonisation and found it interesting She explained that since the 1990s, Albanians were steadily rediscovering the religious roots of their ancestors who had lived before communism, when Muslims and Christians were free to worship, as they are today. Ms Sino said she had been “empty” until five years ago, when “I heard the Quran...and I realised there was life after death”. Now, she said, as a Muslim she prays five times daily. She described Mother Teresa as “a good woman”, but expressed concern the future saint had never married. “God created people to have families, but [Mother Teresa] closed her life to marriage. Why do Catholic [nuns] do that?” Ms Sino asked. Anila Kika, the government economist, said she had “heard many examples of miracles” performed by Catholic saints, something she said economically strapped Albania really needed. Asked if she was implying Mother Teresa might soon be in a position to boost the country’s finances, Ms Kika responded: “Why not?”—CNS
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Have faith: You can perform miracles We all can perform miracles, if we have the faith of a mustard seed. KURT a KRUEGER explains how.
NUMBER of years ago I helped create a miracle! You can too!
Scriptures says: “If you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could move mountains…” I tried it in South Africa while playing beach volleyball with the locals; me being from Los Angeles. A man spiked the ball and came down wrong. You could hear a loud pop, indicating that he had badly torn his connective knee tissues. I dragged him off the court, so that everyone else could play. I asked him if I could help; he gave permission. Using my skills as a teacher of practical sports psychology and knowledge of anatomy, I began guiding him through a detailed breathing, relaxation and visualisation process. It sounded a little like this: “Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. This brings the oxygen to the lower lobes of your lungs, where more of the air sacs are. The air sacs bring the oxygen to the blood. The brain is so smart that it sends more oxygen to the damaged area to heal it faster. Breathing out allows the damaged cells to be released…” At the same time, I gently placed my hands on his knee and periodically thanked God for having healed him. I had never done this kind if thing before. Affirming God curing
someone, just like the Master did. Within 45 minutes, it worked—the man got up and walked away… I never even got his name. This was not just a one-off event either! A number of years later, it happened again. While backpacking with a troop of Boy Scouts, a scout badly twisted or sprained his ankle. With the aid of a staff, he walked up to me as we consolidated the hikers. Again I asked whether I could help, and did the same thing as I had at that beach volleyball court in South Africa—and it worked! It was a simple act of a little faith. Just attempting it, emulating the Master, except he knew what the result was going to be. The Mustard Seed Effect! I was inspired to take
the Scripture and use it and share it with others. People of the Balkans and the Middle East, and further east, have a practice of thumbing or fingering a stone or seed/bead. Some call them “worry stones”.
any people repeatedly use an affirmation or silent prayer. Some use: “Jesus Christ, Lord have mercy on me.” Others, in India, use beads—much like a Catholic Rosary—and intone: “Om Namah Shivaya”, which in Hinduism is considered a powerful healing mantra for all physical and mental ailments The 19th-century Russian books The Way of the Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way—the ac-
counts of a mendicant pilgrim’s journey across Russia while practising the “Jesus Prayer”—describes some amazing experiences of people able to walk in the winter snows of Russia without shoes on. They did so by simply repeating the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner.” I was inspired to lacquer mustard seeds on specially selected small, smooth stones, like those from a stream or the ocean. You might try it. Then keep this small rock in your pocket. When the mind doesn’t need your attention, as walking from one place to another, take it out and repeat the affirmation: “God is my Rock. I have the faith of a mustard seed,” as you thumb the rock.
As often as your mind doesn’t need to focus on a problem or task at hand, simply take out the Mustard Seed Rock and thumb it, feeling the minuscule seeds and mentally repeat, “God is my Rock. I have the faith of a mustard seed.” Of course, you can use another affirmation or prayer of your choice. In the West, they call this a repetitive prayer; in the East, they call it a mantra; in psychology, it is called a cue word or even an affirmation. Whatever name we apply, it works and has for centuries. Just making the choice to try to allow a healing (or other improvement) and thanking God before it happens is having a small amount of faith. Knowing that God is your Rock affirms that he alone is “AllPowerful,” and he is the focus of your life (as he should be). When you repeat this mantra/prayer/affirmation it reinforces your faith and God’s place in your life, and it allows God to be more and more present and active in your life. Focusing on the highest, focusing on God brings wonders. Others may say only Jesus can perform miracles—but what makes you think he doesn’t work through his example and his grace? If only we let go of self or other imposed limitations. God has no limits, no restraint. I took inspiration for this article from Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection and his book The Practice of the Presence of God; and The Gentle Art of Blessing. n Kurt A Krueger is a director of the US Institute of Sports Psychology and has been a university faculty member in psychology and physical education. See www.successsystemsinternational.net
The southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2016
Bishop’s gift of a kidney inspires Indian donor By aNTO aKKaRa
FTER donating a kidney to a Hindu man, Indian Bishop Jacob Muricken says he feels “renewed”. Bishop Muricken, auxiliary in Palai, southern Kerala state, spent a week in a hospital in Kochi after the kidney transplant into 30year-old Sooraj Sudhakan. “Jesus spoke of giving life, and I have experienced it,” the 53year old bishop said. “When I heard Fr Davis Chiramel, founder director of the Kidney Federation of India, speaking at a Bible convention two years ago challenging Christians to give life to others, literally by kidney donation, I decided that I should do that,” Bishop Muricken said. “When the pope declared the Year of Mercy, I decided it was the best time to do it,” the bishop said. Six months ago he contacted Fr Chiramel, who has been facilitating kidney donations to the needy. “I wanted to donate my kidney to a most deserving person. After the tests, I was given a list of matching recipients. I found Sooraj most deserving,” Bishop Muricken explained. A school dropout, 30-year old Sooraj hails from a poor family. Following the death of his father due to snakebite, Sooraj has had to care for his ailing mother Parvathy and wife Rasmi. He was diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago, lost his job and then sold his house to pay for dialysis. Unnikrishnan Kotteri, Sooraj’s brother-in-law, said entire family is “amazed” by the bishop’s act. “This will help strengthen religious harmony,” the Hindu schoolteacher said. “The bishop’s act has removed fear among the religious to donate kidney. This will be big boost for the movement,” said Fr Chiramel. The priest himself donated a kidney to an ailing Hindu electrician in 2009. Since Bishop Muricken’s kidney donation became public, a couple of priests have called Fr Chiramel to express their desire to donate a kidney. As many as 15 nuns and Your prayer to cut out and collect
Bishop Jacob Muricken with kidney recipient sooraj sudhakan’s wife Rasmi. priests have donated kidneys, as well as 70 others under his guidance. The next one to do so is Sr Chaithanya, a member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, who was scheduled to donate a kidney on June 20. Inspired by Fr Chiramel’s advocacy, Fr Sebastian Keezhangathazham of Kanjirappilly diocese donated his kidney in June 2013 to a dying Muslim youth whom he had met during a bus journey. Also inspired by Fr Chiramel’s pioneering example is Kochaouseph Chittilapilly, a leading Catholic industrialist from Kerala, who donated his kidney and has himself launched a fund to support struggling families. Fr Chiramel has even made a 600-km long “Mercy March” across Kerala to promote awareness about organ donation and collect nearly a million consent letters so that the organs of the deceased people can be made available for transplants. Amid a thriving black market, with kidney merchants fleecing distressed families, the priest’s Kidney Federation is a beacon of hope for the poor, sourcing free kidneys from voluntary donors and arranging support for the expensive transplant surgery.
“A willingness to donate is not enough. The kidneys should match. Hence we have developed a cross-donation campaign,” Fr Chiramel said. The federation insists on each beneficiary family joining the cross-donation by which a member of the beneficiary family will be prepared to donate a kidney to a needy person proposed by the federation. The federation also extends financial assistance to dozens of people for dialysis while they await word on a potential free donor arranged by the federation. Fr Chiramel recalled an experience that reflects the deeprooted fears about kidney donation. When he decided to donate his kidney in 2009, a businessman friend tried to dissuade him from the transplant, saying it was “dangerous”. “But when I persisted with my decision, he changed his mind and came forward to donate money to meet the expenses for the transplant. This incident inspired me to form a network to tap into such generous support to help families handicapped by kidney failure,” said Fr Chiramel, who has received dozens of awards for his pioneering work.
Word of the Week
Ciborium: A vessel used to hold the consecrated bread for the distribution of the Body of Christ during Communion. Temporal punishment: Suffering that occurs either in this life or in purgatory that removes the punishment of sins already forgiven.
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: June 25: Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad on the 5th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.
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CIOLLI—Mary anne (Dickie) née Dickson. in loving memory, the mother of my children who passed away on January 23, 2015 after a long illness, loyal and faithful. Will be forever missed and remembered in our prayers by Remo, Catherine, Michael, David, stephen and grandchildren. Rest in peace. LAWRENCE—Beaver. Our beloved husband, father and grandfather left us June 29, 2003 (13 years) on his final journey home to receive his eternal rewards. We have missed your physical presence around us, but your spirit continues to live in our thoughts and in our hearts. Our memories of you are indelible and cannot and will not be erased. Until we meet again, rest in peace. From Elaine, Gary and Elli, Derek and Janice, Wendy and Wolly, Vivian and andrew, leslie and Johan and all the grandchildren. PRETORIUS–ina. Died June 29, 1950. always remembered with much love by her daughter Elaine lawrence. Rest in peace mom.
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. amen. leon and Karen. O MOST beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the son of God, immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O star of the sea, help me and show me where you are, Mother of God. Queen of heaven and earth i humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succour me in my necessity. There is none who can withstand your power, O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Holy Mary, i place this cause in your hands. “say this prayer for 3 consecutive days and then publish. leon and Karen.
O HOLY SPIRIT, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H ST JUDE, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H.
ABORTION is murder. silence on this issue is not golden, it’s yellow! avoid pro-abortion politicians. see www.hli.co.za ABORTION WARNING: The truth will convict a silent Church. see www.valuelifeabortion isevil.co.za 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 PO Box 11077, 3624 Mariannhill, KZN
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Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday June 26 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21, Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, Galatians 5:1, 13-18, Luke 9:51-62 Monday June 27, St Cyril of Alexandria Amos 2:6-10, 13-16, Psalms 50:16-23, Matthew 8:18-22 Tuesday June 28, St Irenaeus Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12, Psalms 5:5-8, Matthew 8:23-27 Wednesday June 29, Ss Peter and Paul Acts 12:1-11, Psalms 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18, Matthew 16:13-19 Thursday June 30, First martyrs of the Church of Rome Amos 7:10-17, Psalms 19:8-11, Matthew 9:1-8 Friday July 1 Amos 8:4-6, 9-12, Psalms 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131, Matthew 9:9-13 Saturday July 2 Amos 9:11-15, Psalms 85:9.11-14, Matthew 9:14-17 Sunday July 3 Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalms 66:1-7, 16, 20, Galatians 6:14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
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14th Sunday: July 3 Readings: Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalm 66:1-7, 1620, Galatians 6:14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
HERE is a good deal of joy in the readings for next Sunday; but it is not easy or superficial. In the first reading, we are invited to “rejoice with Jerusalem, all you who love her”, but we are included among “those who mourn over her”, because Jerusalem is in a bad way, and in need of comfort: “Like a person whom their mother comforts, so I am comforting you—you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” So there are plenty of reasons to be gloomy, nevertheless: “You shall see; and your heart will rejoice and your bones break out like the grass.” And why? Because the Lord has not abandoned us: “And it shall be made known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants.” That is what, from time to time, we find so hard to believe, and of what the Lord unfailingly assures us. The psalm for next Sunday is also full of joy: “Raise a joyful shout to God, all the earth, make music to the glory of his name.” And the source of the joy is what God has done: “How awesome are your deeds!”, and
S outher n C ross
therefore “Let all the earth worship before you! Let them make music to you, make music to your name.” Then the poet remembers the Exodus: “He turned the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot; there we rejoiced in him.” And finally, the poet concludes: “Blessed be God, who has not refused my prayer!” The second reading finds us in the very last verses of the letter to the Galatians, and Paul is in this letter not in his most joyful mood, for he is very cross with the Galatians, and has to remind them that there is only one thing they can boast of, namely “the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world”. Then he has to remind them that the old artificial divisions count no more: “for neither circumcision is of any significance, nor is uncircumcision”; instead (and this is grounds for joy, in Paul’s view) “it is a new creation”, and for those who recognise this profound truth, “peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God”.
The Irish Jesuit Father Michael Paul Gallagher—who died last November and will be dearly missed—puts this well when he writes: “You probably don’t hate anyone, but you can be paralysed by daily negatives. Mini-prejudices and knee-jerk judgments can produce a mood of undeclared war. Across barbed wire fences, invisible bullets fly” (In Extra Time). Loving the other as oneself, he submits, is for most of us an impossible uphill climb. So where does that leave us? Serving out a life-sentence of mediocrity and hypocrisy? Professing to loving our enemies but not doing it? How can we profess to be Christians when, if we are honest, we have to admit that we are not measuring up to the litmustest of Christian discipleship, namely, loving and forgiving our enemies?
erhaps we are not as bad as we think we are. If we are still struggling, we are still healthy. In making us, it seems, God factored in human complexity, human weakness, and how growing into deeper love is a life-long journey. What can look like hypocrisy from the outside can in fact be a pilgrimage, a Camino walk, when seen within a fuller light of patience and understanding. Thomas Aquinas, in speaking about union and intimacy, makes this important distinction. He distinguishes between being in union with something or somebody in actuality and being in union with that someone or something through desire.
Then he becomes stern once more: “For the rest, let no one give me hassle; for I am carrying the stigmata of Christ in my body.” We are not, to be honest, entirely clear what he means by this, but it is evidently not comfortable. However, we may be reassured by the way in which he ends the letter: “The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” If not precisely cheerful, this is at least the familiar language of Paul’s letters. The Gospel for next Sunday is the sending out of Jesus’ 70 (or 72; the manuscripts do not agree on this) apostles, to go ahead of him in pairs “into every city and place where he was about to come”. It is not going to be an easy mission, it seems: they are to be “like lambs in the midst of wolves”, and not to carry a purse, or a knapsack, or even sandals! They are to live for free (which can be uncomfortable). Furthermore they have the task to “cure those who are sick” in any city that they visit; they must expect sometimes to be treated with a lack of hospitality. But it is not all
Struggle to love our neighbour ‘T
HE most damaging idolatry is not the golden calf but enmity against the other.” The renowned anthropologist René Girard, wrote that and its truth is not easily admitted. Most of us like to believe that we are mature and big-hearted, and that we do love our neighbours and are free of enmity towards others. But is this so? In our more honest, in our more humble moments, I think that all of us admit that we don’t really love others in the way that Jesus asked. We don’t turn the other cheek. We don’t really love our enemies. We don’t wish good to those who wish us harm. We don’t bless those who curse us. And we don’t genuinely forgive those who murder our loved ones. We are decent, good-hearted persons, but persons whose heaven is still too predicated on needing an emotional vindication in the face of anyone or anything that opposes us. We can be fair, we can be just, but we don’t yet love the way Jesus asked us to, that is, so that our love goes out to both those who love us and to those who hate us. We still struggle, mightily and mostly unsuccessfully, to wish our enemies well. But for most of us who like to believe ourselves mature that battle remains hidden—mostly from ourselves. We tend to feel that we are loving and forgiving because, essentially, we are wellintentioned, sincere, and able to believe and say all the right things. But there’s another part of us that isn’t nearly so noble.
Nicholas King SJ
God wants joy for you
doom and gloom, for they are to say: “The Kingdom of God has drawn near upon you.” And, we read, “the 70 [or 72] returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord—even the demons are subjected to us by your name!’ ” Jesus’ response is benevolent, and possibly done with a touch of humour: “I was seeing Satan falling like lightning from heaven”; and then he continues with a reminder of how tough their job in fact is: “Look! I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and on every single power of the enemy—and nothing at all is going to harm you.” Then, finally, it all ends in joy: “But I am telling you, don’t rejoice for this reason, that the spirits are subjected to you. No—rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” So joy to you all this week, who read these words; and remember that joy, even in difficult circumstances, is what the Lord wants for you.
Southern Crossword #712
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
This has many applications but, applied in this case, it means that sometimes the heart can go somewhere only through desire rather than in actuality. We can believe in the right things and want the right things and still not be able to bring our hearts onside. One example of this is what the old catechisms (in their unique wisdom) used to call “imperfect contrition”—the notion that if you have done something wrong that you know is wrong and that you know that you should feel sorry for, but you can’t in fact feel sorry for, then if you can wish that you could feel sorry, that’s contrition enough. Not perfect, but enough. It’s the best you can do and it puts you at the right place at the level of desire, not a perfect place, but one better than its alternative. And that “imperfect” place does more for us than simply providing the minimal standard of contrition needed for forgiveness. More importantly, it accords rightful dignity to whom and to what we have hurt. Reflecting on our inability to genuinely love our neighbour, the American novelist Marilynne Robinson submits that, even in our failure to live up to what Jesus asks of us, if we are struggling honestly, there is some virtue. She argues this way: Freud said that we cannot love our neighbour as ourselves, and no doubt this is true. But since we accept the reality that lies behind the commandment, that our neighbour is as worthy of love as ourselves, then in our very attempt to act on Jesus’ demand we are acknowledging that our neighbour is worthy of love even if, at this point in our lives, we are too weak to provide it. And that’s the crucial point: in continuing to struggle, despite our failures, to live up to Jesus’ great commandment of love, we acknowledge the dignity inherent in our enemies, acknowledge that they are worthy of love, and acknowledge our own shortcoming. That’s “imperfect” of course, but, I suspect, Thomas Aquinas would say: it’s a start!
1. One of Shakespeare’s Windsor women (4) 3. A Tuscan lady? (8) 9. Player on her own (7) 10. Snake seen by degrees (5) 11. Installation of holy relics for display (12) 13. Unexpected brat turns up (6) 15. Irish city of Rose (6) 17. Lowest point on the map (12) 20. Ascend (5) 21. Pressing work at sunset (7) 22. Proposes about standard grade guests (8) 23. Canon loses his head soon (4)
Solutions on page 23
1. This one is a Methodist (8) 2. Movies for the thin skins (5) 4. Prayer from Northern Italy (6) 5. Crammer’s been out for souvenirs (12) 6. In name only (7) 7. The Thesaurus holds his name (4) 8. Disgraceful bride put ales out (12) 12. There are five sides to it (8) 14. Material keeping church covered (7) 16. Not long ago (6) 18. Shape of Russian church dome (5) 19. The outstanding ones at cards? (4)
r Johnson,” announced little Paul, “there’s something I can’t figure out.” “What’s that, Paul?” asked Mr Johnson. “Well, according to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?” “Right.” “And the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?” “Er, right.” “And the Children of Israel built the Temple, right?” “Again you’re right.” “And the Children of Israel were always doing something important, right?” “All that is right, too,” agreed Mr Johnson. “So what’s your question?” “What I want to know is this,” demanded little Paul. “What were all the grown-ups doing?”
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