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S outher n C ross

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reg No. 1920/002058/06

No 4983

Ex-prisoner: Going straight is made difficult

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Remembering SA’s great artist-priest

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Fr Townsend: I try to be a better preacher

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Ailing organ donor priest dies at 37 By MaNdla zIBI


HE priest whose article on promoting organ donations moved Southern Cross readers just a few weeks ago has died at 37. Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo of Port Elizabeth, who had a rare lung condition and needed a transplant to live, died at 10:30 on Saturday June 18 in the city. Fr Kondlo had been in hospital for a week and slipped into a coma some time before he breathed his last and commended his life to God. In his article in the edition of May 25, Fr Kondlo said that his illness had given him a new ministry: to promote organ donation awareness through his Facebook group #1DonorSaves7Lives, articles in the media and lectures in parishes. The priest, who was ordained in 2012, was breathing through a portable oxygen machine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Daily I am fighting for every breath I take, and the only cure for me is to get a new set of lungs via a transplant,” he said. Sadly this was not to be and widespread reaction has followed his demise. Southern Cross editor Günther Simmermacher said Fr Kondlo still had more to give. “Just over as week before Fr Kondlo’s death we were discussing further articles. One thing he felt strongly about was the cultural prejudice against organ transplants,” Mr Simmermacher said. “He texted me: ‘There is a lot, especially in the black communities, that needs to be done to make people aware of organ donation as an option. Many people have this belief that their ancestors won’t accept them and they can’t be ancestors if they are missing an organ.’ He wanted to address that,” said the editor. Fr Kondlo had also made an appeal to the Church to do more on the promotion of organ donation. “The Church is silent on this huge matter. Therefore I am calling on the leadership to do more. Here I am, one of

the newly appointed apostolic nuncio to Botswana, lesotho, Namibia, South africa and Swaziland, archbishop Peter Wells, recently visited little Eden’s Elvira rota Village in Bapsfontein, Gauteng, with archbishop William Slattery oFM of the archdiocese of Pretoria. (From left) lucy Slaviero (little Eden CEo), archbishop Wells, Sisters of the Imitation of Christ, Bethany Generalate, Srs Magie, therese and roopa, and archbishop Slattery.

Fr Kondlo, who died this month, was a dedicated activist for organ donation and addressed many groups on the lifesaving gift of donating an organ. their sons, struggling with my health, but I’m still willing to do awareness. It is frustrating to sit around my flat all day long.” Gillian Walker, national liaison officer of the Organ Donor Foundation, with which Fr Kondlo was working, told The Southern Cross: “It is incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Fr Xolisile Kondlo and our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.” “He was a brave man and fought his illness as well as the need for organ donor awareness. “I would like to ask the community to live his legacy and continue to spread organ donor awareness and encourage those around you to register to become organ donors.” A full obituary of Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo will be published in the next edition of The Southern Cross. n See Page 11 for a tribute to Fr Kondlo by former communications chief at the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Fr S’milo Mngadi.

Pope thanks circus workers By Carol Glatz


EETING with acrobats, clowns, carnival workers, street performers, musicians and magicians, Pope Francis thanked the artists for bringing beauty and joy to an often dark, sad world. “You cannot imagine what good you do, the good you sow,” he said during a special audience celebrating the jubilee of circus and travellingshow performers. While they may never know the impact they have on people, “you can be sure,” he said, that “you sow these seeds that do many people good.” Hundreds of performers, family members and supporters gathered in the Paul VI hall as part of a two-day pilgrimage to Rome for the Year of Mercy. To the tune of “O Sole Mio” played by an organ grinder, an animal wrangler used a baby bottle filled with milk to lure a tiger toward the pope, who was invited to pet it. Looking hesitant at first, the pope approached and touched the animal from behind, which caused the skittish cat to dart sideways. After assistants helped reassure both pope and feline Pope Francis stroked the tiger, who was still straining to drink the last of its milk. The event’s ringmaster and MC said the pope’s white clothing is what caught the cat off-guard. In his talk, the pope noted the performers’ special ability to bring a smile to a child’s face,

Pope Francis pets a tiger during an audience with circus members in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS) brighten a lonely person’s day and draw people closer together. “You can also frighten the pope” when petting a tiger, he said. “You are powerful!” he said to great applause. Calling them “artisans” of wonder, beauty and celebration, the pope praised their abilities to lift people’s spirits.—CNS


the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5 2016


Muslim-Christian solidarity to the fore By MaNdla zIBI


ONSTANTIA parish in Cape Town was the scene of a historic milestone in inter-religious ministry when congregants of the Open Mosque in Wynberg broke their Ramadan fast inside the church of Our Lady of the Visitation. In what is believed to be the first time that Muslims have worshipped in a Christian church in South Africa, halaal food was shared between Christians and Muslims following the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer) and Muslim prayers inside the church. “The conversation over dinner was lively, relaxed and friendly. In fact, people wanted to linger when the evening drew to a close. We had a wonderful evening of prayer, interfaith chat and of course, good food! It was a delightful, informative, heartwarming experience,” said Fr Frank Conlisk SPS, of Constantia. The event was the culmination of a religious entente cordiale between the Muslim community and the Catholic Church in Cape Town. “Just before Christmas, Imam Taj

Hargey, founder of the Open Mosque, contacted our parish inviting me and members of our parish community to join him and the Muslim community for Christmas dinner at the mosque. The invitation had also been extended to other faith communities—Anglican, Dutch Reformed, Methodist and others,” said Fr Conlisk. “We were happy to accept and when we reported back to our parish, the possibility of organising a reciprocal event was raised. We decided to invite Dr Taj and his community to break the fast with us during their holy month of Ramadan. The imam said that he and his community had never before broken the fast with a Christian community and they would be delighted to do so,” the priest said. “Our ladies’ group did a wonderful job in preparing the hall and the food. We invited our guests to begin the evening by praying Isha or Night Prayers as is their custom. We didn’t have any prayer mats in the hall, but Imam Taj had brought some along and the prayers were translated so that all could under-

among the participants at a Muslim-Christian meal celebrating the breaking of the ramadan fast at the Catholic church in Constantia, Cape town, were (left) lionel Soulle and Badrudin Jafar. stand,” said Fr Conlisk. The priest felt that the event was a small bridge that had been built between two communities which would otherwise never have met or got to know each other. “Seeds of openness, trust and respect have been sown—common ground has been discovered and differences acknowledged. It is very much in the spirit of Pope Francis’ call to be open, welcoming commu-

nities of faith, outreach and joy. We don’t have to be afraid of difference nor should we brand all adherents of a particular faith tradition by the atrocities of the misguided fanatics who would claim to represent them,” Fr Conlisk said. To emphasise the importance of the initiative, the priest quoted Pope Benedict XVI in Jordan in 2009: “I would like to encourage all, whether Christian or Muslim, to

build on the firm foundations of religious tolerance that enable the members of different communities to live together in peace and mutual respect.” Fr Conlisk said we live in a world where entire nations seem to be backing into their corners of fear and mistrust. “Britain votes to remain in or to leave the EU. Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee in the US presidential campaign, speaks of building walls and of racial profiling. “Racism is alive and well on our doorstep. It did not go unnoticed that on the very evening of our dinner, Jo Cox, who campaigned for inclusivity, welcoming the stranger and facing issues together within the EU, was being mourned in the UK.” The priest argued that it is only by getting to “know one another, one by one, that we learn to care for one another and move beyond suspicion and fear. If our evening together achieved anything of this—even to a small degree—then is was a success, a great success. And I thank God for it,” he said.

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Slattery appeals for calm Why do we need nine provinces? after Tshwane violence D A By MaNdla zIBI

RCHBISHOP William Slattery of Pretoria made an impassioned plea for calm following widespread coverage of violence and chaos in the city this week. “While the spark which initiated these violent reactions may be the selection of a new mayoral candidate for the ANC in Tshwane, it is true that we have many underlying problems which give energy and anger to the riots,” the archbishop said. “This city is a perfect example of the huge inequality of SA. We have here areas of great wealth and yet a few kilometres away, we have people who live in squalor, unemployed, poor and hopeless. “These people feel that there are inadequate avenues of communication. Their experience is neglect and a suspicion that corruption and patronage are the dominant features of life,” he said. The unrest erupted following the ANC’s announcement that Thoko Didiza, a former cabinet minister and parliamentarian, was the Tshwane Metro’s mayoral candidate for the upcoming local government elections in August. Many residents of Tshwane, mainly in Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, have loudly called for the current mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, to remain. Residents have wreaked a trail of destruction, including the burning of 19 buses, upending a mu-

archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria said there are underlying social issues which have added to the violent protests in the city. nicipal police vehicle, looting and torching a number of trucks. Two people had been reportedly killed during the violence. Explaining that the wave of unrest is a symptom of other submerged social prob-

lems, Archbishop Slattery said that rapid urbanisation and its consequences meant that young people are not in immediate contact with their elders. “It is through the elders and their experience that wisdom and patience come.” The violence and looting also saw foreign nationals clearing stock from their shops in fear of the rampaging protesters. Leaders of the ruling party visited Atteridgeville, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi, promising community members they would take their concerns to the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who had earlier said the decision of Luthuli House on the matter was final. Mayor Ramokgopa, ANC Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile and ANC national executive committee member Aaron Motsoaledi met with the Atteridgeville community in an attempt to quell tensions in the area. Reports earlier had indicated that an army unit was on standby in order to stop the rioting in the city. Police also used rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of protesters at the Melusi informal settlement in Tshwane during demonstrations. A parliamentary committee on police also called on authorities to ensure stability is restored. The committee said the safety of people and maintaining order must receive the highest priority.

Jhb Mass celebrates Ugandan martyrs


GANDANS in South Africa celebrated the feast of the Uganda martyrs in Johannesburg at the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows in Nigel. The celebrations began with a Mass presided over by auxiliary bishop of Johannesburg Duncan Tsoke. The Mass was concelebrated by Ugandan priest Monsignor Joseph Kizito of Aliwal diocese, and priests from South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. Nuns from Uganda, Nigeria and Lesotho also attended. The Anglican faith in South Africa was represented by Rev Canon Kibirige. The celebration was also attended by the high commissioner of Uganda to South Africa, Peter Moto Julius, and the representative of the king of the Buganda kingdom in South Africa, Dr Dustan Lumu. Bishop Tsoke in his preaching encouraged Ugandans to remain faithful to Christian teaching and like the martyrs of Uganda, be true witnesses of their faith. He also thanked Ugandans for attending to celebrate the feast of the Uganda martyrs and for starting a Ugandan Christian chaplaincy in South Africa. High Commissioner Mr Julius thanked his fellow Ugandans for joining for the first time ever to celebrate this day. He encouraged them to learn about the good things

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By MaNdla zIBI

ESPITE calls from some quarters for the reduction or outright scrapping of South Africa’s nine provinces, a recent Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) roundtable discussion concluded they are here to stay. The roundtable, sponsored by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, featured three guest speakers: Themba Fosi of the national department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Kevin Mileham of the Democratic Alliance, and Prof Erwin Schwella of Stellenbosch University. “Some political voices, notably within the Economic Freedom Fighters, have suggested that provinces could be scrapped, and that their implementation and delivery systems could be handled at municipal level,” said Advocate Mike Pothier of the CPLO. “However, this would require a massive constitutional rearrangement. “Not only would whole chapters of the constitution have to be amended or scrapped, but the complex relationship between the existing three spheres of government would have to be entirely reworked into a two-sphere system,” he noted. Reducing the number of provinces to four or five has also been floated, amid claims for significant savings. But according to Adv Pothier, this too received little support at the roundtable. “For one thing any such change would itself require a set of constitutional amendments which would no doubt be contested and drawn-out. In addition, the idea is unlikely to be politically popular. Opposition parties (especially the DA given its control of the Western Cape) see the provinces as offering crucial opportunities to exercise real power and to build a support base for their national efforts.” The ruling party, on the other hand, regards the provinces as a kind of incubator for political talent and as a way of dispensing opportunity and influence across the country’s many groups.


t the Codesa talks which led to South Africa’s transition in 1994, one of the contested issues between the apartheid-era parties and the liberation movements was whether the country should be a unitary or federal state. The former favoured a federal system while the latter preferred a strong, centrally governed arrangement. The compromise was provinces, with limited powers and competences. “It was further envisaged that provinces would provide another platform for political participation and representation. National governments simply cannot attend to the huge number and variety of issues that arise regionally,” Adv Pothier said. “The parties also realised that the new dispensation would have to find ways of accommodating the armies of civil servants that had been brought into being by apartheid’s homeland and Bantustan systems,” he said.

the Ugandan community in the archdiocese of Johannesburg started their celebration of the feast of the Ugandan martyrs with Mass at our lady of Sorrows in Nigel. they see in South Africa, especially the high level of technology, and then go back home and help their own country to develop. In his thanksgiving message, Fr Joseph Luyombya, the chaplain of the Ugandan Christian community, thanked his fellow Ugandans for gathering together and the

organising committee for their dedication and commitment. The celebration included an array of Ugandan clothing and dances. Women turned out in traditional attire known as gomesi while men wore their traditional clothing known as kanzu.

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Pope: Too many couples don’t understand marriage By CINdy WoodEN

B Pope Francis visits retired priests at the Casa San Gaetano home for elderly and sick priests in rome. the visit was one of the pope’s Friday works of mercy, an initiative he began during the Holy year of Mercy. (Photo: l’osservatore romano, CNS)

Laypeople mandated to be missionary disciples By Carol Glatz


HE Catholic Church needs laypeople who look to the future, take risks and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, Pope Francis said. While laypeople must be “wellformed, animated by a straightforward and clear faith” and have lives truly touched by Christ’s merciful love, they also need to be able to go out and play a major role in the life and mission of the Church, he said. The pope met with members, consultors and employees and their family members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which was holding its last plenary assembly. Established by Blessed Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council, the office was meant to encourage and support laypeople’s involvement in the life and mission of the Church, Pope Francis said, underlining the Italian word incitare, meaning to spur, urge or encourage. “The mandate you received from the council was exactly that of ‘pushing’ the lay faithful to get ever more and better involved in the evangelising mission of the Church,” he said. Lay involvement was in no way meant to be a “proxy” of the hierarchy, he said, but to participate in the saving mission of the Church as baptised members. People enter into the Church and its mission, through the “door” of baptism, he said, not through priestly or episcopal ordi-

nation. “You come in through baptism and we have all come in through the same door,” he added. Through baptism, every Christian becomes “a missionary disciple of the Lord, salt of the earth, light of the world, leaven that transforms reality from within”. Thanking the pontifical council for all that it accomplished over the decades, Pope Francis said it was time to look to the future with hope and “to plan a renewed presence at the service of the laity”, which is always “in ferment” and marked by new problems. Much more needs to be done, he said, to open up new horizons and tackle new challenges. “From this stems the project of reform of the curia,” he said. The creation of a new office for laity, family and life, he said, is a sign of how much their work is valued and esteemed, and of renewed faith in the role of laypeople in the life of the Church. Many laypeople, the pope said, would generously and gladly dedicate their effort, talents and time to serving the Gospel “if they were included, valued and accompanied with affection and dedication” by priests and Church institutions. After underlining the importance of well-formed laypeople, the pope spoke off-the-cuff, saying, “We need laypeople who take risks, who get their hands dirty, who are not afraid of making mistakes, who go forward. We need laypeople with a vision of the future, not closed up in the trivial things in life.”—CNS

ECAUSE most people today do not understand that sacramental marriage really is a bond that binds them to each other for life, many marriages today can be considered invalid, Pope Francis said. Raising a point he has raised before, and one also raised by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis insisted that the validity of a marriage implies that a couple understands that sacramental marriage is a bond that truly binds them to another for their entire lives. “We are living in a culture of the provisional,” he told participants in the diocese of Rome’s annual pastoral conference. Answering questions after giving a prepared talk, Pope Francis told the story of a bishop who said a university graduate came to him saying he wanted to be a priest, but only for 10 years. The idea of commitments being temporary “occurs everywhere, even in priestly and religious life. The provisional. And for this reason a large majority of sacramental marriages are null. They say ‘Yes, for my whole life’, but they do not know what they are saying because they have a different culture,” he said. The Vatican press office, publishing a transcript the next day, adjusted the pope’s words to read, “A part of our sacramental marriages are null because they (the spouses) say, ‘Yes, for my whole life’, but they do not know what they are saying because they have a different culture.” Vatican spokesman Fr Federico

More than 100 couples renew their wedding vows on World Marriage day in los angeles. Pope Francis has said many marriages today can be considered invalid due to a lack of understanding of the sacrament. (Photo: Victor aleman, Via Nueva/CNS) Lombardi said transcripts of the pope’s off-the-cuff remarks are always reviewed for precision and clarity prior to publication. Attitudes towards marriage are influenced strongly by social expectations, the pope said, telling the story of a young man who told the pope he and his fiancée had not celebrated their wedding yet because they were looking for a church with decor that would go well with her dress. “These are people’s concerns,” the pope said. “How can we change this? I don’t know.” Pope Francis told participants that when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he banned “shotgun weddings” from Catholic parishes because the strong social pressure to marry placed on a couple expecting a baby could mean they were not fully free to pledge themselves to each other for life through

the sacrament. “The crisis of marriage is because people do not know what the sacrament is, the beauty of the sacrament; they do not know that it is indissoluble, that it is for one’s entire life,” he said. “It’s difficult.” Meeting in July 2005 with priests in northern Italy, Pope Benedict also raised the question of the validity of marriages that, while performed in church, bound together two baptised Catholics who had little understanding of the faith, the meaning of the sacraments and the indissolubility of marriage. He said he had thought that the Church marriage could be considered invalid because the faith of the couple celebrating the sacrament was lacking. “But from the discussions we had, I understood that the problem was very difficult” and that further study was necessary.—CNS

Bishops warn against Middle East split By dorEEN aBI raad


ARONITE Catholic bishops from around the world warned against plans to partition the Middle East and urged Christians to stand firm and to preserve coexistence with Muslims. In a statement at the conclusion of their synod, the bishops stressed the importance of continuing the presence of Maronite Catholics in Lebanon and the region. Particularly after reviewing the situation of Maronite bishops in Syrian eparchies in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, the prelates resisted “all international plans” for partitioning the region and called instead to preserve “living together, Christians and Muslims, in a climate of freedom, democracy and

respect for diversity”. They decried the suffering of the Syrian people, especially in recent months due to the worsening war and the deterioration of the economy and the national currency, stressing that “poverty has become universal”. The bishops pointed out that in Aleppo, people are suffering from “a scarcity of the necessities of life, such as water, electricity and food, and the demolition of homes and the loss of life, in addition to thousands of dead and wounded, widows and the displaced”. Lebanon borders Syria, and the bishops called on the international community to support Lebanon with financial help “to provide adequate assistance” to Lebanon’s 2 million displaced—most of whom

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are Syrians—and “to work seriously for their early return to their country”. The bishops repeated their demand for the election of a president for Lebanon. The country’s institutional system, based on the National Pact of 1943, provides that the office of the president be occupied by a Maronite Catholic. Deploring the deteriorating economic and social conditions of the Lebanese and the growing number of those living below the poverty line, they called on officials “to develop a rescue plan that promotes the country’s economy”. They also praised “the tremendous efforts” of the Lebanese army and security forces in maintaining security and civil peace and the protection of citizens.—CNS


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Pope prays for Orthodox great council in Greece By CINdy WoodEN

A the partially dried-up Choursiyavas lake near ajmer, India. It is the first anniversary of the pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ which addresses climate change and care for our earth. (Photo: Himanshu Sharma, reuters/CNS)

Vatican launches Laudato Si’ anniversary website By CINdy WoodEN


ARKING the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace launched a new website dedicated to the document and efforts around the world to put its teaching into practice. The site—— “witnesses not only to the impact of the encyclical, but also the creativity and generosity of the people of God everywhere in the world”, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, council president. The council celebrated the first anniversary of the document, Laudato Si’, with a small conference at Rome’s basilica of St Mary in Montesanto. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in

a video message, said that as scientists, governments, economists and concerned citizens were pushing for an international agreement to combat climate change, Pope Francis’ encyclical provided the “moral imperative to take bold action”. Published six months before the Paris summit on climate change, she said, the pope’s document raised the issue in “the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people who may not otherwise have considered climate in their daily lives”. Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, an official at the justice and peace council, told Catholic News Service, “Laudato Si’ does not tell people what to think, but guides them through the complexities of the issue of climate change and care for creation, and calls them to reflect on their response.”—CNS

Religious: Blow whistle on trafficking during Olympics By Carol Glatz


ELIGIOUS priests, brothers and sisters in Brazil are urging everyone attending the Olympic Games to report instances of exploitation of vulnerable people and to turn in suspected traffickers. Their campaign, Play for Life, invites tourists, residents and visitors “to take a stand, not to submit passively to the arrogance of those who want to manipulate and use everything, even sports and life, for power, pleasure and greed”, according to a global network of religious. Talitha Kum, an international network of consecrated men and women working against trafficking in persons, sponsored a news conference at Vatican Radio. The group unveiled a new campaign organised by Um Grito pela Vida, the Brazilian network of religious against human trafficking. The campaign was being launched for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from August 5-21. The risk of exploitation against workers, women and children increases in the run-up to and during major events, which can be used to deceive people “with false promises of more jobs and a better life”, read a Talitha Kum press release. “The city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the main Brazilian cities that attracts tourists who are interested in buying sex, even with children and adolescents,” it said. “The 2016 Olympic Games will attract a lot of tourists and with them, opportunities for criminal organisations to enter more easily to pursue their own evil agenda,” it added. With on-the-street initiatives, leafleting and meetings open to the public, campaigners hope to: raise awareness that “sexual ex-

the Play for life campaign, which seeks to prevent human trafficking during the Summer olympics in rio de Janeiro from august 5-21. ploitation is not tourism, but a serious violation of human rights”, advocate for measures that prevent and clamp down on trafficking, and educate those who are particularly vulnerable to being recruited by traffickers. The campaign also urges visitors and residents to report “all forms of exploitation”, especially the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, by calling the toll-free number 100 in Brazil. “Complaints may be lodged, even anonymously. Don’t remain indifferent,” the Talitha Kum statement said. The Brazilian network ran a similar campaign during and after the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil in 2014. The network said more than 30 000 women religious, nearly 8 000 priests and 2 700 religious brothers were involved in that campaign. The Play for Life campaign during the soccer tournament “contributed to a 42% increase in the number of complaints of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and of situations of human trafficking,” Talitha Kum said.— CNS

S the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opened with only 10 of the 14 Orthodox churches represented, Pope Francis offered his prayers. The pope had thousands of visitors in St Peter’s Square join him in praying a Hail Mary for “all of our Orthodox brothers and sisters”. “Let us unite ourselves to the prayer of our Orthodox brothers and sisters, invoking the Holy Spirit so that it would assist with its gifts the patriarchs, archbishops and bishops gathered in the council,” the pope said. The pope’s daily tweet repeated his message: “Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today in Crete.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is presiding over the council meetings, retweeted the pope’s message. In his homily at the cathedral of St Minas in Heraklion, Crete, Patriarch Bartholomew insisted the Orthodox Church is united in its faith in Christ and in Church doctrine. “The Orthodox Church is one, but reveals itself in the world through its individual local vines, which are unbreakably and indivisibly attached to one—to one Church, to one body,” he said. The patriarch did not directly address the absence of delegations from the Orthodox churches of Bulgaria,

orthodox patriarchs and primates walk at the orthodox academy of Crete. the Holy and Great Council of the orthodox Church is the first council of all the orthodox churches in more than a millennium. (Photo: Sean Hawkey, CNS) Antioch, Georgia and Russia, which is the largest of the Orthodox churches. Although they had agreed in January to attend, the absent churches cited a variety of reasons for staying away, ranging from jurisdictional disputes to objections to the procedures adopted for the meeting. The patriarchs of the 10 participating churches had met separately and sent last-minute pleas to the four churches to attend. In his homily, Patriarch Bartholomew said the Orthodox bishops need the council “so as to adopt the appropriate measures to protect the faithful from the prevailing errors” present in the world

today. “The number of religious factions that are attempting to lead the Orthodox faithful astray are in the hundreds.” “Regardless of our different opinions, we Orthodox Christians ought to point out that the only road on our course in this world is unity,” the patriarch said. “Of course, this road demands a living sacrifice, much work and is achieved after great struggle. It is certain that this council of ours will contribute towards this direction by creating a climate of mutual trust and understanding through our meeting in the Holy Spirit and through an edifying and sincere dialogue.”—CNS


the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016


Orlando murders a reckoning for us

Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Michael Shackleton


Married life as the full catastrophe


N the 1960s movie Zorba the Greek, based on the best-selling novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba is asked: “Are you married?” His disarmingly hyperbolic response is: “Yes, I’m married. Wife, children, house. The full catastrophe!” The word catastrophe comes from the Greek meaning a sudden and unpleasant turn of events. Considering the interest in the declining health of marriage and the family at present, one is left wondering whether modern marriages have been turned into an unpleasant event. The Church with its centuries of experience, has no delusions about the frequent failure of what were initially happy marriages. The Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges that married couples find themselves in a vulnerable relationship. In paragraphs 1606-1608 it points out that the conjugal union has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation, all of which have a universal character. It attributes this pervasive weakness to our very nature which has been wounded by sin. Men and women need the help of the grace of God who, in his infinite mercy, will never refuse them. Without his help they cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning”. Social scientists have produced a wide array of studies that highlight the need for a maddeningly elusive elixir that would transform a shaky marriage into a stable unity of husband, wife and children. Some of their findings have appeared recently in a comprehensive article entitled “How to Stay Married” in Time magazine. Getting married, it suggests, is now easier than it has ever been. Staying married, and doing so happily, is more difficult. Nevertheless, it quotes experts who found that couples who have made it all the way in life experience the mature years

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as sublime. One expert said that research had started to reveal that in later life happy relationships become very much like they were during the days of courtship. Moreover, married people seem to have better health, wealth and sex lives than singles, and will probably die happier. All of this general and statistical fascination, and even anxiety, about the future of marriage and the family is of concern to the Church. This is because of the Church’s fidelity to the teaching in Genesis that the man and his wife become one flesh. God blessed them, commanding them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Secular attitudes today ignore or reject the Church’s defence of marriage and the family, and with apparently widening influence also envisage a society without institutionalised matrimony. In his post-synod exhortation Amoris laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has admitted that within the language of the Church the institution of marriage may appear less appealing to many because of overemphasis on doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues. He adopts a patently pastoral approach, encouraging all to accept married and unmarried individuals and families with compassion and love as they struggle to sort out their lives and their relationships with one another and with God. Amoris laetitia is a lengthy document that moves Christians to remember that they are to be Christ-like and to feel kindly towards those who on the surface fall short of the ideal state of marriage. It also emphatically affirms the importance of Christian marriage and the need to support those who have problems or have failed and divorced. In Pope Francis’ words, we are to keep our feet on the ground and remember the spiritual dimension of the sacrament of matrimony. We may add that we must also strive to do and be happy with “the full catastrophe”.

ARLIER this month a gunman murdered 49 people and injured a further 53 in Orlando, Florida. As the gunman went through the club, indiscriminately hunting down his victims, one young man hid in a bathroom, texted his mother and told her he loved her, then that the shooter was coming, and finally that he was going to die. That is the last thing she heard from the child she had brought into this world. As responders worked through the bloody aftermath of the shooting, they had to drown out the sound of ringing phones—desperate fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters and friends and lovers, all holding on to the hope that the person they love wasn’t among the dead. With every missed call, the reality became clearer that their loved one was dead. This is the human cost of homo-

Chastity for gays


ITH reference to the letters by Shirley Doyle and June Boyer (June 1). Shirley Doyle asks: “What does Jesus want from gay Catholics?” The answer is simple: chastity. June Boyer finds the death penalty for adulterers and homosexuals in the Old Testament unacceptable. And rightly so. But in the New Testament Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery and told her to sin no more. Jesus would do and say the same nowadays to homosexuals. Chastity, also necessary for heterosexuals, leads us to the purpose of life, which is holiness. We reach that by imitating the life of Jesus, who was both merciful and chaste. Healthy side-effects are the protection it provides against adultery, divorce and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. An extra for homosexuals is that it protects against being “criminalised, tortured or put to death”, as June Boyer wrote. Chastity protects also from being shot in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as chaste gays avoid the occasion to temptation and don’t go to such places. What would Jesus say to women like Shirley Doyle and June Boyer who empathise with the fate of homosexuals? “Women of Johannesburg, weep not for homosexuals, but for yourselves, your families and your children, because homosexuals are destroying the concept of marriage by making homosexual marriages possible and are destroying the innocence of your children by suggesting that they can choose for themselves their own gender and their own sexual orientation.” JH Goossens, Pretoria

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phobia and every imam, priest or pastor who has turned their minbar or pulpit into an altar of hate is culpable for blood that has been spilt in hate’s name. They are responsible for the grieving mothers left in the wake of their hate. Every father who sat next to a hospital bed, praying that God spare his only son, is there in part because of the hate preached “in Jesus’ name”. Every woman who won’t be allowed to properly grieve the woman she loved and wanted to spend her life with—because of the very homophobia that killed her— owes her pain to a failure of humanity when faced with defunct theology. We have been brought to this place by the failure to love and uplift the dignity of those who love differently to how we believe they should. This is a place of reckoning.

New translation of Missal jars


S someone who originally promoted the new English translation of the Mass, Fr Chris Townsend is courageous in expressing his reservations today (“Let’s talk language”, June 7). I agree with everything Fr Townsend writes and will not add my penny’s worth. Instead, allow me to report what I have learned both while leading clergy retreats and as an itinerant mission preacher. I have visited approximately 30 parishes throughout the country since the new translation was introduced. During one retreat, a discussion with priests, at their initiative, indicated a unanimous unhappiness with the new translation. On another retreat, individual priests expressed their frustrations with me privately. I suspect that South Africa reflects The Tablet survey which presented the figure of 71% of priests in the UK to be dissatisfied with the new translation. Some examples from parishes I have visited: one priest has scored out words and phrases in his altar Missal and inserted improvements opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. the letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or or faxed to 021 465-3850

Some have doubled-down and called this tragedy the “just rewards” of a “lifestyle” the victims “chose”. But those who value the dignity of every human person— which is an absolute for the Catholic Church—must take this opportunity to reflect deeply on what they believe and teach. Therefore, any message that emboldens hateful “believers” to tell fellow men and women that God abhors them must be condemned. Those who live from a place of love must abandon teaching and language that incites homophobia or condones the hateful who pick up assault rifles and end lives. For those who value human dignity, no measure of homophobia should be acceptable in our churches or at our dinner tables. Communion with God must impel us to be vessels of love, not hate. Don’t commune with God unworthily if you refuse to love all— as God loves. Iswamo Kapulu, Johannesburg

in pencil; another routinely uses his old small Missal when it comes to the collect and the preface; yet another has dumped the new Missal completely except for when the bishop comes or visiting priests concelebrate; one priest keeps to the letter of the new translation but tells me he can no longer “pray” the Mass—he can just “say” Mass. I have also found that many of the Missal books are already in tatters, the binding has come apart or the side tags have torn away, taking out a chunk of the page. Some parishes, at considerable expense, have had their missals rebound. While giving retreats to proclaimers of the Word during missions, I get the same and more: frustration and irritation at trying to proclaim God’s word from the admittedly scholarly yet turgid RSV. I support Fr Townsend in his call for a “mid-term review”. Since the new translation I confess I find the celebration of the liturgy to be a burden, not like the joy I always felt in the past. I am not at peace with it. Although, what does help is the advice I got from a wise elderly Franciscan priest, himself a language scholar: “When you see too many commas before subordinate clauses, change them to full stops and then pray one coherent sentence at a time.” Larry Kaufmann CSsR, On mission

Protestant view


OHN Lee’s letter (June 15) on the Church Fathers reminds me of Blessed John Henry Newman’s remark: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” Adrian Kettle, Cape Town


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the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016


I am trying to be a better preacher Fr Chris I Townsend N response to Sr Sue Rakoczy’s cri de coeur about preaching in The Southern Cross in April, and the variety of reaction thereafter, I was given a chance to reflect on preaching, and specifically my own preaching. I’m not sure I come out very well. In fact, as much as I passionately love scripture and love sharing that passion, I think that listening to me could easily be quite boring. Perhaps I do rehash the Gospel too often. Sometimes the homily that I do prepare and think about comes out totally different from what I had planned. Sometimes I feel sorry for the first Mass that gets the homily for the weekend— they really end up being like newly married husbands having to endure their new wife’s cooking experiments. Every weekend. I wish sometimes that they would come to hear the same effort at the last Mass of the weekend. I think it’s better. I’m also not a morning person. So, Sunday mornings before coffee are seriously intimidating. I look at you and you look at me and I get shivers down my spine. Coffee helps. For me, preparing for a Sunday begins on Monday. I consider it a privilege that I am forced to start on Monday so that I can keep up with my commitments. I co-host a radio programme for catechists and parents on Radio Veritas every week. My part of that show is devoted to looking at the Scripture of the coming Sunday. Together with Sr Patricia Finn, we look at forming catechists. I have learned so much from our on-air interaction that I dare not miss my rather rudimentary preparation. I have another fantastic privilege, or grace. Twice a week in the parish I present a Bible study to two very different groups.

This interaction has coloured my attempts at preaching by often exposing things I have not thought about at all. Things that, once seen, you cannot but incorporate into your efforts. So where do we go from here with preaching? I think, firstly, that we need good preaching examples. Much of the Pentecostal style that Sr Sue bemoans is the style that is pervasive on TV and in township experience. The more you shout the better you’re heard— and strangely, the better the collection… I thank God for the excellent examples we had in the seminary of great preachers. I personally hold Fr Nick King SJ as one of the best preachers I have ever heard. His gift? Brevity. The other great gift for preachers is a profound appreciation of the Church’s understanding that we don't have to explain everything in one homily. The unfolding of the history of salvation didn’t happen in an instant—so our preaching should respect that our hearers have their own history of salvation. As

a priest makes a point during a homily. In his column, Fr Chris townsend explains how he tries to improve his preaching.


uring our internships, we had to have a few members of the communities we worked in to assess our preaching. I think this is an important feedback that we lack when we are grown up as priests. It takes a profound humility to allow honest feedback on a homily. I don’t mean the type that goes, “Great homily, Father”. We need to find the space and place to allow the “Father, you missed the point” kind of critique. Some people are brave enough to be honest without attacking, and these are the voices that one needs to hear. I don’t open my e-mail on a Monday or answer my phone until I have had a decent cup of coffee. Sadly, the Monday morning angry callers and vitriolic e-mailers are generally totally counter-productive to the improvement of anything. I’m generally more inclined to listen to the voices that reflect a little before communicating—and I try to honour that by listening first before reacting. Where does that leave me? In the last few weeks I have tried to be a little more focused. And I have also remembered something my mother always said: “Give me something to chew on, to mull over for my discipleship over the week.”

Parenting is a privileged holiness Judith Turner W HEN I grew up my family was very important to me and because I come from a big family I was always surrounded by many siblings and also my parents. I come from a staunch Catholic family and church and spirituality was always part of our lives. We used to have many discussions and debates about church matters and also of course have a very disciplined family prayer life, which consisted of evening prayer during the week and going to Holy Mass on Sunday. Yet, with describing my life as it was as a young child, I remember thinking always of spirituality connected to church things. In my mind the priests and the nuns were spiritual people. They lived at the church and they went to church more often than we did. They prayed morning, noon and night and wore crosses and rosaries around their necks. They lived celibate and chaste lives, so they thought of nothing else but God. They had a direct connection to God because they did not have distractions like husbands, wives and children. They were spiritual people, and we were family people who led normal lives including fighting and arguing. That’s what I so clearly remember thinking as a child. Family people, in my mind as a young person of that time, were worldly. They did not work at the church, they worked in shops and factories. They were married and had sex. They did not pray a lot, but spoke about worldly things and argued. And as a young person of that time, I understood that if I wanted to be more spiritual I needed to work in the church or become a nun. Somehow I believed that the priesthood and sisterhood was a higher and holier state of spiritual life than parenthood and family life.

Faith and life

Growing up in a Catholic family that prays together is a part of ongoing spirituality. (Photo: Karen Callaway, Catholic New World/CNS) Yet marriage, and subsequently family life, is a difficult vocation. I remember a priest preparing us for Confirmation explaining how marriage is a very difficult, humbling and unself-centred calling. He said to us that when a priest feels unhappy with anything in his parish, he can retreat into his house and does not have to see anyone. When a sister is unhappy with something in her community, she can go to her room for some time without having to face the community maybe until the next day. But when a husband and wife are unhappy with anything in the marriage, they cannot go anywhere. They have to face and deal with what’s bothering them which can even result in one or both asking for forgiveness and one or both showing mercy or forgiveness. That’s the difficult part of marriage, you cannot run away, because ultimately you have to share the same room to sleep in. And this brings me to the spirituality of family life which I recently was introduced to while listening to a YouTube clip by Dr Wendy Wright, a mother and theologian.

She talks about a spirituality of parenting and suggests that raising children, being a mum or a dad, is a privileged means to holiness. The experiences of marriage and family naturally take us out of our inherent selfishness. We have to share our time. We sacrifice our sleep. We share our house with others. We sacrifice our sports programmes so that others can watch their soapies. Many mothers and fathers will do without in order for their children to experience or receive something. Many parents eat less so that their children have enough to eat. Becoming a parent, submits Dr Wright, reshapes the heart in a unique way, moulding it more and more to be compassionate as God is compassionate. In a similar way, the sacrifices that siblings experience through living in a family are all exercises towards becoming more compassionate. Family life creates opportunities for us to become more compassionate and thereby deepen our spirituality. So going back to my thoughts as a young person about church people and spirituality, and taking into account what I have learnt about the spirituality of family life, I can see that all of us, whether church workers, priests or nuns, or ordinary moms, dads or siblings, are called to live spiritual lives and all of us are given opportunities in our unique day-to-day settings to grow and to bring out the gift of holiness which is inside all of us.

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Vanrhynsdorp church story A new Travellers Lodge has been opened next to the N7 opposite Vanrhynsdorp. In the grounds of the lodge is a Catholic church. Is this building still being used as a church? Is there a story behind a story? Paul Schwieger


ANRHYNSDORP is a town within the diocese of Keimoes-Upington in the West Coast district of the Western Cape. This far-flung territory has a rich history of heroic missionaries who braved the arid regions of Namaqualand to bring the faith to the local people. In 1882 it came under the care of the Oblates of St Francis de Sales, and was established as a Prefecture Apostolic in 1884. On the establishment of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in South Africa in 1951, it became the diocese of Keimoes. This title was changed in 1984 to Keimoes-Upington. I guess you would not be the only one to be intrigued on discovering a Catholic church within the grounds of a hotel. I asked Bishop Edward Risi OMI of the diocese if there was indeed a story behind a story here, and he kindly provided me with some background. The people of Vanrhynsdorp lived near and on Church property when the beautiful church was built in the Spanish architectural style. There was also a convent and school attached. The graveyard is still on the site. In the late 1980s the people were moved 5km away to the new township of Matzikama. This meant the distance between their residential area and the church was too much for them, leading to a stagnation in parish life and religious practice. In consequence, the church went slowly into disuse and disrepair. When Bishop Risi came to the diocese in 2000 he saw that a new and accessible church was necessary for the sake of the children and catechism. His first plan was to get approval to establish a residential site around the old church and allow people to build homes in the area. But the diocese did not have the millions required for this, although it had invested R80 000 in town planning. Unfortunately, all hopes of someone coming to the aid of the diocese were not fulfilled. Eventually, in 2013 the property was bought by a Mr Lamprechts. He saw the potential for building a lodge there but also wanted to preserve the church and its history on his establishment. Initially, the bishop did not want to sell the church but then Mr Lamprechts undertook to buy it, restore it, maintain it and guarantee that it would always be available for diocesan use. And this is the situation at present. Land has meanwhile been purchased in Matzikama and the process of building a new church has begun.

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the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016

Fr tom Segami oMI of St Peter Claver parish in Pimville, Soweto, blessed “Bana ba Maria” (children of Mary) with their sodality medals during Sunday Mass. (Photo: Sello Mokoka)


St anthony of Padua parish in Kraaifontein, Cape town, parish pastoral council members are pictured with parish priest Fr audecius tindimwebwa at their annual retreat in the Kolping Centre in durbanville.

St Mark’s parish in Ida’s Valley, Stellenbosch, celebrated africa Unity day with parish priest Fr Wim lindeque (centre right), deacon trevor Petersen (centre left) and parishioners.

the Catholic Chinese Welfare association (CCWa) held its 51st annual debutantes Children of St Francis of assisi parish in yeoville received first Holy Communion from Fr Ernest Kabungo and squires ball at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg. the guest of honour was auxiliary Bishop duncan tsoke (second left). Miss debutante 2016 Kirsten leo is CMM who has been appointed to the parish, replacing Fr Johannes Silalahi CICM. pictured with 1st and 2nd princesses Candice low yeun and danica tam and members of the CCWa.

St Martin de Porres parish, diocese of Eshowe, welcomed Fr dennis Xulu (centre). Fr Xulu is pictured with deacon Xolani Jafta (far left), dr CW zondo (centre right) and altar servers.

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Fr Justin Wiley carries the monstrance in the Corpus Christi procession for the Southern deanery held in George, diocese of oudtshoorn.

St Benedict’s Junior Preparatory School in Johannesburg collected blankets for the poor as part of the Catholic Schools Week initiative. Pupils luca Mion and troy linaker are pictured with a number of blankets.

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the monthly year of Mercy Mass at our lady of lebanon in Mulbarton, Johannesburg, was led by the turffontein parish and assisted by priests and deacons from various other parishes. (left) the church of our lady of lebanon by night. (right) Clergy and parishioners process through the holy doors which were blessed and opened. (Photos: Mark Kisogloo)

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the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016



The path to victory after prison Jerome Opperman’s story of life after prison is a tale of frustration, yet one of hope for those determined to break the cycle after serving their time. MaNdla zIBI spoke to him about some of the challenges he faces daily.


’VE never met Jerome Opperman in the flesh, but I’ve spoken to him many times on the phone. And I have seen pictures of him on Facebook. It is hard to believe that Jerome Opperman, 39 years old, has spent 11 years in jail as part of a 32-year sentence. My conversations with him revealed a jovial man, married, and very anxious for the welfare of his family. Jerome is someone who refuses to let life’s misfortunes bring him down, but of late, his life has hit a particularly dispiriting stretch of bad luck. His story is the story of thousands of ex-prisoners in our country and around the world—individuals who have served jail time for their transgressions and have “paid their debt to society”. Yet society never forgets and never cancels that debt. When he got out of jail in 2008 on parole, Jerome was still relatively young. He had armed himself with some impressive job skills and qualifications while inside and he had every reason to be hopeful. “In prison I finished matric, did some computer and business management courses and I qualified as a professional catering cook. I learnt other things as well, such as painting and other crafts,” Jerome

explains. “I made sure that when I got out, I would have a good chance of restarting my life.” Indeed, within a short space of time he had found a job as cleaner in an oil refinery off the coast of Mossel Bay. After three months he was promoted to night cook, and then to assistant chef and ultimately to catering manager. Things seemed to be going well even when the company he was working for closed shop because of losing its contract with the refinery. Jerome ended up running the whole show—as “camp boss”, responsible for accommodation, laundry, administration and catering for the next company. “I called the shots,” he says proudly of those times. Then came the lean years. It was a period when potential employers would show interest in his skills and experience but then turn around and show him the door after discovering that he had a criminal record. “I have tried and explored different avenues to get employed especially at corporate level but all in vain. I have the experience and I believe I have the education but due to the fact that the companies do a criminal check and fingerprint clearance I fall short and are shown the door,” said Jerome. He is currently unemployed, his only income from being a “canvasser” for the Democratic Alliance for the upcoming local government elections. He gets R70 a day. To illustrate his predicament Jerome tells of a particularly humiliating recent episode. “I got a job interview with an IT company two weeks ago. I did call the company beforehand to ask for a telephonic interview or a Skype interview due to the distance (Jerome lives in Oudsthoorn) but they refused and were adamant that I had to attend in person.

Jerome opperman has a wide array of skills and a genuine will to work, take his place in society and care for his family but finds it difficult to deal with the prejudice he faces because of his past. “I started hitch-hiking from Oudsthoorn at one o’clock in the morning and only managed to get a lift to Ladismith, which is where I got stuck. I couldn’t make it to the interview and the company sent me an email later that day saying that the position had been filled.” “Yet another opportunity down the drain because of poverty and my criminal record. If there were no policy of checking for a criminal record I would been employed a long time ago. “I am now canvassing for the Democratic Alliance for R70 a day only for two weeks but after the end of this week where do I go?” Jerome told me his spirit is at its lowest ebb at the moment. He admits to thoughts of taking to his old life of crime again. “This has a direct impact on my

health and psychologically it takes me to a place where I start to create thoughts and feelings of going back to crime to feed my family and children. It is now even heavier for me because of the fact that I am not single anymore and as a married man it is my sole responsibility to look after and provide for my family and it is also a direct instruction from God to do so.” Jerome’s mind boggles at the thought of millions of rands wasted on courses and skills training for thousands of prisoners who are now roaming the streets or actively committing crimes all over again. “The million-dollar question now is: where do I go from here— where do millions of other ex-offenders go from here when faced with the same situation as mine?” asks Jerome.

“I see a lot of them going back to prison because the system is failing them. I even had a call from one recently who went back to prison when caught at a supermarket with a pack of mutton. I understand that guy’s situation. It is hard in South Africa to make a living even when you want to make one. Especially in Oudtshoorn, a place which faces a lot of economic challenges.” Jerome also appealed to the Church to clarify its stance on the issue of criminal records for exprisoners. “Does the Church just sit back and watch or does the Church get involved to conquer this evil and break the spell of Satan who wants to take us back to prison so that we must suffer and our families must suffer and our children become drug addicts and our wives and daughters become prostitutes just because of the fact that we as fathers were not there to fulfil our god-given duty?” His suggestion is to initiate a campaign with all stakeholders, especially the private sector to allow ex-prisoners to work on a probationary basis “just to prove ourselves and if need be just for a minimum wage”. “There are a lot of buildings that have become white elephants and crime hotspots. Let us take those buildings and start a huge skills development initiative so that the private sector can join with us and even hire from us.” “I am back where I was eight years ago when I was released. But I will never go back to prison, that I can promise you. All we need is someone out there to see what we are capable of and give us a chance to show our worth.” n Anyone interested in helping Jerome or with any employment leads or would simply like advice for those in a similar situation please contact 072 587 7848 or e-mail opperman


Toll Free 0800 22 66 11 From Abortion to Healing


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If regret over an abortion is part of your life, you are not alone. We care, we can help. Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats are a beautiful opportunity for any person who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion. The retreat is a very specific process designed to help you experience the mercy of God. The retreat is an opportunity to get away from the daily pressure of work and family, to focus on a painful time in life, and to begin healing though a supportive and non-judgemental process. For more information and a complete listing of Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, please visit our website at:

Rachels Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. The weekend offers a supportive and non-judgemental environment to transform the pain of the past into love and hope. We encourage women, men and couples to attend. Following are some comments from men and women who have participated in a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend; “ It was the best weekend of my life. For the first time in 20 years I was able to share my grief, my guilt, my anger, I was able to mourn the loss of my baby ….”

“I had given up on myself, and thought that I had nothing else to offer anyone in life. I had tried all kinds of counselling and therapy and nothing worked for me…..”

“ For 20 years I have been haunted with the terrible guilt that no-one could take away, tormented by thoughts of what my child would have looked like, what my child would have done with his life. I aborted the only child that I would ever conceive. I was dead inside, and tried to kill myself several times. At a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend I was able to share my grief, my guilt, my shame. I was allowed to mourn the loss of my child, and experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness. Rachel’s Vineyard has been a blessing to me …”

“ I was hurting and there were women who did not know me, but I felt genuine God’s love for me. They allowed me to talk as long as I needed to. The retreat saved my life. Now I am ‘feeling again’. I feel God’s presence and love. It is amazing. Thank you.”

Call angie (Cape Town) on 082 852 1284 or email


the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016


Remembering SA’s great artist-priest Ten years ago Oblate Father Frans Claerhout, the Free State-based painter of world-renown, died. Retired journalist WINNIE GraHaM recalls meeting the priest.


ATHER Frans Claerhout was not expecting us at his home at Tweespruit in the Free State that day. Yet, when Fr Ignatius and Fr Jim arrived with me at his mission house way back in 1988, we were immediately invited to lunch. Fr Claerhout took us through to the dining room and, as we sat down, held his hand over the table and said: “Lunchtime, thank God. Let’s eat.” The noted artist and Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest was in his late 70s then, but he was as busy as ever looking after his flock, the majority of whom were poor Basotho. He needed money to minister to their needs—and he did so with a few strokes of his pen, painting images of nature, children and the Holy Family. The two Oblate priests with whom I was travelling that day were on the way to Lesotho where their confrere Fr Joseph Gérard was to be beatified a few months later by Pope John Paul II. They knew their fellow Oblate Fr Frans would welcome us. And he certainly did. We laughed and chatted over lunch as he relayed anecdotes of his life in the Free State. Living on his own as he was, Fr Claerhout might have been a lonely man. Instead he filled his day by serving his people, painting when he had time—and using the proceeds of his rare talent to help the poor. The day I met him, we were on our way to check arrangements for the beatification in Maseru. Was everything going according to

above: Fr Frans Claerhout oMI with one of his paintings. the worldrenowned artist who sold his paintings to finance the work in the mission he ran in the Free State, died ten years ago on July 4. right: the Flight into Egypt is depicted in a painting by Fr Claerhout. schedule? Busloads of South Africans were preparing to take part in Holy Mass that September. Would tiny, landlocked Lesotho cope with the crowds? Our quick stopover at Fr Claerhout’s home for lunch with two Reef-based Oblates, proved to be a highlight of our excursion, his welcome enthusiastic. He was a warm-hearted jovial man, a painter priest who loved people We had arrived at his mission at about midday to find hundreds of small children playing in the grounds of a nursery school. It was just one of Fr Claerhout’s many community initiatives which he ran with the help of local mothers. “But they are nearly all poor people,” I ventured. “How do you cope? There can’t be much in your collection plate on Sundays?” “I’ll show you,” the priest said. He led his two fellow priests and me to his “studio”, a room where he worked as an artist. He pulled

out a selection of his paintings and gave us each some of his originals. The simple lines of his works— many with a religious theme, some depicting colourful pictures of flowers, some simply a few black strokes—all were magnificent. “I sell these to anyone who wants to buy one,” he said. “Art pays the bills.”


uch as I appreciated his gift, I did not realise then what a gift he had given me His paintings often featured a Madonna and child. The sheer simplicity of his work attracted buyers from round the world. Today his paintings grace buildings, galleries and lounges in virtually every corner of the globe. His work has won him international fame, those simple strokes of his paintbrush appreciated everywhere. Many sold for thousands of rands. In his lifetime he made, as an artist, all the money he needed to

fund a nursery school, build houses for the poor, as well as churches, chapels, halls and—inevitably—creches for children. He bought vehicles for the transportation of the old and infirm, and made donations to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Fr Claerhout travelled a great deal, attending the opening of exhibitions of his work in Europe and the United States, including his last one in Chicago. But, despite his cheery good humour, he was not a well man. He took ill soon after a trip to Europe where it was feared that he was dying of a heart-related ailment. He insisted on returning to the Free State where he was treated by a Dr Kleynhans in Bloemfontein. He had a heart bypass and recovered but was often ill with lung problems in the years that followed. In fact, he had many encounters with death, but despite health issues always had time for people, particularly his beloved Ba-

sotho whose language he spoke, and the local Afrikaans population who identified with his Flemish background. The prize-winning author Zakes Mda, who wrote The Madonna of Excelsior (2002), dubbed Fr Claerhout “Trinity”—man, painter and priest. When he died on July 4 2006, aged 87, tributes from around the world poured in to the Oblates Mission House in Bloemfontein where he had spent the last months of his life. But to his flock at Tweespruit, where the Belgium-born priest spent much of his life as a missionary, he was loved as a priest who went beyond the call of duty. I spent no more than 90 minutes with him that day in Tweespruit before we continued to Lesotho—but the warmth of his personality has stayed with me throughout my life, the painting he gave me a living memorial of this wonderful priest.

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the Southern Cross, June 29 to July 5, 2016

CLASSIFIEDS Sr Leonissa Newson OSC Cap


APUCHIN Poor Clare Sister Leonissa Newson died on June 5 at the age of 82. She was born in George on September 25, 1933, and was educated at the Holy Cross Convent school. She entered the Capuchin Poor Clare convent on her 21st birthday. She was the second vocation of the Capuchin Adoration convent in Swellendam, Oudtshoorn diocese, which had been founded on March 25, 1952. She made her first profession on May 3, 1956.

Last month she celebrated the 60th anniversary of her religious profession and participated fully in all the festivities, together with her community, friends as well as her nephew and family who had come out from France for the occasion. She was a good example to all, placing Jesus at the centre of her life as a perpetual adorer of the Blessed Sacrament. The virtues of piety, humility and simplicity, and of course Franciscan poverty, were evident in Sr Leonissa’s life.


Fr S’milo Mngadi


Speaking to his bishop, Vincent Zungu OFM, on his visit to my parish last month, he said something like, “Xolisile is ever-jovial, you sometimes forget that he is so sick.” I first noticed that he was really not well when I heard him cough incessantly at St Luke’s Pastoral Centre, Port Elizabeth, during the Cape Agrop 2014. I teased him “Testa kwedini, ushanguze” (Do an HIV test, man, and get ARVs). A few weeks later, at a SACOP meeting, he looked worse, and I feared that my teasing could be true. A month or so on, he texted me that he was in hospital in Johannesburg. I told him that I would cancel everything and come immediately. He refused and said that he was just there for tests, let me do my work and see him only when I was free. Such selflessness. Later, when he told me about his condition, I was devastated. He said: “Through this sickness, God is calling me to a new ministry.” Indeed, that eventually happened. He started his #1DonorSaves7Lives. He demystified organ donation. He taught ordinary Catholics the correct teachings of the Church about this noble act. His message resonated with Jesus’ words: “What greater love can a person have than to

Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday July 3 Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalms 66:1-7, 16, 20, Galatians 6:14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 Monday July 4, St Elizabeth of Portugal Hosea 2, 14-16, 19-20 (16-18, 21-22), Psalms 145:2-9, Matthew 9:18-26 Tuesday July 5, St Anthony Zaccaria Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13, Psalms 115:3-10, Matthew 9:32-38 Wednesday July 6, St Maria Goretti Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12, Psalms 105:2-7, Matthew 10:1-7 Thursday July 7 Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9, Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, Matthew 10:7-15 Friday July 8 Hosea 14:2-10, Psalms 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-14, 17, Matthew 10:16-23 Saturday July 9, Ss Augustine Zhao Rong and companions Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalms 93:1-2, 5, Matthew 10:24-33 Sunday July 10 Deuteronomy 30:10-14, Psalms 69:14, 17, 3031, 33-34, 36-37, Colossians 1:15-20, Luke 10:25-37

Births • First Communion • Confirmation • Engagement/Marriage • Wedding anniversary • ordination jubilee • Congratulations • deaths • In memoriam • thanks • Prayers • accommodation • Holiday accommodation • Personal • Services • Employment • Property • others Please include payment (R1,60 a word) with small advertisements for promptest publication.


Santo Subito: Make him a saint now HILE still working at the SACBC, at the beginning of the Year of the Religious, I made a proposal to collect and publish stories in which ordinary people tell how priests, nuns and brothers have positively impacted their lives. I named it “Saints Among Us”. Unfortunately, it never saw the light of day. Earlier this year, I started a Facebook page with the same name. It aims to collect stories of people who have lived with us whom we consider “ good”, thus, saints. This page is, however, quite unsustainable, as few stories trickle in. In a retreat of a sodality a few weeks ago, I challenged them to promote those who have lived their objectives exceptionally and use their stories as a model for living members. They just stared at me. They must have been thinking I was mad. For us South Africans, saints are “remote” people who lived in another epoch whose memory we ritualise through statues, medals, novenas, pilgrimages and so on. Their intercessory part is more important for us than their example of faith. Transcendence carries more weight than immanence. However, this attitude attacks the very core of our faith: incarnation; God-with-us and God-like-us. Hearing of the death of Fr Augustine Xolisile Kondlo, I was shocked. During our telephone conversations, he always said “Akukubi mfokaBawo, kuzolunga” (It is not too bad, my brother, everything will be OK).


lay down his life for others” (John 15:13). His handsome face and naughty chuckle eased everyone who heard him speak. Yet, witnessing his attacks, which would sometimes turn him almost purple, sent chills down the spine, brought his urgent need for a transplant home. Preaching at a priest’s funeral, one bishop said: “Every priest is ordained to offer sacrifices. This is ritualised at every Mass he offers. However, he has no clue on the day of his ordination what his real sacrifice(s) will be.” I wonder if Xoli knew that this medical condition was going to be his sacrifice when Archbishop Stephen Brislin laid hands on him in 2008. What matters is that when he realised it, when it came, he embraced it. He clung to this old rugged cross and is now exchanging it for a crown. For me, he is a saint. Not because he had no sin. He surely had many. He is a saint because he joyfully accepted his sickness (not readily a given for many priests), kept his Christian composure throughout, and saw in it a vocation to a new ministry. He turned a proverbial lemon into lemonade. To Bishop Zungu, the Church of Port Elizabeth, the SACBC, SACOP and all Catholics including myself, I say: “Fr Xolisile has positively impacted our lives and transformed our worldviews; he was a saint among us. Santo Subito! Make him a saint now!” n See the article on Page 1 on Fr Kondlo.

CiOLLi—Mary-anne (dickie) née dixon. Who passed away on January 18, 2015, after a long illness, borne with dignity and great courage, deeply mourned and will be forever remembered, with great love, remo, Catherine, Michael, david, Stephan and grandchildren. r.I.P


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. Vd rimmer LOrD, inspire those men and women who bear the titles “husband” and “wife”. Help them to look to you, to themselves, to one another to rediscover the fullness and mystery they once felt

Southern CrossWord solutions

in their union. let them be honest enough to ask: “Where have we been together and where are we going?” let them be brave enough to question: “How have we failed?” let each be foolhardy enough to say: “For me, we come first.” Help them, together, to reexamine their commitment in the light of your love, willingly, openly, compassionately. FATHEr in heaven, everliving source of all that is good, keep me faithful in serving you. Help me to drink of Christ's truth, and fill my heart with his love so that I may serve you in faith and love and reach eternal life. In the sacrament of the Eucharist you give me the joy of sharing your life. Keep me in your presence. let me never be separated from you and help me to do your will.

THAnKS be to thee, my lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me, For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. o most merciful redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, For ever and ever.


ABOrTiOn WArning: the pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. See www.


in Johannesburg & beyond

Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: July 2: Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo of Eshowe on his 62nd birthday.

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SOLUTIONS TO 713. ACROSS: 5 Jack, 7 Mumbojumbo, 8 Salt, 10 Conclave, 11 Scraps, 12 Squire, 14 Hiatus, 16 Jesuit, 17 Textbook, 19 Tank, 21 Taken place, 22 Uses. DOWN: 1 Amos, 2 Abstract, 3 Ejects, 4 Amends, 5 Joel, 6 Conversion, 9 Archimedes, 13 Unsettle, 15 Shocks, 16. Joking, 18 Tots, 20 Keep.

Word of the Week

Encyclical: A letter written from the pope addressed to the bishops. Monstrance: A silver or gold stand that contains a circular window surrounded by a sunburst of rays. Inside the circular window is placed a wafer which is the Eucharist. Remission of sins: Forgiveness of sins through the sacraments of baptism and penance.


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The Southern Cross is published independently by the Catholic newspaper & Publishing Company Ltd. address: Po Box 2372, Cape town, 8000. Tel: (021) 465 5007 Fax: (021) 465 3850

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15th Sunday: July 10 Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 10-14, Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37, Colossians 1:15-20, Luke 10:25-37

S outher n C ross

Count on God’s fidelity


T is quite simple, really, and you can count on the fidelity of God. That is the message of the readings for next Sunday. The first reading comes from Deuteronomy, where the children of Israel are hovering on the brink of crossing the Jordan, and being taught how they are to survive in the Promised Land. What they have to do is “listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and decrees which are written in this book of the Law”. We are not allowed to take refuge in the notion that “it is a bit difficult”; we have to recognise that “the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your hearts—just do it!” In the psalm for next Sunday, the singer is quite clear what he wants: “I am praying to you, Lord, for the time of your favour”; and he is determined in his desire for an answer: “Answer me, Lord, for your steadfast love is good, in accordance with the multitude of your mercy, turn to me.” He never loses his confidence, though, and he is certain that “the Lord will save Zion, and rebuild the cities of Judah…those who

love his name will dwell there”. God’s fidelity is central here. In the second reading, we start a brief gallop through the lovely letter to the Colossians. This extract is a single sentence in Greek (something that is nearly impossible in English), a meditation on the many ways in which Christ is Number One. He is “the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all creation”, and therefore if you want to know what God’s fidelity looks like, look at Jesus: “In him were created all the things in heaven and on earth.” Then, if the Church is the presence of Jesus on earth, we can still find there the presence of that faithful God: “He is the head of the body, the Church…because in him the entire fullness [of God] was pleased to dwell.” And what does this fidelity do? “Reconcile everything to [God], having made peace by the blood of his cross.” The Gospel plays the same tune; it is one of the best-known of Jesus’ parables, but to grasp its meaning, we need to read it in its entire setting. It starts with “a lawyer”, never

one of Luke’s favourites, who “rose up, testing him”: “Teacher, what am I to do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, tired of the game, simply throws the question back to him: “In the Law, what is written?”, and the lawyer has the answer straightaway: “Love the Lord your God…and your neighbour as yourself.” Jesus’ response is dismissive: “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live (because you can rely on the fidelity of God).” However, the lawyer is not interested in God’s fidelity, but in making a point, so he comes back: “And who is my ‘neighbour’?” In response, Jesus tells one of the loveliest of his stories: “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he encountered muggers.” That road was notorious, and if you take the same desert track today, you will understand how likely such a thing might be. As all good stories must, this comes in three parts: the two religious figures, the Priest and the Levite [the Jesuit and the Oblate?], who come across the half-dead, naked and battered victim, “and seeing him made a big circle round him”. You can think of a thousand rea-

Of guns and pacifism T

immediately to their chapel and sang the Christmas Mass, putting special emphasis on how Jesus entered this world radically vulnerable and helpless and was immediately under threat. Their measured, eventual response honoured this immediate reaction: living now under the threat of death, they refused to arm themselves or accept military protection, believing that there was an unbridgeable incongruity between what they had vowed themselves to and the presence of guns inside their monastery. Moreover, after that initial encounter with armed terrorists, their abbott, Christian de Cherge, introduced a special mantra into his daily prayer: “Disarm me! Lord, disarm me!” Living under the threat of arms, he prayed daily to remain disarmed, physically helpless against potential attack, to be like a newborn child, like the newborn Jesus, exposed and helpless before the threat of violence. But that’s not an easy thing to imitate, especially since almost everything in our world today beckons us towards its opposite, namely, to arm ourselves, to counter every threat, gun for gun, to meet all potential threat with armed resistance. It’s the times: like Christian de Cherge and his community of monks, we too live under the threat of terrorism and widespread violence. And our paranoia is heightened as, daily, our news reports give us images of terrorist shootings, bombings, beheadings, mass-shootings, street violence, and domestic violence. We live in violent times. Understandably there’s an itch


HE gospels tell us that after King Herod died, an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, telling him: “Get up! Take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the child’s life are now dead (Matthew 2, 19-20).” The angel, it would seem, spoke prematurely, for the child, the infant-Christ, was still in danger, is still in danger, is still mortally threatened, and is still being tracked down, right to this day. God still lies vulnerable and helpless in our world and is forever under attack. All forms of violence, of aggression, of intimidation, of bullying, of ego-parading, of seeking advantage, are still trying to kill the child. And the child is threatened too in lessovert ways, namely, whenever we turn a blind eye on those who lie helpless and exposed in war, poverty, and economic injustice, we are still killing the child. Herod may be dead, but he has many friends. The child is forever threatened. Many of us are familiar with the story of the Trappist monks in Algeria who were martyred by terrorists in 1996. Some months before being taken captive and executed, they had been visited by the terrorists; ironically on Christmas Eve, just as they were preparing to celebrate the Christmas Eve Eucharist. The terrorists, heavily armed, left after a tense standoff wherein the monks did not agree to give them the medical supplies they were demanding. But the monks, understandably, were badly shaken. What was their response? They went



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Nicholas King SJ

Sunday reflections

sons why this might have been the right thing to do: the need to remain ritually pure, the fear of being mugged themselves, not wanting to be late for the Temple service; but the fact is that their lack of action can hardly model the faithful love of God. You can imagine Jesus’ hearers cheering him on with this satire on clerical pretensions, but then being suddenly silenced when they discover who is to be the real hero of the story: a Samaritan, for Heaven’s sake! To get the effect, I would just ask you to think of that ethnic group or tribe or class that you most instinctively dislike, and think of one of them. This one (and as I say you must choose where he comes from) is simply outstanding in his care for the victim, giving far more than he needed to; and that is what the fidelity of God is like. Listen then to what Jesus says, to the lawyer and to us: “Off you go, and you must act in the same way.” Will you do that, this week?

Southern Crossword #713

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final reflection

to arm ourselves. So how realistic is it to refuse to arm ourselves? How realistic is it to pray to be disarmed? Christianity has always defended both justified self-defence and just war. Beyond even this, no prudent society would ever choose to disband its police force and its military and these, necessarily, carry guns and other weapons. Indeed it might be said that those who argue for radical pacifism can do so only because they are already protected by police and soldiers with guns. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that, except for the guns and weapons that protect us, we all stand helpless before the criminals and psychopaths of this world. But, that needs some nuance. Among other things, there’s still a powerful case to be made for remaining personally disarmed. The late cardinal of Chicago, Francis George, argued it this way: we need pacifists in the same way as we need vowed religious celibates, that is, we need gospel-inspired persons to give a particular, sometimes-singular, witness to what the gospels ultimately point to, namely, to a place beyond our present imagination, a heaven within which we will relate to each other in an intimacy which we cannot yet imagine and where there will be no arms or weapons. In heaven, we will be utterly defenceless before each other. There will be no guns in heaven. This reality is already imaged in the newborn Christ, helpless and vulnerable and already so threatened. It is also imaged in our own modernday pacifists, from Dorothy Day to Martin Luther King, from Mother Teresa to Christian de Cherge, from Daniel Berrigan to Larry Rosebaugh, we have been gifted by the witness of Gospel-inspired persons who, in the face of physical threat and violence, chose to risk their lives rather than pick up a gun. The times are forcing us too to choose: do we arm ourselves or not? Because those seeking the life of the child are still around, paranoid folks, like King Herod, killing indiscriminately for fear that a helpless child might soon threaten their throne and their privilege.


5. He may give your car a lift (4) 7. Unintelligible speech of an elephant? (5-5) 8. Last round on the kitchen table (4) 10. Room for cardinals only (8) 11. Fights for left-overs (6) 12. Knight’s attendant (6) 14. Hut, as I learn, is in the gap (6) 16. Member of the Society (6) 17. Volume containing biblical principles? (8) 19. Armoured vehicle in the house? (4) 21. Having occurred around Packet Lane (5,5) 22. Applies when one is lost to Jesus (4)


1. Prophet (4) 2. Written summary that’s theoretical (8) 3. How pilot escapes on his seat (6) 4. Corrects a manuscript with end in the middle (6) 5. His book appears before that of 1 down (4) 6. Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus (10) 9. Search me, I’d hardly find the Greek (10) 13. Disturb lest tune is differently arranged (8) 15. The live wire does it (6) 16. Jesting (6) 18. Adds up the tiny ones (4) 20. Retain at arm’s length (4) Solutions on page 11



LITTLE boy wanted to know what it was like to have R1 000, so his mother told him to pray to God for it. He prayed for two weeks but no R1 000 turned up. So he wrote a letter to God, asking for the R1 000. When the Post Office received the letter addressed to God, they opened it and decided to send it to the president. The president was touched and amused, and instructed his secretary to send the boy R20. The boy was delighted with the R20 and wrote a thank-you letter: “Dear God, Thank you very much for sending me the money. But I noticed that you had to send it through the government—and as usual, those thieves deducted R980 for tax.”


Lenten Pilgrimage to

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29 June - 5 July, 2016

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