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S outher n C ross

April 17 to April 23, 2019

Sipuka: Don’t abuse the ‘gift of car’

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Reg No. 1920/002058/06

No 5132

R10 (incl VAT RSA)

Fr Ralph de Hahn: Was Resurrection a real deal?

Pope’s youth doc must now be put in action

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Why I still want to be a priest

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The editor and staff of The Southern Cross wish all readers, advertisers, Associates, pilgrims, supporters, contributors, bishops, clergy, religious, and all our friends a blessed Easter filled with the hope and joy of our Risen Lord.



OUTH chaplains and coordinators will meet in Mariannhill in May to discuss Pope Francis’ new document on the youth. The conference on the pope’s apostolic exhortation Christus vivit (“Christ Lives”), which was released this month, will be at Trefontane retreat house in Mariannhill from May 20-23. Presentations will be held on the final document of last year’s Synod of Bishops on the Youth and the apostolic exhortation, which is the pope’s reflection and recommendations on the deliberations of the synod. Fr Mthembeni Dlamini CMM, the national youth chaplain for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said that Christus vivit will require time, discussion and studying. He warned that unless there are strong and vibrant youth ministries in parishes, implementation of the document will be difficult. Christus vivit touches not only on what was said during the synod on the theme of young people, the faith and vocational discernment, but also what the youth said during a pre-synod gathering that took place in Rome in March 2018. “You cannot understand the exhortation unless you’ve read the final document on the synod of bishops, because that lays the foundation in terms of what the bishops discussed and what they saw as a need for the young people,” Fr Dlamini said. At the May conference, presentations will be made on the final document and exhortation, and there will be discussions on how the youth ministry in the bishops’ conference region can be helped to grow. “We will start off with discussions on the final document which will lay the foundation and give perspective on the exhortation, and then go more in-depth on [Christus vivit] because it gives practical points on how we can respond to young people and ways of

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit will be studied for implementation by youth chaplains in Mariannhill next month. The document contains the pope's reflections on the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS) how we can apply the exhortation,” Fr Dlamini explained. “These documents need implementation and the SACBC doesn’t have much influence when it comes to what’s going to happen at the parish. We influence the dioceses, but sometimes they don’t engage much with us at the SACBC, which creates more difficulty in terms of the young people, as the parish is where they are,” Fr Dlamini said. The youth chaplain hopes that the diocesan structures will implement the document on the parish level so that the pastors, parish councils and adult parishioners are aware of what needs to be done for young people. “We can’t just throw a document at the young people and say, ‘This is for you; read it’. We have to journey with them in terms of implementation because we have to be a part of it, as adults, as clergy, as religious, as parents,” he said. Christus vivit, which is presented as a letter to young people, concludes with “a wish” from Pope Francis: “Dear young people, my Continued on page 2

Fr John Thompson SDB inserts five grains of incense—representing the wounds of Christ— into the Easter candle, held By Deacon Victor Ho, during last year’s Easter Vigil Mass at the church of St John Bosco in Robertsham, Johannesburg. That evening, the lights in the church were extinguished, parishioners were given unlit candles and asked to move outside where Fr Thompson blessed and lit the Easter Candle from a fire symbolising God the creator of all. The candle is symbolic of Jesus the light of the world. Parishioners were then led inside in procession behind the lit candle. At the door, altar servers lit the congregants’ candles from the Easter candle. Easter this year is on April 21. (Photo: Mark Kisogloo)

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The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


HIV/Aids centre closes as Gauteng govt cuts aid BY ERIN CARELSE

“This is an extremely sensitive time for all involved as it means we need to part ways with some very dedicated people in our team,” Mr Devy said. “Retrenching staff who have performed their duties more than satisfactorily over a long period of time is disheartening for all parties involved,” he added. Staff members who were employed directly by the Department of Health have been reassigned by the department, and staff members retrenched from the hospice or clinic will be considered first should a position open in the other units at Nazareth House in Johannesburg. Some staff members are already working in the elderly care section, either permanently or as relief workers for staff members who are ill or on leave. Nazareth Care, through the Sisters of Nazareth based at their Johannesburg house, remains a committed activist of HIV/Aids awareness in Southern Africa. “We will continue to fund HIV/Aids research initiatives as we partner with organisations which


AZARETH Care Centre in Yeoville, Johannesburg, has closed its HIV/Aids clinic and hospice after receiving notice that the Gauteng Department of Health will be withdrawing financial support as of March 31. The clinic catered for over 2 000 patients from the local community where anti-retroviral treatment was available for people with HIV/Aids. Patients were also given drug literacy training, received ongoing counselling, and had access to doctors and nurses who could treat the opportunistic infections they might also have. “All patients have been transferred to other care facilities or to the care of loved ones. These facilities—Alexandra Hospice and Edenvale Hospice—were selected by the Department of Health,” said Nazareth Care African region’s Wayne Devy, CEO. In addition, the harsh reality of closing a department means that Nazareth House is in the process of staff retrenchments.

are helping the fight against this epidemic, and will continue to work alongside the Catholic Health Care Association which provides training in HIV/Aids support and anti-retroviral adherence monitoring,” Mr Devy said. Nazareth Care’s children’s home, elderly care and charity shop remain unaffected by the government cut. An ongoing need remains for these facilities, said Mr Devy. As winter approaches, Nazareth Care requires dressing gowns, slippers and socks, and basic toiletries for its residents. “We would like to thank our community for their words of encouragement to our staff, management, and patients,” Mr Devy said. “We will never give up on the cause. Please keep our HIV/Aids patients, carers and hospice staff in your thoughts during this difficult time.” Nazareth House, founded by the Sisters of Nazareth, is a non-profit, charitable organisation that has served communities in South Africa for more than 130 years.

Top Witbank diocese student Itumeleng Mohlala (centre) and parish priest Fr Jereme Soku MCCJ (left) receive awards from diocesan youth coordinator Mthunzi Manda.

Witbank student honoured


ITBANK diocese has honoured its best 2018 Grade 12 student, Itumeleng Mohlala from Acornhoek. Ms Mohlala—currently studying at the University of Limpopo—won a trophy from the diocesan youth ministry and a floating parish trophy, plus a book voucher donated by Phemphetse Trading & Projects and cash from Honestytrade 40.

Diocesan youth coordinator Mthunzi Manda presented the awards and prizes to Ms Mohlala, and Fr Jereme Soku MCCJ received the floating trophy on behalf of the parish. Mr Manda thanked the two companies for their contributions,and invited businesses that could help Ms Mohlala further her studies to contact him on 082 297-4087.

Zambian Brother professed in CT Course offered on Christian leadership BY ERIN CARELSE


AINT Mary’s parish in Retreat, Cape Town, hosted the final profession of Redemptorist Brother Peter Chitabanta. Br Peter was supported by a large congregation which included his Redemptorist confrères and friends from his native Zambia, Brs Paschal Chola, David Busiku and Flavio Musonda (all Brothers of Charity). Fr Gregory Vu Tung, a Redemptorist from Vietnam, travelled with the Zambian Brothers from their base in Limpopo. Also in attendance were members of the Little Family from Retreat who have been longtime friends of Br Peter. The new provincial of the Redemptorists in South Africa, Fr Gerard McCabe, delivered the homily at the Mass.


Newly professed Br Peter Chitabanta CSsR with Redemptorist provincial Fr Gerard McCabe.

OUTH Africa’s Catholic university will be offering a short course in Christian business leadership (CBL) based on the teachings, philosophy and pedagogy of Fr Joseph Kentenich, applied to the world of business as an appropriate leadership style. The Johannesburg-based St Augustine College course is the fruit of a long-standing dialogue with business leaders in Johannesburg. It has been conducted since 1982 in South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Hundreds of business leaders have taken part. The programme, consisting of ten units, aims to apply Christian

social teaching to the concrete situations of countries, with their socio-political, multinational and multicultural problems, and to find appropriate solutions. CBL explores five themes in the teachings of Fr Kentenich, linking them to challenging areas in the business environment: • Organism (structure and function) • Organisation (coordination of functions and groups) • Authority and power (leadership, conflict management) • Pedagogy of values (morale and job satisfaction) • Divine providence (personal development, spirituality of leadership, strategic planning). The Christian business leadership course will be presented in two

weekend-seminars on July 13-14 and July 27-28, from 9:00 till 16:30. The CBL course was designed by Professor Sr Edith Raidt, a Schoenstatt Sister, and draws from the teachings of Fr Kentenich, who founded the Schoenstatt movement. German Pallottine Fr Kentenich, who died in 1968, was a theologian, educator and pioneer of a Catholic response to several modern issues. The seminar will be presented by clinical psychologist Tony de Gouveia and human resources professional Francis Graham. The cost is R1 800, which includes course material, notes, lunches, and tea. n For more details, contact Helen Hartwig on h.hartwig@staugustine. or call 011 380-9000.

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The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019



Bishops: Don’t abuse ‘gift of the car’ BY MANDLA ZIBI


ITH more road carnage expected this Easter holidays, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha said Christians should apologise for having abused the “gift of the car” when driving. The prelate, who is also president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, spoke at an Easter Peak Period Prayer meeting held in Mthatha town hall. The multidenominational event was a joint initiative between the Eastern Cape’s provincial Department of Transport and Mthatha Church Leaders (MCL), an ecumenical collective chaired by Bishop Sipuka. “As Christians we need to have a change of heart regarding our behaviour on the road, and apologise to God for abusing his gift of the car. We must develop what I would call a ‘spirituality of the road’,” the bishop said. “We should find out what guiding principles we can take from our faith when we are behind the steering wheel”, he said. Bishop Sipuka also formally received a Church Leaders’ Guide on

Road Safety Education document from Dr Z Pafa, district manager of the provincial transport department. The document was the result of a collaboration between a technical committee of the MCL, the local Community Road Safety Council (comprising representatives from hawkers, the taxi industry and others), and the Eastern Cape provincial government. Dr Pafa said he was very pleased with the work that had been done in teaching community members the basics of road safety. He was especially impressed with the idea of involving the church leaders in the campaign. “Government can’t do this alone,” he said. The idea of more community involvement in road safety campaigns came up with former national Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele in 2010 during the launch of the United Nations-backed Decade Of Action For Road Safety, which concludes next year. In December 2018, the Community Road Safety Council in Mthatha invited the MCL to play an active part in the campaign. Before coming on board, the MCL re-

Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha, with church leaders from other denominations, spoke at a town hall prayer meeting on road safety during the Easter holidays. He urging Christians to be responsible and have a ‘spirituality of the road’. quested a workshop from the Department of Transport during which all pertinent road safety issues were unpacked. The event, attended by more than 75 local church leaders, gave birth to the church leaders’ guide handed over to Bishop Sipuka last weekend. Fr Luthando Xhamlayo, a local parish priest deeply involved in

compiling the document, said the Church and the local community had become quite concerned at the high number of deaths and injuries resulting from road accidents. “Prayer meetings such as the one today have become annual events of pain and bitterness as we remember our own loved ones who have died or sustained serious injury in this scourge,” he said.

Fr Xhamlayo argued that among the three main causes of road deaths—the human factor, road conditions, and vehicle conditions—the human factor was the most important as it was the common denominator in all of the others. Accordingly, the guide document has come up with eight strategies for road safety, most of which are targeted at changing human behaviour. These include ensuring road safety becomes a daily topic of conversation in homes; providing the community with accurate and upto-date information/statistics on road safety issues; positive and negative social reinforcement measures for road behaviour (for example, holding best taxi driver competitions); and fighting society’s widespread tolerance for the “scandal of annual road deaths and bad behaviour on our roads”. Bishop Sipuka thanked all who had helped make the guide a reality. He said it was only a first draft and proposed that further refinement of strategies should include the Church making road safety an integral part of Sunday School teaching.

May conference to be on pope’s youth doc

Roll up for Royal Affair fête at Little Eden in Jhb

Continued from page 1 joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful.” The pope continued: “Keep running, attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith… “And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.” Fr Dlamini noted that “young people want to participate in the life of the Church”. “Many dioceses don’t have young people representing the youth on parish councils, they have adults,” he said. “The Church should not be afraid to engage young people in all activities and allow them to take a leading role.”


The music department at Holy Rosary School in Edenvale, Johannesburg, held its bi-annual soirée. Pupils and parents got to enjoy the performances by talented young women. Pictured are students Rea (French horn) and Xongi (guitar).

HE theme of this year’s Little Eden Society fête is “Royal Affair”, and visitors are challenged to dress up for the theme, with the chance of winning prizes. The fête will be held on Saturday, May 11, at Little Eden’s Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home (corner Harris Avenue and Wagenaar Road, Edenglen, Johannesburg) from 9:00-13:00. The R10 entry fee offers a range of foods, cakes, books, plants, gifts, tombola, sweet treats, toys, fun activities and games, a jumping castle,

face painting and target shooting, among other things. Visitors will also stand a chance to win prizes in lucky draws and raffles. Those who would like to have private stalls on the day or wish to make a contribution towards the event, are asked to urgently contact Zama on 011 609-7246 or at office for more information.


The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


Tradition: Carrying the cross on Via Dolorosa BY JuDITH SuDILoVSKY

F Melkite Archbishop Issam Darwich of Zahle, Lebanon, poses with a Syrian Christian refugee at the entrance to St John the Merciful Table. The diocese, close to the Syrian border, serves a daily hot meal there to 1 000 Syrian Christian refugees. (Photo: Melkite Catholic diocese of Zahle/CNS)

‘To help Syrian refugees, get to the roots of war’


SIDE from humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees and concrete efforts to help them return to their homeland, the international community should work towards eradicating the roots of wars and violence, an archbishop from Lebanon told members of a political party holding the largest number of seats in the European Parliament. Melkite Catholic Archbishop Issam Darwich of Zahle, whose diocese is near Syria’s western border, addressed the plight of Christians in the Middle East and Syrian refugees with the European People’s Party, a conservative and Christian democratic political party. “Our situation is one of the deepest suffering and trauma,” said Archbishop Darwich, who was born in Syria. “What is happening in the Middle East today is a chain of events against Christians, unfolding since 2011. All these actions send a message to Christians in the area that they don’t have a safe place anymore,” he said. “The fact that they became minorities in these countries is not an excuse for anyone to neglect the critical situation they are passing through,” Archbishop Darwich said. He stressed that Christians have always played a crucial role in the region and strive to foster peace, justice and democracy. He also noted that Lebanon’s episcopal committee for ChristianMuslim dialogue, for which he serves as president, is “working hard so that religions would find new ways to present their respective creeds as partners allied and not as

adversaries”. “Religion must never be used to promote hatred or violence,” Archbishop Darwich stressed. As for the refugee crisis, he underlined that eight years into the Syrian conflict, Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita and has the fourth-largest refugee population in the world. More than 1,5 million Syrian refugees are living scattered throughout the tiny country among its existing population of about 4 million people. In addition, some 500 000 Palestinian refugees and thousands of Iraqi families dwell in Lebanon. “The pressure of this situation on the Lebanese hosting community is felt in all sectors, including education, security, health, housing, water and electricity supply,” Archbishop Darwich said. He noted that his diocese, located about 29km from the Syrian border, “had the leading role” in helping displaced Syrians. “We have supported and helped them since the beginning of their displacement to Lebanon till today, especially the Christian refugees, who were and still are invisible” to the international community because they do not live in camps, he emphasised. As a result, he added, the Christians “are always neglected regarding any support or help”. However, the archbishop pointed out that the “tragedy of refugees is not restricted to a specific sect because all Syrians have suffered for almost eight years now from a holocaust”.—CNS

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OR four decades, Mousa Kamar has taken his place at the head of the heavy wooden cross used during the Franciscan Good Friday procession on the Via Dolorosa. Mr Kamar, 55, can be seen every year at the front left of the cross, the same position his father took up to carry the cross. His grandfather also helped carry the front of the cross. The scores of old black-and-white pictures, colour photographs and magazine photos Mr Kamar has collected and uploaded onto his Facebook page attest to the long-held family tradition. “We do this not only because it is the tradition, but because we are religious and we truly believe in it,” said Mr Kamar, looking over some of the photographs scattered on a coffee table as he sat in his mother’s living room in Jerusalem’s Old City, near the ninth station of the cross. This is the home where he grew up and where his paternal grandmother was born. It takes about 20 men to carry the 3m cross on Good Friday, and traditionally each position on the cross was taken by a representative of a different family. Mr Kamar is the only one who has continued with the tradition. As the older generation died off, younger members of the other families did not continue with the tradition, he said. The cross, though still large and heavy, is smaller than the one used generations ago, he said. Even in the pushing and shoving of the procession, which sees local Catholics and pilgrims packing the cobblestone streets of the Old City as

Mousa Kamar (front right) and his son, Youssef (left) carry the large wooden cross during the Good Friday procession on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s old City. Mousa Kamar and his sons are carrying on the tradition of his father and grandfather, carrying the cross on Good Friday. (Photo: Debbie Hill/CNS) they make their way along the Via Dolorosa, Mr Kamar said he is able to find a space within himself where he can reflect on the significance of the moment and on the life of Jesus. “When I am carrying the cross I remember Jesus, how he died for us and how he walked all this way by himself,” said Mr Kamar. “We are 20 people carrying it, and he carried it by himself. ” Mr Kamar’s parents had run a family grocery store near the eighth station of the cross, and Graciella Matulleh Kamar, today 83, recalled the pride she felt as she would stand in the doorway of their shop on Good Friday and watch as her husband carried the cross during the procession. Her husband, Mr Kamar’s father, was killed during the

1967 war in which Israel took over control of Jerusalem from the Jordanians. “After he was killed, I couldn’t watch the procession anymore. It was too painful,” she said. Only when Mr Kamar, at age 15, stepped in to fill his father’s place was she able to once again watch the procession, she said. “The first time I carried it I couldn’t sleep the night before, I was so excited about carrying the cross and filling that space my father had had,” Mr Kamar said. In preparation for the procession, Mousa Kamar spends Holy Week in prayer for Christian unity and a strengthening of Christian religious identity, which he feels is being lost.—CNS

Cardinal: Leave gangs, turn in your knives BY SIMoN CALDWELL


N English cardinal has called on young people to get rid of their knives in an attempt to stem an epidemic of violence sweeping the UK. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster also urged young people to abandon gangs and to turn to Christ instead. “If you or your friends are involved in gangs, try to find a way out,” Cardinal Nichols said in an audio message posted on the website of the archdiocese of Westminster. “If you or your friends carry or possess knives, go to one of the banks and anonymously get rid of the knife in your possession, just get


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rid of it,” he said. “It doesn’t make you safer, it puts you at risk of being provoked into using it, and not only will you cause harm to somebody else, you’ll damage your own life.” The archdiocese operates two knife banks where people can dispose of their weapons anonymously. “Build friendships, find places where you can go and sit and honestly talk and share your experiences with other people,” the cardinal said. “Say your prayers, turn to God, turn to Christ and let your life grow from that relationship with Jesus rather than from anywhere else.” He made his remarks after he joined other faith leaders for the “Standing Together” rally against

knife crime in London’s Trafalgar Square. Families and communities hurt by knife crime organised the rally in an attempt to combat the worst peak in knife crime since 1946, the year that data on such types of offences began to be collated. The Office for National Statistics revealed that over the 12 months that ended in March 2018, there were 285 “knife and sharp instrument homicides”, exceeding the previous peak of 268 in 2008. About 40% of the killings were in London, much of which is covered by the Westminster archdiocese. The majority of the victims were white males, ages 16-24.—CNS

Vatican backs demands to decriminalise homosexuality BY JuNNo ARoCHo ESTEVES


NETWORK of lawyers, politicians and human rights advocates seeking an end to the criminalisation of homosexuality met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Baroness Helena Ann Kennedy, director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, told journalists that while there are doctrinal issues regarding homosexuality, Cardinal Parolin agreed that decriminalising homosexuality “is absolutely about the Church’s teaching about respecting human dignity”. “Human dignity is at the heart of this effort,” she said. Cardinal Parolin “accepted that it is fundamental to the teaching of the Church and that absolutely—he was very, very clear—that violence in any form whatsoever is unacceptable”. In a statement released after the meeting, the group also urged the Church to take an active role in pro-

moting the decriminalisation of homosexuality and called “upon all states to declare illegal the application of the so-called conversion ‘cure’ therapies as degrading or cruel treatment and requested health professionals to refrain from taking part in any way in such therapies”. The Vatican confirmed that Cardinal Parolin met with the 50-member delegation and was presented with “research on the criminalisation of homosexual relationships in the Caribbean”. Since 2008, the Vatican has expressed its opposition to unjust discrimination against homosexuals and against laws making homosexual activity illegal. However, that same year, the Vatican opposed the endorsement of a UN universal declaration that would decriminalise homosexuality because, it said, the document’s language might be used to put pressure on or discriminate against countries that do not recognise same-sex marriage.—CNS

The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019



The faith of Rwandan genocide couple T Pope Francis blesses a new altar with holy oil as he celebrates Mass at the parish of St Julius in Rome. (Photo: Remo Casilli, Reuters/CNS)

Pope: Don’t pretend in front of Jesus BY CARoL GLATZ


VERYONE has a direct line to Jesus, who is always nearby, ready to listen and help, Pope Francis said. “Jesus likes to see the truth of our heart. Don’t pretend in front of Jesus. With Jesus, always say what you are feeling,” he said during a visit to a Rome parish. Pope Francis met with young people, newlyweds, volunteers, the sick, the elderly and other members of the parish of St Julius in Monteverde Rome before celebrating Mass in their newly restructured church, blessing and anointing the new altar. Before Mass, he took time to listen to and answer parishioners’ questions, receive drawings and gifts, as well as celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation with three young people and a mother. The pope said a young man had asked him if there was any truth to what his grandfather had told him, “that the pope, as successor of Peter, has Peter’s phone number and calls him”. While Pope Francis said he didn’t have St Peter’s number, “We all have Jesus’ ‘cell phone number’ and all of us can connect with Jesus, who always has ‘good reception’, always!”

“He always listens because he is so close to us,” which means he is easy to find, the pope said. “He sees us, he loves us” and understands everything, he added. Never be afraid to tell Jesus the truth, to get mad at him, to express your doubts and fears, the pope told young people. A person should never stop talking to Jesus, even when they are angry with him because even “getting angry with Jesus can be a kind of praying”. He is always patient and will listen, Pope Francis added. The pope told a young catechist how important it was to help young people express and deal with doubt in a healthy and constructive way. Otherwise, when young people receive their confirmation, the sacrament will become what some people in Rome call “the sacrament of farewell”, marking the end of the person’s active participation in Church life. When a young girl asked the pope if he ever personally helped feed the poor, the pope said: “Yes, I have, many times. It is something all Christians must do, to personally give the poor something to eat.” Everyone, starting as a newborn, has had to depend on someone else to be fed, he said.—CNS

Abuse commission on the February summit BY CARoL GLATZ


Rwandan genocide victims Cyprien and Daphrose Rugumba, who are being put forward for sainthood. (Photo: Archives de la Communauté de l’Emmanuel)

lieving in God’s existence and love for him. This experience, which he would later attribute to his wife’s tireless prayers on his behalf, led to a complete transformation of his life. After a difficult 17 years of marriage, the relationship was united in a new fidelity and they grew in faith and joy together. In 1989, Cyprien and Daphrose encountered the Emmanuel Community, a Catholic organisation with an international presence, focused on discipleship and evangelisation through prayer and charity. The following year, they founded a chapter of the community in Rwanda. Over the next four years, they devoted their time to the quickly growing community. But while the Rugumbas’ marriage was filled with joy and peace, the country around them was not. Decades of ethnic tension were beginning to lead to calls for violence in Rwanda, fostered by propaganda backed by political extremists.

In April 1994, the tensions erupted into frenzied bloodshed, as members of the Hutu ethnic majority took up machetes and turned on their minority Tutsi neighbours, friends, and colleagues. In the 100day genocide that followed, it is estimated that 1 million people were killed. In Cyprien’s work with the Emmanuel Community, he insisted that Hutus and Tutsis were both welcome. On the morning of April 7, the start of the genocide, Cyprien and Daphrose were murdered in their home, along with six of their ten children, following a night spent before the Eucharist in Adoration. The couple’s work—particularly Daphrose’s ministry to homeless children on the streets and Cyprien’s music, poems and books—is still recognised today. The canonisation cause for Cyprien and Daphrose was opened in 2015.—CNA

S outher n C ross Pilgrimage to


FRANCE 6-16 October 2019


ARDINAL Sean O’Malley told members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors how much Pope Francis appreciated their efforts, particularly their proposal for a summit of leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences and the recently released safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City and the Roman curia. The commission met in Rome for its 10th plenary assembly, which was opened by its president, Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston. The cardinal conveyed the pope’s “appreciation for the commission’s assistance in initially proposing both the February meeting with presidents of bishops’ conferences on the protection of minors and the recently published safeguarding guidelines and norms for Vatican City State”, according to a statement released by the commission. It said feedback from the abuse summit “indicates that understanding of the critical role of safeguarding in the life and mission of the Church is maturing. It also indicates that much remains to be done”. With its mandate to advise the pope and help local Churches, the commission said it was working on a number of projects, including the creation of a “virtual survivor’s advisory panel”, which would be a way to listen to and learn from survivors “in a safe and culturally fa-

HE story of Cyprien and Daphrose Rugumba is a story of atheism and devout faith, of a strained marriage and a love that overcomes obstacles, of a powerful conversion that was able to change an entire life. Cyprien and Daphrose were murdered 25 years ago, at the start of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Today, their cause for sainthood is open, and their impact lives on through the Emmanuel Community, an international Catholic association of the faithful focused on adoration, compassion and evangelisation, which the couple brought to Rwanda. The Rugumbas’ story is recounted by the Emmanuel Community. As a young man, Cyprien entered seminary. His time there was difficult. Shocked by scandals among the other seminarians and discouraged by the writings of philosophers who criticised the Catholic Church, he left the seminary and fell away from the faith. Cyprien found success in the arts, working as a poet, author, and composer. Cyprien and Daphrose were wed in 1965. The marriage was a rocky one. Daphrose, however, remained undeterred in her faith, prayed continually for her husband’s conversion, and raised their ten children in the faith, taking them to Mass with her. In 1982, Cyprien became seriously ill. Fearing death, he had a powerful moment of conversion, be-

Led by Bishop Joe Sandri

Lourdes Pope Francis greets Cardinal Sean o’Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. (Photo: Vatican Media) miliar space”, similar to local panels already in place in parts of Brazil, Zambia and the Philippines, it said. The commission is looking to create “an audit instrument”, which would include an analysis of different models for monitoring the implementation of safeguarding guidelines to better help local Churches create, implement, review and audit their efforts. The commission is also planning an international seminar in December on “confidentiality and transparency with a particular emphasis on canonical penal procedures” and plans to cohost with the archdiocese of Bogota, Columbia, a Latin American symposium on safe environments.—CNS

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The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


Editor: GĂźnther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Fikile Moya

SA’s exodus from Egypt


HERE seems to be an appetite among some modern Christians to downplay the Jewish roots of their faith. It is as though the only scriptures worth paying attention to are those between the Gospel of Matthew and Revelation. Everything else is additional reading for one’s interest. So it is easy to see how some Christians can delink Easter from the epic tale of Israelites freed from the slavery of Egypt after hundreds of years in bondage. The meal that for future generations would be known as the Last Supper, and to Catholics as the night when the Eucharist was constituted, is as much a commemoration of this great trek from slavery to freedom, darkness to light, as it is also a reminder of Jesus, and, by extension, Christianity’s Jewish roots. It is also a significant political moment: many oppressed peoples around the world could identify with and see God was indeed on the side of the downtrodden. For South Africa, we had our Exodus moment 25 years ago when we left the Egypt of apartheid for the promised land of the new South Africa. As with the Israelites, it seems to have been easier to leave Egypt than to enter what many thought would be the land of milk and honey. We have had the political Good Friday, but the Resurrection seems some way off. Naturally, there are rumblings among those who left Egypt because they cannot understand why they cannot arrive at the promised land of jobs, quality education, personal safety and an end to poverty. Social security pensions for the aged and children have been much-needed manna, without which many would have been trapped in absolute poverty, but we know that this, much-needed as it is, is not enough. Their yearning for our own Egypt is finding voice. “At least there we had jobs, were not as terrified of rampant criminals, and the government-built houses were better,� many now openly say. We have to be careful about being romantic about a state that had as policy the oppression, economic disempowerment, and even murder of black people in general

(as in Sharpeville) and political activists (such as Steve Biko or Neil Aggett, to mention just two of the many). That said, the African National Congress should not be allowed to emotionally blackmail its critics by accusing them of “missing slaveryâ€?. The ANC, along with other forces constituting the liberation movement, has led South Africa out of slavery but it has done a terrible job of ushering in a better world. To blame those who feel betrayed is to blame the victims. Having been abused by oppressors, many South Africans have become victims of their liberators in the form of the looting of state resources, taking away money meant for water, sanitation, electricity supply and other amenities which would make life easier. If the ANC really wants to play with religious imagery, it may wish to look at the prophet Amos and what he had to say about those who use their power for their own selfish ends and to oppress the marginalised. “You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent‌you who rob the poor and trample down the needy. You cannot wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festival to end so you can get back to cheating the helplessâ€? (Amos 8:4-5). If the people are behaving like the thankless Israelites, it is because the wandering in the desert is self-imposed. It is a result of the party’s reluctance or inability to deal with those who have seen it as a path to self-enrichment. If Easter, specifically the Passover, celebrates a people’s passing over from political oppression to freedom, then far too many South Africans are trapped in a desert of hunger, violence and limited opportunities. Like the disciples on their journey to Emmaus, who despairingly tell the stranger walking with them that they “had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israelâ€?, far too many South Africans are walking down the streets with heads bowed by despair because their hopes have been dashed. And, 25 years later, there is no sign of Easter coming. n Fikile Moya is a leading South African journalist.

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Eucharist keeps me Catholic I N response to Mary Bowers (March 19), yes, visiting parish priests could bond us together on a more intimate family level. When Mrs Bowers talks about her parish priest as her second father, I can share this: I was born in a priest’s house after World War II and lived there until aged five. We Catholics can learn a lot from our Protestant brothers and sisters. They show real interest in and love

Parishioners’ initiative needed


ADLY I agree with Mary Bowers (March 19). Parish priests do not visit the homes of parishioners anymore and we are indeed losing people to other denominations. But, due to a decrease in vocations, many priests manage more than one parish at a time, have large congregations, and must attend “meetings on admin and money-making matters�. So instead of waiting for the Church to organise Bible study classes, involve the youth in parish life, and so on, how about parishioners taking the initiative? Start a Bible study or youth group, or join one of the ministries or sodalities within the parish. For example, the Legion of Mary visits parishioners on behalf of the priest and promotes the Rosary; the Care Group visits the housebound and sick; the St Vincent de Paul Society aids the poor; the Knights of da Gama work for the greater glory of God. If any of these do not exist in your parish, find out how to start one. Our priests can only do so much, they too are human. Lynn Petersen, Cape Town opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, cape town 8000 or or faxed to 021 465-3850

Pray that AFRIcA and tHe WORlD may draw closer to the HeARt OF cHRISt

for each other, and socialise and befriend one another. We should also become real friends, not just people who recognise each others’ faces “from church�. My third point is the Eucharist. How on earth can people even contemplate going to another denomination when only we have the real body of Christ? That is the reason why I could never leave. It does not matter whether I like

Education skills sorely lacking


OST political parties have Christian principles in their manifestos, such as ending poverty. An Econometrix expert recently listed the “structural problems� making many South Africans poor and unemployed. One is the public education system, which produces too many unskilled workers with little hope of jobs or escaping poverty. No wonder they become criminals and drug-users. We voters should ask why change in education is so slow. In 2016 an educator from the University of Johannesburg claimed South Africa could finance a good education system through taxes. He claimed a tax of less than 1% on the wealthy (with R7 million or more per annum) would raise the R40 billion required to “fix� education. Tax evasion appears to be another of the problems—one economist described it as “spectacular�. Michael Phillips, Sedgefield

We need CVs from politicians


UR bishops, as shepherds of the Church, have advised us to vote in the May 8 elections, but the country is not ready to vote. None of the political parties have done anything to better South Africa in the past five years, and whatever party comes in will just do the same—nothing. The economy is in a mess. And,

the hymns or how many individuals in the Church do horrible things. Nor does it matter if I like the homily or even if I understand each word the priest utters. It would be nice if we could rid the Church of all that irritates or angers us. But the fact is...we can’t. Yet we have the Eucharist—the most glorious miracle of all! Let it change us to be kind, forgiving, understanding and generous. We don’t have to like everyone but we do have to love everyone. Maria Kruger, Plettenberg Bay

of course, there is abortion: murder on demand. This is a sin of anger, hatred, and indifference. It will apply to all who vote, as no major party has opposed abortion. The second temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was the devil’s offer of power and material wealth. By voting now, we would be giving politicians the power to do whatever they wanted—let politicians give us CVs on what they will do before we vote, so we can see that they do it, or kick them out. We need to do this the Catholic way: pray and put God in command. Then we shall have a country governed by love for the people. Lord bishops, tell the government to postpone the elections until all CVs have been handed in. We don’t want to know what the parties believe in; we want to know what the man who signs the documents believes in. Marilyn Cheketri, Krugersdorp

Bring back the church bells!


E were in Stanford in the Western Cape recently and, noticeably, heard with joy church bells ringing, calling all to prayer. We wondered why the bells at our parish have stopped ringing before Mass (except the 18:00 one)? When I asked our parish priest, all he said was that they disturbed the neighbours. Really, is this true? Please, oh please, bring church bells back. Maura Sanderoff, Cape Town


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Matthew 7:7-12

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The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


Why do I still want to be a priest? D URING Lent, and especially Holy Week, I always think about the time I was an altar boy. In my home parish, as it is in most parishes, special training took place at those times in order to ensure that the ceremonies of Easter are carried out with precision. Long before I learnt the technical terms, such as rubrics, I knew that things just had to be done by the book. To emphasise the seriousness of these celebrations, the parish priest would be present at the rehearsals, often conducting them himself. This was something huge for us young ones—it gave us time to interact with the revered Father outside the confines of the liturgy. But perhaps more than that, it meant that after rehearsals, we expected a cool drink and a biscuit from the presbytery! This was the least he could do; after all, we were indispensable (or at least so we thought; I mean, Father could not pull off an Easter Vigil with all its intricate parts without us!). What was at first merely following the rules—walking or bowing in this or that manner—soon became spiritual, and this discipline influenced my life even beyond the liturgy. Little did I know that the experience of being an altar server in general was shaping my vocation to the priesthood: being near the priest in the sacristy or sanctuary, vesting for Holy Mass, making priestly gestures such as folding the hands in prayer, forming the procession, attending to the Gospel as it is proclaimed, bringing bread and wine to the altar, swinging the thurible during the consecration, receiving Holy Communion at the foot of the altar, thanksgiving after the Mass. All of these were slowly planting and nourishing the seeds of a priestly vocation. Fast forward to Good Shepherd Sunday, or World Day of Prayer for Voca-

tions, on the fourth Sunday of Easter. As seminarians we were invited to parishes to share our vocational stories with young people. Very often it was discovered that most of us served at the altar and that this was monumental in discerning the call to priesthood.


nother common trend in vocational stories is the example of somebody— a priest or religious or some member of the family, especially a mother or grandmother, or someone in the parish community—who, hopefully without undue pressure, posed the question: “Have you ever thought about being a priest?” This then sets the discernment process in motion. And this question returns again and again in the discernment process. When

There are many paths to the priesthood; for Rev Runaine Radine, serving at the altar was one of them. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)

Rev Runaine Radine

Paths of Vocation

one applies to the diocese, for instance, the vocations director and the bishop will ask why you want to become a priest. Even in the seminary, formators will continuously ask the same question, with different emphases at the various stages of formation. The new Ratio Fundamentalis (or “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation”) on formation of future priests, issued on December 8, 2016, by the Congregation for the Clergy, considers the period when one studies philosophy in the seminary to be the stage of discipleship, or following Christ. After that, the years of theological studies is the stage where one strives to become configured more closely to Christ. The discernment of the priestly vocation will therefore focus on these aspects and later, after seminary formation and while preparing for ordination to the priesthood, the emphasis will be on pastoral synthesis of what was learnt in the seminary. Thus, foundational experiences of the call, as altar servers or members of parish youth groups or sodalities of Our Lady, are developed, sometimes purified, to ensure that aspirants develop a priestly identity, after the heart of the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, equipped for the mission of evangelisation. Perhaps the question nowadays, given the clergy sexual abuse scandal, will be: “Why do you still want to be a priest?” This could very well be a daily question, since discernment, for the disciple of Christ, is a lifelong task.

How to let the sun shine on you H AVE you ever stood in the sun and felt the warmth upon your back? Have your eyes beheld the glow of light on the leaves of a tree? Have you laid your head back upon the grass and gazed upon a sky as blue as tanzanite? When the warm breeze flows, when the sky is clear with no clouds passing by, there is a happiness within me that is as bright as when the sun shines. There are countless self-help books and TED Talks that tell us how to find happiness and how to keep it. I imagine that some may suggest that happiness can be found in diving into a bowl of gelato on a hot summer’s day or tiptoeing into your savings to make an important purchase of brogues and tote bags. Others might offer you bad advice to “get competitive” and wipe out your competitors wherever they may be. It takes a lot to make me happy and I wonder what the good Lord thinks about it. I have on many mornings woken up and asserted that if the birds would just stop chirping, if the clouds were a little less grey and if the queue in the supermarket was a bit faster, then I could finally get going on those thing that make me happy. And I have many times beseeched the universe—the universe that so often conspires against me to steal my happiness— to let me make more money, lose more weight, and make me a bit taller, so that I will be happy. It seems that the things I need to make me happy change frequently and increase

Nthabiseng Maphisa

Pop Culture Catholic

Happiness is not easy to find, but it shines through the thickets of life. in volume as my bank balance diminishes. But what is happiness and where are all the happy people? Is it a day or week at school or work void of any frustrations? Is it when things go according to plan? One can definitely hope so. I am not an expert on how to be happy, but I am well-experienced in the field of not being happy. Strangely enough, our happiness is not found in clinging on to things, beautiful though these may be. If it were so, then all that is necessary for human happiness is to abandon all relationships in the pursuit of material wealth. This, of course, isn’t so.


nnoying as it is for me, no amount of any currency could stop me from getting a serious illness that could lead to my death, as happened with Steve Jobs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if money could buy you time? But even money can’t af-

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ford that. The happiest people, I have found, are the ones bold enough to give a part of themselves away, whether in serving the poor or in marriage. Our human nature always desires a gift in return for what it gives. Many of the great saints, like St Francis of Assisi 800 years ago or St Gianna Berretta Molla 60 years ago, understood this and used it as a path to find God. They understood that to have everlasting happiness, a sacrifice must be made. During Lent we sacrificed many of our comforts in order to grow closer to God. We gave up gluttony for temperance, pride for humility, wrath for patience, envy for gratitude, lust for chastity, and sloth for diligence. Jesus himself gives away life so that others may live! The saints, once their lives of sacrifices had been made, found their way to a place where they could feel the warmth of the sun upon your back, where their eyes behold the glow of light on the leaves of a tree. They gaze upon a sky as blue as tanzanite. There where the warm breeze flows, where the sky is clear with no clouds passing by, they have happiness that is as bright as when the sun shines.

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Michael Shackleton

open Door

When is a person excommunicated? It was my belief that a divorced Catholic who married a second time without an annulment of the first marriage was immediately excommunicated from the Catholic Church. I know now I was wrong. What does excommunication mean, and when can it be imposed on someone? Paddy


ERHAPS your misunderstanding was of the meanings of the word “communion”. When we commit a serious sin we know from our catechism that we may not go to Communion worthily until we have repented for that sin and had it absolved in the sacrament of reconciliation. The Catechism (1385) refers us to 1 Corinthians 11:27 where St Paul urges us to examine our conscience because whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Catholics who remarry without a valid annulment of their first marriage are regarded as committing the sin of adultery. Leaving aside the pastoral care and sympathy the Church gives to such individuals, they may not receive Communion because of their ostensible sin. Note that they would equally be unfit to receive Communion if they had done grave things like murder or unjust and abusive treatment of others. The point is that such sinners remain members of the Church and the sacrament of reconciliation is available to them. In cases of excommunication, the word “communion” is applied in a similar but different sense. It is similar because the sacrament of the Eucharist expresses the members’ communion with the rest of the Church. It is different because excommunication deprives a Catholic of all the rights of membership of the Church, including Catholic burial. Among those rights is also the freedom to go to Holy Communion among the “communion of saints”. Way back in time the Church imposed the censure of excommunication in various ways, many of them dreadfully harsh by today’s standards. In our time, excommunication is relatively rare. Canonical excommunication is not something that can be explained simply, because the law allows for at least two ways that it can be incurred. The first way is when the law itself imposes it automatically, say in the case of abortion or the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. The other way is when it is imposed by the sentence of ecclesiastical authority, for example after someone persists in spreading heretical teachings and ignores warnings to stop. Each case has its own particular circumstances and the Church takes these into account when it prepares to lift the penalty. Excommunication from membership of the Church is known as a “medicinal” censure because its aim is to give the delinquent the opportunity to repent and return to the fold.

14 - 23May 2019

wishing all a happy and Blessed Easter!


The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


The East Rand Roman Catholic Church Liturgical Choir, with its spiritual advisor Fr Innocent Mabheka, held a weekend retreat of introspection and spiritual learning at St Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish in Crystal Park, Johannesburg. The theme of the retreat was “Growing together as members of the Ekurhuleni liturgical choir”. (Submitted by Ntombi Nzima)

Sacred Heart College in observatory, Johannesburg, held a Read Aloud Day, with parents reading to foundation phase learners. Brescia House School in Bryanston, Johannesburg, and Ipanema joined to collect more than 600 pairs of unwearable flip-flops. Flip Flop Sculptures’ employees turned them into art and functional products for sale. Brescia House students who helped in the project were (from left) Isabella Loureiro, Scarlett Kzychykiewicz, Hannah Collins, Angela Dietrich, Palwa Njamu, and Saphokazi Zweni.

Reception phase pupils at St Dominic’s Priory School in Miramar, Port Elizabeth, had a Teddy Bears’ walk and picnic in the school grounds. The Grade Pre-R children are shown with their teddys before the picnic. (Submitted by Laura Croft)

Marist Brothers Linmeyer in oakdene, Johannesburg, awarded Grade 12 students with colours and honours blazers at assembly. (Left) Luke Harding and (right) fellow Grade 12s honoured (back from left) Alicia Sequeira, Brad Gunther, and Callista Kalil, and (front) Michaela Amaro, Andrea Quebra, Micaela Rodrigues, and Kabelo Makume.

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Holy Family College in Glenwood, Durban, celebrated 144 years with a birthday Mass attended by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Frs Ngubane, Neville, Lafferty and Henriques, and Holy Family Sisters. Distinguished guests included Catholic Schools office director Lionel Samuels, the Department of Education’s Mr Singh, principals, parishioners, past pupils, teachers, those on the board of governors, members of the PTA, staff and Holy Family College students. The birthday cake was sponsored by Glenwood Superspar.

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What pope’s document on youth says BY CINDY WOODEN


Fr Tshepo Lekoko is seen celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at Holy Family parish in Turffontein, Johannesburg, last year. Palm Sunday falls this year on April 14, starting Holy Week. (Photo: Alexis Santana Callea)

HE life of a young person and the vocation to which God calls each one is “holy ground” that pastors and parents must respect, nurture and encourage, Pope Francis wrote in a new apostolic exhortation. Christus Vivit (“Christ Lives”), the pope’s reflections on the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment, is a combination letter to young people about their place in the Church and a plea to older members of the Church not to stifle the enthusiasm of the young, but to offer gentle guidance when needed. In the document, Pope Francis talked about how the sex abuse crisis, a history of sexism, and an overly narrow focus on just a handful of moral issues can keep young people away from the Church. But he also said many young people want to know and understand the teachings of the Church and, despite what many people think, they long for and need times of silent reflection and opportunities to serve their communities. “A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum,” Pope Francis wrote. “How, then, will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people?” Young people have a natural desire to improve the life of the Church and the world around them, the pope said. If older people in the Church will let the young people try, it will keep the Church youthful too. “Let us ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill,” Pope Francis wrote. “But let us also ask him to free her from another temptation: that of thinking she is young because she accepts everything the world offers her, thinking that she is renewed because she sets her message aside

S o u t h e r n C r o s s Pilgrimage


rawing on the final documents from the synod and from a pre-synod gathering of young people in Rome, Pope Francis urged parishes and dioceses to rethink their young and young adult programmes and to make changes based on what young people themselves say they want and need. “Young people need to be approached with the grammar of love, not by being preached at,” he said. “The language that young people understand is spoken by those who radiate life, by those who are there for them and with them. And those who, for all their limitations and weaknesses, try to live their faith with integrity.” Directly addressing young people, he said: “Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetised or approach the world like tourists. Make a ruckus!” And, he told them, reach out to other young people, do not be afraid to mention Jesus and to invite friends to church or a Church-sponsored activity. “With the same love that Christ pours out on us,” the pope said, “we can love him in turn and share his love with others in the hope that they too will take their place in the community of friendship he established.” Youth ministry, he said, cannot be elitist or focused only on the teens and young adults already active in the Church’s life. It Continued on page 11

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and acts like everybody else.” The core of the pope’s message to young people was that they remember they are loved by God and saved by Jesus, who continues to live and act in the world and in their lives. “His love is so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue,” even when one is angry with God. “He does not get upset if you share your questions with him. He is concerned when you don’t talk to him, when you are not open to dialogue with him.”


S outher n C ross


Senior school students and staff at CBC St John’s Parklands in Cape Town organised a cyclothon to raise funds for operation Smile, which organises surgery for children with cleft lips or palates. More than R22 000 was raised. Pictured cycling are staff members Maryke Vazirgiantzikis, Marisa Fox and Carin van Graan.

Catholic Women’s League members of St Charles’ parish in Victory Park, Johannesburg, gathered together to sew knee rugs from squares. (Submitted by Glenda Beukes)

The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019



At Easter, we can rise again Easter invites us to overcome our own Calvaries and find strength in Christ on our way to salvation, writes TSHIAMo STEPHEN TAKoNGWA.


E are now coming near to that time of the year when people go off in different directions to celebrate Easter. Some will be going to the cattle post while others will be visiting tourist places. Others will be making pilgrimages while others yet will go to their different churches to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ: the paschal mystery, which is the climax of Christian faith. This is how people plan their free time. Holy Week and Easter is an important time in the life of the Church and most people who belong to the Church, or have even a “The tomb is empty because Christ is little faith, try to get to the cere- Takongwa in this Easter reflection. monies. But beneath all of that, or prior the Church is his voice today exto all of that, there is the question tending his message with her of whether or not it is necessary to teaching. belong to the Church in the first By now that Gospel has been place. In other words, can there be preached to many people in many salvation outside the Church? Is it countries. Those who have heard it true that extra ecclesiam nulla salus— and know that it is the truth and outside the Church there is no sal- that it is necessary to be in the vation? Church to be saved, and still wilThis is a doctrinal issue about fully reject the truth and stay outwhich a lot of people have raised side the Church, will not be saved questions. but for the grace of God. The statement that outside the Faith and grace are gifts necesChurch there is no salvation is in- sary for salvation, but the proper deed a part of Church teaching—but channel of those things is the it has to be understood properly so Church. that people not be misled. So to know that and Some people take a still to reject the Church very narrow, strict view of is to be lost. Jesus in his this statement and say We experience teaching makes it clear that if you are not a fully the children of the the new life about baptised, practising memkingdom and the children ber of the Church, then who do not belong to the of the you are damned. kingdom. Others take a com- resurrection But then there are peopletely opposite view and ple who have never heard assume that we don’t when we pull of Christ and his teacheven need baptism to atSurely they cannot be though our ing. tain salvation or be memcondemned because it is bers of any church. They not their fault that they own personal have assume that everyone will not heard it? But be saved at the end of they still need the grace of Calvaries Christ to be saved. That is time, regardless of their necessary. baptism or whether they So, can they be saved? are Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, We can never say for sure who Zion Christians or whatever. All that matters is to have some kind of will or who won’t be saved, but faith and God will do the rest be- since those people who’ve never heard of the faith have no agency cause he wants all to be saved. Both extremes are wrong. Jesus is in their salvation, we can only trust the one mediator between God and that Christ will give his grace to humanity. He alone is the way, and them in some other way. The Church normally receives the Catholic Church, the only church which he founded, is his that grace through the seven sacraments. But God is not tied to his body extended in this world. It is in a pilgrimage on its jour- own sacraments. So he can have his ney towards the kingdom of God grace reach them by other ways unwhen Christ will come back again known to us and even unknown to them. and take it to himself as his bride. The Church Fathers had things So the Church is necessary for the salvation of all mankind. But to say about those who are outside the Church and how they might be how is it necessary? saved. Faith and salvation They said salvation is open to Christ sent his apostles forth to those who are ignorant of the preach the Gospel to all nations. Gospel in a mysterious way. They The New Testament is very clear said that the natural law which enthat salvation is a gift which is ables us all to know right from given to all people despite nation, wrong by following our consciences is written in the hearts of all people. race or tribe. Conscience is God's law written The Gospel which is being preached is his truth (Mt 28), and in the human heart. So if these peo-

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risen. Without resurrection, Christianity is a useless religion as a way to salvation,” writes Tshiamo Stephen ple respect this law, they will also be respecting the Lawgiver who is God because he is the one who gave us the law and wants us to abide by it. People of no faith or faith outside the Church who do this with sincerity are opening themselves to God. So it is quite possible that he gives them his grace also. Before the coming of Christ the pagan Greeks had only philosophy to guide them and it brought them some of the truth at least. So they were opening themselves to the fulness of the truth by studying it, if they did so with sincerity. In the third century, St Clement of Alexandria wrote: “Before the coming of the Lord, philosophy was necessary for justification to the Greeks; now it is useful for piety...for it brought the Greeks to Christ as the Law did the Hebrews.”

Empty tomb at the centre When we talk about the Christian message more particularly, we see that the empty tomb is at the centre of it. But an empty tomb by itself says only that the body is gone. That is not what we mean by the central doctrine of our faith. What we mean is that the tomb was empty because Christ is risen. Without resurrection, Christianity is a useless religion as a way to salvation. St Paul said that and later so did St Augustine. The resurrection has created hope, the hope of a future existence for humanity. It gives hope to those who believe that “we too will rise again as Jesus rose”. Through baptism we share in the risen life of Jesus promised by the

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message of Easter. Our faith has changed the way we live our lives today. Whenever we are forgiven our sins, we experience the new life of the risen Jesus. A typical example is Peter’s triple denial of Jesus. Encountering the Risen Christ, he repents and is forgiven (Jn 21: 15-17). “Everyone who believes in Jesus has forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). In the Gospel of Mark we read that after the resurrection, Christ instructs his disciples to go to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all nations. At the heart of the Gospel is the teaching that we too must share in the paschal mystery—not only when we are baptised and come to Mass on Sunday but also in our daily lives, so that we can experience the new life of the resurrection.

New life in Christ We often experience this new life of the resurrection when we are able to pull though our own personal Calvaries, such as relationships problems, unemployment, depression, stress and so on. Even though we reach the lowest depths, we need to be able to put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, and then we shall experience an inward peace. That inward peace we experience, that’s the rising of Jesus again in our own lives! We experience this new life of the resurrection when by sheer persistent endeavour we are able to overcome even permanent physical handicaps and live our lives to the full.


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We experience the new life of the risen Christ not only as individuals but also as a community of believers. Whenever the community experiences that brokenness, there is also the possibility of experiencing communal resurrection. Our communities are experiencing violence, injustice, discrimination, inequality and more. This shows how the world is broken. But there are people in our communities, full of the power of the Holy Spirit, who have put up a peaceful fight against injustices in our society and who hope in Christ so that he will bring them through those Calvaries to the new life of the resurrection. God’s will is that “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2-4). He gave us the Gospel with its truth, the Church with its teaching, the sacraments with their grace, and the pope as his representative on earth as the means to be saved. The Church, we might say, is like Noah's ark, a refuge from the waves of sin. The apostles of Jesus were commissioned to go out and preach this Gospel and baptise those who believe the Good News “in the Name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit”. Let us respond positively to this call. Let us open our hearts to God because he is the one who will read our hearts at the end of life. Let us hope that he will find us worthy of the resurrection in his kingdom of glory. n Tshiamo Stephen Takongwa writes from Gaborone, Botswana.


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The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019


Was the Resurrection real? Was the Resurrection of Christ real? FR RALPH DE HAHN explains why it was real, and what it means to us today.


OR all believers the celebration of Easter is one of hope and liberation; it is also the triumph of Truth. But not for the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin who felt everthreatened by the powerful preaching and claims of Jesus Christ, the new Jewish prophet. There were other prophets too, but this man was different. He “spoke with such authority”. They were certainly perplexed and fearful of his promise to his disciples that “on the third day he will rise again” (Mt 18:14). What got them more confused, was not only that angry response from the heavens at the hour of his death, but that in his dying breath, he cried out that all the

prophecies had been fulfilled: “All is now consummated!” (Jn 19:30). As believers, we know that with his death—and all that followed— the divine plan of salvation was complete. But was there a bodily resurrection? Millions of sceptics—even among good Christians—cannot easily accept the biblical teaching that there was such a resurrection. But the historical evidence from biblical and Roman records is staggering. Something out of the ordinary happened! Luke records the big surprise: “On entering the tomb, the women with the spices found that the body of the Lord was not there” (Lk 24:1-4). We recall that his disciples trembled with fear when their leader was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, condemned and crucified on Golgotha. In fact, they betrayed him (Mt 26:30-35). But then, after those few days, came that unpredictable transformation among the disciples. Something had happened!

The edicule in Jerusalem’s church of the Holy Sepulchre holds the tomb of Jesus' burial and Resurrection. (Photo: Ammar Awad, Reuters/CNS)

Apostles speak out Standing courageously before the Jewish tribunal, these disciples boldly profess their faith in the Risen Lord, claiming they were now speaking in the temple of what they had seen and heard. “And we are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:31-33). The change was indeed incredible for nobody is prepared to die for a lie! The disciples had not foreseen this happening, despite all that Jesus had foretold. On the other hand, the Sanhedrin’s authorities were prepared to set a guard over the grave of a dead man. But not the apostles! Now why was that? Jesus had to convince his own disciples of his bodily resurrection. He appeared to them on a few occasions with his human yet glorified body, and asked: “Have you anything here to eat?” (Lk 24:4043). A dead man has no need of food. We probe further. Did John’s gospel not record Jesus saying, “No one takes my life from me...I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again”? (10:18) Jesus also made this promise: “In a short time you will no longer see me, and then in a short time later (on the third day) you will see me again” (Jn 16:16). He also mentioned the grain of wheat that had to fall into the ground and die; only then would it produce a rich harvest (Jn 12:2324). The book of Revelation would declare: “I am the first and the last, the Living One. I was dead and now I am to live forever”(1:17-18). And he shall come back again as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16). And he will fulfil his promise to his disciples: “I am going away to prepare a place for you, but I shall return to take you with me, so that where I am you may be too” (Jn 14: 2-3). The apostle Paul, a convert to Christ who had previously persecuted the Lord’s followers, testifies to the death, burial and Resurrection of the Lord.

The risen Christ appears to the disciples in the upper Room, as depicted in the basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. All his epistles are centred around the core truth of the Lord’s Resurrection: he suffered so much to proclaim it (1 Cor 15:3-8). To the Colossians he writes: “He was first to be born from the dead so that he should be first in every way, and all things to be reconciled through him and for him” (1:18-20).

Comfort in time of scandal As we gaze searchingly, over this holy season, at the current onslaught on the Catholic Church in the sex abuse scandal, we need to see the Easter celebration as a sign of hope and liberation, and the triumph of Truth, for only the truth will set us free (Jn 8:32). There are no real surprises in the current scandal. We just did not recognise and acknowledge our sailing in dangerous waters. The Book of Revelation foretells the onslaught: “Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive all the nations in the four quarters of the earth… his coming will be as many as the sands of the sea. They will come swarming on the entire land and besiege the camp of the saints, which is the city that God loves” (20:7-9). A Church on its knees, repent-

ing, needs to deeply trust in the power of the Resurrection: “I am making the whole of creation new” says the risen Christ (Rev 21:5). And he alone is the Resurrection (Jn 11:25) as he is the only Way, the full Truth and our very Life (Jn 14:6). He will keep his promise to Peter: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you” (Mt 16:18-19). We, in turn, will need to lean on his promise and walk in his light, knowing that “there is no need for the lamplight or the sunlight because the Lord God (the Risen Christ) will be their shining Light” (Rev 22:5). “I am the Light of the world,” said Jesus (Jn 8:12), and he invites us to walk in his resurrected light, in that love which knows no fear (1 Jn 4:17-18) St Paul sounds a more comforting note when he boldly writes: “Let me glory in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; I am content with insult, hardships, persecutions and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake; for it is when I am so weak that I am strong”(2 Cor 12:10). n Fr Ralph de Hahn is a priest of the archdiocese of Cape Town. 15th-century painting from the Royal Library of Turin in Italy shows an empty tomb depicting the Resurrection. (Photo: Bridgeman Images)

An Easter prayer

Passion Pilgrimage 2020

Lord, the Resurrection of Your Son has given us new life and renewed hope. Help us to live as new people in pursuit of the Christian ideal. Grant us wisdom to know what we must do, the will to want to do it, the courage to undertake it, the perseverance to continue to do it, and the strength to complete it. Source: New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book

NEW TESTAMENT WORKSHOP REDISCOVERING THE JESUS OF THE GOSPELS How to study the Gospels to discover the truth about Jesus and his Good News

Holy Land & Oberammergau Passion Play Performed only every 10 years!

Led by Archbishop William Slattery OFM 21 Aug to 2 Sept 2020

To book contact Gail at or phone 076 352-3809

In the course of the workshop, led by distinguished local New Testament scholars, participants will learn to understand the process of gospel formation and how that impacts on what the gospels say about the life of Jesus. The workshop is led by Fr Paul Decock OMI, Professor of Biblical Studies at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara and the University of KwaZulu-Natal

TITLES AND SPEAKERS What are the Gospels? Fr Paul Decock OMI, St Joseph’s Theological Institute Who was Jesus? Prof. Marius Nel, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch Jesus’ understanding of his mission. Fr Paul Decock OMI Jesus’ death and its impact on his followers. Prof. Jeremy Punt, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch


8:30 - 17:30

Venue: Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Bergvliet Road, Bergvliet, Cape Town Cost: R250 pp, includes a packed lunch and two teas

Advance registration is required. Please contact Brian Robertson at or 072 118 2149.

The Southern Cross, April 17 to April 23, 2019

Sr Dorothe Funken CPS


RECIOUS Blood Sister Marie Dorothe Funken, former principal of St Francis College in Mariannhill, died in Durban on April 2 at the age of 78. Born on January 21, 1941, as Maria Angelika Funken in Bergisch-Gladbach, near Cologne in Germany, into a loving Catholic family, she was the second child of Theodor and Katharina Funken. Sadly, her father died in 1944 in World War II; her mother died four years later. Thanks to the efforts of her family, Angelika and her siblings were taken good care of and had plenty of opportunity to meet regularly. Angelika grew up with her kindly uncle and aunt, Johannes and Maria Funken. Sr Dorothe felt the call to religious life fairly early, but an uncle, who was a parish priest, found her more suitable as a pastoral assistant or social worker, because he feared that the rigours of religious life would be in conflict with her somewhat independent spirit. However, after having completed her Oxford examination in Neuenbeken in 1959, she came to the motherhouse of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in the Netherlands to do her postulancy and novitiate. Four months after her first profession on February 2, 1962, she was missioned for further studies and experience to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Her studies included distance learning for Form VI via the University Col-

lege of London, secondary teachers’ training at the training college in Bulawayo, and a BA degree with Unisa in Pretoria. She taught for two years in the Sacred Heart Home, Bushtick, and for four years at the Regina Mundi Girls’ High School. Throughout her life Sr Dorothe cherished fond memories of Zimbabwe.


n 1970 she was transferred to Mariannhill to teach at St Francis College. She served for 25 years at the college; nine years as principal. She taught mainly English, history and religious education. Sr Dorothe loved the interaction with staff and learners and was co-instrumental in introducing the yearly Parents’ Day. She was also a strong advo-

Word of the Week

Vigil: The eve of a religious festival observed by special prayer services and devotional exercises. Traditionally this has occurred for the major feasts of Easter and Christmas. Evangelist: One of the four authors of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). More generally, someone who works actively to spread and promote the Christian faith. Vestments: Garments worn by those celebrating Mass or administering sacraments (for example, alb: long white tunic; chasuble: main outer-garment; stole: type of scarf worn around the neck). The stole is the principal symbol of ministerial authority and is worn by deacons, priests and bishops when administering the sacraments. Magisterium: The teaching office of the Church, articulated by a pope. Papal statements which teach on a matter of faith and morals are called magisterial pronouncements and are binding on Catholics. Most statements and documents of popes are not magisterial.

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cate of keeping the school running, even during the times of political upheaval. Sr Dorothe was an active member of the Mariannhill CPS community, occupying various leadership positions, including ten years as provincial superior, from 1995 to 2005. After her second term as provincial had come to an end, Sr Dorothe offered to go to the Sacred Heart Home in Ixopo. The new administration asked her to act still as its legal representative in matters of land affairs, as a trustee of St Mary’s Hospital and a CPS representative on the board of Little Flower School in Ixopo. She also taught the Church and the congregation’s history to first-year novices. In 2013 Sr Dorothe was transferred to Mariannhill where she taught English to new candidates of both the CPS and the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries from other countries. Sr Dorothe was not well in her last years. In March 2019 she was admitted to the Mariannhill infirmary and three days later to Hillcrest Hospital where a brain tumour was diagnosed. Kind, caring and cheerful, Sr Dorothe was a gifted person who gladly shared her knowledge. She wrote occasional articles for the Mariannhill magazine and thank-you letters to benefactors. She had a great love for the liturgy, and felt a strong sense that God was her support in good and not so good days.

Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 1 Sunday April 21, Easter Sunday, Resurrection of the Lord Acts 10:34, 37-43, Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Colossians 3: 1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12 Monday April 22, Resurrection of the Lord Easter Octave Acts 2:14, 22-33, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, Matthew 28:8-15 Tuesday April 23, Easter Octave Acts 2:36-41, Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22, John 20:11-18 Wednesday April 24, Easter Octave Acts 3:1-10, Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9, Luke 24:13-35 Thursday April 25, Easter Octave Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 8:2, 5-9, Luke 24:35-48 Friday April 26, Easter Octave Acts 4:1-12, Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-27, John 21:1-14 Saturday April 27, Easter Octave Acts 4:13-21, Psalm 118:1, 14-21, Mark 16:9-15 Sunday April 28, 2nd Sunday of Easter Acts 5:12-16, Psalm 118:2-4, 22-27, Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19, John 20:19-31


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BROWN—William Christian. In loving memory of our father and grandfather who passed away on April 13 , 2004. Years may have passed but you are always in our thoughts and constantly in our prayers. Lovingly remembered by Ruben, Gloria and family. HOUGHtON—Agnes. Loving wife of the late Bill and mom of the late Mary, passed away on April 23, 2014. Lovingly remembered by her daughters Margaret, Bridget and Barbara, sonsin-law Walter, Derick and Ben, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May her dear Soul Rest In Peace.


whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed, kindle in the hearts of all men the true love of peace, and guide with Your pure and peaceable wisdom those who make decisions for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility Your kingdom may go forward, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of Your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. O VIRGIN Mother, In the depths of your heart you pondered the life of the Son you brought into the world. Give us your vision of Jesus and ask the Father to open our hearts, that we may always see His presence in our lives, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, bring us into the joy and peace of the kingdom, where Jesus is Lord forever and ever. Amen


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NeW PARISH NOtIceS MOSt WelcOMe: If any parish notices listed are no longer valid, call us on 021 465-5007 or e-mail us at so that we can remove them.

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 859. ACROSS: 1 Ezra, 3 Assemble, 9 Teacher, 10 Ingle, 11 Unscriptural, 13 Elisha, 15 Be seen, 17 Misadventure, 20 Ailed, 21 Nascent, 22 Absentee, 23 Idle. DOWN: 1 Enthused, 2 Reaps, 4 Seraph, 5 Epicureanism, 6 Big name, 7 Ever, 8 Churchwarden, 12 Ungentle, 14 Icicles, 16 Avenue, 18 Up-end, 19 Cana.

Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: April 27: Bishop Stan Dziuba of Umzimkulu on his 59th birthday April 27: Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha on his 59th birthday

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Also, we’d welcome new notices from parishes across Southern Africa to run free in the classifieds. cAPe tOWN: A Holy Hour Prayer for Priests is held on the second Saturday of every month at the Villa Maria shrine from 16:00 to 17:00. The shrine is at 1 Kloof Nek Road in Tamboerskloof. The group prays for priests in the archdiocese, and elsewhere by request. Retreat day/quiet prayer last Saturday of each month except December, at Springfield Convent in Wynberg, Cape Town. Hosted by CLC, 10.00-15.30. Contact Jill on 083 282-6763 or Jane on 082 783-0331. Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Good Shepherd parish, 1 Goede Hoop St, Bothasig, welcomes all visitors. open 24 hours a day. Phone 021 558-1412. Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Mass on last Saturday of every month at 9:30 at Sacred Heart church in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Followed by vigil at abortion clinic. Contact Colette Thomas on 083 412-4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br Daniel SCP on 078 739-2988. DURBAN: Holy Mass and Novena to St Anthony at St Anthony’s parish every Tuesday at 9:00. Holy Mass and Divine Mercy Devotion at 17:30 on first Friday of every month. Sunday Mass at 9:00. Phone 031309-3496 or 031 209-2536. St Anthony’s rosary group. Every Wednesday at 18:00 at St Anthony’s church opposite Greyville racecourse. All are welcome and lifts are available. Contact Keith Chetty on 083 372-9018. NelSPRUIt: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St Peter’s parish every Tuesday from 8:00 to 16:45, followed by Rosary, Divine Mercy prayers, then a Mass/Communion service at 17:30. The

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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 editor: Günther Simmermacher (, Business Manager: Pamela Davids (, Advisory editor: Michael Shackleton, local News: Erin Carelse ( editorial: Claire Allen (, Mary Leveson (, Advertising: Yolanda Timm (, Subscriptions: Michelle Perry (, Accounts: Desirée Chanquin (, Directors: R Shields (Chair), Archbishop S Brislin, S Duval, E Jackson, B Jordan, Sr H Makoro CPS, J Mathurine, G Stubbs

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Second Sunday of Easter: April 28 Readings: Acts 5:12-16, Psalm 118:2-4, 2227, Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19, John 20:19-31


EXT Sunday our celebration of Easter reaches its climax, as the octave of the feast is completed. The readings for next Sunday invite us to face the question: what difference does Easter make for you, given that it is the greatest feast of the Church’s year? The first reading is one of Luke’s lovely portraits of what the early Church looked like: “signs and many portents through the hands of the apostles” and “the people” (a very important group in Luke’s work) “magnified them”. We watch the little group growing, “crowds of both men and women”; and there are healings, too: “So that they even carried the sick out into the public squares, and put them on beds and stretchers, so that when Peter came even his shadow might overshadow one of them.” There is a real sense of Easter here; and it continues: “And the crowd from around the cities of Jerusalem came carrying sick people, and those who were being annoyed by unclean spirits, all of whom were cured.” It is a delightful summary, this, giving us a feel of what that Jerusalem church was like in the days after Easter. The psalm for next Sunday is one that Christians came rapidly to use after Easter, asserting, several times over, on the lips of Israel

S outher n C ross

and the House of Aaron and those who fear the Lord, that “His steadfast love is for ever”. Then comes that extraordinary line that Jesus seems to have applied to himself, “the stone which the builders had rejected became the keystone”; and we are invited to rejoice in this Easter Day (for it is still Easter): “This is the day the Lord made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” After that we hear the phrase that gets transcribed as “Hosanna”, which really means “Save us, please”, and then another line that applied to Jesus: “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the House of the Lord.” Here we find ourselves in the Temple, but we are now invited to understand that Jesus has become our Temple, and to sing that “the Lord is God, and has shed his light upon us”. In the second reading for next Sunday we begin several weeks of extracts from the Book of Revelation, a wonderful text of which Christians are unreasonably frightened, but to which we need to pay careful attention for the way it celebrates the Resurrection. We are introduced to the author: “I am John, your fellow-Christian, and your co-partner in the tribulation and the empire and the endurance of Jesus.” Then we are told where he was: “the island

called Patmos because of the Lord’s word, and [my] witness to Jesus”; and we are given the day of the week: “the Lord’s Day”; and the fact that he receives dictation when in a trance. He describes his interlocutor: “in the middle of the lamps, one like a Son of Man, clothed in a long robe, and girdled up to his chest with a golden girdle”. And John knows who this is: “I fell like a corpse at his feet; and he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Don’t be afraid: I am the First and the Last, and the Living One (and I was a corpse); and look! I am alive for ever, and I have the keys of Death and of Hell.’” Then John is instructed to “write down the things you saw and the things that are and the things that are going to happen later”. We are talking here of the effects of Resurrection. And that, of course, is the subject of the Gospel reading. You will remember it well: Jesus walking effortlessly through locked doors to address his terrified disciples, and wish them “Peace”, and send them on their mission, and give them the Holy Spirit, and power over sins. The story does not end there, however, for Thomas was missing from this first Resurrection appearance; and when they gloatingly

Putting God on trial I


N both our piety and our agnosticism, we sometimes put God on trial—and whenever we do that, it is we who end up being judged. We see that in the gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus, particularly in John’s gospel. John’s gospel, as we know, paints a portrait of Jesus from the point of view of his divinity, not his humanity. Thus, in John, Jesus has no human weaknesses whatsoever. He’s God from the first line to the last line of the gospel. This is true to the tiniest detail. For instance, in John, at the feeding of the multitudes, Jesus asks his disciples how many loaves and fishes they have. John notes in brackets: “He already knew.” There are no gaps on a divine radar screen. We see this most clearly in how John writes up the passion and death of Jesus. Unlike the other Gospels, wherein Jesus is shown as afraid and cringing before his bitter fate, in John, throughout his entire passion journey, Jesus is unafraid, in complete control, serene, carrying his own cross, and the antithesis of a victim. Instead, Jesus is someone who is acting freely, out of love, and has complete power over the situation. John makes this point very strongly: When they come to arrest him, Jesus stands up and all those who are apprehending him fall to the ground so that, in contrast to the other Gospels, it is not he who is prostrate on the ground but rather it’s the Roman soldiers and Temple police

Nicholas King SJ

We too are resurrected

who are prostrate—and in that prostration symbolically doing him reverence. And the symbolism continues: Jesus is sentenced to death at noon, at the exact hour when the priests began to slaughter the paschal lambs. After his death he is buried with a staggering amount of myrrh and aloes, as only a king would have been accorded, and he is laid in a “virgin” tomb (just as he was born from a virgin womb). John makes it clear that this is God we’re dealing with. With this in mind—namely, that Jesus was always divine and in charge—we will be able to understand more clearly what John is trying to teach in his account of Jesus’ death. What John focuses on most is the trial of Jesus. The bulk of his passion story is centred on the trial and the main characters in that trial.


ut his account has this ironic twist: Seemingly Jesus is on trial; but, in actuality, he is the only one who isn’t on trial. Pilate is on trial, the religious authorities are on trial, the people are on trial, and we, today, reading the story, are on trial. Everyone’s on trial, except Jesus. Pilate is on trial on a number of counts: He knows Jesus is innocent but lacks the courage to stand up to the crowd and thus allows the fickle, mindless frenzy of a crowd to have its way. He’s judged for his weakness. But he’s also on trial for his agnosticism,

Sunday Reflections

claim to have “seen the Lord”, he expresses his disbelief in the crudest possible terms: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and throw my finger into the mark of the nails and throw my hand into his side, no way am I going to believe.” Inevitably he gets his comeuppance just a week later when once more Jesus penetrates the locked doors (so they were still very fearful), and addresses Thomas, offering him precisely the evidence he had been asking for. The evangelist does not tell us whether he accepted the invitation; instead we learn that he went far deeper, and, as the climax of this extraordinary Gospel, addresses Jesus (and we applaud as we listen) as “My Lord and my God”. Then he is mildly rebuked: “You have come to believe [only] because you have seen”; meanwhile you and I are congratulated: “Happy are those who have not seen and [yet] believed.” There is the challenge for us: to “believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” That is what is on offer for us, in this Easter season.

Southern Crossword #859

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

namely, his belief (however sincere) that he could treat truth and faith as realities that he, himself, could steer clear of, that he could assess these from a neutral, non-committed position, and that these were other peoples’ issues, nothing to do with him. But he’s judged for this. Nobody can coolly ask: “What is truth?” as if that answer didn’t affect him or her. Jesus’ trial finds Pontius Pilate, and those of us like him, guilty—guilty of agnosticism, a noninvolvement, an indifference that is in the end dishonest. Ironically, Pilate’s weakness in not rescuing Jesus ends up making him perhaps the most famous governor and judge forever in history. With his name in the Christian creeds, millions and millions of people pronounce that name every day. But Pilate isn’t alone on trial here; so are the religious authorities of the time. In their very effort to protect God from what they deem irreverence, heterodoxy and blasphemy, they are also complicit in “killing” God. The judgment made against them at Jesus’ trial is the exact judgment that is being made, down to this very day, on a lot of religious and ecclesial authority—that is, its fervid proclivity to protect God often helps crucify God in this world. Last, not least, Jesus’ contemporaries are also on trial and, with them, so are we. In the heat of the moment, caught up in the mindless energy of a crowd, they abandon their messianic hope for the slogan of the day: “Crucify him!” How little different from so many of the political and religious slogans we mouth at political and church rallies today. The trial of Jesus is a very harsh judgment on the mindlessness, fickleness, and dangers of crowd energy. The genius of John’s account of Jesus’ death is that it shows what happens whenever through our misguided religious fervour or through our cool agnosticism we put God on trial. It’s we who end up being judged.


1. He read out the Book of the Law (Neh 8) (4) 3. Gather for the Eucharist (8) 9. She is head of her classroom (7) 10. Fire in home in glen, I see (5) 11. Such readings are not from the Bible (12) 13. Angel I shall find shielding the prophet (6) 15. How justice must be rightly done (2,4) 17. A mishap that could lead to death (12) 20. Was afflicted by twisted ideal (5) 21. Scan ten, coming into being (7) 22. He does not attend (8) 23. Devil finds work for such hands (4)


1. Showed religious zeal and shut Dene up (8) 2. Gathers what you sow (5) 4. Use Raphael to find another angel (6) 5. Philosophy of pleasure only (12) 6. Large title for VIP (3,4) 7. Always (4) 8. Parish official who works in the jail? (12) 12. Not mild but rough (8) 14. They may hang around in the frost (7) 16. A tree-lined meeting place? (6) 18. Turn upside down (2-3) 19. The place of wine into water (4) Solutions on page 11



COUPLE was discussing the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis. Said the wife: “I’m convinced that Adam ate the apple and then blamed Eve for it.” The husband asked: “How do you work that out?” The wife answered: “You know how men always lie. That’s why they have the Adam’s apple stuck in their throat. To remind us.”

HE IS RISEN! We wish all our bishops, priests and pilgrims a HAPPY EASTER! May the light of the Risen Lord shine in our lives! To book or organise pilgrimages contact Gail at 076 352 3809 or

For all your Sand and Stone requirements in Piet retief, Southern Mpumalanga

Tel: 017 826 0054/5 Cell: 082 904 7840 Email:

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17 April - 23 April, 2019


17 April - 23 April, 2019

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