SACBC Again! Hurry Up And Snatch This Job Opportunity. Time is Limited

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Be the first one to grab it before it is too late.  Competition is too high.

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SACBC Offers You Another Job Opportunity

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Be the first one to snatch it.

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SACBC Inaugurates Bicentennial Year of Catholicism

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Archbishop Stephen Brislin – SACBC President

HOMILY 25TH JUNE 2017

INAUGURATION OF THE BICENTENNIAL YEAR OF CATHOLICISM

In today’s Gospel Jesus offers words of consolation and encouragement to his disciples. He says to them: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul: rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs on your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows”.

These words, together with many other passages from the Scriptures, must have been of enormous comfort to our foremothers and forefathers who embarked on the perilous journeys to proclaim the Gospel and to establish the Church in an unknown and untested place. These were men and women of great courage, committed resolve and a sincere love of God and the message entrusted to them by Christ. They were, undoubtedly, saints and sinners, those who did good and those who sinned and made mistakes. A great tragedy of much of history is that we lose the personal stories and anecdotes that give life to historical facts. Today, we remember them all and give thanks to God for them, for without them we would not be here today. Whatever their weaknesses and the mistakes they made, the faith has spread to every corner of the countries of our region, and the faith is alive and growing. The history of the Catholic Church, tainted as it may be with intentional or unintentional collusion with colonialism and apartheid, discrimination and sex abuse cases, has nonetheless, through the strength of Christ, brought life and hope, not only to ourselves but to Southern Africa.

We embark on the bi-centennial celebration of the establishment of the Vicariate of the Cape of Good Hope, the official establishment of the Church, initially in Cape Town, but from this place spreading north, west and east. We have much to be grateful for. The first missionaries who arrived, primarily intent on ministering to Catholic colonialists and soldiers, soon took the Gospel to indigenous peoples, to the oppressed and indigent – the very peripheries that Pope Francis frequently talks of. To establish the Church and spread the faith, also meant to provide education, training and medical care and through much pain, anxiety and self-sacrifice many educational and medical facilities were established that developed and gave hope to millions over the course of these 200 years. In latter years, through circumstances – not least the decrease in vocations to priesthood and consecrated life – many of these facilities have had to close or be given over to government and other bodies. For those who may think of a past “golden age” this might seem as a sign of failure or a crisis in the sense of devastation. As sad as such closures may be, in many respects, it is more a crisis of new opportunities, of change, for we are a people of hope, knowing that Christ is with us until the end of days.

For, as important as such institutions are, and as important as the role they played and continue to play, as much as we need them, the truth is that institutions are both a blessing and a potential danger. They are a source of blessing as they have provided educational and health benefits to so many, they have established dedicated places of worship – they have changed lives for the better, and provided a means for evangelization. But they also demand time, maintenance, management, leading us away from the mission given to us by Jesus at the time of his Ascension, to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:9). They can lull us into a sense of comfort and satisfaction, perhaps even leading us into believing “this is the Church” – that institutions are the end rather than the means, and to devote all our energy to preserve them no matter what.

The biggest danger lies within ourselves if we develop an institutional attitude and begin to treat people in an institutionalized way. A characteristic of our times, most especially in large urban areas, is anonymity. Not only is there the loneliness of urban life that Pope Francis has spoken of frequently, but people are dealt with in a way that makes them feel stripped of personality and dignity. Whether it is automated responses to telephone enquiries, being boxed into a computer profile that prohibits you from, for example, receiving a bank loan or simply the disinterest we so often experience when seeking assistance, people are made to feel as a mere number, one among millions of others, who are obliged to “fit into” the system. The system is paramount, not the person. As the Holy Father has said, “We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power” (EG 52). And yet Christ reminds us that sparrows may be sold two for a penny, but we are more valuable to the extent that every hair on our head is counted. Christ transforms the hearts of people through a personal encounter, by his merciful and generous forgiveness, his tenderness in dealing with the broken, the humble and the poor. As we recall our mission to evangelize it is Christ whom we model ourselves on Christ who treated every person as a person, with humanity and kindness. It is intrinsic to our faith to value human life.

Remembering the past, we turn to the future. To paraphrase what Pope Francis said at the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life, we look to the past with gratitude, we live the present with passion and we embrace the future with hope. We know that the task to evangelize is urgent and must be embraced with passion. In the words of the Holy Father, “Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers and sisters, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit”. The frontiers have changed – no longer do we need to travel on long and dangerous journeys to other continents and peoples, but we turn to our own brothers and sisters, perhaps tired in the faith, perhaps having abandoned the faith. Our proclamation of faith is not so much as to win converts, as to open hearts to Christ and his salvific message, to transform our society in the image of Christ. And so the new frontiers become the spheres of life that influence and shape our societies, that can either liberate and enhance human life or can limit and de-humanize people. Not only do we witness to Christ in the public square, but we Christianize the spheres of politics, economics, education – the very culture of our society. There is much good in all these spheres, but there is also much that is evil and that destroys. Certainly, the prophetic voice of the Church must be heard loudly as we oppose violence in all its many forms – the violence of blood-shedding, the violence of poverty and the structures that entrench poverty, violence against the environment, the culture of death, of greed and corruption. The prophetic voice is not a voice that seeks popularity from any quarter – it seeks only truth and that which can bring about goodness.

Yet, as much as that voice may be needed, it is insufficient for evangelization and transformation of hearts. The kindness and encouragement of mercy, healing and reconciliation is intrinsic to Christ. Blessed Oscar Romero put it this way: “Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out; it is the only thing that can”. As St Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, it is in “speaking the truth in love” that we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Eph 4:15). Pope Francis repeatedly calls the Church to mercy – the very essence of the Gospel – and proclaimed last year the Year of Mercy. It is to the suffering that we must turn – in the words once again of Blessed Oscar Romero, “We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways”.

But it is not only the physical poverty that calls to us, it is the cry of those in despair, in doubt and confusion, beset with anxiety or lack of purpose, those who are searching and seeking for truth. It is the cry of the lonely, the sick, the mentally challenged. It is the cry of humanity, thirsting for truth and for love.

We cannot treat people anonymously, or in a distant, cold and “institutionalized” manner. We cannot neglect to respond to the cries we hear because those calling are sinners or outcasts. The response we make is not from superiority or arrogance, from a triumphalistic Church. It is from humility that we offer the refreshing water we have received from Christ to those who are thirsty. The bread we offer to the poor man is not our bread, but bread we have received from Christ and which we share with him. Our evangelization is not from a certainty that we have all the answers and know what is right in every situation. We evangelize through sharing our own lives, our stories, our happinesses, struggles and weakness, for we are but fellow-pilgrims journeying together to the Promised Land. In Christ, the Church has the fullness of truth, but in our humanity we have only poverty. “If one has the answers to all the questions”, says Pope Francis, “that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble”. Our words of preaching are empty without the witness of our actions of compassion and mercy, and even our acknowledgment of uncertainty.

So, as we live the present with passion we also embrace the future with hope. We learn from the missionaries who brought the faith to the southern tip of Africa – the daunting task they faced did not deter them from setting out. It would be easy for us, as we face the myriad problems and uncertainties of our countries and the modern world, to find the task at hand too much, impossible and overwhelming. And yet, the evidence not only of the past but of the present, the evidence of a faith that is alive, of a growing and thriving Church, the evidence of the commitment, dedication and love of the modern day disciples, is ample testimony of the activity of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s abiding presence among his people. As for ourselves, we are to remain faithful always to Christ, not allowing ourselves, in the words of the First Reading, to be “seduced into error” by systems, structures, ideologies or cultures that do not belong to him. We do not preach ourselves, our ideologies, visions or thoughts. We preach only Christ and the fruitfulness of the mission, and our very salvation lies in our ability to be faithful to who Christ is and what he taught us. In the words of St Paul, “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).

Homily by Archbishop Stephen Brislin – President of Southern Africa Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC).

 

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SACBC Communication and Media Updates 29th June 2017

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SACBC UPDATES 29th JUNE, 2017

1. SACBC CARITAS WORKSHOP: During the past week SACBC Hosted the Caritas Workshop at Padre Pio Conference Centre in Rietvlei – Pretoria. It was conducted by Caritas International and Caritas Africa. The Purpose of the workshop was to find the best way of centralising all the charity activities operating under the Catholic Church in our region under one coordination umbrella. The workshop was attended by representatives from SACBC Secretariat Khanya House, Representatives from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Namibia, Representatives from Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Representatives from all SACBC Dioceses. 

2. FR BONGANI MANZINI PASSING AWAY: About two weeks ago we lost one of our beloved priest Fr Bonagani Manzini who passed away suddenly at the very young age of 37. Fr Manzini was from the diocese of Witbank. He was laid to rest at Maria Trost in Lydenburg during the past Saturday. We would like to thank all who accompanied Fr Bongani to his last home. We continue to pray for his immediate family and the family of Witbank Diocese, friends and family and the church at large. May the soul of Fr Bongani Rest in Peace.

3. 200 YEARS LAUNCHING: On Sunday 25th June 2017, SACBC launched the Celebration of 200 years of the official Foundation of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa. The launching was hosted by the Archdiocese of Cape Town, where the Catholic Church first started in 1818.

The Celebration was graced by the presence of Archbishop Peter Wells, the Apostolic Nuncio in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia; Catholic Bishops from SACBC region; Representation from Leadership Conference for Consecrated Life (LCCL); SACBC Secretariat, Priests from the Metropolitan of Cape Town and from other dioceses of the SACBC; Consecrated people from the hosting diocese and the people of God.

The Celebration ended with the reading of the message From Pope Francis by His Excellency Archbishop Peter Wells, wishing the best for the Church in Southern African. The Candles to be placed in the SACBC Cathedrals as a sign of unity of the Church in Southern Africa, were blessed and they will be lit during liturgical celebrations during this year of celebrating the foundation of faith in Southern Africa.

All the people of God from SACBC and Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference (LCBC) are invited to honour the foundation of faith in Southern Africa by organising celebrations in their own dioceses, regions and parishes through collaboration with the diocesan leadership and their own parish priests. The celebration shall take place in different dioceses until the end of June Next Year 2018. The date for the official closing of the celebration will be put forward to you in a due time.

SACBC is busy translating 200 years Jubilee prayer in to different languages for different religions of SACBC. Hopefully very soon you will receive the prayer that you have to use in your parishes and official gatherings, to pray for the church in Southern Africa., including Lesotho and Namibia

HERE IS THE BICENTENARY PRAYER:

 O God, sanctify us, your Church in Southern Africa and pour out the gifts of your Spirit upon us, who have been consecrated to you in baptism.

 Increase our faith that we may never cease to give thanks for your infinite treasures of mercy and goodness. 

 Root us in your Son Jesus Christ, that with hearts burning with desire to fulfil your will, we may share the joy, peace and abundance of life he gives us.

 Open our hearts to each other and remove our prejudices that the walls of injustice and division which your Son has destroyed may give way to the healing of the ethnic, racial and unjust divisions of our painful past.

 Let the bright sun of hope never set on our communities of faith, as we endeavour to follow always the example of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, by consecrating our lives to the service of our

 4. POPE’S DAY: On the 28th June was the Pope’s day. His Excellency Archbishop Peter Well, The Apostolic Nuncio of our Region gathered together with Bishops within his territory of governance for the celebration of the Day at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the Archdioceses of Pretoria. The Celebration was graced by diplomatic representation of different countries in the city of Pretoria and different dignitaries. For more information about this Celebration you can contact the SACBC Secretariat: 0123236458.

5. JOINT WITNESSES MEETING: Is when Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) and Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life (LCCL) come together in one room to discuss the issues that affect the church in our in the region. The meeting comes once in 3 years. During the second week of July 2017 on the 11 – 14. This meeting will be held in St John Maria Vianney Major Seminary in Waterkloof Pretoria. All 30 Bishops of SACBC will be part of the meeting together with Religious Superiors in the SACBC region. The updates about the meeting will be ushered to you.

6. ACTS CONFERENCE: Association of Catholic Tertiary Students (ACTS) is taking place in Mafikeng in the North West, since Sunday. The Conference focuses on the challenges facing Catholic Students at the Tertiary Level. The Association falls under SACBC Department of the Laity in the office of the Youth. Fr Sakhi Mofokeng, the general secretary of the department and Fr Mthembeni Dlamini, the SACBC National Youth Champlain and Sr Phuthunywa Siyali, the secretary general of the Department of Christian Formation, Liturgy and Culture are all in Mafikeng for different programs with the young people.

7. SACBC PLENARY IN AUGUST: The Second SACBC Plenary of this year will be held Marian Hill in August.

8. RRA KETUMILE MASIRE PASSES AWAY: SACBC would like to convey sincere condolences to all people of Botswana for the passing away of Rra Ketumile Masire. He will be laid rest on the 29th June 2017 in Gaborone Botswana.

9. MINI WORLD YOUTH DAY IN DURBAN: Will be held in Durban from the 3-10 December. Our youth from different dioceses shall flock to Durban to witness this wonderful occasion. SACBC encourages young people to attend the occasion in big numbers. There is still a lot of time for preparations. For registration please meet youth desk in your diocese and they will give you guidance. Registrations has already started. Remember the early bird catches the worm. Come and meet Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop Peter Wells the Apostolic Nuncio to South African, Lesotho , Botswana Namibia and Swaziland and other SACBC Bishops. Mostly come and share the experience of life with other young people. The Mini World Youth Day will be also for the Preparation for the Synod of the Youth in October 2018 and the World Youth Day in Pamana in January 2019.

DEACONATE ORDINATIONS IN PRETORIA: During the past week we witnessed the deaconate ordination of Brother Davie Thawapo, a Stigmatine, by His Grace Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria.  Tomorrow on the 1st July, two brothers from the Archdiocese of Pretoria will be ordained to deaconate: Bro Msiza and Bro Matlala.  In advance we congratulate them for this commitment they will be taking of offering their lives to the service of the Church in Southern Africa.  May their offering inspire other young people to listen to the voice of God calling them to offer themselves to the service of the Church. Let us continue to pray for them during their ministry as they prepare themselves for Priestly ordination in the near future.

PRIESTLY ANNIVERSARIES IN PRETORIA:  Again we congratulate number of priests who are celebrating 10 years anniversary in the Archdiocese of Pretoria.  We have Fr Amos Masemola who will be celebrating in the evening of today at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Pretoria at 17:00.  Be there to grace the day by celebrating with this servant of God.  Tomorrow at 10:00 am Fr Richard Rathari will also celebrate at the parish of St Mark in Mabopane, while Fr Moses also will be celebrating in Winterveldt, Fr Samuel Sethsedi, Fr Patrick Phiri and Fr Michael Maluku are part of this group.  Definitely there are other SACBC Priests celebrating their priestly anniversaries during this weekend.  May the Good Lord bless them all.

For more information contact: SACBC Communication Office: 0123236458

 

 

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SACBC CPLO Digests the Situation of Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons

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Refugees, Migrants and Displaced Persons

 Over the first few days of May 2017, 250 migrants and refugees died in the Mediterranean in attempts to reach Europe. This brings the number of deaths to approximately 1700 for 2017.

It is estimated that 43,000 people attempted to use the central Mediterranean Sea route in an attempt to make their way to Europe. A recent survey shows that already in the first six months of 2017, Italy has received 19% more migrants than for the same period in 2016. The first and second links take us to this discussion including an analysis of the root causes of the phenomenon of human mobility.

The third link raises issues around the safety of women refugees in some shelters. The ninth link asserts that the existence of refugee camps marks a failure by the international community to honour and implement a culture of human rights.

Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the issue of migration continues to be robustly contested. The link to CFR immigration debate gives a very comprehensive overview of the situation in the USA from several points of view and is excellent back ground material. For instance studies show that there has been a drop in entry to the USA by undocumented migrants. It also points to the fact that probably 11m people fall into this category, half of whom have lived in the USA for ten years or more and two thirds have children born in the USA. It also points out that 4m people are in the system having applied for immigration visas. Of interest, especially given SA’s resistance to allowing for family re-unification, two thirds of the 1m legal immigrants to the USA were granted on this bases.

The sixth link points to the efforts which the Church is making to protect migrants and especially migrants who seek refuge on church property in compliance with the old church tradition of ‘offering sanctuary.’

The seventh link goes to the important contribution of the Holy See to the protests against detention of children and especially of migrant children.

The eighth link points to the Pope’s reflection to the Assembly of Latin American and Caribbean Parliaments on 7th June where he asked the legislators to view migrants not as numbers but as ‘people with faces.’ He asked them to reflect on the realities which cause migration, on dialogue as a methodology for opening new paradigms and for commitment on the part of legislators and others with political leverage to make a change in the environments that impact on displaced persons.

At the UN Archbishop Auza made the point that war is one of the biggest drivers of migration. The ninth link leads us to that intervention. The last link takes us to an interesting article published by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development based in Rome which makes the point that remittances sent by migrants to home countries has doubled [51%] in the period 2007-2016. In the same period migration rose by 28%.

For more information contact:

Fr Peter-John Pearson (Director of SACBC Parliamentary Liaison Office)

Tel: +27(0)21 461 14 17 / 6961

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