VOL 4 No 5 Oct - Dec 2007
IN THIS ISSUE:
1.Provincial Assembly December 7th
Interchapter Meeting in South Africa
With a performance presented by the
novices from Our Lady of Hope Oblate novitiate near
Some 60 Oblates from all over the world (the Central Government, the provincials of 29 provinces, and an auxiliary staff of moderators, translators, secretaries, liturgists, drivers, etc.) came together from 1-12 October for the two-week Interchapter meeting at the Good Shepherd Retreat Centre at Hartebeesport, located in the Oblates’ Central Province of South Africa.
The official opening of the meeting took place on October 1, with a welcome from the Superior General, Fr. Wilhelm STECKLING, and from the president of the Regional Conference of Africa, Fr. Macaire MANIMBA, the provincial of
The central purpose of the 2007 Interchapter is to study the response which the Congregation and the Units have given to the mandates of the 2004 General Chapter, to consider the difficulties encountered, and to share means of implementing these mandates and overcoming the difficulties. It is also the occasion to begin planning for the next General Chapter, vis-à-vis both theme and methodology.
The participants listened to reports from the five regions of the Congregation as well as from the
Central Government. There were also reports concerning the progress of the Governance
Committee and the General House Committee, both of which had been mandated by the 2004
General Chapter. The Superior General gave a major report, in the name of the Central
Government, on the topic of Internationality in the Congregation.
Through various small-group and large-group discussions, the participants were able to give voice to their concerns, challenges and hopes regarding what remains to be accomplished before the next General Chapter (2010). While many issues surfaced, the participants prioritized their list of concerns into these seven topics (in the order of importance):
1) Internationality: as
it impacts Oblate life (formation, community life, the mission, etc.). International houses of formation.
2) The human and spiritual formation needed to live in today’s reality (religious life, community, the mission). Training formators to be able to facilitate this.
3) Evangelizing in a secularized society: defining the Oblate mission.
4) The demographic shift in the Congregation: (sharing of personnel South to North; preparation for this on the part of those being sent and of those receiving and other issues such as inculturation).
5) Animation of religious and community life in the local community.
6) Special issues of youth ministry today.
7) Criteria for accepting and promoting candidates in light of the realities of today’s world.
In the second week, some members of the
Central Government explained various policies that have been enacted by the
Superior General in Council, as well as some items of general interest
vis-à-vis upcoming events and ongoing discussions.
However, the primary focus of talks and discussions was to encourage the participants to look ahead to the 2010 General Chapter.
There were presentations concerning possible themes for the Chapter as well as about methodologies for such a gathering.
In the discussions that followed these
presentations, some points of convergence surfaced. The participants at the
Intercapitular meeting hope that the Central Government and the future
pre-capitular commission will consider them when they choose the theme or the
focal point of the next General Chapter. The most frequent subject to be
mentioned was that of the quality and integrity of our religious life which is
always in need of conversion in both the personal and communal dimension, and
always centering on the person of Jesus Christ.
The next General Chapter will also be a graced moment for the Congregation when it will,
in a spirit of gospel-driven leadership, elect a new Superior General and
General Council. As mandated by the last General Chapter, there will also very
likely be a consideration of updated structures of government on all levels, in
light of the needs of the Oblate mission.
There was frequent reference to the need to begin preparations of the next General Chapter in the very near future so that the very process of preparation is for communal discernment and growth for the whole Congregation, similar to the process of the Immense Hope project before the last General Chapter. Whatever document comes from the 2010 Chapter should stimulate a continuation of this process of conversion and growth.
2. Challenges for Ministry
Assistant Novice Master Murdered
novitiate community in
The forty-two year old Oblate priest, ordained in 2003, had gone to lend weekend help at St. Peter’s parish in Nelspruit. After celebrating a Friday evening liturgy at 18:00 in Ka Nyamazane, he took a young man home and then was returning to the parish. A short time later, he was found lying by the road at Msogwaba township, and was taken at 19:30 by ambulance to
Police were soon on the track of one of the suspects. On the next day, three police officers from KaNyamazane police station arrived at the
rushed out and fired shots at the police officers, injuring one of them in the
3.Challenges for Ministry
Archbishop Tlhagale Calls for Church Sanctionson Criminals
Murderers should not be buried from
Catholic churches, and recipients of stolen property should be banned from
receiving Communion, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI of
"We have every reason to be outraged," he said in his attack on both the government and a society which seems unable or unwilling to deal with crime.
“The justice system in this country, in
an attempt to reverse or undo the harshness or cruelty of the apartheid system,
has simply softened its policies and laws to a point where criminals feel that
they can commit murder and get away with it, or that if they are caught, they
will simply get a slap on the wrist,” he said.
"It is a futile, meaningless and
hopeless cop-out to blame crime on poverty, or even to consider crime as a
long-term result of the apartheid policies," Archbishop Tlhagale said,
noting that, "Criminals are homegrown.
"They come from our own communities," he added. "The stolen guns that kill randomly are at times hidden away by members of the family. That gun, they say, brings bread home. It keeps hunger and starvation at bay.
He suggested that the church should
impose penalties on criminals. “Some of
these heartless criminals claim to be members of our church communities. Such
criminals ought not to be buried from our churches. Why should we bend
backwards to accommodate cold-blooded murderers?” he questioned.
His attack was also levelled at those who indirectly benefited from the proceeds of crime.
“People who knowingly and consciously receive stolen property or assist the criminals in their sordid trade are members of our church community. They ought to be banned from receiving Communion.”
"Money from the sale of drugs and stolen property or from bank robberies should not be accepted in the church as part of a tithe or Sunday collection," he said, noting that the "injunction of the Gospel on this matter is clear."
4.Good News about People
Father Paul Decock was the organizer of this year's
Pan-African Association of Catholic Exegetes. The association met in
This year’s congress took place at Koinonia,
Among the participants was the well known Archbishop
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (of
Father Noel Peters was invited to serve as one of the Chairpersons at the 13th Annual Congress of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). He also presented a paper at the Conference entitled: “Understanding Each Other”
The paper described his research on the overall goals of intercultural training in aiming to affect the cognitive, affective, and behavioural domains and subsequently people's overall adjustments and effectiveness in cross-cultural settings.
6. Good News About Ministry
On 21 September, the catholic students of
the Durban University of Technology
(DUT) were officially recognized as a branch of the Association of Catholic
Merlin Ince OMI and branch chairperson Sabelo Mthembu of the Durban University of Technology
celebrated with gratitude and excitement at the realisation of the fruits of
many months of planning and preparation for the affiliation of the Catholic
students to the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students (ACTS) The occasion was marked by a special
Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Bishop Barry Wood OMI. In his homily, Bishop Barry congratulated
the students in their example of taking pride in their faith. In keeping with the spirit of the feast of
St. Matthew, he further encouraged them to continue to announce the good news
by moving away from a culture of death and into a culture of life.
The Mass was well attended, not only by
students of ACTS, but also by various other groups on campus especially the SRC
and those from other denominations and faiths. Fr. Michael Hagan, national ACTS chaplain,
was delighted to welcome the family of DUT and encouraged the students to make
their voices heard on campus such that we enter into active dialogue and
participation with all forces in 'evangelising' our world. Also in attendance were Sr. Lukas Lenzen,
chairperson of the KZN region of chaplains and chaplains from surrounding
institutions. We were also glad to
welcome Fr. Stuart Bate OMI (Provincial Superior of the OMI congregation) and
Fr. Eugene King OMI (Vicar General of the OMI congregation).
A hearty lunch was served after the mass, on the balcony of the Steve Biko Library. It was quite fitting that our celebration coincided with the special week of celebrating 30 years since the death of Steve Biko who died at the age of 30. This is a great boost to the Spirit of ACTS at DUT and will surely inspire a greater witness to the values of the gospel on campus. We will continue to strive towards our motto: We've got our ACTS together."
What is believed to be the first of many ACTS retreats
was held on the African continent in the archdiocese of
Ecumenical in nature and relatively flexible in its manner of presentation, it endeavors to instill in retreatants a desire to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord and gain a greater interest in parish ministry involvement.
The acronym, ACTS, has come to focus on Adoration--the need for prayer and meditation on the word of God; and the importance of fostering Community built on faith and love; Theology--coming to a deeper understanding of scripture and our Catholic Faith; all of which is meant to lead one to a life of Service, especially in one’s own parish.
The impetus for bringing this retreat to
On his return to Africa, Fr. Moss spoke to the pastors of two Oblate parishes,
Newsletter of the Natal Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Provincial: Fr Stuart C BATE, OMI; P O Box 17035, Congella, 4013 South Africa
Street Address: 39 Pioneer Road, Congella, Durban, 4001; E-mail address: email@example.com
: 031 205 9321 Fax: 031 206 0270 Cell 082 7121047
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