Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate - Natal Province


Natal Province

The Mother Province of the Oblates in Africa


VOL 4 No 1     January- February 2007


Oblate Feast Day.

181st Anniversary Of Approval Of The Rule









1.Good News about Ministry Appointments 2007

The following appointments have been made:

January 1 

Sean Coleman: Director of Ongoing Formation

Vusi Mazibuko: Chair Natal Province formation committee

Zaba Mbanjwa: Parish Priest St Joseph’s Cedara
                               Gerard House Hilton
                              Member, Oblate Education committee

Wayne Weldschidt: Parish Priest Christ the King Wentworth

Merlin Ince: Chaplain: Durban University of Technology
                         Oblate Youth Ministry Durban Area
                         Fund Raiser Natal Province
                         Member Sydenham Oblate Community

Sithabiso Sithole: Assistant Priest:  St Anne’s Parish, Sydenham
                                  Sydenham Oblate Community

Charles Rensburg: Priest in Charge St Luke’s Bulawayo
                                    Mission Council Zimbabwe
                                    Mission Fundraiser Zimbabwe Mission

February 1

Bafana Ndlovu: St Luke’s Mission, Lupane Zimbabwe

Mxolisi Ngcobo: Vocations Promoter

Kingsley Cooray: Sabon House



2. Good News about Ministry  Provincial Committee for Formation

The Provincial Committee for Formation has been established. This committee will deal with matters of formation and is the official body for matters concerning the ministry of Oblate formation in Natal. It will include the areas of recruitment pre-novitiate, first formation at the novitiate and scholasticate, regency and ongoing formation.

The following are ex-officio members of this committee: Director of ongoing formation, Superior of St Josephs Scholasticate, Director of Cleland pre-novitiate, Director of the Regency programme and the Province vocations promoter.

At its first meeting Father Vusi Mazibuko was elected Chair person of this committee.  



3. Good News about Ministry Aids Action Committee SJTI

No-one deserves to have AIDS” is the motto of St Joseph’s Theological Institute Aids Action Group which has been functioning for seven years. It is a ministry of the students at SJTI who wish to respond to the need for awareness and education about HIVAIDS in schools. Their particular concern is to combat immature and uninformed attitudes amongst school children leading to promiscuity and irresponsible sexual activity.  The programme focuses on youth in government schools within the Pietermaritzburg district. The goal is to restore moral behaviour among youth and accompanying them in decision making in the area of sexuality.

Their “Youth for Life” programme runs workshops for various grades of school learners as well as retreats. The programme tries to develop a mentorship programme within schools to encourage life-giving patterns of moral behaviour among the youth.  The programme has a clearly spiritual input.

Imparting moral values around the issue of HIV/AIDS is a priority of all Aids Action group members; and this is always done for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Young people are the most vulnerable to infection as a result of uninformed attitudes. They are majority of those who are dying in society as a result of HIV/AIDS. One of the reasons why youth are dying at an early age is because they are not given proper information, which is normally influenced by the media and peers. Parents are now finding it difficult to control and teach their children who are moving with great speed to their graves.

Among the various topics discussed in the workshops are self-esteem, decision making, peer pressure, goals, vision for life, love and lust, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, and intoxicating substances, abstinence, sex, love and happiness.  All these topics are meant to help young people in their human growth and development.

The Aids Action Group has received many positive comments from principals, teachers, and parish priests.  The Aids Action Group is willing to conduct follow up workshops, but the only problem that hinders our operation is lack of funds.  

During 2007 they intend to conduct workshops at 24 schools in the Pietermaritzburg area. The budgeted costs for this are about R70,000. Unfortunately funding has dried up for the programme and new proposals to donors will take time. An appeal to the province had to be turned down because of our financial problems at this time. Consequently the group is appealing for whatever help they can get. If you wish to donate to the AIDS Action group please contact Brother Festus Zulu OMI, the chairperson of the group, or Father Dan Coryn, OMI the president of the Institute, Telephone 033-3433293.

Alternatively you can donate directly into Nedbank Corporate; Branch code 720026; Account Number 9005547265.


4. Good News about Oblate Life
                Workshops On Cultural Diversity

In order to respond to this directive we intend to organise two sets of workshops for members of the Province. The first will be a workshop on cultural diversity which will be held in the districts and formation houses in the first half of the year and the second will be a workshop on the “healing of memories” in the second half of the year.

The Cultural Diversity Workshop will be conducted by Father Noel Peters who has considerable experience in this area.  He has given similar workshops and conferences to the Catholic Institute of Education, the Namibia Council for Religious and other Catholic agencies as well as to the South African Government departments of Education, Communications and Health, in a number of centres in the country.

He is a registered Clinical Psychologist in South Africa, the UK and the USA. He was Professor of Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno, California and Director of its Cross Cultural Psychology Proficiency Programme.

The workshops will be conducted on the retreat days in the Pietermaritzburg district in March and in the Durban district in April. Members of the Inchanga district may choose which of the two workshops they wish to attend.

The workshop will run from 9am to 4pm. It is most important that all Oblates ensure that they attend for the full programme.  

A separate Workshop will also be available for the Animation Team at St Josephs Scholasticate together with Oblates involved in academic ministry at St Josephs Theological Institute.  A fourth workshop will be available for the theologian scholastics at the St Josephs Scholasticate. The dates are given below.

         Workshops all from 9am – 4pm

Mar 13:
Pietermaritzburg district with some of   Inchanga districts (venue Redacres)

Apr  17:
Durban district with remainder of  Inchanga Districts
(Venue Sabon House new hall)


Apr  24:
   Scholasticate  Animation Team
and OMI  lecturers SJTI

(Venue Scholasticate      community room)

May 1:
  Scholastics: Theologians only

            (Venue ue Scholasticate community room)


2nd half of year

Healing of memories workshops:

            Animator to be announced



5. Good News about People

Father Mchunu Recovering

Grateful thanks for your continued prayer and support for Fr Mduduzi C Mchunu. He continues to improve. Latest tests show that his system is now clear of TB. In January and February he was encouraged to have a further two months of treatment given the serious nature of his infection. He is currently residing at Sabon House and members of the province are encouraged to visit him. May our Lord, the healer, give Fr Mchunu the strength he needs at this time. Let us keep praying for him especially through Blessed Joseph Gerard.




6. Good News about People

Father Michelson to Indonesia

Father Garth Michelson will represent the Natal province at an Oblate Symposium on Inter -Religious Dialogue. The focus of the SYMPOSIUM is ISLAM.


The Symposium will begin on the 3rd of March until the 6th 2007 and will be preceded by the AORC meeting.  All this will be taking place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


The convenor will be Fr Andri A Atmaka OMI,  who is the current Oblate provincial of Indonesia.

Fr Federico Labaglay, councillor for Asia, will coordinate the symposium. There will be about 35 participants mainly from Asia but also from the other regions of whom Father Garth is one.


At the gathering there will be opportunities of sharing of various Oblate and inter-religious experiences, visits and exposure to a Muslim seminary, sessions of input from resource persons (both Christian & Muslim), and finally the identification of a nurture core group to promote further dialogue. Further details will emerge as we go along, says Fr Federico Labaglay OMI writing from Rome in September of 2006.



7. Good News about Formation

Approval of Ordination to Diaconate

The following have been approved for ordination to the diaconate on 17 February at St Josephs Cedara:
            Nkululeko Meyiwa
            Mthokozisi Mncwabe
            Jeffery Madondo
            Elphas Khoza

8. Good News about Formation
                            Admission to Temporary Vows 2007

The following were admitted to temporary vows in the last provincial council meeting

Scholastic in Germany: Ewen Swartz

Scholastics in Cedara:

            Denardo Gnanapragas
            Sbonakaliso Mkhize
            Phumlani Ndlovu
            Sbonelo Mbanjwa
            Siph’amandla Mpulo
            Paneng Mohlakoana
            Thabani Shoba
            Pamidzai Mudzudza
            Alvin Tshuma
            Chikomberero Maramwidze
            Innocent Masayira
            Chidochashe Nyere
            Isaac Zandonda
            Faustino Mutale
            Ndodana Tshuma                    


            Mkhize, Bongumusa Thadeus
            Khumalo, Mondli Goodman Joseph
            Chimhowa, Ernest
            Mhlanga, John Nhlanhla
Dlamini, Sibusiso Michael
            Mwenda, Joachim Bruce  


9.Good News about Formation 2007 Regency in Germany

Bro Phumlani Ndlovu is on regency this year. The first part will be an exposure to administrative ministry at the provincial Office. After that he will go to Germany. This will give him the opportunity for an experience of Oblate mission in another context something that is increasingly encouraged by the congregation. He will leave in April and spend a few months in the Provincial House community learning German. During that time he will attend different youth meetings with the Scholastics and Novices. Later in the year he will go to another Oblate community where he will continue his language studies and where he could work in a parish and in youth ministry until the end of the regency period.

It is envisaged that he will eventually continue in Germany with his theological studies. We would like to thank the German Province for this opportunity.


10 Oblate Administration Matters

10A, Policy on Property at the Death of an Oblate (Council minute 6.7 meeting 493)

All Oblates are required to provide an inventory of all Oblate Property in the place where they live. This is to avoid confusion between property belonging to the congregation and property belonging to the entity where they have been assigned for ministry.     The document is included with this edition of OMI Update. All Oblates not living in an Oblate House including those living in residences in parishes must complete the form and return it to the Provincial Office.  These forms should be completed and given in to the district superior at the March or April district meeting or at a community meeting. The Provincial Councillors will explain the document in more detail at the next district or community meeting.

In practice the responsibilities are as follows: Frs. M FOLEY in Zimbabwe; S DAVID at Gerard House; P FOLEY in Durban district; T ZONDI at the Pre-novitiate; M DLAMINI at the Inchanga District; V PHENYANE in the Pietermaritzburg district and V MAZIBUKO at the Scholasticate.  The document needs to be signed in front of two witnesses. This is part of being accountable.

10B, De Mazenod Experience

“The De Mazenod Experience is a three months program, held at the International De Mazenod Centre at Aix-en-Provence, the cradle of our congregation, with a group of about fifteen fellow Oblates from all parts of the world”. It held from January to March each year.

All Oblates are encouraged to attend this programme once. Those who are interested to attend should inform us  of the year they would be interested to attend. This will alow us to build up a roster in advance. Below is a form that will assist in this process. Please complete it and send it back to us if you are interested.

10C, Administrative Assistant Required

The Natal Province is looking for an Administrative Assistant in the Provincial Office, Congella Durban. Those interested, should complete the form found enclosed with this newsletter and fax it to the provincial office before 28 February.


Provincial’s Notes

A Milestone Year: St Michaels Mission 150

2007 marks an important year for the Oblates of Southern Africa and in particular this province. Later in the year we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of St Michael’s mission.  It was the third foundation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Vicariate of Natal. The first and mother house was in Pietermaritzburg (St Mary’s, 1852). It was the original seat of the Vicar Apostolic. The second was in Durban (St Joseph’s, 1852).  The third was at St Michael’s which was “officially opened on September 2, 1855 then closed and re-opened February 1858.

It was the first attempt by the Catholic Church in Southern Africa to evangelize the indigenous African population in their own context.  This was done amongst the Zulu people and by that great African missionary Blessed Joseph Gerard. Like much of the Oblate history of Natal Province this is   another story of failure and vindication that continues to inspire us in our ministry today.

The celebration will probably be in June and Oblates, especially Zulu Oblates, must make every attempt to be present at this feast. More details will follow.

A Milestone Year:

Inter-Chapter Meeting In South Africa

The General Administration of the Congregation Oblate Provincials from all over the world will gather at the Oblate retreat centre at Hartebeespoort in October this year for the Inter-chapter meeting.

 This is the first time that an Oblate International leadership meeting is held in South Africa. Provincials will visit various African provinces before and after the meeting and we look forward to welcoming some of them to the mother province of the Oblates on this continent. More details will follow as the year unfolds.

 A Milestone Year:

200th Anniversary of Oblate Charism

Father General writes the following in his message for 17 February: “It was probably in 1807, on Good Friday of that year, that Saint Eugene had a special encounter with the Crucified One that changed his life. It essentially made him an Oblate. What we can celebrate in 2007 is not an anniversary of the Congregation, but rather an anniversary of our charism, the spiritual gift that makes us live - an anniversary of our Oblate spirituality”.


Provincial's Diary


1          First Vows Windhoek

3          First Vows  Johannesburg

17         Ordination of Deacons Cedara

19         Celebration of Approval of Rule    Cedara


2-3        Visitation Gerard House

15-16    Provincial Council Congella, Durban

20-24    IPC Meeting

26         SJTI Annual Open Day

26         SJTI Graduation

27         Board Meeting at SJTI

28-29    Provincial Council Congella, Durban



Date Name  Occasion
13  1978 C Rensburg                Birthday
16  1949           M Foley                        Birthday
18  2002 W Weldschidt Ordination
20  1965 Z Mbanjwa Birthday
27  1944 J Nxumalo(Archbishop) Birthday
28  1985 S Mbanjwa (Schol) Birthday
29  2006 C Rensburg Ordination
29  1931 G Purves Birthday

30  1981

A Tshuma (Schol)  Birthday



Name   Occassion
04  1940 J Money  Birthday
08  1991 S David   Ordination
08  1991 A Henriques Ordination
09  1979 T Shoba (Schol)   Birthday

 11  1983

P Schröder Ordination
12  1945  P Schröder Birthday
14  1977 S Dube Birthday
19  1982 S Bate Ordination
19  1982 P Horrocks Ordination

19  2000          

S Kunene  Ordination
19  1943 D Corijn    Birthday

22  1924        

 J Patterson Birthday
23  1978 P Mudzudza (Schol) Birthday
24  1963  E Clerkin  Ordination
25  1983  PC Ndlovu (Schol) Birthday
26  1972 LZ Ngubane  Birthday

28  1973

M Madlala Birthday
28  1954 J Mtolo Birthday
28  1987 J Mtolo Ordination


Errors and omissions contact the Administrative

Secretary (admin@omi.org.za)



Newsletter of the Natal Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Provincial: Fr Stuart C BATE, OMI; : Box 17035, Congella, 4013 South Africa

Street Address: 39 Pioneer Road, Congella, Durban, 4001; E-mail address: scbate@omi.org.za

: 031 205 9321 Fax: 031 206 0270 Cell 082 7121047

Please send all submissions enquiries and comments to the editor


Copyright © 2006 OMI Natal Province

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