Oblates Of Mary Immaculate
Natal Province
The Mother Province of the Oblates in Africa

Vol. 2 Issue 5         November-December 2005

Sections in this issue of the OMI Update;

Top news

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has named Bishop Jabulani NXUMALO OMI, Archbishop of Bloemfontein in South Africa. The Vatican made the announcement on Monday, October 10, 2005. Since August 2002, the new archbishop has been the Auxiliary Bishop of Durban and Titular Bishop of Ficus.

Archbishop-elect Jabulani was born on 27 January 1944 in Lamontville, Durban. As a young Oblate, he studied in both Lesotho and in Rome. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology with a specialisation in missiology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1974, he served as parish priest of St John's Parish and Mission, Estcourt, Inchanga Mission, St Joseph's Parish, Cedara and St Mary's Parish, Pietermaritzburg.

He has also held various leadership positions within the Oblate Congregation. In 1977 he became Dean of Studies and Vice Rector at St Peter's Major Seminary, Hammanskraal. From 1978-1984, he was Professor and Dean of Studies at St Joseph's Scholasticate, Cedara. A period of parish ministry then followed. In 1998 he was appointed Provincial Superior of the Natal Province of the Oblates before being elected, in that same year, as the Oblate General Councillor for Africa-Madagascar.

On 8 July 2002, he was appointed Auxiliary

Bishop for the Archdiocese of Durban. He was ordained a bishop at the archdiocese's 150th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving on 25 August 2002.

When he was named a bishop in 2002, the Archbishop-elect was 140th Oblate to be ordained a bishop since St. Eugene de Mazenod OMI and the sixth Oblate to serve as a bishop in the Archdiocese of Durban. He will now become the sixth bishop of Bloemfontein. His immediate predecessor was Archbishop Buti TLHAGALE OMI, now Bishop of Johannesburg.

Historical records show that the first Mass was celebrated in Bloemfontein by Father Hoenderwangers O Praem. in 1848. It became part of Bishop Allard's vast Vicariate from 1852 and Father Hoenderwangers was seconded to the Natal Vicariate and remained in Bloemfontein until 1869 when Bishop Allard supplied an Oblate Priest to replace him. Joy Brain reports that in a letter to Bishop Allard, Father Hoenderwangers expressed concern about the growing colour bar favoured by his white parishioners. In his reply in 1856, Bishop Allard established, even at that early time, the official Catholic response to racism: "As to Colour, the Catholic Church does not pay attention to it. Jesus Christ died for all men (sic) without distinction". Bloemfontein became a diocese in 1951 and all of its six bishops have been Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
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Whilst on a directed retreat at the Bluff together with 17 Oblates, Father Stuart switched on his phone on Thursday morning 13 October to find out by SMS that Fr Barry WOOD had been appointed Auxiliary bishop of Durban three days earlier. Father Barry was also on the same retreat. At the concluding Mass of the retreat we announced it to the Oblates present who were consequently amongst the last to hear of this joyful event. In fact on Monday 10 October 2005, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, appointed Father Barry WOOD OMI, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Durban. Bishop-elect Wood will become the seventh Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate to serve as a bishop in Durban. The current Archbishop of Durban is Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM.

The Bishop-elect was born on 13 June 1942 in Port Elizabeth. After his ordination in 1968, he was sent to the Archdiocese of Durban where he served in a number of parishes. From 1977 on, he held leadership positions within the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, including Pre-novitiate Director, Novice Master, Superior of St. Joseph's Oblate Scholasticate at Cedara and, from to 1992 until 1998, Provincial Superior of the Oblates' Natal Province.

In 1999 he was appointed Vicar-General/Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Durban, parish priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Woodlands-Montclair and subsequently St. Louis' Parish, Clairwood. As Vicar-General Fr. Wood was responsible for overseeing a number of major events in the Archdiocese, including the Jubilee 2000 year celebrations, the reception for Cardinal Napier at the International Convention Centre and the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Archdiocese in 2002.

He will be ordained bishop by Cardinal Napier on February 26th at the ICC in Durban. | Back to top |

3. Our Oblate mission to serve the Church
Archbishop-elect Nxumalo is our gift to the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein continuing the great history of our Province to serve the church wherever the need is greatest. Bishop -elect Wood is our gift to the local church of Durban continuing our great link between the Province and the church we founded. Whilst they remain united with us, we also in some way lose them and so we ask the Lord to send more vocations into our Oblate Province to help us continue our mission.

The appointment of Father Barry as Auxiliary Bishop of Durban means that he will leave the Natal Provincial Council. He attended his last meeting on November 17. His replacement on the Council is Father Mhlanganisi DLAMINI who becomes 6th Councillor. Father General made this appointment on 19 November 2005. We thank Father Mhlanganisi for his willingness to accept this new challenge.| Back to top |
    5. New Challenges:
      Appointment of New Mission Council Zimbabwe.

A new Mission Council was appointed in September to assist Father Mike FOLEY, Mission Superior. The Provincial formally appointed the Mission Council for the Zimbabwe mission with the approval of the council. A consultation was made amongst the Zimbabwean Oblates during the Provincial's visitation in August. After discussion in the Provincial Council of the results of the consultation and the needs of the mission at this time, the following fathers were appointed as councillors:

We wish these men well in the continuing growth and development of our Oblate mission in that place of poverty and abandonment. | Back to top |

    6. New Challenges:
      Appointment of New Mission Treasurer Zimbabwe Mission
Father Donavan WHEATLEY has been appointed Mission Treasurer by the Superior in Council of the Zimbabwe Mission. The Natal Provincial Council has confirmed the appointment. Fr Donavan will join the finance committee of the Natal province.| Back to top |

    7. New Challenges:
      Two Oblates assigned to Youth Ministry
Father Mxolisi NGCOBO and Father Siyabonga DUBE have been assigned to youth ministry. Father Ngcobo will concentrate his work on the rural youth in the Natal Midlands. He will work with the deanery chaplain for youth. His principal focus for the time being will be youth ministry in the Estcourt parish in the Archdiocese of Durban. This is so that he can be socialised into Priestly ministry as a newly ordained priest. In this regard Cardinal Napier has appointed him Assistant Priest in that parish. He will also do a Masters degree at St Augustine College with a research paper on Youth Ministry.

Father Dube will be based at Mazenod house and will be responsible for youth work within the Zimbabwe mission under Father Mike Foley.

In both cases these men will work within the youth programmes of the dioceses where they are based and not begin anything specifically Oblate. As members of the youth ministry committee of the Province they will plan and strategise with the group regarding the direction Oblate youth ministry should take. We will pray for them and ask God's blessing on their work through the Intercession of Mary Immaculate.| Back to top |

    8.Wentworth Oblate Residence Approved By Cardinal.
His Eminence Cardinal Napier has given approval for the establishment of an Oblate Apostolic religious community at Wentworth. The Director of this community will be Fr Peter FOLEY and Fr Wayne WELDSCHIDT, Parish priest, is the other member of the community. We hope that a third Oblate will soon be placed in that community. We pray for the success of this apostolic community and its mission.| Back to top |

    9. Mr John Hughes
Fr Chris LOCKYER and Mr John Hughes have edited our newsletter for the last few years. John, who has been diabetic most of his life, went into a serious coma in mid September. He is currently in a critical condition in Entabeni hospital. Please pray for his recovery through the intercession of Blessed Joseph Gerard.| Back to top |

Provincial's Notes

1. Oblate Restructuring in South Africa

As you know a task team has been meeting with Oblates on both an individual and group level during the past few months to surface views and opinions regarding the proposed restructuring of the three South African provinces into fewer units.

The team was led by Father Nhlanhla NKOSI from Natal and included Father Emmanuel MOSOEU from Central Province (now the new Provincial there) and Father Tony DANIELS from Northern Province.

The report of this task team has now been presented and it has been distributed it to you for discussion in Oblate local communities.

Of the 207 Oblates in South Africa, the team managed to survey 144 of them individually. There were 110 Oblates in the field who responded and 34 Scholastics. Furthermore, group discussions on Unification were held in all Oblate Provinces.

Of the 110 Oblates-in-the-field respondents across age spectrum: 62% accept Unification; 6% are against it; 24% accept it conditionally; 6% are against it conditionally and 2% are neutral. Of the 34 Scholastic respondents 56% accept Unification and 32% accept it conditionally. None of this group is against Unification. The fact that there are no whites in this group makes for interesting reading for the future. This generation in which Blacks (Autochthonous, Coloured and Indian peoples) will be a majority is the one that will be affected by Unification.

In processing the data, the team made a number of recommendations. One was that the Scholastics discuss the project of Unification during their spiritual conferences. Another suggestion was that the Superior General give first obediences to provinces other than the one of origin to the newly ordained. The team also suggested that Oblate workshops dealing with racism be held at district and provincial levels. Some Oblates perceive the Unification project as a ploy by some White Oblates to regroup themselves in order to maintain hegemonic dominant status in the congregation.

The team also requested the Provincials to send a letter in which they state clearly the reasons for Unification and why the time frames are constructed with such a sense of urgency.

I would like this discussion process about the report to be completed before the end of March 2006.

After that, the committee of Provincials and councillors will meet to discuss the next step in the procedure. This may be a discussion about important matters raised in the report and how to deal with them. It could also include the beginning of an animation process to see where to go with this. However our feeling is that whilst there is strong support for the restructuring process, there are also some important issues that need to be discussed and debated. So we prefer to move slowly at this stage to give people time to reflect and to see what specific issues might need to be dealt with before we begin any animation programme.

The report is quite long, comprising 22 pages of report and a further 33 pages of appendices. For that reason the Report itself will be sent to each Oblate but the full document comprising appendices etc., which are mainly tables and minutes of meetings, will only be sent to District Superiors and Superiors of Formation houses. They will make them available to the members of their community.

In the meetings you are asked to reflect on questions like these:

    1. What do you think about the report?
    2. What important issues have been raised for you?
    3. What views do we wish to communicate to the Provincial and councillors about these matters?

Father Emmanuel MOSOEU, Provincial of the Central Province, was asked to make a summary of the report and to draw up a list of questions. His summary and the questions are appended to this newsletter. Please use it in your meetings.

Each local community whether it is a house, a residence or district is required to submit a written report on their discussions and the outcomes.
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2. Practical Solidarity

The Central Province recently approved two items of support for the Natal Province in its current financial crisis. The first was a donation of R50000 to the Zimbabwe Mission "for their community life and works". The second was the gift of a specially commissioned oil painting by Father Frans Claerhout, OMI which will be used by our committee in a fund raising project. This practical show of solidarity between two South Africa Provinces is deeply appreciated. Thanks to provincial Father Emmanuel Mosoeu and all the Oblates of that province. | Back to top |

3. New Provincials Meeting In Rome

Fourteen new Provincials met in Rome between from 1-12 November. The purpose of the meeting was to socialise us into the present state of the Congregation worldwide. One of the goals of this process was to help us understand our global responsibility as major superiors in terms of C.99 which says: "The Provincial Superiors share in the Superior General's responsibility and concern for the whole congregation"

As many of you know, I am not a great meeting person and so the two weeks was quite tiring for me. Nevertheless it was quite inspiring to see the involvement of our brothers throughout the world. We are close to the people everywhere we work and we show many faces of Jesus to the many faces of the poor that are found in the ministries we do.

One thing that impressed me was the amount of workshopping and discussion that has been done by Oblate provinces to develop a vision and strategy for their ministry and future. Correct management of our human, spiritual, material and skills resources is helping Oblates to be more effective in the work we do and also to ensure that our works are not merely the efforts of individuals but of communities. This is a confirmation of the direction we are also taking. A lot of work was done in terms of the Immense hope project and we in the new Council have also done a lot of workshopping and discussion to turm that work into a workable plan for the next three years (See OMI Update June)

It was also a good opportunity to meet our three scholastics in Rome (Andrew Knott, Elphas Khoza and Patrick Mabhunu) and our Student Priest Father Allan Henriques. All are doing well.
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4. Regency

Today there seems to be a growing awareness of the need for regency in our congregation. The regency as such is not something new in our Congregation. Indeed it is part of our Constitutions and Rules (R.54). The General Norms for Oblate Formation (GNOF 307) remind us that during regency "the candidates take part in the Oblates' apostolate. This enables them to know it better and to prepare themselves for it and test their ability to persevere in Oblate life and mission".

The Inter Provincial Conference of Anglophone Africa describes the Regency in our region in the following way (IPC Formation No. 6)


In Natal we have decided that regency will take place before a scholastic makes perpetual vows. This period will last one year, in principle, but could be extended if necessary. Scholastics from the Natal Province will normally do their regency after they have finished their philosophy. (Natal Provincial Council Meeting 483 minute 9.1).

  • The Regency Coordinator
    The Province will appoint a coordinator for the regency year. He will be responsible for the organisation of the orientation session and will organise and schedule of the workshops. He will relate closely with the regents and help them with their various needs and concerns before, during and after the regency year. Father Jean Baptiste MPUNI has been appointed Regency Coordinator for the Natal Province

  • The Provincial Regency Committee
    The province will appoint a committee to plan the regency programme. This committee will be chaired by the regency coordinator. It should normally have at least one representative from the formation team who is a member of the Natal province and one member of the Province in another ministry together with the supervisors of the regents. Currently this committee comprises Father Jean Baptiste MPUNI, Father Callistus KHATHALI, Father Wayne WELDSCHIDT and the Provincial.

  • Programme For The Regency Year
      1. Appointment of regents for the subsequent year
    In the second half of each year the Provincial Regency Committee will identify regents for the following year, the Oblate communities where they are to be appointed, and possible supervisors. These suggestions are then proposed to the Provincial who consults the scholastics concerned. The Provincial in Council makes the appointments.
      2. Orientation Workshop (two days)
    The regency begins with an orientation workshop at the beginning of January (3-4 Jan 2006). This provides an opportunity to introduce the programme and to discuss various aspects of it.It is held at the Provincial House. It comprises the following people:
  • Orientation director
  • Regency coordinator
  • Supervisors
  • Regents
      3. Moving to the communities
    Regents will move immediately after the orientation workshop to the communities where they have been assigned.
      4. Other workshops
    There are two other workshops during the year. These workshops will be on various aspects of Oblate formation, mission, and spirituality. The will be held in two of the communities where the regents have been assigned or alternatively at another venue. The Regency coordinator is responsible to organise these workshops.

      A) Missionary leadership workshop held for regents and possibly other Oblates      in April/May (available from Lumko)
      B) Concluding workshop in November
    I hope that everyone will contribute in making this year a successful and spirit filled year of formation for our Oblate Scholastics. Remember that those we send to you are part of you for we are an Oblate body in the body of Christ.
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    5. Regents and Placements 2006

    Schol. Denardo GNANAPRAGAS: Zimbabwe
    Schol. Ewen SWARTZ: Estcourt
    Schol. Sibonakaliso MKHIZE: Wentworth
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    6. Perpetual Vows

    Five Oblates from Natal and Zimbabwe were recently admitted to final vows:

    Schol. Andrew KNOTT was admitted by Father General in Council. He will make his final vows on 6 January 2006 at the General House in Rome together with five others. He has chosen the cross of Father Andy SLOWEY, RIP.

    The following Oblates from Natal and Zimbabwe have been admitted to final vows by the Provincial in Council and the Confirmation of the Superior General:
    Schol. Jeffrey MADONDO
    Schol. Charles NABWENJE
    Schol. Mthokozisi MNCWABE
    Schol. Nkululeko MEYIWA

    Madondo and Nabwenje will make their final vows at Our Lady of Lourdes, Bulawayo on 22 January. Jeffrey has chosen the cross of Father Shunmugam and Charles has chosen the cross of Father Hugo.

    Mncwabe and Meyiwa will make their perpetual vows on 20 February at Cedara. Mthokozisi has chosen the cross of Father M. Mthanthi RIP and Nkululeko has chosen the cross of Father Michael Nkosi RIP.
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    7. Policy On Property

    Issues of Land reform are increasingly important at present and all churches have to develop a response to the government's initiative. OMI Natal also wishes to contribute to this and we have developed our own policy. This is a summary

    Three Christian principles seem central.
      1. Land is a gift from God, to be equitably shared for the benefit of all humanity.
      2. 'Ownership' of land is never absolute because this social function of land is      paramount.
      3. Bringing good news to the poor is central to Christian mission.
    The Principals of Catholic Social teaching affirm a number of values including the following:
    • The dignity of the human person,
    • The promotion of the common good;
    • The right to life and human well-being The duty to preserve these values;
    • The principle of participation in human decision making;
    • The principle of subsidiarity, devolving power in decision making to the people or groups most directly affected by a decision or policy
    Summary of policies
    1.The Natal Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate supports the Land reform process.
    2. Oblate land is not utilised for the purpose of profit making or business but   in the pursuance of goals, which are for the benefit of society as a whole and at the service of the poor.
    3. Land claims filed against us must be balanced against the good for society already being    performed on our property
    4. We do not support the use of formerly sustainable productive land for the establishment of unsustainable settlements housing large numbers of people.
    5. The Church has a right to own land to pursue its own religious and social goals. We have a right and duty to protect and defend this land from unjust claims of ownership.
    6. The use and administration of temporal goods belonging to the OMI Natal Province is governed by the universal Canon Law of the Catholic Church and by the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation.
    7. The distinction between the jurisdiction of tribal leaders over their subjects, wherever they may be, and jurisdiction over land must be preserved.
    8. We must ensure the validity of land claims against us to our own satisfaction in terms of the policies of this document
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    8. Committee on Sexual Abuse

    The issue of sexual abuse in the Church is increasingly talked about in society today. We feel it is important for us as a province to reflect on these matters. To help us do this we have appointed a committee that will become a resource for all of us in developing a Christian moral response to these matters.| Back to top |

    9. Appeal for the Archives

    Father Eric Boulle our archivist is appealing for help to acquire the following: 1. All issues of the Southern Cross of last year, 2004 (or as many as possible). 2. Back issues Oblate Provincial Newsletter, dating back as far as possible. Contact Father Eric Boulle at Gerard House (033-3433193) or at the scholasticate (033-3431207).| Back to top |

    10. Obediences and Appointments In Natal

    Father Jean Baptiste MPUNI:
    Coordinator Regency Programme Natal Province
    Father Mxolisi NGCOBO:
    To the Oblate community at Estcourt for Initiation into ministry with a special focus on Youth.

    In Zimbabwe
    Father Donovan WHEATLEY:
    Mission Treasurer Zimbabwe Mission(Appointment of Zimbabwe Mission Superior in Council)
    Father Siyabonga DUBE
    Youth Ministry in Zimbabwe based at Mazenod House. (Appointment of Zimbabwe Mission Superior in Council)

  • Regency Committee
    Father Jean Baptiste MPUNI (Coordinator)
    Father Callistus KHATHALI
    Father Wayne WELDSCHIDT

  • Finance Committee
    Father Donavan WHEATLEY

  • Committee on Sexual Abuse
    Father Sylvester DAVID (Convener)
    Father Chris LOCKYER
    Father Mhlanganisi DLAMINI

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    Provincial Treasurer

    Thank you to all for supporting the Pious List collections and we hope to see the returns of these as soon as possible.

    This year's Christmas Collection will be a more concerted effort at raising some serious finances towards the first formation of our Oblate students. The Christmas collection envelope will be a more creative brochure highlighting our need and I ask that all Oblate parish priests actively promote the collection this year.

    The fundraising committee will spearhead a number of new efforts in the coming year and I appeal to all to help us in this endeavour. If you have any fundraising suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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    Provincial's Diary

    17 Provincial Council Meeting, Provincial House, Durban.
    29 Professional Conduct Committee of the Durban Metropolitan Province
    8 Feast of Immaculate Conception. Patronal Feast of OMI and Archdiocese of Durban Immaculate Conception Parish Pinetown.
    9 Golden Jubilee of Priesthood Fr Albert Danker St Anne's, Sydenham
    10 World premier of "Forever Home" at St Anne's, Sydenham.
    25 Christmas Mass Cedara Parish

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    Dates to Give Thanks

    06 Sipho Kunene Birthday
    14 Nhlanhla Nkosi Birthday
    20 Paul Horrocks Birthday
    21 Karl Struve Birthday
    23 Mthokozisi Mncwabe (Schol) Birthday
    02 Merlin Ince Birthday
    06 George Purves Ordination
    06 Callistus Khathali Birthday
    08 Albert Danker Birthday
    08 John Ngubane Ordination
    08 Duncan Mackenzie Ordination
    08 Garth Michelson Ordination
    08 Brian Duffey Ordination
    09 Thomas Zondi Birthday
    10 Albert Danker Ordination
    10 Derrick Butt Ordination
    10 Wayne Weldschidt Birthday
    13 Bonus Ndlovu Birthday
    15 Noel Coughlan Birthday
    16 Michael Gumede Ordination
    16 Lams Memela Ordination
    18 Allan Moss Birthday
    20 Daniel Corijn Ordination
    21 Paul Decock Ordination
    29 Paul Decock Birthday
    Errors and omissions contact the Administrative Secretary (admin@omi.org.za)

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    Monthly newsletter of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate:
    Box 17035, Congella, 4013
    39 Pioneer Road, Congella, Durban, 4001.

    Provincial:Fr Stuart BATE
    E-mail address:scbate@omi.org.za

    Editor:Fr Chris LOCKYER

    Please send all submissions, enquiries and comments to the editor:
    Tel:031 261 6406 or 031 205 9321
    Fax:031 261 3928 or 031 206 0270

    E-mail editor and computer: John Hughes
    E-mail address: hughesjj@iafrica.com
    Tel: 031 208 1323
    Cell:083 626 3974
    Fax: 083 640 0119 or 086 672 6688

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    Copyright © 2005 Oblate Province of Natal