Vol.3 Issue 2        March 2006









1. Good News About People:

Ordination of 1st Zimbabwean Oblate

On the 28th of January 2006, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo ordained Charles Haddon RENSBURG OMI to the priesthood. This event took place at St. Mary's Cathedral at 10 AM.

He is the first Zimbabwean born Oblate priest…. 





2. Good News About People:

Andrew Knott makes Final vows in Rome  

Father General together with the six Oblates who made final vows in Rome in January. Andrew Knott (Natal) is second from left. We reported on this story in the last issue of OMI Natal Update.





3.  Good News About People:

 Final Vows of Jeffrey Madondo and Charles Nwabenje in Bulawayo

Bros. Charles NABWENJE OMI and Jeffrey MADONDO OMI made their final profession at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Bulawayo on Sunday 22nd January 2006.The liturgy was beautiful and the whole day festive.




4.  Good News About People:

 Final Vows of Nkululeko Meyiwa and Mthokozisi Mncwabe at Cedara


Nkululeko MEYIWA and Mthokozisi MNCWABE made their final vows on 20 February at St Joseph's Scholasticate, Cedara.





5.  Good News About People:

 Six Novices make first Vows

Peneng MOHLAKOANA (Natal), Cyril MPULO (Natal) and Faustino KALEBWE (Zim.) made their first vows in Namibia on 2 February.




Stephen BROWN (Natal), Thabani SHOBA (Natal) and Ndodana TSHUMA (Zim.) made their first vows in Johannesburg on 3 February




1st Zimbabwean Oblate Priest

There was a good turnout of local priests and also visiting priests from South Africa and Zambia. Amongst them were Frs. Stuart BATE OMI, the Provincial of the Natal Province South Africa; Fr. Vusumuzi MAZIBUKO OMI, the Superior of St. Joseph's Scholasticate; Fr. Luke CHEKETRI OMI from the Northern Province, South Africa and Fr. Celestino CHISHIMBA OMI from Limulunga Zambia. Two Archbishops were present, Archbishop Pius Ncube, the Presider and Archbishop Emeritus Henry Karlen CMM. There were also a number of visitors from South Africa, among them Bro. Sibonelo MBANJWA OMI who also sang a few solo pieces. 

In the absence of his mother, Mrs. Juliana Rensburg, who unfortunately could not be present, Charles was presented to God by his uncle and aunt - Mr. and Mrs. Eric Rensburg. At the end of the liturgy, Father Bate commissioned him to his first obedience received from Father General. It is to the Mission of Zimbabwe. 

The cathedral parish generously invited everyone present to a lovely meal at which speeches were made and songs were sung. 

On Sunday the 29th Fr. Charles Rensburg celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at his home church and outstation of the Cathedral Parish. The people received him with great joy and participated vibrantly in the liturgy. At the end of Mass there was entertainment and a meal for all present. Fr. Rensburg spent a good four hours giving his personal blessing to the faithful present.

Final Vows of Jeffrey Madondo and Charles Nwabenje

Family and friends came from far and wide to lend support and witness the event. Archbishop Pius Ncube presided at the liturgy. The homily was preached by Mission Superior, Fr. Michael FOLEY OMI, who also received their vows on behalf of Fr. General. Charles received the mission cross previously used by the late Frs. Charles HUGO OMI and Reginald SHUNMUGUM OMI while Jeffrey took the cross of the late Fr. Isidore FREOUX OMI.

Final Vows of Nkululeko Meyiwa and Mthokozisi Mncwabe

The Celebration of the 180th anniversary of the approbation of the Oblate rule was celebrated at St Josephs Cedara on 20 February. More than 120 Oblates and a large contingent of visitors from Johannesburg, Durban, Mophela, Inchanga, Hammarsdale, and other parts of the province joined in the celebration. Many of these were relatives, friends and parishioners of Brother Nkululeko MEYIWA and Brother Mthokozisi MNCWABE who made their perpetual profession as Oblates of Mary Immaculate before the Provincial.

Father Stuart configured his homily around three lines of scripture: one from each of the three readings in the Mass. In calling the newly professed to focus on the mission God has for them, he reflected on the text from Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have in mind for you; it is Yahweh who speaks". These plans are based on our Oblate mission to evangelise the poor (Luke 4:18). He encouraged them to base their perpetual commitment on their Oblate journey in the Spirit following the crucified Jesus: "Let us go forward on the road that has brought us to where we are" (Phil.3:16). Quoting extensively from the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, he asked the newly professed to recognise the true presence of God in the giving and receiving of love. "In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence… I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others" (§1). Pope Benedict calls this love "oblative love" (§7) sourced in the self-oblation of Jesus on the cross (§13). He reminds us that "Jesus gave this act of oblation an enduring presence through his institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper." (§ 13. In this way the oblation of these two brothers is a sign of their commitment to receive this love in their relationship with Jesus especially in the Eucharist and to give this love in care for others.

In keeping with our tradition of handing mission crosses down from Oblate to Oblate. Bro Nkululeko received the mission cross of the late Father Michael Nkosi OMI and Bro Mthokozisi received the mission cross of Father George Qwabe RIP.

6. Good News about Oblate Ministry

Three new formators appointed

at St Josephs Scholasticate

In a ceremony at St Josephs Scholasticate on 19 February, three Oblates formators were handed their letter of appointment as new formators at the scholasticate and formally welcomed into the community. They are Father Frank McGreal from the Northern Province of South Africa, Brother Max Mwakacheya from Zambia and Father Raymond Mwangala from Zambia.

Fr. Frank McGreal OMI has been involved in Oblate formation for a number of years.  He was the first director of the Northern Province pre-novitiate when it was situated at Munsieville, a position he held from approximately 1978 until he went to London in 1985 to study for a Masters Degree at the School of African and Oriental Studies.  On his return he was sent as Priest in Charge to Eldorado Park, a position he has held for 13 years.  During this period he has maintained contact with the formation ministry.  He has for years been a spiritual director at the Novitiate. He has a passion for history, and has taught the Novices the history of the Congregation for a number of years.  Despite his 69 years, we thank him for his willingness to take on the challenge of the move to Cedara and the life of the Scholasticate.

Brother Maximillian Mwakacheya comes from Zambia. He did some of his initial formation at Cedara in the 1990s. Since then he has been working in the missions and at the Radio station in Zambia. He fills an important gap left by the departure of Brother Don from the formation team in Cedara last year. This is because eight Oblates in first formation at Cedara are candidates for the Oblate brotherhood. We know that Brother Max will be model for these candidates. He lives a simple life style and is committed to his religious life. He is an understanding person who is interested in listening to peoples story in a non-threatening way.

Fr Raymond Mwangala is a young Oblate who completed his first formation in 2003. He is a person who is easily approachable and strongly committed to the value of the formation process. He has already spent some time in formation in the Prenovitiate in Zambia and comes to Cedara to benefit from the on site training in formation that comes from participating in the highly experienced formation team there. He has done very well in his academic studies and will teach some courses in philosophy. He is an open and listening person who is easy to approach. He is honest with people and with himself. He is a community person who sees the value of a structured life. His insightful nature will help him make a valuable contribution to the formation team.  

7.  Good News about Oblate Ministry

Visiting Oblates lecturing at SJTI

St Josephs Theological Institute has acquired the service of two Oblate academics from North America.  Father David Power the well-known liturgical and sacramental theologian has been to Cedara before. He will lecture on History of Liturgy and Liturgical Foundations. The other is Father Richard Wolak. He is a Canadian Oblate from Lacombe Province. It is his first time with us though he has taught in Zambia before. He will lecture on Moral Theology. Both Oblates will stay at Gerard House in Hilton. We are delighted to welcome them amongst us.  



1. Provincial Congress in July

Date confusions

I apologise for the confusion around dates for the Congress in the last newsletter. This was caused by a last minute change to allow the Zimbabwean Oblates to arrive for the beginning of the Congress after their Sunday duties in the parishes there.  These are the correct details. Please diarise them.


Glenmore Pastoral Centre, Durban.


Monday 24 July

(beginning with supper at 6.30 pm)


Thursday 27th July

(At around 4.30 pm)

2. Restructuring of South African Provinces

Reminder to superiors re unification report

Superiors of communities and districts are reminded of their duty to submit a report indicating the views the Oblates in their community about the task team report.  In the last newsletter I wrote the following:

"Community and district reports should be sent to the Provincial office by no later than the end of February so that we can prepare a Natal Provincial statement to the Restructuring committee meeting. This committee meets early in April".


I must ask superiors please to give this matter your urgent attention.

3. Pensions

At the last Provincial Council meeting it was noted that a number of Oblates over the age of 65 have not applied for a State pension. All these men have served the Church and the country their whole lives. It is a sad state of affairs that we cannot support our elderly Oblates in their Golden years. But the present perilous state of finances means that this is an increasing reality. The country also has a duty in that regard and they are willing to help in providing this pension.

That is why it is essential that all Oblates who qualify should apply for a State pension as soon as possible. If you have difficulties with the procedure please contact the Provincial treasurer.

4. Information on ID still required

In the last newsletter we published a list of Oblates who still need to furnish a photocopy of their ID book to us. Some have still not done that. This is a gentle reminder.

5.Employment policies

In the January meeting of the Natal provincial Council a document entitled Natal Province Employment policies, practices and procedures was approved. These policies are a requirement of South African law and will gradually be implemented in those institutions which fall directly under the Province. These policies are largely based on those recently published by the SACBC legal advisory committee.  



Father Frank MCGREAL (Northern province): Appointed formator at St Josephs Scholasticate Cedara 16 February 2006 confirmed by Superior General 17 February 2006

Brother Maximillian MWAKACHEYA (Zambia): Appointed formator at St Josephs Scholasticate Cedara 16 February 2006 confirmed by Superior General 17 February 2006

Father Raymond MWANGALA (Zambia): Appointed formator at St Josephs Scholasticate Cedara 16 February 2006 confirmed by Superior General 17 February 2006.


Provincial's Diary


9                      Cedara Land Subcommittee: Cedara.



3                      Provincial Council meeting Provincial House

4                      TRIPAC Restructuring of South African provinces, Johannesburg.

5-9                  Inter Provincial Congress Hartebeespoort.

10                    St Josephs Theological Institute: Open Day

11                    St Josephs Theological Institute Board Meeting and Graduation.

24-26              Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life Southern Africa, Sizanani Bronkhurspruit



Dates to Give Thanks


09        Michael GUMEDE                                                   Birthday

10        Alan HENRIQUES                                                   Birthday

16        Siphamandla MPULO  (Schol)                               Birthday

20        Phillip NKUNA                                                          Birthday

22        Noel PETERS                                                          Birthday

30        Henry NIEMANN                                                      Ordination

31        Mxolisi NGCOBO                                                     Birthday



01        Donovan WHEATLEY                                             Birthday

04        Patrick MABHUNA (Schol)                                     Birthday

05        Kalebwe MUTALE  (Schol)                                     Birthday

06        Nhlanhla NKOSI                                                       Ordination

10        Benedict GUMEDE                                                 Birthday

23        Paddy MCMAHON                                                  Ordination

24        Mhlanganisi DLAMINI                                              Ordination

27        Siyabonga DUBE                                                    Ordination

27        Merlin INCE                                                              Ordination

27        Muzi MADLALA                                                       Ordination

27        Vusi MAZIBUKO                                                      Ordination

27        Mbheki NGCOBO                                                    Ordination

28        Eric BOULLE                                                            Ordination

29        Muzi MADLALA                                                        Ordination

29        Mdududuzi MCHUNU                                               Ordination

29        Matthews Sithabiso SITHOLE                                 Birthday


         Errors and omissions contact the Administrative Secretary admin@omi.org.za



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

*:                                                       Box 17035, Congella, 4013

                                                or         39 Pioneer Road, Congella, Durban, 4001.

Provincial                                              Fr Stuart C BATE

E-mail address:                                     scbate@omi.org.za

Editor:                                                   Fr Stuart C BATE

Please send all submissions, enquiries and comments to the editor or the provincial

(:                                                        031 205 9321

Fax:                                                      031 206 0270

Cell                                                       082 7121047


Copyright © 2006 OMI Natal Province