Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate - Natal Province





Vol.3 Issue 4        May / June 2006









1. Top News:

Bishop Dominic Khumalo RIPBishop Dominic KHUMALO

Bishop Dominic Joseph Chwane KHUMALO OMI passed away on April 27 (Freedom Day) 2006 in Nazareth House Durban after a long illness.

He was born on 15 February 1919 in Maphumulo, Kwa Zulu Natal. As a young man he enjoyed serving at Mass for Fr Joseph L’HOTE OMI, his parish priest at home.

Father L’HOTE was the inspiration for his vocation. He was particularly inspired by Father’s spirit of prayer and his love for the people. He frequently recalled how Fr L’HOTE cared for them during an epidemic of Malaria when Dominic was a young boy. When he was 13 years old he told Father L’HOTE that he wanted to be a priest because he wanted “to do what Father did”. 

In 1934 he was sent to the minor seminary in Roma Lesotho to complete his schooling. In 1940, together with Jerome Mavundla, he was sent to the Oblate Novitiate at Inchanga and in 1941 he made his first Oblation at Inchanga, before Father Joseph KERAUTRET, OMI Vicar of Missions.

Brother KHUMALO and Brother MAVUNDLA were then sent to the Oblate Scholasticate in Lesotho to begin their preparation for priesthood. He was ordained priest, together with Father MAVUNDLA on 2 July 1946 by Bishop Delalle OMI. This was the last ordination the bishop conferred before his death later that year. He was the second Zulu Oblate Priest. Father MAVUNDLA was the first by a matter of seconds!

His first obedience was to the Oblate community at Inchanga. He remained there for 12 years. For many of those years he was boarding master in the Juniorate that produced such Oblates as Archbishop Buti TLHAGALE, Fr Stanley TEBELE, former Provincial in Northern Province, Fr Benedict MTHANTI, Fr Johannes NZIMANDE, Fr Michael NKOSI and many others

In 1962 he was appointed parish priest of Inanda. Then from 1964-1970 he devoted his time to preaching missions, largely in Zulu, throughout South Africa. Much of this was done together with Father MAVUNDLA.

They complemented on another very well. MAVUNDLA was a great story teller who would evangelise by recounting many stories of his experiences in great depth, some of which, in the words of one of his Oblate brothers “were possibly true”! KHUMALO presented a warm heart and sound doctrine.

In 1970 he was appointed parish priest of Esigodini in Pietermaritzburg and also taught in the Catechists school there. At various times, he was a provincial councillor of the Oblates in the Natal Province. In May 1974 he was appointed Episcopal vicar of Vulindlela.

On 4 May 1978 he was ordained Bishop of Buxentum and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Durban. He was the second Zulu Oblate to be appointed a bishop in the church after Archbishop Peter BUTELEZI, thus continuing his charism of number two!

His leadership style was to be close to people and caring for them. He had a big heart and took an interest in individuals. He was a man who epitomised the manifestation of African Christian values in the Church. These included respect for people, the building of community, care and support of African Christian structures in the Church and spending time in being with people in their communities, at local events and celebrations.

He did a lot of work in helping to support and encourage the African women organizations in the Archdiocese. He also worked for the development of the local congregations of women religious.

In these ways, his life and activity were a witness to true African inculturation.

2. Good News About Ministry:

First  Graduation at SJTI

The Catholic Church in Southern Africa passed a major milestone on Monday 10th April with the celebration of the first graduation ceremony of St. Joseph’s Theological Institute (SJTI) as an accredited tertiary education institution. For a number of years our students have had the possibility of studying for degrees awarded through the Pontifical Urban University in Rome or through the association of SJTI with the University of KwaZulu Natal.

SJTI now awards its own degrees and diplomas. This is a significant step in the emergence of the local Church in South Africa. 

Ad Gentes, the mission document of Vatican II, reminds us that such “new churches” should be “endowed with those institutions and ministries which are necessary for leading and expanding the life of the people of God” (AG19). Catholic theology was marginalised in the Apartheid state and it is only with liberation that we have been able to take this step. The Creation of Catholic theology rooted in the South African context and responding to the challenges here is essential for inculturation here.

At the graduation ceremony, Father Stuart BATE, the chairman of the Board of SJTI, a position equivalent to that of Chancellor in a State University, conferred 24 degrees and 38 diplomas. Sixteen students graduated with the Bachelor of Theology. This is a four-year professional degree which qualifies students for ordination. Eight students graduated with the Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. This degree is intended for persons working in Catholic education or related fields. Several of those who graduated in Religious Studies are sisters who began their degrees several years ago as students of what was known as the Catholic Studies program. Thirty-eight students received the Diploma in Philosophy. Eight of these are doing a third year of studies in order to qualify for the Bachelors Degree in Philosophy.

The guest speaker at the graduation in the afternoon was Anglican Priest Ron Nicholson, Professor Emeritus of Theology at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He quoted GK Chesterton’s biography of Thomas Aquinas, which alleges that St. Thomas, at the end of his life, looked back at all he had written and found it inadequate in comparison with the majesty and incomprehensibility of the divine. He then closed his books, and never wrote again. Most of us do not have that privilege. We inevitably use the word to communicate the Word. We base ourselves on our prayer and on what we learn from the liturgy. But we also have to read. We admire and respect the faith of many of our parishioners, who often comprehend things we do not. We are nevertheless practitioners of the word, which we are compelled to study if we are to talk about the Word.

3. Good News About People:

Fr Paul Decock OMIOblate leads New Testament Society of South Africa

Fr. Paul DECOCK was this year re-elected as General Secretary of the New Testament Society of South Africa at a meeting in Pretoria in April. He was first elected to this position in 2003.

Father Paul first attended a meeting of the society in 1971 when Professor Du Toit of Pretoria University invited him to be his guest. When he requested to join the society a few years later he was informed that he was not eligible as a Catholic and that they would have to change the constitution to allow him to join. 

This was done in 1976 and in 1977 he was duly proposed and accepted as the first Catholic member of the society. Since then he has held a number of positions in the society including membership of various research groups. He has also given a number of principal papers at annual conferences of the society.

Twice a year the New Testament Society of South Africa produces its journal Neo Testamentica. Father DECOCK has published regularly in the journal and also held office on the editorial board. Since 2000 he has served as associate editor.

4. Good News About People:

Deacon Andrew Knott OMIDiaconate Ordination of Andrew KNOTT

Scholastic Andrew KNOTT was ordained deacon on 6 May 2006.  He was ordained together with the exact same group who professed perpetual vows in January.  His parents were present at the Ordination. This was a special grace for his father who is a married deacon of the Archdiocese of Durban. The picture shows the new deacon together with his parents and Father Alan HENRIQUES currently completing his doctorate in Rome. His father is on the extreme right. 



1. Visitation of Inchanga District

The status of the Inchanga district in the Oblate strategy for the future was placed into question during the Immense Hope Project which prioritised Durban South and Midlands. In order to move forwards in a correct way at our Congress it was important for me to prioritise a visit to this district. I spent seven days on this visitation moving from station to station.

It was a time of great grace for me, for I found men who are very dedicated and hard working. They have different styles and that is good. In the urban centres formal meetings, organisation and planning is more the norm. In the rural area there is much more visiting of people in homes and informal ministerial approaches as has always been the case. St Theresa’s Inchanga remains distinctive because it is a large mission with many institutions.

Despite the diversity of contexts, a common thread is the closeness of the Oblates to the people of these parishes. They are well respected and well loved by the people they serve. They inspire a large number of lay people to involvement in all kinds of ministries; liturgical, youth, RCIA catechesis; charitable work to the poor and needy as well as care of the institutions in the parish.

Inchanga Primary School is one of two schools owned by OMI Natal. Bishop Khumalo was a former principal of this school. There is a real willingness to try to do more in the development of this school as an Oblate Catholic School and part of our developing Educational ministry.

There are a large number of forms of AIDS ministry: Inchanga has three institutions: a hospice, a home for abused mothers and a crèche for AIDS orphans and other poor children. Sydenham also has a number of institutions responding to the pandemic. Some of the parishes supply aid such as food, clothing and other donations for People affected by HIV/AIDS.

All are doing something for the youth. Indeed this district has the two parishes that have provided by far the largest contribution to Oblate vocations: Sydenham and Inchanga. In the rural areas youth work is particularly important. This is because many young people experience a lack of hope for their future and there is a real need to bring good news into their lives by word and by action. Oblates in these places are ready to respond to this need but are overwhelmed by the many requests on their time.

2. AIDS Ministries in the Province

The care of People infected and affected by the AIDS pandemic forms part of the Oblate healing ministry in the province. Many ministerial initiatives are going on. This is a brief overview of what Oblates and their co-workers are doing.

Oblates involved in healing ministries work with the sick and suffering in what ever way they can. Some are involved through their parish ministry whereas others are hospital chaplains, counsellors, psychotherapists and even involved in alternative therapies such as Neuro-Linguistic programming and alternate healing therapies. The ministry of prayer, word and sacrament remains, however, the central component of what Oblates are offering.

The province has four men who are full time hospital chaplains. A number of others are responsible for hospital chaplaincy as part of their parish responsibilities. All of these men regularly minister directly to People with AIDS (PWA) and those who are HIV+.

There are a considerable number of care groups and support groups for people infected and affected by AIDS. Here people share their concerns and difficulties within a caring supportive environment. This pastoral care for people affected by the pandemic is found in parishes such as Bluff, Woodlands, Umbilo, and Machibisa. Oblates regularly provide counselling for HIV+ people often in formal counselling centres such as in Wentworth.

A number of parishes have hospices for AIDS sufferers particularly those in the final stages of life as the opportunistic infections wear down the body. Many are under the care of religious sisters (Inchanga, Sydenham, Inanda Newtown, and Elandskop). One of our retired Oblates lives in such a hospice at Inanda Newtown. He is 93 years old and still very active.

Some Oblates help support the Home Based Care (HBC) system which is the principal structure of support, set up nationwide, to provide care for AIDS victims still living at home. It provides training for volunteers who learn how to give basic care to people living with the infection in their homes. It also trains them how to help family members cope with the difficulties of supporting their sick relative (e.g. Ntshongweni, Machibisa, and Elandskop).

Oblates have also helped their communities to set up caring structures for PWA including crèches for children, hospices and HBC structures. Very often these involve the women of the various Catholic societies especially retired nurses who wish to help (e.g. Ntshongweni, Henley, and Inchanga). Some Oblate parishes provide support through food parcels, clothing and finances for HIV/AIDS projects in their area (e.g. St Mary’s Pietermaritzburg, Westville, Virginia).

St Josephs Theological Institute, Cedara, has a very successful “Youth for life” programme as a result of initiatives begun in 2000. This programme focuses on developing a lifestyle change response among young people focussing on motivating youth to live constructive patterns of moral behaviour. The workshops they offer have been very successful are regularly held in parishes and also in government schools.

3. Provincial Congress Update

Why a Congress?

The need for this congress stems from a requirement of Constitution 108 and the Natal Provincial directory. It may be useful to set the context for our congress by presenting these texts.

Constitution 108 states (inter alia):

For greater participation in the life and mission of the Province, the Provincial in Council will:… according to needs and possibilities, organize a congress or a similar gathering of the Province, at least once during his term of office, in order to promote a common vision and determine common principles for mission.

Our own Directory for the Natal Province states the following about Congresses:

49. All members of the province are members of the provincial congress with the right to vote on issues presented by the congress.

50. The provincial superior may invite members sponsored by the province who are in first formation whether in temporary or final profession, but these do not have the vote.

51. The provincial in council calls a provincial congress when there are issues of importance on which to whole province need to be consulted.

52. The provincial in council appoints a congress committee of three members twelve months beforehand with the mandate to prepare the province for the congress.

53. In consultation with the provincial and his council the congress committee determines the place, date, agenda and animation of the congress.

54. The status of the congress is consultative and its recommendations are submitted to the provincial in council for ratification and implementation.

55. The tasks of the congress are the following:

55.1 To consider the provincial's report on the state of the province;

55.2 To debate in depth the issues on the agenda which concern the religious and apostolic life of the province;

55.3 To determine the priorities of the province for the years ahead;

55.4 To evaluate initial and ongoing formation programmes;

55.5 To evaluate the missionary works of the province;

55.6 To receive reports from the various committees in the province, e.g. vocations, justice and reconciliation.

56. The provincial gives serious consideration to the recommendations of the congress since they express the mind of the members of the province brought together for that purpose; the provincial invites the full and free participation of all present. (R107).

57. Following the congress, the provincial in council appoints committees for the execution of the congress recommendations, or, he assigns the recommendations to existing committees for implementation.

More than the law

Obviously I am not calling a congress merely to conform to a legal requirement. It is clear to me, after 18 months as leader of our province, that we do need a forum where major issues that concern us can be discussed openly and in a spirit of brotherhood and common concern for God’s Mission. That, clearly, is the deeper reason for a Congress. My hope is that the congress will help us to be united mind and heart to a common commitment of our provincial community.

The issues

The issues that will be discussed at the Congress will cover three main areas:

  1. A review and assessment of the Natal Province Strategy documents presented at the OMI General Chapter in 2004.

  2. A presentation of the current priorities developed by this administration as a result of the visitation made by the General Councillor for Africa in 2004

  3. A presentation by each of the subcommittees set up by the Provincial in Council to realise the goals and strategies developed in 1 and 2 above

  4. A discussion of a number of other urgent matters which have developed in the last two years.

The planning for the Provincial Congress will begin in earnest on June 6 when the Provincial Council meets together with the Congress planning team. This team comprises the Provincial Council together with Father Callistus KHATHALI, Father Neil FRANK, Father Merlin INCE and Father Mxolisi NGCOBO.

Support persons during the congress itself will come from outside the province to allow full participation. The Congress Facilitator will be Brother Michael Burke a former provincial of the Christian Brothers. Secretarial and ancillary services will be provided by Father Raymond MWANGALA OMI of Zambia assisted by Scholastic Sixtus MOAHLOLI OMI of Central Province.

4. Healing Ministry Meeting

As a preparation for the Congress we are asking those Oblates involved in the Healing ministry to meet together to discuss whether there is a need for collaborate, support or regular discussion around this ministry.

Oblates involved in healing ministries include those who work with the sick and suffering in what ever way including in the parish, as hospital chaplains, as counsellors, therapists, or in a ministry of prayer for healing or alternative therapies or whatever.

Particularly important are those who have or wish to make a commitment to this type of ministry whether as part of their ordinary pastoral ministry or as a particular, even full time, commitment.

These are the details of the meeting. Please diarise them right away. This is your chance don’t lose it!

Date: Tuesday June 20

Time: 10.00 am- 12.30 pm

Place: Provincial House Durban

5. Retreats and Pilgrimage Ministry

I invite all Oblates involved in the retreat and pilgrimage ministry to a preliminary gathering to discuss the way forward for this ministry in the Province.

Oblates involved in retreats and pilgrimage ministries include those who preach retreats, preach missions or preach on radio and television or are involved in our Oblate Retreat Centre at Redacres. It also includes those who involved in pilgrimage ministries either organising them or ministering at them.

Particularly important are those who have or wish to make a commitment to this type of ministry whether as part of their ordinary pastoral ministry or as a particular, even full time, commitment.

These are the details of the meeting. Please diarise them right away. This is your chance don’t lose it!

Date: Tuesday July 18

Time: 10.00 am- 12.30 pm

Place: Provincial House Durban




This is just to remind you that I am still awaiting reply from you.

Could the following people please contact the Provincial Treasurer regarding their Last Will & Testament. I would prefer if you contact me via e-mail (pjfoley@omi.org.za) or, if this is not possible, via cell phone (082 329 5347):


LUKUBA, Claude


MPUNI, Jean Baptiste

MTOLO, Jabulani

NDLOVU, Bafana

NGCOBO, Mxolisi

NGUBANE, Zibonele

NZAJI, Jean Lambert




ZONDI, Thomas


This is an income we are entitled to and it will be sad if we do not apply for them. I have a contact or two to help in processing the application.

Could the following people please contact me regarding collection of their state pensions:

BOYD, Rodney



MONEY, Joseph

MOSS, Allan



We apologize for the delay in the monthly report of your stipend returns, however they will accompany this month’s newsletter. Please check over them and confirm if they are correct.


Kindly send this in as soon as possible.

Thank you for promoting this collection in your parish. We are already having individual donors contributing on a monthly and yearly basis as result of the special Easter Collection brochure.


Provincial's Diary


5-6 Provincial Council meeting, Provincial House

6 Provincial Congress Animation team meeting. Provincial House

20 Oblate Healing Ministry: Preliminary Gathering of Stakeholders, Provincial House


3-7 St Augustine College of South Africa Lecturing

18 Oblate Retreat and Pilgrimage Ministry: Preliminary Gathering of Stakeholders

24 Provincial Council, Provincial House.

24-27 Provincial Congress Glenmore Pastoral Centre Durban.


Dates to Give Thanks


01 Msizi MICHELSON Birthday

13 Mario CERUTI Ordination

13 Barry WOOD Birthday

16 Denardo GNANAPRAGAS (Schol) Birthday

20 Chris LOCKYER Birthday

20 Chris LOCKYER Ordination

20 Zaba MBANJWA Ordination

21 Noel PETERS Ordination

23 Noel COUGHLAN Ordination

28 Rodney BOYD Ordination

29 Stuart BATE Vows

29 Frank DUFFY Ordination

29 Peter FOLEY Ordination

29 Paddy MCMAHON Ordination

29 John PATTERSON Ordination


02 Joseph MONEY Ordination

03 Robert DE SYLVA Ordination

06 Andrew KNOTT (Schol) Birthday

07 Innocent MASIYIRA (Schol) Birthday

08 Robert DE SYLVA Birthday

11 Karl STRUVE Ordination

14 Bishop Barry WOOD Priestly Ordination

22 Nkululeko MEYIWA (Schol) Birthday

24 Kingsley COORAY Birthday

24 Cedric MCHUNU Birthday

25 Rodney BOYD Birthday

28 Chris RICHMOND Birthday

31 Allan MOSS 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

Address : Box 17035, Congella, 4013 South Africa

Street Address: 39 Pioneer Road, Congella, Durban, 4001.

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

Editor: Fr Stuart C BATE

Tel: 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