May 2005/ Volume 5

 

1. From the desk of Fr. A. Maslowski about what is happening in De Aar: 

a) Bishop Joe is on his holiday. He went to Rome then to the States to be with his family. During his absence Fr. Alcaster is taking care of all the affairs in De Aar Diocese.

 

b) Fr. Zbigniew Bojar is supplying for the Bishop at the Cathedral and Philipstown parishioners.

 

c) Fr. Adam is going around the Diocese with the "ABCD lifestyle" campaign. The workshop already took place in Graaff-Reinet, Hopetown, Petrusville, Philipstown, Middelburg, Colesburg, and soon will be in Hanover, and hopefully in De Aar.

 

d) From 6 to 8 of May 2005, there was a deepening workshop of "Education for Life" i.e. "training of trainers" facilitated by Sr. Jane, Fr. Douglas, Ms. Frieda, Mr. Anele and Fr. Adam. There were 18 participants from two places: Graaff-Reinet and Middelburg, people from Richmond couldn't come.

 

2. Fr. Ofenloch celebrates 40 years of religious life:

The editor of Amagqabantshintshi and all the confreres congratulate Fr. Karl Heinz Ofenloch, scj for 40 years of perseverance in religious life. This is, once more, an incentive for the young confreres.

 

The celebration will take place concurrently with the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be held in Aliwal starting from Thursday 2nd June, and he will be the principal celebrant for the Eucharist on the feast day.

 

3. Pietermaritzburg Property:

The necessary funds from the German and the US provinces, which came from our endowment funds, for the second and final instalment for the formation house in Pietermaritzburg were deposited into the AM province account and have been paid to the dealer’s account.

 

4. Aplication for lectorate of Bro. Ntsikelelo Bambatha:

Bro. Ntsikelelo Bambatha forwarded an application to serve as lector. This was accompanied by a report from the formation team, which supported his application and agreed that he be installed as a lector. The council unanimously approved of Ntsikelelo’s application to the service of lector 4/4. Amagqabantshintshi are still waiting to hear whether he has been installed.

 

5. Fr. Andries, troubled by health:

With years advancing the body begins taking its own tall as Fr. Andries Lemahieu was admitted at Rosepart hospital in Bloemfontein on the 18th May 2005 with a left hand leg heap problem. That almost dealt him a blow since he was expecting his sister and brother in law from Belgium.  However, the operation was postponed and he had a chance to be with his visitors. He later left with them back to Belgium where he is presently enjoying his well deserved holidays.

 

6. Pietermaritzburg formation house is officially opened:

Sunday May 29th, 2005 saw the official opening of the formation house in Pietermaritzburg. It was baptised as “Dehon House.”  How the celebration went, you will hopefully hear in the next issue as Amagqabantshintshi is still waiting for a report from there. We congratulate the community and wish them a healthy, happy and a peaceful stay in their new house.

 

7. From the desk of Fr. Mabheka in Italy:

Unfortunately I do not have much news about myself to the readers of Amagqabantshintshi. I am now almost three months in Italy. I have spent two months at school learning Italian. It seems like in August we will start the formation course in Rome but I am not sure yet. By the end of this week I will know which is which because on Thursday I will go to Rome for the celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

All that I can tell you is that I am certainly heading towards the right direction in as far as Italian language is concerned. That certainly makes me feel settled because I know how important it is concerning my presence in Italy. Nothing special for now, so far my only goal at the moment is only to know Italian language and I am happy with the progress I have made.

 

People say Italian language is easy, “ma penso di no, non ci credo” (For some readers, meaning I don’t think so, I don’t believe it [Editor’s translation]). The Italian grammar is very difficult. What made me to make the progress I made is certainly hard work because I had no other choice apart from studying hard. I must confess it was not easy especially for the first one and a half months at school.  It was painful because I did not know whether I was going to break through or not. Now I am breaking through. I am not yet there but I am heading there because I understand a lot and I am beginning to converse.

 

Two scj Indonesian priests and I are staying in Perugia with seven diocesan priests from Coria, who are also studying Italian language. In

my class there are thirty of us and  am the only black student. There are two Africans in my class but the other one is a white South African lady from Cape Town. In the whole university there are only five blacks. It’s such a beautiful experience for me to meet people from all over the world. So far that’s all about me.

 

8. From Bethulie with appreciation:

The community of Bethulie are grateful to Bro. Bona who went out of his way to help them repair some broken drainage pipes. It was hard work to do but with his help it became so easy. As a gesture of appreciation the community donated a troublesome dog, which has two names, Bibi and Socks, to the Monastery community. In the meantime it has been renamed “Socky.” It is said to report that the atmosphere at the Monastery made Socky even more troublesome as he jumped over a very high fence to go and play football with some school boys, who were not amused when they saw him charging. That was not all as one evening he led “Piro” (his brother) out of an ajar opened gate and they went hunting for about 24 hours. Only they know where they had gone hunting. To add more injury to pain, the community has taken a decision to hand him over to the vat who will decide on his fate. But that still has to be done.

 

9. Sacred Heart Feast in Aliwal:

This coming Friday 03 June 2005 will see all the confreres in the province gathering in Aliwal for the celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jusus. The celebration will start on Thursday with the Holy hour at 17.00 led by Fr. Ofenloch, the jubilarian, followed by finger supper and social gathering of the SCJs and invited guests, also in honour of Fr. Ofenloch. Friday’s celebration will start at 10.00 in the Cathedral, followed by aperitif and lunch in the Cathedral hall.

 

10. Fr. Jan Piet Notermans dies:

The celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart will, this year, be held without our oldest confrere Fr. Jan Piet Notermans, SCJ. His funeral was held at St. Francis Mission, (the parish where he worked for many years) on the 14th May 2005.  I t was attended by people from all the parishes where he did his ministry, viz, St. Francis (Aliwal North), St. Pius X (Hilton), Mt. Carmel (Aliwal North) and St. Teresa’s mission (Sterkspruit District).  There were, however, people from all the other parishes as well who came to pay their last respects to Fr. Notermans. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

 

Following is his short life history written by Fr. Marek Przybys, SCJ, the provincial superior of the AM province.

 

Fr. Jan Piet Notermans SCJ

(18 July 1912 – 08 May 2005)

 

Fr. Jan Piet Notermans SCJ was born on 18 July 1912 in Kohlscheid near Aachen in Germany of a Dutch father and a German mother. His mother died when he was 6 years old and his father followed 6 years later. Following the death of his parents Jan Piet, together with his two brothers and one sister, was placed in the care of the extended family.

 

At an early age he felt called to become a missionary. In 1925 he entered the minor seminary in Sittard, Holland, which was run by the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ). He matriculated and started Noviciate with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Luxembourg in 1933. After first profession of vows in 1934, studies in Freiburg, Germany, and priestly ordination in 1939 he was preparing to travel to Brazil for mission work. Unfortunately the 2nd World War changed all his plans.

 

As an alien in Germany (a Dutch citizen) Fr. Notermans was compelled to move around from place to place. In 1942 he settled, in Berlin where he worked with local Dutch forced labourers as an assistant parish priest until the end of the war. He later wrote a book about these unusual experiences in Berlin.

 

After the war he served as a priest and teacher in Holland, Germany and Austria. In 1953 he finally succeeded in going to the mission field, and arrived in Aliwal North, South Africa. After learning to speak English and Sesotho (one of South African languages) he worked first as assistant priest and from 1960 as parish priest at St Francis Mission in Aliwal North.

 

Because of the necessity of also taking care of the local hospital, crèche, etc., he remembered his first years as parish priest as “the most difficult in his life”. The people he always remembered, namely the Holy Cross Sisters, Dr. Troskie, as well as two catechists Mr. Paulos Mahlumba and Mr. Laurenti Lekorotsoana, who were of great assistance to him.

 

While at St Francis Fr. Jan Piet was involved in the erection of a new church for the Mission as well as a few smaller places of worship in the district. Due to the problems with asthma, in 1980 he was transferred and put in charge of a smaller parish of St Pius in Hilton, Aliwal North. After 15 years at the age of 83, he volunteered to help younger SCJ confreres in their pastoral work in Teresa Mission, Hershel District, which he continued to do until his retirement in 1998 at Mount Carmel farm, 15 kms from Aliwal North. On 23 July 1999 Fr. Notermans celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination and on 24 September 2004 the 70th anniversary of the religious life in the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. All the SCJ confreres, as well as the local Church of Aliwal Diocese, thank God for this faithful, dedicated and exemplary life as a priest and brother.

 

By Fr. Marek.Przybys, scj.

    (Provincial superior)