November 2005/ Volume 9

 

extracts from the provincial council meeting of the 11/10 & 15/11 – 2005

 

1. School results of the present AM pre-novices and consequences:

Due to the fact that the Pre-Novice Mofoka Francis Mofoka could not satisfy the requirements of St. Joseph’s Theological Institute, which require the minimum of 16 points for any student to qualify for studying there, he had to go back home because he obtained only 12. The Pre-Novice master and the other two Pre-Novices accompanied him home on the 14th September 2005

 

Phoka Justine Matsoso, who obtained 17 points and was asked to write an English exam, wrote it on the 19th September and the papers were sent to St. Joseph’s Theological Institute the same day. In the meantime the results came out and that he obtained 55% and that gives him a pass to participate in the formation at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute. He, however, has to make serious improvements on his English language.

 

2. Request from Fr. C. Dalla Zuanna for one PMB student to participate in the 2006 General Conference:

Fr. Provincial wrote an e-mail to Fr. Dalla Zuanna asking him for more clarification on the participation of the students in the General Conference, which would give the provincial more light on how to choose which student to go. That was followed by a telephone conversation where everything was clarified to the provincial. Meanwhile Fr. Provincial spoke to the formation team about which student would be sent to participate in the General Conference and the one identified was Dominic Andrianarinosi from the region of MAD. All necessary preparations will be done for his participation.

 

3. Report on the future of Hilton, by Fr. Przybys:

The provincial received a response from the Umngeni board explaining the situation of the Hilton property. There are no imminent developments foreseen in the area where we have our property. That still remains a farming area.

 

The nature of the response leaves the onus to the province to decide whether or not to hope for the development of the property or not.

 

It became literally impossible for us to see a way forward out of the data provided to us. Fr. Adam will ask our lawyer in Pietermaritzburg that this becomes another case for him to look at. We will also look for somebody to help us take a reasonable step ahead.

 

Amongst other thing decided upon was that Fr. Musialek was asked to advertise the shed for use by anyone who would like to lease it out. There is now a farmer who cuts the grass and also makes hay from which the intake is shared between him and the SCJs. There is a contract signed with him on this matter.

 

4. Report on the future of the Pre-noviciate at Bethulie:

In a meeting held at Bethulie on the 13 September 2005 Fr. Mpambani presented a report on the future of the formation house in Bethulie (particularly the Pre-noviciate). He presented the following paper:

 

A MOTION TO MOVE THE PRE-NOVITIATE FROM BETHULIE

 

With this paper I am fulfilling the request made by the provincial council in the last meeting, after the proposal to move the Pre-Noviciate from Bethulie to a bigger city, that I write a page to support that motion. Following are the reasons for such a motion:

 

Isolation

For the Pre-Noviciate purposes I find Bethulie too isolated in the sense that there are no other congregations nearby or facilities for extra-mural activities. It does not provide any interaction with other students of the same category where horizons would be widened.  As a matter of fact it is just like an enclosure which provides for very little or no other experiences.

 

Resources

Bethulie has very little resources from which one can tap for the wider education and formation of the Pre-Novices, unlike in big cities where they are galore.

 

Inter-Pre-Novitiate sessions

Having been a Pre-Novice and a Novice master from 1994 – 1997 we used to have inter-Pre-Noviciate and Noviciate sessions with other religious congregations like the Pallottines, the Marianhillers from Umtata, the Ntaba-Maria, the Precious Blood and the Ursuline Sisters, which proved to be of great importance and very fruitful, both for the students and the formators. The students learnt and exchanged with others their different experiences and their stories, which encouraged much growth as well as the widening of their horizons. They had some eye-opening sessions and interactions.

 

In the meantime, the Marianhillers and the Pallottines moved their Pre-Noviciates leading to the breakdown of such inter-pre-Noviciate/Noviciate sessions.

 

Interaction with other formators

Ongoing formation sessions, which tend to be provided in bigger cities and the inter-Pre-Noviciate/Noviciate sessions whose fertile ground is also in the bigger cities, allow the formators to keep abreast with the nitty-gritty’s of formation and exchange information which enriches and encourages them in their task as formators.

 

Change of place

While fully aware of the shortage of personnel, it is, however, of utmost importance that the Pre-Noviciate is separated from the Noviciate. This enables the change of place, which clearly marks the change of stage in formation, which has its own advantages as the novices would be experiencing the change of place, life and lifestyle, atmosphere, faces etc.

 

Fr. Zolile Mpambani, scj

(For the 13th -09 -2005)

After some discussion the provincial council responded that the paper only had pros and lacked cons. We also have to look at the negative effects this might have on the province.

 

It was proposed that this reflection be continued by Frs. Mpambani, Surdel and either Grzelak or somebody else.

 

Fr. Mpambani consulted Fr. Surdel who had the following to say in support of the motion:

 

a) Easier access to professionally skilled people such as:

- Language teachers

- Computer courses

- Psychotherapists

- Theologians

- Other

 

b) Possibility to form a team of formators (regular meetings)

- support each other

- share ideas

- sharing talents and skills

 

c) SCJ candidates will have the possibility to interact with the candidates of other congregations.

 

d) The big city gives the candidates the opportunity to be exposed to the "big world," might help them to make life decision and discover their real vocation.

 

The council noted that there would still be more reasons for pro-rural area initial formation.

 

Fr. Mpambani has asked two non SCJ people to give him their points of view on the advantages and disadvantages of having postulancy either in rural areas or in bigger cities.  He is still awaiting their responses.

 

5. Provisional budgets for PMB and the AM Province for 2006/7/8

The draft of the AM province three year budget has been sent to GE and US provinces with a request to consider us in their three year budgets.  We are still awaiting their response. This information was also sent to the General bursar.

 

The section of the three year plan that regards Pietermaritzburg international information house was sent to all the provinces participating in the project.

 

Fr. Provincial also wrote a formal request to the General Administration requesting funds from the FAG for financing the extraordinary expenditure of the project.

 

So far there is only one formal answer from CM province, which said that they will pay for their students, but it should not be expected that they pay for extra ordinary expenses too.  Other provinces still have yet to respond.

 

Fr. Dalla Zuanna also asked a few questions about the extra-ordinary expenses foreseen. The provincial spoke to him over the phone and gave some explanation.

 

6. REPORT ON JANUARY 2005 MEETING OF THE SCJ FORMATORS IN CAMEROON:

The provincial learnt from those who represented us that there were no recommendations/motions from the meeting in Cameroon.

 

Some matters like regency for the AM province and deaconate ordination for all came up in the meeting between the provincial and the SCJ formators in Pietermaritzburg.

 

6. Application of Br. Tsikanyane SCJ for ministry of acolyte:

The application was read and discussed.  Different points of view were explored and it was finally decided that the installation to acolyte is a step towards priesthood, which indicates the progress made in the formation process. The council felt that the evaluation of the progress of Bro. Tsikanyane in 2005 will be dealt with at the end of the year. Thereafter such an application would be considered.

 

7. Applications of Deacons Basile Foumene SCJ (CM) and Gilbert Kamta Tatsi SCJ (CM) for presbyterate:

The applications of the above deacons were forwarded to the AM provincial council for their perusal and for possible comments to the CM provincial council. All three were read, together with the reports from their formators and the necessary comments and recommendations were made.

 

8. A request from the Bishop of Port Elizabeth for 11-week pastoral help in Grahamstown as from 01 January 2006

The parish priest is going for sabbatical during that time.  There might be a possibility to render this help judging from the time frame.  However, we would have to wait until the beginning of November to see how other things develop in the province.

 

If this becomes possible it would not be one person to supply there, but different people, as long as that does not jeopardise their actual ministries.

 

9. Fr. Bojar SCJ – update:

Due to certain reasons he could not continue to stay at the Cathedral in Port Elizabeth where he was originally destined to stay. He was subsequently transferred to Grahamstown where he has a Religious Sister who helps him with the English language and he celebrates mass everyday and with the Universtity students too. He is coming back to Aliwal in a weeks time.

 

10. Fr. Hansel – update:

He is back in action after his recuperation period. Fr. John Strittmatter, who also had a triple bypass continues to wonder if they were both not given monkey hearts.

 

11. Fr. Musialek informed the council that OFM Capuchins are to leave their parish in PMB:

The formation team from Pietermaritzburg is interested in taking over the parish. The council took this into consideration. However, it felt that it should not be a formator to become a parish priest. The provincial would make first contact with the Cardinal indicating our interest in taking a parish around there.

 

12. The website:

As we know that it is operational, we now need somebody who would be updating it. Mr. Musarurwa (Fr. Mabheka’s nephew who is doing IT in Bloemfontein) agreed to do this but he was writing his exam at the time.  We also have access to 25 free e-mail addresses.  They are only secured but we have not subscribed to them yet. We might need to look at changing the Intekom provider.

 

13. Br. Joshua Mpiti:

He will be arriving back in the country on the 10th of December 2005

 

14. The state of health of Fr. Lemahieu:

The doctors discovered that he has cancer of the colon, leaver and of the lungs and that it continues to spread. The doctors proposed chemotherapy and Fr. Lemahieu has to decide on that. He will consult with his private doctor for advice on this matter since the cancer has already spread so much. He also has some spells of memory loss. It is needless to ask you to remember him in your prayers.

 

15. Fr. Dalla Zuanna’s visit:

He will be visiting the MZ province and the region of MAD and he will make a stop in Pietermaritzburg on 4-6 Dec. 2005 and would like to meet with some of the provincial council members if not all. Frs. Provincial, Hansel and Mpambani have already agreed to go.

 

16. About former pre-novice Chris Mntungwa:

The provincial visited him at his home. He met with him and his mother. He established that due to certain circumstances that arose during his year of discernment would be unable to continue with preparations for religious life with the SCJs

 

17. A Letter from Rome:

Fr. Mabheka, who is participating in an SCJ formators course in Rome, had the following to share with the provincial, who in turn shares it with the readers of Amagqabantshintshi:

 

“I am glad to hear that life goes on in the province. It was very thoughtful of you. I am sorry about Fr. Andries and I hope he will be better.

 

I am doing well. My first challenge was language of which I can now tell you that I have ‘mastered’. Learning Italian was not easy and at one stage I was tempted to negotiate with the province so that I could go to England where I would do everything in English. The break through came after five months and now I can fairly converse in Italian making mistakes here and there. The fact however is that I know Italian.

 

Life in Rome goes well and I am happy and enjoying the course.  It is going well.  We are 20 participants. The duration of the course will be two semesters. For the first one we do the course at two places, our house and the Claretianum University. For the second one we will be at home and go to the Salesian University as well. We are doing courses such as Consecrated life, How to give spiritual direction, Human Development, History of our Congregation and Life of a priest. The courses are given by experts who come from different universities and some are using their books. There is a lot of psychology as well in the studies. I did what we call Personal Evaluation with the help of someone at the Gregorian University. This was supposed to be followed by what is called colloquial, but I could not do it due to lack of time. We are occupied the whole day.

 

I am able to follow the lesson in Italian. Some Italian books we use are available in English and I buy them even for future use. The course is useful, however, I think one needs to be initiative in order to know more. As for me I have decided to put all that in class in the computer so that I can make use if it in future and for this reason I try to write in detailed way. It’s a bit of work but that’s that only way I find helpful. My goals in this course are two, i.e. to internalise the knowledge I get and to clearly know the history of our Congregation and of our Founder.

 

Greet others from me, Mabheka

 

Fr. Mabheka has also been invited to Germany by the GE provincial to share about South Africa. He is interested in that visit, which could be in April if it materialises.

 

18. Expenditure for surgery of Fr. Hansel:

All the expenses for his cardiac operation have been refunded by the Aliwal Diocese.

 

19. Any candidates for 2006?

There were applications to us from different aspirants and they were sent forms to fill up, but none of them returned the forms yet.  This makes it clear that we will not have Pre-Novices for the year 2006

 

20. Events in the Aliwal Diocese:

On the eve of the 19-20 (the whole night through), parishioners from different parishes of the diocese gathered at the Cathedral grounds and in the Cathedral to celebrate the conclusion of the Year of the Eucharist.

 

The celebrations were characterised by reports by each parish on what they did during this Year of the Eucharist to highlight the importance of the Eucharist, a drama on the last supper, lessons on some signs and symbols used in the Church pertaining to the Eucharist, its celebration, contemplation and the vessels used for it. The lessons were then followed by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Last but not least Holy Eucharist was celebrated at 17:00

 

Song and dance in between kept the people awake throughout the night.

 

Fr. Mpambani was the Master of Ceremonies and was shocked at himself for staying awake throughout the night.

 

21. By waves from De Aar:

Fr. Maslowski, who sent me this news, acknowledged that it is late but said that it is better later than never.

 

a) On general:

In the middle of July we had several break-ins in Petrusville. Over one weekend, two shops were robbed, a hotel, a school and a private house. Then the following week it happened again but this time the garage was the target. Besides that an elderly woman was attacked during the day, her finger was cut by knife and her handbag taken. There is a talk about "young (children) gang" existing in our area. Lately the "supposed" leader of it was caught and sent for correction. Since then noting similar has happened.

 

b) Visit From my cousin (Fr. Maslowski’s):

From 30 July till 19 August, my cousins visited me in South Africa. They were amazed by this country and expressed their willingness to come back.

 

c) Fr. Koscielny’s famil pays a visit:

From 12 November Fr. Paul will have his brother and nice visit South Africa for couple of weeks.

 

d) De Aar diocese