On Heritage Day, 24 September 2018 Bishop Zungu ordained three transitory deacons for our diocese. This occasion was marked by noble simplicity. Processing into a packed St Augustine’s Cathedral, to the signing of that appropriate hymn, “Holy God we praise Thy Name”, together with my fellow ordinands, Patrick Misomali and Xolile Mafu, was a moving experience, especially after each of our unique journeys. In my case, having spent eight long uninterrupted years in formation, not without its fair share of challenges, this moment felt like the fulfilment of an era and the opening of another more exciting one. It was a celebration of the community, with the presence of people from all the areas of our lives, beloved family, friends, past educators, parishioners of our home parishes as well the communities in which we currently serve. All gathered around the Altar with the Bishop and clergy of PE diocese and beyond.
Those Catholics who were “schooled” prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) often speak about the seven steps to priesthood/preparatory stages in the reception of sacred orders: the tonsure, the minor orders (offices of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte), and the major orders (subdiaconate, diaconate, and the priesthood).
Pope Paul VI, now Saint, in his Apostolic Letter, Ministeria Quaedam (of 15 August 1972), addresses the first tonsure, minor orders, and the subdiaconate, which were closely related to the liturgical celebration (word and altar) and the practice of charity from the earliest times in the history of the Church. The Pope suppressed the first tonsure and renamed minor orders as ministries. Furthermore, having suppressed the subdiaconate, only the ministry of lector and acolyte are retained in the Latin Church and these ministries can now be conferred, by institution rather than ordination, on both those men who are candidates for holy orders as well as those who are not. Nonetheless, candidates for ordination as deacons and priests must receive the ministries of lector and acolyte prior to ordination (as we do prior to the pastoral internship at St John Vianney Seminary). Since ministries are no longer strictly reserved to the clergy but are opened to lay Christians, four categories of ministries have emerged:
(i) hierarchic ministry of the ordained – bishop, priest, and deacon (the permanent diaconate was restored by Pope Paul VI in “Ad Pascendum” of 15 August 1972)
(ii) instituted (lector and acolyte)
(iii) deputised (e.g. readers, special ministers of Holy Communion)
(iv) recognised ministries (such as commentator, altar server, etc).
The aim of this reflection is to consider in greater depth the Order of the Diaconate, by which men become members of the clergy. If this is the final step to the priesthood, it is certainly a step down, in the sense that a deacon is a servant (from diakonia in Greek). Indeed, from its origins, deacons were typically servants; they were the assistants of the bishop and involved in a great diversity of services. The Acts of the Apostles (6:1-7) relays a prime example of this ministry which arose out of the needs of the local church. The duties associated with this new ministry would entail serving at the tables while the Apostles would continue to devote themselves ‘to prayer and the service of the word’ (v.4) to the faithful who were ever-increasing in number.
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), of the Second Vatican Council, explains the meaning of the diaconate as follows: ‘At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed "not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.” For strengthened by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity to the people of God (LG 29). In his homily during the Mass of Ordination, Bishop Zungu explained this key understanding of the diaconate as a ministry of service. Going through the Rite of Ordination itself, will illustrate this aspect:
Ordination, which takes place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, begins after the Gospel, with the calling of the candidates by a deacon. Following this, the candidates are presented to the Bishop. This was done by Fr Peter Whitehead, who is responsible in our diocese for seminarians and their formation. He was thus in a privileged position to respond to the rather direct question of the Bishop, “Do you judge them to be worthy?” His testimony allows the bishop to elect the candidates for the Order of Deacons to which the people consent, “Thanks be to God.”
After exhorting the candidates in the homily, the rite of ordination continues with a series of questions, pertaining to the life and ministry of deacons, which expresses the free will with which we approach this order. In our case, since we are transitioning to the priesthood, and therefore unmarried, we make a public commitment to celibacy, “as a sign of...interior dedication to Christ...for the sake of the kingdom and in lifelong service to God and mankind.” The response of the bishop to this commitment shows that it cannot be done without the help of God’s grace: “May the Lord help you to persevere in this commitment.”
The Examination of the Candidates underscores essential elements of the office of deacons: humility and love; assisting the bishop and the priests; serving the people of Christ; prayer (especially the Liturgy of the Hours) - all of this in imitation of Christ - who came not to be served but to serve (cf. Mark 10:45).
At this point, each individual candidate approaches the Bishop in order to make a Promise of Obedience, by placing his hands into that of his “father”. It is worth mentioning here that we are members of the secular clergy (diocesan clergy) who are attached to a diocese under the direct authority of the diocesan bishop unlike religious clergy (such as Franciscans/Domincans) who belong to their religious order.
The Litany of the Saints comes at the right time – with all these kinds of commitments – we now need the prayers of Our Lady and all the saints! The candidates prostrate during this part, a sign of their resolve.
Then comes the essential element of ordination, the Laying on of hands and Prayer of Ordination, for a candidate is ordained for the Church's ministry by the laying on of hands and the gift of the Holy Spirit. For diaconate ordination only the Bishop imposes hands, in silence. If this ministry is received kneeling, it says something about how it is sustained through dependence on God’s grace, in prayer and the sacraments.
The Prayer of Ordination acknowledges that the Father enriches the Church of Jesus Christ with a variety of ministries through the Holy Spirit. The threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, closely associated with divine worship, has been established for the glory of God’s name. It traces the origins of the diaconate in the scriptures, beginning with the selection of Levi’s sons for the ministry of the tabernacle. After recalling the institution of the diaconate in the early Church, for the service of tables, the Holy Spirit is invoked, so that the ordinand may carry out the ministry faithfully, “excel in every virtue; in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self-discipline, and in holiness of life.” This prayer brings together everything that is expected of deacons.
What follows are the explanatory rites, since they show how the minister will carry out the order just received, such as the investiture with Stole and Dalmatic. I asked Fr Max Salsone, who celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his own priestly ordination a few years ago, to vest me since he was the one who baptised me as an infant. Then, for one who “resolved to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, as the Apostle urges, and to proclaim this faith in word and action as it is taught by the Gospel and the Church's tradition”, the Presentation of the Book of the Gospels is significant, not only because a deacon primarily reads the Gospel during Mass but because he is to believe what he reads, teach what he believes, and practice what he teaches.
The duties of all deacons include, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching the homily, assisting the priest at Mass, administering Baptism, distributing Holy Communion. He may also preside over funeral and burial services, act as the official witness at weddings, administer sacramentals and bless articles of popular devotion. His pastoral ministry may include bringing Holy Communion to the sick and housebound, preparing the faithful for the sacraments, and so forth. Furthermore, ‘dedicated to duties of charity and of administration, let deacons be mindful of the admonition of Blessed Polycarp: "Be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all"’ (LG 29). Charitable works, especially the Works of Mercy, must be part of the deacon’s life.
Since this is the final “step” to the priesthood, for PE diocese’s recently ordained transitory deacons, we can only pray: May God who has begun the good work in us bring it to fulfilment. Amen.
Picture :L to R: Rev. P.Misomali, Bishop Vincent Zungu OFM, R. Rev. Radine & Rev. X. Mafu
Would you like to be better equipped in your response to poverty in our society and the world today?
Join us as we grapple with this issue and look for ways to bring about change that will help improve the lives of so many in our city and Country.
You are invited to join the discussion on poverty with Dr Nonthando Hadebe and Prof Janet Cherry on Thursday the 29th November, at St Augustine’s Cathedral’s MacSherry Hall from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.
Please feel free to share with people whom you think may be interested.
It is open to all denominations and all who have an interest in overcoming poverty.
CATHCA (Catholic Healthcare Association) will be holding a workshop with healthcare workers on Saturday the 29th of September at St. James Parish in Port Alfred from 9am – 2pm. All Medical professionals - doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers, home-based carers, OVCs and any others involved in health and welfare are invited to attend. Lunch will be served, please RSVP to Melese: email@example.com
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the Bishops of Southern Africa, I would like to thank you once again, for your wonderful response to the annual Lenten Appeal collections in your different parishes. That is despite these challenging financial times, which is a true witness to your compassion, love and concern for the plight of the poor and needy that is served through the many projects, served through the mission of the Church. At the time of writing this letter, we have raised a total amount of R10 664 544, 26
This is an increase of 2% compared to what we raised last year which was R 10 409 643, 03. On behalf of the Bishops Conference, I ensure you our continued prayers and ongoing thanks for your generous giving, fully aware that the cost of living is a daily challenge for most of us.
The Bishops Lenten Appeal is the primary source of financial support for our local church’s activities. The Bishops, in addition to being tasked with the responsibility of nurturing the spiritual well-being of our people, are also concerned with the holistic development of the people of God. Your generous contributions to the Bishops Lenten Appeal continue to make this possible. We are extremely grateful to you for helping us fulfil our mission and this you have done faithfully over such a long period of time.
Because of the changing times, we have to support many more poor and needy people, so we thank the generous benefactors that assist the Bishops conference through the special grants that they have made possible for us to support the needy and poor especially our children. This year as I reported to the Bishops I confirmed that they have contributed close to R 300 000, 00. We continue to thanks them for their kind generosity.
This is how we will be using the money you so generously gave to the Bishops Lenten Appeal in 2018:
National Grants: R 1 405 000, 00 will be distributed between 12 applicants
Diocesan Grants: R 1483 059, 11 will be distributed between 40 applicants
Our Seminaries: R1 900 000
SACBC General Secretariat: R 4 285 000, 00
Lenten Appeal Office: R 1 417 836, 80
This leaves us with a balance of R 173 678, 46 from the money that has been collected in Bishops Lenten Appeal in 2018. This we will put to good use.
May the good Lord continue to bless you all in the generosity of the work that you are doing. It is only through giving that we shall receive. May God bless your kindness through the love that reflects in your heart?
Bro. Ashley Tillek, OFM
BLA National Director
A number of parishes have submitted their Holy Week Schedules.
Parishes are shown in the order in which the information was received.
Saturday 24th March, 5.30pm - Palm Sunday
Sunday, 25th March, 9.30am - Palm Sunday
Thursday 29th March, 6.00pm Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Friday 30h March, 2.00pm Good Friday - Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
Saturday 31st March 6.30pm Holy Saturday Vigil - Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection
Sunday 1st April 9.30am Easter Sunday - Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection
Palm Sunday March 25th: St Francis of Assisi; Humansdorp. 09h00
Holy Thursday, March 29th: St Clare of Assisi; Jeffreys Bay. 18h00
Good Friday, March 30th: St Francis of Assisi; Humansdorp. 15h00
Easter Vigil, (Sat) March 31st St Francis of Assisi; Humansdorp 18h30
Easter Sunday (Sun 31st) St Clare of Assisi; Jeffreys Bay. Mass: 09h300
Mon 26th 08.30 Mass
Tues 27th 06.00 Mass “ “
11.00 Chrism Mass and Renewal of Priestly Commitment
St Martin de Porres, Greenpoint Rd, Buffalo Flats, EL
Wed 28th 17.30 Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction and Confession
18.30 Holy Mass with Anointing/Laying-on of Hands
TRIDUUM / Holy Three Days
Thurs 29th 19.00 Mass of the Lord’s Supper (John 13: 1-15)
Night Vigil until Midnight (watch and pray)
Fri 30th 14.00 Stations of the Cross leading into
15.00 The Liturgy of the Passion of Our Lord (John 18: 1 - 19:42)
Sat 31st 18.30 (note time change) The Great Easter Vigil:
Ceremonies of Fire, Light and Water with the 1st Mass of Easter – Alleluia!
Sun 1st 08.00 The Resurrection of Our Lord with Infant Baptisms
Sunday, 25th March - Palm Sunday - 8.00amSunday,
Tuesday, 27th March (Holy Week) - 6.30am & 11.00am
Wednesday, 28th March (Holy Week) - 6.30am
Thursday, 29th March- Holy Thursday - 6.30pm
Friday, 30th March - Good Friday - 10.00am & 3.00pm
Saturday, 31 March - Easter Vigil - 10.00am & 6.30pm
Sunday, 1st April- Resurrection of the Lord - 9.00am
Palm Sunday:St Patrick’s: 8.00 Blessing of palms and Mass [No Mass at 4.00 pm]
St Mary’s: 10.00.
St Peter Claver & St Joseph combined: 10.00
Confessions after each Mass.
Tuesday: 11.00 Chrism Mass at East London
Thursday: Mass of the Last Supper 6.00 pm St Mary’s
6.00 St Joseph’s and St Peter Claver
Good Friday [Day of Fasting and Abstinence from meat]
12.00 St Patrick’s Stations of the Cross
12.00 St Mary’s Confessions1
2.00 St Peter Claver Confessions
3.00 pm St Marys Good Friday Ceremonies
3.00 pm St Peter Claver and St Joseph’s
Holy Saturday 6.00 pm Easter Vigil [candlels needed] St Mary’s
6.00 pm Easter Vigil [candles needed] St Peter Claver & St Joseph’s
Easter Sunday 8.00 am St Patrick’s
9.00 am St Peter Claver and St Joseph
10.00 am St Mary’s
Wednesday 21 March at 5.00 pm, St. Peter Claver
Wednesday 28 March, at 5.00 pm St Mary’s
Palm Sunday, Sat 24th at 17h00. Sun 25th at 8h00.
Palm Sunday, Sat 24th at 17h00. Sun 25th at 8h00.
Holy Thursday at 16h00, Good Friday 9h00 for the stations of the Cross
12h00 with the Service of our Lord's Passion,
Easter Virgil at 17h00,
Easter Sunday at 8h00..
Palm Sunday at 10h30.
Holy Thursday at 18h00,
Good Friday Stations of the Cross at 10h00,
Passion Service at 15h00
Easter Virgil at 17h00
Easter Sunday at 10h30.
Palm Sunday 8am Palm Sunday 8am
Holy Thursday 6.30pm
Good Friday Stations of the Cross at 11am
Liturgy of the passion 3pm
Easter Vigil 7 pm
Easter Sunday 8am
St. Michaels Fort Beaufort
Palm Sunday - 09:00
Holy Thursday - 18:00
Good Friday – 15:00
Easter Vigil – 18: 00
Easter Sunday – Communion service 09:00
St. Monica’s Adelaide
Palm Sunday – 07:30
Holy Thursday 14:00
Good Friday – Combined with St. Michaels Fort Beaufort
Easter Sunday 08:00
St. Joseph’s Alice
Palm Sunday – 11:00
Holy Thursday – 16:00
Good Friday – combined with St.Michaels in Fort Beaufort
Easter Vigil – combined with St. Michaels
Easter Sunday – 10:00
St. Patricks Blinkwater
All services combined with St. Michaels Fort Beaufort except Sunday
Easter Sunday – communion service- 11:00
St Bernard's, Gonubie, East London
Holy Thursday - 7.00pm
Good Friday - 10.00am Stations of Cross
- 03.00pm Passion Narrative
Holy Saturday-- Easter Vigil
03.00pm at Kei Mouth St. Peter's
06.00pm at St. Bernard's
EASTER SUNDAY MASS - 9.00AM
Holy Thursday : 29 March 2018 : Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7pm
Good Friday : 30 March 2018 : Children’s Stations of the Cross at 10am
Adults Stations of the Cross in Matthew and Martin Streets at 1:30pm
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3pm
Holy Saturday : 31 March 2018 : Easter Vigil at 7pm
Easter Sunday : 01 April 2018 : Mass at 9am
There will be no Mass at 8:30am on Holy Thursday & Good Friday
There will be no confession on Holy Saturday
Holy Thursday - 06:00 pm
Good Friday - 10:00 pm Stations of the cross
- 03:00 pm Veneration of the Cross
Easter Vigil - 06:00 pm
Easter Sunday - 08:15 am
Palm Sunday Mass and Blessing of Palms: 9am
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week: Mass at 9am
Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord's Supper: 6pm
Good Friday Liturgy: 3pm
Holy Saturday, Vigil: 6pm
Easter Sunday Morning Mass: 9am
St Kevin's, Windvogel, Port Elizabeth
25 March 2018, Passion Sunday celebration starting with procession at: 9am, mass will commence at: 09:3025
29th March 2018, Maundy/Holy Thursday celebration (Passover Feast, washing of the 12 Apostles Feet), mass at: 18:30pm
30Th March 2018, Good Friday stations of the cross at: 9:00am, Afternoon Service at: 15:00pm
31st March 2018, Easter Vigil/Holy Saturday at: 17:00pm
01st April 2018, Easter Sunday mass celebration at: 09:30am
St James, Port Alfred
29 March Holy Thursday - 18:00
30 March Good Friday - 15:00
31 March Easter Vigil - 18:00
01 APRIL Easter Sunday - 09:30
St Thomas, Station Hill, Port Alfred
30 March Good Friday - 10:00
01 APRIL Easter Sunday - 08:00
St Anthony, Bushman's River Mouth
29 March Holy Thursday - 19:00
30 March Good Friday - 15:00
31 March Easter Vigil - 19:00
01 APRIL Easter Sunday - 08:00
Sacred Heart, Alexandra
30 March Good Friday - 10:00
01 APRIL Easter Sunday - 10:00
St Martin de Porres, Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth
Palm Sunday – Saturday evening 24 March @ 6.00pm
Sunday 25 March @ 9.00am
Holy Thursday - 7.00pm
Good Friday - 3.00pm
Holy Saturday- 8.00pm
Easter Sunday – 9.00am
Immaculate Conception. East London
Tuesday 27th March 5.30pm
Wednesday 28th March 9.00am
EASTER WEEKEND MASS TIMES:
Holy Thursday – 29th March - 6.30pm
Good Friday - 30th March Children’s Service 10.00am & Passion Service 3.00pm
Easter Saturday - 31st March – 7.00pm
Easter Sunday - 1st April – 7.45am and 10.15am
Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Humewood, Port Elizabeth
25th March 2018 - Palm Sunday Mass at 9am. Palms will be blest and distributed at both weekend Masses.
26th March 2018 - Sacrament of Reconciliation 5pm – 5.45pm
27th March 2018 - Holy Mass with Anointing and prayer for healing & restoration of body, mind and spirit. At 5.30pm
28th March 2018 - Holy Mass with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary at 9.30am.
29th March 2018 - Holy Thursday 6.00pm: Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
30th March 2018 - Good Friday 3.00pm: Liturgy of the Passion – The John Gospel, veneration of the Cross and Communion.
31st March 2018 - Holy Saturday 6.00pm The Easter Vigil Service of fire. Light and Baptism renewal leading into the first Mass of Easter.
1st April 2018 - Easter Sunday Mass at 9.00am. The Mass of the Resurrection.
25 March - Palm Sunday procession through certain streets of Algoa Park at 8h15 immediately followed by Holy Mass25 March - Palm Sunday procession through certain streets of Algoa Park at 8h15 immediately followed by Holy Mass
28 March- Station of the Cross at 19h00
29 March - Holy Mass at 19h00 followed by prayers at the Altar of Repose
30 March - Stations of the cross at 14h00 followed by Good Friday Service immediately thereafter
31 March - Easter Vigil at 19h00
1 April - Easter Sunday Mass at 9h00