Advent Appeal to go to Clergy Benevolent Fund
Next weekend, the 2nd and 3rd of December, we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent.
This year the Bishop has chosen the Clergy Benevolent Fund as the beneficiary.
“The Clergy Benevolent Fund takes care of the various needs of the Clergy, especially those who are retired over a long period. It is compassionate and humanitarian in nature. This year, (2017) five of our priests retired gracefully, bringing the total number of retired Clergy in our Diocese to thirteen. Three of those are in Ireland.
“Due to the critical shortage of vocations to the priesthood, many of our retired priests continue to minister full time to the best of their ability and as far as their health permits.
“Some make themselves available for part-time supplies, they offer mentoring and share their valuable wealth of knowledge and experience with our recently ordained priests. Some also make themselves available for spiritual direction and assistance to individuals and different lay movements and sodalities, others offer special courses and retreats- the list is just endless.
“In fact the Catholic Diocese of Port Elizabeth would be greatly disadvantaged and impoverished without them. The Clergy Benevolent Fund also helps mitigate the expenses of poorer parish communities.
“The Directory for the Pastoral Care of Bishops says: ‘Assisted by his regional Vicars, the Bishop should seek to anticipate and to resolve any human or spiritual difficulties that priests might experience. He should come lovingly to the help of any priest who finds himself in a difficult situation, especially the sick, the elderly, and the poor, so that they all sense the joy of their vocation, with gratitude towards their Shepherd. When they are sick, the Bishop should comfort them with a visit or at least with a letter or a telephone call, and should ensure that they receive proper material and spiritual assistance. When they die, their funerals should be celebrated by the Bishop himself, if at all possible, or else by his representative.’
“Your valuable contribution to the Clergy Benevolent Fund will certainly go a long way towards empowering and assisting me to fulfil my daunting but joyful responsibility of looking after our Beloved priests who have distinguished themselves for many years at your service.
“May the Lord Jesus Christ, who came so that we may all have life to the full bless you abundantly and reward you a hundred fold for your generosity!”
+ Vincent Zungu OFM