SACBC Justice and Peace Commission has urged an end to pre-election violence and criticized politicians for fuelling it.
“We are disappointed that our political leaders have not been visible and loud enough in their condemnation of the recent factional violence and political assassinations,” Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, who chairs the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference justice and peace commission, said in a recent statement.
At least three people have been killed in the Tshwane area around South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, in late-June riots triggered by the ruling party’s choice of a mayoral candidate for municipal elections, scheduled for Aug. 3.
Shops have been looted and cars and buses set alight in violent protests over economic hardship.
Politicians “are mobilizing the young people in our communities, especially the unemployed youth, to engage in pre election violence,” Bishop Gabuza said.
He urged young South Africans “not to allow themselves to be used by politicians who show signs that their primary interest is greed for power and government tenders.”
“The peace that we currently enjoy in our country should not be taken for granted. To maintain it, it requires the responsibility of all citizens and political maturity of our leaders, especially during the election period. The current levels
of political violence do not reflect this sense of responsibility,” he warned.
The South African Human Rights Commission warned that politically motivated murders and other acts of intimidation ahead of the polls are endangering citizens’ constitutional rights.
The commission’s mid-June statement came after arrests were made for the murders of two African National Congress members in KwaZulu-Natal province; the murders are said to be politically motivated.
South Africa’s political leaders have not “been vigorous enough in disciplining their candidates and members who are involved in disrupting campaign rallies of other parties and in creating no-go zones,” Bishop Gabuza said.
“At the root of many social ills in our country, including the current upsurge of pre-election violence, one finds greed and patronage politics,” he said.
This political culture must be stopped before it destroys the country and sends it “into a downward spiral from which it will struggle to recover,” he said.
He has also appealed to all eligible South Africans to cast their vote on 3rd August and elect leaders who have the courage to speak out against greed and patronage politics.
The Justice and Peace Commission, in partnership with Diakonia Council of Churches, organised a prayer service for peaceful elections that was held in Durban on 6th July.
Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo, a young Port Elizabeth priest who was diagnosed with a rare lung disease, has died.
He passed away last week after being in hospital for a week. He was born on 26 October 1978 and Ordained to the Priesthood on 27th Aril 2012.
About a month ago, Gushwell Brooks interviewed him on Radio Veritas’ afternoon drivetime show, Changing Gear, where he described his condition and also made an impassioned plea on organ donation.
He called on the Church to do more awareness campaigns for organ donation and conducted workshops around the country to encourage people to overcome their fears, prejudices and indifference regarding organ donation, thus potentially save countless people.
The young priest founded an organisation called #DonorSaves7Lives which can be found on facebook under the same name.
The Vicar of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, Fr Christopher Slater has expressed shock at the passing of Fr Kondlo and has said he will be remembered as very joyful person who will be dearly missed by the Church and his family.
Fr Slater said the Diocese and indeed his family feel saddened that his life was cut short as they believed the priest had a lot to give and offer the church.
Fr Kondlo died whilst still on the organ donor list.
The Requiem Mass for Fr. Xolisile Kondlo will take place on Tuesday 28th June 2016 at 10am at Pawulos Oyingcwele in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, followed immediately thereafter by the burial at St. Dominic’s Priory, Miramar.
Funeral Programme – Tuesday 28th June 2016
7am - Arrival of body at home.
8am - Departure to the Church.
8:35am – Tributes
Friend: Fiks Mahola
Organ donation presenter
Brother; Andile Kondlo
10am – Requiem Mass
12pm – Departure to St. Dominic’s Priory
"Please continue to pray for the repose of the soul of our beloved Priest and brother. Please also keep in your prayers Father Xolisile’s mother, family, relatives and friends.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace," said Bishop Vincent Zungu OFM.
Below is the interview with Fr Kondlo on Radio Veritas describing his condition and also his impassioned plea on the importance of organ donation.
By Dan Gonzalez - The Mass Explained
As we embark on this penitential season, here are a few “fun-facts” (can the facts be called “fun” during Lent?) that may make its observation more fruitful.
1. Who or what is a Lent?
Derived from the word "lencten", which is Anglo-Saxon for springtime, Lent is the 40-day season of preparation prior to Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday.
2. Why is it 40 days?
Next to the number seven, the number forty occurs most frequently in the Bible. It represents a period of testing or judgement. Lent’s duration of 40 days reflects other times of trial, testing and hardship found in the Scriptures:
3. Fasting vs Abstinence
Also of biblical origins are the Lenten customs of fasting and abstinence.
“They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.” — Acts 14:23
Although often used interchangeably, fasting refers to the amount of food consumed, while abstinence describes the type of food denied such as meat on Fridays. These forms of physical self-denial are practiced during Lent, as are other pious customs.
4. Why are the statues covered during Lent in my parish?
Another Lenten custom is the draping of statues and crucifixes in purple cloth as a sign of mourning. This symbolically hides the heavenly glory realized by the saints. Occurring on the fifth Sunday of Lent, the covering of the sacred images adds to the sense of introspection and contrition.
The roots of the veiling of statues during Lent can most likely be found in Germany where, beginning before 900, it was customary to cover not only statues and images, but the entire sanctuary including the altar with a cloth.
The cloth itself was called the Hungertuch (literally hunger cloth but often translated as Lenten veil). The draping concealed the altar entirely from the faithful during Lent and was not removed until the reading of the Passion at the words “the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.”
5. My parish prays the Stations of the Cross during Lent. How did this custom originate?
The Stations of the Cross originated during the crusades when it was popular to visit Jerusalem to follow the steps to Calvary. After the Holy Land was captured, pilgrimages became a very dangerous affair. A desire arose to reproduce these holy places in other lands as a substitute pilgrimage.
It soon became popular to have outdoor markers indicate not only the scenes in Christ’s path to Golgotha, but also the actual distances from location to location. Crude markers eventually gave way to elaborate artwork depicting the events of Jesus’ trial, torture and execution. By the mid 18th century, the Stations were allowed inside the church and served as a focus for Lenten devotions.
The Stations help the participant make a spiritual pilgrimage to the major scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death. Prayers are said until the entire route is complete, enabling the faithful to more literally take up their cross and follow Jesus.
6. Why is there no Gloria or Alleluia sung at Mass?
The Church teaches by absence as well as by presence, and Lent is a time of great loss. Eating is diminished and some foods forbidden—a fast of the body. Music is scaled back, bells are silenced and the Gloria and Alleluia are dropped from the liturgy—a fast of hearing. Statues are veiled and flowers and decorations disappear—a fast of sight. Depriving the senses helps the faithful maintain focus on the internal condition of the soul rather than on externals.
With thanks to The Mass Explained
Bishop Vincent Zungu OFM has congratulated Fr Grant James CO on his appointment as headmaster of St Dominic's Priory.
Fr Grant was previouls deputy head of the school.
"On Behalf of myself, the Clergy and Religious in the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, I would like to congratulate Fr. Grant James C.O. on his appointment as Headmaster of St. Dominic’s Priory School," said Bishop Vincent.
"I also wish to express my gratitude for the service he has rendered our Catholic Education in the Diocese as its Director for several years. He formed a formidable team with Mrs. Nomvuyo Daka.
"Please continue to pray for Fr. Grant as he embarks on his new role."
Fr Grant was also recently appointed the Programme Co-Ordinator for the Training of Permanent Deacons for the Diocese.