To all Priests, Religious and Laity, especially members of the Kemolo Sodality and those aspiring to become members,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I first of all want to refer back to the regulation I wrote on the 20th December 2014 explaining the reasons why I asked to stall any plans for accepting candidates or installing members outside the Parish of Ficksburg. Meanwhile there was an inquiry by Priests who were asked to have a look at the Kemolo constitution (Canon Law requirement, see Canon 314 and Canon 304#1) and their performance in Ficksburg Parish and they reported to the Presbyteral Council meeting held on 17th February 2015. Their report was positive and they recommended to allow this Sodality to operate throughout the Diocese. After some discussion most of the Priests and Deacons expressed their approval.
In the light of this I, as Bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem officially agree that from now on the Kemolo Sodality may be propagated throughout the Diocese (see Canon nr. 312#2) after due dialogue with the Parish Priests who, together with the Parish Pastoral Council, will look at the viability of a new Sodality in their Parish. It is understood that for any visit or animation in a particular Parish one must follow the proper procedures.
I would like however to voice a few precautions. The first one is a waming against over-zealousness in wanting to establish the Sodality in all Parishes all at once. This would be a step towards disaster. Everything must be properly planned taking into account the viability of such a group in a particular Parish. Hand in hand with starting a group there must be proper formation and follow-up. The second precaution is conceming leadership. A movement or a Sodality without proper leadership will easily go astray. I approached Fr. Menyatso to guide the Sodality in this respect (see Canon 317#1). Until now there are no diocesan or deanery structures and these can only be gradually formed. This is one more reason to ask the Parish Priests, who would liaise with Fr. Menyatso, to guide the growth of the Sodality in our Diocese of Bethlehem. Fr. Menyatso is also in charge of the Diocesan Marian shrine and I felt that the Sodality of Kemolo, as part of their Marian focus, could get more involved in the propagation of the shrine (see Canon 301112). The third precaution is to look to it that the Kemolo Sodality in our Diocese follows the constitution recognized by the Bishops of South Africa (I hereby refer to the one produced in Klerksdorp Diocese) and not any other constitution.
I do not want to quench the fire which the present members of the Kemolo Sodality want to see buming in many places but I would like to ensure that it is firmly rooted in our Diocese right from the start and that it may contribute to the life of the diocesan family.
Wishing you all a fmitful time of Lent,
+Jan De Groef, M.Afr,
Bishop of Bethlehem