Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Mary, whom we call our Lady of Bethlehem, and the Marian shrine in Tsheseng, Qwaqwa, are very precious for us as the local Church of Bethlehem diocese. That is why we gather every year twice as the People of God coming from all over the diocese to honour our Mother in the Faith, once in February, a whole-day event, and once in October, a vigil.
I want to invite you wholeheartedly to the vigil which will take place throughout the night of 07-08 October when we celebrate the memorial of our Lady of the Rosary at our Marian shrine at Tsheseng. Arrival time is planned for 18h00 on Saturday and we shall continue till Sunday morning. For this year’s celebration we chose the theme of ‘Mary the Comforter of the Afflicted’ taken from the litany of Mary. Throughout the night we want to focus on what Pope Francis expresses in his Encyclical Letter called ‘Laudato Si’ on our care for our common home hearing the ‘Cry of the Earth’ and the ‘Cry of the Poor’ and the role the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in this. I personally believe that those two cries are very much linked together. When there are disasters like floods and droughts, which are caused not just by nature but also as a result of abuse of the resources of the earth by us, human beings, the poor are always more vulnerable and suffer more under these calamities.
Part of the programme this year will be the proclamation of those who will receive the Star of Bethlehem for their faithful and loving service in their local Christian communities. Included too will be the annual diocesan fundraising. At the end of the celebration, in the morning, there will be a special blessing and sending of the young people of our diocese who will participate in this year’s Mini World Youth Day, which will take place in December in Durban.
I hope to see many of you in a few weeks time at Tsheseng,
+Jan De Groef