The Diocese of Bethlehem held its 2021 DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL (DPC) Meeting on the 23rd -24th SEPTEMBER 2021 and here are the outcomes.
23 SEPTEMBER 2021
Opening Prayer: Frs. Paballo Skhotha, Thabiso Matabane & Hosias Makibi led participants in prayer
Welcome: Fr. Sifiso Thusi welcomed everyone and declared the meeting opened.
2.1 Orientation and Ice breaker was done by Sr. Catherine; in which everyone was introduced.
3. Fr. Mosebetsi gave a brief background about the Pastoral Plan:
In 1989, the SACBC adopted and began to implement the first Pastoral Plan, which was called Community Serving Humanity. In 2010 the Bishops decided that the Catholic Church in Southern Africa needed to create a new Pastoral Plan. The Pastoral Plan was finally approved for publication and implementation at the Plenary of the Southern African Bishop’s Conference held at Mariannhill in August 2019.
Evaluation of Diocesan Pastoral Council
Fr. Atoro explained the formation of Deanery and the DPC: The Bishop, 4 Deanery Secretaries, 4 Deans, Sub-committees, Social Awareness representative and Diocesan Liturgical Committee.
Deanery is made up of group of Parishes, then the Diocese is made up by Group of Deaneries.
Southern See-Appendix A
QwaQwa see Appendix B
Mpumalanga see Appendix C
Central no report
Bishop Jan asked QwaQwa deanery of the ways used to motivate people?
Parish priest frequently made meetings with PFC & PPC
By frequently motivating parishioners to self reliant
Fundraising (Concerts & Mojikelezo)?
Contributions (Church Tithes): Those working contribute R50, elderly R20 & Children R10.
Fr. Mosebetsi asked why didn’t Central Deanery submit their report?
Fr. Sifiso responded by saying that no reports were submitted to the Dean.
Marriage & Family Ministry alive in all deaneries?
Committee is active, created poultry jobs and donated shoes.
Which buildings are rented out to generate income?
The house in Frankfort Parish which was used by Nuns in previous years, in Villiers the house is used as soup kitchen and the land is used for gardening.
24 SEPTEMBER 2021
Presentation by Fr. Sakhi (see Appendix D)
5.1 Group exercise: Fr. Sakhi asked what Parish is, Issues in each Parish and the Happenings?
5.1.1 Mpumalanga Deanery:
Parish is a big Family of Christians. It consists of all the groupings in the church (Sodalities)
Happenings in the Parish?
Sharing views/working together
Financial challenges (non-responsiveness from Parishioners)
Misunderstandings and conflict between parishioners themselves and also between leadership of various Sodalities
Dishonesty and reluctance to listen to leadership and to fulfil what has been agreed upon.
Lack of support to priests by parishioners
The root cause?
Undermining one another irrespective of the fact that there is leadership
Election of people who are not committed to serve in the church
Lack of respect
Lack of support for elected leaders
5.1.2 Southern Deanery
Parish is a combination of Catholic Churches that are responsible to the priest
Happenings in the Parish?
Christians meet by praying together, to continue doing God’s work. To attend Mass and receive communion.
To help each other as families
To pray for the sick and visit them
To bury or hold mass for the deceased
For children to grow and know that God exist.
5.1.3 Central Deanery
Parish is a community based groupings from different local communities.
Discuss challenges and progress
To get the best practices about the challenges eg Financial, Catechetics
No regular meetings
Lack of communication
Lack of commitment
5.1.4 Qwaqwa Deanery
Parish is a family of congregations that can be found at a place where there’s a Catholic belief
Assisting with trainings
Poor attendance on Sundays
Not being active in church activities
Low belief system
Congregants only want sacraments
Parish is a group of congregants under a priest
Christians have poor attendance
Lack of job opportunities
Understanding our belief
Death of members of Sodalities
Paying Sodality fees
Being a Christian
Parents that don’t encourage children to attend Church.
Fr. Buang’s Presentation: Evangelisation
See Appendix E & F
6.1 Evangelisation Group exercise
6.1.1 Southern Deanery
Christians after receiving any Sacrament don’t attend Mass celebrations
PPC and PFC visit their Parishioners
Workshops and Mass in Blocks with full support of PPC and PFC
Sharing the Word of God with other Parishes
Sodalities to make themselves known in their Parishes, including Youth, Children of Mary, Alter Servers etc.
Retreats especially for those who don’t belong in any Sodalities and Youth
Meeting with other denominations to discuss the word of God
To encourage Parishioners to take part in church activities.
6.1.1 Mpumalanga Deanery
Report back to PFC/PPC
Visit, support and encourage those that are no longer attending Mass
To lift up their spirit
Revive them not to lose hope
To keep our church vibrant
As soon as possible
Set time frame
Success or failure will be determined by whether we have reached our goals or not.
6.1.2 Qwaqwa Deanery
All structures on understanding the Parish and evangelising
To achieve mass participation
October 2021-December 2021
Parish priest, PPC and PFC
Monitoring feedback from all structures
Review by Parish Priest, PFC and PPC
6.1.3 Central Deanery
To visit those that are no longer attending church with the priest and or the Church council
Start prayer groups in blocks
Blessing of households by Priest
To encourage youths to participate in Church activities
Celebrating families at church
Inviting the Priest to share the word of God
Executive members of the committee
Sodalities need to take part
We should be example by paying what is due to the church
Participation in church proceedings
To renew engagements between Priests, committee members
To encourage pastoral work and sharing of the word of God
From now onwards (2021-2024)
Common on the reports:
Regular meetings of PPC, PFC & the Priest
Workshops done in Parishes
Time Frame given to tasks
2021 DPC RESOLUTIONS by Fr. Sifiso
WORKSHOPS ON EVANGILISATION SHOULD BE PLANNED AND DONE WITH EMPHASIS ON UNDERSTANDING THAT THE CHURCH EXIST TO EVANGELISE.
WE RESOLVE THAT WORKSHOPS SHOULD BE PLANNED AND DONE ON HELPING OR ASSISTING ALL MEMBERS AND GROUPS OF THE PARISH FAMILY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT PARISH IS AND ITS VARIOUS ROLES.
Presentation and Message from Pope Francis by Sr. Catherine
See Appendix G
Diocesan Pastoral/ Administration Structure Presentation by Fr. Dikotsi
See Appendix H
Fr Sakhi was asked to introduce the Consultors
Fr. Buang asked which priests/people are part of Diocesan Finance Committee and Mr. Rich who has resigned from being part of the DFC was introduced and thanked by Bishop Jan for his contribution as a member of DFC.
Fr. Thabiso Lucky Matabane: Diocesan Master of Ceremony (MC)
Fr. Sakhi Simon Mofokeng: Diocesan Commentator
Fr. Khahliso Bonaventure Mofokeng: Media, Communications & Rector at Tsheseng Marian Shrine
Bishop Jan’s Decree
Concerning closing of churches on the 10th October 2021
See Decree in Appendix I
Fr. Khahliso announced that on 10th October 2021, there will be a Pilgrimage at Tsheseng Marian Shrine, starting at 10am. This was following the Decree which was read by Bishop Jan De Groef.
Justice and Peace
Fr. Anselm announced that there will be a workshop from 8th – 9th October 2021, at John Paul II Centre. Two people are invited from each Parish; arrival time is between 17:00-18:00
Date of next DPC Executive meeting: 13 November 2021
Bishop Jan closed with a prayer and a Blessing.
Resolution Report for Southern Deanery
02 September 2021
In all the parishes in the deanery parishioners were made aware of the state of finance of the parish and the diocese. When it comes to budgeting Finance committees found it difficult since some parishioners are not paying their Kabelo on time, and with 2020 it was worse because of the pandemic. Fouriesburg pastoral or finance committee members go house to house to collect the monies needed and people are generous in giving.
Training for the Lay ministers has been conducted in all parishes. In Ladybrand the parish priest has constant training and on-going formation for Funeral Leaders. Due to Covid19 Fouriesburg, Clocolan and Ficksburg have Masses every Sunday.
In all the parishes there is a serious challenge of Bajadi. They are there but not enough and people are reluctant to avail themselves for this ministry. At times children will come for classes, but Bajadi will not come.
Retreats do take place but more for the Sodalities and youth. When the parish retreats are organised for those who are not in sodalities, few people do come. Pastoral Councils are encouraged to have these retreats on their Pastoral Council’s Year Plan.
All parishes hardly have the vocations workshops, only the Vocations Groups will be active in looking after the priests and helping Fr. Mosebetsi with necessities for students. Vocations groups must be supported by the parish priests.
Family Life Ministry
In all the parishes there are committees for the Family Ministry yet others had not receive training. In Ficksburg Kemolo and one man of St. Joseph are very active in organising workshops for families even though only few do come. Celebrations and workshops on Family Life were organised for 2020, but due to the pandemic nothing happened. At times sodalities will go for workshops but nothing takes place when they come back.
In the parishes where there town communities and township there are no visible signs of racism since everybody is welcomed to come to town churches. The challenge is that when there are combined services white people will not attend, one or two will attend.
In Ficksburg the town community was treated differently when it come to the policy of baptism; e.g. town will be one weekend session and township 3 months.
All the parishes were made aware of the need to care for creation. Churches are cleaned regularly. The Novena was also distributed to people to do it also at home.
Compiled by the Dean Rev. Fr. Sakhi Mofokeng
01st September 2021
Diocese of Bethlehem
Qwaqwa Deanery Report
In our deanery, the parishioners were made aware of the financial constraints of the diocese, after the financial administrator and the finance committee of the diocese conducted the awareness to them.
We had to mobilize our people to think deeply about giving to the local church. It was clear that people understood how things are in the diocese and promised to give even more on pledge.
It was agreed by PFC and PPC that we should at all times to motivate our people for them to see the need for pledging every month.
Fr Atoro was given a mandate to conduct the workshop for the choirs and furthermore the extra ordinary ministers of Holy Eucharist and Funeral had an opportunity to receive the proper workshop at the level of the deanery.
Liturgy committee managed to conduct the workshops for all the members of the liturgy through the help of the clergy.
All the sodalities including those who do not belong to any sodalities had an opportunity to attend the retreat.
The diocesan catechism committee were very instrumental for the workshop they gave to the deanery and end up having all the structures at place in the deanery.
In Makeneng and Phuthaditjhaba Parish, we are proud to say we managed to form committee for family ministry which has given the deanery some sort of a burning fire for the love of the families.
We don’t took it for granted that Sekwele was the primary instrument for us to get to tackle lots of family issues which seemed to be a problem within the deanery, for example drug abuse substance, child headed family, cohabitation and infidelity.
In this deanery we never had any complains about the racism unless we are not aware of some form of racism which are not reported to us. So in summary we never received any reports concerning racism.
It is an open secret that Qwaqwa at large or to be precise Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality has done a lot of damage to our people more especially for water, so we have encouraged our people reduce the unnecessary use of water.
We have preached to our people to start to have their own gardens in order to take care of creation.
This deanery is the true reflection of how we love the creation due to the fact that we have seen how our people go extra mile for creation.
Dean Rev Fr Lekhotla Michael Atoro
IMPLEMENTATION REPORT OF 2018-2021 DIOCESAN RESOLUTIONS.
Parish Pastoral Council meetings were held where it was resolved that LPC’S and LFC’s should practice transparency by informing the faithful about the usage of funds and giving constant reports about the state of finances.The Parish members were encouraged to participate in fundraising activities such as paper Sunday,mjikelezo,Family contributions,leasing of properties as well as monthly contributions to help one another to pay the tithes and there is a plan to build rooms that will be rented out to generate income for self sustainance(Frankfort parish). Diocesan fundraising and planned giving were prioritized in the deanery.These activities went well until we were disturbed by the corona virus pandemic.We are doing our best to meet our monthly obligations as prescribed by the diocese.
The Eucharistic Ministers were trained to conduct Sunday and funeral services as well as unveiling of tombstones in the absence of the Priest. New catechists have been recruited and work-shopped.Parish retreats which were planned have been affected by the pandemic lockdown.Liturgy committees have been workshopped on their roles and responsibilities.There are people who help the parish priests during marriage preparation for the engaged.Vocation groups are active and there is a plan to recruit young people to join these groups or just to support their activities.
3.FAMILY LIFE MINISTRY
Family support group ministry is active in our deanery. The family support group organized workshops that addressed the different situations in the various kinds of families in the deanery(especially Vrede and Villiers parishes) through the assistance of Sekwele. This was accompanied by visits to the families by the members of the family support group as well as the social worker.Families are encouraged to pray and hold family services(especially in Harrismith parish) and families are asked to take Sunday readings,offertory gifts and prayers of the faithful in line with the 2015-2018 DPC resolutions.Children have parts of the mass where they take full charge.Workshops which were planned for the youth couldn’t take place because of the lockdown.
The issue of racism was discussed in the various blocks but not much was done in this respect because of the lockdown.
A piece of land was given to some women to practice agriculture and they were able to produce good vegetables.The church yard has also been given to parishioners for planting vegetables.There have been some struggles with the dirt which was caused by the illegal dumping next to the crèche in Qalabotjha but the parish has fortunately succeeded to get rid of this dumping through the assistance of the municipality.(Frankfort parish). Justice and Peace group in Vrede used the Laudato Si Novena to inform the congregation on how to care for the human environment and the natural environment
HOUSEHOLD BUDGETING AND LIVELIHOODS (INCOME GENERATING PROJECTS)
Working with families has led to awareness of the need to encourage and support the establishment of family income generating projects (livelihoods) and financial literacy. The existing economic conditions and the escalating rate of unemployment have put pressure on the survival of families. Through the parishes, Sekwele provided both the financial assistance and (capacity building) training. Through our partnership with Old Mutual and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and other service providers,we managed to provide business skills and training for small family businesses and individuals as illustrated in the following table:
Budgeting, saving and investing
Family income generating projects
Managing income generating projects.
• Greater impact was achieved in the area of financial education where families received training for both personal and small family income generating projects. They have reported that they now know how to budget for their businesses. The target groups found it helpful to learn about household budgeting, how to save money and the importance of budgeting and having savings. Some were saving for the tertiary education of their children.
• The small family income generating projects have proved to be another important aspect of family cohesion. Some of the young adults were supported by their families to run their businesses, e.g. with financial contribution to buy products required.
• Learning different budgeting strategies and how to make one’s money work for them
• Budgeting, saving and investing.
• Identifying the different forms of self-owned businesses and how they can be registered and sponsored by the government.
• Sekwele’s intervention gave assistance to the already existing projects and the new ones that came into existence as a result of the intervention.
• Most of the small income generating projects are: vegetable gardens, poultry, welding, sewing and knitting or selling products in tuck shops and are not officially registered as businesses.
Initially, these entrepreneurs reported that they did not make much profit or income because:
– they are not selling enough (sewing, knitting, welding) or
– because of the clients from their neighbourhoods or members of their extended families want the products (vegetables, chicken) for free or for credit which they never repay.
But, after attending a number of workshops there was an improvement because they understood their businesses better. They still need more managerial and practical skills.
75 small family businesses(income generating projects) from Mpumalanga and QwaQwadeanaries have been found, strengthened and supported.
Through partnership with CCS, they were also provided with practical skills on gardening and poultry.
The overall qualitative impact centres around: awareness, savings and money under better control, improved livelihoods, better communication and boosted self-esteem
DEAN: Rev. Fr Anselm Njoku,