DPC meeting

The Diocese of Bethlehem held its 2021 DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL (DPC) Meeting on the 23rd -24th SEPTEMBER 2021 and here are the outcomes.
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.
Deanery reports:
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.

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?
Praying together
Sharing views/working together
Attendance problems
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.
Praying together
Discuss challenges and progress
To get the best practices about the challenges eg Financial, Catechetics
Root cause?
No regular meetings
Poor attendance
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
Being Apostolic
Poor attendance on Sundays
Not being active in church activities
Low belief system
Congregants only want sacraments
5.1.5 Sodalities
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
Maintenance Church
Christians after receiving any Sacrament don’t attend Mass celebrations
Action Plan
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
Action Plan
Report back to PFC/PPC
Visit, support and encourage those that are no longer attending Mass
With who?
Parish Priest
Pastoral council
To lift up their spirit
Revive them not to lose hope
To keep our church vibrant
As soon as possible
Block leaders
Pastoral council
Parish priest
Set time frame
Success or failure will be determined by whether we have reached our goals or not.

6.1.2 Qwaqwa Deanery
Organise workshops
All structures on understanding the Parish and evangelising
Deanery level
Parish level
Local level
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
Follow ups
6.1.3 Central Deanery
Action Plan
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
6.1.4 Sodalities
With whom?
Executive members of the committee
Sodalities need to take part
Church Activities:
We should be example by paying what is due to the church
To evangelise
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:
Lapsed Catholics
Regular meetings of PPC, PFC & the Priest
Workshops done in Parishes
Time Frame given to tasks

DPC Resolutions

2021 DPC RESOLUTIONS by Fr. Sifiso

Presentation and Message from Pope Francis by Sr. Catherine
See Appendix G
Diocesan Pastoral/ Administration Structure Presentation by Fr. Dikotsi
See Appendix H
9.1 Questions?
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.
New Posts/Movements
Fr. Thabiso Lucky Matabane: Diocesan Master of Ceremony (MC)

Rev Fr Thabiso Matabane

Rev Fr Thabiso Matabane

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.
Laudato Si
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.

Family Life
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

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.

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

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:


Household budgeting

Budgeting, saving and investing
Avoiding debt

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,

ARTICLE BY: MR SIPHIWE RADEBE, (the Diocese Administrative Secretary) ed, Rev.Fr Khaliso Mofokeng

Newly Ordained Priests with Bishop Jan DeGroef

Priesthood and Diaconate Ordination

The Diocese of Bethlehem, on the 21st August 2021, first time under the leadership of Bishop Jan DeGroef happily ordained three Priests, Rev.Fr’s Seabata Makibi, Paballo Skotha and Thabiso Matabane and one Deacon, Rev.Dc Nhlanhla Mokoena.

With their signature statement “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade ” the triplets and their family with the whole Diocese were very happy and finally SCREAMED “ha ba bewe” for let them be ordained as the candidates responded to their calling.

The Diocese of Bethlehem wishes you well Fathers, and also the Media and Communications office under the leadership of Rev_Fr Khahliso Mofokeng, is very proud of you.

here is the link for St Mary Church Choir music video clip:




Rev Dc Nhlanhla Mokoena

Rev Dc Nhlanhla Mokoena

Rev Fr Paballo Skotha

Rev Fr Paballo Skotha

Rev Fr Thabiso Matabane

Rev Fr Thabiso Matabane

Rev Fr Seabata Makibi

Rev Fr Seabata Makibi

Newly Ordained with Rev Fr Sifiso Thusi

Newly Ordained with Rev Fr Sifiso Thusi


Newly Ordained Priests with Bishop Jan DeGroef

Newly Ordained Priests with Bishop Jan DeGroef



Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Seabata Hosias Makibi

Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Seabata Hosias Makibi

Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Thabiso Matabane

Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Thabiso Matabane

Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Paballo Cedric Skotha

Presentation of Rev Dc (to be ordained a Priest) Paballo Cedric Skotha































Finishing our formation period during the pandemic

We give thanks to God who bestowed on us this precious gift of priesthood up on us. We thank our families for their blessings from the beginning of our journey for the past ten years ago to twelve years ago. We also thank our the bishop, the clergy, the vocation team, our parish priests, vocation prayer groups, our home parishes, and the entire people of God in Bethlehem Diocese for always keeping us in their prayers.

Though last year was a difficult year for all of us, on the 23rd of October 2020, four of us: Brs Makibi Hosias Seabata, Skotha Cederic Paballo, Sepatala Ntefane and Matabane Lucky Thabiso made a milestone when we obtained Bachelor of theology. This achievement was one of the requirements for completion of formation for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church in Southern Africa.

Academic formation is one of the four pillars of formation for the Catholic Clergy as request from the Mother Church. There are four pillars of formation which each candidate has to be formed upon for Holy Orders which are Spiritual, Human, Pastoral and Academic formation. Four of us graduated and it was a happiest day of our lives as we concluded our academic formation at St John Vianney Seminary NPC.

Graduating did not mean the end of academic formation but a continuation of ongoing formation on all four pillars of formation but on the different level.

A priest is expected to be a man who is able to read the signs of the times and that will only be possible if a candidate to priesthood is aware of the developments of theology and other academic disciplines.

Therefore, we will continue to read different spiritual and academic books to equip ourselves with knowledge and mostly on what is happening around us so that we may become what the Mother Church is calling us to become for the Kingdom of God to be known on earth.

To God be glory and honour for protecting us through the past ten to twelve years of priestly formation.

Article by Diocese of Bethlehem 2021 Deacon Elects.

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My journey with Comfirmandi 2021

My appointment resumed in Lindley on the 3rd January 2020. Upon arrival, I started my mission by conducting a funeral Mass on the 4th, before officially meeting the congregation in different communities on Sunday. However, after visiting all four communities, Srs. Agnes, Anne, Gabriel and the Sacred Heart, I decided to  meet the PPC and PFC, where we discussed the situation in the parish, among matters discussed was whether the parish has candidates due for Confirmation,and other Sacraments. It emerged that there are young people due for Confirmation, date was set for 28th June, to familiarize myself with candidates, and catechists to see what they have done so far in matters of formation according to the policies of catechism regards to the Sacraments, especially Confirmations. Indeed, I was satisfied with the findings, and I did the best they could. Little did we know, in March, we will be a Lockdown, affected by the conclusion of the preparations, we failed. 
God does not leave His own, Churches were opened a few months later. Despite the challenges, like the numbers of attendees didn't affect us much, Since our communities are not that big to be less than fifty attendees, It is normal PPC/ PFC meetings were set again, with other matters, We reviewed the Confirmations again,  set a date, 28th February 2021. We go frustrated,  since Lockdown was again announced just soon after our meeting and setting a date.
Fortunately,  just a few weeks before the date of Confirmations, it was announced Churches are open again, We quickly met and decided to go ahead with our plans  of Confirmations: scheduled for 28th February. All the logistics were sorted out, including numbers of  attendees.  We opted for open air Mass. The Bishop agreed to our proposal, though shocked with the number of confirmandi (which was fifty five), and how did we manage to keep them in church,  especially that we were still in Lockdown Level 3, as one of the Diocesan Catechetical Committee commented, "I have come to believe,  indeed, despite Lockdown, God is still at work. ''Lindley Parish, we are the witness of that experience. Despite the lockdown, the fifty five young people always looked forward to coming back to Church as soon as Churches were open, they were there. Their unwavering faith due to Lockdown gave us hope and the courage to let them receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. 
Brothers and Sisters, even in Lockdown, God is at work. We cannot fold our arms and wait for COVID-19 to dictate how God should work in us, but us to open our hearts, let Him still be incharge in any situation. Believe in  him in all situations, and us observing all the regulations stipulated, we will win the battle.  
I Keep on praying for our fifty-five Confirmands who received the Sacrament of Confirmation on 28th February 2021, remain faithful in the journey. 
God bless you all.
Lindley Parish 
Fr. William Kaupa (Lindley Parish Priest). 
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New Appointments




BETHLEHEM Fr. Dikotsi Mofokeng
D C M.D. MofokengFr. Tumelo Mohlaping
 058 313 0042/072 684 7421058 304 1171

073 353 2261

5035 9700
John Paul II Centre
Priests House
Msgr George Wagner 058 303 8055
072 153 7407
1768 9700
JP II Centre Office Fax numberCell number 058 303 3072/058 303 9378 1768 9700
Sekwele Fr. Leuta Lengobala 058 303 1459072 845 8129


1768 9700
BBTP Mr. Ntsebe Mofokeng 058 303 4031078 245 1709 366 9700
CCS Office
Fax number 058 303 9447
058 303 9409
058 303 8584
1893 9700
  Sr Catherine Owens 058 303 9077
072 569 3018
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Pelong Educare
Sisters Convent
Sr. Theodora 058 304 2516
058 304 5845
5077 9700
CLOCOLAN Fr Cyprian Agene 051 943 0109082 420 1273


164 9735
Fr Sakhi Mofokeng 051 933 2710
082 596 1932
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St Joseph’s School Principal Seabelo 051 938 1039 1224 9730
FOURIESBURG   Fr Tsolo Mohlahli 073 282 6696  20  9725
Good Shepherd Srs Sr. Paulina Tjamela SCIM 073 437 8138 170 9725
FRANKFORT Fr Leuta Lengoabala 058 813 3621
072 845 8129
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Fr Lucky Khumalo
Dc John Bosco Leluka
058 622 1570
083 499 8525
071 077 516


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Mini world youth day: Durban 2017

December 6-10 (Dbn exhibition centre)


The South African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) in honouring the youth of their Conference region thought it would be best to motivate and encourage the youth by inviting them to the Arch-Diocese of Durban in KZN, and bid farewell to…. READ MORE


Invitation and Motivation Feast of the Holy Rosary

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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







Violence against the vulnerable especially women and girls be it physical, sexual or psychological is defined by the UN declaration of 1993 as being gender-based. Such violence has been diagnosed to be rooted in gender inequality factors. Though recognised as a world-wide human right abuse, it has been diagnosed to be predominant in medium and low income countries with 46% of affected women found to be in Africa (in a study carried out across 80 countries by the UN).

In a study funded by the embassy of Finland and carried out by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, published under the title Gender –Based violence (GBV) in South Africa: A Brief Review, some alarming statistics confirms that GBV in South Africa remains one of the highest in the world. For example, 77% of women in Limpopo, 51% in Gauteng, 45% in western cape, 36 % in Kwazulu-Natal acknowledged to have experienced some form of violence in their life perpetuated by men (mostly intimate relations account for 51%) with sexual-related violence recording higher prevalence: 64,419 cases reported by SAPS in 2012; 62,226 cases in 2013; 66,197 cases in 2014, and 53,617 cases in 2015.

These figures are far less than real as many women are culturally afraid to report such abuses because of future reprisals or because of ignorance of their rights. Mathew et al., (2004) confirmed through another study that 8.8 per 100 000 females were killed by their partners and this remains the highest rate worldwide. Rural women and girls are especially exposed to GBV as indicated by 80% in the Southern Cape rural women report for having experienced domestic violence. Nationwide the rate remains high at 24.6 percent of domestic violence (SAPS reported cases only).

Sekwele endeavours to contribute, with others to the development of a strong, rights-based and compassionate civil society. It does this by nurturing and cultivating a tradition of social reflection and action in communities and by cooperating with those already active in the social sphere to support their efforts in social transformation.

As violence especially gender motivated violence remain high in our society, Sekwele saw it fit to embark on pursuing activities that would go a long way to stamp out GBV in our society and create a new culture of respect and responsible citizenship by conscientising young people and communities about gender based violence and its effects, build youth activism and provide youth with information in order to reduce risky behaviour which makes them vulnerable to GBV.

Sekwele targeted learners from grade 10 and 11 from the following Schools: Bodikela Junior; Khanyeng Intermediate; Ntsu Secondary; Tiisetsang High; Thabo-Thokoza Secondary; Bethlehem Comprehensive; Clocolan High; Harrismith Secondary; Lerato-Thando Secondary; Ladybrand High; M.J.Mohlahli Secondary; Meqheleng Secondary; Lereng Secondary; Reahola Secondary; Kgola Thuto; Phukalla Secondary; Sehlabeng Secondary; Ipokelleng Secondary; Kgetha-Tsebo Secondary; Akofang Intermediate; Qwa-Qwa Combine; Breda School.

Realising that the root causes of GBV are linked to lack of knowledge of women’s rights and general human rights, low literacy rate and low awareness of where to get help as well as lack of adequate structures to manage sensitive complaints while respecting and protecting the victims. Other phenomenon such as drunkenness, patriarchy gender inequality implicitly supported by some societal structures and laws equally contribute to the GBV. Certain cultural norms and beliefs that promote masculinity and traditional practices that subjugate women, eg Ukuthwala, or false belief in male manhood test or unfounded rumours of HIV cure by having sex with a virgin, etc. are ingredients to justify GBV in some communities.

Sekwele is working together with SAPS, Thuthuzela Care Centre, Child & Family Welfare, DDI, Atlehang Youth Development to deliver programs to approximately 500 learners to improve on their understanding of the concepts of gender based violence, its causes, impact, and outlined principles for mentorship which would enable them to acquire the necessary skills for addressing gender based violence in schools as Human Rights Ambassadors.

At the school level, learners organised activities such as research on GBV within their school environments, carry out awareness campaigns and dialogues on their own and some of the schools integrated the GBV prevention model into their existing school’s programmes. This initiative from these schools help ensured the sustainability of the project and facilitated learners’ outreach. This has greatly contributed to the reduction GBV incidences in schools as acknowledged by the school authorities.


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Bodikela Learners sharing their GBV School project with others

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Reahola Secondary Learners engaged in GBV campaign



Diaconate Ordination of brother Tumelo Stephen Mohlaping At Holy Ghost cathedral, Bethlehem, on 12th December 2016

On this Monday just after having celebrated Laetare Sunday, in this time leading up to Christmas, the diocese of Bethlehem got a new Deacon. Many members of the Bohlokong Church communities – where Tumelo was involved pastorally and where he will go on to fulfil his diaconal ministry – but also from other parishes, most of the Priests together with Permanent Deacon Vincent Mohlaping (representing also the other Permanent Deacons), and a number of Women Religious joined in the celebration. The Kgotsong choir really expressed that deep joy we all felt, myself and our new Deacon Tumelo included.
In my homily I recalled that Tumelo’s way to Diaconate has been much longer than usual. His discernment has been a long process but all along he felt in his heart this burning desire to serve the Lord and His people as a Priest. God’s ways are indeed wonderful. I am sure that his yes today to the questions I put to him came from the depth of his heart matured and enriched by a rich life experience not just enjoying life but caring for his younger brother. When I met with him the evening before his ordination he shared with me that he really wanted to live this God-given time to the full, not letting fall anything into oblivion.
In the readings I chose for this celebration I wanted to highlight that such a calling does not come from man but from God. We only have to discern and to receive the gift in good soil where it can bear fruit in due time. A true prophet as Jeremiah recognizes this with humility and trust being aware that he is called to proclaim God’s Word and not just his own opinion. I think that this struck a cord with Tumelo who is not that shy and does not have to search for words to express his opinion. God’s Word is surely Good News but it also cuts and challenges, first of all the proclaimer himself. In the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and in the gospel taken from St. Matthew I emphasized that, more important than the kind of activities a Deacon can be involved in, is the way he does things. What is required are attitudes of humility, gentleness, patience, mutual support and service.
After the Diaconate Ordination, sharing a meal prepared by members of Vocation Prayer groups, who were already at work last night, people took time to share with one another: an experience of Church as family.

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Article by
Bishop Jan de Groef

Altar boys arrive in procession during a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate cardinals and bishops who died this year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 3, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The Installation of Acolytes

The minor orders are import, because they are the steps towards priesthood. They prepare a person towards the ministry of priesthood. That is why one is installed to these minor orders while he is still in formation stage in order that he is able to practise these ministries fully. Last term it was the installation of lectors and now this semester in preparation for internship, there was installation of acolytes. These ministries are installed to people who are doing second year of theology in St. John Vianney seminary. These installations forms put of the formation stage of the seminary.

The seminary stages are about to come to an end if one approaches the altar. In 18 May 2016 I was installed as a lector and my work was to proclaim the word of God. Now, I have being installed as an acolyte on 26 0ctober 2016, this mean that I must assist the bishop, priest and deacons at the altar. It also means to help distributing communion to the faithful and the sick. During the installation the bishop give us the challis that has the wine and the bread as a sign to work closer to the Eucharist. This is a sign that we need to prepare the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist.

His excellence Bishop Victor Palane of the diocese of Klerksdoorp was the one who installed us to this ministry of acolytes. There were about 18 brothers or seminarians who were installed. This is the minor order that leads to deaconate. It is significance to us as we about to go for internship. Ministry of acolyte is the last minor order that leads to the ordination. It was a great joy, as it is a step closer towards the ordination.