The Installation of Lectors

In the seminary we have different stages that a seminarian should undergo. When start his theology he is to be accepted as candidate to priesthood. This is a stage or step that one receives as to show that now is getting closer to priesthood or of becoming a priest. During the later stages of his formation he will also be installed in different ministries. Here at St. John Vianney seminary, when a student reach his second year of theology studies he is installed in these different ministries to prepare him for his pastoral internship that take place during his third year of theology studies. Those different ministries are lector and acolyte.

This year as one student (Sepatala Ntefane) of the diocese of Bethlehem I was installed in the ministry of Lectors. The installation took place at St. John Vianney Seminary, by Bishop Zungu of Port Elizabeth diocese. This event took place on 18 May 2016. It was a moment of taking a step feather. It was a wonderful experience, knowing that one has achieved a certain step in life of priesthood. This meant that one is getting closer and closer to his vocation of priesthood. A lector is someone who is made an official proclaimer of God’s word. He is a reader of God’s word and he can even preach or share the word of God. He is installed by his Bishop or by his superior (if he is a religious). The church entrust you to proclaim the word of God. To be installed as a lector, one needs to apply to his Bishop, and as a result Ntefane Sepatala did apply to his bishop (Bishop Jan De Groef) and the reply was positive or was granted a go ahead by his Bishop. This is to show that no one forced you, but you chose it freely and willingly. It is a great joy.


Epic Church, Epic Life

10 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong at Mass

Maybe it’s because we’ve just adopted these habits, maybe we’re just lazy…let’s take a bit of a tongue-in-cheek look at some common practices that may need correction during the Holy Mass. Here are 10 things you might be doing wrong at mass.

1. Changing posture early
Seriously, what’s the deal? Why can’t we just wait ’til we actually finish the Sanctus before kneeling? Do you love kneeling that much? Do you think being the first person to sit will get you a prize? “Hey Bill, what’s that medal for?”  “Well, I sat the fastest after the collect at a mass back in ’85”  Yeah, not gonna happen.  Let’s make a point to do things together next time. Cool? Cool.

2. Leaving before the Mass is over
AKA the “Judas Shuffle”.  I’m sorry, did you think Mass was over as soon as you received the Eucharist? It’s as though some people think the proper response when receiving Holy Communion isn’t “Amen”, but “Goodbye”. We should observe proper decorum for Mass: depart after the celebrant.

3. Genuflecting toward the altar
I see this constantly! Genuflecting is the most pronounced gesture we employ at Mass, so it is reserved for the highest good — the Eucharist Himself. Where’s the Eucharist? In the Tabernacle. Some might be in this habit because the tabernacle is often directly behind the altar.  Before getting in your pew, if and only IF the Tabernacle is visible, genuflect toward it. If it’s not in view, bow toward the altar. Now you know. And this applies outside of Mass too.

Speaking of bowing…
4. Nodding your head instead of a proper bow
Wherever bowing is called for in the Mass (when the congregation is incensed by the thurifer, in the middle of the Creed, etc.) it is always a “profound bow”, which just means that you bow from the waist. The only time that we are told to bow our head only is “when the three Divine Persons are named together, and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated”.

5. Standing in the Orans position during the Our Father
No. Just no. You’ll see priests assume the Orans position (hands extended to the side) a few times; it is a posture that indicates that he is praying on our behalf, but not in the way that I pray for you. He’s praying on our behalf in persona Christi capitas. This is why the rubrics don’t allow for deacons to adopt the Orans posture, and it’s the main reason we shouldn’t either.

6. Walking around at the Sign of Peace
What is this, social hour? Not only is this obnoxious (my opinion), but it’s illicit. The rubrics tell us that it is “appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner”.  We all love you, but stay where you are.

7. Not saying “Amen” before receiving Communion
I can hardly believe this needs to be said, but it does. When the priest, deacon, or EMHC elevates the host or chalice and says, “The Body/Blood of Christ”, you had better not be silent. It is imperative that those who receive can affirm belief in the Real Presence, so do what the Church asks. Say “Amen”. Amen? Amen!

8. Not singing
Admittedly, this might not be crucial, but neither the congregation nor the choir is singing for your amusement. Hymns, which are representative of the antiphons, are a response of the faithful as part of the Mass; making them a part of the prescribed “full, conscious, and active” participation in the Mass. Don’t fall prey to individualistic tendencies. We worship together, and that means singing together. Sacrosanctum Concilium on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council says,

“Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out…” (118)

RING. OUT. Skill is not a prerequisite. Just, please, sing to the Lord.

9. Not saying the responses
Now, this one is more important than carrying a tune. How does somebody think that active participation in the liturgy is going to be accomplished without actively participating in the liturgy. Yes, it is primarily about interior disposition, but habitually refraining from the responses is a pretty solid sign of a poor disposition. Again, we worship together.

10. Arriving late
I know what the problem is, somebody told you that if you arrived by X and left after X, then you “officially” went to Mass and fulfilled your obligation. Sed contra, my friend! There are no such limits. Our obligation is to attend a Sunday Mass, and that Mass begins and ends with the introductory rites and the concluding rites. If you happen to be late because of circumstances beyond your control, if you made an honest effort to be there on time, but you walked in at the Psalm, so be it; you’re fine. But if you had to catch the last 7 minutes of a game, and that’s why you’re late, then stop reading this and re-prioritize. (Confession might even be required.)

We’ll be looking at more of these liturgical no-no’s in future posts. (Round 2: 10 More Things You Might Be Doing Wrong at Mass) The rubrics for the mass can be found in the General Instruction for the Roman Missal (GIRM).  Check it out.

Article shared by
Thabo “Dakalo” Moloi
(Harrismith Parish: Mpumalanga deanery)

We are all called to be true witnesses of Christ by our lives.


Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 1.36.24 PMWhat would Christianity be without true witnessing to the Person of Christ? This was a question which struck me on the 26th -27th of February 2016 while I was attending a workshop on religious and concentrated life held in Ladyband Parish by the Newcastle Dominican sisters from the Diocese of Dundee. I realised that witnessing is what makes us the Church “The body of Christ” visible in the world. By being visible we further become more that what we are “The Body of Christ”. In other words in becoming more than what we are, we embody Christ, his love, his compassion, forgiveness and his life, not only during this Year of Mercy but throughout our lives. And how do we manifest this? By sharing what we have received with our brothers and sisters as St Paul says, “For I handed over to you as of first importance what I in return have received” (1Cor 15:3) and by being united in love and in faith.  It is in sharing our faith experiences that we grow towards Christ in our different communities. Thus, in sharing our faith experiences we do not only grow towards him who calls us but we make he who calls us present and indeed the WORD becomes flesh and it tabernacles in us. This is a most vital form of witnessing because it fulfils the promise of Christ to his disciples “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

The workshop was organised by the Parish Priest Rev Fr Mosebetsi Mokoena. It was made clear and emphasised by the Parish Priest that the workshop was for all young women in our parish not only for those who feel God is calling them. The reason behind such a wide invitation was that, we are all called to witness to Christ by our lives thus it is of great importance to attend such workshop to deepen our faith by listening to others who have encountered the Lord in a special way. The workshop was facilitated by four Dominican sisters, two of them were finally professed and the other two were novices. The number of the young people who showed up was 54 and they were assisted by the vocation prayer group members. The workshop started on Friday the 26th in the evening and it ended on Saturday the 27th afternoon . It was a good faith sharing experience. We thank the Lord for all this and we like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the parents for allowing their children to come to the workshop and we also thank the young people for showing up . We hope and pray that what God has initiated through the sisters may he bring it to the fulfilment. Mary Mother of vocations Pray for us!


Closing of a year of concecrated life

It was on the 7th of February at Mofumahadi wa kgotso cogregation, in Bohlokong parish. All Religious congregations, in the dioces of Bethlehem were present. Srs of st Paul, sacred heart, Holy names and Good Shepherd.

During Mass srs were the ones who were doing the readings, bringing gifts, doing the intersessions and they renew their vows. During offatory they brought their logos according to their respective congregations.

The letter of Pope Francis Said the congrdgation should go back to their roots and should read the signs of the time. Wake up the world! Before final blessing they explained to the congregation what does those logos mean to their congregations, respectively.

DSC_0021 (1) DSC_0030 DSC_0073 DSC_0070 (2)

Article by
Sr Sylvia Lerata
(Chairperson of the religious)

scn sht

SISTERS OF St. Paul – Reitz

Ka Mantaha wa la 25 Pherekgong 2016, kopano ya Baitlami ba Paulosi ya halalelang e ne e amohela Monovice Sr. Maria Immaculate Nkhatho mokgahlelong wa dikano tsa hae tsa pele. Sehlabelo sa Mmisa se ne se eteletswe pele ke Ntate Mosebetsi Mokoena. Dibini e ne e le Baitlami ba kopano ya habo ya Paulosi ya halalelang ba ileng ba bina hamonate kannete. Motsamaisi wa mosebetsi  e bile Sr. Maria Christophora Lephoto ya ileng a etsa mosebetsi o mkgethe kannetw.

Hgothatsong ya hae, Ntate Mosebetsi o eleditse Moitlami ya motjha ho tsamaya maotong a Paulosi ya halalelang le ho latela pitso ya hae ka botlalo, le ho ipeha tlas`a tshireletso ya hae. O eleditse Sistere ho rapela haholo le ho rapella kopano ya hae kamehla.

Bakriste ba phutheho ya habo ba ne ba le teng ho tla rapela le ho leboha Morena Modimo mmoho le Sistere. Sister Immaculate, ka moo a bitswang ka teng, o ekeditse lenane la Baitlami ba batjha ba kopano ya habo ho ba ba leshome le motso o le mong (11), le palo ya Baitlami ba Paulosi ho ba mashome a mararo a metso e mene (34).

Batswadi ba hae ba ne ba le teng ho tla tlotlisa letsatsi leo. Sr. Lidwina Mosikili o ile a leboha bohle ba atlehileng hot la moketeng mmoho le batswadi ba ileng ba fan aka lekgabunyane la bona ho Morene Modimo kopanong ya Baitlami ba kopano ya Paulosi ya halalelang.


DSC_0061 DSC_0028 DSC_0038 DSC_0034 DSC_0060  DSC_0043DSC_0052






report from Sr Maria_Charles Mofokeng


The Opening Of The Jubilee Of Mercy

The pilgrims of the Diocese of Bethlehem, gathered at the Marian shrine: our lady of Bethlehem on the 12 December 2015 for the opening of the jubilee of Mercy.
We begun by welcome note and expiation of the theme, by Fr Menyatso Michael Menyatso (the rector of the Shrine). The Bishop opened with prayer, and followed by reading of the Papal Bull by Fr’s Mosebetsi Simon Mokoena (vicar general) Mpho Mathias Mona (diocesan MC) and William Kaupa (vacations).
In light with the theme of the day, be merciful like the father, the procession led by the pilgrims praying the lumen mysteries to the Shrine via the stations.
By the entrance of the Shrine, the door of Mercy was covered with Basotho blankets, to be blessed by the Bishop for all to enter through and the blessings with sprinkling with holy water by Frs Tslolo Julian Mohlahli and Anselm Njoku
The ceremony in the Shrine begun by the Sacrament of reconciliation lead by Fr Buang Julias Mofokeng, followed by the anointing with oil by Bishop Jan the Groef and Fr Mosebetsi Simon Mokoena.
To sum up and conclude the celebration, the holy Eucharist was celebrated by the Bishop, where all the diocesan priests renewed their ordination vows and promises before the Bishop and the pilgrims of the Dioceses

27788538753 DSC_0104 DSC_0132 DSC_0133

DSC_0335DSC_0363DSC_0291 DSC_0194    DSC_0193

Report by:
Rev-Fr Khahliso Bonaventure Mofokeng (Diocesan media and communications)


The Cradle of Jesus (Nasir-i-Khusrau) -Jerusalem Achaeological Park

Adjacent to the East Wall, and when you have reached the south (eastern) angle (of the Haram Area)—the Kiblah-point lying before you, south, but somewhat aside—there is an underground Mosque, to which you descend by many steps. It is situated immediately to the north of the (south) Wall of the Haram Area, covering a space measuring 20 ells by 15, and the chamber has a roof of stone, supported on marble columns. Here was of old the Cradle of Jesus. The Cradle is of stones, and large enough for a man to make therein his prayers prostrations, and I myself said my prayers their. The Cradle is fixed into the ground, so that it cannot be moved. This Cradle is where Jesus was laid during His childhood, and where He held converse with the people. The Cradle itself, in this Mosque, has been made the Mihrâb (or oratory); and there is, likewise, on the east side of this Mosque the Mihrâb Maryam (or Oratory of Mary), and another Mihrâb, which is that of Zakariyyâ (Zachariah)—peace be upon him! Above these Mihrâb are written the verses revealed in the Kurân that relate respectively to Zachariah and to Mary. They say that Jesus—peace be upon Him!—was born in the place where this Mosque now stands. On the shaft of one of the columns there is impressed a mark as though a person had gripped the stone with tow fingers; and they say that Mary, when taken in the pangs of labour, did thus with one hand seize upon the stone, leaving this mark thereon. ThisMosque is known by the title of Mahd ‘Îsâ
DSC_0394 (1)

St Martin De Pore’s Phuthaditjhaba parish liturgy members, who were preparing the cradle. Assisted by our two seminarians, br Mohapi and br Ntefane. On the 16th December 2015



Opening of the Year of Mercy

The opening of the Year of Mercy, on Diocesan level will be on the 12th December at our Marian shrine in Tsheseng (at10h00) In preparation of the Year of Mercy, we integrate the prayer, rite of reconciliation and anointing of the sick into the celebration, and conclude with the Eucharistic celebration for His unconditional love and mercy

.POSTER IMG_7411 12348103_1709031472674617_7291465290322786763_n logo


A Letter From Our Bishop

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 3.44.53 PM

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When we speak about mercy what does it really mean? It should mean much more than some almsgiving, some act of charity to a beggar, although all of this can be part of it. First of all we have to look at the source of true and everlasting mercy: God, the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Pope Francis writes in his letter (‘bull’) of proclamation (‘indiction’) of the extraordinary jubilee of mercy: ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy’. It is this mercy which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis writes: ‘Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved for ever despite our sinfulness’. Gazing, contemplating Jesus Christ as the face of God’s mercy (in prayer) we can become – writes Pope Francis – ‘a more effective sign of the Father’s merciful action in our lives’. Just as God is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other. The motto of this Jubilee Year of Mercy ‘Merciful like the Father’ very well points at this.

How can we live this jubilee? A number of events have been planned in Rome but Pope Francis challenges us to extend this to our own diocese and parishes. The Holy Year of Mercy is to start on the 08th December 2015 when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Pope will open a special door, called the Holy Door (which has been closed for several years), at St. Peter’s so that it may become a ‘Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope’. But the following Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, he will open such a door in his own cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and moreover he encourages all Bishops to open such a Holy Door somewhere in their diocese, be it at the cathedral or at a shrine frequented by large numbers of pilgrims. This is why we decided to have such a Door at our Marian shrine at Tsheseng which we will open on Saturday 12thDecember during our diocesan pilgrimage.

This should then spill over throughout the whole diocese in the various parishes and Christian communities. I very much encourage all Priests together with their liturgical committees and parish and local councils to be creative and organize activities which highlight God’s Mercy all throughout the year which will close with the Solemnity of Christ the King on 20th November 2016. I challenge also Sodalities, other groups of young and old and diocesan projects to take this up in their year programs.

What could be of particular help in your personal prayer and in your bible sharing at home in your family, or when meeting as blocks or in your Sodality meetings, is to choose one or other parable which speaks about God’s Mercy like in the gospel of Luke 15,1-32. The Southern African Bishops Conference is preparing a reflection booklet in various languages which could also be of a help for sharing and prayer.

Being filled with the love and mercy of God we shall be stimulated to reach out to others in corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Pope Francis invites us to ‘rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead’. He urges us ‘not to forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead’.

Central to our celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy should be the Sacrament of Mercy, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I very much encourage you to celebrate – I say celebrate and not undergo confession – the sacrament as a joyful encounter with the Lord, full of mercy and compassion, regularly throughout the year.

Other activities will be planned on diocesan level with the help of a committee chosen for this purpose, which will also come up with a number of suggestions for parishes.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may this Jubilee Year of Mercy be a time of renewal for all of us, members of the one family of God, the Church, so that we, through our outreach especially to those brothers and sisters of ours who have fallen away, may become missionaries of God’s mercy in today’s world.

May Mary, our mother in the faith, intercede for us,

Bethlehem, 08th December 2015 on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

+Jan De Groef, M.Afr.

Bishop of Bethlehem