My dear Friends, You know, the last Sunday of each month from February to September, there is a Vocation Discernment Day at the Johannesburg Cathedral for all the youths eager to discover the path God wants them to follow in their life. On 28th June, about 25 boys and girls of grade 10 and over met there from 10 am to 3 pm. As I was busy with another Mass in the morning, I could make it only at 2 pm to celebrate Mass with them. During the homily, I asked them if they were “attractive”! Pope Francis always comes back on this fact: we do not convert people to come to Jesus by force or intimidation, but we draw them like a magnet by being “attractive” Christians! Attractive, not by dressing smartly or charming them by our “cool” behaviour, but by witnessing to them in being Christ-like. “Always preach, and sometimes use words”, said saint Francis of Assisi.
Between the 7th and 10th of July, six new students arrive to start their theology in Cedara and take residence in our nearby Formation House of Merrivale; they are from Zambia, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Mali. (2 Congolese, 2 Indians and one Nigerian are still waiting for their visas) On Saturday, they leave with our deacon Serge (DRC) and soon-to-be-deacon Douglas (Kenya), who came to fetch them with the mini-bus of Merrivale. Patrick Kadima joins them to spend a few days with our 25 students in Merrivale. He just came back from Malawi on 30th June after his graduation following his three years of Philosophy. He had the great joy of having his father, 2 of his sisters, his brother and his brother-in-law present at the graduation! He is now on holidays with his family, waiting to start his noviciate in Zambia in September.
On Sunday 12th July, as I am preparing to go celebrate Mass in Vlakfontein Township, I hear on the 6am radio news that motorists have to avoid travelling on the Golden Highway because of violent unrest in Vlakfontein to protest against bad service delivery. Fortunately, when I arrive there, everything is over and the Police has dispersed the protesters. So, the community of over 100 faithful celebrate the Holy Mass in peace and joy, yet praying devoutly for more calm and justice in the country. Afterward, I rush to Pretoria to celebrate a 50th Jubilee of a Portuguese couple whom I know from Charismatic Renewal weekends. There are more than one hundred family and friends! Thank the Lord for this beautiful example of matrimonial love and fidelity!
On 18th, Mandela Day, I spend about four hours painting in a Home for abused, abandoned and orphaned children. With some youths, we refresh the neglected house that the Home has just pursued for the older teenage boys. I hope and pray that you all did something positive to celebrate Mandela Day, and that you will do it regularly throughout the year.
Finally, on Sunday 26th we have again a beautiful discernment day at the Cathedral. In the morning, the Good Shepherd Sisters present their vocation, working among women and girls all over the world. After lunch, Patrick and I present our vocation of Missionaries of Africa. The participants are very interested and keen to learn more about our specific vocation among African people everywhere in Africa and the rest of the world.
Keep well! Be missionaries everywhere and at all times!
Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr